Revelation | A vision for the church

Imagine a church like the holy city: full of light, open to all peoples, rooted in the gospel, and overflowing with love. (Listen.)

A few years ago, I went to the Southwest Roadshow. There, LGBTIQA+ folk, allies and agencies listened to and learned from one another about the needs, resources and gaps in the region. I was there as an observer, at the invitation of friends. But to my surprise, one of those friends then introduced me to the gathering and told everyone about Sanctuary. Continue reading “Revelation | A vision for the church”

IDAHOBIT | Wenn’s story: The truth shall set you free

In Acts 11, Peter doesn’t argue with the Jerusalem Council about whether or not Gentiles are acceptable to God. Instead, he simply tells the story of his meeting with Cornelius and friends, and how he observed the Holy Spirit at work in their lives. In similar vein this IDAHOBIT (International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia), I’d like to introduce you to one of our beloved Sanctuary folk, Wenn, whose faithfulness shines through in the following testimony. Wenn writes: Continue reading “IDAHOBIT | Wenn’s story: The truth shall set you free”

19 | totally loved #Lent2022

Isaiah proclaims, “God called me before I was born, while I was in my mother’s womb God named me.” (Isaiah 49:1b)

[W]hen I asked Taj if he could remember a time in his life when he felt totally loved and affirmed as his authentic self, he told me about an experience he’d had in his UCCC congregation: The first Sunday I went back to my church after I came out at trans, I just remember standing in front of the table full of name tags, and staring at my name tag and thinking, “I can’t put that on.” Continue reading “19 | totally loved #Lent2022”

Galatians | It’s not about genitals, but love

There’s been a flurry in the news lately about what it means to be Christian; apparently, it has a lot to do with our genitals. Under the Religious Discrimination Bill currently before Federal Parliament, in order to be legally protected while discriminating against some sexualities and genders, faith-based schools and other organisations need to have a public statement of belief which explicitly rejects those sexualities and genders. Therefore, some “Christian” schools and other organisations have recently circulated statements which claim that what we do with our genitals, and whether they are seen to correlate with our gender assigned at birth, are litmus tests of faith. Continue reading “Galatians | It’s not about genitals, but love”

Ruth | Extending the protections of the law to everyone

The story of Ruth undermines the push for religious purity by extending the protections of the law, and the lineage of King David, to a person who was traditionally despised. (Listen.)

What a charming love story! After the loss of her husband, an attractive young widow is protected from starvation and assault, and taken under the wing of a kindly kinsman. Her barrenness is quickly remedied, and they all live happily ever after; indeed, the village women pray that she will be like Leah and Rachel, the foremothers of Israel, and lo! she becomes the great-grandmother of Israel’s most famous king. And it is indeed charming. Continue reading “Ruth | Extending the protections of the law to everyone”

Bartimaeus | Rejected by the worshipping community, commended for his faith

Rejected by the worshipping community, blind Bartimaeus has true insight into Christ and is commended for his faith. (Listen.)

He was slumped outside the city gates: because he wasn’t allowed inside anymore. He used to be there. But for his blindness or diffability or autism or trauma or gayness or questions or outspokenness or doubt or some other issue, he was criticized, then judged, then driven away, then erased. He was ordered not to mingle with the inside folk: and they were warned. Hanging out with him would taint them, might even lead to them being thrown out, too: so they carefully avoided him; they never returned his calls. Continue reading “Bartimaeus | Rejected by the worshipping community, commended for his faith”

The bitch slaps back

Yes, Jesus calls a woman a dog. It’s not his finest moment. But the bitch slaps back: and he listens, and learns, and grows. (Listen.)

‘Bitch.’ It’s a vicious taunt. Every time I hear it, I’m left enraged, gutted, and gasping, which is exactly what the taunter wants. It’s meant to silence: and mostly, it works. It tells me that the speaker doesn’t see me as fully human. There seems no point in continuing the relationship: so I shut my mouth, and move away. Continue reading “The bitch slaps back”

The parable universe

Finding new metaphors for the kingdom for God. (Listen.)

What shall we say the kingdom of God is like? With what shall we compare it? Perhaps this: The kingdom of God is like a Facebook post with zero ‘likes.’ But somebody reads it and it takes root, nobody knows how. Gradually it grows, producing in them prayers and images and conversations and hope: and these seeds are shared abundantly. Some take root in other people, and so the post lives on. Continue reading “The parable universe”

Acts | Cut off from the church? Here’s good news for you (and a challenge to the church)

The baptism of the Ethiopian eunuch points to a faith which is radically accepting and inclusive. (Listen.)

The Ethiopian eunuch is cut off in every way. A precious part of him has been sliced off, and this loss defines him: for we do not even know his name. Instead, we only know that he’s a eunuch. And as a eunuch, he has been cut off from having children, and from establishing a family line.

Continue reading “Acts | Cut off from the church? Here’s good news for you (and a challenge to the church)”

39: Margins #Lent2021

Jesus was crucified outside the city gates… So let’s go outside, where Jesus is, where the action is—not trying to be privileged insiders, but taking our share in the abuse of Jesus. This ‘insider world’ is not our home… Let’s take our place outside with Jesus, no longer pouring out the sacrificial blood of animals but pouring out sacrificial praises from our lips to God in Jesus’ name. (Hebrews 13:12-14, MSG)

Some of my earliest memories are of family and church. As a pastor’s kid, they have always been entwined. I have fond memories of running down aisles, riding a pony as Mary in the nativity play, making clay Bible characters and of trying to sneak an extra cookie at morning tea after the service. Church often felt like a second home. I knew all the hiding spots and I loved all the people. I used to live a block from my church growing up. My brothers and I would often duck past on the way home from school. I distinctly remember running into the church building after school one time when my brother and I were running from kids who wanted to bash us. It was a place of refuge and an enjoyable place for me…

Continue reading “39: Margins #Lent2021”

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