Celebration of Being: A new way to ex-gay?

Recently, Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality (JONAH) sent an email with the subject line “Specially Priced Workshops” offering a workshop called the Noble Man in collaboration with a group called Celebration of Being. The event is also offered on the JONAH website. The email offered special prices for combining the Celebration of Being and Noble workshops ($1420.00 for both weekends!). The rationale and promised results are:

Offered by The Celebration of Being and the Jonah Institute

Why is this particular combination of experiential-learning weekends great for couples? Because it permits couples to experience deep emotional breakthroughs where each other’s authentic needs are recognized and honored.

At the Celebration of Woman workshop, the female partner will learn to:
• Step into the power, beauty and radiance of being a woman
• Tap into her deepest feminine essence and her fullest potential as a woman
• Open up her being, so she can share all these gifts with the man she loves

At the Noble Man workshop, the male partner will learn to:
• Feel and act empowered around women
• Open his heart and trust his purpose as a man in the presence of women
• Share these gifts with the woman he loves to truly honor and embrace her

Extra Bonus for the Woman who attends:
If the female partner participates in the “Celebration of Woman” workshop, she qualifies to help facilitate the men’s Noble Man weekend at a reduced rate and thus gain greater insight into the issues faced by her man.

By combining and attending the two workshops, the couple will:
• Build a deeper base of understanding between them
• Deepen their trust in each other
• Open them up emotionally to each other and ignite feelings of passion and joy for them.

To me, this had the sounds of a New Warriors Training Adventure ad so I investigated a little further. The Celebration of Being is a venture of Rajyo Hartman and Britta Johnson, both followers of the teacher, Osho (osho.com). The Celebration of Being:

…is committed to represent the leading edge of our evolving humanity, while holding a space for the tender transformation of everyone’s hearts.

Our Rites of Passage workshops, Goddess Workshops for women, trainings and individual coaching guide you to heal the issues that have kept you separate from yourself and others, find your special purpose here on Earth, and provide you with a tangible experience of your unique connection with the Divine.

We are dedicated to the discovery of the true essence of the feminine and masculine, and the healing of man and woman. We believe in an embodied spirituality, and are committed to the Awakening of all through our goddess workshops and more.

On the front page, the Celebration of the Noble Man workshop was listed with no mention of JONAH. The experience is promoted as a way to heal those mother wounds.

The Noble Man workshop is a three and a half day Intensive for men who wish to heal their issues with women. It is a profound process of being supported and honored by experienced women holding an unconditional space of acceptance, loving kindness and devotion. This is a safe environment for you to express and explore your fears, wounds and resentments around the feminine, and to let go of whatever is in the way of you relating from a space of presence, openness and integrity.

Given that the reparative drive theorist believes that gayness derives from the “classic triadic pattern” of the domineering mother and cold distant father, I suspect the workshop is provided by Jonah in order get gay men to repair the mother corner of that triangle. The New Warrior experience addresses the dad issues and perhaps this will be the new way to repair the mom issues.

As with New Warriors and the ex-gay movement, this seems like an odd collaboration. JONAH takes a pretty conservative view of homosexuality and is recommended by conservative Christians as the Jewish ex-gay group. JONAH is recommended on the new Facts About Youth website which says it is non-religious. Celebration of Being on the other hand, while apparently open to a wide range of spirtual influences, does not seem to be opposed to homosexuality. In fact, the founders of the CoB support a Celebration of the Gay Nobleman workshop in collaboration with Michael Sigmann. Johnson and Markman are listed as facilitators for that workshop which sounds a lot like the one JONAH is supporting, except without the gay.

Additional information: PFOX hearts them some Celebration of Being too.

Joyce Meyer denounces Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill

Three and a half months after her loud no comment to me, Joyce Meyer Ministries issued a statement to Change.org denouncing Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill. Joyce Meyer is on television everyday there and has invested much money and goodwill in good works there. If known, this statement should have some positive impact. Here is her statement:

From: Joyce Meyer Ministries

Date: Mon, Apr 12, 2010 at 3:03 PM

It is increasingly evident that the proposed “Anti-Homosexuality Bill” introduced in the Ugandan parliament is a profoundly offensive, dangerous and disturbing attack on the very foundation of individual liberties and human rights afforded not only to the good citizens of Uganda, but on the at-large global community.

If enacted, this hostile legislation will also further, and adversely, serve as a major setback in the global health efforts to combat Uganda’s AIDS epidemic and reduce the record-high infection rates among the country’s HIV population, an already at-risk community that could be further ostracized, threatened, and targeted as potential criminals.

Our missions and ministry message has always been to teach that the Word of God is about helping people – all people – learn that God loves them and has a purpose for their lives, not put guilt or condemnation on them.

As a global society, we do not have to agree, endorse or condone the lifestyle choices of others. However, history has taught us that we equally cannot and should not excuse those who would hide behind religion or misuse God’s word to justify bigotry and persecution.

With this statement, our motivation and intent is not to interfere with Uganda’s political agenda or internal affairs. As believers, however, we have a moral and ethical duty that compels us to speak out against injustice wherever it may be in the world.

Joyce Meyer Ministries

This is a solid statement from a leading charismatic leader and one that I hope she will make sure gets some awareness in Uganda.

h/t: Boxturtlebulletin

What he said: Parliament committee member says Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill is “useless”

According to this report from News 24, the bill is not as important as, well, important things.

Kampala – A Ugandan parliamentary panel said on Friday there is little backing for the country’s widely-condemned anti-gay bill and no timetable had been set for its debate.

“I think it is useless and will not achieve what it intends to achieve,” said Alex Ndeezi, a member of the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee tasked with reviewing the bill before it can be presented to the house.

The bill imposes drastic penalties for homosexual offences, including the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality” in cases of rape of a minor by a person of the same sex, or where one partner has HIV.

The panel’s chairman Stephen Tashyoba said the draft law was not a priority.

“As far as I am concerned, we really have more urgent matters to discuss like electoral reforms, which are already behind schedule,” he said.

Homosexuality is already illegal in Uganda and offenders can be jailed for life.


h/t gug

Is there a political side to Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill?

I am not a political commentator by trade nor do I play one on TV. However, I have dabbled in it as it does not require a license.

Commenting on US politics is difficult enough, but venturing into Ugandan politics is probably more treacherous. While I have frequently criticized Ugandan MP David Bahati’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill on principle, I have infrequently discussed what, if any, political advantages may come from the introduction and support for the bill. At first glance, it seems reasonable that a politician going into an election might seek an issue about which most people agree and make that issue his cause. And indeed, being perceived as a populist may be part of the benefit of the bill for those who support it there. However, there may be broader political motives for the party of Bahati and President Museveni, the National Resistance Movement.

An opposition party (Forum for Democratic Change) leader, Anne Mugisha, speculated in November, 2009 that the bill was introduced in order to take the mind of the public away from government corruption and tinkering with election laws. From her vantage point, the uproar over the bill plays into a pattern, saying

Like all legislative attempts at policing the bedrooms of adults the Bill will have no real impact on our private lifestyles. However, the Bill whether it is passed or not will create a lively debate that will serve a very sinister political purpose. Those who follow Ugandan electoral cycles will not be surprised by this diversion because they would have witnessed the same drama around HIV/AIDS in 2001 and rape in 2006.

She believes this year’s diversion is the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

A good political ploy not only distracts votes but directs their attention toward a specific alternative target. If indeed the Anti-Homosexuality Bill has a political side, the target might be another opposition party candidate, Olara Otunnu. Otunnu has been long considered a potential candidate for the presidency. Recently chosen as the standard bearer for the Uganda People’s Congress, Otunnu is a former diplomat to the United Nations with a long resume of advocacy for children and, as the cartoon below indicates, a single man.

The subtitle to the cartoon reads, “A former UN diplomat, Olara Otunnu, on Sunday won the Uganda People’s Congress presidency in a contest that attracted eight candidate.” That’s the news, but I doubt that was the only message. In January, the UPC went on record as being opposed to the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. Their leader is single. Get it?

According to Ford and Carter administrations official and frequent visitor to Uganda, Bob Hunter, many Ugandans suspect that a single man over the age of 30 could be a homosexual. Hunter emerged as the spokesperson for the Fellowship Foundation on Uganda when it was disclosed last year that the sponsor of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, David Bahati, had been closely involved with a parliamentary prayer groups associated with the Fellowship Foundation. The Fellowship Foundation, via Hunter and spiritual leader Doug Coe, strongly denounced the bill and expressed hope for it to be withdrawn. Hunter recently returned from a trip to Uganda where he expressed the Fellowship’s opposition to Ugandan leaders as well as conducted mission work in northern Uganda.

Hunter told me that the March 16 cartoon in the government sponsored paper, New Vision, raises the possibility that the NRM plans to make Otunnu’s singleness an election issue. Speaking directly about the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, Hunter said, “Some there believe that focusing attention on homosexuality might be a way to indirectly cast aspersions on Otunnu.”

No one can be sure of course. However, suggestions of homosexuality might help weaken a candidate in Uganda, especially during a period of debate over a law that seeks to eliminate it from the nation.

The Call Uganda – May 1, 2010

Bruce Wilson noted back in December that Lou Engle’s The Call might be in Uganda sometime in May of 2010. According to The Call Uganda’s website, the event will be held in Kampala on May 1.

The purposes of the organizers are spelled out on the site:

It is intended to awaken and revive the young and the old, men and women, church and family, government and the public and to fight vices eating away at our society.  We shall all join our hearts across tribal, political, denominational, and generational boundaries, to cry to God to help us with the challenges in our country such as:

* The heightened political tensions and wrangles in the country, especially as we go towards the 2011 general elections

* The increasing level of social evils in our society, some which are threatening our values and lifestyles e.g.

o Witchcraft and human sacrifice

o Homosexuality and increased immorality

o Disasters and the resultant suffering of the people

o The decay of morals and infrastructure of our city Kampala

* The sins and shortcomings that have been happening in the body of Christ, shaming the name of the Lord and discouraging God’s people (REV. 3: 1 – 3)

* The evil practices being committed with impunity by those in public offices especially the widespread corruption and misappropriation of funds

* The destiny of our youth and children who are confused by our deteriorating value system

This post is informational at this point. I hope to add additional commentary either here or in another post.