Community of Christ, Come out!

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Part of my role as a full-time minister for Community of Christ is serving as the Invitation Support Minister for the Greater Pacific Northwest Mission Center. This post was my Invitation Support Minister article that was printed in the Autumn 2017/Winter 2018 edition of The Chinook, our GPNW MC Biannual Newsletter. 

Claim your unique and sacred place within the circle of those who call upon the name of Jesus Christ. Be faithful to the spirit of the Restoration, mindful that it is a spirit of adventure, openness, and searching. – Doctrine & Covenants 162:2a

Over Labor Day Weekend, I had the honor to join with others who identified somewhere on the LGBTQIA+ spectrum as well as straight allies at a GALA Retreat at Camp Red Cliffe in Huntsville, UT. GALA is an organization whose mission seeks to “Providing sanctuary, spirituality, and transformation: For persons of ALL sexual orientations and gender identities through our shared faith experience in Community of Christ building bridges of understanding”. A common theme at the retreat was the concept of “coming out”. It was present while people shared their personal stories of faith and sexuality in their journey as a disciple. We occasionally wept tears of pain, hope, and even joy, as we listened to one another share their stories of courage. Stories that reflected the sharing of their authentic truth with others. Continue reading

Spirit Day: Together We Can Make a Difference

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The text from this video can be found below:

In the faith community where I serve as a Youth Minister, Community of Christ, which affirms and lives out LGBTQ inclusion in the USA and some other countries where we are established, we have a sacred text which says, “Do not neglect the smallest among you, for even the least of these are treasures in God’s sight. Receive the giftedness and energy of children and youth, listening to understand their questions and their wisdom. Respond to their need to be loved and nurtured as they grow.”

Today is #SpiritDay. A day in which we rise up against the acts of bullying towards LGBTQ youth and commit to helping transform a society with structures and cultural differences in place that allow this to happen. GLAAD, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, reports that 85.2% of LGBTQ students report being verbally harassed” and “63.5% of LGBTQ students report hearing homophobic remarks from teachers and/or school staff because of their gender expression”. The Trevor Project reports that LGB youth seriously contemplate suicide at almost three times the rate of heterosexual youth and that they are almost five times as likely to have attempted suicide compared to heterosexual youth.” And science daily has shared that “30 percent of transgender youth report a history of at least one suicide attempt.”

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#TakeAKnee: When Peaceful Protests Are Vilified

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In 1963 a minister that most Americans today respect and praise as a man of social change MLK-Silent-about-things-that-matter.pngand justice was imprisoned because of peaceful protests that he helped lead in Birmingham, Alabama. Of course, that man was Martin Luther King Jr. Once in in jail he shared his reflections about non-violent resistance as a way to defeat racism in a powerful open letter known as a Letter from a Birmingham Jail. It seems that now is a good time for all of us to read that letter.

“Oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever. The yearning for freedom eventually manifests itself.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

In August 2016, then San Fransico 49ers Quarterback Colin Kaepernick knelt during the singing of the National Anthem. He did so to protest the growing epidemic of people of color being killed by people in authority. Colin explained that “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.” Continue reading

Celebrating Bi Visibility Day: The Journey Continues!

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“I’m g-g-g-g-gettin’ bi. I’m gettin’ bi and it’s something I’d like to demystify. It’s not a phase; I’m not confused; Not indecisive; I don’t have the “gotta choose” blues. I don’t care if you wear high heels or a tie, you might just catch my eye. Because I’m definitely bi.” – “Gettin’ Bi” from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.

Today, September 23, 2017, is Bi Visibility day. Last year on this day I remember spending time thinking about who I was. I was still in the closet then. Scared to come out. It wasn’t necessarily that I was afraid of rejection by people I loved and respected but I think I was afraid of being my authentic self. To be our authentic selves requires vulnerability and I image2wasn’t quite ready to be that kind of vulnerable with myself and others. At the same time, I was sensing an urgency to embrace my identity as a bisexual male. 2 1/2 months later I came out and finally did just that and every day since, I have experienced gratitude for being free of that aspect of my hidden, false self.

This past Labor Day Weekend I attended the GALA Retreat at Camp Red Cliffe in Hunstville, Utah. GALA is an organization whose mission seeks to “Providing sanctuary, spirituality, and transformation: For persons of ALL sexual orientations and gender identities through our shared faith experience in Community of Christ building bridges of understanding”. In the months leading up to the retreat I experienced a wide range of emotions. I went from being excited and couldn’t wait for it to arrive to feeling nervous about the experience and almost canceling my registration, to being excited and filled with anticipation again and so on. Additionally, I also struggled with the retreat theme of “Blessed are the Queer in Spirit” which hindered my anticipation for the event. In fact, the only reason I followed through with attending was that I was traveling to and from the retreat with a friend and didn’t want to cancel on her. I did follow through though and attend the retreat and I was blessed. Continue reading

Dear Mr./Mrs. Evangelical…

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To those who authored and signed the “Nashville Statement”,

You question why Christianity is dying in America. I see it in books that you author and blog entries you write. So you question why people are turning away from religion and then you publish this garbage. Shame on you. Look in the mirror. The answers you seek about the decline in Christianity may just be staring right back at you.

I would love to sit down with any person listed as a signatory on this document and share in a conversation about it. Maybe we could both grow from seeking to understand one another? So how about we get a drink from Starbucks and listen to one another. And don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be a Unicorn Frappuccino. I’m sure that’s too gay for you anyways. We can just enjoy a regular cup of black coffee that is heavily diluted with white vanilla flavored creamer since I’m sure that is how you prefer to drink it anyways. Hmmm… Actually, Starbucks and their “liberal agenda” may not be the best place. I wouldn’t want you to be uncomfortable. Does Hobby Lobby, Chick-fil-A, or Cabela’s serve coffee? We could always go there. I don’t mind meeting you on your turf. Oh, I know there are some bakeries we could go to. They won’t bake me a wedding cake if I marry a guy but maybe they would serve me a scone to go with my coffee while we talk? Hmmm… Maybe. Continue reading