The hills are alive

coyote-howlingMan but I’ve missed you guys!

Remember back when I used to actually write stuff on this blog?

Me too. Ah, what fun we used to have. Me, waxing rhapsodic, pontificating until the cows came home to remind me that I need a much bigger condo, offering my advice to those of you kind enough to allow me that honor. And you, reading me, writing me, making with the mondo-awesome comments, in myriad and sometimes quite miraculous ways letting me know that I’m not nearly as alone as my office is usually telling me that I am.

And all of my neighbors, whom I mostly hear from my office window—or, rather, whose dogs I mostly hear, because I don’t think people train their dogs as much as they used to. Now everybody’s dog just barks like … well, like dogs never trained not to.

That’s sad. A trained dog is a happy dog, has been my experience. When I was a kid I trained my dog to play dead after I pretended to shoot him. I’d hold my hand up, say, “Bang!”, and ol’ Wimpy would  roll over onto his back, hold his legs straight up, and freeze.

Awesome! Kind of disturbing in retrospect, but my friends dug it. And that’s what mattered.

You know what instantly stops all dogs, trained or otherwise, from barking? Coyotes. Dogs in my townhouse/condo complex are like furry, Alpo-fortified roosters: they start barking at the break of dawn. Sometimes, the coyotes who populate the hills surrounding my small neighborhood aren’t yet done for the night, and, for reasons too dreadful to contemplate, suddenly begin yipping and howling in that special, bloodcurdling way that makes clear that coyotes (which I love) are the gatekeepers of hell. The moment the manic cry of the banshee coyotes begins, you couldn’t get a dog within three miles of here to bark if you started throwing cats at it. Every single dog in the area drops into a silence so absolute you can almost hear them thinking to their humans, “Yeah, this morning you’ll be taking yourself for a walk, Mr. Alpha. And remember: There’s no dog living here!”

Ah, coyotes. They sure do make for a lot of “Lost Cat” notices taped all over the place.

Wait a minute. What was I talking about?

Oh. Duh. Blogging.

See? I am so out of practice!

And that’s because I have lately been busier than a coyote reading lost cat notices. And I’m certainly not complaining about that busyness. The NALT Christians Project, all of three weeks old this Wednesday, has been a massive blessing to me. As of this writing the NALT Christians website is showing ninety-three videos. Each one is my favorite one. The Internet has become particularly fond of this one, which, at 100,000 views in the last day, has definitely gone viral [update: make that 219,700]:

That kid! He’s the very locus of all the cuteness in the universe!

Watch his mom right after he holds up the photo of his beloved “G-diddy.” If the memory of her expression is the last thing that flashes through my mind before I die, I’ll die happy.

And that dad! That voice! His whole … mega-solid presence!

Man. That a family makes me proud to be human.

Making a NALT Christians video is extremely easy to do. And  if you’re an LGBT-affirming Christian, it’s vitally important that you make one. When asked what words or phrases best describe Christianity, the top response among Americans ages 16-29 was “anti-homosexual.” For a staggering ninety-one percent of non-Christians—and eighty percent of young churchgoers—the answer was the same. If you don’t take advantage of the NALT Christians platform to help change this toxic, life-destroying, profoundly mistaken understanding of Christianity, then … then color me completely mystified.

I’m happy to now be so thoroughly engaged—along with my wife Catherine, Wayne and Evan from Truth Wins Out, and the indispensable Dan Wilkinson—tending to The NALT Christians Project. But I’m also really glad to get back to working here on my blog. So … thanks! Thanks for keeping my blog alive whilst I’ve been away; thanks for writing me the letters I’m so pleased to answer here; thanks for liking my Facebook page; thanks for supporting what we do over on Unfundamentalist Christians; thanks for subscribing to my newsletter.

Together, we’re making a difference. And we’re having some fun doing so. What could be better than that?

As I write this, the sun’s come up. The hills are alive with the sound of silence.

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About John Shore

John Shore (who, fwiw, is straight) is the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question, and three other great books. He is founder of Unfundamentalist Christians (on Facebook here), and executive editor of the Unfundamentalist Christians group blog.  (In total John's two blogs receive some 250,000 views per month.) John is also co-founder of The NALT Christians Project, which was written about by TIME,  The Washington Post, and others. His website is JohnShore.com. John is a pastor ordained by The Progressive Christian Alliance. You're invited to like John's Facebook page. And don't forget to sign up for his mucho awesome monthly newsletter.

  • Barbara Rice

    He’s the very “locus” of all the cuteness in the universe? Is that a locust that’s had a tailendectomy?

  • http://www.justjohnboy.com justjohn

    i will be making one, john, as soon as i get off my lazy arse. but i find myself too at ease and at peace with my serendipity of discovering steven…

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      steven?

      • Lymis

        You know, Adam’s pal.

  • Matt

    It’s good to have you back. I missed you too, you crazy guy. Major solidarity on the dog thing. My partner’s parents have two of the littlest, barkiest dogs known to biology living with us. As a result, my partner and I have decided that when we get our own place, we will only have things that start with “c”: Cats, children, and cupcakes. Maybe coyotes too, if we can still hear those dogs.

    The Internet loves that video because it’s short, adorable, and heartwarming. Some friends of mine were discussing it on Facebook. I briefly broke my social-media silence to point them to notalllikethat.org. They loved it, especially a friend who’s a Christian cult survivor. So it’s also making a big difference for those folks too. It’s just way too awesome all around.

  • http://Fordswords.net David S.

    Rattling a used soup can with half a dozen pennies inside scares the crap out of yap dogs. Wait…did I share too much?

    You don’t live in NY apartment for 17 years without picking up a trick or two.

    Anyway…Each NALT video is my fave too. I’ve watched each and every one and I’ve been so, so moved.

    And, Mr. Shore, I can’t tell you what a blessing you (via this sacred space you have the audacity to call a blog) have been to me personally. I appreciate you so much.

    DS

  • http://a-ministers-musings.blogspot.com Erik Wikstrom

    We’ve missed you too, John. Nice to have you back.

  • Elizabeth

    Missed your leaping tall buildings in a single bound so much. Congratulations on NALT’s success, slacker!

  • Christine McQueen

    I do plan to do a video, but I have to figure out how I’m going to put my beliefs into words first.

  • http://comingintothesoul.wordpress.com/ HJ

    I unfortunately haven’t been following particularly closely. I’m curious what you have received as far as feedback from LGBT folks?

    • Elizabeth

      Hi HJ. As someone who contributed one of the first 40 videos, may I answer? I’m a completely clueless n00b, and I’ve been monitoring the social media response as best I can around the clock ever since. I don’t sign up for anything half-way. (: There’s been a lot of gratitude. There’s also been a lot of distrust from the LGBT community. All the more reason everyone should make a video. We’re not going to undo 2000 years of fear and pain over lunch. Unfortunately.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

        I could be wrong about this, but I never got that there was anything near a lot of distrust of NALT from the LGBT community, so much as there was, for a while there, a small group actively fomenting as much sentiment against the project as they could. And that sort of thing is to be expected, of course. But (and, again, this is just from what I saw), that discontent was almost always grounded in misinformation: that NALT was headed by only me and/or Dan Savage (as opposed to the truth, which is that NALT was founded by me and two gay men, neither of whom is Christian), or that NALT was meant as a platform for straight Christians only (as opposed to the truth, which is that Christians of all sexual orientations and gender identities are invited to, and have been, making NALT videos). But I think as the project has continued on, everybody has come to see the primary complaints against NALT aren’t really … supportable. Either way, the extremely enthusiastic support we’ve gotten from the LGBT community–from the gay press to the hundreds of letters we’ve received—has been been nearly overwhelming, and, to say the least, rewarding.

  • Kerry

    Imagine if the Pope made a video for NALT !

    I think he might have read your earlier piece John – just maybe…

    Going to go do a search for that one now.


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