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The old adage says that nobody is perfect. Kevin challenged that in every way possible. Insanely generous, loving, and witty, he defined beauty.
And this didn't happen in a vacuum. Kevin is the product of a beautiful family. He was raised by lesbian parents who made a loving Christian home for children with special needs. He was their eldest. He is survived by them, a brother and two sisters.

And now, with political and religious hate swirling in this arctic cold, I feel beaten back, at a loss to fight these battles. With Rick Warren set to take center stage, my prayer (one of many this evening) is that he look at Kevin's mothers and see just how right they are with God and where he has gone astray.

Kevin and Trevor

Kevin is in the foreground. That's his brother, Trevor, in the picture. Kevin has been my buddy since I taught him in confirmation class 9 years ago. He was sweet, for sure, but there was a transcendence to his charm. His kindness was so undeniably real, it would continually catch me off guard. I was ostensibly there to teach him something about the bible. And he, apparently, was there to teach me about God.

Kevin made the point to come to the baptism of my first child. The elevator was broken and he couldn't make it to the sanctuary in his wheelchair. He had to sit out in the hallway and listen. When I saw him after wards, he was ecstatic about my kid, my family--not a thought about being unfairly put out.

Between tears, those memories--memories of spirit--have been passing through me. I've had such a short temper of late, I am humbled and, in many ways, ashamed. We lose so much to pointless anger. And here, I was blessed to know someone who didn't even know what that was.

I think back to the primary season and Mitt Romney's pretentious and false definitions of the American family. And I look at Kevin's mothers--their courage, their strength and above all, their love--and I know they are the best our country has to offer.

And now I see this spiritually rich family in the light of Rick Warren's participation at the inauguration. Hard as it is, I'll move beyond anger. I'll chose righteousness.

For all the criticisms of Pastor Warren, a lesser heard, but to me the biggest, is that he's a lousy theologian. He can talk about the word of God and quote obscure scripture from Leviticus out of context all he wants. The word of God was in Kevin's mouth, the word of God is with Kevin's family this very minute. He ought to sit with them in their time of pain and listen, and then tell the world on January 20th where he finds sin.

As tempting as it is, I will not judge, for that is, quite obviously, the failing of the Christian right, spoken with no more conviction than Rick Warren himself. But I will say unequivocally that he should not speak. He needs to be at the table, but not to talk. He needs to listen. Truly, my brother in Christ needs to be healed. Furthering his influence damages him more, and, in turn, empowers him to cause more damage.

I also realize that I'm not going to be able to yell loud enough and hope that some folks respect religious institutions. Although George Bush is a fellow Methodist, and although the official platform of my church is anti-gay, a week from tomorrow I'll be carrying Kevin in his casket to the alter of a United Methodist Church. Open and in plain view, under that umbrella, his family will sit in the first pew of a reconciling congregation, shining examples of God's love, a beacon for change from within.

I just got off the phone with Trevor. It's obvious that they were two peas in a pod. Before I could say anything, he asked me how I was doing. He was happy I was on the phone. Not self indulged, not spiteful. Just heart broken. He carries the torch now. It still shines bright, even on these, the darkest of days.

UPDATE: Thank you for putting this on the rec list. I thought we were all warren-ed out here at Kos. I have no specific instruction from his family, but I would suggest anyone who would like to make a donation in his name (Kevin Stroman-Cady) could do so to United Cerebral Palsy

UPDATE II: More pictures of Kevin here. He led the way. Truly perfect soul.

UPDATE III: When I spoke to Kevin's mother, she kept asking me about my new baby. She needed to hear about new life. I'm cradling this three week old lump of love in my lap and realize that it's the circle of promise and fulfillment that keeps passing itself down. no matter how much I go to church, the life/death paradigm is never going to really make sense, other than that I am squarely in the middle of it. but what I can see in this little boy's eyes is a very unique opportunity for progress. This is, in a nutshell, our hopes and dreams for the political process and, perhaps, what has us so upset these days.

FINALLY: I keep going back to this comment by sesquitastic:

Righteousness comes with time. (15+ / 0-)

So does forgiveness.

Sometimes we need to be angry.  Not hateful or vengeful or bitter.  But anger is a healthy reaction, even a necessary one at times.

by sesquitastic on Mon Dec 22, 2008 at 05:59:36 PM PST

Other brilliant diaries on this subject discussed the need for anger as well. I am in agreement, just choosing my own way, however. It is largely based on my experiences and, perhaps, lack of experiences. No one voted my marriage away.
I am  particularly struck by the relevance of time that sesquitastic raises. Much of the debate around this topic seems to center on the speed of progress and the expedience of one strategical use of emotion versus another. But there's the empty space between those emotions, the implied notes that Thelonious Monk talked about. I'm speculating, but maybe that's where we find our collective truth.
 

Originally posted to Dante Zappala on Mon Dec 22, 2008 at 05:13 PM PST.

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