Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Saving what you love

Mark 10: 46-52
New Ark United Church of Christ, Newark, DE
October 28, 2018 – Reformation Sunday







            Pastor and activist, John Pavlovitz, created a meme—an idea that spreads from person to person—and it’s been making the rounds on social media. 







            Another meme by actor and comedian John Fugelsang reads:








One of my Facebook friends followed both of these posts and commented with this:



“Those words must mean different things to us, because when I see them I don't even think of the President or even the Government at all; I think about what I can do in my life. Apparently because I don't agree with your politics, I can't have the Love of Jesus in my heart. Some ‘inclusiveness’.” The latter part of my response to that was: “My faith and my politics are not exclusive [of one another]. The love of Jesus in my heart compels me to love you even when I disagree with you but it does not compel me to tolerate intolerance.”



This church prides itself on being inclusive. We use inclusive language. We strive to live by the words “No matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here.” We don’t always get it right; sometimes we make mistakes, fall flat on our faces, and people’s feelings get hurt. We’re still learning how to forgive ourselves and others, how to ask for forgiveness from those we’ve hurt; every Sunday and other times we pray the words “Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us”. The Church is a hospital for sinners.



We say we’re not excluding like other churches. We’re an Open and Affirming congregation of the United Church of Christ. This is our Open and Affirming statement, which can be found on our website:




“In Paul's letter to the Romans, he writes, ‘Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.’ (Romans 15:7) To exclude persons from the church and society because of sexual orientation or on any other basis withers away the Body of Christ. When one part of the body suffers, all others suffer with it (I Corinthians 12:26).
Instead, we vow to do all within our power to promote justice and healing through our commitment to being an Open and Affirming Congregation. As people of faith and followers of the Word, therefore, we invite all God's children to the table of God's abundant blessing. We welcome into our community persons of every gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, ability, age, race, nationality, economic and social status, faith background, religious training, marital standing, and family structure. We welcome any person who joins us through the same affirmations of faith and encourage them to share in the life, leadership, ministry, fellowship, worship, sacraments, responsibilities, blessings, and joys of our church family. In return, we offer our love and support, no matter where you are in your faith and life journey.”




And yet this is also the line we have drawn, the boundary between us and those who believe and behave differently than this. To this degree we are exclusive rather than inclusive. And make no mistake; this statement will almost always leave us in direct opposition to the current president and those who support his policies as well as those who remain silent in the face of his reprehensible and irresponsible rhetoric.




Not one of Jesus’ disciples spoke up when many others sternly ordered a blind man named Bartimaeus to be quiet as he cried out to Jesus for mercy. Since no one would help him but rather keep him marginalized and invisible, Bartimaeus cried out even louder: “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Ironic that a blind man is crying in out, in effect, “See me!”


In his cries, we hear the cries those who have lost someone to gun violence and hate crimes, the Me Too movement, Black Lives Matter, our trans children, friends and neighbors who will not be erased, residents in Flint, MI who still cannot trust that their water is safe to drink, the thousands approaching our southern border seeking asylum and safety, the still more thousands of immigrant children and teens in camps, the older ones in jail across this country, anyone who has had to beg in order to be safe in public space, anyone who has been dismissed and forgotten, like the white working class.




When Jesus hears him, takes notice of him, it is then that the crowd opens the way for Bartimaeus. He throws off his cloak, the means by which he collects the coins given him so he can live, and goes to Jesus. Jesus doesn’t assume anything about him—what he needs, what he wants. Instead he asks, “What do you want me to do for you?” “How do you need to be saved?” “How do you need to be loved today?” Bartimaeus says, “Let me see again. I want to see.” It is Bartimaeus’ faith that heals him, that saves him. And Bartimaeus joins Jesus right as he is about to enter Jerusalem for the last time.




When we draw the line, because we want to protect the vulnerable and marginalized and stand for their right to exist safely in public space, we can find ourselves fighting what we hate rather than saving what we love. It’s an important distinction. We hate racism; we refuse to listen to anyone who’s racist. We hate violent, inflammatory rhetoric; we refuse to listen to anyone who spouts vitriol. We cannot tolerate intolerance and yet we live in a system in which we benefit from racism, white privilege and class privilege. How often have we been ready to do violence in our own hearts or wished someone dead?




On Friday as I listened to a Hidden Brain podcast, I heard Joan Williams, a professor at the University of California Hastings College of the Law say, “If people can’t access their hope, they live by their fear.” This cannot be us. This cannot be those of us who dream of inclusion, safety, acceptance, justice, a world where everyone has enough to live. Things definitely look bleak. There is much to fear. Jesus is entering Jerusalem for the last time. But it is fear that fuels hate, rage, and violence. And this cannot be us.




We cannot be silent. We cannot allow our right to vote to be wasted. It is time to choose and to be resolute. But to quote the most recent Star Wars film, we win not by fighting what we hate but by saving what we love. Jesus didn’t wield a weapon but instead went to his death to save those he loved. For us that means we are to love those we would call enemy and pray for them as much as we love those who need our protection, our wholehearted love, who need our ability to listen as much as our voice, those who need us to use the power of our privilege on their behalf.



I’ve told this story before but then in the Church we always repeat the good ones of hope and power and love.


“During the deepest, darkest days of apartheid when the government tried to shut down opposition by canceling a political rally, Archbishop Desmond Tutu declared that he would hold a church service instead.


“St. George’s Cathedral in Cape Town, South Africa was filled with worshippers. Outside the cathedral hundreds of police gathered, a show of force intended to intimidate. As Tutu was preaching they entered the Cathedral, armed, and lined the walls. They took out notebooks and recorded Tutu’s words.


“But Tutu would not be intimidated. He preached against the evils of apartheid, declaring it could not endure. At one extraordinary point he addressed the police directly.


“You are powerful. You are very powerful, but you are not gods and I serve a God who cannot be mocked. So, since you’ve already lost, since you’ve already lost, I invite you today to come and join the winning side!


“With that the congregation erupted in dance and song. The police didn’t know what to do. Their attempts at intimidation had failed, overcome by the archbishop’s confidence that God and goodness would triumph over evil. It was but a matter of time.” (Jim Wallis, God’s Politics)



It’s time to save what we love.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Getting to the bottom of things

Job 38: 1-7, 34-41 
New Ark United Church of Christ, Newark, DE
October 21, 2018 





Is there something over which you are powerless, that makes your life difficult or unmanageable?



Is there something over which you are powerless, that is making life difficult or unmanageable for someone you love?



Is there something over which you are powerless, that makes you anxious, worried, scared, angry, raging, vengeful, sad, despairing, hopeless, depressed, numb, callous, or cynical?



Do you believe in a Power greater than yourself? Do you believe there is a Power, a Goodness greater than that over which you are powerless?



Do you believe this Power, this Goodness can restore you to sanity, that is, a better frame of mind than where you are now? Do you believe that this Power can help you overcome your anxiety, worry, fear, anger, rage, vengeance, sadness, despair, hopelessness, depression, numbness, callousness, cynicism?



Can you imagine turning your will and your life over to the care of this Power as you understand it? Do you believe there is a Power, a Goodness that cares about you and your life?



What if I told you that how you understand this Power, this Goodness greater than yourself is up to you? What if I told you that a group of human beings that you trust and love, who trust and love you, can be that Power, that Goodness greater than yourself?




The story of Job is the story of how we struggle with the powerlessness and unmanageability of human pain and suffering: the questions we ask, our need to fix the problem, to find answers, how hard it is to enter into the pain of others, how hard it is to allow others to enter into our pain. Most of all, the story of Job is about the mystery of God, Power, Goodness, in the midst of suffering.



At one of my lowest points in my life—a year after Sandy Hook, after an asteroid exploded over Russia injuring over 1,000 people, during the second year of looking for you—I wrote a poem about the mystery of God in the midst of suffering. I titled it “Good Friday world”.



Ever feel like
the bogeyman is just
around the corner?
All the time?
God can’t stop it.
You know it,
I know it.
As for Psalm 91,
'no evil shall befall you'
residing in the palm of God's hand:
Forget about your foot
being dashed by
a silly stone.
We whiz through space
while meteors hurl their way
through fragile atmosphere, storied glass,
flesh and dirt.
God lives
to disturb
as much as comfort,
provoke as much as heal.
The incarnation
wasn’t just about
sheep-and-goat morality.
Who do you think was
testing Jesus in the desert
but his rabbi-father-adversary?
Makes a whole lot more sense of
that ‘love your enemies’ thing.
The cross, in all its shame and neglect,
wouldn’t have happened
if God hadn’t walked away
like the rest of us. 

(c) Cynthia E. Robinson, 2013



My heart was breaking when I wrote that. Writing that poem helped me get through that moment. We hold up the mystery of God, of Power and Goodness, to a standard higher than our own, and we shake our fists and our heads. We rage at the heavens and at each other on social media or in traffic or around the holiday table or in a seething silence. We weep when we read the news and when we pray and when we don’t know what else to do. We want to know why and who to blame.




Anne Lamott writes that some 12 step friends shared with her that before they could even get to Step One, about being powerless and life becoming unmanageable, that they had to reach “…Step Zero: they woke up one morning, sick and tired, and said to themselves, ‘This sh*t [Super High Intensity Testing, Spiritually Hellish Intelligent Truth] has GOT to stop.’”



Pain is inevitable but suffering is optional. Our struggle with pain and suffering tells us more about ourselves than it does about the mystery of God. “Past the Seeker as he prayed came the crippled and the beggar and the beaten. And seeing them he cried, ‘Great God, how is it that a loving creator can see such things and yet do nothing about them?’ God said, ‘I did do something. I made you.’” 




It’s not the mystery of God I have difficulty with but my faith in humanity. Trusting and loving other human beings, seeing their Power and Goodness, and striving to seek wisdom from them is the most difficult spiritual practice I have ever engaged in, especially these days. God is as close or as far away as I am willing to reach out to another human being in pain; God is as close or as far away as another human being is willing to step into my pain, as I am willing to allow them into my pain. Anne Lamott says “we can be Love with skin on”.




But to do that we have to allow our walls to crumble, our need for control to morph into tenderness, and be present to this aching world as well as our own sorrow. For some folks the world is too dangerous a place to let those walls crumble, their hearts already too tender, and so we need to be safety and love and trust for them. And so we need a Power, a Goodness greater than ourselves to do help us do all of this.







For me it is the knowledge that I am loved unconditionally, undeservedly, unlimitedly and that there is nothing that can separate me from that love. For me it is the knowledge that in the scheme of things I am a speck, insignificant, rare and precious, and I know nothing when it comes to how this universe came into being, where I came from, and what will happen to me when I die. For me my Higher Power, my source of Goodness is all of you, your individual and collective wisdom; every church and community of faith I have been blessed to be in relationship with; the wisdom of the Bible and other sources of wisdom for living and wondering; every person I come into contact with; the things I take for granted; everything that reminds me that God is God and I am not.



Whenever pain is shared and entered into, when we participate in the pain of others, God is there. That’s what Jesus meant when he said to take up our cross and follow him, to lose our life for the sake of the gospel, to die to self and rise again. The days are now here, and have been for some time, that we will be asked each and every day to do this. Like Job, this world is demanding that we pull ourselves together, gird our loins, and find our strength in the midst of the whirlwind. Because strangely enough, that’s where we’ll find God.


Queertivity 2.0

Mark 7: 24-30
Heritage United Church of Christ, Baltimore, MD
October 14, 2018






Before I begin I need to make a confession.

            

Two weeks ago I preached this sermon at the New Ark United Church of Christ. When I originally had these thoughts, I had planned on bringing them to you. For me, this church can be like the region of Tyre—a place where Jesus could have a break and get away from what is familiar but certainly not away from the call of God.



The New Ark is a predominantly white church and privileged, so I crafted the message for them. In preparing to come here, I rewrote some of the message because you are a different church. Where the need for confession comes in is that this version, the one I am about to share with you, is the one I should have given to the New Ark as well.



This past summer at Fa Lane’s ordination, your own Dorothy King, moderator of the Chesapeake Association, named some of the qualities that Fa would bring to her ministry. One of them is creativity. But from where I was sitting, and listening to the pitch and cadence of Dorothy’s voice, I heard “queertivity”. My mind and heart leapt with delight.



At once I remembered a quote, an idea attributed to Albert Einstein: “No problem can be solved by the same consciousness that created it.” Queertivity. It will be the queer minds, the marginalized minds, the neurodivergent minds, all those who’ve been underrepresented, kept and pushed away from the table, their voices silenced, their identity debased, ignored or erased—these are the ones who possess the consciousness to solve humanity’s problems.



In what looks like, sounds like this different consciousness, some folks have been declaring, “The future is female”. But still others say this doesn’t go far enough. The future is not female, they say; the future is intersectional. KimberlĂ© Crenshaw, a contemporary black feminist, coined the term “intersectionality”. We have not just one identity but co-existing identities. We are not solely our gender but also our race, economic status, ethnicity, culture, language, ability, nationality, education, religion, sexuality, age. All of these shape our experience, our thinking, our consciousness, how we see and engage the world, how the world views us and behaves toward us. All these identities have been used to create overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination. Whole groups of people are systematically discriminated against because of skin color AND gender AND gender expression AND economic status. On the flip side, it’s also what we mean in the United Church of Christ when we say we are Open and Affirming: we are open to all our identities, all of what it means to be human, and we affirm and lift up the whole person.



These identities interact and interconnect at a level so profound that we can’t say the future we fight for is equality for only one identity. We can’t assume that if we lift up women and girls, liberation, justice and equity will come for everyone who is disenfranchised. The future is all genders and it is black and brown and queer and trans and differently abled and neurodivergent and the least of these.



The future is intersectional because the old rules of patriarchy, abuse and safeguarding of power, elevating some at the expense and destruction of everyone else are how we got here. It’s going to take a different consciousness, it’s going to take queertivity to solve the problems created by patriarchy, abusive power, and exclusivity. Queertivity, the creativity of that different consciousness, comes as a result of embracing intersectionality.



The unnamed Syro-Phoenician woman, mother to a daughter with a demon, possessed queertivity. Alone, gentile and female, she approached a Jewish rabbi. Jesus went to the region of Tyre to escape the crowds but he could not escape the people who needed him the most. Jesus may have had no place to put his head but compared to this foreign woman, he was privileged and protected and had power she did not. However many times we’ve read this story, did we ever consider the courage, tenacity and vulnerability it took for this woman to bow down at his feet and beg Jesus to heal her daughter?



Then in one of the most un-Jesus moments in the gospels, Jesus responds to her in a way that can only be described as prejudiced and demeaning. He says to her, “Let the children be fed first, for it is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” The children he refers to are the children of Israel, and then Jesus goes so far as to say that healing this foreigner’s daughter would be unfair and then he calls them dogs.



Let’s stop there for a moment. I for one am heartened to have this account of Jesus behaving like a privileged male of the patriarchy, about ready to withhold his power from someone who desperately needs it, precisely because the story does not end there. The incarnation is not about humanity becoming perfect but about the divine entering into a fragile humanity in need of healing. And healing can be as uncomplicated, impactful and powerful as changing one’s mind, one’s consciousness, in the presence of community we cannot escape even when we want to.



The woman embraces her intersectionality, her many-faceted identity, everything that makes the world devalue her, and she gives Jesus a piece of her mind, her queertivity. “But she answered him, ‘Sir, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.’” And with that, Jesus changes his mind, his consciousness, physically alters his course, and expands his purpose. “Then he said to her, ‘For saying that, you may go—the demon has left your daughter.’ So she went home, found the child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.”



This nation is demon-possessed by capitalism and greed, patriarchy and white supremacy, nationalism and partisanship, violence and abuse of power, and it seems as though there are enough of us who have lived quite comfortably with and benefited from this system that have Finally. Had. Enough. But not before everyone who has power attempts every opportunity to control and hold onto whatever power they can; not before toxic masculinity can throw a tantrum, deflect and obfuscate in a high stakes, public job interview and still get the job; not before those in power completely strip away all of the hard-won freedoms and protections of the past 50 years.



Which means you must use your queertivity, embrace your intersectionality. Those who have privilege, power, and money, need to invest in those who have had to beg just for the right to exist safely in public space, to have what they need to live. Wherever, whenever we resist, protest, speak truth to BS, we have to bring Jesus in the room, into the conversation. Which means we who have privilege have to leave our white, cisgender, ableist, Christian fragility at the door and bring our black and brown neighbors, our trans and queer neighbors, our immigrant and refugee neighbors, our Muslim and Jewish and Hindu and Buddhist and atheist and Baha’i and Sikh neighbors, our differently abled neighbors, our neighbors whose first language isn’t English, our neurodivergent neighbors, our unemployed and underemployed neighbors, our street neighbors, our neighbors on Medicare and Medicaid, our marginalized and criminalized neighbors. That's what it means to bring Jesus in the room.



The time is now here when the first shall indeed be last, and the last shall finally be first. And you, you are the answer that is needed. Me and mine, the racism of my ancestors, the racism that runs in my blood, is what got us here, and we must get out of the way. The future is intersectional. “No problem can be solved by the same consciousness that created it.” Queertivity is the new consciousness. Thanks be to that Power that is making all things new.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

The one table

Psalm 8
New Ark United Church of Christ, Newark, DE
October 7, 2018 - World Communion Sunday




The Best Supper © Jan Richardson. janrichardson.com
(So please don't copy.  Go buy it like I did.)



(As the video below played, I read Psalm 8 from The Complete Psalms: The Book of Prayer Songs in a New Translation by Pamela Greenberg.  The text is below.  The communion meditation follows the video.)


"God, our Upholder, how vast is your signature
over all the earth.


It reflects your glory in the heavens.


From the mouth of infants and nurslings
you have made a foundation of strength—


To oppose those who oppose you,
to bring the enemy and person of vengeance to a halt.


When I behold your name in the heavens,
the craft of your fingers,
the moon and the stars that you fixed immutable,


I think: What is a mortal that you should be mindful of them,
offspring of flesh that you should pay them attention?


Yet you have made us only slightly less than God.
You have encompassed us with glory and splendor.


You allow us dominion over the works of your hands;
you placed everything under our feet,
flocks of sheep and herds of cattle, all of them,
every beast of the field.


The bird of the sky and fish of the ocean,
all that traverses the sea.


God, our Upholder,
how vast is your signature
over all the earth."



 






 “What is a mortal that you should be mindful of them, offspring of flesh that you should pay them attention? Yet you have made us only slightly less than God; you have encompassed us with glory and splendor.”



How do you know you are mortal? Have you died yet? No? How do you know you are human? Taking a page from performance artist Ze Frank, I’ve written my own quick test to see if we are all indeed human. Raise your hand when a question applies to you. Answer honestly. This is a safe space.



Have you ever cleaned your ears or fingernails and examined the contents, only to look up and see someone staring at you?



Have you ever answered the phone, heard the voice on the other end, and promptly hung up without saying a word?



Have you ever gotten through an awkward moment only to replay it over and over again as you were trying to fall asleep? 







Have you ever broken a piece of bread, dipped it in the cup, only to have it drop on the floor? Have you ever stained your clothing with the juice or the wine? Found crumbs under your shirt or blouse when you got home?



Have you ever sung the wrong verse of a hymn? Forgotten a committee meeting? Signed up to give someone a ride or a meal and then have someone call you to ask when are you coming over?



Have you ever felt powerless to help, been speechless in the face of suffering?



Have you ever said things you wish you could take back, ever sought anyone’s forgiveness?



Have you ever been betrayed by someone who kissed you? Have you ever betrayed someone you kissed? Have you ever been falsely accused? Have you ever falsely accused someone?



Have you ever withheld forgiveness? Have you ever refused to let go of the pain someone caused you?







Have you ever wondered why people turn out the way they do? Have you ever wondered if people ask the same thing about you?



Have you ever looked at the future and felt despair and hopeful, angry and courageous at the same time?



Have you ever witnessed the glory and splendor of another human being? Have you ever considered that you have been glory and splendor for someone else?



Have you ever wondered why you are here and what your purpose is?



Congratulations. You have completed this part of the test. You are all human. You are all welcome at this table, the one table called humanity. Amen.









Benediction - Rev. Anna Blaedel, UMC


Blessed are you who are raging.
Blessed are you who are mourning.
Blessed are you who feel numb.
Blessed are you who feel sick. and tired. and sick and tired.
Blessed are you who refuse to turn away.
Blessed are you who need to turn away.
Blessed are you who keep breathing deep.
Blessed are you who are tending to your own needs.
Blessed are you who are tending to the needs of another.

Blessed are you who know deep in your bones that you are good. and beautiful. and beloved. and sacred. and worthy. and believed. and held. and capable of healing beyond your wildest imagination.

Blessed are you who remind others they are good. and beautiful. and beloved. and sacred. and worthy. and believed. and held. and capable of healing beyond their wildest imagination.


Blessed are we when we dare to dream of a world without sexual violence, without white supremacy, without misogyny, without police brutality, without violence against transgender and queer folk.


Blessed are we when we stay tender.
Blessed are we when we stay fierce.
Blessed are we when we dare to imagine repair, and transformation.
Blessed are we when we labor together to make it so.

Amen.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Queertivity

Mark 7: 24-30
New Ark United Church of Christ, Newark, DE
September 30, 2018






I need you with me this morning. I’m taking a risk with you today. I’m sharing some thoughts that are still taking shape but I also feel they are true.



This past summer at Fa Lane’s ordination, the moderator of the Chesapeake Association, Dorothy King, named some of the qualities that Fa would bring to her ministry. One of them is creativity. But from where I was sitting, and listening to the pitch and cadence of Dorothy’s voice, I heard “queertivity”. My mind and heart leapt with delight.



At once I remembered a quote, an idea attributed to Albert Einstein: “No problem can be solved by the same consciousness that created it.” Queertivity. It will be the queer minds, the marginalized minds, the neurodivergent minds, all those who’ve been underrepresented, kept and pushed away from the table, their voices silenced, their identity debased, ignored or erased—these are the ones who possess the consciousness to solve humanity’s problems.





In what looks like, sounds like this different consciousness, some folks have been declaring, “The future is female”. But still others say this doesn’t go far enough. The future is not female, they say; the future is intersectional. KimberlĂ© Crenshaw, a contemporary black feminist, coined the term “intersectionality”. We have not just one identity but co-existing identities. We are not solely our gender but also our race, economic status, ethnicity, culture, language, ability, nationality, education, religion, sexuality, age. All of these shape our experience, our thinking, our consciousness, how we see and engage the world, how the world views us and behaves toward us. They’re also used to create overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination. On the flip side, it’s also what we mean in the United Church of Christ when we say we are Open and Affirming: we are open to all our identities and we affirm and lift up the whole person.



These identities interact and interconnect at a level so profound that we can’t say the future we fight for is equality for only one identity. We can’t assume that if we lift up women, liberation, justice and equity will come for everyone who is disenfranchised. The future is all genders and it is black and brown and queer and trans and differently abled and neurodivergent and the least of these.



The future is intersectional because the old rules of patriarchy, abuse and safeguarding of power, elevating some at the expense and destruction of everyone else are how we got here. It’s going to take a different consciousness, it’s going to take queertivity to solve the problems created by patriarchy, abusive power, and exclusivity. Queertivity, the creativity of that different consciousness, comes as a result of embracing intersectionality.



The unnamed Syro-Phoenician woman, mother to a daughter with a demon, possessed queertivity. Alone, gentile and female, she approached a Jewish rabbi. Jesus may have had no place to put his head but compared to her, he was privileged and protected and had power she did not. However many times we’ve read this story, did we ever consider the courage, tenacity and vulnerability it took for this woman to bow down at his feet and beg Jesus to heal her daughter?



Then in one of the most un-Jesus moments in the gospels, Jesus responds to her in a way that can only be described as partisan and demeaning. He says to her, “Let the children be fed first, for it is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” The children he refers to are the children of Israel, and then Jesus goes so far as to say that healing this foreigner’s daughter would be unfair and then he calls them dogs.



Let’s stop there for a moment. I for one am heartened to have this account of Jesus behaving like a privileged male of the patriarchy, about ready to withhold his power from someone who desperately needs it, precisely because the story does not end there. The incarnation is not about humanity becoming perfect but about the divine entering into a fragile humanity in need of healing. And healing can be as uncomplicated, impactful and powerful as changing one’s mind, one’s consciousness, in the presence of community we cannot escape even when we want to.



Jesus changes course.
The woman embraces her intersectionality, her many-faceted identity, everything that makes the world devalue her, and gives Jesus a piece of her mind, her queertivity. “But she answered him, ‘Sir, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.’” And with that, Jesus changes his mind, his consciousness, alters his course, and expands his purpose. “Then he said to her, ‘For saying that, you may go—the demon has left your daughter.’ So she went home, found the child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.”



This nation is demon-possessed by capitalism and greed, patriarchy and white supremacy, nationalism and partisanship, violence and abuse of power, and it seems as though there are enough of us who have Finally. Had. Enough. But not before everyone who has power attempts every opportunity to control and hold onto whatever power they can; not before toxic masculinity can throw a tantrum, deflect and obfuscate in a high stakes, public job interview; not before they finish stripping away all of the hard-won freedoms and protections of the past 50 years.



Which means we have to use our queertivity, embrace our intersectionality, and invest our privilege, our power, our money in those who have had to beg just for the right to exist safely in public space, to have what they need to live. Wherever, whenever we resist, protest, speak truth to BS, we have to bring Jesus in the room, into the conversation. Which means we bring our black and brown neighbors, our trans and queer neighbors, our immigrant and refugee neighbors, our Muslim and Jewish and Hindu and Buddhist and atheist and Baha’i and Sikh neighbors, our differently abled neighbors, neighbors whose first language isn’t English, our neurodivergent neighbors, our unemployed and underemployed neighbors, our street neighbors, our neighbors on Medicare and Medicaid, our marginalized and criminalized neighbors.



The time is now here when the first shall indeed be last, and the last shall finally be first. And we have to get out of the way. The future is intersectional. “No problem can be solved by the same consciousness that created it.” Queertivity is the new consciousness. Thanks be to that Power that is making all things new.





Benediction



We are diverse. That is something to celebrate, not hide or stifle or deny. Or fix.



We are wonderfully and fearfully made in God’s image, each and every one of us, and none of us are broken or unworthy yet we all need healing and safe space, equality and justice.



We are agents of change, whether we need to get out of its way or we are the change we have been waiting for.



And so may the Holy One, source of queertivity, bless you and keep you; the Holy One make their face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Holy One lift their countenance upon you and give you peace.  Amen.