Saturday, June 11, 2016

pinned: links to 'uncertain and declared spaces' resources

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

Watch the introductory video on uncertain spaces.

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

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

how Gentiles almost ended up not being part of the body of Christ

Picture of house with two men outside. Man in doorway says, "Cornelius the centurion? Sorry, but even though I've had this amazing dream and while I'm completely good with it, the idea of you being baptized in the name of Jesus Christ and included in the church makes some of my fellow Jews uncomfortable and so we need to dialogue first and set up a listening committee...". Cartoon by rob goetze.

And many years later, Peter and the other Jewish followers of Jesus might still be debating whether Gentiles could or should be part of the kingdom of God.

Remind anyone of our current times?

Churches and denominations dialogue and debate and chat and argue about if and how our LGBTQ+ siblings in Christ can and should be included in the church in a way equal to the way cishet Christians are included.

And while this is carried on by people whose lives it does not directly affect in any way, our siblings in Christ are often left outside the door or in the back pew....

Thursday, June 09, 2016

[crossing the line]

In regard to plantations (see previous post), Bishop Flunder says,
It seems difficult in most cases, however, to cross the line from benevolent tolerance to full affirmation; to create a community of affectional orientation parity along with gender parity, class parity, and the like ...

What has occurred is a subculture of SGL [same gender loving] persons in the Christian community who are not necessarily condemned for being SGL, but who are also not given equal status with heterosexual persons in a heteronormative environment. SGL Christians are not often free to celebrate anniversaries, be close in public, or share a last name.

Bishop Yvette Flunder, in Where the Edge Gathers:

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

not ashamed but...

Top text: "I am not ashamed of the gospel...". Left block: 56 A.D. Man tells others, "...but I'm too embarrassed to tell my Jewish friends that it's also for the Gentiles...". Right block: 2016 A.D. Bishop says to parishioner, "... but don't ask us to publicly proclaim that it applies equally to our lgbtq+ siblings...". Cartoon by rob goetze.

And how about publicly proclaiming that our lgbtq+ siblings are actually and actively welcome and embraced?

Sunday, June 05, 2016


I came across a fascinating article which in part said this:
White Christians without multi-ethnic experiences often have a white cultural vision for what it means to be a multi-ethnic church. Their mono-ethnic, predominantly white, and non-multi ethnic experiences will inevitably force them to see multi-ethnic church through the lens of their socially constructed whiteness.

Consequently, it will be easy for these Christians, lacking the necessary multi-ethnic and multi-cultural competence, to import their limited cultural vision onto ethnic minorities in the name of a multi-ethnic church, while genuinely thinking they’re pursuing racial reconciliation with their ethnic minority brothers and sisters in Christ.

How to avoid becoming an unhealthy, multi-ethnic church plantation
Jarvis Williams May 5, 2016
This makes a lot of sense to me.

And then I wondered, how might this apply to our lgbtq+ siblings? Is there a similar dynamic? So I rewrote the paragraphs with that in mind:
Straight Christians without experiences of multiple gender and sexual realities often have a straight cisgender cultural vision for what it means to be a diverse and welcoming church. Their mono-sexual, predominantly heterosexual, and solely cisgender and gender binary experiences will inevitably result in them seeing a sexually-diverse and gender-diverse church through the lens of their socially constructed cisgender straightness.

Consequently, it will be easy for these Christians, lacking the necessary multi-sexuality and multi-gender identification competence, to import their limited cultural vision onto sexual and gender minorities in the name of a diverse and welcoming church, while genuinely thinking they’re pursuing reconciliation with their sexual and gender minority siblings in Christ.

The result will be predominantly straight cisgender churches with predominantly straight cisgender leadership seeking to conform sexual and gender minorities into the cultural idea of straightness and cisgenderedness instead of Spirit-empowered, multi-sexual, multi-gender, gospel-centered churches whose members are seeking to pursue reconciliation with one another regardless of sexual and gender differences, as the members put one another’s needs before their own and as they seek to listen to, learn from, and serve one another in love.

Is this what's happening in some progressive parishes and churches? Are they plantations where lgbtq+ people are welcome to fully be part of the existing order, but not embraced and celebrated for who they are?

Friday, June 03, 2016

first to the jew...

Top text: "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes..." Left block: 56 A.D. One man telling others, "... first to the Jew, then to the, uh, ummm, ah, yeah...". Right block: 2016 A.D. Minister standing at pulpit tells congregation, "...first to all the straight folks, then to the, uh, ummm, ah, yeah, world without end, amen." Cartoon by rob goetze

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.

Romans 1:16

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

if the apostle paul was like us...

Picture of the apostle Paul sitting at a table, writing on a scroll. He writes "In Christ there is neither Jew nor Gentile, slave or free...". Then he says, "Heck, scratch that - it's offensive to Jews" and then writes "In Christ it's Jews and only Jews", and says "That's better!". Cartoon by rob goetze

If the Apostle Paul was like us... would Gentiles be part of the church?

Thursday, May 12, 2016

things god forgot to put into the Bible (#5)

caption: things god forgot to put into the bible. Picture of clouds with god sitting on throne, jesus on a chair beside him. God suggests that he forgot to put in: "Don't be surprised when centuries of cultural genocide destroy the soul of a people." Jesus replies, "Sadly, it wouldn't have changed much, even if you had defined 'people'". Concept and drawing by rob goetze

Would it have changed much if God had put that verse in the Bible? Would the world be a better place? Would we no longer have a history of centuries of cultural genocide of indigenous peoples, of colonization, of white supremacy?

I mean, Jesus himself said things like:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
(Matthew 5:43 - 48, NIV)
and yet look at the world around us and what people who call themselves Christians are saying and doing...

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

[trouble i've seen, by drew g.i. hart]

Cover image of "Trouble I've Seen: Changing the way the church views racism" a book by Drew G.I. Hart.

Just got Trouble I've Seen: Changing the way the church views racism for my birthday. Pretty amazing book and very readable.
"In this provocative book, theologian and blogger Drew G. I. Hart places police brutality, mass incarceration, antiblack stereotypes, poverty, and everyday acts of racism within the larger framework of white supremacy. Leading readers toward Jesus, Hart offers concrete practices for churches that seek solidarity with the oppressed and are committed to racial justice.

What if all Christians listened to the stories of those on the racialized margins? How might the church be changed by the trouble they've seen?"
(source: herald press)

Here's a key thought from chapter one:
I suggest directly and indirectly throughout this book that our very intuitions cannot be shaped in hierarchy and dominance, as were the postures of Caesar, Herod, and Pilate. Instead, we must come alongside the crucified of the world in solidarity, as Jesus himself did, so that we can have our minds renewed. Dominant cultural intuitions run contrary to Christ's way of knowing. The one taking on the form of Christ in the world does not take for granted the popular or dominant view of things. Rather, the person committed to Jesus follows him to the margins and cracks of society, entering into what I call "counterintuitive solidarity" with the oppressed.
(pages 28-29)
Read more about this book, including praise, a sample chapter, and a free study guide at the publisher's webpage.

Monday, May 02, 2016

[we all believe in you]

self portrait by blake loates, from We All Believe In You website.
A community for those struggling with mental illness developed by survivors of mental illness because... we all believe in you.
"We All Believe in You is a rapidly growing movement developed to de-stigmatize and  de-mistify mental illness. WABIY serves to put a face to a typically faceless struggle as many live in the shame and anonymity of their disease. It is the goal of WABIY to use art, honesty, education, and community  to abolish pre-existing ideas and beliefs about mental illness. And above all, for those that are struggling with mental illness to know that they are not alone and We All Believe in You."
(from the WABIY website)
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Friday, April 29, 2016

things god forgot to put in the Bible (#3)

caption: things god forgot to put into the bible. Picture of clouds with god sitting on throne, jesus on a chair beside him. God says, "Shoulda put this in: 'God loves gay people but hates what they do...'"  Jesus replies, "You bet, pops! Look at the abominable way that gay man is loading his dishwasher!!" Concept and drawing by rob goetze

(inspired by a comment made by a nine-year-old)

Loading dishwashers is one of those things in life. There are people who load them willy-nilly and there are the people who load them the right way.

Of course, my right way of loading a dishwasher is not the same as your "right way" of loading the dishwasher. In fact, your way of loading the dishwasher is barely acceptable. And then there's my colleague who does an absolutely abominable job of loading the dishwasher in the staff kitchen!

And people wonder why I'm stressed out at work. Imagine how God feels when he sees all of this!

On a more serious note, have you ever heard anyone say, "God loves straight people but not what they do..."?