Why is This the Only Issue?

RallyAn excerpt from The Atlantic‘s interview with Rev. Jen Kast, a UCC pastor who grew up in hyper-Evangelical Western Michigan.

I began to understand myself as a woman in ministry. I began to see myself as this Christian feminist. I began to own my voice differently, and to question the rules of engagement of Christianity that I was raised with.

I began saying things like, “Why is it that abortion is the only issue that my parents and family really care about?” I have a very good relationship with my family. I’m not trying to paint them in negative light. But why? Why is this the only issue?

Like many Millennials coming out of evangelicalism, I began to care about different justice issues. I began to care about the Earth, and racial justice, and interfaith justice. And one of the topics that arose for me was abortion.

I began questioning: What about bodily autonomy? Isn’t that justice? How would God ever infringe upon that?

And this was a big one for me: Why is it that when it comes to this topic, it’s almost always white, straight, Christian men who are the loudest?

Jesus’ Ministerial Vision

SistersA Holy Week rebound from Sisters in the Wilderness: The Challenge of Womanist God-Talk (1993) by Dolores Williams.

The image of Jesus on the cross is the image of human sin in its most desecrated form. This execution destroyed the body, by publicly exposing his nakedness and private parts, by mocking his ministerial vision as they labeled him king of the Jews, by placing a crown of thorns upon his head mocking his dignity and the integrity of his divine mission. The cross thus becomes an image of defilement, a gross manifestation of collective human sin. Rather, Jesus conquers the sin of temptation in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11) by resistance–by resisting the temptation to value the material over the spiritual; by resisting death; by resisting the greedy urge of monopolistic ownership. Jesus therefore conquered sin in life, not in death. In the wilderness he refused to allow evil forces to defile the balanced relation between the material and the spiritual, between life and death, between power and the exertion of it. Continue reading

Resisting and Rising Above

SistersFrom Dolores Williams’ classic Sisters in the Wilderness: The Challenge of Womanist God-Talk (1993):

Faith has taught me to see the miraculous in everyday life: the miracle of ordinary black women resisting and rising above evil forces in society, where forces work to destroy and subvert the creative power and energy my mother and grandmother taught me God gave black women. Ordinary black women doing what they always do: holding the family and church together; working for the white folks or teaching school; enduring whatever they must so their children can reach for the stars; keeping hope alive in the family and community when money is scarce and white folks get mean and ugly.

What I’ll Tell You- To My Daughter (in the far future)

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Photo by David Merz

By Sarah Brooks

This year they told us “12 good years”.
Will I bring you into this world with that written out before me?
Dwelling on that is new- I don’t have the answer yet.
Part of me mourns the time when the only thing between us were the years I needed,
And the other copes by listing out your name.

So, for now I’ll say,
if this world does end up powering you into existence, Continue reading

Wild Lectionary: Fully Human, Fully Divine, Fully Trans


frogBy Mary Ann Saunders

Exodus 34:29-35
Luke 9:28-43a

For me, as a trans woman, the Transfiguration feels deeply personal.

It’s not just that the word transfiguration simply means “a change of form”—which is something I know quite a bit about—nor is it simply that my experience and Jesus’ experience are consistent with the natural world. Creation, after all, is full of transfigurations: tadpoles become frogs, seeds become plants, some fish species change sex, caterpillars become butterflies (this last itself being a popular metaphor for gender transitions). We now even know that genetic information—supposedly immutable—can change over the course of our lives.

Continue reading

Bluetooth

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Photo of nun’s teeth from the New York Times

By Kate Foran

Cruising through the latter days
of Western Civilization in my forest
green Corolla under a 12 year
ultimatum on climate catastrophe
while my phone talks to my car
so I can listen to the news like this
tidbit about an eleventh-century nun
whose dental plaque was a fossil
record of all she consumed,
starch residue and flower pollen,
wool fiber and insect parts,
milk proteins and flecks of precious
lapis lazuli, but wait, how did that get there? Continue reading

Wild Lectionary: Dear Elizabeth

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Art by Jonathan Dyck

Advent 4C

And Mary said,
‘My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour,
for he has looked with favour on the lowliness of his servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
His mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty.       
Luke 1:46-55

An excerpt from and urgent letter

By Kwok Pui-lan

Dear Elizabeth,

You may be surprised that I am writing you, since I don’t have much education and don’t often write. But I am so distraught and must ask your advice for you are much older and wiser than me… Continue reading