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Queer Family Celebration

My breath caught in my throat as I took the piece of bread and shuffled to the person holding the cup. Suddenly, the name I had been turning over and over in my mind for a year felt like it was truly mine as Rev. Jessie Light-Wells invited me to celebrate communion. In that same worship service, Jessie helped lead a name change liturgy and commissioning for my journey to seminary. I wept as dozens of friends and beloved congregants laid their hands on me to affirm my name and my call.

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An Ally to a Trans Jesus, Part 2: The Transfiguration

The scene of Jesus’ transfiguration in Mark 9:2-8—not only Peter’s address to Jesus as “rabbi” and his offer to build tabernacles for Jesus, Moses, and Elijah (Mark 9:2-8) but also God’s affirmation of Jesus’ identity—offers instruction of allyship. Peter’s inappropriate response to Jesus’ transformation parallels poor allyship in which a cisgender person inappropriately identifies a transgender person and/or assumes the trans person’s needs. In contrast, the heavenly voice, which identifies Jesus as beloved son and instructs the disciples to listen to Jesus, models an ally who appropriately refers to a transgender person and encourages listening to determine what form of support the trans person needs most.

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Healing Trauma…Dismantle Racism

Trauma is a loaded word and scary at the same time because it obscures pains from the past that we wish to forget. However, despite our efforts to forget and move on, history continues to follow us in our lived experiences. How people interact and deal with the trauma is unique for each person. Our bodies and psyches reveal who we are, and our behavior shows our deep wounds. When these wounds are systemic across entire groups of people due to discrimination, police brutality, and racism, it is necessary to deal with the trauma and triggers on both personal and communal levels. Coming to grips with this type of trauma is to sit with the past and mentally

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  • 10 mins read

    Brooke Scott, a young, Black leader in the Presbyterian Church USA, in an Instagram Story question, asked, “What does it mean to you that Jesus still had scars after the resurrection?” Flipping through my Instagram stories, I held my finger on this question, and stared at it for about 15mins.

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  • 4 mins read

    Justice work constitutes more than simply reading a book or declarations on social media. Thinking about the work of justice must be backed, when pondered by people of faith, by a spiritual renewal and transformation. Soul work is critical to the work of compassion, empathy, equity, and loving justice. The

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  • 8 mins read

    Like millions of Americans who paid attention in seventh-grade Social Studies class, I was acculturated to believe that I descend from God-fearing people who came to the United States to live in an environment of religious tolerance and healthy capitalism. In the mid-19th century, my great-great-grandparents moved from eastern Germany

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  • 15 mins read

    Reconciliation is at the heart of the Gospel—a core value and a central commandment we find woven throughout our sacred texts as Christians. The stories of Ishmael, Esau, Joseph, and other spiritual ancestors set the pace, and Jesus makes reconciliation central to the message of the Gospel. Jesus embodied reconciliation

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  • 17 mins read

    We are now a few weeks past the violent insurrection and attempted coup at the U.S. Capitol. If you are like me, your social media and text messages started pinging early in the afternoon on Wednesday, January 6, 2021. Around 1:45 pm, I started getting frantic messages from friends and

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  • 7 mins read

    In 1967, Canadian radio invited Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to give a series of lectures on the issues he considered most pressing at the time. One such issue was the world's place in the conscience and social responsibility of youth. This series of lectures was then

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  • 4 mins read

    2020 has been some kind of year. We have experienced a pandemic, racial injustice, environmental disasters, massive amounts of death, and political unrest. So the new year, 2021, is a welcoming sight in the distance that many in our world are finding hope within. But as the pandemic rages, specifically

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  • 14 mins read

    I spent the summer of 1994 being trained as a chaplain at the largest Level I trauma hospital in Atlanta. I was twenty-three when I began the program. At that point I had only peripherally met one person who I knew was HIV-positive, and I questioned if my life experience

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  • 13 mins read

    In tossing a coin, the possibility of either heads or tails remain equally viable options as the coin remains suspended in midair. In this moment, there is no way to be sure which way the coin will fall. However, the moment the coin lands on heads, the possibility of its

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  • 14 mins read

    Before I became the Gun Violence Prevention Ministry Coordinator with the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship, I volunteered as a restorative circle facilitator at an elementary school. This elementary school was located in an area with the highest level of childhood poverty in the state and the highest level of violence in

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  • 5 mins read

    The Latin American community is not a single monolithic group; instead, it reflects the diversity of the continent’s colonization and is part of our past and present. Today in the United States, the Latin community demonstrates racial diversity and distinctive heritages. The native population is still strong with their traditions

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  • 11 mins read

    Many people have begun to head to the polls to vote. Some will wait until November 3rd to cast their votes. Today is a great time to talk about what it means to be an ally. Voting is one of the biggest ways people show their alliance and allyship. As

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Abolition and the Cross: Reimagining Society and Salvation through Restorative Justice

I was recently at a book club facilitated by Abolition Apostles, a Christian abolitionist ministry, where we discussed the book The Fall of the Prison: Biblical Perspectives on Prison Abolition by Lee Griffon. Micah Herskind, a Public Policy Associate at the Southern Center for Human Rights and a Christian abolitionist, led that day’s session and said something that has stayed with me since. He was speaking about retributive justice and its connection to the Christian faith and said, “Do we believe in prisons because we believe in Hell or do we believe in Hell because we believe in prisons.”

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Hallowed but not Sacred: An Epiphany of Capitol Violation

Moderate and progressive Christians have always found it hard to take Donald Trump seriously as a false messiah, much less an actual one. In the name of Trump, some 1000 or so extremists invaded and occupied the Senate and House chambers for several hours on January 6, prompting many Republicans and Democrats to refer to those sites as “sacred” spaces that had been desecrated by force and vandalism. For some, democracy may itself be sacred, by which they mean of highest value. The ritual of publicly counting the electoral votes from the states was thus a sworn duty that was interrupted. Such public ceremonies are

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