Paradigm Shifts & Miracles: Seventh-Gay Adventists

I am honored to introduce you to a Daneen Akers.  Daneen is an independent documentary filmmaker from San Francisco, CA where she lives with her husband and producing partner, Stephen Eyer, and their 4-year-old daughter, Lily.  I had the amazing opportunity to spend an afternoon with Daneen just a couple of weeks ago.   We had a great lunch and conversation with Kat Cooper and then I had the incredible honor to attended a screening of Daneen’s film in the Collegedale, TN courthouse where the first municipality in the state of Tennessee voted to extend benefits to same-sex couples employed by the city.   I was so deeply moved and learned so much that I invited Daneen to share her story here with y’all.  Try as I might to edit this post down I just could not find a way to honor the amazing work she is doing if I cut a single line.  I hope you will hang in for the whole post, or read it in a couple sittings.  I really think it is worth the time.

 


Paradigm Shifts & Miracles

This week I got one of those emails that reminded me why those of us working for full inclusion of LGBT people in faith communities do this work. It was an email from a retired Seventh-day Adventist pastor who came (at the urging of his daughter) to see a recent Collegedale, TN screening of Seventh-Gay Adventists, a feature documentary film I co-produced/directed that simply shares the stories, challenges, and spiritual journeys of three gay and lesbian Seventh-day Adventists. Here’s what it said:

“As a retired Seventh-day Adventist pastor, watching this film (Seventh-Gay Adventists) has changed my personal paradigm. It revealed blind spots that neither my professional training at Loma Linda School of Health or the Seminary at Andrew’s University had exposed. Even during my 34 years as pastor and conference family life director, my only acquaintance with ‘these kind of people’ was in theoretical discussions loaded with judgmental criticism (based on ignorance) After seeing the pain and soul torture up close in the faces of these three SDA people, my eyes were opened. Now I see what they need from me is not just sympathy but someone to stand with them in their pain–not so much to provide answers as personal presence. I have determined to follow Jesus who stood both with and for the socially and financially marginalized, to love them and serve them in order to draw them to God, to respect them as human beings first and regard gender orientation secondarily. For after all, aren’t the separating walls of gender, class, nationality, and culture torn down in Christ?” – Pastor Bill Clark
The context for this particular screening was especially symbolic. Most readers here will remember that the small, very conservative town of Collegedale, TN made history last month by becoming the first city in the entire state to extend same-sex benefits to the spouses of LGBT city employees. Much of the news coverage focused on the strong Adventist presence in Collegedale (it’s home to one of the largest Seventh-day Adventist universities and a large Adventist retiree community), and several of the city commissioners voting on the measure are Adventist (all voted in favor). Probably not surprisingly, there was a vocal backlash, particularly outside the immediate community. The parents of Kat Cooper, the Collegedale police detective whose request for benefits for her wife prompted the historic measure, were told by the leadership of a Church of Christ denomination in Chattanooga (a congregation Kat’s grandparents founded) to either publicly denounce their daughter and repent of their “sin” of supporting her or leave the church. They left the church, and Christians made headlines for rejecting parents who unconditionally loved their daughter.

It was in this space that I decided to plan a screening in Collegedale, even though we’d already had two screenings in the area during the last 18 months of screenings at film festivals, churches, and other community spaces. Several locals encouraged me and planned the logistics, and we actually ended up (not really intentionally) using the same courtroom (which, in small town fashion, is also part of City Hall and the local police department) where the historic vote took place. Due to some threats, we hired–for the first time ever out of 75 plus screenings–security. And my nerves were even more on edge than usual. My grandparents, loving and conservative retired Adventist educators themselves, planned to come but warned me, “This might be your most conservative crowd ever, honey.”

But what happened to the capacity crowd of over 160 people is exactly what has happened at every screening, especially at screenings in very conservative spaces. The audience let themselves enter into the profoundly moving, gentle, and poignant stories of the beautiful people who shared their lives in our film. As I sat there, I felt laughter and heard tears at the right moments, smiled at some hearty Amens in spots, and generally just felt the miraculous space of true human connectedness when people actually listen and experience the stories of those who they have many assumptions about but don’t actually know.

It was lived proof of Thoreau’s description of a miracle: “Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other’s eyes for an instant?”

Towards the end of the discussion, a college-age bisexual Adventist student who has seen the film multiple times spoke up. Through tears, he shared that he had been especially nervous watching the film with this audience because it was in the South where he had “faggot” keyed onto his car once. Another time a stranger at a gas station took one look at him and told him he as an “abomination.” And hearing the distinctly Southern accents of many of the audience members while he helped sign people in had added to his anxiety. He cried openly as he thanked the audience for the profound sense of listening, of hearing the story of someone like himself who has to wrestle with the huge dilemma of belonging to (and loving) a faith that isn’t typically tolerant or accepting of his LGBT identity. I saw a group of people around him afterwards, but it wasn’t until later when he wrote a powerful reflection piece for Believe Out Loud that I realized what had happened. The people around him were apologizing. They said, “I’m Adventist/Baptist/Church of Christ. I’m from the South. And I’m sorry.”

These spaces where listening, reconciliation, forgiveness, and paradigm shifts happen has been my joy to witness in the past 18 months as we’ve screened Seventh-Gay Adventists all over the country. The feedback even from audiences as diverse as LGBT film festivals and Adventist churches has been overwhelmingly positive. It’s what has convinced me that people change from an emotional experience of the heart. For too long in many religious spaces this topic has simply been an abstract theological debate, but when that shifts to an actual conversation that is “with” and not just “at” or “about” the most marginalized demographic in most conservative churches today, profound paradigm shifts are possible. From people like Pastor Clark above to parents who finally feel permission to fully love their children (and who their children love) to LGBT individuals themselves seeing a model of another LGBT person of faith from a conservative denomination make peace with their faith and sexuality, these paradigms shifts are palpable and healing.

I would have never imagined even just five years ago that my main purpose, other than parenting my daughter, would be shares the stories of LGBT Adventists and advocating for a genuine dialogue through the lens of real people and stories in place like Collegedale, TN. I grew up like a lot of straight Christians in America do–completely oblivious to the concept that there were gay people in my church, or really at all. I lived a very sheltered life as a kid at an Adventist boarding school where my dad taught for 18 years, and I was probably out of college before I had a non-Adventist friend–I just didn’t live anywhere that wasn’t almost entirely Adventist. And since this topic of homosexuality (which is the only word that would have been used then) was essentially totally taboo, I never knew that I even knew LGBT people until I was in college, and that was only a couple of students at a distance (and, of course, not out to administration).

But then almost 10 years ago my husband and I moved to San Francisco to try out city living. After a while, we began attending a very small, nontraditional, fully inclusive congregation pastored by two former Adventist pastors. (The official Adventist churches in San Francisco are extremely conservative, which is a surprise to those outside the Bay Area who associate everything with the city as uber liberal.) It was there that we got to really know and be known by LGBT Adventists. And I found myself realizing what a difficult challenge they faced.

Then when Prop 8 came through California in 2008, we heard just vicious and unfounded propaganda getting promoted in churches, and we heard these messages for the first time through the lens of actually knowing a loving gay people. A key moment came when Jacquie and Linda, an older lesbian couple who had been deeply involved in a main Adventist church in the area spoke up after hearing a particularly damaging sermon on same-sex marriage where committed gay couples were called “a perverted minority” and compared to pedophiles and those who practice bestiality. When they told the pastor that it had been difficult to sit through that sermon, the board responded by stripping them of all of their leadership roles (and they did a lot–they were church ladies in the very best sense)! Except–except for directing the handbell choir. Nobody else could do that, so Linda was told that she could direct the choir but could no longer turn to face the congregation from the platform. Sadly, I know now about many similar situations, particularly when churches still want to benefit from the spiritual gift an LGBT person brings but make a statement clearly condemning their “lifestyle” (always the word used by those doing the condemning). We started to feel a righteous anger.

At this time, I was pregnant with our daughter, and we were wondering how we were going to raise her. We go back five generations on both sides in the Adventist church, both of our grandfathers were ordained ministers and many of our family members have worked for the church. We have history, roots, and heritage in this faith tradition. And yet, we weren’t sure we felt comfortable bringing up a daughter in a religion where our good friends would be treated unequally and spoken about in harmful ways. We helped start a grassroots movement in CA called “Adventists Against Prop 8” to help convince Adventists to vote “no” on Prop 8.

When Prop 8 passed, I was eight months pregnant with Lily and deeply crushed. It felt like we were bringing this new life into a newly less-equal world. My husband, Stephen Eyer, had been a filmmaker for 10 years, and we had collaborated on a previous (relatively small) film. He was the one who kept saying, “We need a film. Hearts and minds only change with stories.” One morning when Lily was still an infant, I mentioned that possibly we could make the film he kept mentioning. We were in-between ventures, and we were passionate about wanting to help make our world and faith more of the sort of place we wanted our daughter to grow up.

It took a while for us to feel comfortable taking on this project as a straight couple. We asked several close friends and pioneers in the LGBT Adventist community, who all gave us encouragement. We took Lily on a 3-month, 11,000-mile road trip around the United States stopping at major Adventist population centers where we filmed a spectrum of thought leaders as well as set up story booths just to listen to LGBT Adventists. What we thought would be a one year project at the most has now gone on over four and a half years. Thankfully, the film is a lot different than what we first imagined. That righteous and holy anger had us making a classic issue/debate film at first. But as we listened to more people and visited more churches, we realized that people didn’t need a debate. There was already too much debate. What was needed was stories.

Gradually we found the stories that are featured in the film (among many other equally compelling ones that we couldn’t have room for). And these stories are compelling, raw, and inspirational. David is a young man who spent five years in ex-gay therapy and is just beginning to explore whether he can accept himself as a gay man and a Christian. Marcos was the pastor of the largest Adventist church in South American before being outed and fired and is wondering how he’s going to find a spiritual home again. And Sherri is a lesbian mom from Ohio who wants her daughters to grow up Adventist but is facing a leadership transition at their church and wondering if the new pastor will accept their family.

The further we went along, the more we simply let the people in our film speak for themselves. We eventually decided to use a very stripped down editorial style without a soundtrack, fancy titles, or a narrator. We realized that many of the people who needed to see this film–people like Pastor Clark above–would be very suspicious of feeling emotionally manipulated. So we wanted their tears to be their own. We wanted their profound journey with the film subjects to be their own. When we got out of the way, the stories and people in our film led us all to a better place. It’s a place that doesn’t skimp on the pain or heartache, but their resilient spirits and deep longing and love for God breaks down barriers, cracks open stereotypes, and creates that listening space that is so powerful. It’s become more than just a film–it’s about an authentic listening space where we step into our shared humanity and shared child-of-God identity together.

After personally hosting the vast majority of the screenings and discussions where almost 14,000 people have seen the film, we are moving into the DVD and outreach phase. As I write, my husband is tinkering with our Kickstarter campaign (a crowdsourcing tool) where we’ll be pre-selling the DVD/blu-ray and online versions of the film as a way to raise the funds to actually make all of those deliverables! We’ll be launching next week, and I am trying to stay calm. We’ve never known how this film would get funded, and we’ve been almost entirely out of money many times (for some reason Atlanta is the place where twice we haven’t had enough funds for our baggage fees home!). But we feel a deep call to this movement and these stories, so we keep moving forward. Somehow, it keeps working out. As Marcos, who is the pastor who was fired for being gay, says near the end (quoting Pablo Neruda): “You can pick all the flowers, but you cannot stop the spring.”

Profound paradigm shifts are happening everywhere around this topic, and I’m grateful to have been able to witness so many “before” and “after” moments with people who have been courageous enough and open enough to come to a screening and just listen. That is where we begin to see each other and not our labels. To quote Pastor Clark, “[A]fter all, aren’t the separating walls of gender, class, nationality, and culture torn down in Christ?

You can learn more about Seventh-Gay Adventists and engage with Daneen at the film’s Facebook page. Upcoming screenings can be found at http://www.sgamovie.com/screenings.

 

Seventh-Gay Adventists – Trailer from Stephen Eyer on Vimeo.

About Kimberly Knight

Kimberly has a long history of back-pew sitting, Wednesday night supper eatin' and generally trying God’s patience since 1969. She's lucky enough to have made her technology addition a career and serves as both the Director of Digital Strategy as a southern liberal arts college and Minister of Digital community with Extravagance UCC.

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  • Daryl

    A sensitive and poignant film, the couples seem to be loving, kind, intelligent human beings.  People it would be a pleasure to know.  

    Alas, it takes some serious spin to interpret the Bible as approving of the LGBT orientation.  Please forgive the quote, I shall endeavor not to do a “Bible drive-by”.        

    “If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination.”  Leviticus 20:13

    This does not excuse the supercilious treatment these precious people received.  That sin is on the souls of those self-righteous hypocrites who thought themselves worthy to “cast the first stone”.

    As Daneen said so eloquently: Jesus “valued people so much that He frequently was criticized for spending too much time with people the religious authorities had deemed  outside of God’s kingdom.”

    When an adulterous woman was thrown to the ground in front of Him, Jesus did not condemn her.  He simply told her to “Go and sin no more”.   Note that while He did not condemn her, He did not give her leave to continue in disobedience.  

    While homosexuality is not acceptable to God, homosexuals most certainly are welcome at His alter, as are all manner of sinners.  Even a chief of sinners, such as myself is welcome in His presence. Praise God!

    A sensitive and poignant film, the couples seem to be loving, kind, intelligent human beings.  People it would be a pleasure to know.  

    Alas, it takes some serious spin to interpret the Bible as approving of the LGBT orientation.  Please forgive the quote, I shall endeavor not to do a “Bible drive-by”.        

    “If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination.”  Leviticus 20:13

    This does not excuse the supercilious treatment these precious people received.  That sin is on the souls of those self-righteous hypocrites who thought themselves worthy to “cast the first stone”.

    As Daneen said so eloquently: Jesus “valued people so much that He frequently was criticized for spending too much time with people the religious authorities had deemed  outside of God’s kingdom.”

    When an adulterous woman was thrown to the ground in front of Him, Jesus did not condemn her.  He simply told her to “Go and sin no more”.   Note that while He did not condemn her, He did not give her leave to continue in disobedience.  

    While homosexuality is not acceptable to God, homosexuals most certainly are welcome at His alter, as are all manner of sinners.  Even a chief of sinners, such as myself is welcome in His presence. Praise God!

  • melissia

    I thank both of you for all of your work… you’re making the world a better place for everyone.

    And….

    “They left the church, and Christians made headlines for rejecting parents who unconditionally loved their daughter.”

    Shining and inspiring examples of parenthood. I can only hope I am so brave, if/when I become a parent myself…

  • gimpi1

    “When they told the pastor that it had been difficult to sit through that sermon, the board responded by stripping them of all of their leadership roles (and they did a lot–they were church ladies in the very best sense)! Except–except for directing the handbell choir. Nobody else could do that, so Linda was told that she could direct the choir but could no longer turn to face the congregation from the platform.”

    I very much hope these church ladies told this pastor where he could put his sermon, and where he could go to find help with the tasks they would no longer be preforming.

    I don’t understand, why would someone put up with this? Why would an intelligent, reasonable person give someone this much power over them? I understand that my “outsider” perspective might blind me to what’s going on, but I have to believe these ladies would be much better off “shaking the dust off their feet” and leaving this group behind. I also don’t understand why the rest of this pastors congregation isn’t in open revolt, not about his doctrine necessarily, but about his overbearing, control-freak style of management. I’ve quit jobs over this sort of thing.

    • Daneen Akers

      I just saw this comment, and I wanted to assure you that in this case, these two ladies did tell the pastor “where he could put his sermon” and left. That’s actually how I got to know them a lot better because they started being regulars at the inclusive worship space I attended.

  • Lea

    I think there is deep beauty in being willing to love other human beings and putting *that* first, ahead of rules. Rules may be important, but they are not *more important* than caring about the suffering of others. Doctrines may be important, but again– they are all for naught if we can walk right by our suffering brothers and sisters without seeing their pain and taking it on as our own pain. The Good Samaritan parable comes to mind for me when I think about this. If we cannot even get “Love your neighbor” right, we belong in Remedial Christianity 101. I think what Pastor Clark said here is very poignant and full of insight:” After seeing the pain and soul torture up close in the faces of these three SDA people, my eyes were opened.”

  • James Vincent

    It doesn’t matter what Kimberly or any one else thinks or FEELS! It’s what the word of God says!!

  • James Vincent

    Proverbs 14:12 There is a way which seemeth right unto a man/women,
    But the end thereof are the ways of death.

    24 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: 25 But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. 26 But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. 27 So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? 28 He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? 29 But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.

    The Holy Bible: King James Version

    • Daneen Akers

      Hi James – did you have any thoughts about this and how this relates to a conversation about loving well, even when we have theological differences? I’m always a bit perplexed by Christians (and I’m assuming you are one) who just a Bible verse and leave. In moderating the Facebook page for this film (Seventh-Gay Adventists: A Film about Faith on the Margins), I get this pretty regularly, and I’ve come to think of them as Bible drive-bys with no real engagement or inclination to listen–it’s just copy/paste a verse and move on. That doesn’t seem very much like the Jesus I encounter in the Gospels who valued people so much that he frequently was criticized for spending too much time with people the religious authorities had deemed outside of God’s kingdom. It was actually Jesus’ radical message of love, grace, and Kingdom principles that clashed with the values of both the empire and the religious establishment that got him killed. I hope you’ll find time to see this film when it’s released soon on DVD.

      • Daryl

        A sensitive and poignant film, the couples seem to be loving, kind, intelligent human beings.  People it would be a pleasure to know.  

        Alas, it takes some serious spin to interpret the Bible as approving of the LGBT orientation.  Please forgive the quote, I shall endeavor not to do a “Bible drive-by”.        

        “If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination.”  Leviticus 20:13

        This does not excuse the supercilious treatment these precious people received.  That sin is on the souls of those self-righteous hypocrites who thought themselves worthy to “cast the first stone”.

        As Daneen said so eloquently: Jesus “valued people so much that He frequently was criticized for spending too much time with people the religious authorities had deemed  outside of God’s kingdom.”

        When an adulterous woman was thrown to the ground in front of Him, Jesus did not condemn her.  He simply told her to “Go and sin no more”.   Note that while He did not condemn her, He did not give her leave to continue in disobedience.  

        While homosexuality is not acceptable to God, homosexuals most certainly are welcome at His alter, as are all manner of sinners.  Even a chief of sinners, such as myself is welcome in His presence. Praise God!

        A sensitive and poignant film, the couples seem to be loving, kind, intelligent human beings.  People it would be a pleasure to know.  

        Alas, it takes some serious spin to interpret the Bible as approving of the LGBT orientation.  Please forgive the quote, I shall endeavor not to do a “Bible drive-by”.        

        “If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination.”  Leviticus 20:13

        This does not excuse the supercilious treatment these precious people received.  That sin is on the souls of those self-righteous hypocrites who thought themselves worthy to “cast the first stone”.

        As Daneen said so eloquently: Jesus “valued people so much that He frequently was criticized for spending too much time with people the religious authorities had deemed  outside of God’s kingdom.”

        When an adulterous woman was thrown to the ground in front of Him, Jesus did not condemn her.  He simply told her to “Go and sin no more”.   Note that while He did not condemn her, He did not give her leave to continue in disobedience.  

        While homosexuality is not acceptable to God, homosexuals most certainly are welcome at His alter, as are all manner of sinners.  Even a chief of sinners, such as myself is welcome in His presence. Praise God!

  • http://lotharlorraine.wordpress.com/ Lothar Lorraine

    Hello Kim,

    I had a very short-lived relationship with an Adentist girl and I know quite a few of them have progressive ideas.
    I am glad there are more and more room for gay people to live out their sexuality within Christian Churches.
    I hope the Catholic Church will recognize, at last, that homosexuality is not sinful in and of itself.

    Otherwise I have published our last Skype conversation!
    http://lotharlorraine.wordpress.com/2013/09/26/a-lesbian-coming-out-as-a-commited-christian/

    Friendly greetings from continental Europe.

    Lothars Sohn – Lothar’s son

    http://lotharlorraine.wordpress.com

    • James Vincent

      Proverbs 14:12 There is a way which seemeth right unto a man/women,
      But the end thereof are the ways of death.

      24 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: 25 But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. 26 But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. 27 So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? 28 He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? 29 But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.

      • John Blevins

        Oh James, I’m so grateful to you for posting (twice!) the parable of the wheat and the tares. It reminds me of my own adolescence growing up in a Southern Baptist community. One summer at Baptist church camp, our youth minister read a reflection on the parable written by an Episcopal priest named Martin Bell. It always stuck with me. When you posted your response to this blog (twice!), I decided to see if I might find it out on the web. Praise be to God, I did. Here it is. I hope it speaks to you as well (and I hope you’ll forgive the sexist language, seeing it as a product of the time in which it was written– the 1970s. My guess you’ll be able to do that because of your affinity for the King James translation). Anyway, here it is…

        The Kingdom of God, Lord, is like so many things. Yet like nothing at all that I have ever known. Perhaps my head will never even grasp a single strand from your complex multiplicity of images. But the story about the wheat and the tares will always be the hardest of all for me to understand. Because at the end, the man burns the tares. And if the tares represent people, Lord, I’ll never understand that. Never.

        The Kingdom of God, Lord, is like so many things. Did you mean for thewheat to represent good people, Lord? And are the tares then desperate and evil men whose willful sins are so bound to them that there is no release–only the fire? And is it somehow a stranger who stands responsible, after all? (I mean ultimately responsible, since it is he who has sown the tares in the first place.) Is this what the story means, Lord? That God created good men? And that somehow a stranger brought into being a number of bad men? And that the good men and the bad men must continue to live together side by side until the day of Judgment when they will be either rewarded or punished? God, I hope
        that’s not what the story means. Partly because I am an evil and
        desperate man. More because I am willfully an evil and desperate man. Heard this way, the story promises me nothing but the fire. Lord, will there be nothing for me but the fire?

        The Kingdom of God, Lord, is like so many things. Yet like nothing at all that I have ever known. For there is no godliness in my daily walks amidst the meaningless drudgery of my life. There is only
        disappointment. And, at that, hardly any large-scale, dramatic, or
        bitter let-down. Only the simple, weary disappointment that is certainly the most disturbing byproduct of any real insight. My world has disappointed me. I have disappointed myself. Lord help me to understand. Could it be the very fabric of existence itself that is permeated by tares? Dare I hope that all of mankind is represented by the wheat and that it is in explanation of the distortion of life itself that the parable is told? Is it impudent of me to wonder whether or not you are referring to the very stuff of existence as having been somehow corrupted; with the corresponding result that all men find themselves living in a matrix of sin and of desperation and of disappointment? Is it only I, Lord? Or do all men find themselves inextricably in the grasp
        of meaninglessness and sin? Dare I hope that the tares do not represent people, but rather alienation and despair, the universal condition of existing men? Have I misunderstood the parable, Lord? Or have I misunderstood the kingdom of God?

        The Kingdom of God, Lord, is like so many things. I hope that the
        parable of the wheat and the tares is about man’s universal condition of sinfulness and alienation. I pray, Lord, that in the end it will be this alienation that is destroyed and the whole of mankind that is gathered into the Kingdom. If so, then there is no longer any mystery as to the identity of the stranger who sowed the seeds. He is none other than I, myself. And there comes to my conscious awareness a new appreciation for the old saying that I am my own worst enemy. We have each of us sown the tares, and we are all of us virtually strangled by them. If this is what you are telling us, Lord, burn the tares that we have sown in order that mankind may breathe! Burn the tares and gather your children into the Kingdom. I hope that’s what you meant by the parable of the wheat and tares, Lord. I’m betting my life that’s what you meant. But if the tares represent people, Lord, then you are the stranger. Because at the end the man burns the tares. And if the tares
        represent people. Lord, I’ll never understand that. Never. Amen.

  • Daneen Akers

    Thanks so very much for coming to that screening in Collegedale, TN. It was an incredible space, and it’s an honor to be able to connect with you and others working to make our faith communities more loving spaces for all.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/kimberlyknight/ Kimberly

      Daneen,

      Thank YOU for your ministry in the world. You are creating a space where hearts and minds are changing and you are a blessing to us all.

      Kimberly


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