Letting go of someone you love – family edition

Letting go of someone you love – family edition

There seems to be no end of wise quotes and pithy memes out there for helping someone discern if it’s time to let go of a partner. There’s an abundance of solid advice to confirm what one’s gut is telling them is true – that it is time to move on from a relationship that is no longer healthy for you.

When looking around at advice columns for how to know when it is time to let go, a cursory search gave me pretty consistent ideas from Tiny Buddha to Medium to The Advocate.

  1. When you stop communicating.
  2. When you need to plan and strategize how to present yourself
    2b You don’t feel comfortable being yourself.
  3. When the relationship drains more energy than it gives
  4. When you’re the only one making the effort
    4b You’ve been “working on” your relationship for more than a year
  5. You don’t feel respected.
    5b You are constantly criticized and barely appreciated.

6 You’re scared to ask for more from your partner (your family member)

  1. You keep on finding excuses and justifications for their behavior.
  2. You’re in it hoping things will change.
  3. The relationship is holding you back.
  4. When your relationship goals are not shared.

Good advice for couples and even friends.

Rarely do we read in quippy one liners or sassy advice blogs about process of letting go of family.

Interestingly enough, if you go back and read the list above again, you just might find those nuggets, when looked at through the lens of family, also apply to kin who are diminishing our own sense of sacred worth and personal promise.

There are so many reasons why an adult might need to let of a family member or even the whole dang crowd, even if just for a while.

Sometimes we have no choice because we’ve been cast aside, sometimes we must create hard and fast boundaries due to abuse and layers of trauma. Sometimes, and it seems so much more now, we just can’t stay safe and sane in the presence of the world views of one another.

And yet, we keep hoping and trying and believing that because they are blood we are bound to make it work. Yes, all relationships take real work and none are more important to make work than family. But the truth is, just because we were born to ’em doesn’t mean we have to keep making space in our lives for people who bring us heartbreak, stress or abuse over and over again. Yes, it’s important to recognize that there is NO SUCH thing as the perfect family as promised by movies and neat outcomes within TVs modern families.

But letting go of family might just be the thing that frees us to live our most authentic life.

So what does letting go of family really look like? In letting go, I am not talking about having a come-to-Jesus falling out. I am not really talking about having any kind of confrontation at all. Letting go is an internal process that is never fully complete, but can by degrees create more peace and space for you to flourish in the life YOU were born to live. It is an act of compassion for yourself, of setting boundaries and living life on your own terms. By gently but firmly disentangling yourself from the constant cycle of toxicity, resentment and disappointment, you may very well be setting others free as well.

Family can be the most important element of a person’s life. I believe that at the core of a thriving community is family. I am convinced that family is the cornerstone of a healthy society. A loving, mutually respectful, nourishing and compassionate family life is and ideal I wish for everyone, everyone, everyone. It is an ideal worth working for and holding on to – but not at all costs, not at the cost of your own healthy and happy life.

Sometimes we have to let go.

We can start – day by day, hour by hour – living fully into our families of choice, as long as those families are where we are allowed to flourish and bring our best selves to the table. I can, you can, she can and they can each do the next good thing for ourselves by not engaging in that text battle, not rocking up on the social feed with more information they are never going to read, pause before picking up the phone to share good news that we KNOW they don’t understand is good. Go ahead and forgive them and ourselves as a safe distance and begin to fill our time and hearts with the people who see us and who love us. Our people.

It takes practice though, to let go of habit, duty and even guilt that keeps us in the loop of hope and resentment.

We can …

take our indefatigable spirits for a long walk with a lovely and loving view.

stop by the independent book store for a new zine or hobby-starting book.

invite a friend over for a marathon of nicest competition show ever – Great British Bake. Go ahead and wreck the kitchen and try a bake to two together.

pick up some wacky postcards and send actual mail to people we like.

plan silly, surprise dates for lovers.

ask a couple of colleague out for a working mama’s boozy lunch 😉

gift ourselves every moment of Ted Lasso and Schitt’s Creek, or if we’ve been there and done those, make a list of go-to, uplifting shows and post for others who need the boost of a binge watch.

buy all the legos at local thrift shops and dump them out with our own `kiddos to let imaginations run wild for hours.

learn more about the food bank nearby and show up with our full, compassionate attention.

talk often to a life coach, therapist or trusted clergy person.

look around to find an open and affirming church, synagogue, mosque or dojo.

ask for help.

Please, please share your thoughts, advice and helpful links in the comments below.

(see sources here, here and here)

There you are

There you are

This morning I awoke from the loveliest dream I can recall for some time now.

Betsy and I were walking in London and noticed a happy crowd gathering along the Thames. As we drew closer we could see hundreds of inner tubes with smiling waving people were floating down the famed river.

I slowly noticed that the inner tubes were linked together with rainbow colored cords, each carrying a person dressed in spectacular attire not at all as one might be for a lazy float down a river. Slowly, a Pride float came into view just behind the throng of floating revelers.

I quickly maneuvered closer to the river bank, squeezing between joyous people of every shape, color and sequin. I came to a high fence perched just between the party on the banks and the party in the water.

As I stepped on the bottom rail to get a better view, it was then that I saw – no, heard first, then saw – an all-female, Irish choir, draped in gorgeous green robes, singing in the most spectacular harmony just three words as each float approached …

There you are.
To greet the drag queen float –
There you are.
To welcome the leather float –
There you are.
To embrace the old hippie lesbian float –
There you are.
To celebrate the arrival of the voguing float –
There you are.

The air was filled with the most amazing harmony –
There you are.

And I began to weep. No – ugly cry.
In my heart I of hearts, beyond the dream, before and after time, I heard the words.
There you are.

When I woke up the next words that occurred to me were from that great hymn…
I once was lost, but now I’m found.

That’s it, isn’t it? To be seen, fully seen by someone who loves and has been looking for you –

As the morning light peeked through the shades, memories flickered of playing hide and seek with my mom when I was little. The sound of her voice, the look on her face and the knowledge that she really wanted to find me when she said “there you are!”

The memory of that feeling is what makes the dream so complex since later when she could see me for who I really am, that wasn’t the sound of her voice or the look on her face. Now that she’s gone, I’d like to think maybe, just maybe, the choir in the dream was her voice filled with love again.

There you are.

Don’t we all long to be fully seen, found when we are lost, embraced when we are fully inhabiting our own humanity?

There you are!

To love and allow ourselves to be loved

To love and allow ourselves to be loved

I’ve become rather obsessed with walking. In the midst of the pandemic, there’s not much else to keep my body and mind moving, so I started walking, and reading about walking, and watching films about walking and even blogging about walking.

And, Lordy, my 52-year-old feet hurt! Every weekend I go out and walk 10- 20 kilometers, through the villages, parks and polders of Holland and even the first segments of the 500 kilometer Pieterpad! So, when my friend Linda invited me to share a reflection with my amazing church back home for Lent, I knew right away that I needed to write about Maundy Thursday.

“Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world … And during supper Jesus … got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, ‘Lord, are you going to wash my feet?’ Jesus answered, ‘You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand.’ … After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord—and you are right, for that is what I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. ….”. – (John 13:1-17)

I imagine being in that upper room, simmering with the sumptuous smell of food and the babble and buzz of my dearest companions, talking about the events of the past few weeks. Some conversations are boisterous with excitement, anticipating the Messiah’s triumph over the oppressive Empire. Other conversations are haunted whispers filled with fear about the rumors that His life – our lives – are in danger. I imagine sitting there, with my aching feet, cracked and worn from walking in and around dusty Jerusalem, with the other men and women who call Jesus rabbi, teacher – Lord. I can feel the confusion rise as I see him remove his outer robe, wrap a towel around his waist and approach one of my friends with a bowl of water. This is totally upside down – I should wash his feet!

Did you know that in the Gospel according to Luke there are three women named as disciples of Jesus? Three women identified by name: Mary, called Magdalene, Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward, and Susanna, in addition to many others.

So when Jesus washed the feet of all the disciples, that means he quite likely washed the feet of the women in the room that night as well. If Peter was shocked at Jesus washing his feet, did he look away at the sight of his Messiah kneeling and taking in hand the naked foot of a woman? That foot is my foot and your foot – wholly loved and washed by Jesus in a vivid reversal of all that society tells us is the proper form of relationship and leadership.

When Jesus kneels and washes the feet of his companions, he is sharing an embodied parable about the extravagant love of God and the radical hospitality of God’s kingdom. It is a parable full of bodies, real flesh, touching and honoring real flesh.

And it is an invitation, a mandate in fact, to love one another and allow ourselves to be loved. It is the Gospel in the very real, fleshy world that we are called to participate in through acts of service and a posture of heart that renders everyone, everyone, everyone a beloved guest in the hands of a tender God.

“Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which he looks compassion on this world. Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good. Yours are the hands through which he blesses all the world. Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, yours are the eyes, you are his body. Christ has no body now on earth but yours.” ― Teresa of Avila.

The False Narrative of Gay vs. Christian

The False Narrative of Gay vs. Christian

I am still reeling from the fact that there are so-called Christians here in my new homeland who are preaching the false gospel that if you are Christian, you cannot be gay and if you are gay, you are not a Christian.

In fact, I was sick to my stomach, outraged on so many levels when I read this statement, from one of the signers (with the help of Google Translate)

“It all started with the woman’s self-determination, he says. The revolution goes through the acceptance of homosexuality and transgender people, into a world where masculinity and femininity are denied as such.”

Oh, but wait, there’s more, so much more…I’ll hold your hair while you puke.

“Nunn prefers to call homosexuality broken than sin. And you should not link that brokenness to your ‘core identity’, says Nunn. It lies in what God says about you in the Bible. He compares homosexual Christians with Christians who have a heart defect or suffer from dementia. ‘Does that make you a demented Christian? No, you are a beloved child of God struggling with the brokenness of dementia.”

I mean, I am used to hearing this from the power hunger, fear peddling theocrats of American evangelicalism, but have been utterly astonished by my own ignorance in believing it did not exist here.

I honestly thought I had landed on the golden shores of progressive reason and quiet faith. But seeing the pervasiveness of conservative theology, it is no wonder that so many people here have rejected religion all together.

What is even more surprising to me recently is the flickering of a little pride in my own theological heritage where the existence of diverse theological frameworks give us space to explore the many ways God is still speaking, even though the diversity is often painfully divisive.

Yes, millions of Americans believe that “protection of religious freedom” gives them the right to discriminate against LGBT citizens based on one interpretation of one subset of one religion’s understanding of a few words of scripture. Some folks actually believe deep in their hearts that God will punish them if they do anything at all that cold appear to approve of what they sincerely believe is punishable by an eternity of hell-fire suffering.

I feel really sad for all these people because they are genuinely afraid of God and that is contrary to everything I understand the Gospel of Jesus be about.

Jesus resoundly confronted the religious authorities of his day, shutting down any religious law that separated people from God’s love.

And the good news today is, there are millions of Christians who fully affirm the beautifully diverse lives and loves of queer folks like me.

Also, real and true is the fact that there are queer folks like me who ARE madly in love with Jesus, and even though the label is loaded, call ourselves Christian.

Yesterday, today and tomorrow, we work and pray for the light of God to illuminate a path forward in faith where we claim the truth that nothing, nothing, nothing can separate us from the love of God. (Romans 8:31-39)

Side note: please remember that the media often wants to keep citizens misinformed and stridently afraid of one another. They do so by spotlighting the negative actions of a handful of people and ignoring the loving, affirming faith of many more Christians. Whether in America or The Netherlands, the media profits off of people by writing about people who hide their ignorance behind scripture. It is not nearly as profitable to write headlines like “Check out these Christians who love everyone, just like Jesus.”

What I want you to know and trust is that there are good people, loving people, cultural Christians or out-right Jesus freaks like me, who are living examples of God’s radical hospitality.

We come from neighbourhoods, towns, cities and regions all over The Netherlands and yes, even the deeply fractured America. In fact, it is the vociferously fractured religious landscape of America that may it a fertile land for flourishing faith that welcomes all.

We come in all shapes and sizes – individuals, prayer partners, Sunday School classes, campus ministries, congregations and whole denominations that affirm that each individual is a child of God, recognizing “that we are called to be like one body with many members, seeking with others of every race, ethnicity, creed, class, age, gender, marital status, physical or mental ability, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression to journey together toward the promised realm of God.” – (from the Open and Affirming statement of Old South Church, United Church of Christ, Boston, MA)

What I invite you to do is to look around for Christians in your life (or be the Christian in someone else’s life), who lift up voices of faithful affirmation of our LGBT sisters and brothers. Let US ALL be the hands and feet of Christ in a world weary under the weight of fear and loathing. Let US be the people’s microphone and magnify the Love of God that might not sell advertising, but just might save a life.

I also want to share a treasure trove of Christian resources that fully affirm, and work for the full inclusion of, LGBT people. Everyone is welcome to share your own LGBT affirming faith resources in the comments below.

Here are a few resources to get us started. Everyone is welcome to share your own LGBT affirming faith resources in the comments below.

 

Wijdekerk.nl “Wijdekerk Foundation is an initiative of a group of Christians, themselves LGBT + people (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) or closely involved with LGBT + people. We believe that everyone should be able to be themselves in his or her church. We have combined our experiences and strengths and share them on this site.
We want to do this from the love of Jesus Christ. Together are Wijdekerk.”

Association of Welcoming and Affirming BaptistsMembers of the Association of Welcoming & Affirming Baptists (AWAB) are churches, organizations, and individuals who are willing to go on record as welcoming and affirming all persons without regard to sexual orientation or gender identity, and who have joined together to advocate for the full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons within Baptist communities of faith.”

Believe Out Loud –  is about helping churches live out this Christian principle by becoming fully inclusive of all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Brethren/Mennonite Council for LGBT Interests– The mission of BMC is to cultivate an inclusive church and society and to care for the Mennonite and Brethren lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and allied community.

Catholic – DignityUSA works for respect and justice for all gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender persons in the Catholic Church and the world through education, advocacy and support.

Disciples of Christ – The Gay, Lesbian and Affirming Disciples Alliance is a presence working for the full dignity and integrity of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and affirming people within the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

Episcopalian – Integrity USA “Since 1974, Integrity has been a faithful witness of God’s inclusive love to the Episcopal Church and the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community. We are working for the full inclusion of all the baptized in all the sacraments.”

Lutherans Concerned/North Americaworks for the full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Lutherans in all aspects of the life of their Church and congregations. They provide a place of comfort and safety. They reach out and teach that Christ’s message, the Gospel, is for everyone equally. They call for the blessing of committed and covenanted same-gender relationships, and for the ordination of those called to minister.”

PC(USA) More Light Presbyterians – is a network of people seeking the full participation of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people of faith in the life, ministry and witness of the Presbyterian Church (USA)

United Church of Christ  Open & Affirming (ONA) Program – ONA is “shorthand” for Open and Affirming, the designation for congregations, campus ministries, and other bodies in the United Church of Christ which make public statements of welcome into their full life and ministry to persons of all sexual orientations and gender identities.

United Methodist Reconciling Ministries Network mobilizes United Methodists of all sexual orientations and gender identities to transform our Church and world into the full expression of Christ’s inclusive love.

That All May Freely Serve advocates  for an inclusive church for all who are disenfranchised: A church that honors diversity and welcomes lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons as full members. Full membership includes eligibility for ordination to the offices of elder, deacon, and Minister of Word and Sacrament.

The Institute for Welcoming Resources at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is a networking hub for movement leaders and a source of downloadable toolkits and curriculum for your church.

 

 

 

[featured image by ActiveSteve – Creative Commons license. Use does not indicate artist endorsement]

Nashville Comes to The Netherlands

Nashville Comes to The Netherlands

My mama, who could fry some of the best damn chicken you ever put in your mouth, never taught me to cook. She taught me a lot of things, but she just couldn’t tolerate a constantly questioning kiddo scrambling around her kitchen as she tended to her cast iron skillets and perfectly sweetened pitchers of iced tea.

She did teach me how to assemble pretty outfits, carefully mixing and matching shirts and skirts so that no one would know I was wearing the same things over and over again. She taught me how to apply makeup, with lashes long and dark so that my eyes didn’t look naked and my lips were lined and colored beyond their nearly invisible pink. She taught me how to curl my hair, choosing just the right strands to pull straight away and then slowly wind the curling iron as close to my scalp as I could stand. She tried her best to teach me “the right way” to be a girl, a woman. When I went to University she wanted me to only study secretarial work. When I chose world religions as my academic path, she said college ruined me. And later, way later, when I came out as a lesbian, all of her own self-rejection and fear based faith attempted to persuade me that I was unworthy of God’s love – an abomination better dead that gay.

This morning, standing in my Dutch bathroom, my eyes brimmed as I watched my hands carefully choose just the right strands of hair and gently line my lips with the perfect blend of rose, the old wounds and longing for my mother in ways that she would never love me, came flooding back.

As a queer Christian who happily left the U.S. with her wife for reasons such as the politically motivated anti-LGBT religious landscape (among other reasons), it is with a wounded but encouraged heart that I am watching as a handful of Dutch protestant clergy regurgitate the toxic language of the Nashville Statement here in Holland.

In a nutshell, the Statement, both here and in the States is a theologically negligent and dangerous statement ushered by a handful of religious leaders. The statement makes erroneous claims that reject the sacred worth and civil rights of LGBT children of God. I honestly, in my honeymoon phase with Holland, had thought we’d left behind this ignorance and hatefulness for good.

This flare up of homophobia masquerading as Christianity in this largely secular nation has been deeply disappointing. But the good news is how much more encouraging it is to see municipalities across the country, businesses in every town and individuals near and far call out the statement for what it is – backwards bigotry plain and simple. I am particularly and deeply grateful for language such as “radicalized” being applied to “Christian” groups. It is rarely if ever applied to Christianity in the States and is typically reserved for fear mongering against our Muslim brothers and sisters.

I love my life in Leiden and since moving here have felt more at home than I ever did in my nearly 50 years in America. Here I have felt consistently happier, safer and more secure than the false promises of the American Dream. So too have my wife and I been radically freer to be fully and openly ourselves, without fear or apology. We have made a true and lasting home here.

As it turns out, I have the honor of pastoring a small, English-speaking congregation that is diverse and beautiful and growing in our understanding of who we are as a community. Sojourners’ Fellowship is a small community of people from many spiritual paths who come together to pause and explore life’s great questions through diverse contemplative practices and thoughtful dialogue.

Here is a statement of our guiding framework as inspired by the 8 Points of Progressive Christianity.

As a community we:

1. Believe in the Sacred Oneness and Unity of all life;

2. Affirm that the teachings of many religious and secular traditions, including but not limited to the teachings of Jesus, provide ways to experience the Sacredness and Oneness of life, and that we can draw from diverse sources of wisdom in our spiritual journey;

3. Seek community that is inclusive of ALL people, including but not limited to:

Believers, agnostic and questioning skeptics,
Those of all sexual orientations and gender identities,
Those of all races, nationalities and religious backgrounds,
Those of all classes and abilities;

4. Know that the way we behave towards one another is the fullest expression of what we believe;

5. Find grace in the search for understanding and believe there is more value in questioning than in absolutes;

6. Hope for peace and justice among all people;

7. Hope to protect and restore the integrity of our Earth;

8. Commit to a path of life-long learning, compassion, and selfless love.

ALL who come in peace are welcome, including but not limited to: believers, agnostics and questioning skeptics; those of all sexual orientations and gender identities; those of all races, nationalities, classes and abilities.

 

In this light, and inspired by the Denver Statement by Rev. Nadia Bolz-Weber, I’ve crafted my own article-by-article response to the Nashville Statement to share with my Dutch neighbors. If you have the time and inclination, read on and please, please, please share your thoughts in the comments below after you’ve had time to ruminate a bit.

It’s not a short read, so maybe go make yourself a glass of sweet tea, grab a buttery biscuit and settling in for the long haul.

 

A Sojourners’ Statement

Preface

Jesus-loving people, Christians and people from many of the worlds traditions who are inspired by the words and actions of Jesus of Nazareth, understand that we live in a beautiful, challenging, paradigm-shifting era. Humanity is in the midst of an arduous and exciting journey to more fully understand what it means to be human. People around the world are doing the hard and faithful work of shedding misconceptions and limitations imposed by religiosity that is meant to control rather than love. More and more people, regardless of tradition, find delight in the wild diversity of God’s good creation.

Unfortunately, there are still many people who deny the divine spark in every corner of creation and use their religion to draw lines of demarcation around race, nationality, ability, gender identity or sexuality. It is now commonplace among theologically uninformed Christians to use the Bible as a weapon, especially when it comes to their unfortunate idolatry of one collection of texts written by humans thousands of yeas ago. In their limited understanding, they are wronging convinced that they alone, clearly and for all time, hold the single truth of God’s design and desire.

This spirit of misinterpreting and enforcing scripture has always brought with it great challenges for Christians. From historical sanctions of slavery, subjugation of women, segregation, nationalism and xenophobia, the church has frequently lost site of the radical message of love and grace made known in the Incarnation of Christ who was eventually executed by the state at the urgings of the religious elite.

If the church is to genuinely live into the message and example of Jesus’ life, it must make a bold and prophetic proclamation of the love of God from which nothing, nothing, nothing on earth can separate humans.

Article 1

We affirm that humanity is created out of and for the purpose of love.
We deny that the gift of love and marriage is limited only to people who identify as heterosexual, cis-gendered, and seeking to conceive.

Article 2

We affirm that humans are created as sexual beings in kaleidoscope variety.
We deny that the only sexual expression that is sacred is between legally, church-married, cis-gendered, heterosexual couples.

Article 3

We affirm that all humans are created Imago Dei – in the image of God – and that God is all genders and no gender.
We deny that human bodies, hearts and minds are limited by any one religion’s faltering attempt to understand the holy mystery of the Divine.

Article 4

We affirm the diversity of gender and sexual expression is a reflection of the divinely creative diversity of all of creation.
We deny that such diversity is in any way a result of one religion’s interpretation of a falling away from God.

Article 5

We affirm that humans continuing to evolve in their understanding of what it means to be embodied is good and holy.
We deny that gender is unalterably linked with biology.

Article 6

We affirm that all humans, regardless of their biological birth and development are image-bearers of the divine.
We deny that variations of embodiment limits anyone from thriving in faith, love and society.

Article 7

We affirm that compassion, love and liberation are at the heart of God’s holy purposes in creation as revealed in Christian scripture AND the shared texts of the world’s religious traditions.
We deny that any one tradition has figured out once and for all what it means for humans to live into loving relationships.

Article 8

We affirm that people who experience same-sex attraction may live an abundant life that honors God and is evidence of faith in Jesus.
We deny that same-sex attraction in any way alienates a person from the love of God or the hope of the Gospel.

Article 9

We affirm that sin is a trifold separation from self, others and God that distorts the beauty of creation.
We deny that sin is avoided by adhering to any specific doctrine or litany of purity laws.

Article 10

We affirm that the church lives in sin when LGBT people are told to deny how God created them, are cast out of families, excommunicated by congregations and denied basic civil and human rights.
We deny that it is sinful to be loving allies to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender children of God.

Article 11

We affirm that it is our human duty to stand on the side of justice in the name of love in all times and for all people.
We deny the false dichotomy of being either gay or Christian.

Article 12

We affirm that the unconditional love of the Divine has the power to transform self-loathing (as taught by many in the church and society) into true and lasting self-acceptance and wholeness.
We deny that same-sex attraction is a sin or illness for which to be forgiven or healed.

Article 13

We affirm that Grace invites uninformed, prejudiced or bigoted people to evolve and recognize that human understanding as limited and we will only ever see through the glass darkly.
We deny assertions of any one person, church, denomination or religion that they hold pure and absolute knowledge of the Divine.

Article 14

We affirm that the moral arc of the universe bends toward justice and that we are called to partner with the Divine in that bending.
We deny any anthropomorphization of God.

 

If you would like to add your name to this statement, please indicate so and enter your information in the comments below.  And if you are in the neighborhood and so inclined, please join us next Thursday, January 17th at Galerie Café Leidse Lente in Leiden from 5:30-7 p.m. for Pub Theology where we can talk about all these things and more.

All Our Hungers

All Our Hungers

We are in the thick of holiday preparations and parties, many overflowing with savory and sweet meals to fill our hungry bellies. Tonight, after a long but delightful day of work, I came home tired and hungry to find my wife working on an amazing pasta meal. And as I set my heavy bags down, taking in the warmth of home, I took a moment to breathe in gratitude for many things in my life.

I have a beautiful, bright daughter who amazes me with her grace and creativity, a compassionate, passionate partner who truly loves me for who I am and knows how to challenge me to move closer to my ideal self, a wonderful job where I am able to use many of my gifts and continue working on my growing edges, a just-right for us home in a just-right for us town in a just-right for us country, in-laws who are good and generous beyond measure, friends and cousins and colleagues that I love and admire, a church community that is flourishing in so many ways… truly, my cup is overflowing.

And yet – in this season of light and joy, not all are full, not even close. As we prepare to settle in at tables where we are warm, welcome and well fed, let us inhale gratitude and exhale hope for

Those whose tables bare.

Those who will sit in silence with an empty chair across the table.

Those who are denied the open doors, wide smiles and warm hugs of a holiday homecoming.

Those who are eating only what they can carry on the long journey toward the hope of safety and freedom.

Those who will eat food plopped from institutional cans onto sterile trays – elbow to elbow with other inmates.

Those who will eat last on Christmas day so that tummies at shelters, in church basements, on street corners and in our very own homes will be full.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayers.

For what hungers do you pray today?