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First Openly LGBTQ Clergy Couple Candidates in PC(USA) Approved for Ministry in Heartland Presbytery

At its stated meeting in Gardner, KS, May 3, 2014, Heartland Presbytery voted unanimously to approve the ordination of Karen Wagner to the office of Teaching Elder. At the same meeting, the presbytery received Wagner’s wife, The Rev. Sally Wright, into membership, making them the first clergy couple in the PC(USA) to begin their ministry as openly out LGBTQ persons. Read more

Beyond a Doubt

Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.” John 20:19-31

How do you get to that kind of faith where you can believe without seeing with an unshakeable faith that God is with us? Read more

More Light Sunday 2014

The mission theme for this year’s More Light Sunday is:

Life-changing conversations rooted in pride and love.

More Light Sunday is June 1, 2014, a few weeks before commissioners at 221st General Assembly in Detroit consider whether or not to amend our Book of Order to allow teaching elders to marry same-sex couples, an important moment of pastoral care where clergy help couples begin a lifelong journey to take care of and be responsible for each other, in good times and bad. Read more

The Greatest Commandment

Marriage equality is coming to the Equality State. Wyoming judges will likely interpret the equal protection clause of the Constitution the same as their colleagues in Utah, Texas, and elsewhere. I may officiate the first same-sex wedding in Wyoming. Though my heart is filled with thanksgiving, there is room for a measure of regret. Read more

Archbishop Welby, God Loves All Ugandans

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby recently used the plight of LGBTQ people in Africa to justify delaying same-sex marriage in the Church of England after it became civil law. He felt that moving too quickly could endanger the lives of Christians in homophobic/transphobic parts of the Anglican Communion because “everything we say here goes round the world.” The Right Reverend V. Gene Robinson responded to the Archbishop’s statement by saying, “While we deeply grieve the deaths of Christians anywhere, we should also grieve and oppose the oppression, violence and deaths perpetrated on LGBT people around the world.” Robinson points out that “we cannot give in to the violent acts of bullies and must discern and then pursue God’s will for all of God’s children.” Read more

God and the Gay Christian

“My Presbyterian church, in particular, was filled with kindhearted, caring Christians,” wrote Matthew Vines in his new book, God and the Gay Christian, the biblical case in support of same-sex relationships. “But when it came to homosexuality, their views were set. If you were in a gay relationship, you were living in sin. Period…Our pastor lamented from the pulpit that progressives in our denomination were advocating for the ordination of ‘practicing homosexuals.’ Heads shook in dismay and disappointment.”

After the Presbyterian Church (USA) removed barriers to the ordination of openly lesbian and gay candidates, Vines’ church in Wichita, Kansas left the denomination. Read more

Souring the Table

“We served him at the table
with wine, unleavened bread.
‘The one who will betray me
now eats with me,’ he said.
His friends would not believe him,
but one by one that night,
as soldiers came to take him,

they scurried out of sight.”

- We Sang our Glad Hosannas – The Faith We Sing #2111

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Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and undergo great suffering…be killed, and on the third day be raised. And Peter took him aside…saying, “…This must never happen to you.” …Then Jesus told his disciples, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. (Matthew 16:21-28).

“No son of mine is going to be a faggot…get out of my house.”
“When I visited with Felix at his church, there was a lot of this ‘faggots are going to hell stuff.’” Read more

Blessed Are the Prophets

So was Jesus and his followers streaming through the streets of Jerusalem a parade or a march? Were the palm-waving crowds welcoming a demonstration against Rome or simply enjoying a party? Are we talkin’ political movement or Mardi Gras? (This will be familiar to those of you who hear the same conversations about annual Pride observances!) Read more

Put the Gospel in Your Body

On the final descent into Tucson International Airport, I look out the window to be welcomed home by the Catalina Mountains. I can feel my roots digging back down into the dry Arizona dirt, my shoulders relaxing into the spring heat. Recently, though, my sense of homecoming has been unsettled by a reminder of the violence and fear that also lives here. I look around this desert and have a hard time imagining a culture of peace — I see, instead, the Tohono O’odham Nation divided by a border created by an occupying society, forced to present documents as they enter and leave what remains of their traditional land. I see the prisons we fund and fill, the drones we build and fly, and the people, like me, who sometimes can’t see how it could be any different. Read more