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SETTING THE INNER COMPASS – July 2021

Reading poetry is one of the ways some of us nourish our faith, a way we set or reset our inner compass and stay focused on the big picture, on the spiritual journey. I know that is true for me. Setting the Inner Compass is a column where I share poems that I find meaningful and hope others do as well. My two poems this month are about summer. They are short, sweet, and simple. For many, summer is a season where the rhythms of life change a bit. We take vacations,

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Toxic Trans Masculinity & Gideon: Part 1

Judges 6-8 depict the Gideon cycle of judgeship over the Israelites and unlike many of the judge narratives, Gideon’s story contains large amount of detail allowing Gideon to undergo significant character development. The Gideon who is called in Judges 6 is timid and insecure, whereas the Gideon who dies in Judges 8 is confident, violent, and idolatrous. Gideon’s confidence shifts between chapter 6 and chapter 8 and somewhere along the way, his character crosses a threshold into toxic masculinity. Transgender men[1] often follow a similar arch to that of Gideon and face the same risk of toxicity.

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  • 12 mins read

    Picture it: Rainbows. Everywhere. Rainbow balloons. Rainbow t-shirts. Rainbow flags. Rainbow signs. You feel the heavy humid air and smell the rainclouds preparing to unleash on the protest, yet there is joy and excitement filling the streets. It was Saturday, June 29th, 2019—Manila’s Pride Parade, and the LGBTQ community of

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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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  • 15 mins read

    I know you; you’re an ally. You read the books, you listen to the podcasts, and you wear the pins. I get it. (Here’s a secret — I have all the pins, too.) Recently, I was quarantine cooking and listening to the Queerology podcast, “On Performative Allyship and Black Joy,”

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  • 12 mins read

    When I first came out of the closet ten years ago, I didn’t think of it as a political act or as an act of bravery or as an act of defiance. For me, I came out because I was tired of living a lie. I knew that I could

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  • 12 mins read

    The Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce is a business chamber dedicated to the LGBT community and advocates for LGBTQIA+ rights in the work place along with other queer advocacy platforms. At the beginning of September, the Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce decided to allow CoreCivic into its chamber and accepted

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  • 8 mins read

    From its creation in 1968, The United Methodist Church has struggled to hold traditional interpretations of biblical sexuality with a theology of an inclusive and grace-filled God.  In the Book of Discipline, the guiding organizational document for the UMC, we state that sexuality is “God’s good gift to all persons” and

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  • 14 mins read

    In social justice and in Sunday school, we need to pay more attention to the lessons we can learn from kids. When I joined a volunteer committee to rework my church’s Sunday school policies, I was reminded of the recent Ruth Bader Ginsburg biopic, On the Basis of Sex. The

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  • 15 mins read

    A Response to Dr. Barbara Wheeler Barbara Wheeler, former President of Auburn Theological Seminary has written an article in response to Overture 11-05 coming before the General Assembly this summer in Portland, an overture apologizing to LGBTQ/Q members of the PC(USA) for “harms done”. Wheeler does not contest the damages

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    2 mins read

    Gender Justice 2014   Week 1 Stories That Need to Be Told, Rev. Ginna Bairby Daughters of Eve: Biblical Women Take Back the Microphone, Miriam Foltz and Rachel Shepherd The Cry of Tamar, Rev. Marci Auld Glass Re-Imagining “Re-Imagining” and the Next 20 Years, Sylvia Thorson-Smith Re-Imagining God: Reflections on

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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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