Thursday, December 29, 2016

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Monday, December 12, 2016

[what the largest survey of transgender people says about our churches]

graphic of 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey from their website

Sojourners has posted an article about the findings from the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey of 28,000 transgender people, in an article titled "7 Things the Largest-Ever Survey of Transgender People Tells Us About Our Churches."

The focus of their article, as the title suggests, is on the church and faith experiences. Interesting reading ...

Here's the first three things:
  1. Most trans people have experienced life in a community of faith.
  2. Trans people are afraid of religious rejection.
  3. Trans people have a pretty good reason to be afraid.

Read the article here:

If you are interested in the overall survey report, you can get it here:

Thursday, December 01, 2016

[saint giles' welcomes...]

photo of St. Giles' sign, with statement of welcome. Photo by Lauren VanderHout. Used with permission.

A sign outside of Saint Giles' Anglican Church in Cambridge. Photo by Lauren VanderHout.
Used by permission.

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.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

not so white after all?

I love Angélica Dass’ photographic project Humanae!  (see previous post)

So I decided to see how white I am…
… and clearly, I am not so white after all.

Picture of rob goetze done in the style of Angelica Dass' Humanae project; I am Pantone 7618 U. Photo by A.G.; edits by rob g.

Ms. Dass’ method is a bit complicated, so I did this the simple way:
I had one of my daughters take my picture.
I resized a copy of the photo to be really small, so that the colours would consolidate into an average colour.
I opened the photo in Paint (yes, good old fashioned Paint) and used the eyedropper to sample that colour.
I painted the entire background in that colour.
I looked at the RGB value for that colour, and used an online service to convert it to Pantone. That’s so I know what Pantone colour I am, to put under my picture.
In my case, I am Pantone 7618 U.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

[what colour are you?]

Brazilian photographer Angélica Dass is working on a large project which she calls "humanae". She takes portraits of people and then matches their skin tone to a Pantone colour, The portrait is then printed with that Pantone colour as the background. This challenges how we consider skin colour and ethnic identity,..

Watch her TED talk:

Alternate video link.

Check out Angélica Dass' website:

Thursday, October 06, 2016

[an orthodox rabbi walked into a gay african-american bar…]

The tragedy that took place in the Pulse nightclub in Orlando has affected many people. In this article, Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld shares how his Orthodox congregation responded.

I love this true story for a few reasons:
  1. It shows that differences do not have to be barriers
  2. It gives an example of how we can cry with those who cry and laugh with those who laugh
  3. It shows how we can be Christ-incarnate in the midst of others’ lives
  4. It reveals how, when it comes down to it, we often have far more connections with others than we first expected.

Here's the beginning of the story:
When our synagogue heard about the horrific tragedy that took place at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, it was at the same time that we were celebrating our festival of Shavuot, which celebrates God’s giving of the Torah.

As Orthodox Jews, we don’t travel or use the Internet on the Sabbath or on holidays, such as Shavuot. But on Sunday night, as we heard the news, I announced from the pulpit that as soon as the holiday ended at 9:17 p.m. Monday, we would travel from our synagogue in Northwest Washington to a gay bar as an act of solidarity.

We just wanted to share the message that we were all in tremendous pain and that our lives were not going on as normal. Even though the holiday is a joyous occasion, I felt tears in my eyes as I recited our sacred prayers.

Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld June 15, 2016

Read the entire article here...

Friday, September 30, 2016

purity committee

purity committee cartoon by rob goetze. Picture of a hillside with pigs, tombs, and a man with torn clothes. Jesus has just arrived in a boat and stepped onto land. Three of his disciples are blocking his path forward, saying, "Stop, Jesus, stop! The purity committee has denied your request to associate with this man due to the triple threat of demons, dead bodies, and swine!" Jesus replies, "Shucks, it would have made such a good story for the Gospels.!

Here's the real story...

Jesus Restores a Demon-Possessed Man

26 They sailed to the region of the Gerasenes, which is across the lake from Galilee. 27 When Jesus stepped ashore, he was met by a demon-possessed man from the town. For a long time this man had not worn clothes or lived in a house, but had lived in the tombs. 28 When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell at his feet, shouting at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, don’t torture me!” 29 For Jesus had commanded the impure spirit to come out of the man. Many times it had seized him, and though he was chained hand and foot and kept under guard, he had broken his chains and had been driven by the demon into solitary places.

30 Jesus asked him, “What is your name?”

“Legion,” he replied, because many demons had gone into him. 31 And they begged Jesus repeatedly not to order them to go into the Abyss.

32 A large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside. The demons begged Jesus to let them go into the pigs, and he gave them permission. 33 When the demons came out of the man, they went into the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned.

34 When those tending the pigs saw what had happened, they ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, 35 and the people went out to see what had happened. When they came to Jesus, they found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting at Jesus’ feet, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. 36 Those who had seen it told the people how the demon-possessed man had been cured. 37 Then all the people of the region of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them, because they were overcome with fear. So he got into the boat and left.

38 The man from whom the demons had gone out begged to go with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying, 39 “Return home and tell how much God has done for you.” So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him.

Luke 8:26-39 New International Version (NIV)

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Friday, September 23, 2016

[“Nobody is ever just a refugee”]

The Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie addressed the United Nation’s World Humanitarian day in regard to the refugee crisis, saying, "Nobody is ever just a refugee".

She also said,
In my language, Igbo, the word for ‘love’ is ‘ifunanya’ and its literal translation is, ‘to see.’ So I would like to suggest today that this is a time for a new narrative, a narrative in which we truly see those about whom we speak.

Let us tell a different story. Let us remember that the movement of human beings on earth is not new. Human history is a history of movement and mingling. Let us remember that we are not just bones and flesh. We are emotional beings. We all share a desire to be valued, a desire to matter. Let us remember that dignity is as important as food.
Watch the complete 8 minute video:

Click here if video does not appear above.

Friday, September 16, 2016

things god forgot to put into the Bible (#7)

things God forgot to put in the Bible #7. Cartoon by rob goetze. Picture shows God and Jesus sitting on clouds, taking in the sunset. God says, "Here's an important one I missed somehow: 'Do not offend the high priests!'" Jesus replies, "So it's do what God says but not what Jesus does??"

Matthew 15:11-13 New International Version (NIV)

What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.” Then the disciples came to him and asked, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this?” He replied, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots.

Friday, September 09, 2016

[ally or accomplice?]

I read a very challenging article recently. I don't know enough about the topic to make intelligent comments, but it does make me think about motives. Here's the introduction:

The ally industrial complex has been established by activists whose careers depend on the “issues” they work to address. These nonprofit capitalists advance their careers off  the struggles they ostensibly support. They often work in the guise of “grassroots” or “community-based” and are not necessarily tied to any organization.
They build organizational or individual capacity and power, establishing themselves comfortably among the top ranks in their hierarchy of oppression as they strive to become the ally “champions” of the most oppressed. While the exploitation of solidarity and support is nothing new, the commodification and exploitation of allyship is a growing trend in the activism industry.

Read the rest of the article at:

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

self-styled jesus

heading: self-styled jesus in a post-orlando world. Drawing of preacher at front with large screens on either side. He says, "in the tradition of Jesus, 'you have heard it said, 'God takes no joy in the death of the wicked...' But I tell you, 'This is a day for rejoicing!'". Cartoon by rob goetze

After the massacre in Orlando, one pastor in Sacramento was happy about the killings. Here's what he said in a sermon:

"Are you sad that 50 pedophiles were killed today? No, I think that's great. That helps society ..."

Can you imagine Jesus saying something like that?? I sure can't, but tragically, in some "Christian cultures", this is what happens....

Reference in cartoon is to Ezekiel:

Say to them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, people of Israel?’ Ezekiel 33:11 NIV

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

[these beautiful photos set trans and gender queer people free]

"An Australian photographer [Emma Leslie] created a breathtaking photo series that shows gender diverse and transgender children exactly how they want to be seen. The images are meant to give these children a voice, as transgender and gender queer people as a whole are often misunderstood."

Taleem 9 yrs & Sister Nim. Photo  by Emma Leslie

Read the whole article and see more pictures at:

Monday, August 01, 2016

[how to tell if your church is welcoming for transgender people]

Related to my exploration of declared spaces and uncertain spaces, an article on asks,
Is your church welcoming of transgender people? And if it is, does anyone know?

Lots of churches declare their “open and affirming” status on their websites. Or they will put a rainbow flag on their church sign or website homepage. But those symbols often don’t tell the whole story. Many churches that have done a lot of work on gay and lesbian issues haven’t bothered to study anything about transgender people. They have outdated language on their websites or don’t mention transgender issues at all.
Read the rest of the article...

Getting personal:

Callan Williams shares about her own experiences with various churches as a transperson, making it clear that the "transgender experience is essentially different than the lesbian, gay and bisexual experience in a number of ways."

Read the rest of the story at:

Monday, July 11, 2016

one vote short - for less than a day

Tonight was the vote on changing the Marriage Canon of the Anglican Church of Canada to include same-sex marriage. It passed the house of laity and the house of bishops, with over 2/3's majority in each. But in the house of clergy, it was one vote short of passing.... 

And then the next day, an error was discovered which shifted the motion into passing!!

"But will we be addressing root causes of homelessness among lgbtq youth?" wonders someone attending the 2016 General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada.

That's a good question. If ending homelessness is not just about providing housing, the root causes  behind the homelessness of many people should be addressed, or we will just be treating the symptoms....

Yet is is much easier to provide some housing than it is to recognize and acknowledge that we are complicit in causing the problem. Let's take homeless lgbtq youth, for example. We are complicit because for years, the church has preached and acted against those who are part of sexual and gender minorities. Complicit because for years, the church has closed its heart to the least of these. Complicit because churches that are progressive in regard to their understanding of Scripture often still seem ashamed of the sexual and gender minorities in their midst, not offering a full and public welcome.

Read more here. 

And read more here. 

Friday, July 08, 2016

apology from the Baton Rouge Police Department

Alton Sterling and Family. Picture from Twitter
In memory of Alton Sterling, age 37, killed by Baton Rouge Police Department officers who responded to a report that a man selling CDs had threatened someone with a gun. July 5, 2016.

we just want to say

father of five in red shirt
selling CDs outside store
someone called in
an altercation

die Bullen pinned him to the ground
he's got a gun one shouted
the other did his sworn duty
and gored him to death

Forgive us
we had hoped to spar with a white dude
but the night was dark
and his dance card was full

poem by rob g

Read the story here.

Last stanza in poem refers to this:
If only #AltonSterling had this luxury.

This is a false apology poem in the style of William Carlos Williams. If you are new to my blog, be aware that this is a social commentary blog. Most posts are rather frank and some are hard-hitting. Read more about this blog.

Thursday, July 07, 2016


"We are your LGBTQ friends and family 
in the Anglican Church of Canada.
These are our stories."

#equallyAnglican logo designed by philip hamilton. Red cross in black circle, with four multi-coloured leaves, one in each quadrant

Just out in advance of this year's General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada, the #equallyAnglican Facebook page features almost 30 images of Anglicans (see sample below) as well as videos and more, sharing the stories of lgbtq friends and family in the Anglican Church of Canada.

#equallyAnglican - picture of Pam Hill and Rwv. Sylvia Brightwell

Check it out!

Friday, July 01, 2016

depictions of god on this blog

Ah, yes. God is a man. Or at least, looks like a man.Those defaults that I've been taught all my life by the religious culture that I'm embedded in have really sunk in.

Until something shakes them up a bit:

It might seem like an innocuous tweet, but Broderick Greer is someone I pay attention to. And so after reading it, I thought to myself, oh, while I know that God is not a man with a beard, and while I have even depicted Jesus as a queer black female, I do sometimes depict God as a man with a beard.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

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

looking for a brainstorm?

Those of you who follow my blog regularly may have noticed far less posts recently. Two reasons for this: first, until mid-May, I was looking for a new job as my current job was temporary. Now it's been made permanent so I'm no longer spending time on that.

However, I do need some side income so I've been working on setting up some "gigs". These are on the website.

Currently, I'm offering brainstorming services, process mapping and technical manual review. Think none of those relate to you? The brainstorming service does -- for $5 or $10 US, I will brainstorm about your project, problem or situation and provide you with a mind map of the resulting ideas. 
It can be something personal, for your company, for a community project, whatever. They say two heads are better than one...

Check it out here:

You can read the reviews from some of the gigs I have completed.
If you're new to the "gig economy", why not give it a try? It's an inexpensive way to get some great ideas...

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)
Featured on:

CTV News

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..."?

Wednesday, April 27, 2016


I sent an email to a pastor a few months ago, asking if lgbtq+people are welcome in their church and got an amazing reply, which I read during my break at work.

Later that evening while doing housework, I was thinking further about the reply and realized that I couldn't remember if the pastor had indicated what they believe about same-sex marriage.

That rather puzzled me. When I later checked the email, it turns out they had made one off-hand remark about it.

Now I'm going to ask you to read the email, edited only to remove identifying details and the one specific sentence that offhandedly indicated a specific theological belief.

Based on the pastor's reply, can you guess what theological beliefs are held about same-sex marriage?

Monday, April 11, 2016

[subversive meals: an analysis of the lord's supper under roman domination during the first century, by r. alan streett]

The last supper under Roman domination during the first century

Subversive Meals examines the Lord's Supper within the sociopolitical context of first-century Roman domination, and concludes that it was an anti-imperial praxis. Although the Christian communal meal looked much like a typical Roman banquet in structure, with a deipnon and a symposion, it was essentially different.

The Roman meal supported the empire's ideology, honored Caesar and the gods, reinforced stratification among the masses, and upheld Rome's right to rule the world.

The Christian meal, on the other hand, included hymns that extolled Jesus as Lord, prophecies that challenged Rome's ideological claims, and letters-read aloud-that promoted egalitarianism and instructed believers on how to live according to kingdom of God principles. Hence, the Christian banquet was an act of nonviolent resistance, or what James C. Scott calls a "hidden transcript"

Description from Amazon

Very interesting read. Fairly scholarly. Would have liked to read it again, but it was an inter-library loan and needed to be returned. Nonetheless, it is intriguing to understand Jesus' words from a completely different perspective and whether one agrees with it or not, it does make one think about communion / Eucharist today, and how far it is from being an act of nonviolent resistance...

In many places, it seems that the church, corporations, and government are aligned and allied in holding onto power and maintaining the status quo.

Subversive Meals: An Analysis of the Lord's Supper under Roman Domination during the First Century
R. Alan Streett

Thursday, April 07, 2016

the table of hospitality (2)

The people who feel welcomed are the people for whom you have set a table of hospitality.
Source: Doug Paul, edited.

What does such a table of hospitality that welcomes others look like?

How do we set  a table of hospitality that is welcoming to aboriginal people? People who are unhoused? Men and women who live with mental health challenges? People who identify as lgbtq+? Those who live with disabilities? Youth?

I think of two small things that happen at my church:

First, occasionally we substitute the Kenyan Rite for the usual Apostles' Creed. This not only helps us to think more about what we are saying, as the words are not the usual words, but the Kenyan Rite emphasizes different things from the Apostles' Creed. (see more commentary on this, including a great example from a Maasai prayer book).

Secondly, we have held a Standing Stones service in place of the usual Sunday morning Eucharist. The Standing Stones service is a gathering of Aboriginal and Non-aboriginal People to explore God in an Aboriginal Context (read more), and is very different from what we usually do, both in format and in content. I hope that we will be able to repeat this experience several times a year.

These are small ways in which to shift and expand the table of hospitality.

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

the table of hospitality

Imagine you have a seafood allergy and some acquaintances invite you to dinner.

And then this happens:

fishy welcome cartoon by rob g. Table set with sea food, with epipen cartridges at each spot. The host says to the guests, "Welcome! And don't worry about the fish. I've put brand-new EpiPens at each of your places."

How would you feel?

The people who feel welcomed are the people for whom you have set a table of hospitality.
Source: Doug Paul, edited.

Friday, April 01, 2016

[inclusive community]

Recently we went to a high school open house here in Edmonton, and this poster caught my eye:

Inclusive Communities poster from local (Edmonton) high school. Photo by robg. Poster text: "Our school is an inclusive community where the fundamental dignity and rights of the person are honored and where those who identify as sexual and gender minorities are welcomed and supported as children of God."
(photo by rob g)

The text says:
Our school is an inclusive community where the fundamental dignity and rights of the person are honored and where those who identify as sexual and gender minorities are welcomed and supported as children of God.

And I wonder, if a Catholic school can say this, why can't the church I attend say the same?

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

[forensic jesus]

"Back in 2002 a forensic artist used Semite skulls found in Israel to reconstruct the face and head of what a first-century male from Palestine would most probably have looked like."

Paul Alexander from Evangelicals for Social Action challenges us to put a picture of this Jesus up in our churches:

Picture of Jesus as recreated by forensic artist based on Semite skulls. Photo from

Their goal is to have one million churches with this picture on display.

What do you think? How would people at your church respond? Personally, I'd like to see a slightly friendlier looking version of the forensic Jesus instead of the slightly stunned version that the scientists drew up.

How do you feel about referring to the typical pictures of Jesus as the "European Jesus"?

Forward this post or the link to the full article to your pastor, and ask them to consider adding forensic Jesus to the church walls...

Read the whole article here. They also have a higher resolution version of the picture available there.

Monday, March 28, 2016

an apology from pope francis

On the occasion of the Holy Thursday rite, held at the Castelnuovo di Porto refugee centre in Italy, March 24, 2016.

Picture of Pope Francis kissing the feet of a man at the Holy Thursday rite, held at the Castelnuovo di Porto refugee centre in Italy, March 24, 2016, where he washed and kissed the feet of 12 people including Muslims, Hindus and Christians. Photo by AP

I  just want to say

On Holy Thursday
I washed your feet
Muslim Hindu Christian
men and women

on Holy Thursday
I kissed your feet
strangers in this land
children of the same god

Forgive me
for living the truth
that so many of God's people

poem by rob g
This is a false apology poem
in the style of William Carlos Williams.

As Bishop Yvette Flunder says in her tweet below,
Christianity is useless without demonstrating authentic radical love.

Screenshot of Bishop Yvette Flunder's tweet about the Pope washing the feet of Muslims. She adds "Christianity is useless without demonstrating authentic radical love." Photo from news article shows Pope Francis kissing the foot of a black man at the Holy Thursday rite of foot washing, at the Castelnuovo di Porto refugee centre in Italy, March 24, 2016.
This is a false apology poem in the style of William Carlos Williams.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

jesus and the thief

Cartoon of jesus and disciples walking along path. Judas is carrying money purse. One disciple further back says to the others near him, "You know Judas is still a thief, right? He's been stealing from the common purse." Text below cartoon says, "said the doubter to the liars." Cartoon by rob g.

4 But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, 5 “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” 6 He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.
John 12:4-6 NIV

So Judas is a thief, stealing from the common purse.

If the writer of the gospel knew this, wouldn't at least some of the others have known it? And perhaps Jesus himself might have known about it? Yet Judas was still in their midst, still a disciple...

As was Thomas who doubted like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind, Peter who later refused to publicly acknowledge Jesus before others, Matthew who as tax collector had exploited God's chosen people on behalf of the oppressive Romans, Simon the zealot (might some label him a terrorist today?), James the son of Zebedee and John his brother and the other two fishermen disciples who surely are liars (though some call it telling fish stories) ...

What's with that? What kind of church was this Jesus guy building? No wonder we threw out that nasty business of putting up with everyone and are back to being holy as God is holy.

HT to Maureen whose mention of Judas and the common purse in her sermon, inspired this post.

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

[towards mental wellness - articles]

blue bird on tangled grey background. excerpt of an illustration by Brian Liu, from cover page for Winter 2016 issue of Regent College's the Regent World digital magazine
Excerpt of illustration by Brian Liu
The Winter 2016 issue of Regent College's The Regent World digital magazine is focused on mental wellness and is well worth reading!
(this is a "current issue" link, which I will update once the next issue is released)

List of articles:

Companions on the Journey: Sharon Smith & Sanctuary Mental Health Ministries

A Theological Reflection on My Experience of Depression

"Me Too." A Hospital Visit

Writing in the Margins: A Conversation with Matt Malyon

Managing Mental Health While Pursuing a PhD: Interview with Rachel Krohn

Holding on to Your Faith in the Dark Night

brief update

This is just a quick update to explain the recent lack of posts. I had spent a lot of time working on the uncertain spaces article, the abbreviated version which appeared in the Anglican Messenger, and the related video. So I think my brain is taking a little break. As well, I have been busy working on our income tax.

However, various ideas are percolating and will eventually end up here.


Tuesday, March 01, 2016

[asset mapping for straight white folks and others with privilege]

"I think white people who want to take positive action should start to asset map. Rather than being frozen in guilt and thinking about what you "can't do" or how daunting actions might seem, think of all the skills you have and all the communities and spaces you have access to. How can you utilize your assets to create real impact for black liberation?" Jamila Woods. #BlackLivesMatter

What Jamila says here is also true for any sort of privileged people who want to take positive action -- asset map and then utilize your assets to create real impact for the liberation of others...

Monday, February 22, 2016

[this little light -- purpose built lamps for a great cause]

A friend of ours gave me this funky little lamp, which you see here on my desk at work.

Picture of "Manning" lamp from This Little Light, on my office desk.
The lamp is made by "This Little Light Handmade Lamp Company", based here in Edmonton. Alberta. Here's what their site says:
We take materials that have been discarded and rebuild them into unique, one of a kind lamps. The process of crafting each lamp is a metaphor for how love can take something broken and make it beautiful. Each lamp is hand crafted by individuals living out stories of Hope, Strength, Resilience and Courage. Whether someone is transitioning back into society after years of incarceration, recovering from addiction, or getting back on their feet after a season of homelessness, This Little Light provides the opportunity for people to discover their second chance.

They currently sell six styles of lamps. You can see them all online, as well as buying them at Park Lighting if you are local to Edmonton.

Six lamps from This Little
This Little Light

Park Lighting

(prices as listed on 2016-02-02. subject to change)