Rejecting Evil: a clarification, Membership Questions

The Membership Questions: If I Wrote them
Expanded:
Do you reject Evil
Of Guns
Of White Supremacy
Of the False Gospel of Hate
Of the Nationalism
Of trying to Control Your Child’s Life
Do you reject the idolatry of Power, Greed, Imperialism, Capitalism and Control?

Do you surrender to the Loving and Searing Truth of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, who opens your heart in such away that you continually examine your life and ask–am I living in a way that adhere’s to God’s Life Giving Standards?

Do I, to Love my Enemies, Are the Imprisoned? Give Food to those in Near, Somehow free myself To Not Judge those different than you and to Welcome those who are different in Gender, Race, Sexuality, Age and Ability to my House, Home, Table and Life?

Do I affirm the Apostles Creed, as far as I understand it, knowing that it is a lifelong mystery. Do I affirm what I know and commit to continual study of the Apostles Creed and God?

Rainbow Tears

God is crying
Rainbow Tears

God who hung
Their Rainbow

Weapon
In the Sky

Before Jesus
Tread the Earth

God who Dances
With Abandon

God
who Protects

Joseph Lady’s/Rainbow Cloak
Ruth’s Found Family

Jesus of Two Dads
Baptizing the Egyptian Eunuch

God’s weeping
rainbow tears

Feel free to use/adapt/share with credit to Pastor Katy Stenta

Charlottesville, A Prayer

Here’s a prayer for Charlottesville
Where the gunshots echo across
a million schools in the United States

A Prayer for Charlottesville
For the Black People
who tiptoe lightly across the land


While White Boys bluster loudly
with their guns and tiki torches, because they know who has rights
and who doesn’t, as they high five the police along the way

Here’s a prayer for Charlottesville
Where Heather Heyer was brutally run over
with a car filled with malice and fossil fuel

And now
Where football players, mere children, Black, Young and Gift
Have their lives too lost

Because America cannot
will not
in its obsession with power, colonialism and capitalism
is sinfully unable disarm itself

We are a death cult

Here’s a prayer for our children
brutalized by “Shooter drills”

I remember when I had thought that Columbine was a
historical rarity–Back in the day when I was in high school

I turn forty this year

I remember 9/11 when we cried no more
And gave blood and ate together

And then prayed to God and immediately brutalized
our black and brown neighbors
And bought bombs and guns

Here’s a prayer for America
obsessed with “Safety”
instead of loving our neighbors

Is love safe?

Here’s a prayer for love
Beautiful and fierce
May it renew us in ways we do not expect

Away from cars
and guns
and violence

May we let people rage
and cry
and lament
as needed


And then may we turn our words
Into actions
And to do what needs to get done

We Pray

Amen.

Feel free to use/share/adapt with credit to Pastor Katy Stenta

Promises & Prayers

Someday

I hope

We will raise prayers

No longer wet

With the sacrificial blood

Of children killed by guns

And violence

And hunger

And neglect

And hate.

Some day

We will care

More for health

Than test scores

More for housing

Than lawns

More for queer families

Than breaking hearts

More for disabled people

Than helping porn and “self-advocacy”

More for people of color

Than trumped up blame, hushed up histories, and subjugation.

Some day God,

The kin(g)dom

Will sneak up

On us

Like a cool breeze

On a hot day.

Like dew

On the lawn

Like a rainbow

Coming into focus

And we will all be Beloved neighbors there!

I’m standing in you

And your promise Jesus.

Because at the end

Of the day

Isn’t that what prayer is?

So I’m standing here

Breathing another one

Another prayer

For your collection

Put it on your heart please.

Amen.

Feel Free to use/adapt/share with credit to Pastor Katy Stenta

Messy Hope, a Prayer

God

I wonder if everything

In heaven will be well loved

Like a comfortable sweater

And a couch that hugs your butt just the wife way.

Holy Spirit you know how I am longing for comfort.

For the things of childhood that were so soothing:

Playing in the grass, coloring so hard you could smell the crayons, saying hi ready to make friends with the world.

Sometimes when people long for the good old days. I think they are wishing for their inner child

—even if they don’t remember who that was.

Ans yet Jesus, you know

And say that a child shall lead us.

God you know that nothing is gently used in my house—my kids are busting with energy and ready to fully embrace everything life has to offer.

Couches are to jump on.

Juice boxes spilling out with sweet goodness.

Mud and dirt brimming with life.

God, in this time of turmoil, help me to taste heaven.

Because surely this chaos is what Pentecost was like!

Come Holy Spirit! Fill us with some messy hope today we pray.

Amen.

Feel free to use/adapt/share with credit to Pastor Katy Stent

Truth: A Prayer

Guns don’t spell peace

Just like White Supremacy can’t define Jesus

And Transphobia doesn’t protect families–but breaks them

And making abortion illegal, never, ever prevents abortions

God,

How can we humans be so confused

as to take the truth and completely

misconstrue it

so that somehow we make Christianity about power

and Church about politics?

Sometimes I think about this and I think,

only us humans are silly enough to mess up

messages as simple and easy as:

Love and serve one another

or the last shall be first.

Yet here we are God,

Tangling Truths around our Tongues,

Tricking ourselves, with comforting lies.

Ignoring the whisper of the Holy Spirit that says:

Fear Not.

Nothing can separate you from the Love of God

You can never be replaced.*

I hope you have some truth for us today, God.

Some clear, cool and collected truth,

gathered into the waters of baptism–

spilling into our hearts and souls.

Because we need your truth.

Help us to tell ourselves the truth

I pray.

We pray.

Amen. Feel Free to share/adapt/use with credit to Pastor Katy Stenta

*replacement theory is a dangerous white supremacist theory that white Americans are being replaced usually by Jewish and Black People and it promotes violence and terrorism against said “replacement” races and religions. It is dehumanizing, bigoted, wrong and as stated a terrorist training ground. https://www.nytimes.com/2022/05/15/us/replacement-theory-shooting-tucker-carlson.html

Broken, A Prayer

Dear God

I know

Every time a denomination

Breaks over justice issues:

Like slavery, racism,

women in ministry, abortion rights,

And the personhood of LGBTQIA siblings

That you are crying big tears—

Tears that say

“Jerusalem O Jerusalem

I long to snuggle you under my wings—

Unified and beloved—

And peck to death any who threaten you”

Just kidding Jesus I added that last part,

Based on what mother hens actually do.

But I also think God,

As violent words, weapons, wars and rhetoric

Batters our souls—because after all bad theology kills

You crucified Christ know that better than anyone.

—I think about how you took bread

Among your beloved

You took bread

Blessed it

Broke it

And said “This is my Body Broken—

Broken for you”

Jesus, today your Body feels broken;

Again.

Bless it we pray

Bless this Broken Bread

Bless our crumbs

Teach us Belovedness

And

How to be a resurrection people

In the midst of brokenness

Scarred and real

So we can say together

We are Christ’s Body

Teach us this

we pray.

Amen.

Feel free to use/adapt/share with credit to Pastor Katy Stenta

Affirming Prayer

I want to pray for you and affirm

As the ashes have just been smudged

On your forehead

And we feel a little fragile these days

With war, and pandemic and climate change

And racism

And transphobia and homophobia

And all the Ableism

And all the hate—

So much hate that it’s bitter on our tongues

And it polluted the air we breathe

And we can feel it—

trying to X us out of existence

Because hate hurts all of us;

Even as it tricks the hater into feeling powerful.

But anyway I’m praying that you..

Yes you, know that you

Are created in the image of God

Exactly as you are.

With all of your so called flaw

And imperfections

And differences,

Remember that our God is

Manifold, and that they

Love multiplicity and variety

And invented rainbows

And galaxies

And microbes we can’t even see—

So trust me, and be affirmed

Even in, especially in your fragility

That you are known, created and beloved

By God, exactly as your are

And take their blessings I’m your heart I pray.

Amen.

Feel free to use/share/adapt with credit to Pastor Katy Stenta

The Lion, the Witch & The Wardrobe: Susan’s Story

Susan looked at her hands, because she couldn’t talk about her siblings while seeing anyone’s face “Well you know you have to stop playing games all the time. Sometimes I wonder…but if there was such a person, then why did we survive the war just to die. Fairy Stories do not do you much good when you are sad.” She then did look up and then rested her head gently on her husband Matthew’s shoulder.

Matthew, wisely didn’t say anything, for the moment.

Meanwhile, Bobbi hugged her knees in tight to her chest under the bed, thinking fiercely about what her mother said. She thought of what it might be like to have a passel of aunts and uncles…and for the first time it occurred to her that she was also missing cousins to visit.

The wind seemed to howl through the empty house. 

Matthew hugged Susan and said, “You must be missing them a lot today.”

Susan’s voice sounded like a frog’s, “It’s this old house in the rain, it rained nonstop that summer, you know. And…Rain makes me think of bombs though heaven knows…well everyone knows we were well away from all of that”

“I know.” Matthew said, simply.

Bobbie knew then that her mother needed a hug, so she uncurled, and scooted from under the bed and slid on the bed quietly snuggling into her mother’s arms.

“it’s ok, Mama, I’m sure your brothers and sister knew that you loved them very much, and that’s all that mattered”

Strangely this made the tears seem to come down Susan’s face faster.

“How could they not know mom? After all, you tell me all the time how it was that summer, that you had each other and your stories, and the dear old professor that somehow that was enough.”

Susan gave a little hiccup sigh, and seemed to catch her breath.

Bobbie glanced a the rain outside, which was really coming down in sheets, “And I guess if on rainy days the stories aren’t enough, that makes sense too.” 

Susan then collected herself, and said, “I guess these days I’m just trying to be realistic honey.”

Bobbie thought hard about this.

Matthew squeezed Bobbie’s hand, and Bobbie felt the knot that she didn’t know was in her chest loosen. 

“I don’t see why you can’t be realistic and still not know that tea with a faun is still important. I know you told me the story isn’t probably true Mama, but….”


Bobbie’s voice changed to a whisper…”Sometimes I pretend it is, and sometimes I pretend it’s me and Mr. Tumnus and my doll is Aunt Lucy, and somehow I feel like Aslan loves me anyway, and I don’t feel near as so lonesome anymore.” Bobbie bravely tried to say all of this without looking at the empty cradle where baby Thomas had once slept. 

Susan then did the best thing ever, and she looked right at Thomas’s cradle, then at Matthew, and then at Bobbie, and swept everyone in a big hug. 

“That’s ok darling, sometimes I still pretend its all true too. And sometimes it helps me when I’m lonesome. Sometimes I think we can pretend without believing. I think it’s  funny how that works.”

And they all sat on the bed and thought about it.