Doctorate in Creative Writing in Public Theology Update

Hello Folks,

I am about halfway through my Doctorate in Creative Writing Doctorate in Ministry in Public Theology. The degree is through Pittsburgh Seminary, and my colleagues have been truly amazing!

The whole deal is I take a lot of classes in a plethora of writing and storytelling things, I learn how to publish, I pick a final project and I publish the project.

I just finished being in Pittsburgh for my 2/4 in person classes and signed up for my publication lab class. I have turned in 3/4 papers for that class which was “Storytelling in a time such as this.” (The last paper is a manifesto on why I write, which may even be fun, I’m hoping to get the bulk of it done next week when 2/3 kiddos are in sleep away “not scary” Bible Camp)

I am still writing prayers and liturgies and contemplating making a subscription model thing for the fall?!? Where some prayers are free, but more content is available to those who subscribe, but we shall see. (I really don’t know if its worth it, etc.)

I am also very, very close to my goal for this year’s tuition. I don’t know if you recall but I’m trying not to take on debt for this 3 and 1/2 year program which means I’m using my continuing ed funds, self funding and fundraising and cutting costs as much as possible to make it happen.

At this point I have $2, 265 of my $2,500 goal, which is really close and great! I’m hoping to close this out so I can stop worrying about this year and move on to next year.

If you are interested in helping me to cross the finish line I appreciate any and all help. Data shows that I get 100ish views a day (which is amazing) so even if you can contribute $5, $10 or $20 I bet we can knock out that just under $300 in no time: More of the details of my journey are also available on my go fund me page as well. https://gofund.me/70a114f9

I appreciate all the support, shares and all those of you who pray with me!

Katy “KatyandtheWord” https://gofund.me/70a114f9

Bad News, A Prayer

AAAAAAHHHHHHHHH

18-20yr Old Gunman, White
Kills 6 Onlookers, And injures 24 more
Independence Day Parade; Highland Park, Chicago suburb, IL

This is not News to You God.

10 Year old Pregnant by Rape,
Just over 6 weeks,
Denied Abortion

This is not News to You God

LGBTQIA reporters being denied access,
to writing articles and opinions, Don’t Say Gay Laws in Effect
Being told their voices are Not Needed

This is not News to You God

God, I fully admit I’m following you,
Not cause its glamorous–
have you seen what people are doing in your name?

I know, I know,

This is not News to You God

But I have nowhere else to go.
Your way is not easy, but it is Just and inclusive;
Because I know you know God, we don’t know what we are doing

This is not News to You God.

So I am not going to turn off the News (much)
But I am going to follow you,
Your promises are more solid than anything human
And…I have nowhere else to go;

This is Not News to You God.

So I’ll Scream and Sigh to You God,

And remind myself, that You Know, and You Know us,

This is Not News to You God.

And take comfort in that fact. As we strive to do better
to make things better.
Amen.

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

With thanks to Rev. Tawnya Denise Anderson about her thought provoking fb post about how the disciples stuck with Jesus because they had nowhere else to go, i.e. it wasn’t always exciting to follow Jesus, but it was the best option they had, and sometimes that’s what following God means

4th of July

God,
Here we are again,
Celebrating “Freedom” or whatever

But Black Lives still don’t matter
LGBTQIA rights are worse
Women subjugated
Children hunger and forgotten
Hate crimes up and rising

And I just Can’t,
Free to do what?
What are we celebrating?
I hate how Americans have turned
Freedom into an equivalency for Selfishness

And we all know that this has been a problem
For a while.
But I had some hope in the days of Black Lives Matter
and when Covid efforts were new
That we might actually learn some things.

But we are still a country
That throws more money at war and police
Then schools and social efforts and equality.

Some countries have Kings
We have Capitalism, Liberty, Christianity and White Supremacy
We all are living with the results of this.

So here’s my prayer:
for human dignity,
the right to belong
the right to eat good food, shelter and be clothed
the right to water, education and clean air
the freedom to be oneself.
The right to pray and to refrain from praying
I hope everyone gets a moment to just be today.

And maybe tomorrow, we will work for each other’s freedom’s
Instead of our own.

Please Jesus, show us the way.
Amen.

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

Supreme Justice? A Prayer

God,

You and I

know that I am uncomfortable

pledging allegiance to a flag–

because that flag’s justice

is not your justice.

Justice that flows like waters

is not promised in the flag

Supreme Justice–where mainly white men

reign like kings of the day;

welp God, I remember

all your warnings about kings,

and that you sent

ahem,

let’s say a different kind of judges

heroes who rebalanced the books

against the powers that be–

God we are the one

who are to empower the judges

against the Supreme Justices

Restoring Personhood, Privacy, Sexuality, Climate, Native Rights

Obliterating our hunger for Death Cults.

God, I do not want liberty and justice for all

because those human ideals cannot come close to

justice flowing down like water,

and righteousness like an everflowing stream

refresh our thirst for that which is good,

remind us to listen to those in the margins,

who still remember what justice tastes like.

Because surely it tastes like communion,

and the Kin(g)dom

and Love;

If only we can remember,

Whet our appetite for justice, I pray.

Amen.

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

Shaky Ground, A Prayer

God,

Maybe I’ll never take in

the shock of a country betraying my trust over and over again

first with 9/11

then the war in Iraq,

then college debt and a recession–

then motherhood unsupported, votes that don’t count,

adulthood mocked as I forced my way into the world hustling all of my hobbies into jobs

Being told that I didn’t care enough to make it in the world, and that’s why

I couldn’t have an emergency found, save for retirement, have security of house, babysitting and daycare for my children, living paycheck to paycheck,

after years of climate change, shaky policies and politics, no family leave, switching to paper straws, buying thrift clothes, and being told every single decision is my responsibility and fault

–the millennials are clearly to blame for it all

And knowing my family is ironically more financially secure now than we ever been and yet

now we are betrayed again,

And the world is on fire with pandemics and justice broken with Jan 6 and the Constitution being brought to its knees with two weeks of stacked “interpretations”

Maybe its ok that I cannot take in that the Supreme Court Justices have betrayed me yet again

That the greater church has no energy anymore

That there is no institution to fall back upon–

There is only faith and friends, and another letter to you God,

to say hey God,

I’m still here.

I still love you,

and I still believe that justice is worth it.

Babies need to be wanted,

Miranda rights are important,

Prayer should be taught by professionals

Guns are stupid, dangerous and don’t have rights

Schooling is more important than what we give it, and segregated schools through religiosity is trash

and I think we humans can do better than what we are doing now–

and I do know that sometimes there is no resurrection without death.

And I’m ok with that.

Help me God. Because trust is broken,

but I’m still here, and so are you.

Help me face today, and tomorrow,

because the path is not clear,

and we need to learn how to work together

with the people who know how to do the work already.

Thanks God.

Amen.

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

Women at the Well Story

Content Warning: Abortion

On June 25th, 2022

The Supreme Court of the USA

Decided things, for women;

Abortion could be made illegal,

by any state that wished it.

***

It was then the stories spilled out

Unstoppered from the soul;

They were told because

someone had to hear them,

We were like Hagar,

naming the truth of the anguish

Telling the tales that some will deny

after we screamed by a the tree

from rage and anguish and lament.

***

The stories, bled out under the tree,

as we hugged one another;

Of illegal abortions at college,

When the friend almost bled out…

and these stories are not as my youngest says

from “Ancient times”–

of the sister whose ectopic pregnancy;

after she finally convinced the dr that she was indeed pregnant,

…that this life saving surgery that was administered mere weeks ago

was as of THIS moment illegal in some states.

Of the horrific and hard late term abortions,

that were tragic and still open wounds.

Of abortions that eased and affirmed lives,

because the individual had no means

to care for a a child at that moment.

Of friends and sisters and trans individuals who died

from lack of proper care.

***

We named how racism will kill so many women now.

Of the horrors of foster care and adoption,

and how that is a different conversation

to convolute with abortion.

Because White Supremacists want to control the wombs of all women, of all childbearing people though they deny they exist.

The grandmothers of our community, recalled the fight as it happened before.

Of moms who wanted to work, but were stuck with children instead.

Of no credit cards, no freedom, no divorce, no control.

***

We raged and we mourned and

like a miracle, we found ourselves by the well—women and childbearing people of all genders

and we were telling stories to you Jesus–

Not our husbands, because we said,

“Today Jesus, I have no husband”

and we said, we have no husband–

and Jesus you answered and said, that’s right.

You are your own self, dignified, in your own right.

Defined not by your husband, or your children,

with rights over your God-created, God-imagined, Godly and beautiful body.

Go and be blessed.

And so we will go, full of pain

And hope

and stories.

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

Abortion, A prayer

When the red blood stops

And your heart catches in my throat God,

because you know its not the Son of God

In my Womb,

and its not a permissible time.

Be with me–

The Woman who

Makes the Life Giving Choice

Not to be a Mother

At Such a Time as this.

Organize us in all the ways needed

To support that choice

So my blood may flow again

Because you know Jesus–

That I am fertile is in other ways

and called to other things.

And you affirm that authenticity

and bless that.

Amen.

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

Brim Full, A Prayer

God,

I have cried

every

single

day

this week.

Overcome with the emotionality that it takes to exist and breathe and be.

Because, did you know God that we humans frown on sitting still and being emotional.

It’s pretty embarrassing when we are this way.

But I am here.

Crying for love.

Crying out of hope.

Crying for the stories

Crying in lament.

Crying because I’m breathing.

Because every timeI am still

I am keenly aware that I am human

oh yeah, and that you are still God

It makes me wonder? Is this what it means to be fully human Jesus?

I want to know?

Sit with me while I figure it out?

Amen.

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

This Here Flesh Notes Week 9 Justice and Liberation

Ch 10 Justice

“Justice is different from violence and retributions; it requires complex accounting” p. 122

“Justice doesn’t choose choses dignity is superior. It upholds the dignity of all those involved, no matter whom it offers or what it costs.—there is no liberation without justice.” p. 123

“The freedom of God’s people did not occur in a vacuum. There were consequences. There was truth-telling. And there was a disturbingly costly justice.” p. 124

“Activism is the body of justice” p. 125

Habakkuk” In weariness and frustration, demanded God do something..the Christian story is the tensions between the promise of justice and liberation and the unjust and oppressive patterns in our daily lived experiences. “ p. 128-129

“Assata Shakur ‘Nobody in the world, nobody in history, has ever gotten their freedom by appealing to the moral sense of the people who were oppressing them’…They are parched and delirious, their memory of themselves tainted. Their only hope is the hear the voices of the marginalized hiding them back to the water—a mercy they will not immediately understand. It is not until they drink from the streams that the prophet Amos calls on to roll down like justice and righteousness that their withering sons regenerate, and they recognize that all this time, the problem was not that they were thirsty; it was that they were were cursed.” p. 129

Land and Justice are the same p. 132, 133 bc we all live here 

Ch. 15 Liberation: Summation You deserve more than the despair that stalks your days. You don’t have to make a sound; just let the peace pass through your belly and be what you need it to be. p. 169

No notes, plan to reread

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Shannon A Thompson

Author. Speaker. Librarian.

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