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Reflections in the Silver Cup

TEEC NOS POS CHRISTMASES

The memories I’m about to share are most likely from two or three Christmases—from when I was about six through eight. Sixty years later, they seem to have rolled themselves into one very full Christmas.

When I was six, I attended the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) school on the hill above the mission at Teec Nos Pos. That was where I learned the Christmas song “Up on the Rooftop” with my Navajo classmates. I learned it in Dummitawry English, and that’s still how I sing it to myself around the house these days. “Gib en a dolly dat laffin’ an’ cryin’, One dat openin’ and closin’ his eye.” And so on. My mother tried to correct me when I came home singing it, but her corrections, as with so many attempts to correct my Nava-glish, just sounded wrong. And I was stubborn. After all, I’d learned it in school. Read More 
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Monica Friedman: The Glove That Covers the Hand of God

During the renovation of my website, it was necessary to take down the interviews that had previously been posted under "Inner Journeys." I've intended to repost some or all of them at different points, but it was helpful to Monica to repost hers now rather than later. If you haven't had a chance to read it, do, as it's both thought-provoking and profound.

I met Monica Friedman a little over ten years ago after I decided at age 56 to leave New Mexico for the MFA program in creative writing at Western Michigan University (WMU) in Kalamazoo. My advisor had hooked me up with Monica’s best friend Sarah, so I could talk to potential fellow grad students about the program and get some help looking for housing. Actually Monica was graduating that spring and planning to move to Tucson, so, although I felt an immediate connection, I didn’t think we’d have much opportunity to develop a friendship.

As it happened,  Read More 
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DOUG HOUCK: A MAN WITH AN "EX-GAY" PAST

Doug after the Seattle to Portland Bike Classic--204 miles in 2 days--part of his new abundant life!
I met Doug Houck this fall through a mutual friend online, when he started reading The Silver Cup in its serialized form. Perhaps because we both grew up gay in the Christian Reformed Church (CRC), which means we have a huge common background, he became one of my most devoted readers, frequently offering comments. The more he shared of his own story, the more I knew I wanted to interview him, so a couple of weeks ago, we had a two-hour phone conversation and then some follow-ups by e-mail.

My first question for Doug was, “How did you experience your faith as a child?”

“I took my faith pretty seriously, but I believe that everybody I knew was doing the same thing. We were all going to church twice on Sunday. I went to Sunday school, Calvinist Cadets, and Young People’s Society. I became a leader in those groups, won an award in Cadets, was the president of Young People’s Society, and I went to El Paso on SWIM [Summer Workshop in Missions] in 1973. I would talk to my Catholic neighbors and tell them they were going to hell because they were Roman Catholic and not CRC. Naiveté.”

He laughed and went on to catalog Read More 
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SAFETY FIRST

Image from Morgue File
I can’t tell you how often I’ve heard people say that they don’t talk about religion or politics with family members. Even though most of us probably spent eighteen years or more living with the people in our immediate families, it seems we often end up with differing views, sometimes very strongly held, in these two areas of our lives. In Chapter Twenty-three of The Silver Cup, “Preparing the Lab,” I wrote about wanting, after many years of avoidance, to share my spirituality with my family. In our case, our spiritual lives were how we had once done intimacy. My avoidance had meant Read More 
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