Monday, June 11, 2018

[welcome and safe at steinhauer united]

welcome and safe sign at southminster steinhauer united church: "all sizes, all ages, all colours, all cultures, all genders, all sexualities, all religions (or none), all types, all people: welcome and safe here"

In the lobby of Southminster Steinhauer United Church in Edmonton. 
Rainbow banners fly outside the front doors.

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

pinned: links to 'uncertain and declared spaces' resources

Read the full article on uncertain spaces and declared spaces, with additional examples and stories.

Watch the introductory video on uncertain spaces and declared spaces.

Read my article on exploring uncertainty and embrace at your church.

Check out all "uncertain spaces and declared spaces" posts on this blog.

draw the circle wide

"circling around" cartoon by rob goetze. Two men standing. One says, "Haven't seen Jesus for a few days..." to which the other replies, "Yeah, he said he was going to draw a circle around everyone who is in, headed off the other way, and we haven't seen him since." A blue line circles around his feet, and then runs across the countryside, circling around village and houses, and then runs off the page.

We sang the song "Draw the Circle Wide" at church a few weeks ago and it fits well with this blog. Some will say "there shouldn't be a circle at all" (and I generally agree) -- however, if you read the lyrics, you will see that essentially everyone ends up inside the circle...

Draw the circle wide, draw it wider still.
Let this be our song: no one stands alone.
Standing side by side, draw the circle, draw the circle wide...

God the still-point of the circle
Round you all creation turns
Nothing lost but held forever
in God's gracious arms


Let our hearts touch far horizons
So encompass great and small
Let our loving know no borders
Faithful to God's call


Let the dreams we dream be larger
Than we've ever dreamed before
Let the dream of Christ be in us
Open every door!


Click here to watch the video if your device does not support embedded videos.

"Draw the Circle Wide"
Hymn by Gordon Light and Mark Miller

Read more about moral circles.

If there is no circle, you might either belong... or everyone might just be little bits floating around in the vastness of space...

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

[the limitations of welcome]

Evangelicals for Social Action recently published "The Limitations of Welcome: An Interview with Amy Jacober", who authored a book called Redefining Perfect: The Interplay Between Theology and Disability.

Some quotes from the interview:
Concurrently, Jacober reconstructs a far more hopeful and healing vision of the church, one that goes beyond making space for those with disabilities by merely providing accessible parking or seating or other accommodations. Instead, Jacober contends that Scripture invites us to honor the gifts those with disabilities can bring to communities in reciprocal, right relationships—gifts that can be used in worship, in discipleship, and in vocational calling.

This includes the paradigms we’ve created for what church leadership looks like. Real change will not happen within churches until those with disabilities are “absolutely” reflected in leadership, Jacober said. And this will not happen until people redefine how we traditionally view Christian leaders, theologians, and teachers.

Read the rest of the interview.

Friday, April 13, 2018

vampires have no reflections...

one vampire in every crowd. cartoon by rob goetze. Image of a group of vampires in front of a mirror. Only one is reflected in the mirror. Another one points at him and, laughing, says "There's one in every crowd!" Another says, "You don't belong here, you freak!"

"You know how vampires have no reflections in the mirror?" the Pulitzer Prize-winning author asked an audience at the Bergen Community College in Paramus, NJ in 2009. "If you want to make a human being a monster, deny them, at the cultural level, any reflection of themselves."

"And growing up, I felt like a monster in some ways. I didn't see myself reflected at all. I was like, 'Yo, is something wrong with me?' That the whole society seems to think that people like me don't exist? And part of what inspired me was this deep desire, that before I died, I would make a couple of mirrors. That I would make some mirrors, so that kids like me might see themselves reflected back and might not feel so monstrous for it."

Junot Diaz, quoted in an article by Billy Nilles

How is this of relevance to people at the margins, people who are part of minoritized groups? They often do not have any positive role models or public figures who represent them and their group, and thus they can feel like they do not belong, like they are not normal....

Thursday, April 05, 2018


"Whatever" washroom sign, found on the internet. Sign shows a mermaid and a centaur with a bird. Text says "Whatever: just wash your hands"

Conversations are going on at work about signage for gender inclusive washrooms, both in our office buildings and in public spaces. While this sign will not be used, it is one of the more creative ones I've seen online.

I did note that my brain, seeing the stereotypical mermaid on the left, assumed that the centaur on the right is male (the fact that centaurs in movies are almost always male didn't help in avoiding that assumption). But the reality is that the symbol is fairly neutral... what do you think?

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

[leah dorion, Metis artist]

Leah Marie Dorion is an interdisciplinary Metis artist raised in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. A teacher, painter, filmmaker and published writer, Leah views her Metis heritage as providing her with a unique bridge for knowledge between all people. (from her site)

Talking Circle Medicine (2005) by Leah Dorion. 7 women in a talking circle, with flowers around.

This piece is called Talking Circle Medicine.

Check out more of her work! Her site also includes discussion of symbolism and some of the projects she has been working on.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Friday, February 09, 2018

ideas for structuring employee resource groups

Employee resource groups are a key component of many diversity and inclusion programs. They provide a safe place for specific groups of employees, such as women, LGBTQ2S+, veterans, indigenous peoples, etc., to meet for support, networking, and personal and career development.

The following options present some ideas on structuring employee resource groups (ERGs) for large province-wide organizations. They allow for an evolution of the ERG structure in a scalable way as interest grows. In all cases, employees at other locations can still videoconference into the meeting individually or in small groups.

lgbtq2s+ employee resource group structures. diagram by rob goetze. full text in linked pdf

Click the image to enlarge it.

Check out the full document to learn more about these options...

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

sowing seeds for the flourishing of LGBTQ2S+ employees

From my paper, "Sowing Seeds for the Flourishing of LGBTQ2S+ Employees"


In the corporate world, diversity and inclusion are often promoted as a way of increasing profit, competitiveness and innovation, attracting and keeping diverse employees, and gaining a better understanding of one’s customer base. People are invited to become part of the corporate culture because the company benefits from the diversity they bring … but the corporate culture is not changing for diverse peoples nor is it being changed by their inclusion. While employees do benefit, the primary focus is on the benefit to the company.

In governments, non-profit organizations and socially-conscious companies, we have the opportunity to make diversity and inclusion decisions with a primary focus on the benefits to employees, understanding that of course there will also be a benefit to the organization as a whole and to the clients.

It may seem like a small difference, but I believe that diversity and inclusion must first and foremost be for the people if it is to be authentic and avoid the risk of being assimilatory.

So how about an organization taking initiative to be a place where all employees flourish?

And specifically,

How might we develop our organization into an environment 
in which LGBTQ2S+ employees, in all their diversity, can flourish?

Read the whole paper here.