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Freedom, Glorious Freedom: The Spiritual Journey to the Fullness of Life for Gays, Lesbians, and Everybody Else (Inglese) Copertina flessibile – 1 dic 2009

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  • Copertina flessibile: 329 pagine
  • Editore: Lethe Pr; Reprint edizione (1 dicembre 2009)
  • Lingua: Inglese
  • ISBN-10: 1590211480
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590211489
  • Peso di spedizione: 476 g
  • Media recensioni: 5.0 su 5 stelle  Visualizza tutte le recensioni (1 recensione cliente)
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4 di 6 persone hanno trovato utile la seguente recensione
5.0 su 5 stelle Literally life-saving 11 maggio 2013
Di Mr. D. P. Jay - Pubblicato su
Formato: Copertina flessibile
John McNeill was one of the first Roman Catholics to write a systematic book on gay issues. He has helped many thousands. His life contains many lessons.

What is our view of God? Is he our lover? Or is he someone to be afraid of?

When John was still in his playpen, his mother died giving birth to the next child. He felt as if God and the whole universe were hostile.

His father was distant. He thinks that he had an intense longing for intimacy with God and that this explains his longing for male intimacy
denied him by his father, sought after in gay encounters. He cottaged in Paris after he was ordained. Looking back, instead of condemning this as sinful, he saw this as something good - a desire for intimacy, ultimately a desire for God but also a desire for other people because most of us get God's love through the love of other people.

Cottaging is part of the thirst for God, a basically healthy yearning because of the oppression from straight society there is often nowhere else to go to find love, so people settle for sex and such brief encounters can have something of the divine about them.

Too many gays are ashamed of their desires, ashamed of their behaviour. Label cottaging 'sinful' and the church can stop facing up to its own sin and the gay person can avoid looking at areas of life which ARE sins.

He feared that God was remote, like his father. The one jolly person in his early life was his stepmother, Katie. She played the fiddle in celidhs. Yet the church frowned on that sort of fun. The church thought dances were an occasion for sin. The Passionists were famous for their fire and brimstone sermons; their passion was not about God as loving passion but God as passionately angry towards sinners. During a parish mission a Passionist preacher declared: 'May the arm wither on the ones who play the music for a celidh'

John was so frightened of the nuns who were his school teachers that he was scared ask permission to go to the loo when he had a bout of diarrhoea and did it in his pants instead. The nun taking the class made a public spectacle of him.

The school bully stuck pins in his behind when they were supposed to be marching in line. He was caned for being out of line.

Still today, John is incredibly nervous every time he has to preach or make a speech. John loves one of the Advent collects which reads: 'Lord! Remove the blindness that cannot know you. Relieve the fear that hides me from your face'

One nearly every page of the bible are the words: 'Do not be afraid.' Are you afraid of God? Don't be.

One of John's books is called 'Taking a Chance on God'. The Italian title translates it as 'Placing a bet on God.' Christians are called to make a leap of faith, faith that God isn't someone to fear, faith that the religious establishment is wrong. Faith to stop being a goody-goodie and trust God as love. Jesus said, 'Perfect love casts out fear'

The opposite is also true. 'Perfect fear casts out love.' Pagans often worshipped their gods out of fear. The Carthaginians in Jesus's time worshipped Baal. Baal demanded that every married couple throw their firstborn child into the fire. If they didn't, Baal threatened famine, earthquake, plagues and wars. Archaeologists have uncovered a lot of tiny urns in Carthage. They contain the ashes of sacrificed infants.
McNeille cites televangelists who preach a Christian Baal and base worship on fear.

Gays and lesbians have to sacrifice any hope of sexual love and intimacy to this Christian Baal. What is God like? Is he some celestial king who wants all his subjects to conform? John sees God as trinity, diversity, a God who created straights, gays and all sorts. We are made in God's image. only all our different types can truly image God. So we should value ourselves, not beat ourself up for being different. It is that very difference which is our God-given contribution.

In his ground-breaking book 'The Church and the Homosexual', John wrote that every family is blessed that has a gay son or lesbian daughter. They are the ones who usually care for their parents in their old age. One reviewer of John's work said that it would be useful to straights as well as gays. Gays are the oil that keeps the whole machine running smoothly. If there were no gay people, the human community would be in serious jeopardy. Gays were to help human society develop towards greater humanness

So glory in your being different from others. It is your particular gift to the rest of the human race. The one bit of joy in his childhood was listening to Beethoven. His dad thought classical music was cissy-ish so he listened with headphones sitting in the cupboard under the stairs.

Much later he was a prisoner of war. He faced up to fear in Berlin where he had to clear our dead bodies from bombing raids. While English planes dropped bombs, loud speakers played Beethoven to keep up morale.

Books were also a cissy thing to his dad. John would read in torchlight into the early hours. This was to stand him in good stead later on when the catholic authorities accused him of all sorts and he had to work hard on a defence from arcane books.

The Jesuit students who fought in the Spanish civil war went to mass every morning before combat. They prayed for the souls of those they would kill that day. ohn was seen as a troublemaker from early on. He was called up in World War Two when he was seventeen. The new soldiers were shown films to indoctrinate them. An officer said, 'Unless you learn to hate the enemy, you cannot make a good soldier.'

When he asked if there were any questions, John told him that as a catholic and a Christian he could not hate an enemy. Jesus told us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us.

Saints aren't stained glass, insipid types. They are flesh and blood like us. John shares a lot in common with St. Paul. Do you remember where Paul gives a sermon at Ephesus and the crowds riot and Paul has to be smuggled out of the city? John gave an anti-Vietnam war address in Utica, New York on the immorality of war and of the need for Christ's followers to be conscientious objectors. A riot broke out. The police smuggled him out of town.

Like St. Paul, John had a vocation which took him to places he never expected to go. A clever Jesuit, he could expect to get to the top of his order. Instead, he was thrown out. He sees his ministry as being amongst those the church despises: lesbians and gay men.

One of the Lent collects he likes goes: 'Help us to embrace the world you have given us, that we may transform the darkness of its pain into the life and joy of Easter'

The world you have given us. May we transform it. The church sometimes says that celibacy of the cross gays have to bear. Might it not be that being gay a gift from God? The cross to bear is NOT gayness itself but the way the authorities persecute us.

The Vatican kept a dossier on John. It was well over a foot thick. They silenced John for nine years. He calls it his Via Dolorosa, his way of the cross. Just like they persecuted Christ.

Being gay as a vocation with something to teach the rest of the church, the rest of society. John believes gay people are able to reach a wholeness often denied to straight people, to be in touch with both the masculine and the feminine sides of our personalities, to show the world a love based on mutuality and equality, no longer based on domination and control.

John stuck his neck over the parapet for the first time on one issue that is still with us. A catholic moral theologian produced a paper on homosexuality, stuffed full of quotes from learned sources but nowhere was there anything from the point of view of a gay person. John was fed up with THEM writing about us. We can speak for ourselves.

The church should listen to lesbians and gay men. The Vatican II document 'The Church in the Modern World' said that laymen should know that pastors don't have the answers to everything. 'Let the layman take his own distinctive role' The layman is the expert in his particular field. Pastors should listen to laymen on their particular territory.

But the Vatican went back on that. When the US bishops consulted all sorts of experts about nuclear weapons, Rome said the bishops misunderstood. Their task was to teach, not to listen

Listen to your heart, not just the church. Jesuits call this 'discernment of spirits'. When the Vatican issued its infamous statement which said that gays were 'intrinsically disordered', John said that his experience, and the experience of many of us, is the exact opposite. Far from being expressions of disorder, it is THROUGH our relationships that we find healing and grow to maturity.

He is highly critical of ex-gay movements, which many churches endorse as the true Christian pastoral care for gays. They say gays are immoral but isn't electric shock therapy immoral torture? Isn't it immoral to send gay men to skilled prostitutes for therapy? Like some faith-healers they hold out the hope of a 'cure'.

If a person doesn't turn straight, more guilt is heaped on them. Perhaps it's their fault they don't have enough faith. John says Christianity is about being loved and accepted by God, not about screwing up courage to deny your REAL self and become someone else.

When Jesus told us to deny ourselves, he was talking about our false selves, the sort of self-image we have from a sinful society, a self that has to get on, make money, have families and do all those things which a pagan society values, a prideful self that will not acknowledge dependence on others. That's very different from the self-denial many churches teach, where they tell us to stop acting gay. We need to find our true selves before we can give up our false selves.

In the end, Christians are called to imitate Christ. Christ had a low reputation. So does John. Pope JP2 no longer consulted the Jesuits They are suspect. He turned to the highly conservative Opus Dei.

The Jesuits published a list of their own members who have been censured by the Vatican. John's name doesn't even appear on that list. It's like they don't want to admit he was ever one of them. How very Jesuit! The founder of the Jesuits said that real followers of Jesus choose poverty, opprobrium rather than honours, are rated worthless, as fools for Christ so ministry to outsiders like gays is a very Jesuit thing, enshrined in what their 32nd General Congregation proclaimed as their special mission. Even Dignity, the US Roman Catholic gay group dropped John when the Vatican silenced him. As the psalmist said, 'It is not an open enemy that has done this but my own familiar friend.'

Think carefully before leaving the church. He was invited to become a pastor in the MCC. After much soul-searching he decided to stay in the Roman Catholic Church. He has unique and expert experience in that church so it is there he feels God calls him to stay, whatever the cost.

Maybe we need to love the Church however much it doesn't deserve it. John wrote: 'We should all be grateful to God for creating a humanly fallible church. We are intensely aware that, if our parents had been infallible, we could never have grown up and matured to become responsible adults. We would spend all our lives saying, Yes mother, yes father". We would never be able to develop our capacity for independent judgement and, consequently, never feel personally responsible for our actions.....when (we) discover that we cannot follow the fallible teachings of our religious authorities without destroying ourselves, then we are forced to search out what God is saying to us through our experience and take personal responsibility for the choices we make. I believe that the Holy Spirit is using the fallibility of our religious authorities to guide the entire Christian community into a new level of maturity and responsibility necessary for the spiritual growth of the human community in today's world.'

He says that gay Christians should stop being either uncritical lovers of the church or unloving critics. We should be critical lovers of it, loving critics.

But outsiders see his worth. Some Jesuits and fellow psychotherapists wrote in support of him when he was silenced. They pointed out that the church has lost credibility with most people. John is an ideal missionary, one who gives the church a GOOD name. How can the church preach justice in secular affairs when it behaves like some secret Gestapo itself? Why doesn't the church silence those who minister to juntas, generals, arms traders, crime syndicates, shady politicians and bankers, millionaire oppressors of the poor?

The president of John's psychotherapy group wrote: ' John is one of the finest Christian men that I know. I know in my work many ministers, priests and rabbis and there are few that I know that can so articulate the faith in a tone that really reaches out to people as John can.'

One catholic reviewer said of John, 'I predict he will be labelled the contemporary equivalent of doctor of the Church.... He did for Catholicism what Stonewall did for the world.

Some quotations:

`Another factor that has deeply influenced our image of God has been the teaching of the Council of Trent in the areas of sin and confession. Trent reinforced the notion of a heavenly calculus, by which the gravity of sins was measured precisely, and punishment administered automatically. In the 1950s most Catholic schoolchildren would, by way of illustration of divine justice, have been presented with the paradox of the man who lived a blameless life, but late in life committed a sexual sin. The next day he was killed in a car crash. There was no doubt about his eternal fate. He would have gone straight to hell, as sexual sins were always `mortal' sins, with no exceptions. In this presentation of sin there was no discussion of what view God might take of the man's misfortune. Indeed the impression was given that God was powerless in the situation, bound by rules which may have been ultimately his, but which had now been tidied up and fastened down by his earthly delegates. God was depicted in the same way as a human judge who, in the case of particular crimes, has no option but to pronounce the death penalty or other determinate penalty.

In the heyday of `fixed penalty' offences, there were some priests who held out some hope of a more flexible approach by God. During retreats little anecdotes were told about God's mercy and the power of grace. But in general, it was suggested that the only hope lay in some type of `death-bed' repentance, where the sinner managed to summon up the contrition necessary to strike out the offence. Again, it was not really up to God. The responsibility was the sinner's.
`There can be little doubt that this kind of theology deeply influenced the popular image of God. At worst God was reduced to the level of a robot, applying sanctions with the cold impersonality and rationality of a traffic warden writing a parking ticket. It reinforced the `scientific' notion of a God without personality and with only a passive role in a universe governed by moral as well as scientific laws.' Bill Toner
God, our Father, we have been taught that you are a God of power and of might; a God of vengeance; a God of just punishment; a God who remembers all our sins; a God who judges Because of what we have been taught, it has been difficult to believe that you are the God who is love, compassion, and tenderness.

Be with us now as a Loving Father. Recognise our anger, which has resulted from having been prevented from knowing you as a good Father who has our interest at heart, who supports and nurtures us, who provides us with the very best of all that is possible. Reveal yourself to us as a Father who attentively listens, who delights in his children, who supports us with warmth and strength.

Help us grow beyond the deformative ways you have been shown to us as a Father to find that you are a sure hope and a model for us as we claim our masculinity and femininity, intimately explore our love and sexuality, relate to other men and women, share with our own fathers, and care for our children.

Let us know that you patiently wait for us to return to your home, as did the loving father of the prodigal son. And we await all the ways you return to our lives, today and every day.

'Lord! Remove the blindness that cannot know you. Relieve the fear that hides me from your face1' Grant this through Christ our Lord.

Glory in difference

God is present among us, in our bodies breathing together, in our hearts beating, in our music playing, in our fire burning, in the water flowing, in the stars at midnight, in our brother's courage, in our lives embracing. God is present among us.

Courageous One, you have loved us since you breathed life into us. Hear our voices this day as we cry unto you. As members of a sexual minority, we are denied the very life you gave us.

We hunger, we thirst, we struggle for life. Hear our cry unto you: for here on earth, we are not heard. You created us in your image, but we are treated as less than the dust from which we are made. You call us to serve, but our service is rejected and denied.

Bless us, Liberator of our Souls; let us not become hardened, let us not become cold, let us not become bitter or cynical. Keep our hearts soft and pliant, able to nurture and love with compassion and hope. Keep us in your image that we may be lifegivers even in the midst of death; that we may be lovers where there is no love; that we may be creators of new dreams where there is no vision. All this we ask that your spirit might fill us and your love be made known through us.

We lesbians and gay men are rejected because people are so quick to believe false images, or so bound to see what they want to see that they can't face the truths in front of their eyes.

We look around at your beautiful creation, so filled with diversity and complexity. Yet everything has a place and a purpose.

We ourselves. each one of us, in our uniqueness, are part of a whole, a part to be valued, accepted, and affirmed.

Holy Truth, teach us to see the goodness of ourselves. Erase all prejudice, granting wisdom to those who are afraid. Give the human family open minds, open hearts, eyes of wonder, and a will attuned to justice.

Weaver of Souls, out of the expanding energy of creation you have spun each of us into a unique, colourful strand with our own special hue and texture. You have woven us together into a single family that blankets the globe. We admit that we have rent the fabric of your design. We have allowed ourselves to be bound by the narrow contexts of race, age, sex, and ideology. Open our hearts that we may once again celebrate the wonder of the human fabric and dignity of all.

Our gay and gracious God, where shall we find your gay and lesbian saints? Have they all been lost to us? Bring us Saint Perpetua and Saint Felicitas, martyred women whose love and faith sustained generations of Christian hope. Bring us Saint Sergio and Saint Bacchus, whose fidelity and endurance inspired centuries of gay lovers. Bring us Saint Anselm, Saint Aelred, Saint Paulinus, and all who revealed lesbian and gay love and courage to the church and the world so long ago.

Compassionate Spirit of God, unite us with the lives and visions of lesbian and gay heroes of our time. Unite us with all the souls living and dead, especially those souls taken by violence and AIDS. Unite us with all who boldly pioneered a way of pride and justice.

For all your silent, invisible, tireless workers in our church, in homes throughout the world, everywhere your Spirit has gathered gay and lesbian people together, our prayers of thanksgiving and safety rise before you, that your saving, liberating Word may whisper to the heart of every person and that every soul may be freed from the hateful curse of oppression.

Who are these lesbian and gay saints whom God loves and liberates? Where shall we find them?

Bless us, all your saints, God of our birth. As we gather in your holy presence, unite us in all our glorious diversity to work your will in all the world; through Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

God of grace and passion, we praise you for your love deep in our hearts. Bring into this assembly the presence of all your lesbian and gay children of every time and place, that we may draw strength and courage from your mighty works in them.

How wonderful are your ways, 0 lesbian God; how thrilling the wonders of your creation, for you have endowed your gay and lesbian saints of all times with these gifts of your grace: love, to love each other; endurance, to live that love despite all oppression; courage, to bear your love into the world; hope, to envision a better world, the new creation you have promised through the prophets and the scriptures; faith, to trust in your power to save; forgiveness, to renew our spirits and uphold us when we succumb to sin and our oppression.

James Baldwin was a child preacher in Harlem in the 1930s. He came to understand, however, that his way to follow the light and to fulfil his own obligations of faith was to leave his church. A black, gay man, Baldwin's journey became instead to find the complex truth of people, his people, black people, gay people all people. He believed that the current regime of Christianity distorted the significance and worth in the equality of all people, and had contributed, even, to racism and division among people. It became his work to find the proper words to correctly name his people, who had been so oppressed, as a way to heal his people, both in anger and in love, and, equally universally, to articulate relations of justice among all people. Is this not a faithful search for God? Do we not have, as gay and lesbian people, the same task for ourselves?

If there is to be a justification for church continuing, an integrity to our gathering and redemption for our tradition, then we must make it so, fully alive and committed in mind, body, heart, and soul. Let us renew our commitment

Dear God, we seek your Word embodied in life rooted in fertile darkness. In life stretching for illumination, we await your transforming Word.

God calls us, amid our anger and frustration, to celebrate the ministry of all people, especially lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered people, and to recommit ourselves to the church's struggle for justice love, inclusiveness, and more light. Some of us gather in parts of the world that protect the civil rights of all citizens regardless of sexual orientation.

Some of us gather in places that do not have laws forbidding violence, harassment, and discrimination toward lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered individuals, couples, and their families.

Some of us gather in congregations that publicly welcome all persons who profess faith in Jesus Christ, renounce evil and affirm reliance on God's grace, and intend to participate actively and responsibly in the worship and mission of the church.
18 di 18 persone hanno trovato utile la seguente recensione
5.0 su 5 stelle Gift of a faith-filled servant of God. 14 marzo 2001
Di Un cliente - Pubblicato su
This is an enlightening book and a gift to gay and non-gay people of good will. I found "Freedom, Glorious Freedom" to be both healing and a celebration of the love of God for all people. McNeill's scholarship, love of God and gift as teacher are as clearly present here as in his previous two books. I found Part 4 ("The Gay Love of God And God's Love Of Gays") most helpful in its eye-opening understandings of the New Testament. I doubt any reader could follow McNeill's explications in this section without forever seeing the New Testament in a new and more loving light - the love that Jesus not only preached but lived.
23 di 25 persone hanno trovato utile la seguente recensione
5.0 su 5 stelle Pro Gay and Pro Christian!!! 8 gennaio 1999
Di Un cliente - Pubblicato su
Formato: Copertina rigida
I am a gay, ordained minister of the gospels. This book is superbly written and researched. A must for me on coming out, and a must for anyone who ministers to the gay community. God bless this author for taking this chance in his life.