“My Goal Is To Treat People Like My Golden Retriever Treats Them”

marsha tegard golf

Yesterday I was on the golf range at Raintree Country Club with Rev. Marsha Tegard. I’ve become Marsha’s golf instructor. Pray for Marsha.

Marsha and her wife, Andrea, started attending Wedgewood Church six months ago.

marsha 1

Last Sunday Marsha rang our Tibetan Tinghsa Bells as people shared their celebrations and prayer concerns. Marsha, who is transgender, got to ring the bells for herself. Rev. Marsha announced to the church her new name was now official and legal. We all cheered.

But back to the golf story. I hope you aren’t one of those people who hate golf stories because this is a good one, and it’s not really mostly about golf. It’s about how people are to feel about other people, how people are supposed to love other people, how people are to treat other people.

When we got to the golf range, a man came up to Marsha and said hello. Marsha was thrilled. Marsha works as a nurse assistant at a hospital and the man had been on Marsha’s floor with his Golden Retriever which has been certified as a therapy dog. What a great ministry! Anyway, the man was aware of Marsha being transgender and she was thrilled that he treated her just like any other person not only at the hospital but at the golf range. When Marsha commented on his extravagant welcome of her, he said, “Well, I told my pastor that my goal is to treat every person like my golden retriever treats them.”

golden retrierver

Wow! That’s it, isn’t it! If all people would just treat other people like a Golden Retriever treats people.

I got the impression the person doing the golden retriever therapy dog ministry was a conservative Christian. Just a guess.

It’s slow work, folks. And some people may be beyond hope. But more and more people are treating LGBT people like Golden Retrievers treat all people. And, even better, they are discovering LGBT people are some of the most wonderful people in the world and are forming loving, long term relationships with them. Thanks be to God!

One More Hurt For My Trans Friend


There they were, in a line, a long line, lined up waiting to be anointed with oil by the first Roman Catholic transgender priest (who wishes to remain anonymous/not named on Facebook/internet). A line of broken individuals, broken by life and health and circumstances and other people, seeking healing of mind, body and spirit. Nothing magical. Wedgewood is after all a liberal church which encourages a thinking/questioning faith. Nothing magical, but still the ritual of anointing with oil for at least enough healing of whatever to be empowered for that day and the days ahead.

anointing with oil oil

She looks into their eyes with a gleam in her eyes. She smiles. She says their name. She takes the oil, oil produced by women in a ministry in Tennessee for recovering prostitutes and addicts, and makes the sign of a cross on their forehead. First this person. Then that person. Than another and another and another and another until she gets to me. I’m last in line, the broken pastor.

Then I take the oil and make the sign of the cross on her forehead, and this time – it’s the first time I’ve said this – this time I say “for the healing of all those who have hurt you.” She blinks, and looks at me oddly.

Four days later we meet for our weekly fun Mexican lunch. After we order our usual orders she asks, “Why did you say what you said when you anointed me?”

“What did I say?”

I honestly can’t remember.  I can’t remember yesterday.

You said, “for the healing of all those who have hurt me.”

“I don’t know. Maybe God and the Spirit informed what I said.”

True story.

The previous Friday my friend was going to a Taize worship service at Wedgewood, a service that provides so much peace for a person who has experienced her car being bombed, being shot at, dead animals sent to her in the mail, along with a million insults. Before the service she stops at Dragon House Chinese Buffet near the intersection of Woodlawn and South Boulevard in Charlotte, North Carolina. Charlotte is the city that recently passed a law allowing transgender people to choose public bathrooms that correspond to their gender identity. North Carolina’s Governor, Pat McCroy, responded by signing HB2, a law, which among other harmful things, prevents transgender people from using bathrooms other than those which correspond to their gender on their birth certificate.

dragon house

Upon finishing her meal, my trans friend was greeted by the host of Dragon House Chinese Buffet, a young, white male in his 20s. “I know you are one of those people. You know if you use the bathroom you are going to have to use the men’s room.” And then he walked off.

Car bombed. Shot at. Dead animals sent in the mail. One more hurt added to the pile of all the other hurts.

“Why did you say what you said when you anointed me?”

“I don’t know. Maybe God and the Spirit informed what I said.”

“May God heal those who have hurt you.”



I Love Vagina

penis in vagina

Tina and Sarah, two gay women, were on a trip to Texas with Tina’s elderly mother. As fate would have it, they pulled up behind a car with two lesbians in it. The bumper sticker on the car read “I Love Vagina,” which sent Tina and Sarah into non-stop laughter.

i love vagina bumper sticker

During the midst of the guffawing, Tina’s 88 year-old mother wanted to know what all the hooting and howling was about. Tina has never come out of the closet with her mother. Tina figures her mother is so old why bother saying anything this late in her mother’s life. Her mother, though, insists on knowing what all the commotion is about. Tina explains, “Well, Mom, there are two gay women in the car in front of us and what we are laughing about is they have a bumper sticker on their car that reads ‘I Love Vagina’.”

Tina’s mom leans forward, squints her elderly eyes, pauses, and then comments, “”I think it says Virginia. I think they must have printed it wrong. They probably meant to say “I Love Virginia!”

Tina and Sarah start laughing again.

“No mom, it’s definitely ‘I Love Vagina.’”

Here’s to loving Virginia and to loving vagina. And prayers for those who have never come out of the closet because their parents are just too old to deal with their sexual orientation.



What Gay People Really Don’t Like

chris and layla

Guilt Party #1 & Guilty Party #2


If you really want to know what gay people really don’t like listen to them.

In case you are one of those heterosexual homophobes who would not be caught dead listening to a gay person (knowingly listening to a gay person, that is) then I thought I’d do you a favor and LGBT people a favor with this blog entry on this important subject.

To start with the obvious, LGBT people really don’t like being treated like crap, whether is being treated like crap by parents, family, strangers, co-workers, Christians/churches or anybody who wants to crap on them.

Speaking of crap, leads me to a second thing gay people really don’t like. I was taking my grand dog, Layla, out for a walk in the neighborhood to take a crap and have a pee. We passed the yard of two gay men who moved into the neighborhood a few years ago and I just had to stop and tell one of them how great their immaculate, well-designed yard and renovated house looked. While I was bragging on his property, I noticed the gay man was not listening to me. What’s with these gay people? Aren’t they good listeners? As it turns out, while I was oohing and ahing about the man’s yard, my grand dog, which has a lot of Beagle in her, was digging a big hole right beside the man’s path to this front door.

Gay people who have perfect yards really don’t like heterosexuals not keeping an eye on their dog, which is destroying a patch of their every blade green and in the right place front yard.

I, of course, apologized for my mutt.

Gay people don’t mind buying a house and improving the neighborhood. Gay people don’t mind cleaning up bad house decorating decisions of decorating challenged heterosexuals. Gay people don’t mind being superior landscape artists, or superior human beings in general. Gay people, though, really don’t like being treated like crap by heterosexuals and really don’t like heterosexuals not keeping an eye on their dogs.

Got it?

Fear not gay equality, fear gay superiority.  And be glad when gay people raise your property values.