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Showing posts from 2016

squished together.

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woe.

Chapter 23: A Retelling Jesus denounces the "Good Christians"
Then Jesus said to the crowds and the disciples, “The church goers - those inside the structure and comforts of the institution - they know scripture and tradition well, so do whatever they teach you and follow it, but do not do as they do, for they do not practice what they preach.
They bury themselves in presentation and good order, which heaps expectations on those who do not already subscribe to the checklists of their own pious creation. They put on their Sunday best and greet you with simple pleasantries, “How are you? Good! Great!”, avoiding your jagged edges and damaged parts. These are precisely the pieces of you that need the body of Christ, but these things are messy, inconvenient, and distract from their sensibility and success at discipleship.
They will speak about their  baptism confirmation volunteering position  as accomplishments earned and gold stars on the road to salvation, flattered that other…

confession.

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A post-election confession of faith. For my children.
Beloved Ones,
I was not alive for the glory days of the American Christian Church. To be honest, I'm not convinced they lived up to their hindsight hype anyway.  I grew up in the Christendom Hangover, a generation that has finally needed to acknowledge a changing world, an imperfect institution, and that pain that accompanies change too late. These things have called piety and pride into question while we continue to struggle with denial and the world’s measurements of success. The Mainline Protestant denominations have arrived first, but we are all on our way. It's an awkward, beautiful, and frustrating time to be a Christian in America.
There are plenty of reasons to wander away from Christianity these days (there always have been), but I remain for three reasons that I gift to you with all I have:
1. I know Jesus. Jesus did not come to increase our piety or to provide a salvation back-up plan or to prove us right or to ins…

my place.

I hugged the covers under my chin on Wednesday morning, trying to decide whether I should read my phone or my husband's face for the answer I dreaded. I cried in the shower, wishing I didn't need to face children so soon after the news. My little ones pulled back the curtain and demanded me before I was ready for them. But such is life. Such was everything about yesterday as life ticked on.

I am sad and angry for all the reasons I thought I would be, but also because President-Elect Donald Trump is making me engage my white fragility from a completely different angle. 

You see, I am a straight, white, able-bodied, non-military, English-speaking, documented, Christian person with health insurance made available through my spouse's employment. I am done renting my uterus to unborn children, so the government will leave it alone. I am a tired 35 year-old mother of three, who Trump would consider "a 4 tops", so I don't have to worry about him groping me anytime soo…

bodies.

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Some people are startled by their own emotional response to this video leaked last week. Others are not surprised at all, but struggle to articulate precisely why this is so offensive and inappropriate. Like racism and privilege, rape culture is in the air we breathe. It's hard to define and dismantle something that is like vapor that permeates our society's expectations and systems.  And why is this the straw that breaks the RNC's back? What about all those other bodies denigrated and disrespected by this campaign and our systemic privilege?

I type today because a few have asked me to explain why this is an example of rape culture, but then I want to give us some hope through action. What can we do, as conscious individuals, to change rape culture and build respect for all human bodies? 
What is rape culture? If you haven't watched the video yet, please do and hear the soundtrack of smug laughter. This is the sound of entitled, rich, famous, white men relishing the po…

tenderness and power.

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Last week I launched my girls into preschool and put Jasper on a bus to Kindergarten. It's an emotional time for any parent, the releasing of your children to new experiences and people and environments. As a working mother, I can't help but wonder what I have missed in these first five and a half years of parenthood. But as a potty training warrior, I can't help but be glad they'll be peeing on someone else today.

The night before Jasper started Kindergarten, we talked about superpowers. Everybody has one. There is strength and creativity and kindness in every single person you'll meet at school. Sometimes it's hidden and sometimes it's obvious. And guess what? I think one of your superpowers is discovering other people's superpowers.

It's true. He's wise and observant. He notices and names things I cannot see. I sent him off with this encouragement so that he'd be curious about his classmates, always seeking to learn more about them until…

what do you mean, "welcome"?

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I drove all over town running errands on Thursday and passed at least a dozen church buildings of all different sizes and denominations that shared something in common: their marquee or banner out front declared, "All are Welcome". I struggle with this tagline for all kinds of reasons and here are just a few...

I should hope so. When our congregations feel the need to explain that everyone is welcome, it reminds me that our history, theologies, and communities have done a poor job embodying this basic truth in all kinds of destructive and disappointing ways for which we struggle to fully acknowledge and seek forgiveness. I think this statement is meant to be innocent and friendly, but can also remind our estranged and unfamiliar neighbors of our great hypocrisy throughout history. It can fall a little short of what's necessary to redeem our reputation for hospitality.Really? Everybody? To be true, this assumes we have interpreters at worship services, elevators and ramps …

whose.

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There are words and chants and articles and feelings flying around this week in America and in my community here in Minnesota. Police shot black men for rumors of weapons that, by video accounts, appear to be still in pockets. Snipers shot police officers for a system that cannot be cured with bullets. Tensions are high. Emotions are sharp and pointy and fragile.

The vigils and protests in my neck of the woods have been largely peaceful and unifying. People are standing together to cry and listen and prophecy. A 32 year old St. Paul man is being remembered for his gifts, strengths, and relationships. His life is being called worthy, but only after he was shot dead in his car while a four year old girl watched from the backseat. Lord, have mercy. We are failing her and her whole generation.

With every black life lost to police violence and racial injustice, a few are hard at work finding fault with the victim. Criminal records. Domestic abuse. Gang affiliation. Addiction. Unpaid parki…