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Blog of the Grateful Bear

ramblings of a freelance panentheist {"all things are in God, and God is in all things"} . . . musings on Emergent spirituality, powerlifting, LGBTQueer issues, contemplative prayer, mysticism, cats, music, healing, and more. I like my coffee and my existentialism dark-roasted.

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Location: Marietta, Georgia, United States

I'm an LPC (Licensed Professional Counselor), in private practice in Marietta, Georgia. My writings on queer spirituality have been published in Whosoever and several other magazines. I live in a house-in-the-woods (Bear's Hermitage) in Marietta with Leonidas (Lenny) and Guy, Mighty Warrior Cats, and way too many books.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Open Mind Blogger Award

Many thanks to friend and fellow blogger Heidi for nominating me for the Open Mind Blogger Award!

I’m honored to receive the award, and I’d like to reciprocate by nominating 5 blogs I think fit the criteria for open-mindedness in the category of Politics & Religion. Some of these blogs do a much better job of being open-minded than I do. (My post on May 23rd about “The Archbishop of Cowardice” did get a little cranky!)

Carl McColman: The Website of Unknowing

Jon Zuck: The Wild Things of God

Isaiah: Isaiah Knows Nothing

Meredith & Joe: Graceful Presence

Sadiq Alam: Inspirations and Creative Thoughts

According to the award’s creator, Justin, “This award is given to Blogs that demonstrate respect towards others, research and consideration of opposing views, free-flowing conversation with commenters, and an overall spirit of civility and openness. It is time we recognize such commendable behavior on the internet.” I’m not sure I always measure up to that description, but it’s an honor to be part of this initiative.

Gay Pride Parade 2007

The Gay Pride Festival was held in Atlanta this past weekend. The anti-gay “evangelists” were out in force – I saw them at three different locations when I went down to Piedmont Park for the festival on Saturday. They were holding banners (some of them huge) with such slogans as:





– you get the idea.

On Sunday, a large group of Episcopalians and friends stood in front of my old parish, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, which is on the route of the Gay Pride Parade, and passed out water, colorful pinwheels, and hospitality to the marchers in the parade. It was lots of fun, as usual, and it gave us a front-row view of the parade going by. But more importantly, it provided the hundreds of people in the parade with an alternative to the hateful “Jesus” of the anti-gay protesters.

Here are some pictures. Here I am (in the middle, kneeling) before the parade began, with some friends from St. James (my church in Marietta):

One of several priests from St. Luke’s who were passing out water and pinwheels to the marchers:

A friend in the parade, George Miller (in front):

Friend and fellow blogger, chamblee54 (those are lovely lavender faerie wings he’s wearing on his back):

What’s a gay pride parade without muscleboys and drag queens?

Episcopalians were in the parade itself, as well as at the water stations under rainbow umbrellas in front of St. Luke’s:

A banner made by the children of the church:
“St. Luke’s Kids Embrace Diversity” ~


Thursday, June 07, 2007

The Energies of Grace

How is it possible for man to know God and, at the same time, affirm that God is by nature unknowable? St. Gregory [Palamas (1296-1359)] answered this question by quoting St. Basil the Great who said “We know our God from His energies, but we do not claim that we can draw near to His essence. For His energies come down to us, but His essence remains unapproachable.”...Even though God’s essence may be remote from us, He has revealed Himself through His energies (or grace). These energies do not exist apart from God, but are God Himself in His action and revelation to the world. It is through these energies that God enters into a direct and immediate relationship with us. When we say that the saints are ‘deified’ by the grace of God, we mean that they have a direct experience of God Himself through his energies (or grace)...

~ from The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia website

Grace is divine fire, cosmic power, that runs through your being, calming your body, inspiring your thoughts, healing your physical pain, preventing you from an accident, guiding your inner journey. Grace is the indescribable breath of God entering into your being while you pray. Grace is the energy you call upon to help another person in need of comfort, healing, or inspiration. To embrace grace, become aware of its presence in your life, mindful of the reality of this divine substance.

~ from Entering the Castle: An Inner Path to God and Your Soul, by Caroline Myss