“Certain individuals in the old days were born with what we call two spirits — a male and a female in one body. It was almost like a sacred thing, when you were born two-spirited. You were given responsibilities like the burial practices.”
Pyramid Lake Tribe Spiritual Leader
My travels around the world to seek out religious experts, spiritual leaders, and physicists for my latest documentary, The Nature of Existence, came about as a result of my awareness of my own mortality. My father died when I was thirteen, and suddenly I had a swarm of questions about life and death. It wasnt until twenty-five years later, when the events of 9-11 shocked our entire country into considering our mortalityfor about a weekthat I started to badger my friends with questions: Why do we exist? What is our purpose? If theres an afterlife, where exactly is it located? What or who created the Universe? With billions of stars in billions of galaxies to be mindful of, why would a god get so worried about people having sex? Finally, I wrote down the 85 toughest questions I could think of and went on the road.
One of the stops on my four-year journey was at the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribes Reservation to meet with their spiritual leader, Don Barlese. I was fortunate to be able to observe one of their ceremonies to bless the spirits of their ancestors at the site of a massacre, in order to help them move on to the next world.
Another stop was in Dallas, Texas at the Cathedral of Hope, the largest gay megachurch in the world. I thought the location was ironic, so deep in the south. But as Canon Coy James put it, I think that its the biggest gay church in the world because God has a sense of humor. Texas is a very conservative state. But I think its also because thats where its needed the most.
Reverend Dr. Jo Hudson is the Senior Pastor & Rector of the church. During her sermon she said, Examine everything you read and everything you listen to and ask yourself, Is this creating fear in me and in our world? Or is it creating hope?
The Trailer for The Nature of Existence