When the Nativity makes us uncomfortable

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“God, the Eternal Creator, weeps for the poor, displaced, mistreated, and diseased of the world because of their unnecessary suffering. Such conditions are not God’s will. Open your ears to hear the pleading of mothers and fathers in all nations who desperately seek a future of hope for their children. Do not turn away from them. For in their welfare resides your welfare.” – Community of Christ Holy Text

This past week there has been an image of the nativity scene at Claremont United Methodist Church in California in where Baby Jesus, Joseph, and Mary find each of themselves in their own cage. It’s a protest visual in response to our governments border policies. To view the image, check out this article from CNN. To use the nativity in this way is provocative, sad, disconcerting, and even maddening, and that is why it is incredibly appropriate. I wish more faith communities were brave enough to make a similar statements. For the purpose of Christ’s message wasn’t to spread a message of rainbows and butterflies with pats on the back for good deeds done. It was to challenge unjust laws and spread a message of Joy, Hope, Love, and Peace in the midst of a society that seemed to contradict that message. It was to bring hope to those who were lonely, oppressed, marginalized, and forgotten. It was to live within a spirit of shalom, not fear.

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National Coming Out (Every)Day

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“I am brave, I am bruised. I am who I’m meant to be, this is me”
– “This is Me” from “The Greatest Showman”

A couple nights ago I attended the “Coming Out Monologues” in Portland with my IMG_5501good friend Dylan (pictured on the right). We listened to stories of those who are gay, lesbian, and trans as they vulnerably shared their journey of coming out. We heard from parents who shared stories of love for their child who came out to them. One parent shared the story of her trans daughter who knew about her gender identity when she was 2 ½ years old. She then invited her courageous now 12-year-old daughter up to share her own story of transition and coming out while being a pre-teen. Throughout the evening there were many moments of laughter, tears, hope, and real-world realities brought to light.

Today is a day of mixed emotions for many. We celebrate our coming out stories. We remember the pain of the journey it took to get to that point and the pain that has happened since. With stomach in knots, tears flowing, fear suffocating, and a new sense of freedom, many choose to come out on this day. While others wonder if one day, they too will be able to fully live as themselves among their family, friends, co-workers, classmates, and strangers in society. Meanwhile there are those who just aren’t sure and are still trying to figure out what their orientation and/or identity is. That’s okay. Questioning is okay. Experimenting is okay. Studying the varied expressions of orientation and/or identities to see if one is right for you is okay. YOU are okay. Figure it out in your time, no one else’s. Maybe your experience doesn’t resonate with what I’ve mentioned here. Maybe you feel who you are is no one else’s business. No matter how you choose to come out or when or if you do, know that you are loved. You are respected. By me, and by many kickass amazing people that I know!

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Yesterday There Was A Storm (Transgender Military Ban)

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Yesterday there was a storm.

Lighthouses are used for navigation during stormy, dangerous weather. To warn captains of hazards before them and to guide them safely into port.

Yesterday there was a storm

A friend and I visited the Oregon Coast on a blustery, rainy Tuesday afternoon.

Yesterday there was a storm.

Through the haze of stormy weather, Heceta Head lighthouse shined brightly on the land and sea.

Yesterday there was a storm. Continue reading

Where does it hurt?: Another Day, Another Mass Shooting

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I woke up this morning to see the Huffington Post alert on my phone. Mass Shooting at a bar in Southern California. This one only an hour and half from where I am currently at in Southern California while away for work and some play. I flashback to waking up on June 12, 2016, and seeing the alert on my phone of the Pulse Nightclub Massacre. My heart sinks.

We learn that it was college night at the bar. My emotions flood me as I recall every school and college shooting that is embedded deep in my memory. Of young, innocent lives lost. Of lives full of hope and promise gone in a matter of minutes. In a matter of seconds. Gone. The high school I graduated from suffered it’s own shooting a few years back. Images of the school being evacuated from the same classrooms I once learned in, haunted me. They were similar images I saw as an 8th grader watching the events of Columbine unfold on the television. My heart sinks. Continue reading

I See You

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“However, it is not right to profess oneness and equality in Christ through sacramental covenants and then to deny them by word or action. Such behavior wounds Christ’s body and denies what is resolved eternally in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.” – Community of Christ Holy Text

I see Gayle. Who has inspired me with her journey. Who provided beautiful pastoral ministry that was just what I needed while in retreat with others in the LGBTQIA+ community and our allies.

I see Ramsley. Who is strong and courageous in being a voice for themself. Who helps so many new people gain a deeper awareness and understanding because they share their story with all of us. Continue reading