The Sacred Power Of Being Gay G.W. Hardin
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Branded in my memory is the first time I saw the jarring, large sign suspended between enthusiastic Christian supporters: "God Hates Fags."
To witness this flagrant condemn-ation at the March on Washington--when more than a million gays and lesbians showed up in the name of justice, solidarity, and equality--was shocking and at the same time humorous. At the time, I was standing in the middle of the Oregon delegation, who had assembled right behind the Colorado delegation--two states where legal battles raged as constitutional initiatives tried to outlaw protections for gay men and women. The Colorado delegation raised more than a hundred fists in the air as they passed by the sign-carriers, shouting, "Shame! Shame! Shame!" When next the Oregon delegation passed by the brightly painted sign, a chant of hundreds of voices proclaimed, "We're here! We're queer! Get used to us. We're fabulous!"
I can still hear it to this day. Those voices sounded like a marching army. Reminded me of my days in boot camp. The skyscrapers reverberated with the thunder of many bass voices amplifying as more and more delegations joined in the chant. Normally, I would just watch in a situation like this. It was not my way to raise my voice. But several in our delegation began to dance as the chant continued. They were not angry; they were celebrating.
After all, Proposition 9 had just been defeated by the voters of Oregon. Of course we should celebrate. And as the celebrating grew louder, I could no longer still my voice. For the first time in my life, I joined in the benediction: "We're here! We're queer! Get used to us. We're fabulous!" It was a minor miracle that I had even heard the sound of my own voice. And since that day, my voice has not been stilled.
What also has not been stilled is fundamentalists' proclaiming that part of the Divine Flock is going to hell. I hesitate to tell you this, but Heaven has sent a messenger to counter those who would use the name of a loving God in such a condemning way. Let me try and explain. It was never my intent to write true stories about angels or heavenly intervention. For like the first time when I raised my voice at the March on Washington, I now raise my voice in a way I would never have attempted before. I was not a willing advocate, I have to confess. The story of how angels began making their presence known in my life is not a story I like to tell. Much the same way a mountain climber does not like to confess to the blisters on his feet. For I had been asked the question, what would I rather do, proclaim injustice, act out my anger, or live in the sacredness of my own power? All of these choices can be seen as worthy causes. But one of them has yet to be fully tried. Or so it would seem to those of us who recognize that we can change precious little by telling others to shut up. So allow me the luxury of trying to explain what it means to possess sacred power.
An African shaman-priest, named Malidoma Somé, once told me, "In my culture, we have no word for gay. In my village, we see no separation between the natural world and the supernatural world." The point he continued to make was that in his tribal nation those that are gay are considered the sacred ones, the Gatekeepers, those who can move between this world and the Otherworld. They are accorded great respect and recognized as an integral part of village life. No one would even think of showing disrespect to these watchers of two worlds.
At first I was surprised to hear such a notion. But the more I explored it, the more I realized that most indigenous societies treated these "sacred ones" (the Gatekeepers) with the same respect. In Native American societies, the medicine men, the diviners, the dreamers and the dreamspeakers, the astrologers, the sacred singers and the callers of the spirits were most often gay. Like the Africans, they were recognized for being able to access the natural and super-natural. They were called "two-spirits" because of this inherent power. Some of these sacred ones were not gay, but had the capacity to tap into both their masculine and feminine in spiritual, emotional and mindful ways.
Imagine my shock when, writing my latest book, On The Wings Of Heaven, this notion of the sacred ones once again came forth-only this time from the angelic realm. Any of you who have read my works know that I write true stories about the extraordinary. My new book is such a story where a Vietnam Vet, by the name of Joseph Crane, barely survives the bombing of his ship during the Vietnam War. Just when he thinks he is going to die, a shouting voice directs him through a blinding inferno. Later, along with his fellow deckmates who had also followed the voice, Joe discovers no human source can be found to thank. For twelve years, the voice intermittently continues its calling out of Joe's name until the day he decides to answer back. From that point on, there unfolds a story that changes Joe's life. An angel appears in his bedroom while he is about to join his wife and four dogs in sleep. The angel charges Joe to find seven master souls who will not only represent the human condition in us all but will also speak on behalf of humanity as heaven presents us with an offer of returning to an Eden-like earth. And by the way, three of those seven masters will be gay. Joe almost chokes at hearing this, but over the space of two years finds the seven.
What is so striking is how these seven work in the village concept hinted at by Malidoma Somé. And at one point, the angel goes so far as to call them Gatekeepers, just like the African culture. However, the angel speaks of a different kind of Gatekeeper where all are welcome, not just gays and lesbians. Now, isn't that a switch? To add to all this, the angel presents Joe Crane with two texts, one called "The Book of Bricks," and the other a decoding of the Biblical text known as the Book of Revelation, or also known as Apocalypse. What's so interesting is that the angel reveals that much of Revelation has been misused and misinterpreted over the centuries. It is not a book about the end of the world, but about the end of hatred, fear and punishment. It's too detailed to go into here, but I would like to point out one particular passage and quote from the book directly. The historical, Biblical translation from this corresponding section in the Book of Revelatioin goes like this:
...and no one could learn the song except those hundred and forty-four thousand, who have been purchased from the earth. These are they who were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These follow the Lamb wherever he goes. These were purchased from among men, first-fruits unto God and unto the Lamb, and in their mouth there was found no lie: they are without blemish [Rev. 14:4-5].
Now, I'd like to give you the exact translation as was given to Joe Crane by the angel. Pay close attention to how words were changed across history. The angel tells Joe this same passage as it was given from the one called I Am:
Then there were those that had the Father's and the Son's name written on them. No one could learn the new song but these. And they were those men that did not lay with women or women that did not lay with men. They have been chosen as the first fruits and are the spiritual teachers. They are blameless and speak the truth of God's love.
Rather than go into the reason for these differences, I'd like to continue with an excerpt from On The Wings Of Heaven. Let me set the stage here. Joe Crane has now had several visits from the angel and has found the seven master souls. One in particular, Gary, who is gay, is helping Joe with the information being provided by the angel. Joe has named the angel "Michael." We come in as Michael is just finishing with showing Joe a vision of what the original writer of Revelation, John the Apostle, saw. The angel is telling Joe:
"You knew these people were gay when I first gave you what to write. You and many others knew things that you are not aware of yet. Be not surprised when you do. The song they sing has been learned, and is being learned, by the male and female in the male and female. These are the 'first fruits' spoken of in Revelation. They are in touch with the male and female natures in all things. These are the ones who chose, and were chosen, to live this way. The religions of the world have cast them out as sinners and allowed them not the love of God. Blessed were they, for the love of God was all they had. They were set free to find the connection with that love. They feel the spiritual connection of both the masculine and feminine."
Joe responded, "Gary said this part could mean that they were celibates or virgins."
"Religion would tell you so," Michael said, "yet that does not make it so. When you abstain from sex, you abstain from nature, and are out of balance. Only when the four natures of humankind (the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual) are in balance will you be one with God.
"The wisdom you have found will be found by others, and those that read this will see the truth in what is written. Much has been asked of you, and much have you given. I will not speak to you again until you have rested. Be about that which is before you. Be at peace and teach only love."
With that, Michael stepped back into the brilliance of light and disappeared. Joe sat there stunned by all he had seen, heard, and felt.
As Gary reads this message from the angel, he is overwhelmed with emotion, for he has felt the guilt of religion and the judgment of peers. So much of his life has been kept secret because so many had told him that God did not love him. He had abandoned religion completely, which was a tragedy, for he was an extremely spiritual person. And oddly enough, if you look closer, you will see the angel is right: Most gay men and women are deeply spiritual, and in an innate way. Just like the indigenous had recognized, they were actually spiritually-oriented, not sexually-oriented. Sexual orientation is an invention of modern-day society. What a surprise from a cultural that sells sex on the TV screen, in the movies, and in the newspapers as if nothing else mattered. Gay men and women's sexuality is simply a by-product of their spiritual-orientation, not the other way around. The angel, the heavens, recognize this. They understand that we carry the masculine and feminine in us in the most pro-found way. And not for sexual reasons, but for spiritual reasons. This is a gift, not a curse. It was intended as a blessing so that all of life could and would be held in balance. With so many years of repression and condemnation, is it any wonder that we find our world out of balance? It does not surprise me that even the angels have chosen to intervene to try and bring this balance back to all peoples, as well as to the Earth herself.
We simply must end this arrogance where we pretend to speak for God. We must take a look at ourselves collectively and understand that we all have a place in the Divine Plan. And those who are blessed with the "first fruits" must give up their victimhood in favor of their sacred power. The time has come for the "two-spirits" to bring balance back to themselves and to life itself. Let me illustrate.
I was at an Integrity meeting a few weeks ago. The entire meeting was taken up with the horrible injustice done at a university church were the pastor found out the choir director, who also happened to be the youth director, was fired on the spot when he found out she was a lesbian. She had an incredible record, as her employee evaluations witnessed. But that wasn't good enough. Her years as a member of the congregation, her devotion to the children of the church, simply did not matter. She was out.
The meeting I was attending filled the air with lamentations. Tears were wiped away as if trying to scrub away evidence of shame. My heart ached for the music minister who had been fired, and compassion flowed out for those who were so wounded, who poured out their hearts at this meeting. But enough was enough. Similar to the story I have told here, I told of a letter I had received from a straight cohort telling me about a young man who had come out to his mother. Her response had been swift. She cut him out of the will and refused to let him return to their home. The man didn't care about money, he had only wanted his mother's love. Repeatedly denied, he was contemplating suicide when the cohort handed him a copy of my book. At first, he couldn't believe it. My friend encouraged the man to forgive his mother, bless her because her own fears had blinded her of her son's love. She had not only wounded him, she had wounded herself. Soon, the man realized he was not without means. He began to understand that he was blessed with spiritual power. He forgave his mother and quit begging for her love. Instead, he simply showered her with his love expecting nothing in return. It took a while, but in the end, she was changed.
As I finished my story, there wasn't a sound to be heard in the meeting. Power. It was there. Everyone felt it. No one could deny it. My final remark was, "You do not have to be victims. You have been blessed with power. And I don't have to tell that the greatest power there is, is the power of love."
A friend of mine, a talented composer and musician named Lee Ellis, spoke up. "Perhaps I could offer a closing to the meeting. I would like to sing a song and let that be our concluding prayer. Is everyone open to that?"
Music soon filled the air as he sung a song from his new album dedicated to those in recovery from spiritual abuse, those who have been rejected by the very religions who should be embracing them. The name of the song is "Stranger at the Gate." As the words clung to the melodic tones reaching every ear and every heart, new tears came forth.
I am the lost and the forgotten...
I am the only first begotten...
I am the souls you cast aside...
I am the toll at the end of the ride...
Do you know who I am?
Do you know who I am?
I am the Lord of all you see;
I am in you, you are in me.
Can you see who I am?
Do you know who I am?
I am the Stranger at the gate.
These were not the same tears that had been wiped away earlier. No one wiped these tears away for they felt good, they felt right. Lee was a living testimonial to this sacred power that comes attached to every gay man and woman at birth. As the song ended, few, if any felt like a victim. For they were witnessing what the angel wants all of earth to witness: Balance. Peace. Love. The next time I see a banner blazened with "God Hates Fags," I won't even shout like I did last time. Next time, I will simply bless those people. For they are in need of blessing. They have no idea how much harm they do to themselves as well as others, because they cannot love.
G.W. Hardin's new book, On The Wings Of Heaven, can be purchased by calling the toll-free number 1-888-265-2732. A credit card is needed for this trade paperback. Hardin, the author of the national best seller, The Messengers, is committed to bringing important and provocative messages to public awareness. A graduate in mathematics at the University of Washington, Hardin started out as a computer scientist. Having encounters of his own with angelic messengers convinced him to turn his attention to writing and bringing these stories forward. He lives in Boulder, Colorado.
Lee Ellis' new CD about sacred power in gay men and women, Michael, can also be purchased by calling the same toll-free number: 1-888-265-2732.