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