Tender Christmas

God,
I’m praying
a tender prayer
for Christmas

For all those for whom
they have a tender and surrendered faith
because of all they have gone through.

Because you cannot surrender
until you’ve been through a battle
and so for all those who have felt like
Advent
Christmas
or just Living
has been a battle this year
I want to pray the prayer of thanksgiving

that you are still here
you are beloved
and God is with you–

And I hope you have found yourself in the Christmas story
whether it is in
Mary, not so meek,
Joseph conflicted but quietly obedient
Magi, shepherd, even if it is the donkey, the innkeeper or the star

I hope and pray that you find a corner to belong in
Because this is your story too

But if you do not, know, that’s ok
Maybe the space for you is in the silence
or the darkness of the night
or the wavering light of the candle

God I hope you know that
God is here
God is with you
God loves you
no matter what

And that is what makes Christmas
Especially when you feel tender
and like you have to give up
May God hold you in the Palm of God’s hand
Whenever and wherever that happens

Amen.

Feel free to use/share/adapt with credit to Pastor Katy Stenta and if you quote the tweet be sure to credit Traci Rhoades and Rev. Jes Last

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Full Advent Resources

With thanks to Jes Last and Traci Rhoades for their inspirational conversation

Traci Rhoades: I met with a mentor of mine yesterday. He said my faith was in a better spot, more tender and surrendered than ever before. Ya'll, tender and surrendered are not easily gained. They come out of hard seasons if we let them. 
Reverend Jes Kast: Oh I understand and resonate with this, tender and surrendered are not easily gained indeed purple heart.

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?

LGBTQIA, After Colorado Springs

Sacred Space

Rainbow Tears

MicroViolence

Erasure

Dancing

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

MicroViolence


It’s never just
Books
Bathrooms
Pronouns

It’s not just
Marriage
Jobs
Names

It’s not just
Dancing
Sports
Scouts
“Belief”
or “policy”

It is
Mental health
Personhood
Belovedness
Anti-Violence

It is
Breathing
Existing

Always

Every Word
For or Against
Counts

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

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

Dancing

For the Dancers

They didn’t want to Just dance
They wanted Sacred Space

Without hate
Or guns

We Pray
Fight
And Vote

Angered
We Demand Justice
& Remember

Bad Theology Kills
Bad Policy Kills

Affirmative Pronouns Saves
Sacred Spaces Saves
Giving Space Saves

Go
Be A Lifegiver

Erasure

Erasure

You can’t erase Queer
It doesn’t matter
How hard You try
With bullying
Hate
Guns
Bonfires
And bookbans

Shaming cultures
And evil gods
Can’t make People “Don’t say gay”

Evidence of “Roommates”
Hermaphrodites
Two Spirits (don’t appropriate)
Third genders
And Trans*
People
Go back
to the beginning
Of time

And Don’t
Get me started
On the Bible
With the Poly Trinity
David & Jonathan
Joseph’s Rainbow/Lady’s Coat
God’s pronouns
Revealed in flames
Ruth and Naomi
Song of Songs
The Eunuch
The Bible is Queer

You can’t erase
LGBTQIA
It Only
Gets clarified
As time Goes on
So YES
You have
To learn
New terms
#NotSorry

Yes we will
Have

#TransDayOfRemembrance

No we will
Not shut up
Personhood
Is on the line

You can’t erase
People

It hasn’t worked
Yet
And it never
Will

I promise you
I will keep
Remembering
And Naming
And Believing
And Listening

And History shows me
I am not alone
QUEER are Beautifully
And Fiercely made
In the image
Of God

No one will
Ever erase
That

Feel free to share/adapt/use with credit to 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

Coming Out Day Or the Bible is Queer, A Prayer

Image: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/e/ed/Logo_ncod_lg.png

God I remember–when you came out of the closet–
Flaming!

And Moses, said, What are your Pronouns?
And God says, I am what I am

And Moses says,
Cool, I gotch-you, You’re the God of Pronouns!

And, God says, Good, because I have a feeling,
This will get more complicated!

And then People were doing Violence to one another
So God turned the World On and then Off again

And sent the animals two by two Upon a boat
And hung up God’s weapon, a Bow (that’s an old school gun)

And said, I’m hanging up my weapon, so you will hang up yours
As a sign that Love is Love is Love is Love

And Noah said Cool
And God said, Cool, Because I have a Feeling this might get misconstrued someday

God I remember when Joseph
Draped Himself in a Lady’s Coat

And his bros made fun of him
And tried to feed him to the Lions

And God said, Nope, I claim the Queer One
And then we “retranslated” it as a Rainbow coat, so no one will understand him as Queer

(And you laughed again God, didn’t you? You mysterious and all knowing I Am)

And then Joseph said what you meant for Evil, God meant for Good
No one can take away my God, And God said mmm-mmmmm

And I remember Isaiah, where the prophet saw God,
And clearly identified God as multiples, and referred to God as them

And scholars thought up a new word Trinity–
And we ignored the singular/multiple thing–and God waited for it to dawn upon us.

And then there was when Ruth declared her love and devotion for Naomi
And said where you go I will go, your people will be my people, your God will be my God

And God laughed and said, this will be the foundation text for weddings
This found-family declaration between too women, shh! Don’t tell the Conservatives.

And then came Jesus who instructed us, “Care for the Least of these”
and “Let no one revile you in my name” and “Welcome the Stranger”

And we nodded along like we knew what he meant
and then we disciples whispered among ourselves about exceptions

And God, God you knew
You knew. You knew before we knew

You know, the Bible is so Queer;
It would not even be the Bible, if it did not include rainbows and flames

It would not be Holy without found families
and radical, unconventional love

God only knows, that it is not us who gets to say who belongs to God;
it is but our job to practice welcome and hospitality

Someday, perhaps
we will get the laughter of angels right

And so Coming Out Day Blessings to those who can celebrate
And safe spaces and sanctuary to those who can’t

May those who are Lesbian, Gay, Trans, Ace, Bisexual, Nonbinary, Queer, Androgynous, Demi, Intersex, Questioning, Omnigender, Poly, Pan, and of Two Spirit find the space to be their full self.

And may they scream or yell or ignore or bless God as wish–
Because,

Because
You are God, and you care to endure all those things when your children have suffered so

May we create a world where Coming Out day
that is a true celebration and choice


May all people be celebrated in their fullness we pray–not because of the Bible,
but just Because, We pray this together!

Amen.

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