Sunday, October 20, 2013

Heart Healthy


Psalm 51:10-14

I Samuel 16:1-13

I don't remember the grade exactly, but I do remember the moment of revelation. Up until then recess had been a time of a soccer game with no boundaries – literally there was no out of bounds. We'd run and run and run until someone scored a goal or the bell rang when we would file back into the building red-faced, sweaty and panting. Our game always began on the field where two boys would pick the teams. It was never said out loud, but everyone understood that they got to pick because they were the best at soccer.

I was usually the 1st girl chosen after the boys, sometimes second after Dawn who was a fleet forward compared to my willing but slow soccer speed.

But on this day on the playground, the first girl chosen was Liz.
Liz?

As my friends and I gathered around the lunch table later I lamented, "Liz? She doesn't even know how to play soccer, all she did was lean against the goal post and look pretty."

Oh.

Whenever it starts - and I believe it starts earlier now - it happens. That sudden realization that what your parents had told you about what is on the inside mattering more than the looks on the outside - is all a lie.

I can be a cynic, but more often than not I am an idealist. Sometimes I interact with the world as I think it should be, rather than see how it actually is. I want to think that we are living in a world where what’s on the outside doesn't impact how the world sees us, but I can’t balance that out with the knowledge that I do not have one African American friend or colleague who has not been pulled over or questioned by a police officer and I have plenty of white friends and colleagues who don’t even think that’s a real problem because it’s so outside of their understanding of what happens in our society.

I want to think that we are living in a world where what’s on the outside doesn't impact how the world sees us, but sometimes I’m privy to information where I learn that two final candidates for a 2000 member Head of Staff ministry position include one who had 15 years of ministry experience as both an Associate Pastor and Head of Staff and the other one who had 26 months of ministry experience in an Associate Pastor position and the one with the least amount of experience and credentials got the job. Did I mention the one with more experience is a woman and the one with minimal experience is male?

I want to think that we are living in a world where what’s on the outside doesn't impact how the world sees us, but when Martha read an article to me about a criminal, I was picturing him in my head… and when she turned the laptop to show me his picture I was chagrined to realize that the picture in my head did not match the fairly clean-cut image of reality.

I want to think we are living in a world where what’s on the outside doesn't impact how the world sees us… but we all know better than that.

We all do it and in varying degrees we've all had it done to us.

Truly – and sadly – it will be not until the banquet in heaven that we will see Apostle Paul’s vision of true equality become reality – no longer Jew or Gentile, no longer male or female, no longer slave or free…
no longer Muslim or Christian or Buddhist or …
   no longer gay or straight or trans or…
      no longer lower class or working poor or the 1% or…

Then we will leave these childish judgments behind, sadly for now we judge and we are judged.

It does make me feel a little better that Samuel does it too. He had already done this before picking Saul out as the first king. Saul described in this way: There was not a man among the people of Israel more handsome than he; he stood head and shoulders above everyone else (I Sam. 9:2).

Eventually Saul wore out his welcome with God and Samuel (or was it Samuel then God). Either way, God tells Samuel to get over it and go find the next king.

The LORD said to Samuel, ‘How long will you grieve over Saul? I have rejected him from being king over Israel. Fill your horn with oil and set out; I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons.

Samuel goes where he’s supposed to go and looks and sees the one he thinks he’s supposed to find. The firstborn of Jesse who looks like what Samuel thinks a king should look like, but God tells him to move along. ‘Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for the LORD does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.’

And it is not until Samuel listens to God, that he finds the right one – David.
   The youngest.
      The shepherd boy.

What God wants is often not what the world wants. God’s desires rarely look like what we think they should look like. And the thing is… we know it.

We live in a nation where 20% of the people own 89% of the wealth. That means 80% of us are getting by – or not - with the 11% that’s left over. And some have so little they don’t even show up in the statistics.

Whether we think the government should be involved in helping those who are food insecure or whether we think it should be left to individuals and nonprofits and churches to cover the gap… we know in our hearts, something is not right.

What is God telling us to do? Are we listening?

Samuel goes to find the next king, but he can’t identify him until he hears and accepts what God is telling him.

God calls us too – but when we look in the mirror do we think, “Well, that can’t be right.”?
I’m too short, too old, too busy.
I’m not smart enough, not spiritual enough, not experienced enough.

What if God knew about me what I know about me – there’s no way God would want me on God’s side.

Grown up King David did amazing things, but he also did things that weren't pleasing to God.
He decided that he liked his neighbor’s wife. He got her pregnant. He then attempted to cover his tracks by having his neighbor killed.

In one tawdry story David breaks at least 50% of the commandments.

You might think that would be the end of the relationship between God and David. But the Lord looks into the heart of David and although it’s a mess, God still loves him. God doesn’t give up on him. 

But God does expect more of him.

David gets the message. And David responds…
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
   and put a new and right spirit within me. 
Do not cast me away from your presence,
   and do not take your holy spirit from me. 
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
   and sustain in me a willing spirit. 

There are many reasons we might think there should be no relationship between God and us.  
But the Lord looks into our hearts and believe me, it’s a mess 
– and yet God still loves us. 

God doesn't give up on us. 

But God does expect more of us.

How will we respond?

Let us pray... Holy One, we give you permission to carve away all that is not pure in our hearts. We invite you to create space in our crowded hearts for you to dwell. Create in us a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within us. We ask you to align our priorities with yours, and awaken our hearts from their sleep.

In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit - Amen.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

What's In a Name

September 29, 2013 - Narrative Lectionary - Year 4, Week 3

Exodus 3:1-15

But Moses said to God, ‘If I come to the Israelites and say to them, “The God of your ancestors has sent me to you”, and they ask me, “What is his name?” what shall I say to them?’ 
God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM.’ 

I know how people know me by the way they say my name.
If you call me, ‘Z!’ – then you know me from college.
If you call me, ‘KJ’ – then you probably played sports with me, most likely in seminary.
‘Pastor Kathryn’ – church.
‘Coach Kathryn’ – You are most likely 8 or younger.

Katie, Kathy… are among my least favorite.
But the one I dislike the most is, “Hey Honey... can you tell me if the Pastor is in?”

What’s in a name?

Respect.
   Trust.
      Relationship.

Moses gets some pushback from those of us looking back at him 3000+ years away. Who does he think he is arguing with God – but there he is.

Before he argues that no one will believe him.
Before he mentions his speech impediment.
Before he flat out asks that someone else be asked instead.

Moses says to God: Whom shall I say sent me?

Our translation of the text says: I am Who I am.

But that’s not quite right. The Hebrew letters are (from right to left)  ‘yod’ ‘he(y)’ ‘vav’ ‘he(y).

Which all together means… well, it’s not translatable.

Y.H.W.H.

Yahweh is how it looks in print and how we often say it, but those are just the consonants with helpful vowels in between them. It’s not an actual word. As if we put the letters ‘K’ and ‘T’ and ‘R’ down on paper and asked people to read it. You can’t. So we might add some vowels, let’s go with ‘a’: KaTaR which means… nothing.

God is so beyond our understanding that even God’s name is outside of our grasp.

But there cannot be relationship without a name. And so God does respond…

YaHWeH…

YaHWeH is the sound of breath. It’s a presence. It’s the embodiment of God everywhere we go.

God is here.

Every breath, God is here.

Yahweh…


I AM here…

I AM all you need…
I AM not defined by you…

Yahweh…

I AM your God…
I AM with you…
I AM enough…

Yahweh…

I AM…

Sunday, September 22, 2013

What Would Jacob Do?


September 22, 2013 - Narrative Lectionary - Year 4, Week 3

W.W.J.D. – What Would Jacob Do?
I always thought the ‘What Would Jesus Do’ bracelets were asking for too much.  It certainly would be a lot easier to hold ourselves accountable to a ‘What Would Jacob Do’ bracelet.

What would Jesus do? He’d sacrifice himself in order to overthrow the evil in this world.
What would Jacob do? He’d trick people so he could get what he wanted.

Maybe the world is so challenged because everyone is reading their bracelets wrong.

In two weeks – three Sundays – we have catapulted from Creation to Abraham to Abraham and Sarah’s son Isaac as a child to now Isaac as an old man, on his death bed. His twin sons, Esau and Jacob, have been at each other’s throats since the womb when all of their jostling and pushing caused their mother, Rebekah, to say, “If it is to be this way, why do I live?”
And the LORD said to her,‘Two nations are in your womb,   and two peoples born of you shall be divided;one shall be stronger than the other,   the elder shall serve the younger.’ When her time to give birth was at hand, there were twins in her womb. The first came out red, all his body like a hairy mantle; so they named him Esau. Afterwards his brother came out, with his hand gripping Esau’s heel; so he was named Jacob. (Genesis 25:22-26)
Esau was a hunter, Jacob was… well, according to the Bible – he liked to hang out in the tents. 
Isaac, the father, loved Esau, but Rebekah, the mother, loved Jacob.

Esau was forthright and simple.
Jacob was sneaky and conniving.

If this family was around now, they’d have their own reality show.

Interview with Esau:
“I went out hunting for days and it didn’t go well. When I came back I was so hungry I couldn't even think straight and Jacob was hanging out in the tent cooking red stuff. I wanted the red stuff.”

Interview with Jacob:
“It was a lentil stew with coconut milk, tomato and cilantro.”

“It took a lot of effort to make and I knew Esau was just going to gulp it down so why not get what I could for it. I went for it all, asked for his birthright – that I would be considered the firstborn son – and he gave it to me. “
“No one was there to hear it though, so really the whole thing didn’t matter anyway.”

And this is what eventually leads to Jacob tricking his father, Isaac, into giving him a blessing instead of Esau.

The thing is, even with all of that conniving and manipulation, the outcome was not a Jacob who was obviously blessed. Instead the outcome was an Esau who was obviously ticked – and when one is used to hanging around in tents and cooking lentils, it is best not to anger the one who can hunt you down and kill you.

Jacob had to run from home and in between there and his next stop on the Biblical Family of Deceit Tour, he spent the night unprotected in the wilderness and fell asleep using a stone for his pillow.

Genesis 28:10-17 
Jacob left Beer-sheba and went towards Haran. He came to a certain place and stayed there for the night, because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones of the place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place. And he dreamed that there was a ladder set up on the earth, the top of it reaching to heaven; and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. 

And the LORD stood beside him and said, ‘I am the LORD, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring; and your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south; and all the families of the earth shall be blessed in you and in your offspring. Know that I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.’ 

Then Jacob woke from his sleep and said, ‘Surely the LORD is in this place—and I did not know it!’ And he was afraid, and said, ‘How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.’ 

Along Beach Boulevard in Gulfport, Mississippi there is St. Peter’s Episcopal Church by the Sea. For a long time after Hurricane Katrina you could stand under St. Peter’s roof and see the Gulf of Mexico and the beach, not through a window, but through the gaping holes where walls used to be. The walls of the church’s lower half were completely ripped off by the force of the storm, windows were blown out, pieces of the altar were heavily damaged or missing. Inside, the baptismal font was knocked over either by winds and water or debris striking it. Even a substantial granite sign at the end of the church's driveway was damaged… toppled like dominoes and broken into three large pieces.

In the days after Hurricane Katrina, parishioners returned to St. Peter’s by the Sea and found hymnals and Bibles, church records, robes, and stoles strewn outside the building, just part of the rubble and debris.***

Many churches rebuilt, but they did so on higher ground, across the highway. The Baptists, the Presbyterians, the Methodists, the other Episcopal Church – all of them left. It made sense, really. Except that those who still live in the downtown neighborhoods of those beaten shores needed a church.

I give thanks for the Old Testament and its stories of real people and real families. This is not some Legends of Israel comic book where the patriarchs have no sin and God loves them only because of their perfection.  Family systems then and now are riddled with strife – both from natural and human causes. 

Whether it’s the winds of disaster or the trickery of humanity – things get destroyed - and nothing is more devastated than a church that has been blown away by a storm. 

What Would St. Peter’s Do?

In a Mississippi business magazine, the building chair of St. Peter’s tells their story:

“After the storm, nobody knew at first what to do. We survived the first year dealing with our personal lives,” he said. “Then we met and prayed about it trying to figure out what to do. We’ve always been a downtown church. We minister to downtown and will remain a downtown church… We saw a need here and chose to stay.”

Despite the destruction and the heartbreaking trauma of a natural disaster, the people of St. Peter’s by the Sea stayed by the sea and said, "Surely the Lord is in this place… How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.’”

MPC is blessed – we have faced no natural disaster, there has been no building destruction. But the winds of secular apathy are howling, and the forces of family dynamics can threaten. 

What will MPC do?
We will continue to build on the faith of those who have come before us.
We will stay and look around and see… the Lord is in this place… How awesome!

  • Over 300 pounds of fresh produce delivered to New Hope Ministries in one summer;
  • Vegetables prepared week after week and paper products crowding the stage for CROSS;
  • Sunday school hallways and classrooms bubbling with laughter and fresh understandings of the Word of God;
  • Dozens of youth and adults sent out to serve by this congregation locally, nationally and abroad;
  • Brand new Bibles placed in the hands of our 3rd graders and our Confirmation Class this morning;
  • Our voices filling the Sanctuary giving thanks and glory to God through song and praise.
Surely the Lord is in this place…
How awesome is this place!
This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.

In the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

(Preacher's Note: I've been brushing up on my family systems theory lately, and especially how it relates to church dynamics. Edwin H. Friedman is the genius on such things and his last book reminds leaders to avoid getting caught up in other people's anxiety, but instead respond by giving their I Have a Dream speech. This is mine.)



Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Can God Be Trusted?

Genesis 21:1-3, 22:1-14 - September 15, 2013 - Narrative Lectionary - Year 4, Week 2

Last week was creation – in the beginning – and it was good.

In the rear-view mirror as we travel this narrative arc are Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Noah and the tower of Babel. Today we launch into the story of our relationship with God. God’s promise continues…

In chapter 12 we are introduced to a young couple named Abram and Sarai. Abram is beloved by God and is blessed by God: I will make of you a great nation and will bless you (12:2). That means – you will have many descendants.

But many years went by and still Sarai and Abram had no children even with repeated promises from God that they would be blessed.

Can God be trusted?

Abram and Sarai don’t always act like God can be trusted. Really the whole story plays out like incredibly juicy gossip:

I heard Abram was traveling with Sarai, and when he came upon Pharaoh he told him that Sarai was his sister.
NO!!

He did, and then when Pharaoh took her in… and… “you know”… God got mad. And He punished the entire kingdom until Pharaoh finally figured it out and sent them on their way.
And then… you’re never going to believe this… not that much later, Abram did it again.
NO he didn’t.

He Did! He told King Abimelech that Sarai was his sister.
       Ugh. Can Abram be trusted?

Then… I heard that Sarai got impatient with God’s promise not happening and so she offered her servant, Hagar, to Abram and he took her up on it and wouldn’t you know it, the servant got pregnant and Sarai was so jealous and she treated Hagar so harshly that Hagar ran away into the wilderness.
How awful!

But God brought Hagar back and she gave birth to a son, Ishmael.

Can Sarai be trusted?

Genesis is a book about relationships – the good and the bad. There are fathers and sons, husbands and wives, mothers and sons, brothers, sisters, uncles and nephews… all kinds of combinations sometimes acting for the glory of God and sometimes acting as if to prove just how basic the depravity of humanity actually is.

Out of all of these relationships, the most important relationship in Genesis is the one between God and humanity. The narrative of Abram who later becomes Abraham and his relationship with Yahweh is the foundation for the understanding by the people of Israel and all of its branches – including Christianity – that we are in a relationship with God. We are in a covenant that requires communication and trust. 

But after hearing a story like that one where a faithful person is pushed to the absolute outside edge of obedience… can God be trusted?

Does God put us to the test? This Scripture passage makes a pretty strong case for it. It opens with the very words: God tested Abraham.  Whether or not we want to believe in a God who tests, those who heard this story first understood God that way.  But what is the context of the story? This story that was passed on around the campfire of the people of Israel was written down while they were in exile. They were surrounded by neighbors who worshiped foreign gods, sacrificed children to those gods and as a minority in the midst of violent neighbors they too were being pushed to the absolute outside edges of obedience. 

What if the purpose of the story was to show the people of God how the father of their faith kept that faith in the most trying of times?

Many of us grew up with Aesop’s fables. One of the ones I remember well is the one with the fox and the
grapes. A fox is thirsty and trying to reach grapes that are too high for him. As he jumps and jumps and jumps, he finally has to admit that he cannot reach them and says, “Those grapes are sour, I don’t want them anyway.”

There is a moral to the story and to the storyteller that is the only thing that matters. From this story of the fox and the grapes we are not to conclude:
That foxes only eat grapes when they’re thirsty.
That foxes always leap for their food.
That foxes can talk.

The moral of the story that the people of Israel so badly needed to hear is that God can be trusted and that the father of their faith responded to the most dire of tests with great, steadfast trust. The point of this story was not that God asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, but that he stopped Abraham from sacrificing Isaac. In the Biblical narrative this is the last great story of the relationship between Abraham and God. It celebrates their mutual trust and lays the foundation for generations of relationships to follow.

Life in relationship inevitably brings tests of trust. 

I think of the child who is blamed for stealing a library book and promises their parent that they didn’t take it. The parent’s trust of the child is tested at the same time as the child’s trust of the parent is tested.

Does the parent trust the child enough to take a stand on their behalf?
Does the child trust the parent enough to tell them the truth?

Having a relationship with God does not mean that we will never be tested. In fact, by the very definition of relationship – we will.
Do we trust God with our hurts and our pains?
   Do we trust God with our decisions?
      Do we trust God with our material possessions?

God can be trusted.

In turn, God trusts us.

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth… 
God created humankind in his image,
   in the image of God he created them;
   male and female he created them. 
God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.’ God said, ‘See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.’ And it was so. God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good.

Will we take care of God’s creation?
   Will we love our neighbor as ourselves?
      Will we love God with all of our heart, mind, soul and strength?

Beloved children of God… can we be trusted?


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The One With The Geocaching

From when we first met - we. had. no clue.
A post participant in the 2013 revgalblogpals Blog Carnival:

What's the most surprising connection you've made through RevGalBlogPals?
I'd venture to say that if you know me, then you know my answer to this part of the question.

What's the most surprising or helpful thing you've learned/experienced through this galship of friends.
Back when I needed it the most, I learned that I was not alone in this vocation. Being a pastor is hard. Being a female pastor takes it up a notch. 

In this group I have experienced understanding and about as unconditional a love as one can receive aside from our Creator. I have experienced ridiculous, side-splitting laughter and I have experienced the deepest tears that most assuredly cleanse the way for true joy.

I have also experienced geocaching and was very surprised to actually like it. Admittedly on the first cruise it was an excuse to walk around in Mexico for a bit, but it ended up being so much more than that, I preached about it in a sermon base on the walk to Emmaus:

As most of you know I was away this past weekend with a group of women clergy on retreat. On our free day I decided to join another woman as she attempted to achieve her goal of becoming an international geocacher

Don’t worry. I didn’t know either.
Geocaching is basically a treasure hunt where handheld GPS systems can be used to find ‘treasures’ hidden all over the world. For instance, there is one of these treasures right on the campus of Dickinson College. So if you were interested in finding it you would look up the official geocache website, find the latitude and longitude and any clues that other geocachers may have left behind and off you would go on your adventure.

We were in Mexico, so finding a treasure there would officially make my Geek friend – and the three of us who accompanied her - international geocachers.  

And so off we went… and we went… and we went… and I had to take off my shoes due to the raging blister… and we went…. And we found. ..
Nothing.
Now, I was disappointed, but my friend was crushed.

And so we kept walking.
Past the interesting men with the weird beverages for that time of day. 
Past the military compound with different men and their very big guns.
Past where the sidewalk ends…
Enough.

My friend was ready to quit and we could tell she was very disappointed and yes, sad. So sad that even I was not teasing her for taking us on this seemingly pointless adventure. You could tell finding the treasure really meant something to her so we encouraged her, let’s keep walking.

Proof we found it!!!
And we did and we watched as she realized we were once again getting close to a treasure and with some effort on all of our parts – and a stranger’s – we made it behind a beverage establishment and found a US certified mailbox that seemed more than just a little out of place and therein lied the treasure!

This is what she wrote:
As we were walking back (to where we were staying), I recognized that Christ had been walking with me. At any point, my companions could have bailed, but they didn’t. Even when I was trying to reconcile myself to extreme disappointment, they were still looking. I opened the mailbox but (the people I was with) opened their hearts, and I knew God had been walking with us just like Jesus walked with the two on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24).The find made me ecstatic.The “walking with” made me blessed.

Friends, there is joy and there is light… and then there is the joy and light that one experiences when they finally come out of the dark and what they are searching for is no longer a stranger.


Just. Keep. Walking.

----

Shoes still on = pre-blister.
Officially I was preaching to the congregation, but make no mistake about it, I was preaching my truth. Through Revgalblogpals I experienced rebirth and renewal... and the reminder that sometimes we have to just. keep. walking.


Friday, July 5, 2013

Can We Talk About This?

Please include me in the vast ranks of people who don't like conflict... or change. Actually, change, once it's been accomplished, is okay... if you survive the transition.

My community of faith has been working through a change in our collective understandings about what it means to be gay... and a minister called by God to proclaim the Good News. 

This has been hard work. 

There are those who angrily left. 
There are those who sadly left. 
There are those who tentatively stayed. 
There are those who adamantly stayed. 

There are many in that very first category who had other issues burning, and this was the one that gave them permission to leave. We miss them, even though in the long run it is healthier for them and the congregation for them to have moved on.

I've had conversations with some of them and those in the second category. Those in the second and third categories are hard conversations. They mean well. I mean well. I ask if it's possible for us to be the congregation that shows the community at large that it can be done; people can disagree on even the big things, but still come together to do good for an even bigger thing. They just can't do it or, they can but only if the gay issue doesn't get talked about. 

Ever.

Don't ask ,don't tell... even though when my wife is not leading worship elsewhere in her ordained calling as a United Church of Christ minister she attends worship and is on a committee and teaches a Bible study (talk about pastor's wife stereotypes!). Still, nothing should be addressed out loud.

In order to calm the waters, I've been okay with not talking about these issues: being gay and a Christian, being Called, being fearfully and wonderfully made, being married to someone who is the same gender. I've even been complicit in the silence as my own nature is to keep my private life, private; separation of personal and professional.

But have you read this post?

It is written by a mother, a woman of deep faith, whose son came out to her as gay and she handled it in the most faithful and understanding way she knew how. In her words:
"We said all the things that we thought loving Christian parents who believed the Bible, the Word of God, should say:We love you. We will always love you. And this is hard. Really hard. But we know what God says about this, so you are going to have to make some really difficult choices... 
We love you. Nothing will change that. But if you are going to follow Jesus, holiness is your only option. You are going to have to choose to follow Jesus, no matter what. And since you know what the Bible says, and since you want to follow God, embracing your sexuality is not an option."
Although these words were never specifically spoken to me, as a child of the church the message was clear - being gay was not an option for those who wanted to lead a faithful life.
End of discussion. 

But we have to talk about this because young people are being hurt by bad theology. We have to learn why it is okay to read the Scriptures that a significant segment of the religious establishment use as proof-texts and be bold enough to say: 

They. are. wrong. 

Designed by Southminster Presbyterian Church, Boise, Idaho
There are so many resources available to us that allow us deeper insight into the context of when those texts were written. There is so much accessible scholarship that encourages us to a deeper level of understanding of God's Holy Word. We cannot allow a translation from the 17th century to be waved around as "God's Truth" because although in the 21st century it is rusty and archaic, that sword remains deadly. 

I am calling out myself on using the phrase "faithfully agree to disagree." 
We just don't have that kind of time.

Mrs. Robertson continues...
"We thought we understood the magnitude of the sacrifice that we -- and God -- were asking for. And this sacrifice, we knew, would lead to an abundant life, perfect peace and eternal rewards. Ryan had always felt intensely drawn to spiritual things; He desired to please God above all else. So, for the first six years, he tried to choose Jesus. Like so many others before him, he pleaded with God to help him be attracted to girls. He memorized Scripture...
But nothing changed. God didn't answer his prayer, or ours, though we were all believing with faith that the God of the Universe, the God for whom nothing is impossible, could easily make Ryan straight. But He did not."
We are watching too many people flee our churches because we offer no sanctuary.  
We are watching as children are baptized and told they are loved no matter what... and then later on in life told about the caveats that apply.
We are watching as parents and families and children and teenagers try to do what is right in "God's" eyes forgetting that God called us specifically to love God and love our neighbors as ourselves.

We have to talk about this because young people like Mrs. Robertson's son are unable to find peace when they try to live a lie - that they are not gay. In Ryan's case, he turned to drugs for the fleeting peace they gave him.

We have to talk about this because as one colleague wrote in regard to this article: 
bad exegesis kills.

How do we continue the conversation?

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Galship

A post participant in the 2013 revgalblogpals Blog Carnival:

What does Galship mean to you?
kj, s-l, sb
It means support.
It means side-splitting laughter.
It means 'safe place'.
It means community.

I almost didn't get on the boat for the 2008 BE. I was so broken and hurt and empty from a public and isolating divorce. I had met only a few of the revgals in person and I just knew I wasn't good for anybody. I made myself go anyway.

Here's what I wrote after we returned from that trip:

  • If you are feeling lower and lower because you are seeing yourself from someone else's point of view, then by all means switch viewpoints!
  • Just because you cannot actually see or touch people does not mean they aren't there, and that they don't care incredibly deeply for you. I was absolutely stunned by how many of the BE participants not only knew who I was and what I was going through but couldn't wait to see me to make sure I was ok. Wow.
  • People who possess the spiritual gift of 'being there' and allow you to swing wildly off center (for me that's loud, constantly talking, and 'because I'm 12' jokes) so that you can return to a healthy center, truly encompass God's grace. (April 17, 2008)
I am in a much better place now professionally and personally. Galship is the support system that helped me kick off rock bottom and get here.

Thank you revgalblogpals. Thank you.

Another quote from April 2008:
I think what we encountered was Sacred Space; a place to be where we needed to be with no judgment and plenty of mercy. Throw in the midnight buffet and I think I just described the banquet table in heaven.