It doesn’t end here


After last week “Sex and the City” looks so friggin’ dated.

“Sex and the City” “Boy Interrupted” episode

But as they say about romance, the wedding at the end of the movie is really the beginning. So shall it be with the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges to legally recognize ALL marriages in ALL 50 United States. Same sex couples can apply and have a marriage license issued and authorized by state municipal courts. Religious institutions can choose to perform or not perform marriage ceremonies (separation of church and state). [The Episcopal Church has authorized their clergy to perform all marriages with the option to refuse to perform same-sex marriages. The compromise]

Regardless, the SCOTUS decision is historic, earth shattering on both sides of the aisle. A victory for couples who have loved and devoted their lives to each other over the past 40 years in the fight to be legally and socially recognized as married.

So…what does marriage mean now? The Supreme Court decision has given everyone pause. As the court debated “traditional marriage,” I could only ask myself “Which tradition are you referencing?”

In the tradition women have been part of the marriage bargaining chip – a wife in exchange for livestock (see trailer for “I Was Sold for 50 Sheep“), cash, cars, peace between nations, or to become a new addition to the collection. Romance could entice women (mostly) to cross that threshold and into childbirth, a life-threatening endeavor. But the bargain included producing an heir preferably male. So romance can’t always sustain the checks and balances required. Religion was a way of making marriage a loftier pursuit than checks and balances. However, no one can deny that marriage, past and present, doesn’t have its bottom line.

The decision is a great opportunity to put marriage into contemporary context: “a mutually consensual contractual partnership often initiated by an emotional attachment (my definition) and recognized culturally, publicly, socially, and legally.” And a serious look at the checks and balances.

NOW: Gay veterans can get benefits from their military spouses.

PERHAPS: For couples who co-habit but aren’t legally married, the decision shifts the status of domestic partnership benefits. Companies may require a marriage license to receive benefits like healthcare. Also remember co-habitating couples don’t have automatic visitation rights in hospitals etc., and can’t legally make decisions for their partner if they are unable to independently make life decisions for him/her self. Marriage required?

NOW: ALL married couples can file taxes jointly – state and federal. This may not be a win financially. Best check with an accountant.

More financial outcomes of the decision were included in this Washington Post article: “5 Money Questions Gay Couples Need to Ask After the Supreme Court Ruling”. And the decision has not eliminated discrimination in the workplace for LGBTQ singles and couples.

But this isn’t about bringing the party down. For the moment let’s go with what everyone says at the end of the movie – #lovewins.

Hymn for Mother Emanuel

Does Jesus care when my heart is pained
Too deeply for mirth or song,
  As the burdens press,
  And the cares distress,
And the way grows weary and long?
O yes, He cares, I know He cares,
His heart is touched with my grief;
  When the days are weary,
  The long night dreary,
  I know my Savior cares.
Does Jesus care when my way is dark
With a nameless dread and fear?
  As the daylight fades
  Into deep night shades,
Does He care enough to be near?
Does Jesus care when I’ve tried and failed
To resist some temptation strong;
  When for my deep grief
  There is no relief,
Though my tears flow all the night long?
Does Jesus care when I’ve said “goodbye”
To the dearest on earth to me,
  And my sad heart aches
  Till it nearly breaks,
Is it aught to Him? Does He see?

St. Paul AME Church in Washington, DC in the 1950s. Rev. George R Reid center. The church was founded by Anthony Bowen who also founded an evening school for escaped slaves and the first "colored" YMCA.

St. Paul AME Church in Washington, DC in the 1950s. The church was founded by Anthony Bowen who also founded an evening school for escaped slaves and the first “colored” YMCA.

I spent my childhood and teen years in the African American Episcopal Church. At one time my mother sang in the choir of the family church. When I say family, that means we were literally related to members of the church. I often played from the AME hymnal on our home piano — just because the music was beautiful…and comforting. These songs are rarely heard today. “Does Jesus Care” keeps playing in my head when thinking about the horrific murders of the nine members including clergy at the historic Mother Emanuel African American Episcopal Church in Charleston, SC Wednesday evening during their weekly Bible study. The honor of “Mother” seems to be assigned to AME congregations that established and built churches during times in America’s slavery history, when for African Americans to give birth to a religious community was in itself an act of rebellion and resistance. Services were held in Emanuel AME today, Father’s Day, the Sunday after the murders. A day of grieving for fathers of children, the sons and daughters of fathers. Mothers and fathers grieve.

“Does Jesus Care” appears in both the AME and Methodist hymnals, as well as the African American Heritage Hymnal. If you know the history of the AME church, you pretty much know most of the history of race and racism in the United States. “Does Jesus Care?” has been a hymn of comfort in times of pain for all believers as it was for Frank E. Graeff (1860-1919), a Pennsylvania Methodist minister, who composed the lyrics following the death of his youngest sister — the 3rd death of a sibling, following the deaths of his parents. I find the best hymns are the ones that question. “Does Jesus Care” is inspired by a verse 1 Peter 5:7 in the New Testament of the Bible: Cast your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.

Source: CNN

Thinking of Cynthia Hurd, Rev. Clementa Pinckney, Rev. Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, Tywanza Sanders, Ethel Lance, Rev. DePayne Middleton-Doctor, Susie Jackson, Rev. Daniel Simmons, Myra Thompson, your families, friends, neighbors, church family, and the city of Charleston.

Back on the block with Ellington “Jass” June 28

Sometimes the best gift for the Father who doesn’t want or need things is the gift of your time, an experience, a walk and sharing stories about your favorite music.

Duke Ellington's granddaughter, Gaye Ellington, made this portrait of her grandfather. She painted it in order to create a memorial that preserved her sense of the creative and loving legacy her grandfather had left her. Courtesy of Smithsonian Jazz

Duke Ellington’s granddaughter, Gaye Ellington, made this portrait of her grandfather. She painted it in order to create a memorial that preserved her sense of the creative and loving legacy her grandfather had left her.

Give your favorite dad the gift of story and make a memory. "Ellington, Shaw & U" "jass" walking tour, Sunday, June 28….

Posted by Michon Boston on Sunday, June 21, 2015

Be More…

I spend more time on social media than on this blog. I could be more consistent here as I am there. So here are a few of my thoughts and notices re recent events from Freddie Gray’s death, to the marches, and the riots in West Baltimore as shared on social media. [Edits as needed]

April 29, 2015
The mixed blessing in Baltimore is no shots were fired.

People set up community activities yesterday. Schools were closed. The libraries were open. Performers took to the streets. Community organizers moved as many people possible at 9 PM to meet the curfew. There was a little scuttle and tear gas at 10:30, but not what we saw Monday.

All that to say Baltimore has always had a certain “can do” spirit. It’s just been beaten out of them due to extreme poverty, neglect, and systematic racism. Add drugs. “The Wire” was the warning shot sent by the series’s creators to show the impact of all this on urban communities. Unfortunately it wasn’t received in a way that made leadership pro-active. “The Wire” became just another entertaining gritty HBO series. Some people will argue that it hurt the city — as you can see it is always referenced when you say “Baltimore”.

But I believe the true B’more spirit will prevail. And they need help.

Screen Shot 2015-04-30 at 2.17.46 PM

April 28, 2015

Quote of the Day: “If our society really wanted to solve the problem, we could, but it requires everybody saying this is important … and that we don’t just pay attention to these communities when a CVS burns. And we don’t just pay attention when a young man gets shot or has his spine snapped.” President Barack Obama

…which I believe connects in some way with what was discussed during this interview with David Simon by the President in March:

This one went viral:
Certainly We Can Be More Better than we’ve been!

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