Just recently I had a conversation with a friend who is in deep distress over what is going on at their church. An outspoken group of their congregation’s leadership is talking of leaving the PCUSA if the church allows ministers and sessions to choose for themselves whether they will perform or host same-sex weddings. At the minimum the leaders of my friend’s church want to change their by-laws to make it clear that they will never allow same-sex marriages, just like they already did concerning ordination after the “fidelity and chastity” language was removed in 2011. Read more
Recently I met a young man transitioning from being a female to being the male God created him to be. A.J. is a mechanic. He told me the story of a day when a customer noticed the initials embroidered on the pocket of his uniform.
“What does ‘A.J.’ stand for?”
A.J. hesitated momentarily. Friendly co-workers listened to hear how the young man would answer. Then A.J. said, “Amanda Jo.” Co-workers laughed with A.J. The customer gave a discombobulated smile. Read more
After so many years of hard fight and struggle, it was an honor to be part of the Presbyterian Church’s new day – a day when we are not fighting about sexuality.
That day was Saturday, May 3rd, 2014. Heartland Presbytery voted to approve my wife for ordination and approved me for transfer of membership. What made that day so amazing was not that Karen and I were approved. What made this day so amazing is that we were treated like everyone else. There were no questions about our sexuality. No one wondered about our marriage and its legality in the church. And no one insinuated that because we were married we might not abide by the Book of Order.
Saturday was the church at its best! Read more
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
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
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
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 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
“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
“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