our ripley home: settling in

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Reflections prompted by Chick-fil-A’s association with anti-gay faith groups. Read the whole article here.

“…churches that speak hate through exclusion are ‘guilty as charged’ for the violence we incite. By promoting (or simply ignoring) speech that marginalizes people — any people — we deny that we are all made in the image of God, deserving of human dignity and human rights — no matter who we are (or aren’t) having sex with.”

-Melissa Browning, Graduate Program Director for the MA in Social Justice and Community Development, Loyola University Chicago 


our ripley home

Yesterday Jamie and I became homeowners. Thanks to locally owned and operated Callaway Bank, long-time Columbia realtor Guy Long and a stroke of good fortune, we are committed in new ways to a place – this place.

In the charming old Benton-Stephens neighborhood riddled with rental properties and old bungalows, we have instantly become community with others who love this place and know it well. This evening, our first to be working in the front yard, our neighbor from across the street came over bringing a housewarming gift and his prolific local knowledge. While we wrestled the Bermuda grass (devil grass, they call it) out of the beds of native Missouri flowers, he told us about where we lived:

  • about the clay twelve inches down that causes foundations to shift and doors to stick as the weather expands and contracts the earth, and about the Boone County bricks that were made from this clay found only a handful of other places in the world
  • about the plantations that used to own the land there and how they were broken up into lots and how houses like our 1920s bungalow were among the first prefabricated homes to be built
  • about the Cherokee Indians who escaped the forced march westward and lived down the hill by Hinkson Creek in the early 19th century, the same creek we run by every week
  • about his house across the street where the farmer husband murdered his wife and spent the rest of his days in the Jefferson City prison and about how her ghost still haunts the place

There’s so much more to tell and so much more to learn. This, I imagine, will be the great joy of living in a place with a long and sometimes troubled history, in a house built nearly a century ago, in a neighborhood with front porches and sidewalks, in a story and a life that is nearly exactly where we want to be.

prayer for transformation

 Western District Conference 2012

Context: Worship before the delegate session at which Pastor Joanna Harader’s credentials were being discussed because she officiated at a same-sex commitment celebration

(a prayer for three voices)

1: Creating God –
2: Creating God –
3: Creating God –

1: we give thanks and praise for voices lifted in song
2: for hearts longing for justice
3: for people praying for peace

1: Today we celebrate our holy calling to risk,
to stand on the edge of acceptability and acceptance
to come out with pride
and speak up even in the midst of conflict

2: We celebrate our sister and friend and pastor Joanna,
honoring her gracious and faithful witness
and gentle yet bold testimony in Western District
Conference and beyond

3: We celebrate those who wear pink
and those who dare to think

All: that all people have a place at the table of our Lord

1: Sustaining God –
2: Sustaining God –
3: Sustaining God –

2: You are the divine mystery that knits us together in unity with each other and with creation. And yet we find ourselves uncertain as we prepare to enter this delegate session. We do not come as impartial decision-makers but instead bring with us

All: many pieces of ourselves:

1: Today we bring our fear
that inclusion will be replaced
by a false unity that appeases loud voices

2: Today we bring our anger and resentment
that real voices and real people are lost
between the cracks
of debates and resolutions about authority
and singular truth 

3: Today we bring our pain and our grief
that our beloved church is sometimes a place of
violence and exclusion
toward those of us who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and
transgender people
and toward those who love us

1: Redeeming God –
2: Redeeming God –
3: Redeeming God –

1: It is here and now
That we need your peace

2: Break into our midst and redeem us
3: Transform our fear into resilient hope
1: Transform our anger into a wide, wide mercy
2: Transform our resentment into gracious dissent
3: Transform our pain into confidence that we are all members of the household of God

1: Let your extravagant love and unending peace descend
upon us and upon all who are gathered here.

All: In hope we pray… Amen. 

hello again

Hello again.

For quite a long time I’ve been wanting to take up writing again.

The words have fallen by the wayside, whether out of insecurity or laziness or just the flow of the seasons.

Today, with hesitancy I begin anew.

So if you’ll forgive me the self-indulgence, here are the pieces of my life.