To all Allies in the Episcopal Church and Beyond, Shocked by the Election

I’m writing this post to my fellow progressive, white Episcopalians, but I also write it mindful of the many allies out there who are not Episcopalian. While some of what I write may not pertain to those outside of the Episcopal Church, I believe this post is relevant to many who are dealing with the implications of this election and are trying to find a way forward.I want to be clear up front about where I am coming from. I love my church. I love my country.  I write this post from my co … [Read more...]

Microagressions

 According to Dictionary.com, a microaggression is "a subtle, but offensive comment or action directed at a minority or other non-dominant group that is often unintentional, or unconsciously reinforces a stereotype." This isn't actually a new idea. The term was created by the psychiatrist Chester M. Pierce in 1970. I have heard many people dismiss the idea or say that it is just another silly part of politically correct culture. My first response to that is, why is it such a terrible … [Read more...]

Oh, Church

As I see you standing there. I’m not sure what to do. I wasn’t expecting you.You never said goodbye. You never checked to see what happened. You never knew the answer.As to why I left. Why I walked away. Why I felt I couldn’t stay.It was all too much. It all fell apart. All I could do was go.I never thought I’d leave you. Never thought I’d say goodbye. I never thought there’d be a day I knew it was all a lie.You came over to say hi. An arm extended. A hug granted. … [Read more...]

We Need to Care About the Dakota Access Pipeline

German Shepherds have always freaked me out. I remember being  about 7 years old and watching a documentary about the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960's with my father and seeing footage and pictures of men, women, and children, all of whom shared my dark skin, being attacked by German Shepherds in the street during a protest. I remember being confused about why the police were not stopping the dogs, and then I realized the police were telling the dogs to do it. I never looked at law … [Read more...]

Sexism in the Church

This topic was bound to come up given some of the things that are going on in the election. For instance, the complete dismissal by D.J.T. of women's complaints against ex-FOX news head Roger Ailes. The blatant denial of anything inappropriate mixed with the complete dismissal of a woman's word against a powerful man is a clear example of how sexism can exist in many subversive ways, even when HR policies are written to prevent it. And while we would love to believe that this kind of sexism … [Read more...]

The Healing Spirit

In the halls of my Alma Mater, Wesley Theological Seminary, is a fresco called The Healing Spirit. It stretches the length of a tunnel that connects two buildings. It is upsetting, or at least it has always upset me. I have never liked looking at it. I remember the first time that I walked past it. It confused me, and disoriented me. It starts in deep pain with an image that always reminds me of a gunshot. The colors get deeper as you travel through the tunnel. Then light starts to creep in. The … [Read more...]

Defiantly Love Your Neighbor

While many people have said what I’m about to say - I will say it again - there just aren’t words for what happened in #Orlando. There just isn’t a way to talk about it in a way that honors the depth and breadth of pain and sorrow that is encompassed by this tragedy.And so, I will lean into tradition, with something many people dismiss off hand as simplistic or trite, but I call us to:Defiantly Love Your NeighborAll the neighbors. The nice ones and the despicable ones. The peaceful on … [Read more...]

Closed Hearts, Closed Minds, Closed Doors: A Letter to all LGBTQIA and Allied United Methodists

You are loved. You were made in the image of God. You are part of the same creation that God breathed God's own breath into. You were knit together in the womb by God's own hands. You are beloved.Our church is flawed. Our church is made up of people, and all people are equal parts loved and sinful. We live in a fallen world that is clenched by fear. We may not see the full inclusion of the whole spectrum of God's children in our church this General Conference, or the next, or the next, or … [Read more...]

Hey it’s Jesus in an Easter Dress Sitting in the Lotus, but You don’t Recognize Him

I cried on Easter Sunday...actually, Jesus my bridegroom wept because again He went unrecognized. It's a sad feeling deep in the heart, when a pastor doesn't recognize the risen One he is preaching about knowing so well. Not much has changed in over 2,000 years. It's Good Friday morning --coffee with an old friend chatting about God, yoga, healing, trauma, + racial tensions when over walks the pastor of a local church we used to attend. He had his back to us and I had not even seen him … [Read more...]

Where Rivers of Justice Flow

The following sermon was written by my husband, Garth Stevens-Jennings and I for the student lead Wednesday Night Worship service at Wesley Theological Seminary. We wrote the sermon as a reflection on Amos 5:21-24:“I hate, I despise your festivals.” This is strong language. Its frightening to think that all of the work that we put into worship services might be turned away by God. How must the folks that Amos is speaking to be feeling when they look around at the worship place that they’ve bu … [Read more...]