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Showing posts from January, 2016

A hug

Attended Chinese service today and as we were singing the last song, one line, with the lyrics roughly translated to "... ... into Your embrace ... ..." reminded me of a Dad Hug I got from an affirming father at the GCN Conference. And then I thought about God. And how that was like a hug from Him. That totally got me sobbing like crazy in the middle of worship.

Hugs can be so powerful.

Loveability - an extract

"The more I thought above love, the more I had to admit to myself how important love was. I could see the urge to love and be loved is our primary desire. Love is as important to us as air, water, and food. A life without love isn't a life. The more you love and also let yourself be loved, the more alive you feel. This primary desire is something we share with each other: we all want to experience love, to know we are loveable, and to be loving people. Love feeds all our basic desires, including our desire to be connected, to be known, to be safe, to be happy, to be successful, and to be free. Love is the stuff of life. Even I could see that, and I was only 16 years old.

I understood that love was important, but what I couldn't understand was why people didn't talk more about love. The Beatles were singing about love. So too were Stevie Wonder, and Bob Dylan, and Van Morrison, and Joni Mitchell. There's no such thing as too many love songs. At the same time, our f…

My reflections on GCN Conference 2016

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Here's my main takeaway from the GCN Conference that ended a little less than a week ago:

Fellowship is life-giving.
There were so many great keynotes, dozens of excellent workshops, but the thing that made the strongest impressions were the many friendships forged during that 4 precious days in Houston.
Just like the very last Exodus conference I attended in 2013, I met so many gay Christians and heard so many stories. I was gratified to know that I wasn't alone in this. From those at my table in the Women's Retreat before the official start of the conference, to those newbies at my First-Timers' table, to Table 23 on the very first night, to the Side B dinner, to the strangers I met at workshops, the fellowship was warm and everyone was so open to share their stories.
And what stories those were. From being fired from a job for being gay in Texas, to being expelled for the very same reason in a Christian university, it is hard to live as an LGBT person in certain pa…

2016 GCN Conference Day 4

The last day started with a beautiful liturgical service. There were robed pastors/priests, call-and-response type prayers and lovely hymns.

We had communion and that was awesome. I was wondering how long it would take to serve 1,500 people but the organisers were really smart and had many stations one could take communion at.

I was taken a bit off-guard at the sign of peace. Never had that in my church but it was nice to hug people and wish them well.

What I was most impressed about was the fact that they had both wine and grape juice, regular bread and gluten free, and even a roving station for those with mobility issues. Very well-thought out and inclusive.

Then Rev. Eric Mason gave a short message followed by a benediction. Finally Justin Lee spoke about intersectionality. Both of which I'll elaborate in a later post.

And then it was over. At the end they announced that it'll be at Pittsburgh next year. I wonder if I'll be there...

It was a wonderful experience through…

2016 GCN Conference Day 3

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The morning started with a keynote by Allyson Robinson and it was lovely.

Then I had lunch and hurried back to rest for a bit before attending the workshops.

Workshop C for me was by Eve Tushnet on "Side B: Changing our Church Communities" and it was really helpful. Got to talk to Misty Irons one-on-one and that was great. Am gonna check out her blog real soon.

Workshop D for me was "Advocating without Debating" and was really useful and full of practical advice of which I'll blog about sometime later together with all my other reflections on this conference at a later date. I got a dad hug from presenter Robert Cottrell and it felt lovely.

The person sitting beside me was one friendly Californian who invited me to dinner which I gladly accepted. Had some awesome fried chicken before coming back for testimony time.



Teared more than once hearing all the stories. Especially the girl with the pink hair - "You've given me so much hope" she said before…

2016 GCN Conference Day 2

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Woke up early today to grab breakfast from Starbucks before the first general session started. Had an awesome bagel, a banana and my usual flat white. Am so glad I got there by 8am because half an hour later the queue doubled in length. And I hate queues.



In any case, Misty Irons was brilliant. I texted two ministry leaders back home in Singapore about watching the conference and one of them actually did. I was pleasantly surprised and happy she did because she said she'd learnt a lot and realised she needed to be more loving and sensitive to LGBT folks. Which is amazing because those were exactly the reasons why I had trouble communicating with her. So thankful for live streaming.

Then I went to the exhibit hall and got 5 books for just under US$100. Yes, I am quite the book nerd. Got Deborah Jian Lee to sign hers and we shared a hug.



I was then surprised by friendly strangers hailing from Austin who asked us to join them for lunch. Had some fish tacos and sweet potato fries and …

2016 GCN Conference Day 1

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Being at the GCN Conference has been a blast. It is so incredibly well-organised and all the volunteers are so enthusiastic, it's unreal.


So far I've been to the Women's Retreat doing some amazing art therapy (employing the themes of loss and of hope) with Emmy Kegler and General Session 1 where Broderick Greer killed it with the opening message.



Absolutely LOVED the Acts 8 / Isaiah 56 Bible study that he did.

But what I treasured most of all were the getting-to-know-you sessions that were interspersed throughout the session. First at my table at the women's group, then at the first-timers' meeting, and then again at Table 23 out of a hundred over tables at the gigantic ballroom at the Hilton Americas Houston hotel we were in.



Also happy to connect with my Twitter friend Kevin Garcia and glad to meet Deborah Jian Lee.

Also loved the mint chocolates, a little but lovely touch to end the night with. :)

I can't wait to experience the rest of the conference!

See y…

A conversation with a Geography teacher

Diversity.

That's the word that stayed with me long after the conversation with my friend ended.

Too many Singaporeans love to fit into a mould. Or perhaps they have been forced to fit into one.

With the tall poppy syndrome asserting itself ever so often in Singapore, or with people critical of difference, it is difficult to showcase your individuality if it doesn't conform to societal's preconceived notions of what the norm is supposed to be.

Old people are discriminated against, seen to be less valuable. Why else would the government have to run ads to encourage fair employment for those who've had a lifetime worth of experience?

Gay people are discriminated against with 377A. Although not actively enforced, the presence of this penal code means that gay people are seen to be less than in the eyes of the law, than heterosexuals. I never quite seen this as a problem, and only appreciated it when she brought it up in our conversation.

She then added that she wasn't…

Happy Feet and Otherness

Wrote the following post on the plane and reproduced it here...


It's 6.45am, Tokyo time and I just finished watching the movie Happy Feet. If you're not acquainted with it, it is a tale about Otherness.

Mambo is a young penguin who is skilled at tap-dancing. Unfortunately, in a group of penguins that value singing much more than dancing, he is seen as an aberration. A weirdo. A freak. Sound familiar?

He is one tone-deaf penguin. In this penguin world, all the penguins are required to find their inner love song to woo their partner. And he just turns everyone off with his horrible screeching.

Even a maestro his parents sent him to couldn't help him.

Charmed as they are by his dancing, his peers still find him strange, isolate him and eventually force him to leave the colony.

He left and found a group of a different species of penguins that are amazed and value his dancing.

As the movie progressed, I began to identify more and more with Mambo.

This theme of Otherness is so v…