Thursday, June 4, 2020

Don't Look Away

We are the collective hurt culture creates.
We are calling out for our children in cages.
We are watching bombs fall on our place of worship.
We are running from the sound of sirens.
We are having panic attacks in bathroom stalls.
We are hiding our love for fear of our lives.
We are leaving our bodies, praying they'll stop beating against us.
We are dying in electric chairs and prison cells.
We are laying on the ground with his knee on our necks,
   crying out "I can't breathe"...
We are the monk on fire,
we are the woman on the street corner,
we are the man holding a cardboard sign.
We are bruised and bleeding asking, "why have you forsaken me?"
Do not look away because we make you uncomfortable,
look into our eyes and you will see the Face of God. 

Friday, April 10, 2020

Good Friday

In these past few years as I have learned from and experienced so many different faith traditions, I still find myself drawn to Christianity. I love the story and ritual and experience of it, and most of all I cannot look away from the fact that we are the one religion that killed our own god.

When Jesus was announced as a Messiah his followers believed he would save them. They lived in an oppressive government where they had to fight for their very existence. Their money and lives were not their own, they lived in constant risk and fear. They saw Jesus as a warrior who would overcome the government and set them free... it all held so much hope for a broken people.

And then he died. 

Once again, they were left wondering where to put their trust and what they could hope in. I resonate with that experience more than I know how to fully articulate.

I think of all the things I've given myself to hoping they would save me. In work and in people, in seeking a way to define myself that makes sense. I've looked for what foundation to build my life upon hoping I would find some sort of safety. Until that thing I hoped for fell apart and I was left once again wondering where the next step was. And how do you make that first step when all the steps before weren't stable enough to hold you up? How do you move forward when nothing around you feels safe? 

Now, it seems as if our whole culture is going through this with COVID. We're asking ourselves, "Who is safe?". When even our friends and family, our source of food and the places where we found one another feel dangerous- how do we find movement without being paralyzed by fear? What can we do when we can't even leave? So we sit here watching everything we gave our time and energy to fade away and we are left with ourselves in our homes. 

We are collectively asking, where is safety and where is hope? What will save us?

As crazy as it sounds, I think there is a freedom in losing what you thought would save you. Because when we realize that none of these things- not the jobs or people, not the titles or churches are going to save us.. we are forced to  let those things fade away and must choose to look within ourselves. 

Not to jump too quickly to the end of the story, but in this narrative Jesus came back. He said that we were connected to the divine just as he was, he said that we would do greater things than he ever did. I think the whole message was that we were supposed to stop seeking god outside of ourselves and instead find we are safe in the fullness of our humanity. What is Jesus was fully human and fully divine not to save us from ourselves, but to save us from the illusion that divinity is separate from us. 

As Richard Rohr said, Easter is not a time for humanity to say to god, "Congratulations, you have been resurrected". Instead it is a time for Christ... universe... the divine to say to us, "Congratulations, you may be resurrected".

So my resurrection prayer is that you would die to all you thought would save you. My hope for us all on this Good Friday is that we would find the essence of who we are, that holy light within us, the existence of ourselves that is beyond any definitions or limitations we could attempt to place on it. May we find our holiness intertwined with all of our humanity, and may we discover the life that comes after each death. 

Friday, December 20, 2019


Advent is the season leading up to Christmas; the word comes from Latin roots meaning "arrival". It's meant to be a season of anticipation, waiting for the Divine to be birthed in human form. 

It's intriguing to me to think about the first advent, the arrival of Jesus of Nazareth. You see, Jesus' people were outsiders. The Israelites were a people constantly beaten down and pushed to the outside. Time and time again they were taken advantage of by the power of empire, enslaved and slaughtered and ostracized. They knew what it was to be without hope, to be trapped in the dark and desperately seeking someone who could bring them hope.  

Many people don't realize that Jesus was not the only "Messiah" of his day. Many people of his generation claimed to be God's Messiah, the coming Christ. They would claim they had come to save the Israelites from their pain, either through overthrowing the empire or joining hands with it. Most of them were impressive. They were warriors and prophets, born to families of prestige and wealth. They were shiny, they were the saviors a desperate people prayed for. 

Jesus was altogether different from the Messiah the world was waiting for. He was born the bastard child of an unmarried girl, from a poor town and a shameful family engagement. He was a refugee, born in a terrible time and and an unwanted place. Laid down in a dingy feeding trough with a frightened family. As he grew, instead of attacking empire as most Messiahs did, he instead attacked the hypocrisy of his own people. It's as if he was showing us how to be saved from ourselves rather than being saved from our circumstances. 

My point is, Jesus was born into darkness and despair at a time when people were waiting for the arrival of light and strength. Instead of saving the Israelites from an oppressive government, he saved them from an oppressive worldview. He showed them that God's love could not be limited to any one group of people, he demanded we destroy the lines between us and God, he claimed that God was in us as God was in him, he tore the illusion of separateness held in temple veils and cultural boundaries. 

He was defiant. 
He was revolutionary. 
He was not at all what was expected. 
He was a declaration of divinity within our humanity. 

It seems to me that Advent is about defiantly hoping for light in the midst of darkness. Believing that holiness is born in our brokenness just as Jesus was born in a broken time and place. Believing that stars are brightest at night and hope is truest in darkness. Believing that healing is found in the spaces we are most ashamed and afraid of.

So here's to a sacred Advent and a merry Christmas and a hopeful new year. 

Monday, September 16, 2019


I was recently doing some wordplay while writing values for a new project. The word "wonder" came up and I was so deeply inspired.

If you look up synonyms for wonder you'll find words that you never expect to be paired together-
Reverence and uncertainty.
Admiration and skepticism.
Astonishment and curiosity.

There's a non-dual quality to wonder, a collision of opposites. It gives us space to stand in awe even when we are unsure what it is we are in awe of.

What if we always lived with wonder? What if we could embrace what is now while also holding the uncertainty all that is still to come? What if we leaned into fullness of life with curiosity and reverence?

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Queer Humanity

I have been wanting to write a  piece about the "ex-gay" movement for a while now. The conversation around LGBTQ+ people in Christianity has resurfaced since a famous mega-church endorsed their version of conversion therapy. In case you don't know, conversion therapy is a "Christian" method of attempting to stop people from being gay through prayer, psychological manipulation, and shaming people for their "wrong desires". The rates of suicide and depression within and after these programs are heartbreaking, but they carry on anyway because the few "success stories" they offer give people hope that they can maintain their faith and religious communities if they only change who they are.

Since this movement resurfaced, I have had an influx of emails and messages on social media from well meaning Christians. They tell me I am sinning, they inform me that I am no longer welcome in ministry, and they urge me to leave this "lifestyle of sin". Usually they close the message by letting me know they will be praying for me. Their prayers feel like a hundred little splinters rubbing against me each time I try to come close to them.

But how can I blame them? I used to hold those same beliefs. Before I had done my own deep study of scriptures, I was certain that a hard stance on homosexuality was essential to the Christian faith. I was afraid that if I questioned this, my entire faith and community would come crashing down like a Jenga tower that's lost too many pieces.

I have struggled with how to stand strong in the midst of all of this. I don't want to just lay down and take the abuse or hate that people come against me with. But I also don't want to fight back or attempt to defend myself, because I understand where the people judging me are coming from. I've been asking myself if there is a way to respond that respects them but also allows me to respect myself.

I have found hope in non-violence... the path carried by so many great people that came before me, in MLK Jr. and Gandhi and Mother Teresa and my beloved Jesus. Non-Violence is the beautiful stance of resisting the urge to fight back while also refusing to be beaten down. It requires great courage and a patient heart and above all the deep knowing that we are already holy and wholly made in the image of God.

So here I stand, grounded in knowing that I am already exactly who I was made to be.

I believe that the journey to acceptance calls us to stand strong in who we are. Because existence itself is an act of rebellion when we are told we do not deserve to exist. It is by exposure to our humanity that we can finally be seen, known, and loved for who we are.

Someone recently said to me, "It seems to me that since coming out you're more like Jesus than you ever were... Now you know what it's like to love God and be hated by God's people."

I think they're right. And this is why I won't cut off the relationships with those who condemn me. Because I believe that those who are truly seeking truth will evolve over time. In us LBGTQ+ people embracing our humanity and our holiness they will come to see a reflection of the man who was wholly human and wholly god. And just maybe, we will come into a world that sees queer people as fully included in the Kingdom of God. 

Weaponized Scripture

"The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice."
- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

I've recently been trying to find a way to respond to the "ex-gay" movement that has resurfaced. It's a repackaged version of conversion therapy, suggesting that LGBTQ+ Christians leave their "lifestyle" and attempt to live straight lives.

It broke my heart. Then it got me reflecting on how much abuse and false doctrine has come out of the Christian church.

There were Christians at lynchings.
There were chaplains on slave ships.
There were pastors preaching that god supported slavery.

We would like to believe that times have changed, that the ugliness of the crusades and lynchings and crucifixion are in our past. Yet here we are, people are still being hated and killed for who they are, and for who we love.

I dealt with suicidal attempts and ideation for over a decade, it took coming out publicly for the thoughts of suicide to finally fade away.

One of my dear friends was psychically beat with a Bible growing up, in an attempt to "get the gay out".

Kids are bullied, kicked out of their homes and left homeless because they choose to come out.

People are attacked on streets and subways because of their sexuality and gender.

Rates of suicide, self-harm, and mental illness skyrocket for LGBTQ+ individuals because of the level of hate we are faced with on a regular basis, often by the people we loved most.

Countless people have been killed by bad theology. Whether it be the genocide of the old testament, the slavery of this past millennia, or the discrimination of queer people today- it's never okay to use religion as an excuse to destroy people who are different from us. Too often the Bible has been used as a weapon against the oppressed.

My Christian friends, I urge you to consider the entire narrative arc of our scriptures. There are so many stories in the bible where "god's people" excluded certain groups, only to later be called by God to include those they had harmed. Whether it be the story of Hagar, the Moabites, the Gentiles or the Samaritans- the outsiders were always brought to the inside. The Bible is the story of a people group whose theology was constantly expanding and changing to include more outsiders in the Kingdom of God. The Bible calls us to change our theology when it brings destruction, to seek fullness of life for all.. Because we are all made in the image of God.

I will not be quoting Bible verses at any of you in this post, because honestly there are already countless books on this subject, and if you do carry a deep love for scriptures you will want to learn this all for yourself. If you would like more resources for understanding scriptures around homosexuality, I suggest you begin with Unclobbered by Colby Martin, it is written by a straight pastor and brings deep theology to an accessible level. If you would like to dive deeper, you can find theologians discussing queer theology and several other authors such as Matthew Vines and Amber Cantorna. Please feel free to contact me if you have questions about other resources for understanding this.

The word that is commonly translated to "repent" in the Bible is actually the Greek word "metanoia", it means a change of heart and mind. Would you answer the call to metanoia

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Coming Out/Happy Pride Month

You know those moments where something is very wrong and you feel your entire body begin to clench? Your fists are strong and your muscles are tight, you are prepared to fight or flee.
And in the next moment, when you are finally safe, you begin to release all of the tension that you didn't realize was building within you. Your heart rate steadies and your body begins to feel like your own again.

That's what coming out feels like for me. It's the process of releasing pressure that has built up for too long. It's finally taking deep breaths and letting myself be.

It's been almost a year since I began telling people I was gay. Sometimes through whispers and tears, other times through laughter and excitement.

I've received the full range of responses.
Some told me I was still welcome in the Kingdom of God, others told me I made them question if the Kingdom of God still exists.
Some told me I was going to hell while others loved me completely as I am.
Some were shocked and others said they always knew.

It's been a journey, my friends. There's been a lot of heartbreak but a hell of a lot more healing, a lot of loss but so much more love. I have discovered so much about myself and the kind of life I want to live.

What I have learned is that I must always choose to be brave in the face of fear, I must choose to be myself instead of who I was told to be.
I have learned that I am made in the image of God, and to destroy or repress any part of myself is to put limitations on God.
Most of all, I have learned that coming out is more than a moment. 
Coming out is a way of living, it's constantly choosing to be myself. Not only as a queer woman, but in all aspects of my life. I am going to be bold, I am going to love out loud, I am going to speak truth to power, I am going to push through discomfort, and I am going to chase healing.

Coming out is announcing to the world that I refuse to be anything less than all of myself.