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.
Listen to the various settings of the Magnificat text from Gregorian chant to the present. Embrace the fire of God’s justice. Find a way to help bring God’s justice to the Earth every week. It is the work that God would have us do.
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-beContinue reading “Mary, the First Christian: A Commentary on the Annunciation, Luke 1:26-38”
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.
The groups against LGBTQIA+ people in the United Methodist Church call themselves “traditional.” To start out with, tradition is not a monolith. Tradition is not a singular or consistent concept. Traditions evolve and develop and are not static. Likewise, there is ample evidence for a queer-affirming Methodist tradition—that even originates with Methodism’s founder, John WesleyContinue reading “A Queer Methodist Tradition”
Masses gathered around the charred Notre Dame Cathedral on Easter Sunday 2019 to proclaim Christ’s resurrection. Their collective hope for the sanctuary’s future reconstruction hung as heavy as the smell of ashes. Across the Pond, another French resurrection was taking place in the least likely of places. I was leading the contemporary service at aContinue reading “A French Baptism in Alabama”
Spring 2022 I just booked tickets to a concert for my family and me. The last time I went, it was with my then-six-month-old daughter in June 2019, the week after her baptism into the community of faith. Something about this particular concert, the Indigo Girls at the Zoo, which so frequently overlaps with ourContinue reading “Dancing into Hope”
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.
Now as an adult trans man, finally at peace with both God and myself, my sense of calling to the Christian pastorate—to preach the gospel, teach discipleship, administer the sacraments, care for the community gathered around Christ, and foster works of justice and mercy in the world—is stronger than ever.
The world is changing / Be still and know / that you remain
My soul and being are caught in a constant battle / Where I’m fighting for my right to love
Suddenly, instead of a bright and beautifully called child of God, I was an unrepentant sinner leading others to sin and death…simply because I decided I wasn’t going to live inauthentically. In my first semester of seminary, I met my wife, and the stakes got so much higher.
he 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.
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.
Our church wants what is best for you—I believe that—but often it doesn’t know how to help its women walk through the story about ourselves that we receive from all angles, because its most overarching story about women is itself based in shame. I fear that, if you ever need consolation from the church in the form of empowerment, you may not find it.
When we create our gods in our own image and then put them up for sale, we lose the gracious reality of being creatures, the beautiful truth that we human beings are closer to the soil than to the heavens. We also lose what I might humbly posit as the spiritual genius of Christianity: that the transcendent and irreducible mystery of the divine nevertheless inhabits fleshy, human existence, joining us here in the soil.
Systems of white supremacy have distorted our ability to make sense of reality and even threatened our ability survive as a species. 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.
“Hallelujah my world is caving in”1 I sit in classrooms waiting for my soul to be affirmed To finally feel like I belong within these walls But instead I feel dejected Cast out, set aside, and pushed away with the warm welcome and kindness of professors with the avoidance of topics that would be “tooContinue reading “Hallelujah, My World Is Caving In”
I refuse to sit in this tomb any longer; the stone is chafing my legs which need to run like a unicorn into springtime fields breathing in the rainbows of every blossom there where lovemaking never stops and new life is always being resurrected from the death of last year’s flowers. They say we hadContinue reading “The Tomb”
And Can It Be? is a hymn of astonishment. In light of his powerful religious experience in May 1738, Charles Wesley wrote this hymn from the perspective of someone who is utterly bewildered by the power of God’s love and the shocking events of the Crucifixion. Wesley’s reaction to this is demonstrated in the first two verses.
O Come, thou Dayspring, come and cheerOur spirits by thy justice here;Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,And death’s dark shadows put to flight.Rejoice! Rejoice, Emmanuel shall come to thee,O Israel. —O Come, O Come Emmanuel, originally in Latin, 8th or 9th century I have always said that I have an Advent soul. It is the liturgicalContinue reading “Advent and the General Deliverance”
“’Tis the irrational season, when love blooms bright and wild;if Mary’d been filled with reason, there’d have been no room for the child.” Madeleine L’Engle Twenty-seven years ago, I entered the season of Advent nine months pregnant. That year, 1994, as this, 2021, the lectionary texts that I preached beat a tattooContinue reading “Waiting for New Life”
I remain confident of this:I shall see the goodness of the Lordin the land of the living. Psalm 27:13 (NIV) Happy new year! The season of Advent is upon us, which begins the liturgical year. We light our candles, sing our hymns of preparation, and begin our Advent calendars. We decorate our homes, gather together,Continue reading “Advent Against Apocalypse”
Homesickness is a funny kind of illness. It sort of hurts all over. In your throat when someone asks the wrong question at the wrong time. In your lungs when a reminder of what you’ve lost takes your breath away. In your core when there’s the gut-punch of knowing what you long for may neverContinue reading “Homesick”
John Wesley’s contribution to Christian history is not primarily located in any particular doctrine or treatise, though he wrote theologically. Rather, John Wesley’s greatest gift to the Christian churches is perhaps the Wesleyan approach to community formation—with its attention to the whole human being and to every human being, however socially marginalized. Methodism began notContinue reading “Wesleyan Community for the Dispossessed”
Advent begins in the dark, in the licking of wounds, amidst the echoes of “No!” and “Go away!” This is where the spirit speaks in a hope that does not come to the well-adjusted but only to those who sprint through the woods in search of living water knowing that life is short and theContinue reading “Another Advent”
As people of faith, we lack the ability to talk constructively about the reality of our mortality and finite bodies. We are uncomfortable confronting the limitations of our embodied experience.
You came to me
in a dream where
we were sitting in
an urban garden
What is the goal of Christian antiracism? Specifically from my own context, I ask: What is the responsibility of churches that contain white people to shape those white people[toward real Christian antiracism?
Our interview covered many topics, but Alfredo Santiago’s commitment to honoring the richness of Latinidad and his love of Methodism were clear dominant themes. We have tried to capture those loves in these excerpts from our interview.
The reason our team—young United Methodists from across the United States, lay, clergy, and almost-clergy—came together to create this publication is our earnest belief that the Holy Spirit is at work in this moment.
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
The UMC Book of Discipline says that “Christian experience gives us new eyes to see the living truth in Scripture. It confirms the biblical message for our present. It illumines our understanding of God and creation and motivates us to make sensitive moral judgments.” What that means to me is that what we’re doing here matters.