Thursday, December 01, 2016

Monday, November 21, 2016


[we are all related]

I work downtown now, which means that there's lots to see when I go for a walk at lunch. Here's what I found in the atrium of Enterprise Square:

Sculpture of polar bear standing on base, with "We are all related" and indigenous writing. In atrium of Enterprise Square, Edmonton. Artist unknown to me. Photo by rob goetze

Saturday, November 12, 2016

don't say "the pope blesses trans"

Picture of jesus and several disciples walking along. One says to Jesus, "Hey Jesus, after you're dead, I'll be writing about you." Jesus replies, "Please, Mark, do not write 'Jesus hung out with prostitutes.' Please." Cartoon by rob goetze.

On a flight from Azerbaijan to Italy, Pope Francis was asked by journalists how he would minister to those feel that their bodies do not match their gender.

His comments were an interesting mix of pastoral care and highly conservative views. Here I've isolated two distinct sections from an article that Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, wrote on Oct. 3, 2016 with the title "Pope lashes out at ‘nasty’ transgender mentality and ‘world war against marriage’".

“I’ve never abandoned them,” he said. “When someone who has this condition comes before Jesus, Jesus would surely never say ‘go away because you’re gay.'”

Francis recounted the story of a Spanish transgender man who wrote him a letter recounting his transition from a woman to a man....

Francis praised the bishop who accompanied the man throughout his transition. But he criticized the man’s parish priest, who he said would yell “You’ll go to hell” when he saw him on the sidewalk.

Francis recounted that the man found a retired parish priest who had a different attitude: “He said, ‘How long has it been since you’ve gone to confession? Come on. Let’s confess so you can receive Communion.'”

While attention must be paid, he said, “in each case welcome, accompany, discern and integrate them” into the life of the church. “This is what Jesus would do today.”
And here's the second section:
He concluded by begging reporters flying with him on the papal plane: “Please don’t write ‘The pope blesses trans.’ Please.”

What does this mean?  Based on his conversation with the press, he doesn't want them to report that he blesses trans, because he doesn't. Or perhaps he does, but he doesn't want it to get out because people will be upset?? Possible but less likely, in my opinion.

Or maybe he knows what will happen if word gets to God that the pope blesses trans:

Three part cartoon. First part shows the pope's plane flying in the sky, and he says, "Please don't write 'The pope blesses trans.' Please." The second part shows an Italian newspaper with the headline "Pope Blesses Trans." Third part shows an asteroid headed right toward the earth. Cartoon by rob goetze.

That's pure sarcasm on my part; I'd of course be delighted if the Pope blessed trans people.

Delfin Bautista, a trans Latino Catholic who attended World Youth Day this year, says this about the pope:
I have been reflecting on the various messages we have received from the pope this week…live your truth, make a mess, and who am I to judge....

Looking at the three papal phrases that resonated with me, I realize that the pope has perhaps subversively blessed and invited us to live our truth by making a mess so that more and more people can live a life that is judgment free.

Gotta love the spin he puts on that, eh? 

Friday, November 04, 2016

[when jesus looks like a sex offender]

Hugh Hollowell ministers with the poor in Raleigh, North Carolina. I am quite a fan of his as I've often seen how he embodies in our time the Jesus that I read about in the Bible.

He has posted a story on his blog called "When Jesus looks like a sex offender'. Here's the beginning of the story:
An acquaintance of mine, a man who is a deacon in a local church, stopped by, and asked if he could talk to me.

We sat down in the small conference room at the community center we run.

“What do y’all do about sex offenders in church?” he asked.

A man named Andy had been coming to their church – a nice, successful, red brick, steeple church – for the last few months. He had attended their adult Sunday School, and everyone liked him.  Andy was an older man, in his late fifties, with a short beard and horn rimmed glasses. He was well read, knew his Bible and listened with rapt attention in the service. He was thinking about joining the church, so he scheduled a meeting with the pastor.

“That was when it went south. He told the preacher he was a sex offender, and he wanted to join the church,” the deacon said.

How would your church respond in this situation? How do you feel about it?

Read the rest of the story at

Friday, October 28, 2016

[gender-based analysis plus]

Though Gender-Based Analysis Plus has been in use by the Government of Canada since 1995, many people might not have heard of it.

Here’s how they describe it:

GBA+ is an analytical tool used to assess the potential impacts of policies, programs, services, and other initiatives on diverse groups of women and men, taking into account gender and other identity factors. The "plus" in the name highlights that GBA+ goes beyond gender, and includes the examination of a range of other intersecting identity factors (such as age, education, language, geography, culture and income).
Part of the goal of using GBA+ is to ensure that programs and services which are intended to produce positive results do not inadvertently have a negative effect on one subset of the population.

Read more here.

Educate and equip yourself! Take a short, free course on GBA+

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

interest convergence

Man says to woman, "I'm against interest convergence..." Woman replies, "Did you know that it will give you an excuse to change your mind?" Man replies, "Oh really? Alright, I'm all for it." Interest convergence cartoon by rob goetze.

Interest Convergence means that you will support something that previously you were against or uninterested in, if it benefits you to do so.

Warren Blumenfeld writes this:
The late Dr. Bell of New York University Law School forwarded the theory of “interest convergence,” meaning that white people will support racial justice only when they understand and see that there is something in it for them, when there is a “convergence” between the “interests” of white people and racial justice. Bell asserted that the Supreme Court ended the longstanding policy in 1954 of “separate but equal” in Brown v. Board of Education because it presented to the world, and in particular, to the Soviet Union during the height of the cold war, a United States that supported civil and human rights.

In like fashion, I posit that evangelicals and other conservative Christians, as they see more and more people supporting and more states passing civil and human rights protections based on sexual and gender identity and expression, and more and more people are leaving those religious institutions that have not caught up as welcoming congregations, evangelicals seemed to have “evolved” somewhat from dictating policies to at least debating varying perspectives. Whether they will eventually soften their stands is another matter.

Quote from: Can LGBTQ people ever forgive Christian evangelicals for their sins?
Author: Warren Blumenfeld

Thursday, October 20, 2016

[from john pavlovitz: the church beloved]

The Church Beloved: A Manifesto of LGBTQ-Affirming Christians. Image from John Pavlovitz
In a recent post, John Pavlovitz presents:

The Church Beloved: A Manifesto of LGBTQ-Affirming Christians

Here's an excerpt:
A new Church is coming, or rather with each passing day it is becoming; person by person being renovated.

Heart by heart it is waking up.

For a long time we have been shamed into silence, relegated to the periphery of the faith community, believing in quiet. But these days demand volume and today we raise our voices so that there can be no mistaking our intentions.

We are unrepentantly, unwaveringly LGBTQ-affirming Christians.

We will continue to make the Church and this world a more open, loving, and safe place for the queer community and their families.

Read the rest of the manifesto:

Monday, October 17, 2016

unknown embrace (a poem)

in this church, that synagogue, in this Edmonton of ours
arms open wide to embrace all who enter

yet mouths do not proclaim
signs never tell, websites omit

are welcome letters
in these spaces hidden in our city

poem by rob goetze

Poet’s comment:

Edmonton has places that are known to be welcoming to all people, and places that are known for being excluding. This poem is about places that are embracing yet few people know, because these places do not clearly articulate that they value and embrace diverse people, and hoping that these places will make themselves known….

I submitted this poem to the Fall 2016 Poetry Route poem competition which was part of the 2016 Edmonton Poetry Festival. The theme was "unknown Edmonton". Submissions were limited to a maximum of ten lines of ten words each, to ensure that the poems will fit on bus posters.

The competition received 156 entries. While my poem was not one of the four winners, it did make it into the shortlist of twenty four.

More info on Poetry Route competition.