Spring 2023

If You Cannot Be United, Be Holy

Lukewarmness in the hope of ensuring the center will hold is not holiness. It is not holy, because it is not rooted in love of God and neighbor, but in institutional self-preservation. And, frankly, its pragmatic viability is long past anyway.

Called Unto Holiness

Keegan Osinski calls us back to Wesleyan holiness. But this isn’t an impossible moral purity mandate. She describes a vision of holiness that is not only realistic but thoroughly rooted in love.

The Crosses We Bear

As the Lenten season comes to a close and we bear witness to the crucifixion, Abby Holcombe can’t help but think of those closest to Jesus at his time of death. She imagines what the journey must have been like for Simon of Cyrene, called upon to literally carry the cross of Christ and how that can relate to the crosses we carry today.

When Institutions Fail You, Start Listening

If you are feeling overwhelmed by institutional failures, this is an invitation to let your senses guide you toward something new.

The Remodel

Deconstruction not as in Derrida

But baseboards pulled gently,

Carefully, finished by small hands

Decades long past

Winter 2022

Homeless encampment

Homeless Encampments as Sacred Nativities

The Holy Family begin as travelers, find themselves unhoused, and end the story as political refugees: all while being entrusted with the very child of God.

Mary’s Song and Missiology

Kerm Towler discusses the various settings of the Magnificat text from Gregorian chant to the present. He encourages us to embrace the fire of God’s justice in learning from the historical context of Mary’s song.

When I found out I was pregnant in mid-November, my very first thoughts were of terror. It wore off, but not nearly as fast as I would have expected. I have always been excited about becoming a parent, but the reality of it was far more terrifying than I had ever imagined. While my soon-to-be baby was still barely the size of a mustard seed, the realization that my body was no longer only my own hit hard. 

So when Advent rolled around this year, I connected to Mary in a new way.

Bordering on the Shades of Death: The Choice of Advent

For those of us for whom the early nightfall quickly gets old, or who are exhausted by the dim prospects that we see in our world’s futures, Advent offers us a kindred spirit.

Fall 2022

Hebrews 4:1-7: Radicalizing Ordinary Time

Whether we are deconstructing, reconstructing, or simply being, we must mentally distance ourselves from gendered liturgy; historic prayers that historically harmed; images of the straightlaced, canonized whiteness; firm and binary boundaries; and inaccessible altars and pulpits. Ordinary time is an opportunity for Sabbath subversiveness. 

I too defend a tradition of Christian beliefs in the spirit of John Wesley. Because Methodist tradition and queer affirmation are not mutually exclusive.

Summer 2022

The BoOM Heard Around the World: A Q&A with Three of the Rejected Florida UMC Provisional Clergy Candidates

In June 2022, the clergy session of the annual meeting of The Florida Conference of The United Methodist Church rejected 16 ministry candidates for provisional membership on the basis of two of the candidates being openly LGBTQIA+. Another added her name to the list voluntarily. Three of the rejected candidates—Shawn Klein, Erin Wagner, and Anna Swygert—sat down with Yet Alive’s Dylan Parson and Trevor Warren for an exclusive interview about the process, their futures, and their hopes for a fully inclusive United Methodist Church.

On Schism: A Proposed Ecclesiology for a Post-Split UMC

“What I believe is most helpful for the Methodist church as it comes to its current crossroads is the ability to demote the definition of the church as a continuity with its past, and instead favor a definition by which the church is conforming to the vision God has for it.”

The conversion story of the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8:26-40 serves as a tool to address the lack of compassion and respect among many church leaders and pastoral caregivers for transgender and nonbinary youth.

I love the idea of this big tent/umbrella. But it’s unrealistic and will only continue to lead to harm. I refuse to perpetuate harm and oppression in whatever forms they take, even in the forms of my neighbors and colleagues. Jesus took sides. The Triune God takes sides.

My soul and being are caught in a constant battle / Where I’m fighting for my right to love

The world is changing / Be still and know / that you remain

On top of questioning whether I can navigate the UMC in light of my gender history and identity, I also question whether I can do so in good conscience, knowing that so many of my trans siblings would be denied even the opportunities I might receive. Is the table of UMC ordination one I want a seat at?

Spring 2022

And Can It Be? Charles Wesley and the Leap of Faith

And Can It Be? is the combination of belief and amazement. Wesley is utterly convinced of the truth of the crucifixion and all that follows, but this does not dampen his sense of astonishment. In this sense, the hymn is helpful for all of us who believe while recognizing the bewildering events at the center of our Christian faith.

Systems of white supremacy have distorted our ability to make sense of reality and even threatened our ability survive as a species. Rev. Dr. King often said that humans needed to either “learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools,” and current events seem to prove his point, ranging from the climate crisis to the ever-present threat of nuclear or biological warfare to the potential collapse of democratic societies across the world.

A poem by Starchild

Winter 2021

Advent Against Apocalypse

God does not have to wait for an apocalypse to be fully present in our world. And through the grace of the Holy Spirit, God is present in our world even now, just as fully as when Jesus walked on Earth.

When grief and hope intertwine

In Advent, all of creation sings along with all the church: Come, Lord Jesus, come!

John Wesley’s greatest gift to the Christian churches is his approach to community formation, writes Luke Melonakos-Harrison.

A poem by Ellen Huang

How could Mary’s words give me encouragement
to bring forth my own child into a world
both beautiful and cruel?

Another Advent

By Starchild

Advent begins in the dark, 

in the licking of wounds, 

amidst the echoes of “No!” and “Go away!”

This is where the spirit speaks

Fall 2021

Welcome at the Table

An interview with Alfredo Santiago on Latinidad in Methodism
and extending welcome for all, in churches and beyond.

David Justice challenges predominantly White churches to engage in Christian antiracism work, empowered by the grace of God, as a conversion that leads to real love.

Sara Martin presents a theology of embodiment, disability, and being human and dismantles dualistic assumptions.

By Starchild

You came to me
in a dream where
we were sitting in
an urban garden

Summer 2021

Jesse Huddleston offers insights into how the Christian faith can provide tools for resisting and recovering from church trauma.

Catey Miller writes about her first UMC small group, which helped her see how Wesley’s emphasis on our lived experiences frees us to enjoy and affirm each other’s humanity.

By Starchild

You live in the green fingertips
of spring and everything you make
is free to follow the scent
of the warm wind to grow
wherever it feels loved

until the bark hardens with
its anxious, rigid boundaries
stuffing the green deep inside
the wood that vaguely remembers
being alive but mostly feels stuck

until by some miracle or lightning
strike, the branch falls and rots,
creating new life that pushes its
tiny head from the ground swelling
into the scent of your warm wind.

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