Loving a church that doesn’t love us

For decades there has been an ongoing struggle in the United Methodist Church (UMC) to adopt a policy of full inclusion of its LGBTQ parishioners and clergy and all the spiritual gifts we bring to the church.

However, UMC voted at General Conference last month to uphold – 53% to 47% – its Traditionalist Plan, which is to oppose same-sex marriage and the ordination of LGBTQ clergy. Now the church has the potential for a schism with its global delegation outweighing the U.S

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Thank You for the Body that Loves Me

Both my sexuality and my spirituality conspired to persuade me that embodiment is good, a sacred trust, a holy way of being.

My sexuality impelled me to love another intimately, physically, even worshipfully at its better moments. My spirituality, being incarnational, inspired me to love others personally and politically, wishing them shalom: health, well-being, justice, equality, peace.

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The Magdalene in the Reformation

Prostitute, apostle, evangelist―the conversion of Mary Magdalene from sinner to saint is one of the Christian tradition’s most compelling stories, and one of the most controversial. The identity of the woman―or, more likely, women―represented by this iconic figure has been the subject of dispute since the Church’s earliest days. Much less appreciated is the critical role the Magdalene played in remaking modern Christianity.

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Introducing the Last 7 Words of Christ Our Black Mother – A Lenten Series

This is public theology. As precious Patrons, I’m inviting you in to my theological process. Beginning on Ash Wednesday (March 6) and concluding on Good Friday (April 19), each week I will publish a photo and brief reflection on each of Christ’s 7 Last Words on the Cross.

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Embrace Your Mortality in MYSTERY: Ash Wednesday Our Wake-up Call!

An Ash Wednesday Reflection: Our changing understanding of what it means to be human, changes the nature of Ash Wednesday’s wake-up call.

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The Truth Will Set You Free, But First It Will Piss You Off!

A Reformation Sermon – John 8:31-36

“You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” Let me take a moment to face the truth about who we are as Lutherans. The truth is that from the beginning Lutherans have participated in hate-filled tribalism that gives rise to anti-Semitism. The irony of attempting to commemorate the Reformation on the day after the slaughter of Jewish sisters and brothers cannot be ignored. Sadly, our church’s tragic participation in anti-Semitism goes all the way back to Martin Luther himself. Luther’s anti-Semitic rants provided the theological grounding that empowered Nazi’s to fan the flames of the Holocaust. It took until 1983 for the Lutheran World Federation to confess and repent Luther’s words.

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Joy Unspeakable: Contemplative Practices of the Black Church

Joy Unspeakable focuses on the aspects of the black church that point beyond particular congregational gatherings toward a mystical and communal spirituality not within the exclusive domain of any denomination. This mystical aspect of the black church is deeply implicated in the well-being of African American people but is not the focus of their intentional reflection.

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One Extraordinary Church

It’s the House for all Sinners and Saints in Denver, a widely unconventional congregation led by Evangelical Lutheran pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber. She told correspondent Lucky Severson her language, teaching and tattoos symbolize her acceptance of everyone, and they of her. Their church is thriving.

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General Secretary responds to General Conference 2019

Commits General Board of Church and Society to work for LGBTQ civil and human rights.

The United Methodist Church’s special General Conference failed to love LGBTQIA people, recognize their gifts in the church, maintain our unity in the midst of diversity, and live out our Gospel mandate to seek justice and pursue peace.

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United Methodist Church Votes To Keep Bans On Same-Sex Weddings, LGBTQ Clergy

Leaders of the United Methodist Church have rejected the One Church Plan, a measure that would have eased restrictions on gay clergy and same-sex marriages, with delegates voting against it at a special session of the church’s General Conference.

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Jesus – Teacher of Radical Compassion

The one sentence from the gospels that even the most critical Biblical scholars tend to agree was quoted directly from the historical Jesus is this: Love your enemies. The first century of the common era had dozens of Jewish messiahs, many of whom were said to be exorcists and miracle workers. The titles of “king,” “Lord,” and even “Savior,” were all ascribed to the Caesar as well as to noted religious leaders. The early Jesus movement may have created narratives and titles to distinguish Jesus as being a rival to the empire or on an equal footing to Moses or Elijah but his truly unique message was a call to radical compassion.

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Preaching on Luke 6:27-38: Jesus’ Teaching on Non-Violent Resistance

In the Gospels According to Matthew and Luke, the Sermon on the Mount, and the Plain provide distillations of the teachings of Jesus; teachings Jesus lived for, teachings that eventually made Jesus so dangerous to the oppressive Roman Empire that they executed him as an enemy of the state. The very heart of these sermons is Jesus’ teaching on non-violence.  

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Christianity As A Contributing Cause Of The Current Ecological Crisis

Durham Street Methodist ChristChurch New Zealand (Aotearoa) January 20, 2019 service led by Rev. Bill Wallace featuring some of his hymns. Our theme today is Christian Theology and global warming.

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Reality 101 – Widening Our Circle of Compassion

Rev. Michael Dowd’s guest sermon at Unitarian Universalist Metro Atlanta North on February 10, 2019.

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The Bible and Immigration

The Christian Bible contains a debate that raged over several centuries between nationalist protectionism and an admirably compassionate treatment of immigrants and refugees. Progressives chose to reject the xenophobic and racist passages in favor of the radical compassion which we believe is at the heart of a spiritual life. In which case, the proposed border wall between the USA and Mexico becomes not simply unnecessary, and economically unwise, but a real failure of American morality.

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Coffee and Poetry – a Valentine’s Reflection

Frida Kahlo wrote the ultimate lovers’ poem that concludes with this assurance, “You deserve a lover who takes away the lies and brings you hope, coffee, and poetry.” In this age when couples typically no longer stay married out of economic necessity or for mere survival, what is it that keeps people together. Even more, what inspires a couple who are already past child bearing years or even career concerns, to sacrifice independence and freedom in order to share a common life? I think that it is meaning we seek even more than a mere surcease of loneliness. What we really want is not just someone with whom to share our morning coffee but also someone who will read poetry to us. Is that too much to ask, or do we, as Kahlo suggests, what we deserve?

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Turning the Tables and Righteous Anger

Jesus courageously confronted injustice. He challenged the temple’s hierarchy against the backdrop of the ongoing economic and social oppression of his times. Jesus was a non-violent revolutionary, but he was not passive.

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Locavore Gospel

Sermon by Rev. Elizabeth Durant

A Locavore is a person whose diet consists only or principally of locally grown or produced food.

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