Pick Yourself up and do better

Photo from the LGBTQ Christian Network

I posted this on my Facebook page last year. Reading it again this morning, it feels like something I want to put out there again. It’s dated, with its references to the 2020 election, but 2024 is looming, and the same forces are pushing for attention again. I know it’s kind of intense, but so is the soul-rejection so many people experience because of terrible theology:


I know I post this and sentiments like it quite often. I have received third-hand feedback that some well-meaning Christian folks get deeply offended by some of the things that I post. You must know that it is because I follow the way of Jesus that I post these things, because I was raised to believe in his essential messages of Love and Welcome for ALL.

Speaking to the well-meaning Christians who might be thinking of voting for the president because of a pro-life stance alone, I say to you that to welcome everyone to the table is a deeply pro-life stance. To exclude and shame any member of the human community is anti-life, is death-dealing. The number of LGBTQ+ people who die or nearly die by suicide each year is staggering, and it is, in many (most?) cases, a DIRECT result of religious people who marginalize and exclude and shame LGBTQ+ folks, a direct result of a theology that labels people sinners because of who they are. I need you to hear this. I need you to understand theological consequences.

Insisting that LGBTQ+ people are sinful by nature is anti-life. If you want a deeper conversation about the very few Biblical passages that your church refers to in order to shame and exclude (yes, “love-the-sinner-hate-the-sin” is shameful and exclusionary) God’s own children, I can find you articles and dialogue with you. I only ask that you come to the table willing to listen.

{Note: If you feel hurt that you may be part of a group that has driven people to suicide, please try to imagine the hurt and despair of those who’ve been cast out and excluded. Pick yourself up and do better. If deep down you agree that this is a death-dealing theology, but it feels really risky to to to speak up in support of LGBTQ+ folks, imagine the intense feelings of risk felt by someone who comes out of the closet. Pick yourself up and do better. I’ve got your back.}


Gratitude List:
1. Last Weekend: swans, storytelling, deepening friendships, swallows, fox, windy beaches, delicious shared food. What DOES the fox say?
2. Tenderness and connection amidst shared grief. I’m not grateful for this terrible grief (one of the young ones in our school/church/family circles has died), but grateful for the way the circles flow together and interconnect.
3. The foresight of my school’s administration: We reached a threshold of active cases and students quarantining because of exposures, and so we went virtual for the week. I feel like the administration cares about my health and the health of my family and my students and their families.
4. This little break. I can assign reading and analysis tasks for the week, do some Zooms, and catch up on grading. Yesterday was a crash day for me. I think the aggregate burden of work overwhelm and grief and not enough time for the introverted self and light insomnia all came to a head for me, but I had the freedom to take a long and deep nap, and I came out the other side refreshed and ready to attack the tasks ahead of me.
5. The kitchen floor. It’s been a LONG time since we sanded and stained, and Jon did that this week, and I am obsessed with it. Pine takes a real beating, but it cleans up so beautifully.

May we do justice, love, mercy, and walk humbly in Beauty! So much love to you.


“Although the post-industrial period may well be remembered as one of the most irresponsible in history, nonetheless there is reason to hope that humanity at the dawn of the twenty-first century will be remembered for having generously shouldered its grave responsibilities.The warming of the planet is a symptom of a greater problem: the developed world’s indifference to the destruction of the planet as they pursue short-term economic gains. This has resulted in a “throwaway culture” in which unwanted items and unwanted people, such as the unborn, the elderly, and the poor, are discarded as waste.” –Pope Francis
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Praise, my dear one.
Let us disappear into praising.
Nothing belongs to us.
~ Rainer Maria Rilke
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“Listen: Are you breathing just a little and calling it a life?” –Mary Oliver
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“This might be the most difficult task for us in postmodern life: not to look away from what is actually happening. To put down the iPod and the e-mail and the phone. To look long enough so that we can look through it—like a window.” –Marie Howe, poet

The Bud Always Opens Toward Decay


“Protest that endures, I think, is moved by a hope far more modest than that of public success: namely, the hope of preserving qualities in one’s own heart and spirit that would be destroyed by acquiescence.” ―Wendell Berry, from “What Are People For?”
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“It takes a lot of time to be a genius, you have to sit around so much doing nothing, really doing nothing.” ―Gertrude Stein
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“It is Story that heals us, that shapeshifts us, that saves us.” ―Sylvia V. Linseadt
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“It can hurt to go through life with your heart open, but not as much as it does to go through life with your heart closed.” –Jim Doty
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The bud always opens toward decay,
toward falling, the fragile bits within
slipping off their tiny moorings,
sifting downward, petals drooping,
dropping to the ground below,
offering beauty and a lingering aroma
in the briefest span.

The bud which never opens
also lives toward decay and rot
but never senses sun-warm petals,
never knows the draw of butterfly,
the tickle of the bee, never feels
the moment of release, of
settling to earth.
–Beth Weaver-Kreider


Gratitude List:
1. The gift of a new mantra. Today a young woman recounted a story of not getting what she needed in a certain situation. “Next time, I will speak my need,” she said. Me too.
2. That Ross Gay poem, “Sorrow is Not My Name
“I remember. My color’s green. I’m spring.”
3. Shelter. Food. Clothing.
4. Music
5. The last of the summer sweet corn. It seems appropriate to have an end-of-summer corn dinner.

May we walk in Beauty!

Song for a Change of Heart

Prompt for day 18: Write a glosa.  What a great challenge!  Use a four-line epigram from a favorite poet.  Write a four-stanza poem, ten lines each.  The four lines of the epigram provide the last line of each stanza.  Lines 6, 9, and 10 in each stanza rhyme.  I panicked.  I froze.  And then the adrenaline kicked in.  What fun!

“If these words can do anything
I say bless this house
with stars.

Transfix us with love.”  ~~Joy Harjo, “The Creation Story”

Let love be born in us and borne in us.
Let the stars fall on us and into us.
Let us be the memory of their light
the story of the stars remembering themselves
so that we will remember our own beginning,
that we may always hear them sing,
that we may shine their signs among us,
a web of story drawn between us.
Let it be in the hope they bring,
if these words can do anything.

If they can shelter,
if we can find our winding way
through the crooked paths to the truth
to find some meaning in the signs
that bind us to each other,
to read it in some oracle, to scry, to dowse
to hear it in the songs of stars,
in the echo in our hearts
to pronounce the benediction, in whispers, in shouts:
I say bless this house,

This house, this farm, this town.
Bless this whole chaotic messy world,
all these proud, these tragic,
these hopeful, shameful,
wounded, healing hearts,
this landscape scarred by wars,
ravaged by avarice.
Rain healing down–
fill hearts, and lakes and jars
with stars

Falling and shining,
giving birth to the world
again and again,
to wash the world clean,
to crack open the heart,
release the dove
to carry the seeds of a new beginning,
transform our hearts
from outside, below, within and above:
Transfix us with love.