Menstruation, miscarriage, and the multitude robed in white

Bleeding bodies and suffering selves are all gathered up in Christ. (Listen.)

Like me, my mother was an ordained Baptist minister; but unlike me, she had endometriosis. Among other things, this meant that her menstrual periods were excruciatingly painful, and came upon her without warning, in great floods. And so my childhood is studded with high stress memories of her period suddenly starting while we were out. There’d be an intake of breath, then a quick hissed exchange between my parents, then a frantic search for a public toilet before disaster struck. Continue reading “Menstruation, miscarriage, and the multitude robed in white”

A gay person cannot possibly share their story in church … can they?

The gospel begins with the call to change our hearts. Here, a member of our congregation writes powerfully on the changes happening in her own heart, as her ideas about God are turned upside down and she discovers that there is good news for her, after all.

Up until a year ago I had gone to church almost every Sunday since I was 11 years old. In that time, I had grown to love God and I had also grown to really doubt Him and in being honest there have been many times where I have been really angry at Him too. In the 21 years I had been going to church I was constantly at war within myself. I loved God, I loved the church I attended, and I loved the family created within that church. Continue reading “A gay person cannot possibly share their story in church … can they?”

#37: Smoking ceremony

An account of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham … Read it here. (Matthew 1:1-18). Note that Ahaz was a horror, as were several others in the list. Rahab was a prostitute. Ruth was not Hebrew, but Moabite: an enemy. Bathsheba was Uriah the Hittite’s wife, but King David slept with her, then arranged to have Uriah murdered to cover up Bathsheba’s illegitimate pregnancy. And so on: this is a dodgy bunch of ancestors. Continue reading “#37: Smoking ceremony”

The gift of brokenness

I don’t know if it’s the season: perhaps it’s what happens after months of grey lowering skies. But so many of us are struggling right now: struggling with marriage, struggling with depression, struggling with our children, struggling at work. The temptation is to gloss over all these struggles and pretend things are okay; or to back away from church and each other and hide our mess. But the struggle continues: only now we’re struggling alone. Continue reading “The gift of brokenness”

Pell-mell to the cross

It is Lent, and one of the most powerful men in the Catholic church has just been sentenced to jail for the sexual assault of two altar boys. It reminds me of a terrible story by the Jewish writer Elie Wiesel, which is based on his experiences in Nazi concentration camps. Three people were sentenced to hanging for sabotage, among them a young boy. The two men died quickly, but the boy, too light, writhed and swung between life and death for over half an hour. Continue reading “Pell-mell to the cross”

Rethinking Forgiveness

Listen here.

A year or two ago, someone outside the church contacted me. They had come across one of my sermons, and they wanted to talk. We met, and I asked what was bothering them. “We-ell,” they said, “It’s as if you’re saying that God loves us even before we have repented.” “That’s exactly what I’m saying,” I said. “I can’t accept that,” they replied, “That’s definitely not right.” Continue reading “Rethinking Forgiveness”

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