Tender

I’m feeling tender today. Good thing that I am among Friends here. Peggy Parsons, the amazing motocyle-riding, Christ-centered Quaker minister and her family have put me up for the night here in Salem, OR. Peggy is the real deal pastoring a semi-programmed Quaker church, preaching wherever the doors open and working with trauma victims in Burundi–many of them Quakers.

Last night the brilliant Quaker artist (music, visual art, humor, you name it) Alivia Biko cooked us a killer vegan meal replete with vegan chocolate chip cookies. I felt loved. (BTW both Peggy and Alivia miss Joe G. Just saying in case he is lurking 🙂

Yeah, I am feeling tender as I soak up all of this love in Portland with Doug and Bruce and Bonnie and in Salem with Peggy and her family and Alivia.

This tour has been great in many ways but harder than most. Since the launch of bXg, Christine, Steve and I have received so many stories from people sharing their trauma from ex-gay experiences. I read some of these and start to cry. Lots of people have been hurt and allowed themselves to be hurt. It feels good to see people finding healing, but the process is painful for most.

Feeling tender about violence. Many of us unprogrammed Quakers know Virgina Tech, site of the recent deaths of 33 people, because we have had our annual gatherings there before. In 2005 I performed my Homo No Mo play there. Seeing the photos of the campus seemed so creepy having been in many of those places for worship and fellowship.

Feeling tender about Quakers and the rift that exists between many of us. Some Evangelical Quakers take issue with queer Quakers. Last week I read of a dreadful report of an Evangelical Friend condemning same-gender loving Quakers in the harshest terms. With lots of programmed Evangelical Friends Churches in Oregon, it feels strange knowing that perhaps because of my queerness, I might not/will not be welcome.

Feeling tender about some queer folks at a Quaker venue who took issue with my apperance, wondering how on earth I could still identify as a Christian after all that the Christian church and Exodus had done to me. The thought that I am gay man who identifies as Christian offended them deeply. I get this reaction at times from folks in the LGBT community, but it smarts extra hard when it comes from folks in a Quaker context. Among unprogrammed Quakers, I find I walk on eggshells when I talk about my faith in Jesus. Is that just me being over-sensative or does this reflect a serious issue within the Quaker movement?

Feeling tender about doing my show today, The Re-Education of George W. Bush. It is the most personal of all my plays, even more so than Homo No Mo. I appear in the play as myself three different times to talk about my mom–her life, her death and her wisdom. I also take on a bunch of issues close to my heart–the war in Iraq, skin privilege, the environment as well as oppression of LGBT people. I have not performed the play since January, so I will rehearse all afternoon.

Feeling tender about lots of things, which is often the life of an artist. Feeling grateful too for freshly baked vegan cookies and a big glass of rice milk over at Alivia’s house last night before bed. It wasn’t really the cookies, but the love behind them. I bet you have your own comfort foods that get to your heart too.

This post has 9 Comments

  1. Anonymous on April 22, 2007 at 8:57 pm Reply

    Hugs to you!

    — Tom D.

  2. Joe G. on April 22, 2007 at 9:09 pm Reply

    Hey, even more hugs to you.

    Sorry that you read the anti-gay Quaker and then heard the anti-Christian Quaker stuff around the same time. Thank God for folks like Alivia & Peggy – they seem to know how to prioritize and keep it all together. See, I delurked just for you, Peggy, & Aliva. I’m such a wonderful guy!

  3. Whittier on April 22, 2007 at 9:16 pm Reply

    {hug}

  4. alex resare on April 22, 2007 at 9:31 pm Reply

    When you have been homeless domestic issues can easy become very rough.

    You make live easier for many who have too much to bear. You make life a bit more tricky for many who hide too much. You are a good man and I am very, very grateful to know you.

    I will give you no hugs today, just words but my words is all I have right now.

    joe g. – thanks for the delurking.

  5. grace on April 23, 2007 at 2:16 am Reply

    Peterson,
    weird….i’ve felt similarly “tender” of late…was just talking with david about it last night…

    hug hug hug hug hug hug hug hug hug

    pam

  6. Peterson Toscano on April 23, 2007 at 4:43 am Reply

    thanks for the hugs! I just got back to Portland and Doug and Bruce have the rice cooker filled with sweet brown rice for me (I got them caught up in my food loop 🙂 Ah, comfort food.

  7. Anna HP on April 23, 2007 at 2:40 pm Reply

    I am so sorry i can’t keep up with your blog theese days. can’t wait to get internet working at home … and in about a month we’ll meet in person. Even better.

  8. Anonymous on April 23, 2007 at 3:19 pm Reply

    Peterson, it was so lovely to have you with us at Freedom Friends yesterday. (I’m the older lady who wants to adopt you, my husband is the big guy, Bear.) I’m so glad you feel at home with us, because we love you, and you are part of our family. Alivia and Peggy ARE the best, and so are you!
    Grandmother Turtle aka Barbara

  9. Jonathan on April 23, 2007 at 6:45 pm Reply

    hugging you!!!

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