Mardi Gras Oak Cliff parade today

Bead dazzling

Don’t let yesterday’s rain get you down. The sun is out for today’s Mardi Gras Oak Cliff celebration with its fourth annual parade. But it starts off with a crawfish boil and street party in the Bishop Arts District. Live music, food and beer will get you revved up for the parade. From Davis and Montclair to the Bishop Arts District, the parade rolls on through featuring floats, live bands, bicycle rides and more. And kinda makes us jealous of Oak Cliff.

DEETS: N. Bishop Ave at Davis St., 2 p.m., parade at 4 p.m. MardiGrasOakCliff.com.

—  Rich Lopez

Go with the flow

Trying yoga for the first time can be an intimidating experience. But that misses the point of this ancient practice that combines stretching, breath … and peace

Yoga instructor Petri Brill strikes a pose at her studio YogaSport, which provides beginners’ classes for the uninitiated. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

Yoga instructor Petri Brill strikes a pose at her studio YogaSport, which provides beginners’ classes for the uninitiated. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

JEF TINGLEY  | Contributing Writer

Some do it for their mind, some do it for their body, some do it for both. But all yoga students have one thing in common: Making the first step and taking up the practice. And while this age-old combination of stretching and breathing is meant to calm the mind and strengthen the muscles, a maiden voyage into a posterior-lifting position like downward-facing dog in a room full of strangers can send one’s heart racing. But that doesn’t have to be the case.

“People new to yoga should remember that everyone in class was a beginner at one point,” says Petri Brill, manager of YogaSport Dallas on Lemmon Avenue. “Yoga is a journey, not a destination. There is no perfect practice or perfect yogi or perfect yoga body. I think people worry about they’ll look [or] feel foolish in their first down-dog [and] that they’ll be judged. Our [yoga] community is diverse, encouraging and accepting: no judgment here!”

Mary Pierce Armstrong, who teaches at MarYoga, agrees that you should always look inward. “Yoga will come to meet you no matter where you are starting from. As long as you take the breath and the breaks you need, you will be doing awesome.”

For Wendy Moore, a 44-year-old yoga newbie, has taken these words of wisdom to the mat — literally. Moore recently completed her second MarYoga class as part of her new year regime. Any inhibitions she had about the experience were dispelled during her first visit.

“[I was] concerned about my general lack of bendy-ness, and not knowing where to put what arm and leg,” she says, “but if you look around you will figure out where your limbs are supposed to be by what others are doing.” Moore has continued to work on poses between classes with some slight variations mimicked by “what her cats are able to do.”

Keith Murray, a 37-year-old registered nurse, tried yoga for the first time more than eight years ago and was immediately hooked. He was taking classes three times a week before long. “I was a little intimidated about the whole thing at first,” he says, “but after my first couple of sessions my intimidation grew into excitement.”

A busy work schedule has kept Murray from his regular routine over the years, but he is trying to change that. “I still maintain a crazy life and work routine, but building yoga back into my life has really helped me to find balance again.”

According to yoga teacher Jennifer Lawson of SYNC Yoga & Wellbeing, it’s not just busy schedules and bundled nerves that keep people from the practice of yoga; it’s also our cultural fixation on success. “There tends to be so much emphasis on achievement and perfection that many of us are becoming accustomed to playing it safe in order to avoid the possibility of shame.”

Lawson recommends coming together as a group in a class with experienced and inexperienced yogis to create an environment that emphasizes the experience and process of yoga and not the destination or end result.

For Anisha Mandol, a 42-year-old business development manager who has been practicing yoga for about two years, these words ring true. “Once you understand your expectation from practicing, no one else’s matters. The benefits of yoga are fluid and dynamic, and each person has their own unique experience. Own yours,” she says.

And so it would seem that just as the journey of a million miles begins with one step, the journey toward a yoga-filled life begins with a single stretch on the matt (and maybe a little Namaste for good measure).

………………………………………………….

SAY NAMASTE: WHERE TO GET YOUR YOGA FIX

Options are plentiful for the budding yogi looking for a class. Get your stretch on at these studios in and around the gayborhood. You can also find information on their class offerings and schedules on their websites.

Yoga Sport Dallas
4140 Lemmon Ave, Suite 280
214-520-YOGA
YogaSportDallas.com

SYNC Yoga & Wellbeing
611 N. Bishop Ave.
214-843-3372
SyncDallas.com

MarYoga at Chi Studio
807 Fletcher St.
ChiDallas.com

Sunstone Yoga
2907 Routh St. (and other locations)
214-764-2119
SunstoneYoga.com

Gaia Flow Yoga Uptown
3000 Blackburn St., Suite 140B
214-235-1153
GaiaFlowYoga.com

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 17, 2012.

—  Michael Stephens

Rev. Amy Delong, tried by Methodists for being a lesbian, to preach at Bering Memorial Methodist Church

Rev. Amy DeLong

Paperwork can be the bane of any job. For Rev. Amy Delong a simple annual report catapulted her into the maelstrom of the United Methodist Church’s debate on accepting LGBT people. DeLong visits Houston’s Bering Memorial United Methodist Church (1440 Harold) on Sunday, Feb. 12 to preach at both the 8:30 and 10:50 service.

In 2009 DeLong was approached by two women who wanted to get married. After conducting premarital counseling with the couple Delong agreed to perform the ceremony. As a clergy person, DeLong was required to report on her activities at the end of the year, including any weddings she had performed. She knew that the Methodist Church did not allow same-sex marriage but thought “I don’t know if anybody even reads these.” Boy, was she wrong!

With-in three days she was hauled into the her boss’s (the bishop) office. DeLong’s relationship with her partner Val was well known to her colleagues. “I’ve never had a bishop or a leader in the church or a pastor who didn’t know that I was gay,” says DeLong. “Everyone knows Val.” But the church was determined now to make an example of her, and DeLon’s relationship would now be an issue.

In 2011 DeLong was tried in the church’s court with violating the Methodist “Book of Discipline” by being in a same-sex relationship and by performing a same-sex wedding. During the trial she refused to answer pointed questions about her and her partner’s sex life. “No heterosexual couples are ever asked if they
still engage in genital contact in their marriages,” says DeLong. That refusal left the court with no evidence against her on the first charge.

She was convicted of performing the wedding and suspended from ministry for 20 days. The court also required DeLong to work with a group of ministers to prepare a statement on how to “help resolve issues that harm the clergy covenant, create an advesarial spirit or lead to future trails.” “This sentence is complicated,” says DeLong. “It doesn’t lend itself well to media soundbites. So a lot of folks have been saying to me ‘I can’t tell, is this penalty good?’” DeLong responds with a resounding “Yes!” Saying that she welcomes the opportunity to write, teach and study on a topic dear to her heart.

DeLong recalls that during that initial meeting in the bishop’s office one of the bishop’s assistants referred to her as a “self-avowed practicing homosexual.” To which she responded “Val and I aren’t practicing any more… we are pretty good at it by now.” The assistant laughed. More than anything that is the impression one gets of DeLong: someone with a lot of humor and aplomb who is unwilling to back down from a fight for justice.

After the jump watch a clip of DeLong talking about her experience.

—  admin

SMU marks World AIDS Day with film screening

Dec. 1 isn’t just World AIDS Day — it’s also the 22nd annual Day With(out) Art, a movement launched in 1989 by the group Visual AIDS to mark the effect of the AIDS crisis on the arts community. In observance of the day, SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts will be among more than 50 colleges, museums and arts groups holding a free screening of the film Untitled.

Untitled, from Jim Hodges, Encke King and Carlos Marques da Cruz,  is an hour-long,  non-linear documentary featuring montages of archival footage recalling the period of activism in the early days of the AIDS crisis. The screening will take place in the Greer Carson Screening Room (room 3527) of the Owen Arts Building on SMU’s campus, 6101 Bishop Ave. at 5:30 p.m.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Bishop Harry Jackson Begs CPAC: Don’t Throw Us Hate Groups Under The Bus

Joe. My. God.

—  David Taffet

Peruvian Bishop: Call Them “Faggots”

Clip description via Andres Duque: “Speaking to reporters about efforts to bring a same-sex civil unions bill to the Peruvian Congress, homophobic Bishop Luis Bambarén tells reporters they should use the word ‘faggot’ instead of calling homosexuals ‘gay’.”

Joe. My. God.

—  admin

R.I. Bishop Blasts New Gov. on Marriage

BISHOP THOMAS J TOBIN X180 (FACEBOOK) | ADVOCATE.COMThe leader of Rhode Island’s Roman Catholics said marriage equality is “morally wrong” and that the newly sworn-in governor and other lawmakers should not be pushing to legalize it in his state.
Advocate.com: Daily News

—  admin

RI Governor, Speaker calmly rebut Catholic Bishop who ‘lashed out’ on marriage bill

Yesterday, the Providence Journal reported that the state’s Catholic Bishop “lashed out” against the proposed marriage law. Instead of kowtowing to the Catholic Bishop, the Governor and Speaker of the House concisely explained why they are pushing marriage:

Chafee, who is Episcopalian, stood by his support of gay marriage, repeating an argument he made in his inauguration speech that permitting gay and lesbian couples to legally marry is, to some degree, an economic issue for the state.

“The status quo economically is not working. Our foundation here in Rhode Island was built on tolerance and acceptance, and this is an area I want to move our state forward on, by building on our strengths of centuries ago,” he said. “Let’s give marriage equality a chance to grow our state.”

Chafee senior adviser Stephen Hourahan said later that the governor believes that legalizing gay marriage can provide incentive for “the best and brightest” talents — especially gay and lesbian professionals — to consider relocating to the state for job opportunities. It can even help boost the wedding industry. “It’s the idea that to have it in place is a very positive thing to a state,” said Hourahan.

Fox also spoke out against the bishop on Friday. “This has been debated for decades, and it will be debated [again]. No one is saying just because we want it early in the session that it’s not going to get a full debate. Of course it’s going to get a full debate,” he said. “We’re familiar with the issue. It’s not being rushed. But at some point, at some time, you need to bring this to a conclusion, and I think this is the year to do it.”

Elected officials in heavily Catholic countries like Ireland, Spain and Portugal have ignored the rantings of their Bishops over same-sex marriage laws. It’s good to see that some politicians in the United States are able to do the same thing.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  admin

The Truth About Bishop Robinson

V GENE ROBINSON X390 (GETTY) | ADVOCATE.COMBishop V. Gene Robinson, the Episcopal Church’s first openly gay bishop, talks to The Advocate about rumors he’s retiring because of death threats and that he brought the worldwide Anglican Communion to “the brink of self-destruction.”
Advocate.com: Daily News

—  admin

Openly Gay Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson To Retire Over Death Threats

Saying he is tired of the incessant death threats rained down from God’s Gentle People™ , openly gay Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson is retiring.

“The fact is, the last seven years have taken their toll on me, my family and you,” Robinson wrote in a message posted on the diocese website. “Death threats, and the now-worldwide controversy surrounding your election of me as bishop have been a constant strain, not just on me, but on my beloved husband, Mark, who has faithfully stood with me every minute of the last seven years.” Robinson was openly gay when he was elected bishop in 2003, but it aroused such passions that he wore a bullet-proof vest to his consecration. His ordination as bishop — the first of an openly gay priest in any Christian denomination — so divided the church that its General Convention in 2006 called a moratorium on “any candidate to the episcopate whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church.”

Joe. My. God.

—  admin