Friday, November 22, 2013

A Shattered Birthday

On November 22, 1963 shots rang out in Dallas, Texas ending the life of President John F. Kennedy and imploding Camelot. The entire nation seemed to instantly erupt in grief and mourning.

In the village of Lake Orion, Michigan those same shots shattered my eighth birthday party and burst forever the bubble of innocence that surrounded me at that time. I suddenly knew that the world out there was potentially dangerous. I now realized that heroes could be killed.

My family seemed transfixed by the images on the television for many days as the nation paid its respects to our fallen hero.

We are forever connected Mr. Kennedy. As the nation remembers the events of fifty years ago I realize that there is an eight year old boy inside of me who was forever changed that day in 1963.

One of the ideas that he shared that has helped shape my life is:

"And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country." Inaugural Address of President John F. Kennedy

Saturday, November 16, 2013

A Week of R&B (Rice & Beans) Completed

Rice and Mung Beans with friends!
Eat Less Give Life!

In the incredible way that Divine Order manifests in my experience, It is so perfect that the final meal of rice & beans (in this experiment) was prepared by my friend Chef John and was shared with friends as we took a break from food prepping for our Homeless Shelter Week #4. We enjoyed a tasty lunch of mung beans, nicely spice and cooked into an porridge like consistency.

I have had many "ah ha" experiences this week, many opportunities to reflect and notice changes happening in my thinking and, I suspect, in my living as well.

  • Once again, I have learned that plant based meals are tasty, satisfying and easy.
  • Like most things, when I really pay attention to my patterns and thinking there are simple changes, small shifts, that I can make that have incredible and positive results.
  • I spend more money that I am comfortable with on food, especially eating out. When I calculated what I did not spend of food this week, the number was startling. Spirit has nudged me with a place to put that money to use.
  • Eating mindfully is a powerful spiritual practice.
  • This has been a journey, taken with others, that I will never see or know. People all over the planet who eat sustenance  meals such rice & beans, rice & noodles, potatoes, yarrow root and more.
  • The experience has been deeply spiritual.
  • Rice and beans are great for breakfast!
  • I am being called by Love to simplify my routines, my practice my thinking and my life.
  • I intend to incorporate more plant based meals into my weekly diet.
  • I loved taking this journey in community
  • More to follow ...
Thanks God for this powerful way to be aware.

Always in Love,



Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Halfway through a week of R&B (Rice & Beans)

This week long journey of eating rice and beans has allowed me to step back and observe my relationship with food. I have a heightened inner awareness of how much time, money and energy I focus on food. What to eat, where to eat, is it time to eat?

There is something very calming in the simplicity of rice and beans. Meals are quick with little fuss or mess and more satisfying than I had imagined. Not that I haven't wanted other things like a cheeseburger, pizza or ___. I noticed the smell of bacon and eggs wafting through the neighborhood as I took Porkchop out to do his business this morning.

I had some tortilla's so today I made rice and bean burritos. As I ate, images of the people all over the world who eat this way most every day filled my mind. Then images of the people who would eat this way if they could.

Thanks God! I am blessed by rice and beans.



Sunday, November 10, 2013

A Week of R&B (Rice and Beans) Begins

    The First Batch
  • So why beans and rice for a week? And What is the purpose of this anyway?
On Saturday, Nov 2, 2013 - I was looking for some way to kill some time because the power in our neighborhood had browned out. After running errands and visiting family, I was driving South on M24 and drove by Kensington Community Church - Orion campus. I have been to Kensington in Troy may times over the years. Even though they and I have some big differences around issues like LGBT folks and women in ministry, I appreciate their commitment to God, Outreach and to service. I always take something home when I visit.
At the beginning of this particular service lead pastor, Dave Wilson, was talking about the three week series of lessons that would start the following weekend, Nov 9 & 10, entitled, "Rice & Beans." He talked about how approximately one thirs of the people on our planet live on a sustenance diet, such as rice and beans. 

The basic idea is that one the first week, the pastors would call the church members to eat rice & bean for breakfast, lunch and dinner and track what they would have normally spent on groceries and eating out. Whatever they saved by eating rice and beans will be collected on weekend #2 of the series and the proceeds would be used to support 10 initiatives that Kensington has going, local and global, to make a difference in the lives of God's people. 

The three ideas that hooked me into participating:
  1. This is not about digging deeper so we can give more. This is about shifting how we live so we can do something to make a difference in our world. WOW! I have heard the "dig deeper please" pitch and frankly I have made that pitch many times. My brain was exploding with the idea of shifting how I live, even for a short time, to make a difference.
  2. The journey we are on is a shift from charity to compassion. This really touched me in that we are gearing up for shelter week #4 next weekend and I immediately made the connection about shifting from charity to compassion. That place insides that is not trying to help the nice homeless people, but sharing part of the journey with them.
  3. The invitation to do this week "in community." To tweet and FAcebook and Instagram and talk about this on Social Media and in small groups. 
So I began the seven days of eating rice & beans for every meal. We were told we can add items we already had on hand, and I have added some cheese and salsa a couple of times, however I am following the very basic rice and beans for the most part.

I have two events during this time that are dinners, so I will add two additional evenings of rice and beans next week.

This is a spiritual journey for me. I intend to be very introspective so that I might "hear" God's guidance and direction.

I am not sure what I will do with the money I save from not buying all the stuff I usually buy and from the meals I will not eat in restaurants. Spirit will let me know what to do at the proper time. There are plenty pf places that can use a few dollars to feed, house and clothe people.

Always in Love!


(c) 2013 by Richard L. Beattie

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Happy Harvest - Happy Homne - Autumnal Equinox Blessings

Happy Harvest - Happy Home

Autumn is here and my thoughts turn to friends and the gradual shift to an indoor focus.

Soon enough the trees will embark on the change to fall colors and the lawn will stop needing to be cut.

May this fall and the coming winter provide us all with opportunities to reflect and renew. Autumn may appear to be a time of dying however the truth is that it is a time of replanting and preparing for the springtime which will surely follow winter in the perfect time.

Always in Love!


Saturday, July 27, 2013

Forty Years Ago - LOHS Class of 1973

Reunions and Re-connections

I can barely get my mind around the idea that forty years ago last month I graduated from Lake Orion High School.

Today, member of my class as well as many others gathered at Bald Mountain State Recreation area for a multi-class reunion.

Our Twentieth reunion in 1993 was my first, having been in California for the prior celebrations.

Although life has not always turned out the way I imagined it might, it certainly has been a interesting and wonderful journey.

I enjoyed catching up with my first girlfriend Debra, who has also had an interesting life.

Everything in me knows that the best is yet to be!

Monday, June 03, 2013

Bill and John - seven decades of love.

Free to Be Together

This video makes me smile at the beautiful life these two men created together and makes me a little sad because the decades long relationship I dreamed I would have someday has eluded me.

When I was barely 21, I met two men from Long Beach at a party who had been together for 45 years. Wow! Two men in a partnership for 45 years, that was mind blowing. I had recently moved from Metro Detroit to Los Angeles and was busy expanding my ideas about what it meant to be a gay man. Until that point, a year or two with a partner was doing pretty well from what I had experienced. In a moment, I decided that I was going to find a husband, settler down and someday he and I would celebrate our golden anniversary. That was in 1977 and my longest formal relationship has been about 5 years. Oh, I have had two on again off again relationships that went past 10 years but that was not my hope and dream.

There was little in the community of gay men I was a fringe part of at that time to support long term relationships. I had no pattern for relationship success to draw upon in my family or circle of friends. The world I knew seemed focused on "where's the party" or "dang, you are you doing tonight?"

In retrospect, I tended to pick men who were struggling with their sexuality, who were "straight by day" and liked to play late at night. I also tended to be drawn to punk, hard ass, party animal guys who wanted to get high or drunk and have some fun. Okay on a Friday night however not someone with whom I could build a life.

At one point I had a several year live in relationship with a guy who had been my best friend for many years. We loved each other very much and still do as friends. There just wasn't much sexual energy between us and I am a Scorpio with a high intensity drive.

As Marriage Equality becomes a reality in more states of the US and other countries I am filled with a renewed sense of hope for my LGBT and curious sisters and brothers and for myself.

Happy pride month!


Sunday, January 06, 2013

Shelter Week #2 is Complete.

Renaissance Unity, where I serve as a  minister, has been hosting the Macomb County Warming Center rotating shelter for the past week. We have provided a hot meal, human connection, a warm/dry/safe place to sleep and breakfast to 50/70 people each night. During a week that has been the coldest of this winter season.

Today, we handed off hosting duties to Grace Episcopal, in Mt. Clemens. Our guests have followed the rotation. Shortly after our guests headed out of the shelter, the MCWC trailer rolled out of our driveway loaded with soiled bedding, on its way to the laundry and then on to the next host church.

I am finally awake after an afternoon of napping since I got home from our Sunday service. It feels odd to suddenly "stand down" from Shelter Week related activities. The focus of my life for the past couple of months has been my mom's health, the Services for the Holidays and Shelter Week. Mom is home from hospital, the holidays are now history and we have completed the first of two Shelter Hosting Weeks for this season.

It will take me a while to catch up and process this experience, which has been quite different from our first hosting week last March. I spent more time this week being a pastor to our guests this week. Perhaps I was more available to the role of talking to and praying with people who are looking for hope and direction. Looking for a reason to keep going. Some are wondering if they will ever find a job, or be able to quit drinking or stop using heroin or get the medical attention they need. People wondering if they will ever have a place of their own again. I absolutely know it is possible for all of these things and more because I know and have demonstrated in my own life that with God all things are possible. Now for the how to do it piece. the larger challenge of helping people connect with the services and programs that can really help people break out of homelessness and hopelessness. 

I am so blessed to serve the congregation of Renaissance Unity. Our volunteers allowed Spirit to flow through them into expression as a warm open reception process, fantastic food,  a warm place to sleep and fellowship. Check out the pictures I took, of our volunteers in action.

My heart is full of gratitude for the amazing staff of our church who work tirelessly behind the scenes to support the ministry and for our Board of Trustees and for Rev. Jim & Rev. Sandy, my colleagues. So much love, support and encouragement.

One of our guests asked if I thought our people were judging the guests, looking down on them. He also asked if this was just a "project" for us. I thought about his qiestions and responded, no and no. I shared that we were on a journey of attempting to follow Jesus Christ's command to Love One Another as a way of life.  I asked him if he felt judged or looked down upon and he said no and the reason her asked is he had gotten a bit cynical over the past two years but was still looking for a reason for hope.

We have another opportunity to host the shelter in 10 weeks. Perhaps I will have more guidance for the tough questions. 

After my conversation with this particular man, who was bright, articulate and had a manufacturing background similar to my own, I thought about my faith journey and personal mission:  To experience and express Christ as fully as I can  in every moment of every day.

Then I cried.

Grace & Peace,


(c) Richard L. Beattie 2013, all rights are reserved.