My mother, the gay man, and the Nation of Islam
My mother was a Christian.
She was a conservative Christian. Evangelical.
She believed that everyone needed a relationship with Jesus Christ due to a fallen state precipitated by Adam's sin. She worried about my salvation and prayed for me in good times and bad.
She loved me.
My mother worked at a big teaching hospital. She was the administrative secretary for the head of pediatric cardiology when that was a new discipline. They did heart catheritization on neonates. She prayed for the babies and the doctors. Most of them were saved.
She had a friend named Richard who was a secretary to the chief of medical staff. She and Richard shared an interest in Daytime Soaps (my mother was a little ashamed of this habit) They met at the student union every day to watch and talk about "As the World Turns." Richard was gay.
I worked at the hospital one summer during college. Richard got me the job, as a favor to his friend Bernice. On the ride home after my first day. I pointed out to my mother that her best friend was gay. Like she didn't know. She said "Of course. Richard was raised Church of the Nazarene, when his parents found out - they disowned him. I have never heard of such unchristian behavior! I figure the only thing I can do about that is be Richard's friend, and love him if his own mother can't." I am sure she prayed for Richard.
When my mother got cancer, she needed to work to keep her insurance, but she was taking chemo and didn't feel so good. Her boss, Dr Hastriter, decided to hire an under-secretary to help her. She interviewed and hired a young black woman who was a member of the Nation of Islam. She was smart and good, and my mother loved her. She was a single mother, and lived in a very dangerous neighborhood not too far from the hospital. It was just before New Year's, and the young mother was worried about the celebratory gunfire that was becoming more common, and had killed a child the year before. She was thinking about making a bed between her kitchen appliances to try and be safe. My mother was appalled, and thought about her New Year's plans to be in a very Christian watch-night service in the very safe village of Oak Park. She thought about inviting her young protege, and keeping her and her boy overnight. But she didn't. She didn't think the young muslim mother would be interested in the service. So instead she gave her a gift of a motel room, outside of the 'hood, where they would be safe. I am sure she prayed for her co-worker that watch-night.
My mother's beliefs informed her words and behavior. She believed that it was her job to love people and pray for people. She accepted people, just as they were, because if you love them, you just do.
My mother was a Christian.
Deja Vu All Over Again
I do love me some remix.
In 2014 I re-mixed my 1998 motorcycle story, Extreme Unction, with some select parts of my UPI column/2009 book, So There I was… , added in a healthy dose of fresh, wrapped it in a Buerkle cover, and called it Miracle Motors: A pert Near True story.
This left me with a partially gutted STIW, an out-of- print STIW in Africa, and a bunch of worthy blog posts from 2010-1015. I have taken these things, written another healthy dose of fresh, and wrapped it in another beautiful Buerkle cover.
But the new thing is not just a conglom.
Remix is a dynamic thinking process. It helps me to find the threads of truth and beauty in divergent sources. During the last two years of work on this project, I have named my charism, found the threads of that theme in my extant writing and then fleshed it out.
If Miracles Motors describes my faith and how I came to it. This new book describes my practice, and how I think it can be replicated.
I give to you…