What is straight? A line can be straight, or a street, but the human heart, oh, no, it’s curved like a road through mountains. — Tennessee Williams
Please remember, especially in these times of group-think and the right-on chorus, that no person is your friend (or kin) who demands your silence, or denies your right to grow and be perceived as fully blossomed as you were intended. – Alice Walker
This year’s theme across the Department of Defense is: “All Together” The fight for respect and dignity in the LGBTQ+ community has been ongoing for decades: From the Stonewall Riots in New York in 1969, to today’s social revolution for equality, we have seen what progression looks like. We have seen where we started, and what it has taken for the LGBTQ+ community to gain a foothold in the mountainous climb for rights. Without victimizing our own community, it has been a waiting game that spans over a time period of decades, married with protests, political action, court cases, prevention of violent/non-violent discriminatory acts, and best of all, lives saved. And it has all been made possible by the advocates and activists that were [and are] passionate about doing one thing: elevating pride. — Hills Air Force Base Pride Committee
Closer to Fine (excerpt) — Indigo Girls
I’m tryin’ to tell you somethin’ ’bout my life
Maybe give me insight between black and white
And the best thing you’ve ever done for me
Is to help me take my life less seriously
It’s only life after all, yeah
Well darkness has a hunger that’s insatiable
And lightness has a call that’s hard to hear
I wrap my fear around me like a blanket
I sailed my ship of safety ’til I sank it
I’m crawling on your shores
… I went to the doctor, I went to the mountains
I looked to the children, I drank from the fountains
We go to the doctor, we go to the mountains
We look to the children, we drink from the fountain
Yeah, we go to the Bible, we go through the work out
We read up on revival, we stand up for the lookout
There’s more than one answer to these questions
Pointing me in a crooked line
And the less I seek my source for some definitive
The closer I am to fine
The closer I am to fine
The closer I am to fine, yeah
Some songs to celebrate Pride Month:
- We Stand United by Ray Isaac (ballad/anthem/rap)
- Closer to Fine by Indigo Girls (Indie/folk)
- The Official Coming Out Song by Ally Hills (pop)
- Come to my Window by Melissa Etheridge (folk rock)
- I’m Coming Out by Diana Ross (rock)
- Beautiful by Christina Aguilera (pop)
- True Colors by Cyndi Lauper (rock)
- Anthem by Pansy Division (punk rock)
- Boys Keep Swinging by David Bowie (rock)
- Freedom! by George Michael (rock/pop)
Questions to consider:
- Who has helped you understand LGBTQ experience on a more personal level? Who has humanized this social justice issue for you, if it wasn’t already a human experience with which you are familiar or connected?
- What view or belief are you glad to have overcome or changed? What learning has helped you the most? What learning do you still need or want to do?
- What does it mean that all people are created in the image and likeness of God?
Love as a Revolutionary Act: Love of Self, Love for Others, The Right to Love Whom You Choose
Burst down those closet doors once and for all, and stand up, and start to fight. — Harvey Milk
Love, in the New Testament, is not something you feel; it is something you do… Love seeks the well-being of others and is embodied in concrete efforts in their behalf. — Francis Taylor Gench
The beauty of standing up for your rights is others see you standing and stand up as well. — Cassandra Duffy
You never completely have your rights, one person, until you all have your rights. — Marsha P. Johnson
All of us who are openly gay are living and writing the history of our movement. We are no more — and no less — heroic than the suffragists and abolitionists of the 19th century; and the labor organizers, Freedom Riders, Stonewall demonstrators, and environmentalists of the 20th century. — Tammy Baldwin
This community has fought and continues to fight a war of acceptance, a war of tolerance and the most relentless bravery. You are the definition of courage, do you know that? — Lady Gaga
I believe that telling our stories, first to ourselves and then to one another and the world, is a revolutionary act. — Janet Mock
Being born gay, black and female is not a revolutionary act. Being proud to be a gay, black female is. — Lena Waithe
Our society needs to recognize the unstoppable momentum toward unequivocal civil equality for every gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender citizen of this country. — Zachary Quinto
Who would give a law to lovers? Love is unto itself a higher law. — Boethius
Every single courageous act of coming out chips away at the curse of homophobia. Most importantly it’s destroyed within yourself, and that one act creates the potential for its destruction where it exists in friends, family and society. — Anthony Venn-Brown
Surviving and Thriving
We are powerful because we have survived. — Audre Lorde
Know Thyself! Understand yourself fully and find your peace of mind. Peace comes when you are not trying to copy someone else or be someone else other than you. When you find that stability within yourself, share with others how you got there without selling them something, or trying to fix them. — Rev Yolanda
Every gay and lesbian person who has been lucky enough to survive the turmoil of growing up is a survivor. Survivors always have an obligation to those who will face the same challenges. — Bob Paris
I want to do the right thing and not hide anymore. I want to march for tolerance, acceptance, and understanding. I want to take a stand and say, “Me, too.’“ — Jason Collins
I want to make sure that any young person or anyone really who is looking up to me—who sees a glimpse of who I am as a person—that they see no shame, that they see pride, and that I’m truly unabashed about the person that I am. — Samira Wiley
It is better to live one day on this planet being true to yourself than an entire lifetime which is a lie. — Anthony Venn-Brown
Beauty in Diversity
We should indeed keep calm in the face of difference, and live our lives in a state of inclusion and wonder at the diversity of humanity. — George Takei
What I preach is: People fall in love with people, not gender, not looks, not whatever. What I’m in love with exists on almost a spiritual level. — Miley Cyrus
It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences. — Audre Lord
When all Americans are treated as equal, no matter who they are or whom they love, we are all more free. — Former U.S. President, Barack Obama
I was not ladylike, nor was I manly. I was something else altogether. There were so many different ways to be beautiful. — Michael Cunningham
True hospitality is marked by an open response to the dignity of each and every person. Henri Nouwen has described it as receiving the stranger on his own terms, and asserts that it can be offered only by those who ‘have found the center of their lives in their own hearts.’ — Kathleen Norris
A Litany for Survival — Audre Lord
For those of us who live at the shoreline
standing upon the constant edges of decision
crucial and alone
for those of us who cannot indulge
the passing dreams of choice
who love in doorways coming and going
in the hours between dawns
looking inward and outward
at once before and after
seeking a now that can breed
like bread in our children’s mouths
so their dreams will not reflect
the death of ours;
For those of us
who were imprinted with fear
like a faint line in the center of our foreheads
learning to be afraid with our mother’s milk
for by this weapon
this illusion of some safety to be found
the heavy-footed hoped to silence us
For all of us
this instant and this triumph
We were never meant to survive.
And when the sun rises we are afraid
it might not remain
when the sun sets we are afraid
it might not rise in the morning
when our stomachs are full we are afraid
when our stomachs are empty we are afraid
we may never eat again
when we are loved we are afraid
love will vanish
when we are alone we are afraid
love will never return
and when we speak we are afraid
our words will not be heard
but when we are silent
we are still afraid
So it is better to speak
we were never meant to survive.
Beyond Fear & Shame: Embracing & Celebrating
Openness may not completely disarm prejudice, but it’s a good place to start. — Jason Collins
To be afraid is to behave as if the truth were not true. — Bayard Rustin
We deserve to experience love fully, equally, without shame, and without compromise. — Ellen Page
I’ve never been interested in being invisible and erased. — Laverne Cox
I learned compassion from being discriminated against. Everything bad that’s ever happened to me has taught me compassion. — Ellen DeGeneres
I’ve been embraced by a new community. That’s what happens when you’re finally honest about who you are; you find others like you. — Chaz Bono
I am a strong, black, lesbian woman. Every single time I say it, I feel so much better. — Brittney Griner
We have to do it because we can no longer stay invisible. We have to be visible. We should not be ashamed of who we are. — Sylvia Rivera
I’m living by example by continuing on with my career and having a full, rich life, and I am incidentally gay. — Portia de Rossi
All young people, regardless of sexual orientation or identity, deserve a safe and supportive environment in which to achieve their full potential. — Harvey Milk
I’m a young, bisexual woman, and I’ve spent a large part of my life trying to validate myself — to my friends, to my family, to myself — trying to prove that who I love and how I feel is not a phase. — Halsey
You have to go the way your blood beats. If you don’t live the only life you have, you won’t live some other life, you won’t live any life at all. — James Baldwin
I am always amazed how powerful that three letter word ‘gay’ can be. Many of us rejected it and wouldn’t even let the word come out of our mouth because of all the negative connotations attached to it…sin…. promiscuity….a ‘lifestyle’ etc etc. We would definitely never ever use it to label ourselves. We didn’t want to own it. When we break free and we use the word with empowerment, ownership and pride…..then we have moved from a world of denial to finally being real. — Anthony Venn-Brown
Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life; define yourself. — Harvey Fierstein
I think being gay is a blessing, and it’s something I am thankful for every single day. — Anderson Cooper
Learn More: Stonewall as Milestone
When we look back at the Stonewall uprising and activism that grew out of that moment, even the most basic progress seemed like it would take a revolution to achieve. So we had one. And that’s how we’ve made such enormous progress over the last 50 years. Today, we should remain inspired by the courage of the story of Stonewall. — Tammy Baldwin
Stonewall represented, absolutely, the first time that the LGBT community successfully fought back and forged an organized movement and community. — Mark Segal
Faith and Pride
There is God. And then there is the church. The less we conflate the two, the better. The church may reject God’s children, but God never does. To my queer siblings, I’m so sorry. You are glorious. — Nadia Bolz-Weber
The Lord is my Shepherd and he knows I’m gay. — Troy Perry
“God is love,” Christians remind one another. This means that Christians experience love as something alive and living and personal and true. This Love that is God and God that is Love is the creating and healing power within life. This Love that is God is kind and patient and humble and free–never trying to control nor manipulate. Every human being has experienced and knows this capital “L” Love that Christians call God. Christians believe that to receive and share this reality of Love, this God within who live and move and have our being, is the meaning and purpose of life. Why would we stop anyone from experiencing and expressing love? Or to put it another way, why would we stop gay, lesbian, bisexual, straight, transgendered–anyone from experiencing, celebrating, and expressing God? — Mark Yaconelli
You can safely assume you have created God in your own image when God hates all the same people you do. — Anne Lamott
Sexuality and gender identity elicit so many strong feelings and even irrational opinions because they touch upon something foundational. If you don’t recognize the sacred at this deep level of identity and desire, I don’t know if you will be able to see it anywhere else. When Christians label LGBTQIA individuals as ‘other,’ sinful, or ‘disordered,’” we hurt these precious people and the larger community, and we actually limit ourselves. Fear of difference creates a very constricted, exclusive, and small religion and life, the very opposite of what God invites us into … Even as we acknowledge the sacredness of gender and sex, we also need to realize that there’s something deeper than our gender, anatomy, or physical passion: our ontological self, who we are forever in Christ. You are beyond the metaphor of male and female; you are a child of the Resurrection, a creature of Eternal Life. As Paul courageously puts it, ‘There is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus’ (Galatians 3:28). Those who have already begun to experience their divine union will usually find it very easy to be compassionate toward all ‘Two Spirit’ people because they know they share the same ontological, essential self that is ‘hidden with Christ in God’ (Colossians 3:3). — Richard Rohr
It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you, not by angels or by demons, heaven or hell. — Buddha
… however diabolical the act, it did not turn the perpetrator into a demon. We had to distinguish between the deed and the perpetrator, between the sinner and the sin, to hate and condemn the sin while being filled with compassion for the sinner. – Desmond Tutu
Be kind to people and don’t judge, for you do not know what demons they carry and what battles they are fighting. ― Vashti Quiroz-Vega
Maybe demons are defined as anything other than God that tries to tell us who we are … So if God’s first move is to give us our identity, then the devil’s first move is to throw that identity into question.― Nadia Bolz-Weber
Maybe that’s all demons ever are. People like us, doing things without even knowing what we’re doing. ― Orson Scott Card
Bible Project videos (spiritual beings series):
- Spiritual Beings (intro): https://bibleproject.com/explore/video/intro-spiritual-beings/
- Elohim: https://bibleproject.com/explore/video/elohim/
- Divine Council: https://bibleproject.com/explore/video/divine-council/
- Angels & Cherubim: https://bibleproject.com/explore/video/angels-cherubim/
- Angel of the Lord: https://bibleproject.com/explore/video/angel-lord/
- The Satan & Demons: https://bibleproject.com/explore/video/satan-demons/
SONGS about DEMONS & DEVILS:
- The Devil Went Down to Georgia by The Charlie Daniels Band (country): https://youtu.be/wBjPAqmnvGA
- Pickin to Beat the Devil by Pure Praire League (country): https://youtu.be/2aj4A0wtLEY
- Demons by Imagine Dragons (pop): https://youtu.be/mWRsgZuwf_8
- You’re the Devil in Disguise by Elvis (rock): https://youtu.be/emjLXdsj6xA
- Race with the Devil by Gene Vincent (rock): https://youtu.be/E3gxQ1tetAQ
- Where the Devil Don’t Go by Elle King (country): https://youtu.be/LNwHm3FS5HQ
- The Devil Is Watchin’ You by Lightin’ Hopkins (blues): https://youtu.be/CZVrXlo1X7k
- Friend of the Devil by Grateful Dead (rock): https://youtu.be/XacvydVrhuI
- Sympathy for the Devil by The Rolling Stones (rock): https://youtu.be/GgnClrx8N2k
- I Have Questions by Camila Cabello (pop): https://youtu.be/bSdPkBKHqac
- Control by Zoe Wees (pop): https://youtu.be/UrGS_6_HglU
- My Demons by Starset (rock): https://youtu.be/LSvOTw8UH6s
- Take the Devil by The Eagles (rock/folk): https://youtu.be/ad1BKTne0d0
- Overthinking by Zoe Wees (pop): https://youtu.be/XmGkz7wiBEk
- To Beat the Devil by Kris Kristofferson (country): https://youtu.be/faF0wOsVucw
- The Devil Made Me Do It the First Time by Billy Joe Shaver (country): https://youtu.be/y5glhBvllfk
- Devil’s in My Car by the B-52’s (rock): https://youtu.be/Kq2NH8Yinl8
- Runnin’ with the Devil by Van Halen (rock): https://youtu.be/i5txwFv-zYM
- Devil with a Blue Dress by Mitch Ryder & Detroit Wheels (rock): https://youtu.be/xXy7qYAKrfc
- Shout At the Devil by Motley Crue (rock): https://youtu.be/jC0kHsTtzCA
- Devil In My Life by Grace Jones (rock): https://youtu.be/3f7U3AhSgeY
- Devil’s Food by Alice Cooper (rock): https://youtu.be/rDFbsAZsm0Y
- Burning House by Cam (country): https://youtu.be/uyGSe76rAJc
- The Road to Hell by Chris Rae (country): https://youtu.be/gUUdQfnshJ4
- Demons by Hayley Kyoko (pop): https://youtu.be/jix-u8h4KEU
- The Devil Wouldn’t Recognize You by Madonna (pop rock): https://youtu.be/ovMDGmf9WFM
- Demon Slayer by None Like Joshua, Rustage, Gameboyjones, Musicality (rap for animated series): https://youtu.be/xPdMJQNR310
- Demon by Lil Wayne (rap – caution: some cursing): https://youtu.be/vZIRKEX4Jns
- Knocking on Heaven’s Door by Raign (pop): https://youtu.be/mknLaFJZ4v4
- Broken Things by Matthew Best (Christian): https://youtu.be/WdUu6ZsdVfM
- Pieces by Rob Thomas (pop): https://youtu.be/O11UikJigxo
- Let the Dark Do the Rest by Korn (hard rock): https://youtu.be/XQL0ZxaVRhI
- Hurts by Emeli Hande (pop/rap): https://youtu.be/9TqUlGyWSEk
- Beautiful Mistakes by Maroon Five (pop): https://youtu.be/yJod2LFvK7Q
- Dancing with the Devil by Marina Keye: https://youtu.be/YCPqsQe8aTE
- Devil’s Child by Judas Priest (rock): https://youtu.be/TVAcjSsxl08
SONGS about ANGELS:
- Angel by SHaggy (Reggae): https://youtu.be/_j_HYMUakpk
- Angel by Libera (live choir): https://youtu.be/_j13d5eFgQk
- Send Me An Angel by Scorpions (rock ballad): https://youtu.be/1UUYjd2rjsE
- The Angel Song by Great White (rock): https://youtu.be/Uu9G6tZZenE
- Angel by Aerosmith (rock): https://youtu.be/CBTOGVb_cQg
- Broken Angel by Arash ft Helena (pop): https://youtu.be/p0nEw4qhOlY
- In the Arms of an Angel by Sarah McLachlan (pop): https://youtu.be/1SiylvmFI_8
- Angel by Zack Knight (Asian/rap/pop): https://youtu.be/IZedclnB91c
- Angel by Amanda Perez (Latina pop): https://youtu.be/uODHVuxG_xw
- Angels by Robbie Williams (pop): https://youtu.be/luwAMFcc2f8
- Angel by Adrian Sina ft Sandra N (pop): https://youtu.be/HEjyHlAEiEs
- Angel of the Morning by Juice Newton (rock): https://youtu.be/HTzGMEfbnAw
- Angel Like You by Miley Cyrus (pop): https://youtu.be/Y0ORhLyJWuc
- Angel by Taher Shah (contemplative): https://youtu.be/GoCrbuM8wmc
- Angels by Vicetone ft Kat Nestel (rock/pop): https://youtu.be/Rn0_lw_Lst0
- Angels & Demons by Turph Kako (rap): https://soundcloud.com/turph_kako/angels-demons
SONGS about HEALING:
- Sayin’ What I’m Thinkin’ by Lainey Wilson (country):https://youtu.be/aZtCol-tUaE
- Bird Set Free by Sia (pop):https://youtu.be/FkOO3kz92_c
- Beautifully Broken by Plumb (Christian): https://youtu.be/ce6PT-3sQGg
- Annie’s Song by John Denver (country/folk): https://youtu.be/RNOTF-znQyw
- Sound of Surviving by Nichole Nordeman (pop): https://youtu.be/IaOExJJa_YA
- Everything Comes Alive by We Are Messengers (Irish Christian): https://youtu.be/7ga5wTxF6Tc
- I Am Not Nothing by Beth Crowley (pop): https://youtu.be/SNJ–gHasOE
- I Won’t Let Go by Rascal Flatts (country):https://youtu.be/z4lk4OIi56Q
- Strong Enough by Matthew West (Christian): https://youtu.be/knuHDPbE5es
- Mended by Matthew West (Christian): https://youtu.be/-Otg-5p7qug
- Leave a Light On by Tom Walker (pop): https://youtu.be/nqnkBdExjws
- Ashes Remain by Right Here (rock): https://youtu.be/36ieBoBMcHc
- Scars To Your Beautiful by Alessia Cara (pop): https://youtu.be/1tAvYhW1ZLI
- It’ll Be Okay by Shawn Mendes (pop): https://youtu.be/KrgJp7Z1Hv8
- People Help the People written by Cherry performed by Birdy (pop): https://youtu.be/OmLNs6zQIHo
Link to poet’s readings and full text of more poems from Call Us What We Carry: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2021/12/13/from-call-us-what-we-carry-poetry-by-amanda-gorman
CALL US — Amanda Gorman
Grant us this day
Bruising the make of us.
At times over half of our bodies
Are not our own,
Our persons made vessel
For nonhuman cells.
To them we are
A boat of a being,
Microbiome is all the writhing forms on
& inside this body
Drafted under our life.
We are not me—
We are we.
What we carry.
LUCENT — Amanda Gorman
What would we seem, stripped down
Like a wintered tree.
Glossy scabs, tight-raised skin,
These can look silver in certain moonlights.
In other words,
Our scars are the brightest
Parts of us.
* * *
The crescent moon,
The night’s lucent lesion.
We are felled oaks beneath it,
Branches full of empty.
What we share is more
Than what we’ve shed.
* * *
& what we share is the bark, the bones.
Paleontologists, from one fossilized femur,
Can dream up a species,
Make-believe a body
Where there was none.
Our remnants are revelation,
Our requiem as raptus.
When we bend into dirt
We’re truth preserved
Without our skin.
* * *
Lumen means both the cavity
Of an organ, literally an opening,
& a unit of luminous flux,
Literally, a measurement of how lit
The source is. Illuminate us.
That is, we, too,
Are this bodied unit of flare,
The gap for lux to breach.
* * *
Sorry, must’ve been the light
Playing tricks on us, we say,
Knuckling our eyelids.
But perhaps it is we who make
Falsities of luminescence—
Our shadows playing tricks on stars.
Every time their gazes tug down,
They think us monsters, then men,
Predators, then persons again,
Beasts, then beings,
Horrors, & then humans.
Of all the stars the most beautiful
Is nothing more than a monster,
Just as starved & stranded as we are.
STRUGGLING with our DEMONS
People can change, learn, and grow, and it’s better to face your demons instead of perpetually running away from them. — Jessica Rothe
Confront the dark parts of yourself, and work to banish them with illumination and forgiveness. Your willingness to wrestle with your demons will cause your angels to sing. — August Wilson
Man’s enemies are not demons, but human beings like himself. — Lao Tzu
If you don’t deal with your demons, they will deal with you, and it’s gonna hurt. — Nikki Sixx
I feel that people are basically trying to do their best in the world. Even when you see people making mistakes, you understand why they’re making a mistake. Everybody has flaws, everybody has demons, everybody has ghosts, but I think you watch people and you see everybody trying to do their best. — Jason Katims
We all carry extreme heartache and demons. Instead of pretending like we don’t, I like to be honest and real. — Ashlyn Harris
Being mentally tough is having to battle those demons and push yourself out of your comfort zone and force yourself to be the person that your mind is telling you you aren’t. — Michael Chiesa
My demons, inner strengths and physical battles have guided me through life. — GG Allin
… however diabolical the act, it did not turn the perpetrator into a demon. We had to distinguish between the deed and the perpetrator, between the sinner and the sin, to hate and condemn the sin while being filled with compassion for the sinner. – Desmond Tutu
Human beings, we have dark sides; we have dark issues in our lives. To progress anywhere in life, you have to face your demons. — John Noble
We try so hard to block out negative or dark thoughts, but sometimes embracing your demons is the most vitalizing thing you can do. — Oliver Sykes
Indeed, our sins—hate, fear, greed, jealousy, lust, materialism, pride—can at times take such distinct forms in our lives that we recognize them in the faces of the gargoyles and grotesques that guard our cathedral doors. And these sins join in a chorus—you might even say a legion—of voices locked in an ongoing battle with God to lay claim over our identity, to convince us we belong to them, that they have the right to name us. Where God calls the baptized beloved, demons call her addict, slut, sinner, failure, fat, worthless, faker, screwup. Where God calls her child, the demons beckon with rich, powerful, pretty, important, religious, esteemed, accomplished, right. It is no coincidence that when Satan tempted Jesus after his baptism, he began his entreaties with, “If you are the Son of God . . .” We all long for someone to tell us who we are. The great struggle of the Christian life is to take God’s name for us, to believe we are beloved and to believe that is enough. ― Rachel Held Evans
Be kind to people and don’t judge, for you do not know what demons they carry and what battles they are fighting. ― Vashti Quiroz-Vega
Now I am as uncomfortable as the next … with the notion of exorcising demons. When I get to that part in the New Testament, I’m inclined to take the sophisticated approach and assume the people who had demons cast out of them were healed of mental illness or epilepsy or something like that. But lately, I’ve been wondering if this leaves something important out, something true about the shape of evil which is not merely an absence of good but the presence of a dark and irrational power. — Rachel Held Evans
I don’t always know what to do when it comes to talk about demons in the Bible. Especially when the demons talk and have names and stuff like that. I’m never sure if back then they had the exact same things going on that we do, but they didn’t know about things like epilepsy or mental illness so they just called it all demon possession …
Or if we do actually still have demons and it makes it more understandable and controllable for us if we use medical and scientific terms to describe the things that possess us. I honestly don’t know…
But I do know that many of you, like myself, have suffered from addictions and compulsions and depression – things that have gotten ahold of us, making us do things we don’t want to. Or making you think you love things, or substances or people that are really destructive. So maybe if that, in part, is what having a demon is, maybe if it’s being taken over by something destructive, then possession is less of an anachronism, and more of an epidemic…
So, in conclusion, are demons forces that are totally external to us who seek to defy God? Are they just the shadow side of our own souls? Are they social constructions from a pre-modern era?
Bottom line: Who cares. I don’t think demons are something human reason can solve. Or that human faith can resolve.
I just know that demons, whether they be addictions or evil spirits, are not what Jesus wants for us. Since basically every time he encountered them he told them to piss off. And here’s the thing: the authority to do just this – the authority to face what tell us lies, to face what keeps us shackled, to face what keeps us out of control, alone and in pain and tell it in the name of Jesus to piss off is an authority that has been given to us all in baptism. — Nadia Bolz-Weber
They are not demons, not devils… Worse than that. They are people. ― Andrzej Sapkowski
But she had known, better than anyone else, what demons he had faced, had known how hard he had fought to free himself from them. That he had lost the fight in the end made the struggle no less honorable. ― Donna Woolfolk Cross
If I got rid of my demons, I’d lose my angels. ― Tennessee Williams
Let me tell you a little bit about demons. They love pain and other people’s misery. They lie when it suits them and don’t see anything wrong with it. They corrupt and kill and destroy, all without conscience. You just don’t have the capacity for something as honorable as loving another person. ― Brenna Yovanoff
Everywhere I looked, demons of the future [were] on the battlegrounds of one’s emotional plane. ― David Bowie
What, if some day or night a demon were to steal after you into your loneliest loneliness and say to you: ‘This life as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more’ … Would you not throw yourself down and gnash your teeth and curse the demon who spoke thus? Or have you once experienced a tremendous moment when you would have answered him: ‘You are a god and never have I heard anything more divine.” ― Friedrich Nietzsche
Culture, like science, is no protection against demons. ― G.K. Chesterton
Men who fear demons see demons everywhere. ― Brom
Be careful when you cast out your demons that you don’t throw away the best of yourself. ― Friedrich Nietzsche
I suddenly realized. The zebra. It is not something outside of us. The zebra is something inside of us. Our fears. Our own self-destructive nature. The zebra is the worst part of us when we are face-to-face with our worst times. The demon is us! ― Garth Stein
He who has rejected his demons badgers us to death with his angels. ― Henri Michaux
People shouldn’t call for demons unless they really mean what they say. ― C.S. Lewis
It is only when a man tames his own demons that he becomes the king of himself if not of the world. ― Joseph Campbell,
All the demons of Hell formerly reigned as gods in previous cultures. No it’s not fair, but one man’s god is another man’s devil. As each subsequent civilization became a dominant power, among its first acts was to depose and demonize whoever the previous culture had worshipped. The Jews attacked Belial, the god of the Babylonians. The Christians banished Pan and Loki anda Mars, the respective deities of the ancient Greeks and Celts and Romans. The Anglican British banned belief in the Australian aboriginal spirits known as the Mimi. Satan is depicted with cloven hooves because Pan had them, and he carries a pitchfork based on the trident carried by Neptune. As each deity was deposed, it was relegated to Hell. For gods so long accustomed to receiving tribute and loving attention, of course this status shift put them into a foul mood.”
― Chuck Palahniuk
Your god, sir, is the World. In my eyes, you, too, if not an infidel, are an idolater. I conceive that you ignorantly worship: in all things you appear to me too superstitious. Sir, your god, your great Bel, your fish-tailed Dagon, rises before me as a demon. You, and such as you, have raised him to a throne, put on him a crown, given him a sceptre. Behold how hideously he governs! See him busied at the work he likes best — making marriages. He binds the young to the old, the strong to the imbecile. He stretches out the arm of Mezentius and fetters the dead to the living. In his realm there is hatred — secret hatred: there is disgust — unspoken disgust: there is treachery — family treachery: there is vice — deep, deadly, domestic vice. In his dominions, children grow unloving between parents who have never loved: infants are nursed on deception from their very birth: they are reared in an atmosphere corrupt with lies … All that surrounds him hastens to decay: all declines and degenerates under his sceptre. Your god is a masked Death. ― Charlotte Brontë
Never trust a demon. He has a hundred motives for anything he does … Ninety-nine of them, at least, are malevolent. ― Neil Gaiman
When you’re dealing with these forces or powers in a philosophic and scientific way, contemplating them from an armchair, that rationalistic approach is useful. It is quite profitable then to regard the gods and goddesses and demons as projections of the human mind or as unconscious aspects of ourselves. But every truth is a truth only for one place and one time, and that’s a truth, as I said, for the armchair. When you’re actually dealing with these figures, the only safe, pragmatic and operational approach is to treat them as having a being, a will, and a purpose entirely apart from the humans who evoke them. If the Sorcerer’s Apprentice had understood that, he wouldn’t have gotten into so much trouble. ― Robert Anton Wilson
Our practice of the Dharma should be a continual effort to attain a state beyond suffering. It should not simply be a moral activity whereby we avoid negative ways and engage in positive ones. In our practice of the Dharma, we seek to transcend the situation in which we all find ourselves: victims of our own mental afflictions- such as attachment, hatred, pride, greed, and so forth-are mental states that cause us to behave in ways that bring about all of our unhappiness and suffering. While working to achieve inner peace and happiness, it is helpful to think of them as our inner demons, for like demons, they can haunt us, causing nothing but misery. That state beyond such negative emotions and thoughts, beyond all sorrow, is called nirvana. — His Holiness the Dalai Lama
Since there is no notion of absolute evil in Buddhism (or indeed in any Asian religion), and all classes of beings, including beings of the lower realms such as demons, animals, and ghosts, may improve their karmic lot by attaining a higher birth in the human or divine realms, demons are not always and forever demons. They are troublesome but not catastrophic. They are obstacles to be overcome through ritual action, offerings of appeasement, and meditative detachment. Nevertheless, in normative Buddhist texts, the suffering of demons in the hell realms is invoked negatively to warn practitioners to be more diligent in their spiritual efforts—in part to avoid rebirth among these unfortunate beings. As representations of natural bounty, mystery, and fertility, demons threaten to exceed and overturn the human order. They must be controlled, and yet they must be respected, since they are an inevitable feature of that oscillating order. — Gail Hinich Sutherland
A Hot Time in a Small Town — Thylias Moss
In this restaurant a plate of bluefish pâté
and matzos begin memorable meals.
The cracker is ridged, seems planked,
an old wall streaked sepia, very nearly black in
where it burned
into a matzo’s twin.
While waiting for a Martha’s Vineyard salad,
I rebuild the church with crackers,
pâté as paste
as a flaming dessert arrives at another table
where diners are ready
for a second magnum of champagne;
every day is an anniversary;
every minute, a commemoration
so there is no reason to ever be sober
to excuse incendiaries who gave up the bottle,
threw alcohol at the church,
in flames themselves ordinary—
there’d been fire in that church many times,
every Sunday and even at the Thursday choir rehearsals.
For years there’d been a fired-up congregation
so seething, neighborhoods they marched through
ignited no matter their intention;
just as natural as summer.
There were hot links
as active as telephone lines
whose poles mark the countryside
as if the nation is helpless
without a crucifix every few yards;
pity they are combustible
and that fire itself is holy,
that its smoke merges
with atmosphere, that we breathe its residue,
that when it is thick and black enough to believe in,
it betrays and chokes us;
pity that it is the vehicle
that proves the coming of the Lord,
the establishment of his kingdom,
his superiority because
fire that maintains him disfigures us;
when we try to embrace him;
we find ourselves out on a limb
burning. The meal
tastes divine, simply divine
and I eat it in the presence
of a companion dark as scab,
as if skin burned off
was replaced as he healed
with this total-body scab
under which he is pink as a pig,
unclean at least through Malachi.
In my left hand, a dash of Lot’s wife;
in my right, a mill to freshly grind the devil,
since fire is power
both the supreme good and supreme evil
are entitled to it;
most of the time,
what did it matter
who was in charge of Job?
Both burnt him.
An American Sunrise — Joy Harjo
We were running out of breath,
as we ran out to meet ourselves.
We were surfacing the edge of our ancestors’ fights,
and ready to strike.
It was difficult to lose days in the Indian bar
if you were straight. Easy if you played pool
and drank to remember to forget.
We made plans to be professional — and did.
And some of us could sing so we drummed
a fire-lit pathway up to those starry stars.
Sin was invented by the Christians,
as was the Devil, we sang.
We were the heathens,
but needed to be saved from them — thin chance.
We knew we were all related in this story,
a little gin will clarify the dark and make us all feel like dancing.
We had something to do with the origins of blues and jazz
I argued with a Pueblo as I filled the jukebox with dimes in June,
forty years later and we still want justice. We are still America.
We know the rumors of our demise.
We spit them out.
They die soon.
Howl— Allen Ginsburg
I. I saw the best minds
of my generation destroyed by madness,
starving hysterical naked,
dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn
looking for an angry fix,
angelheaded hipsters burning
for the ancient heavenly connection
to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night,
who poverty and tatters and hollow-eyed and high
sat up smoking in the supernatural darkness
of cold-water flats floating across the tops of cities
contemplating jazz, who bared their brains to Heaven …
full poem: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/49303/howl
Footnote to Howl — Allen Ginsburg
Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy!
Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy!
The world is holy! The soul is holy!
The skin is holy! The nose is holy!
The tongue and cock and hand and asshole holy!
Everything is holy! everybody’s holy!
everywhere is holy! everyday is in eternity!
Everyman’s an angel!
The bum’s as holy as the seraphim!
the madman is holy as you my soul are holy!
The typewriter is holy the poem is holy the voice is holy
the hearers are holy the ecstasy is holy!
Holy Peter holy Allen holy Solomon holy Lucien
holy Kerouac holy Huncke holy Burroughs holy Cassady
holy the unknown buggered and suffering beggars holy the hideous human angels!
Holy my mother in the insane asylum!
Holy the cocks of the grandfathers of Kansas!
Holy the groaning saxophone! Holy the bop apocalypse!
Holy the jazzbands marijuana hipsters peace peyote pipes & drums!
Holy the solitudes of skyscrapers and pavements!
Holy the cafeterias filled with the millions!
Holy the mysterious rivers of tears under the streets!
Holy the lone juggernaut! Holy the vast lamb of the middleclass!
Holy the crazy shepherds of rebellion!
Who digs Los Angeles IS Los Angeles!
Holy New York Holy San Francisco Holy Peoria & Seattle
Holy Paris Holy Tangiers Holy Moscow Holy Istanbul!
Holy time in eternity holy eternity in time
holy the clocks in space holy the fourth dimension
holy the fifth International holy the Angel in Moloch!
Holy the sea holy the desert
holy the railroad holy the locomotive
holy the visions holy the hallucinations
holy the miracles holy the eyeball holy the abyss!
Holy forgiveness! mercy! charity! faith!
Holy! Ours! bodies! suffering! magnanimity!
Holy the supernatural extra brilliant intelligent kindness of the soul!
Then love knew it was called love.
And when I lifted my eyes to your name,
suddenly your heart showed me my way.
― Pablo Neruda
May I live this day
Compassionate of heart,
Clear of mind,
Gracious in awareness
Courageous in thought,
Generous in love.
— John O’Donohue
Questions to consider:
- In what ways do you know you own heart? How have you come to know yourself well? When has your heart surprised you?
- When you pray, what parts of yourself do you choose to hide from Godself? What would you be most comfortable and uncomfortable for Godself to see and know about your heart?
- Who else in your life knows you well?
Songs about the heart:
- One Love, One Heart by Bob Marley (reggae)
- Closer by Bethel Music & Steffany Gretzinger (Christian)
- When You Say Nothing at All by Alison Krauss (country)
- Know Who You Are from Disney’s Moana (musical)
- Change My Heart by Indigo Girls (rock)
- Know Your Heart by David Leonard (Christian pop)
- All I Know (My Heart) by Raheem DeVaughn (ballad)
- I Know Your Heart by Jenn Grinels (indy/pop)
- Know Your Heart by Isobel Anderson (ballad)
- Pretty Heart by Parker McCollom (country)
Know Your Heart
To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself. ― Thich Nhat Hanh
Take a shower, wash off the day. Drink a glass of water. Make the room dark. Lie down and close your eyes. Notice the silence. Notice your heart. Still beating. Still fighting. You made it, after all. You made it, another day. And you can make it one more. You’re doing just fine. ― Charlotte Eriksson
I wish you knew what I have in my heart for you, but there is no way for you to know except by my actions. — Umar b. al-Khattib
… if it is true that there are as many minds as there are heads, then there are as many kinds of love as there are hearts. ― Leo Tolstoy
“I’ve never minded it,” he went on. “Being lost, that is. I had always thought one could not truly be lost if one knew one’s own heart. But I fear I may be lost without knowing yours.” ― Cassandra Clare
When the heart speaks, the mind finds it indecent to object. ― Milan Kundera
The heart has its reasons which reason knows not. ― Blaise Pascal
The heart is an arrow. It demands aim to land true. ― Leigh Bardugo
We cannot tell the precise moment when friendship is formed. As in filling a vessel drop by drop, there is at last a drop which makes it run over; so in a series of kindnesses there is at last one which makes the heart run over. ― Ray Bradbury
Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain and little, I am soulless and heartless? You think wrong! – I have as much soul as you, – and full as much heart! ― Charlotte Brontë
Somewhere, far down, there was an itch in his heart, but he made it a point not to scratch it. He was afraid of what might come leaking out. ― Markus Zusak
Her heart was a secret garden and the walls were very high. ― William Goldman
One ought to hold on to one’s heart; for if one lets it go, one soon loses control of the head too. ― Friedrich Nietzsche
“Because fear kills everything,” Mo had once told her. “Your mind, your heart, your imagination.” ― Cornelia Funke
Her heart – like every heart, if only its fallen sides were cleared away – was an inexhaustible fountain of love: she loved everything she saw. ― George MacDonald
The person who tries to live alone will not succeed as a human being. His heart withers if it does not answer another heart. His mind shrinks away if he hears only the echoes of his own thoughts and finds no other inspiration. ― Pearl Buck
She put one hand on mine. “When someone is in your heart, they’re never truly gone. They can come back to you, even at unlikely times.” ― Mitch Albom
Sometimes your heart is the only thing worth listening to. ― Marissa Meyer
The heart of man is very much like the sea, it has its storms, it has its tides and in its depths it has its pearls too. ― Vincent van Gogh
Nobody sees anybody truly but all through the flaws of their own egos. That is the way we all see …each other in life. Vanity, fear, desire, competition– all such distortions within our own egos– condition our vision of those in relation to us. Add to those distortions to our own egos the corresponding distortions in the egos of others, and you see how cloudy the glass must become through which we look at each other. That’s how it is in all living relationships except when there is that rare case of two people who love intensely enough to burn through all those layers of opacity and see each other’s naked hearts. ― Tennessee Williams
Then he made one last effort to search in his heart for the place where his affection had rotted away, and he could not find it. ― Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Hateful to me as the gates of Hades is that man who hides one thing in his heart and speaks another. ― Homer
Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. — Bible
Music is the literature of the heart; it commences where speech ends. ― Alphonse de Lamartine
Pity me that the heart is slow to learn. What the swift mind beholds at every turn. ― Edna St. Vincent Millay
Gradually it was disclosed to me that the line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either — but right through every human heart — and through all human hearts. This line shifts. Inside us, it oscillates with the years. And even within hearts overwhelmed by evil, one small bridgehead of good is retained. And even in the best of all hearts, there remains … an unuprooted small corner of evil. Since then I have come to understand the truth of all the religions of the world: They struggle with the evil inside a human being (inside every human being). It is impossible to expel evil from the world in its entirety, but it is possible to constrict it within each person. ― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
Heart as Sacred Place
One love, one heart, one destiny. ― Robert Marley
Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee. ― Augustine of Hippo
And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye. ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Prayer is not asking. It is a longing of the soul. It is daily admission of one’s weakness. It is better in prayer to have a heart without words than words without a heart. ― Mahatma Gandhi
Wisdom is a way of knowing that goes beyond one’s mind, one’s rational understanding, and embraces the whole of a person: mind, heart, and body. These three centers must all be working, and working in harmony, as the first prerequisite to the Wisdom way of knowing. — Cynthia Bourgeault
There is a place in you…that is the eternal place within you. The more we visit there, the more we are touched and fused with the limitless kindness and affection of the divine…If we can inhabit that reflex of divine presence, then compassion will flow naturally from us. — John O’Donohue
Heart Center — Richard Rohr (excerpt)
Deep within each of us is a prayer phrase longing to be expressed, what some have named the Prayer of the Heart. It consists of two simple phrases—one said on inhalation and one said on exhalation. Early Christians used to pray, “Come, Lord Jesus,” in this fashion. That was their deep longing, for Jesus to return and be among them in physical reality. We will spend time in this exercise finding those prayers that are as close to us as our very breath. The beauty of this prayer is the way it stays with us all day, all week, or even for a lifetime if we allow it.
- Begin seated in a comfortable position. Make sure your body weight is distributed in such a way that you feel stable. Take about five deep, slow breaths and allow the tension of the day to flow out with each exhalation. After five deliberate breaths, turn your attention away from counting and allow your breath to find its natural pace.
- What is your deepest and truest longing for life with God at this moment? If you find that your longing feels “tacky” or too worldly, try suspending judgment and instead looking at what’s at the base of that desire. When you check in with your deepest and truest self, what is it that you seek from God?
- Give that longing a short phrase. For example, if your deep desire is inner freedom, then your phrase would be “freedom” or “inner freedom.” Make sure that your phrase is not too long.
- What is your favorite name for God? How do you image the Creator? Choose whatever name seems to fit best for you. Some examples include: Jesus, Wisdom, Father, Mother, or Mystery. Be as creative as you want to be. But again, keep the name rather short.
- Combine your name for God with your longing. For example, if my phrase is “freedom” and the name I choose for God is Christ, my prayer of the heart might be “Freedom, in Christ.” Spend a few moments coming up with your two-part prayer
- Begin to say—either aloud or silently—your phrase. You may inhale on the name of God and exhale on the desire or vice versa. Spend several minutes breathing this prayer. Make it your own. Allow God to inhabit this prayer.
- After several minutes of repeating this prayer, sink into contemplative silence. Allow the love of God to fill you and surround you.
- If you want to be sure to remember this phrase to pray it throughout the day, write it down. You might want to place it on the back of a business card and put it in your wallet or pocket. Place it on a sticky note next to your computer, or on the door of your refrigerator.
- Teresa A. Blythe, 50 Ways to Pray: Practices from Many Traditions and Times (Abingdon Press: 2006), 36-38.
Wisdom of the Heart — Richard Rohr (excerpt)
Here are five interlocking habits of the heart . . . deeply ingrained patterns of receiving, interpreting, and responding to experience that involve our intellects, emotions, self-images, and concepts of meaning and purpose. These five habits, taken together, are crucial to sustaining a democracy.
- We must understand that we are all in this together. Ecologists, economists, ethicists, philosophers of science, and religious and secular leaders have all given voice to this theme. . . .
- We must develop an appreciation of the value of “otherness.”. . . [This] can remind us of the ancient tradition of hospitality to the stranger. . . .
- We must cultivate the ability to hold tension in life-giving ways. . . . When we allow [these] tensions to expand our hearts, they can open us to new understandings of ourselves and our world, enhancing our lives and allowing us to enhance the lives of others. . . .
- We must generate a sense of personal voice and agency. Insight and energy give rise to new life as we speak and act, expressing our version of truth while checking and correcting it against the truths of others. . . .
- We must strengthen our capacity to create community. . . . The steady companionship of two or three kindred spirits can kindle the courage we need to speak and act as citizens. 
- Terry Tempest Williams, “Engagement,” Orion, July-August 2004. See also Williams, The Open Space of Democracy (Wip and Stock: 2004), 83-84.
- [Cynthia Bourgeault, “The Way of the Heart,” Parabola, January 31, 2017.
- Adapted from Richard Rohr, “Voice of the Day: Richard Rohr on Sacred Space,” Sojourners, October 24, 2016.
- Parker J. Palmer, Healing the Heart of Democracy (Jossey-Bass: 2014, ©2011), 6-7, 44-46.