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Huh? American Man Candy contest

Anybody else out there join some wacky Facebook group in college, and then forget about it?

Well, I did. And, now it’s come back to haunt me.

The “Nice Pieces of American Man Candy Group” (wow, that’s just laughable) is having their 2008 Man Candy of the Year contest. I don’t know who did it, but someone wrote in my name for the finals. Me?! Really.

One part cool. Two parts completely not understanding.

Maybe I should clean out my Facebook groups.

Continue reading this post…

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Passionately Pink for the Cure

qubo, the bilingual children’s television I work for, is participating in Passionately Pink for the Cure, a campaign to raise bothqubo is Passionately Pink for the Cure funds and awareness for breast cancer research. Breast cancer has touched my life in personal ways, affecting close friends and family friends.

You can be Passionately Pink for the Cure by picking a day this month to wear pink and donating as little as $5. You can talk about breast cancer, the campaign to raise money, and just generally make a statement by creating a sea of pink in your school, office, church, or community group. You can be a part of qubo‘s effort to be Passionately Pink for the Cure by visiting our page and joining our team by making a donation of whatever you can afford. And don’t forget to wear pink one day during October! (and if you send me an email I’ll post them here too!)

I was busy preparing for our season-end board meeting and thus am sadly not in this picture:(

Visit http://www.komendonations.org/site/TR/Events/KomenTR?team_id=64791&pg=team&fr_id=1040 right now to get on board!

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I hate airports! I love people!

48 hours, 2 great books (Jesus and Nonviolence by Walter Wink and the Close: A Women’s First Year in Seminary by Chloe something, if you’re wondering), half of a scarf, and a few Crown and Cokes later, I have indeed arrived in Minneapolis…. To arriv

e just in time to make media training to than have eleven minutes to shower my very smelly self to leave for our fundraiser and church send off service to come back to a liberation theology presentation meeting to than come to my room, check my email and write this… sigh!


I love life, and I love busyness (this is a breath of fresh air compared to my semester in Wheaton), and I realized again today how much I love (these) people. Yes, this is an emotional response, because after spending 2 days in the airport, being welcomed so lovingly is always good… and yes of course, there are going to be times where I will say I cannot stand my fellow riders (after days and days on the bus time in the airport

may look pretty good), but nonetheless, today was good.


I wanted to say something profound about my experiences today and the last few days and what they have taught me, but I am way too tired. So instead, I will end here, and let you all gleam your own interpretation of what my days should have been teaching me…


I love you all and miss you all. Pray for me, as these next few days are going to be RIDICULOUSLY draining and busy since our training was cut over a day short.

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Home

I am back in California. It only took a couple hundreds of dollars worth of gasoline and hotel stays, and about 34 hours of driving.
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It is strange

coming home after you have been away. This is really the first year I have done it, as I went to

college about 10 minutes away from my home (and still lived on campus, my parents hated that 🙂 ). But, it is strange. It is as though you have changed and everything else is the same. Granted, everyone changes with time, but you have had these new experiences that your friends cant really understand and have met these new people that your friends dont know. Its sort of like you feel like you are in a time warp. I miss Chicago. Though my time there was short and I did not like the program I was in, I really loved the people, and the city. I am happy to be back home but sad to

be gone. Moving sucks, every time you do it. I wish I could be in two places at once.

So yes, that is my life right now. Only about 2 weeks until Equality Ride… it still does not seem real.

By the way, Happy Belated Birthday Matt. Hope you had fun last night :).

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I Got In to Vanderbilt!!! Ahhh!!!

Just got a phone call today.

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I have officially been accepted into the Masters of Divinity program at Vanderbilt University.

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I am very

very excited.

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They have an amazing gender, sexuality, and ministry concentration.
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More stuff to report on late

r, like stuff that is going on in the world. Just wanted to share my excitement!

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Frustrated Part Two

Due to the insurgence of sequels in the modern movie industry, with all the harry potters, spidermans, lord of the rings, etc… I feel like I have the license to utilize sequels in the “blogosphere”.
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As per my original frustration. Still there.

But I did get a LOT accomplished today. I got almost all packed up, which is such a relief, and now can worry about other stuff! Yet many of my other busyness still remains, and yet another event has added to my frustration. My poor vulnerable emotions…

Our very own Bram and Jarrett were featured in a story on our visits to West Michigan:

GRAND RAPIDS — A busload of gay-rights advocates will come to two West Michigan colleges this spring to speak against what they call “religion-based oppression” of gays.Calvin College and Cornerstone University are among 32 schools slated to be visited by the Soulforce Equality Ride in March and April. Twenty-six gay-rights supporters will come to Cornerstone on April 23and Calvin the following day on a national tour targeting schools they charge have anti-gay policies.

“This is a social justice issue,” said Bram Wispelwey, 22, a student from Virginia who describes himself as”a straight, Christian ally.” He is coordinating the visit to Calvin, where his parents attended.

“We're trying to eliminate the negative effects of homophobia.”

Calvin officials say they will provide an opportunity for the group to talk to students, though details are being worked out. The

Equality Riders also have been invited to a student worship service. “We find this an opportunity to practice the Christian principles about civil dialogue with people with whom you disagree,” said Shirley Hoogstra, vice president for student life at Calvin. “We think our students have something to offer this conversation.”

Cornerstone is taking a harder line. The Soulforce bus will be allowed on campus, but riders will not be allowed into buildings to meet with students, President Rex Rogers said. “I'm not advocating against their civil liberties,” Rogers said. “But it doesn't mean I agree with their moral choice or give them access to our classrooms, our chapels and our students.” Rogers said he does not plan to have riders arrested, as happened at some places on last year's ride, including at Jerry Falwell's Liberty University. But Rogers said Soulforce's advocacy of gay relationships contradicts Cornerstone's policy that any sexual relations outside of heterosexual marriage are sinful. “If a group contacted us and said 'We're a group of Christian thieves and we're going to promote that view,' why would we bring them in?” Rogers said.

The Lynchburg, Virginia-based Soulforce is a national nonprofit opposing oppression of gays and calling for nonviolent resistance to “spiritual violence.” President and cofounder the Rev. Mel White is an author and former ghostwriter for Falwell and Pat Robertson.

This is the group's second Equality Ride, based on the civil rights Freedom Rides of the 1960s. At schoolsincluding Notre Dame, Brigham Young and Baylor, riders will counter the notion that homosexuality is “a sickness and a sin,” a view that forces students “into closets of fear and self-hate,” their Web site says. The tour targets schools that ban enrollment of openly gay and bisexual students. But Calvin's admissions policy bars discrimination based on sexual orientation, a fact tour organizers acknowledge. “While Calvin may not have a policy, we still feel this is an important conversation to be had,” said Jarrett Lucas, tour co-director. Calvin follows Christian Reformed doctrine that homosexual orientation is not sinful but homosexual practice is. However, an openly lesbian Calvin student says Soulforce picked the wrong school.

“If Calvin's on that list, I feel Calvin's been powerfully misconstrued as a college,” said Whitney Nelson, 22, a pre-veterinary student from Caledonia. “I love it here.” Though worried the visit could polarize the campus, Nelson hopes to give the riders another view.”I'd like them to hear what I have to say as a gay Christian,” she said.

Again, let me explain my frustration… the article is not bad, and is pretty objective. And note that I am not criticizing anyone mentioned in the article. I just feel…. misunderstood.

The article appears that we are more confrontative than we are, and I do not think it does justice to the idea of justice and love that lies at the heart of the Equality Ride. The quotes from the girl at the school and the choice of words like “targeting” I think eschew the mission of the Ride. And don't get me wrong, I am not one of those individuals who analyzes and nitpicks over every word for the sake of political correctness (though I greatly respect those who bring to light the effects our words have on the lives of ourselves and others), this just got me thinking.
A while ago, I wrote a blog on my final decision to do Equality Ride when I was approached by some amazing, wise people who questioned my (original) decision, stating problems with the method Soulforce uses.

Having gone to training, and exhanging emails and conversations with my fellow riders, I do not think people 'out there' get it. I'm not trying to make an us and them scenario… but I think I have to recognize that an us and them mentality exists for students, administrators, and others in the communities at these schools.

Again, I am not saying this in a bad way, or passing judgement, I am just observing what I see. I was talking on the phone the other day to a friend who is from an evangelical Christian College (Azusa Pacific University, a stop on the Equality Ride route last year) asking him what he thinks would make a stop effective. He immediately responded, “hear from more straight people, because they break down the us and them barrier”.

It is frustrating to me though. Even as a straight ally, I feel like I am often so misunderstood, and the organization that I stand behind is misrepresented. The fact that there is an “us and them” at all, is saddening to me… why can't we just honor our humanity, something that we all share, and appreciate our differences instead of using them to place ourselves in positions of power.

And is this change even possible? Can this us and them mentality change? God, when is it going to, and how can I best help it get there?

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Frustrated

It has been a long week for me.

writing

I worked a 40 hour week to train someone to take over my easy, pointless job. I spent my breaks on the phone with the vice president of Cedarville, the school who's itenerary I am organizing, figuring out details on

the visit. And if I was not calling the vp, I was calling a local community group in the area to discuss and coordinate a community event, or talking to groups back home trying to organize my send-off service, or getting in contact with two newspapers in the area that heard about equality ride. After work, it took me an hour to two hours to get home in what is normally a 25 minute drive (rush hour sucks!). I would come home only to need to pack up and clean all my stuff (I am moving on Thursday), go to class, do more Soulforce stuff, or check my emails (which average over 50 a day). I would eat late, do more of the same thing, and crash late at night, only to get up at five in the morning the next day to make it to work on time.

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So, I am primed to frustration and a bit vulnerable So when I caught up with this blog and read about the whole Pam Spaulding, “Wick”, Peter LaBarbera debacle , the frustration meter rose…. mostly at Peter LaBarbera.

Now, let me explain. I am a Christian, and with that comes a sort of philosophy towards life and standard for living. Key to that philosophy and standard for living is seeking justice and caring for the poor. Micah 6:8: “and what does the Lord require of you, to do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with God”. Jesus constantly talks of loving your neighbor and of 'turning the other cheek'. A key part of my faith is justice (the equality of all, bringing “the Kingdom of Heaven to earth”) and a key part of my methodology towards that is seeking understanding, having empathy, and responding with non-violent resistance.

So when Peter LaBarbera says

At Americans For Truth, we believe that although our disagreements with pro-homosexual activists are great, we can and should debate the issue of homosexuality with civility, and without resorting to name-calling

One would think I should appreciate how he responds. I don’t. why? Well, while I agree that Wick was out of line in his comments, as a heterosexual, I feel like there should be much more grace shown, as he has indeed been oppressed by our society—and the church. Walter Wink, in his book on Jesus and Nonviolence, suggests that Christians must stick up for the oppressed at whatever cost- cause it is not about them being

in power.

So, when the person in power works so hard to defend their position, I find it irksome. Is this what being a Christian is about? Keeping the oppressed in oppression? Pointing out where they are wrong without looking at how much more wrong we are (looking at the piece of wood in our neighbors eye without noticing the plank in our own?). I guess I am just sick of what people do in the name of God….

Sorry for my rantings. As I said, it has been a long week.

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I'm Back in Action… part 2.

I realize that this was a blog title from not too long ago. I sense a trend. Matt the overachiever, and Brandy the serious slacker. Yes!

But to my defense, my internet has not been working. I have, at most, been able to get on for five minutes be

fore I get disconnected. Improvements are being made and I am borrowing a roommates computer when she is home. I just have to be more strategic about when I am home and what not. Oh, and I have been busy working on graduate school applications. My first

choice is Vanderbilt, from whom I will hear in mid-February, but in order to not put all my eggs in one basket I am also applying to Yale and Duke divinity schools. I do not know if this strategy is useful, as it does not make too much sense to space out your eggs if the other baskets you are putting them in are harder to get into then the original. Oh well, it never hurts to try. And I have an excuse to take a road trip to the east coast (I am visiting Yale this weekend. My roommates are coming with me and we are going to take a side trip to New York city, woo hoo!).

But, indeed, I have returned. Now lets

find something interesting to talk about….

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Wow… what a week. I do not understand how Matt was able to post at all, let alone regularly. Training was exhausting… physically, spiritually, cognitively, emotionally… in every way. I am as sick as a dog now that I am back home and my body was able to rest a little bit. It realized it had a break and took advantage of it… now it is in the

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recuperation mode. All that to say, it was amazing. I miss the other riders already, and it was a very informative and uplifting week.

Earlier today I posted a personal blog on my myspace and I wanted to share it here:

Recently, I began to question involvement in Soulforce's Equality Ride. It was not because of the mission of the organization—for awhile now I have been supportive of equal rights for all, including LGBT people. The issue of contention was the tactics that the organization uses to incite change.

Basically, a wise and brilliant individual that I deeply respect approached me with concerns. He was concerned with my involvement due to the complexities of institutional change and his theology of Christ as suffering servant, amongst a few other reasons.

And shoot, he got me thinking. I thought a lot about my decision to do Equality Ride before, but apparently not enough. The mind stresses me out some times (many times) as it seems like there is ALWAYS more reasoning that can be applied. And such was a case where it had. Trust me, and Joanie can attest to this, I was having a mental breakdown on the couch….stress!!!!!!

So I came to this Soulforce training very confused, and kind of thinking that I would quit. But life is certaintly not that simple… I struggled with the decision all week, going back and forth in my mind probably every 8 minutes or so. Frustrating as hell.

Than yesterday happened. What made this day special was two-fold. First, I was able to finally hash out my thoughts with someone who was informed in theology, willing to put up with me, and willing to chat (thanks Jarrett!). And I will not bother you with the content of that long conversation (but please feel free to ask!). But what really sealed the deal was last night's fundraiser. I could not believe the support that was there for Soulforce. The organization and especially its tactics are supported by individuals like Jim Lawson & Rodney Powell(original Freedom Rider's and buddies of MLK Jr.) and Arun Gandhi (THE Gandhi's grandson!). These courageous civil rights heroes (or descendants of) see LGBT rights as an extension of the movement (As Mahatma said: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”), and recognize the power of non-violent resistance in bringing about change.

I was reminded of the quote Matt put up on this site about a week ago. I want to include it again, just because it was so powerful in my decision making process…

“I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.”

So, I guess I'm in… No, I know that I am in. Its going to be a wild ride! (I mean that metaphorically, but

it also applies very literally).

Oh, and as a whole, training was unbelievable. What a week. It is impossible to explain. Spiritual. Beautiful. A-maz-ing. Those are the words that come to mind.

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So the news on the Thomasville City Council’s approval of an anti-gay marriage resolution has hit the Associated Press. News is circulating around the state and even as far as Norfolk, VA, and Myrtle Beach, SC.

Here are two more articles:

Fox Carolina

News 14 Carolina

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Of course… leave it to the AP (and The Winston-Salem Journal as well) to leave out any mention of the NC Advocacy Coalition, the group largely responsible for bringing people to the meeting to speak against the measure. Kind of upsetting that the Reverend Ron Baity gets mentioned and gets an official opinion across through the media but the other side doesn’t get the chance to insert any official opinion or positions. Seems a little biased to me.

It seems as though the AP article was based loosely on the article from The Winston-Salem Journal, which included quotes from EqualityNC executive director Ian Palmquist. Don’t get me wrong, I love (brotherly! lol) Ian and EqualityNC and I work with them… It just kind of irks me that the one group (NC Advocacy) which took action on the ground level was ignored by both the Journal and the AP.

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