Seasons of realignment

Seasons of realignment

By Anna Blaedel During the very earliest days of the pandemic, I went for a lot of very long walks. Hours and hours, mile after mile after mile. I walked my neighborhood, I walked neighborhoods I had never seen. I walked in the woods and along the river and through a precious patch of prairie. I walked across town, and walked myself right out of town. I spent a lot of time walking in the graveyard up the hill from my house, lingering near my great-grandmother’s grave. While I walked, I cried. I prayed. I sang. I paid attention to what was happening within and around me. A practice of...

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May we be solidarious

May we be solidarious

by Rev. Jeanelle Nicolas Ablola "We must be solidarious, meaning one with everybody, with the care of the planet, and we must be willing to accompany people’s movements for their rights, justice, peace. And so I put my education and my experience and my commitment to that service.” - Rev. Marta Benavides I heard a podcast once about humpback whales saving a seal from an orca attack.* One of the whales swam belly up, and put the seal on its belly. When it seemed like the seal might slip off during their escape, the whale would raise a fin to guide the seal back onto its belly.* Humpback...

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queer blessings spill over

queer blessings spill over

By anna blaedel A dear friend recently married her beloved, and I had the pleasure of being present for their ceremony. Under the chuppah, they ritualized and celebrated the love that they are finding and nurturing and savoring and sharing and deepening together. Invested in both honoring and queering ancient ritual, they reimagined the sheva brachot, or seven blessings, traditionally recited, and invited chosen family to offer blessings connected to the broader themes. I was invited to offer a blessing for community, for transforming the world through justice work. What a sacred practice,...

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Keep screaming

Keep screaming

By Rev. Theresa Ninán Soto The cry of the cicada Gives us no sign That presently it will die. -Basho With [The cry of the cicada] and its single image, Basho combines the sound of summer, the sense of screaming, and the distinct reaction that one may have to the unyielding presence of insects or the larger embrace of nature, untamed. I read this poem in the high, hot middle of summer and imagined that this one moment, in the life of the cicada, unabashed, full-throated, has wisdom for us. What are queer and trans people called to in this moment? Maybe we have a call to sing out, and beyond...

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Bread and blessing, still.

Bread and blessing, still.

I recently refound an affirmation of faith I wrote over twenty years ago. Returning to this heartfelt articulation of belief, I felt tenderness for my past self–wisdom I already held, and all I was on the precipice of learning. I felt deep gratitude for the transformative events, teachings, teachers, and lifeworlds that have necessitated shifts in worldview, political analysis and commitment, religious identity, spiritual belonging–even though transformation usually, if not always, involves some element of loss, or grief, or pain. I felt the embarrassing cringe at language that was once...

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Where Two or Three are Gathered

Where Two or Three are Gathered

By Rose J. Percy I love my friends and still, sometimes, I run and hide from their love. I am afraid to look into their eyes and see the truths that keep me here. Stuck, behind these walls with the cracked foundation of hyper-independence. I want to share my feelings with them, hidden behind a code. But they look past it, and ask a simple question: How can we be here for you? I let out a sigh. I often call them “prayer-sighs,” since I know there are breaths lined with petitions. I think about that verse, “where two or three are gathered.” It used to come up when church folks were trying to...

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