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As I drove to work this Saturday morning, I was surrounded by gorgeous colors as the leaves in the trees were changing and the normally black asphalt was covered with discarded reds, yellows and oranges from the previous night’s rain.  A thin mist clung to the top of trees across my neighborhood, offering a soft edges to a blue sky.  Off to the south, I could see the remainder of the storm – clouds churning and billowing and gradually being blown away.  As it always does, the weather changes and we move on. 

This morning was the kind of weather that makes me want to drive with the windows down and take the long way into work.  The air was moist and cool, but hardly cold.  Tonight it’s supposed to drop to 33, but today will be comfortable.  It’s just the right temperature so hands won’t go numb while holding signs in protest, so hands won’t go numb while being clinched in fists of rage.  The rain that was forecasted spent itself last night, so today will be clear.  As I drove to work, I couldn’t help but think that today is a beautiful day for a protest.  Today is a perfect day for change.

This afternoon, outside our Georgia state capitol and in cities across the US, gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgenders, friends and allies will be protesting bigotry and hate as demonstrated in California’s Prop 8.  Though, in a time when marches and demonstrations have become so expect that they have little effect, I wonder how much can actually come from this.  But on the other hand, just to know that the GLBT community can protest something like this, out in the open on our own capitol lawn, it’s not hard to see just how far we’ve come. 

It wasn’t too long ago that homosexuals were seen as abnormal at best, and derided as subhuman at worst.  They were subject of grotesque scientific experiments and inhumane medical procedures.  Why?  Because a minority has little or no voice in majority rule.  But step by step, one brave voice at a time, that cruel majority began to hear the voice, no, the cry of their battered whipping-boy.  It never ceases to amaze me, how those from the “religious” right condemn homosexuals the loudest, and proclaim their righteous morality through murder, lynchings, rape, torture, and emotional, physical, psychological and spiritual abuse. 

The great effort that the Mormon Church and other religious organizations have gone to in order to make a portion of Americans second class citizens by law disgusts me.  I can only imagine the hate and ignorant fear that they feel is second only to the fear that gays and lesbians have felt for so long under a constant barrage of threats and abuse.  Americans must take responsibility now.  They have to realize the impact of what they are doing.  When you segregate and subjugate a minority through law in any way, then you are offering justification for others to take the law into their own hands and subjugate further. 

It wasn’t too long ago, that  pair of men used heavy fists to batter Mathew Shepard.  And now the Mormon church uses it’s economic fist to batter and demean the gays and lesbians of California.  The superior court of CA found that it is unconstitutional to discriminate against people based on their sexuality.  So how does the Mormon Church respond?  “We’ll just change the constitution so it is legal for us discriminate and hate.” 

It sickens and terrifies me that any organization that would claim to speak for God would actively try to demean, demoralize and destroy others.  What’s worse, is that other believe they can hide their own hate and aggression behind a ballot, and some how think that that can then justify abuse. 

But today, on our capitol lawn and across the US, people will be able to see the faces of those they are abusing and demeaning.  So the next time this issue comes to vote – because it will come to vote again, it will not go away – there will be a face, a real person that they will have to answer to when they cast their ballot again. 

May God be with us this day, as we stand for equality, we stand in solidarity and proclaim that descrimination of any sort will never be tolerated.  God, let us continue to show through peaceful action that abuse is never acceptable and most importantly, that any organization that would condone such acts can never been seen as speaking for You.  Amen.


Br. Kenneth

Having done calligraphy as religious art for 17 years now, I have finally tried my hand at another highly traditional art form of the church: icons. Icons are windows into heaven, and are not meant to be relatistic representations of the figures, but more stylized forms that allow the viewer to center and contemplate the figure represented and beyond.

I’ve always found it interesting that iconographers “write” icons, whereas we calligraphers draw letters. In either case, the procedures for both are fairly strict, and both are exceptionally meticulous. The process of writing an icon is rich in symbolism. For instance, once the wood board is prepared for painting, the base coat of dark earth red is layered over the board. From that point on, the icon is built up layer by layer with dilute acrylic (or traditionally with tempura) always going from darker colors to lighter – this represents our own journey in life from darkness into the Light of God. Of course, before the icon is even begun, the iconagrapher must prepare him/herself through prayer and fasting.

Writing an icon can take anywhere from a week to several months, especially if tempura is used because of the long drying times. And because of the translucent layers going from dark to light, an icon may require hundreds of layers before it is finished.

Historically, icons have been somewhat controversial within the Church. One the one hand, you have those that read the icons as a form of prayer and centering. Showing reverence to an icon is a matter of showing reverence to what the icon represents and can inspire within us. On the other hand, there are those who see icons as merely idols and directly contrary to monotheistic religion – these are the iconolcasts. There have been several iconoclast persecutions throughout Church history in which the iconoclasts gained strength and imperial or military backing. Most notably, iconoclasm resurged in the 8th to 9th centuries and from the 16th century there after following the protestant reformation.

Unforntunately, iconoclasts usually disparage icons and those who use them because of what they are assuming of the situation. Hardly would anyone who uses icons say they are worshipping an icon because it is God. We use icons because it is a means to focus on and worship God. Iconoclasts believe that our worship goes as far as the icon, when in fact it goes through and beyond the icon.

Nonetheless, I have always found icons to be beautiful works of art and tremendous tools for prayer. Now that I’ve tried my hand at one, I think I’ll be writing many more in the future.

Jesus the Christ

Jesus the Christ

November 2008

RSS The Order’s Alleluia Garden

  • Goliath Grow Beds: The end is in sight!
    Well, whadya know?  The grow beds are built and up and running!  Just like the bottom tanks, the grow beds are constructed from 2x4s and 4x4s.  The insides are lined with pond liners, and the central tube for the bell syphons are 2″ pvc.  The input pipe into the grow bed is 3/4″ pvc with valves attached so […]
  • “It’s a jungle in there!” or “Orchids Adorning Aquaponics”
    I know I said we’d have an update on Br. Addison’s work, but as he’s swamped with end of term homework and finals, we’ll wait another week for him to resurface from school so he can tell us all about some of the new plants he’s tracked down. In the meantime, thanks to our own […]
  • Construction Junction: monks with power tools
    So back to the aquaponics… With a consistent scale, the new and accurate plans for the system look like this: As you can see, the unit fits into the corner with two grow beds running along either wall, and the water tanks creating the triangular shape underneath.  The tank is divided into two sections for […]