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AAARC has been an
independent 501(c)3
non-profit org since 1997.

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PO Box 339
Lower Lake, CA 95457


Rev. Nelson is a life coach and ordained minister. She can be reached by e-mail at RevJillNelson --at-- aol.com or through her website at StepBeyondCoach.com. Don Ross is the Queen Bee of Heresy, webmaster of his interfaith NichirensCoffeehouse.net and GayWineCountry.com, a GLBT business directory . You can email Don at Don --at-- classes.bz. Both serve on the Board of Directors at the A. Austin Amerine Retreat Center in Lake County. To learn more about AAARC, subscribe to our newsletter On Board the AAARC (join below).

Queer Spirituality: In Dialogue

Copyright by the Rev. Jill Nelson and Don Ross of the Amerine Retreat Center, June 2007.
This article was written for GaySonoma.com's Spirituality column.

After writing this column for over 3 years now I recently came to the realization that I was running out of fresh ideas and I decided I needed to try something new. I just wasn’t sure what. Then I went on retreat with the rest of the board of the retreat center I serve with, out on our retreat center property in Lake County. While I was there connecting with nature and my fellow board members I had a great idea… I would invite Don, one of my favorite spiritual dialogue partners, to share the column with me. Don is one of those people who renews your faith in, well a lot of things, like the power of spiritualities of all kinds, in joy and laughter, and in the importance of heretics, tricksters and questioners of all that some hold sacred. We share an interest in diverse spiritual practices, provoking theological discussion and all things queer. I was excited when Don said yes! So now I will let Don introduce himself to you in his own words.

Queer Spirituality? When Jill asked me to share this column with her, I thought to myself, “What can I write of worth about Queer Spirituality? Surely nothing of note.” But as I pondered the idea further, I decided to seize the opportunity to explore my inner heretic.

Baptist to Buddhist to worshiper of the Goddess divine, I have now become a pan-theist with atheistic leanings; believing little, yet still honoring the Gods of our Ancestors and the Teachings they held in their hearts that help people to follow the Good Red Road through the treacherous crags of life and faith. Some friends say this makes me more Taoist than Buddhist. So it may be.

As one of the co-founders of the AIDS Interfaith Network of Sonoma County in the 90s, after I returned to NoCal from a decade in San Diego, I was intrigued to learn about the Amerine Retreat Center and so joined their Board of Directors last year. Though AAARC.org is formerly an MCC affiliated project, it has grown beyond the confines of any one or two religions, fully embracing my cock-eyed belief that all religions should be mutually honored and represented on our Lake County Retreat Center grounds in the future. As a non-Christian for most of my life, this impresses me tremendously.

Praise be to Kwan-yin, to Pele, to Allah and to Jehovah, as well as all other Gods of our Ancestors, all arch-types of Mercy and Compassion, thus worthy of our respect. Is that so queer?

So, here is your invitation to join us in the discussion. Let’s be spiritually queer together! If you have a thought, a question, a curiosity, or you just want to see if you can get one or both of us worked up over something send us an email. Otherwise, we might just ramble.

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