Backyard Chickens

I’d like to have some chickens in my backyard, but they’re not allowed in my city.

Dear readers, has any of you been part of getting your city to accept backyard chickens?

Marriage Equality and a Day of Celebration


Last night, Courtney and I were on hand to help our dear friend, Jay Bakker, launch the new Minneapolis site of Revolution Church.  You can hear Jay’s inaugural sermon, “Vulgar Grace Throws the First Stone.”

The photo above is a detail shot by Courtney of the rainbow communion bread that we contributed to the service. We baked that loaf — the same loaf that Courtney baked with our friends Rachel and Rachet for our (sacramental) wedding — in support of marriage equality. Jay has been an outspoken proponent of marriage equality and has performed several same-sex weddings. When he broke the bread last night, Jay told us to remember not just the broken body of Jesus, but also the broken bodies and spirits of many GLBT persons who have been persecuted for their non-heterosexuality.

Today, Jay and Courtney and I and several other friends will be going to St. Paul to hold vigil as the Minnesota Senate debates and votes on a bill opening marriage in our state to same-gendered couples. It is expected to pass easily (my senator has already emailed me to assure me that she will be voting for its passage), and to be signed into law by Governor Mark Dayton tomorrow.

Our gay and lesbian friends will be able to marry in Minnesota beginning on August 1.

[Read more...]

Atheist Undergrad to Christian Pastor: Don’t Be a Dick

A student at St. Cloud State University protests the preaching of John Chisham on campus on April 23, 2013. (Photo by Molly English)

When I first arrived on the campus of St. Cloud State University in January to teach Introduction to the New Testament, a couple of the students mentioned the preachers who come to campus. It seems that, as a Christian minister myself, they thought I should know how Christians are seen on campus.

Last Thursday, as class was about to begin, they asked if I’d been around the previous day to see the traveling preachers make their annual appearance. I hadn’t, so one student began showing me photos she’d taken on her phone.

You can imagine my surprise when I recognized one of the preachers: John Chisham, aka, “Pastorboy.”

Longtime readers will remember Pastorboy. He used to comment on this blog regularly (he was banned from commenting by me in 2009), and to post about me and others on his various blogs. He allowed me to interview him on video when my book, The New Christians, was coming out. And he was the lone protestor outside of JoPa’s event, Christianity21 – we had 21 women preachers speak at that conference, and he preached 21 sermons on the sidewalk outside (since, of course, women are not capable of preaching the gospel in his twisted theology).

Chisham is a Christian and Missionary Alliance (C&MA) pastor in Marshall, Minnesota at River of Life Alliance Church. But he regularly travels to preach his hate-filled “gospel” message at gay pride parades and college campuses. The StarTribune covered him at a gay pride parade here, and when he preached at Mankato State University in 2010, a bunch of students took him up on his invitation for them to come to his church — they came, and stood silently in front of the church bearing signs of their own. Of course, Chisham did not take this in stride but called on the university to sanction the professor who advised them.

As you see in the photo above, and the uncropped version below, this year the students at St. Cloud State also fought back against his hate. [Read more...]

Can Jay Bakker Redeem Minnesota?

Jay Bakker (Kyndell Harkness/StarTribune)

A month ago, my friend Jay Bakker and his wife, Karin, arrived in Minnesota. They moved here from Brooklyn, New York, she to start a new job, he to start a new church.

In Sunday’s paper, Rose French profiled Jay and noted the many connections he’s already got with my home state:

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