Bil Browning

God's Glorious Gadfly: Rev Howard Warren

Filed By Bil Browning | December 01, 2009 3:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Living

As usual, I woke up this morning and went outside to take the dogs out and have a smoke. I usually scroll through Twitter while I'm outside; there's not a lot of thought required (it is pre-coffee!) and it helps me get my finger on the LGBT topics of the day. This morning, obviously, there were a lot of tweets about World AIDS Day.

One, however, stood out amongst the rest:


I knew Howard and considered him a friend. I quickly clicked the link to read the short biography about his life and work inside the Presbyterian church, at the Damien Center, and in the LGBT community. While I remember Howard for his hats, rainbow stoles, and Statehouse activism, it was fascinating to learn he set the Presbyterian church into motion on LGBT issues.

Describing a man who "exploded out of the closet," the Rev. Jane Spahr, director of That All May Freely Serve, described Warren's activism in the Presbyterian Church as done "with a passion for justice and for truth-telling, but always with a compassionate heart." Remembering his purple-sequined hats, his placards as he stood for years before the General Assembly and his rainbow-colored banners and clothes, Spahr credits Warren with making the gay and lesbian movement in the PCUSA move. "He was a real person with HIV, and gay, and he came to realize how much he was loved by God. And he had to shout that out," said Spahr. "He was living Gospel. And the Gospel is outrageous. He took us out to a new place. Now, it is up to us to continue."

If you're the prayerful sort, offer up a blessing for Rev Howard Warren. Just be sure to ask your deity to bless someone else; that's how Howard would have wanted it.

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