Where She Is

Dan Wilkinson’s Reflection on the 2017 Women’s March — “Dissent is Patriotic”

Throughout the day waves of emotion moved through me. It felt so right to stand for justice and be a part of a fantastic movement that said, “We won’t let our country go backward. We will rise up; we will work together to ensure justice for all—not only for a select few.” Continue reading

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Rev. Jann Aldredge-Clanton’s Reflection on the 2017 Women’s March — “Changing History”

“Excitement and joy filled the air as we marched for more than an hour to chants and drumming. We spoke with many people along the way, taking pictures with their enthusiastic permission. The amazingly diverse crowd, estimated at 50,000, moved slowly along, some in wheelchairs and some in baby strollers. There were people of various ages, genders, races, gender identities, religions, abilities, political parties. Even dogs joined the march and were as polite as the people!” Continue reading

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#GCNConf Reflection by Elyse Kitrakis — “The Inspiration to Move Forward”

Once I was set free from the bondage of a fear-based faith, my life became full, and my faith has grown these last 20 years to be more inclusive and less judgmental. In 2004, I became more politically involved, recognizing the important role we, the people of God, must play in the governance of God’s world and the care for the things God cares about. Continue reading

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#GCNConf Reflection by Jennifer Kane — “A Most Inspiring Story”

Many of the stories of the conference were new. But as I reflected on my conference experience as a whole, I was aware that, though the stories felt new, they also reminded me of the most inspiring story I have ever heard. The story of God becoming human and dwelling among us and then suffering and dying so we could be made new and be made whole. Continue reading

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2017 #GCNConf Rev. Janet Edwards Interview, Part 3

There are lots of reasons for women to leave parish ministry, I’d say. Complicated family circumstances and fewer openings because of the implosion of the American church experienced first in the mainline but followed now by the evangelical church, as well, to name two. The bias that blights women’s service is one among them, in my experience. Continue reading

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2017 #GCNConf Rev. Janet Edwards Interview, Part 2

… the PC(USA) cannot confess sin against LGBTQ people with any integrity. First, this action would not include those Presbyterians who do not feel that they are sinning when they judge the LGBTQ person. Second, people with these judgments are still hurting LGBTQ people in the PC(USA). We are not of one mind in the PC(USA). While we do most things by majority vote, it seems to me that this is one instance where we would need to be of one mind for the confession to be dependable for LGBTQ people. I trust we will be of one mind some day, but we aren’t now. Continue reading

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2017 #GCNConf Rev. Janet Edwards Interview, Part 1

With regard to history and tradition, one of the most impactful comments came from the mother of a devout Catholic German family where I was an au pair in a year abroad after college. I visited her that summer specifically to share Nancy and Brenda’s invitation to me and to get her insight about it. She raised two questions. First, “You are a Protestant, right?” Yes. “What’s the use of being a Protestant if you don’t protest every once in a while?” My tradition is Reformed, always being Reformed (which is why we tend to protest what is traditional). Coming to a more expansive understanding of marriage is our generation’s experience of reforming our grasp of God and God’s will for us. Continue reading

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Rev. Janet Edwards, Ph.D. — #GCNWomenConnect Speaker

“Identification with and support of LGBTQ people began, I would say, with the effort to make sense of my uncle coming with Johnnie from their home in Southern California to enjoy the fall change of season and to visit family. Nothing was ever said except that this was his friend, Johnnie, and my grandmother loved them both. I was in college when I finally guessed they were probably gay. It was much later that I realized our Presbyterian family could have taught me some terrible things about them. I am grateful for their witness to love and their letting me figure things out myself.” Continue reading

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2017 Gay Christian Network Conference — Introduction

Again, in 2017, CFT will be partnering with the Gay Christian Network to present their WomenConnect women’s retreat at the 2017 Gay Christian Network Conference. Several CFT members will participate. Continue reading

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Love More: Trump and the Country We Know

We can react by demonizing those who brought the next four years upon our country. We can judge them and denigrate them and turn on them. And in doing so, we will perpetuate the very situation that led us all to this point. Or we can try to figure out how to love more and love better. We can work to open ourselves up and allow Her love to move through each of us in a way that will dampen the resurgence of violence and fear that we are feeling in our country. Continue reading

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Returning to Yourself

Returning to ourselves is not some huge, life changing decision or action. It’s not a one-off, or something that happens to you after some kind of crisis, though there’s nothing like a good crisis to shake us out of our complacency. Returning to ourselves is something that must happen over and over again. If we are brave enough, we make it a practice. Continue reading

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Backlash Against What?: RFRAs and Bathroom Bills

[The LGBTQ backlash is] “about outdated concepts like spiritual hierarchies and binaries, as in ‘this group is saved, but this group is damned.’ Outdated concepts like a magical book in which every inerrant word is completely applicable to the present time, even though is was written thousands of years ago in a very different cultural context. Outdated concepts like a hierarchy of sins, some to be overlooked, some to be unforgivable. Outdated concepts like a strict gender binary in which people assigned to one gender at birth lead and make decisions, and all the other people exist to serve them.” Continue reading

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The Embodiment of God (Fast of Embodied Solidarity)

We keep getting stuck. We keep getting stuck in the concept and tradition of God as we learned it. And in doing so, we miss the chance to experience the living God, that deep inspiration that can transform us, body and soul. Continue reading

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2016 #GCNConf – First Timer Reflections – Kirsti Reeve

My 22-year-old self, from two decades ago, just coming out, convinced that I could not be lesbian and evangelical, would have lapped up everything the GCN Conference had to offer and hungered for more. At age 46, with a faith community that embraces my wife and I as family, with a 21-year relationship that has so many miracles and evidence of the tangible presence of God in and through our love, and with a faith practice that tends more toward the mystical and contemplative, this event was less “needed” for me, but more a confirmation, eliciting gratitude that the work is still being done. I’m grateful that the space of GCN exists for those people who do desperately need it, for whom the weekend was spent in tears and overwhelm, and who can, hopefully, leave with a little more of a belief that they are loved and accepted by God and by others just as they are. Continue reading

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2016 #GCNConf – First Timer Reflections – Bastian Bouman

When those in my group started talking about their hopes and dreams for future relationships and discussed models of relationships, I realized I’d made a huge mistake. The Side B people I had dismissed were exactly the people I’d been looking for. In all the months I’d been looking for answers and options, looking for a path to follow, I had, out of misplaced derision, overlooked the people most likely to have already blazed that trail ahead of me. Continue reading

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2016 #GCNConf – First Timer Reflections – Sam Koster

I worshiped in a community of strangers that felt like family. I cried in front of a crowd of parents who held me in their arms like I was their own child. I felt like I was being given a glimpse of what heaven feels like, or maybe what I hope heaven feels like: open arms of strangers full of love and grace. Continue reading

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2016 #GCNConf – First Timer Reflections – Jann Aldredge-Clanton

As I listened to people’s stories, my heart ached over the pain they have suffered from denunciation and rejection by church and family, and I felt inspired by their courage in claiming who they’re created to be and working to liberate their churches from homophobia and unjust, unloving actions. Continue reading

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2016 #GCNConf — “weconnect” Emmy Kegler Interview

I believe the church at its core can also be a place of healing (and it breaks me when it’s a place of trauma). We have confession and forgiveness, peacemaking and reconciliation, prayer and offering going back to the earliest days of Christianity. Self-examination and self-giving isn’t something we can do without community, and it can be scary to do without the promise that God’s net of love will catch us no matter how messy we are. That’s my belief in the church. I know the church falls short, and so do I, but I hold on to hope. Continue reading

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2016 #GCNConf – “weconnect” Featured Speaker Emmy Kegler

During this time, the burdens of institutional church became clear to her, but so did the certainty that change was possible. She connected deeply to the true good news of Christianity’s two-thousand-year-old story. Over and over, she witnessed both the church’s capacity to wound and to heal, and she grew more convinced that she had to be a part of the transformation and recommunication of God’s love as shown in Jesus. Continue reading

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2016 Gay Christian Network Conference — Introduction

Posted on December 14, 2015 by Marg Herder Index of GCN 2016 Conference Content on Christian Feminism Today Introduction to the #GCNConf Series Introduction to weconnect Featured Speaker Emmy Kegler Interview with weconnect Featured Speaker Emmy Kegler First Timer Reflections – Rev. … Continue reading

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God, Jesus, and Thoughts about Incarnation

The few stories of Jesus that remain, portray his ability to bridge the spaces between himself and others. They show a person confidently reaching into and knowing the other. They show an awareness of more than what human senses can perceive. They show a man who is not a man. They show a man who is God. And I’m not sure I buy it. Continue reading

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Remembering All We Have Lost — #TDOR

For many of you, the gender binary simply exists as a pervasive framework around which you build your life. As a child, you accepted it. You existed within it. It wasn’t until adolescence or adulthood that you were required to understand it and decide how to respond to it.

But for people like me, the framework is a scaffold. We are forced to live lives balanced on an unsteady plank, ever conscious of the noose around our necks. As children, most of us had no choice but to create careful lives of hypervigilance, teaching ourselves how to numb the fear and frustration and anger of being thus restrained. Continue reading

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The 2015 Parliament of World Religions— Sophia Lives!

Without a fundamental shift in how we conceive of God, we will continue to be a people of oppression, bondage, war. And yet there is a failure in our faith traditions to see that oppression, bondage, and violence are by-products of masculine portrayals of God; of patriarchy baptized by religion. If we fail to recognize the interconnection between our theology of God and how we treat others, we cannot work for justice, liberation, or peace. Continue reading

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Calling God “She” — It’s Just Another Pronoun!

To linguistically portray God as a father, or God as a woman giving birth, or an eagle, or a sacred wind, all of those things put a limiting image up to represent God. And, for that matter, so do the three letters, G-O-D. All the ways we choose to refer to God are images, all are limited representations, all are potentially idolatrous symbols. But all our metaphors and ways of referring to God are not necessarily idolatrous. Only potentially. Continue reading

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Requiem for the Rest of Us — #kellyonmymind

Those who distrust grace once again brought about a human being’s undoing,
As they have for millennia (just remember the lions and stones).
Now, as then, decisions were made, orders were given, and there was someone willing to comply.
The hands and feet of the adolescent monster we feed with our votes and our tax dollars
Delivered death into her body, forcing her out, and into God’s loving arms. Continue reading

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The Inscrutable Sacred Thread

“Everyone Is Welcome,” announces a small sign over the door of the gothic brick edifice. It was first placed there to make sure people of color knew it was safe to enter in the sixties; later it served as an indication that people with AIDS were welcome too. Now it whispers carefully to me each time I enter. If the sign were any larger I’d be spooked. Continue reading

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The Long Overdue Conversation about Mental Illness

“I’ve also learned that this society will make any number of accommodations for those with differing physical abilities, but those with differing mental, emotional, and social abilities are expected to suck it up and deal with things the way they are. We don’t bat an eye asking the church member in a wheelchair if we can reach something on a high shelf or help them navigate a crowded aisle on the way to take communion, but we avoid the person with social anxiety, who can’t look us in the eye, or who is visibly nervous and stands alone during the social hour. I wonder if, deep down, we are thinking, ‘It’s not my responsibility to deal with their problem.’ ” Continue reading

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A Report from the “Jobs, Justice, and the Climate” March in Toronto

For me, honoring First Nation people and ensuring environmental justice is essential, especially if we claim to truly love this “blue dot” (what astronauts have called the earth from space, depicted in my poster above) we all call home. Continue reading

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A Charleston Lament – #BlackLivesMatter

I am convinced that this is the lesson of Gethsemane
Not Jesus crying humanly about his own impending suffering and death
But rather Jesus’s awareness of the depth of the intractable ruin of us
The universal suffering of the other who threatens the status of the entitled just by being Continue reading

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Hurtful Words Hurt

There are millions of new combinations of words created every day, combinations that are put here, on the web, for anyone to view. And there’s one thing that nobody seems to notice, or care about, or even comment on, one important thing about all those words. A lot of them are hurtful. Some intentionally so. Continue reading

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The Invisible Man, Language, and Faith

Posted May 12, 2015 by Marg Herder It’s the 12th, and that’s the day I post on the Emerging Voices blog on Patheos.  Today I’m writing about all the difficulties swirling around those of us occupying the margins, and how hard it is to … Continue reading

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Just the Rhythm of My Blood and Breath

My partner, my friend in recovery, and my therapist all tell me that anger doesn’t have to look like yelling and shaming and ruining things. That there’s no chance mine ever would. But the anger I’ve seen wrecks things and people, and explodes into so many sharp little pieces that you can never hope to clean all of them up from inside you. Continue reading

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The Jesus I Need — An Easter Reflection

Posted March 12, 2015 by Marg Herder It’s the 12th, and that’s the day I post on the Emerging Voices blog on Patheos.  Today I’m writing about what I think about Jesus, his life, the Passion narratives, and the resurrection.  In the Passion … Continue reading

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The Real Emergence

I became aware how scared, how cruel, how utterly detached from Spirit’s compassion human beings can be. I became aware that shades of genocide play out every single day in much less sweeping terms, as well. A woman stoned, a trans* person beaten to death, a black man shot down in the streets. Continue reading

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The Gay Christian Network Conference: The Kingdom of God Unfolding

At the GCN conference, in spite of current cultural tableaus, these two unlikely identity categories converged: LGBT-identified people and Christian-identified people. We worshipped. We prayed. We nurtured one another in the sharing and receiving of our stories. And the results were luminous. Humans cannot stop the Spirit of God from moving. The Spirit of God will do as the Spirit pleases. Humans cannot stop the Kingdom of God from unfolding. Continue reading

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Precious God, Forgive Them, Because They KNOW What They’re Doing

With all the LGBTQ people courageously coming out in conservative Christian settings, with all the information available freely on the internet and through print and broadcast media, with our new host of educators and speakers (both LGBTQ people and allies) reaching out to conservative and evangelical Christians, it would be impossible for someone to miss the obvious wounding of our people. Continue reading

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Dios Precioso, Perdónalos, Porque Ellos SABEN lo que Están Haciendo

Herir a las personas LGBT con palabras o acciones no es comportamiento aceptable. No es “libertad religiosa.” No es “libertad de expresión.” Es causarle sufrimiento a las personas.

No me refiero a lo que cree la gente, me refiero a lo que hace la gente. Las personas tienen la libertad de creer lo que quieran. No es correcto herir a un grupo de personas porque uno no esté de acuerdo con ellas o porque uno no apruebe de ellas. No es correcto. Continue reading

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The Words of the LGBTQ Christian Experience

The primary difference between me and a heterosexual person is not my sexual activity. The primary difference between me and a heterosexual person is with whom I am most comfortable establishing my primary intimate partnership. There are people who know and willingly admit inclusion in the class of lesbian, gay, and bi people who do not participate in sexual activity with their intimate partner! Sexual activity is not the defining difference between us and straight people. The fact that we establish our primary intimate partnerships with people other than those similarly gendered is. Continue reading

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Together At the Table: Inclusive Communion and Intimate Conversations

The challenge each of us faces is in learning how to maintain our convictions while also respecting and appreciating a sister or brother’s differing approach. Maybe the key is to start from a trusting place, believing that we all deeply desire to do what is good and right. Maybe this is what opens the door to a reality that looks like coming to the literal and metaphorical table together. Bringing our own traditions while listening and sharing with others opens us to the intimate table of relationship with God and neighbor. Continue reading

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Our Job Starts and Stops with Loving Each Other

There’s no safe choice. The wounding is pervasive. And we all are perpetrators when we project our expectations and our own unique experience onto other people we consider more like us than not. None of us is the same. None of us knows the heart and mind of any other. As LGBTQ people, it is certainly our calling to become all we are meant to be. But that’s an internal process for the person looking out into the world. Where we stand, looking into each other’s eyes, our job starts and stops with loving each other. Continue reading

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Trauma and the LGBTQ Christian

When someone involved in conservative or evangelical Christianity experiences the trauma and wounding associated with coming out, generally they do not have access to sympathetic witnesses or good support systems. Often nearly everyone around them believes that to be lesbian, gay, bi, trans*, queer, or questioning is sinful and shameful. For too many people in this situation, the trauma must be borne alone. Perhaps like me, it will be years before they realize that what happened to them was, indeed, trauma. Continue reading

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An Opportunity to Practice Grace and Love

Before that fact had a chance to sink in, the first “brick” in the Wall of Love appeared. As we gathered, I looked to my left and saw a large group walking toward us. When I realized this was the Wall of Love, I was overcome with emotion. As they formed what would ultimately become a Tunnel of Love, the tears rolled down my cheeks. I had to turn away from them so I could gather myself because the feeling of unconditional love was so overwhelming in the moment. Continue reading

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2015 #GCNConf — “weconnect” Wendy Gritter Interview

My hope is that we will come to the day that our communities are places where LGBTQ+ people can be fully themselves and fully pursue relationship with Jesus without any hindrances. I wish I knew how long this season of transition will last— but I don’t. So for now, I will serve as faithfully as I can to encourage the Christian community to embody humility, hospitality, mutuality, and justice so that ALL people have every opportunity to flourish. Continue reading

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2015 #GCNConf – “weconnect” Featured Speaker Wendy Gritter

After I finished Wendy Gritter’s book and spent some time reflecting on what I had read, I realized that she had chosen a very difficult path. She is now regarded with suspicion by people on all sides. Many conservative Christians believe she has been deceived and has departed from the “truth” of the scriptures. LGBT people like me find it difficult to forgive her involvement with Exodus. It’s hard to walk the path she terms “generous spaciousness” in a world where we are urged to take sides. Continue reading

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2015 Gay Christian Network Conference – Introduction

Posted on January 2, 2015 (revised February 2) by Marg Herder Index of GCN 2015 Conference Content on Christian Feminism Today Introduction to the #GCNConf Series Introduction to weconnect Featured Speaker Wendy Gritter Interview with weconnect Featured Speaker Wendy Gritter … Continue reading

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Christmas Eve, Incarnation, and Knowing Mary

For an hour and a half I struggled mightily to hold back tears, pretending not to see everything I had thought my life would be—my dreams, my passions, my vision for serving God—bleeding out onto the slate floor. As the choir sang, and the ministers spoke, and the candles flickered, for the first time I saw Mary in all of it. A young woman in need of a safe place. A young woman denied entrance. A young woman giving birth to the Human One anyway, in an inauspicious tangle of blood, fear, and pain. Continue reading

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Shifting Certainty

It’s colder now. The stars look brighter. The air is crisp and tastes clean. I’ve started wearing a coat when I go out to walk and pray at night. Orion, my bow tie friend, is no longer hugging the edge of the sky. He’s ascended high overhead, because it’s his time now. And I have begun to let this in. Continue reading

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All You Were Before— #ThinkOfAPoem

October 2, 2014 was National Poetry Day. I thought I’d join in the fun and post a short poem and an image. This year’s theme is “Remember.” Continue reading

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I Am in Recovery and I Am Blessed – #RecoveryMonth

A guest post by Casey O’Leary – “I want to live. I discovered that when I hit my “rock bottom” and found myself face down on the floor, sobbing as if I would never stop, telling those I love most that I didn’t want to live anymore. My life became a series of small, tentative footsteps, one at a time, doing what came next without looking too far into an uncertain future. Each step reinforced my desire to live, but I knew that I needed help. I needed to change things and I couldn’t do it alone.” Continue reading

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On Healing and Recovery – #RecoveryMonth

Several weeks ago I attended a charismatic worship service. As the musicians played, expertly modulating the spiritual energy in the room, as the liturgical dancers danced with flags and ribbons, as the crowd, arms up, singing and swaying, pressed forward seeking healing from their Source, the ministers of the Word moved among them, praying and touching, before gently lowering the shaking bodies of the healed to the ground. Continue reading

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