LGBT youth face great challenges.  They are at greater risk for academic failure because schools are often unsafe. Lack of support often leads to feelings of isolation and depression; and LGBTQ youth are up to four times more likely to attempt suicide.  Offer support to local organizations that provide services to LGBT youth. Mentor and model a sensitive and encouraging approach with LGBT teens in your own life.  If you know an LGBTQ youth in need of help, connect them resources like The Trevor Project at 1-866-4UTREVOR or http://www.thetrevorproject.org/

For more information on LGBTQ health issues visit Rainbow Access Initiative and choose from the menu options on the left side. Of particular interest might be the section on “Suicide”.

For more information on spititual health for LGBTQ visit CWAC’s website or click on the “email us” button and contact me. CWAC’s anti-heterosexist, anti-racist stand for spiritual justice might just provide the safe place you’re looking for.

This year we celebrated Christmas at the Damien Center on December 19. The gathering reminded us of the Magnificat.

God has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts …

We gathered as the Damien Center comfortable in our intent to share.

God has brought down the powerful from their thrones

For weeks and even until the very night before, people brought from what they had.

and lifted up the lowly

There were tables set with room enough for all to sit face to face.

filled the hungry with good things

The food served was creatively prepared to satisfy and nourish.

and sent the rich away empty

Every guest, even those unexpected, left with gifts.

in fulfillment of God’s promise.

“The community of faith and struggle, then, is the community that makes use of its critically reflected experience of struggle in the process of traditioning by which it selects from the still living and evolving past of scriptural and church tradition as a means of shaping an alternate future. Its appeal to Tradition in no way is a denial of its own process and experience but rather a faith affirmation that God is present in and through their struggle for justice and discernment of the meaning of the gospel message. Nor is it a denial of the need for careful critical thought as the community uses the theological  spiral to make connections between its  ongoing life and its continuing work of advocacy and welcome for those on the margins of church and society.”

Then, the “measure of faithfulness” is demonstrated in how the most vulnerable participate in church community over and against a non-reflective tradition.

We have already seen that table talk as both action and reflection is not disconnected from scripture and tradition. Rather, round table talk is designed to talk back to tradition … In a positive sense, talking back is a constant movement around the spiral, bringing scripture and tradition into connection with context, critical analysis, and action by those at the margins of church and society. This dialogue finds its conversation partners among communities of faith and struggle, who in turn become the prism for the feminist self-understanding of what it means to be church.

Opportunities continue to present themselves, more so now since my participation in E&J Day at the capital on 4/28. It is a practice that helped me remember my worth as a minister and my ability to nurture my passion in engaging with a community in servant leadership. Andy and I represented the church as a body living in the community of love, nurturing each other.

Last year, the 1st year, we walked around the block, Andy and I, in the freezing cold wondering what the year would bring; believing God has a hand in it all; hoping that we could come to know the neighborhood and learn to be community together.

This year, we have the experience of a year lived on this block. We have shared the street with ambulances, police cars, taxis, fire trucks and kids throwing the ball to each other. (more…)

Out of a starting point connected to those who are marginalized comes the theological spiral that Beverly Harrison has called a “liberation social ethics methodology” and Katie Cannon calls “emancipatory praxis”. This style 0f theologizing in a continuing spiral of engagement and reflection begins with commitment to the task of raising up signs of God’s new household with those who are struggling for justice and full humanity. It continues by sharing experiences of commitment and struggle in a concrete context of engagement. Third, the theological spiral leads to a critical analysis of the context of the experiences, seeking to understand the social and historical factors that affect the community of struggle. Out of this commitment to action in solidarity with the marginalized, and out of sharing of experiences and social analysis, arise questions about biblical and church tradition that help us gain new insight into the meaning of the gospel as good news for the oppressed and marginalized. This new understanding of tradition flows from and leads to action, celebration and further reflection in the continuing theological spiral.

from Church in the Round

“… I describe the church as a community of Christ, bought with a price, where everyone is welcome. This community is bought with a price because of the struggle of Jesus to overcome the structures of sin and death constitutes both the source of new life in the community and its own mandate to continue the same struggle for life on behalf of others.”

“Those of us who ‘fall in faith’ with [Jesus] and [the] story of God’s welcome experience cognitive dissonance, a contradiction between ideas and actual experience, when we turn from reading the Gospels to looking at the way this message has been interpreted in the church through the ages. Nevertheless, many of us, including myself, continue to find that this is a life-giving story that points us to God’s intention for New Creation, in our lives, in society, and in nature as well.  And we find ourselves seeking out communities of faith and struggle that speak of life in the midst of all forms of death-dealing oppression.”

– Letty Russell, Church in the Round

It is impossible for me and for many other alienated women and men to walk away from the church, however, for it has been the bearer of the story of Jesus Christ and the good news of God’s love. It seems rather that we have to sit back and askourselves about what is happening among us when two or three gather in Christ’s name and begin to think through possible ways of being church that will affirm the full humanity of all women and men.”

– from Church in the Round, pg 11.

As the Body of Christ in community, church has a role. Since CWAC is a movement in response to oppression, we covenant to filter conversation through the following (you can hold us accountable in loving support):

1. The starting point of theological thought and action is the experience of social oppression.

2. The goal of theology is human worth, the possibility of being a person within a just order of society.

3. Theology is praxis. Theology takes place in just action and the struggle for a new society.

These tenets were taken from Elisabeth Moltmann-Wendel’s A Land Flowing With Milk and Honey (1989).

The Open National Coordinating Team meeting in White Plains, NY, will be meeting March 13-15. Follow this link to learn more: CWAC Meeting

The Church Start/Redevelopment Team (Ministry Development) will meet on Friday, March 13th at 3:00pm. We will be gathering to discover what BEing church looks like in ministry as new church starts and revitalizations. We are stepping out into communities as church – the Body of Christ. What exactly does that look like?

It looks like a communion table that always has room for one more.

It looks like a place where every pew is a sacred space of sharing

It looks like a time/place in which no voice is valued above another.

It looks like a place where everyone is a participant, not a visitor.

It looks like …

We would love to be able to come together to talk about how this is lived in reality – here, now, today – in our ministry.

divorce_vid2This is a movie from the Courage Campaign in California. It is truly poignant. I encourage all, no matter your thoughts on same-sex marriage, to see this video and ponder the effects of potentially being forced to divorce your spouse.

Or, you can go to http://www.couragecampaign.org/page/s/divorce

Perhaps this begs a question. If you don’t believe they should be married to each other, who do you believe they should marry?

It is imperative that churches recognize the need that exists today to teach folks how to reflect theologically. The single biggest reason for this, quite honestly, is that church hierarchies have done the local church member a grave disservice.Increasingly, the theological discussions surrounding potentially contentious issues have occurred in denominational ivory towers, leaving the average church-goer divorced from the process of contemplating God’s place in any controversy. (more…)

As it turns out, not every good idea is high-tech. “Cookies” are the little files that help your web browser to remember the websites you’ve visited. Low-tech cookies, real world ones, can actually do the same thing, I found out. (more…)

What does a virtual church look like – forgiving, of course, the fact that the question seems to be an oxymoron? If a church does not exist in bricks and mortar, with live people, is it a church? If you just reproduce a real world church on video is it really virtual? And, if you just put a selection of hymns, prayers and sermons online so someone can click on them, does that qualify for either? This is a strange concept, this virtual church, raised most recently and bravely by our Executive Director, Cathy Knight. It will not be answered without wide discussion and participation. (more…)