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

Shouldn’t Be Surprised

Why am I surprised? Why am I always surprised?

After four years of watching people I thought were philosophically and spiritually interested in wisdom and truth and justice cast off their moral and ethical clothing, shed their philosophical and ideological grounding, I shouldn’t be shocked at the callousness and cruelty, the active denialism and cult-like disengagement with humanity. But I am. I expected people to be better, and I keep holding out hope that the cruelty and denialism have just been glitches.

But I don’t think so.

People who railed against the “holocaust” of children represented by the seed of life in a zygote have been shrugging their shoulders when born children are torn from their parents’ arms and locked in cages–ill-fed, cold, untended, subject to sexual abuse.

People who spoke fervently and passionately about a fertilized egg’s right to life are actively fighting against programs which offer health care and living wages to the families of born children.

People who called themselves pro-life, who dogmatically claimed to stand for the tiniest little possibility of living humanity in a fetus, saying, “It’s only old people who are dying.” Refusing to wear a mask because it somehow infringes on their rights, when wearing that mask could be the difference between life and death for someone they expose.

People who seemed like educated, thoughtful adults absolutely denying the science and the demographics and the numbers of a disease that is killing thousands of people every day, actively passing on the outright lies.

People who talked about a gospel of “Good News” for all the world, ignoring the suffering of a world in the grip of a global pandemic. Laughing at people who take it seriously, scoffing at mitigation efforts, actively encouraging others to behave in dangerous and irresponsible ways.

I have known that there were nominal Christians who fought for power and wealth and white supremacy instead of Goodness and Love and Peace. That’s nothing new. And there are plenty of Christians who are acting like they care about Jesus, who are standing for justice and caring about life. I guess I just thought there would be more who, when confronted with real life-or-death situations–with a global pandemic, with a profane president, with a world of suffering–would actually decide to walk humbly with Jesus, to do justice, and to love mercy.

American Jesus

This is pretty harsh and grim, I know. It needs to be said. American Christianity has been bastardized and mis-interpreted. Jesus has been thrown out of the church and a false god has been put in his place. This new (and ancient) god is a white supremacist and a misogynist, a liar and a fraud who begs for power and influence, treads upon the heads of the poor and the marginalized, scoffs at the ill and the incarcerated, turns away the foreigner, laughs at your pain.


American Jesus:
People were bringing the children to Jesus so he could bless them, but Jesus said, “Make the children suffer who want to come to me!”

And he told the disciples to separate the children and their parents, like the sheep from the goats, and lock them up far away from each other.

And the disciples said, “Lord, shouldn’t we keep track of which ones belong together?”

And he said unto them: “They should have known what would happen. They have it coming to them.”

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And he went up onto a mountainside, and he sat down and began to teach them, saying,
“You know all the stuff I told you before, about being peacemakers, and being kind, and loving your neighbor as yourself? Yeah, that. I didn’t really mean all that. As long as you call yourself ‘pro-life,’ the other stuff doesn’t matter. Also, don’t bake cakes for gay people, mm-kay?”
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And someone from the crowd asked him, “Lord, what is the greatest commandment?”
And he answered them saying, “You have heard it said that you should love God with all your heart and all your mind and all your strength, and your neighbor as yourself, but I say unto you that the greatest commandment is this: Follow the leader! Follow the money! Follow the power!”
*****
Outside the Temple gates, they came upon a blind man, who called out, “Son of God, have mercy on me!”
And he stooped and gathered dirt from the ground, and spit in it, and threw it at the blind man, saying, “Loser! Blindness and sickness are for losers!”