Well, I’m about a year late getting to this blog post from Kimberly Knight but I figure its advice serves just as well in 2014 as it did in 2013…
Happy New Year and praise be for do-overs!
So I had this epiphany today (convenient I know). If I hope for more LGBT allies (especially of the prayin’ sort) it occurred to me that I ought to share a few suggestions for how to become an ally.
If you are a seasoned ally or just taking your first steps, I hope you will share your thoughts, struggles and celebrations from your own journey to becoming an ally. If you are a gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender person I hope you will share your own suggestions for how folks can be allies.
I hope these will help you on your journey.
1. Sit – You may not realize it or you may be in blissful denial but you likely know someone who is LGBT. LGBT folks are not just characters in gleeful musicals or sit coms about modern families – we are your sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, pastors, teachers, students, doctors, nurses, librarians and law makers – in other words we are your family and your Neighbor. Sit down for a while and think about the people in your life, what they add to your life and how you are called to be their friend and ally in a world that (more frequently than you may realize) relegates them to second class citizens, or worse, tells them again and again that they are worthless freaks to be fixed, shunned or even killed. Sit with this knowledge and know you can make a difference, you can even save lives.
2. Pray – Pray for courage to be vulnerable and the humility to be changed. Pray for eyes that can see, ears that can hear, a heart that can discern…
Gracious and loving God,
who was made known to us in the body of a babe,
born into poverty and despised by the state -
Our parent and brother
recognize the stranger as our kin.
listen attentively to our lives.
discern the murmuring of grace
planted by you in our hearts.
hear the the deep pain and soaring joy of others.
see our interdependence with others
to be your hands and feet in the world.
3. Invite -
Invite the Holy Spirit into your heart to do a new thing.
Invite new ideas to your table.
Invite a gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender friend to lunch, dinner, out for drinks, or for a rousing round of mini-golf and ask them about themselves.
Invite yourself to be fully present.
Invite your neighbor into your heart.
Maybe it’s because I tend to like end of year “Best of” lists, or maybe it’s because of the top 10 book thing going around Facebook. I really don’t know. Whatever the case, I came up with a list of my top 2o books on the art of preaching. They are close to being in a particular order, but it’s hard to say which one I like the absolute best…
1. Preaching as Testimony, Anna Carter Florence
2. They Like to Never Quit Praisin’ God: The Role of Celebration in Preaching, Frank Thomas
3. Sharing the Word: Preaching in the Roundtable Church, Lucy Atkinson Rose
4. Other-wise Preaching: A Postmodern Ethic for Homiletics, John McClure
5. Homiletic: Moves and Structures, David Buttrick
6. Too Good to Be True, Christopher Rodkey
7. Preaching, Fred Craddock
8. Preaching From Memory to Hope, Thomas Long
9. Preaching in an Age of Globalization, Eunjoo Mary Kim
10. Prophetic Preaching: A Pastoral Approach, Leonora Tubbs Tisdale
11. Conversations with Barth on Preaching, William Willimon
12. The Word Militant: Preaching a Decentering Word, Walter Brueggemann
13. The Preaching Life, Barbara Brown Taylor
14. Confessing Jesus Christ: Preaching in a Postmodern World, David Lose
15. Marking Time: Preaching Biblical Stories in Present Tense, Barbara Lundblad
I just realized my list doesn’t include Telling the Truth: The Gospel as Tragedy, Comedy, and Fairy Tale, by Frederick Buechner, so I need to add it somewhere. Doug Pagitt’s Preaching in the Inventive Age also comes to mind, as well as Richard Lischer’s The End of Words. Plus, of course, the collected sermons of William Sloane Coffin, who is one of my heroes. The Renewed Homiletic, edited by Wesley Allen, is also worth checking out — as are so many others, but I have to draw the line somewhere and 20 seems like a nice round number. :-)
I’m really looking forward to launching the following series at Brentwood Christian Church:
A few questions we’ll consider: Does one have to believe in God in order to be an ethical person? If not, how do we determine ethical norms? If the Bible sometimes reflects the prejudices of its day, how is it authoritative in helping us determine right from wrong? Should the Bible be disregarded in our pursuit of ethical truth? How do we determine right from wrong in a world with competing viewpoints?
Registration: $45 (all proceeds directly support The Center for Diversity and Reconciliation)
Registration deadline: January 13
Sessions begin: January 15
This course is part of the Academy for Faith and Life at Brentwood Christian Church, which provides an opportunity for participants from both the congregation and the wider community to engage theological and ethical topics in an in-depth manner not usually found in conventional church study groups. The Academy for Faith and Life explores topics related to religion and culture that is similar to what might be found at the university (and at times even the seminary) level and at the same time provides tools for cultivating individual and societal transformation, all based on an approach to Christianity that values both the mind and the heart.
Two courses are generally offered each year (concurrent with fall and spring semesters) and meet on Wednesday evenings for 8-10 weeks. Each is taught by Rev. Snider unless otherwise announced. Participants are expected to read three to four books per course. All registration fees directly support the Center for Diversity and Reconciliation, an organization dedicated to promoting, advocating, and working toward economic dignity, race equity, social justice, and equal rights for all people in the greater Springfield area. A limited number of scholarships (based on financial need) are available.
When people ask me questions about Christianity, they usually want to know more about one or more of the following three items: (1) progressive Christianity, (2) postmodern religion, and (3) open and affirming Christian resources for LGBTQ friends and allies. With that in mind, I went ahead and created a list of resources that I find myself referring people to time and again. While there are many other good resources out there, this is a good place to start, and it represents the books/videos/sermons etc. that I refer people to the most. And of course feel free to buy my books too! ;-)
1. Resources for LGBTQ friends and allies:
Torn: Rescuing the Bible from the Gays vs. Christians Debate, by Justin Lee
Homosexuality and Christian Faith: Questions of Conscience for the Churches, ed. by Walter Wink
What the Bible Really Says about Homosexuality, by Daniel Helminiak
“What the Bible Says–And Doesn’t Say–About Homosexuality” (Soulforce PDF)
Sermons and/or videos
2. Books for those wanting to learn more about postmodern approaches to Christianity:
What Would Jesus Deconstruct?, by John Caputo
Insurrection, by Peter Rollins
3. Books for those wanting to learn more about progressive approaches to Christianity:
The Heart of Christianity, by Marcus Borg
From Adam Kotsko…
Originally posted on An und für sich:
The Girlfriend and I continue to obey some obscure drive to watch all of Star Trek, and currently we’re in the sixth season of Voyager. One of the most controversial characters in that series was Seven of Nine, a liberated Borg drone who was added to the cast in the fourth season and dominated the storyline for most of the fourth and fifth seasons. (Shorter version: some people think it’s a shame she displaced established characters and believe that her physical appearance was an attempt to pander to the adolescent audience; on the other hand, though, she’s a great character performed by a great actress and, my God, it’s a Borg crew member and the Borg are cool.) I’ve noticed that I have a seemingly disproportionate investment in this ancient controversy — I will defend Seven of Nine to the death as a major improvement to the show. I’m starting to realize that part of the reason is that I identify closely with her struggle to define herself in relation to her Borg past and her uncertain future. She was assimilated at such a young age that she hadn’t yet developed an identity of her own and will never not be Borg (the implants are required for her survival now, and she still retains the vast knowledge she gained as a member of the Borg Collective), but she can also never go back.
The revelation came when the Voyager crew met a trader who offered to sell Seven some components that belonged to her old Borg unit — I turned to The Girlfriend and said, “If it was me, they’d be offering DC Talk albums from my old youth group.”