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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We bloom like bearded iris

We bloom like bearded iris

Alice Walker described her first encounter with unapologetic, queer delight, as “a revelation.” “The sight of two grown men locked together in a thorough and obviously toe-curling kiss,” she witnessed, was “a bit like my seeing a bearded iris for the first time.” Stunning beauty–glorious and strange and alive. “How sad,” she concluded, “now never to see men holding hands, while everywhere one looks they are holding guns.” I’ve been meditating on her testimony of revelation throughout this Pride season. So much is in crisis, collapse. The world, falling apart in so many ways, and so fast....

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Grounding Each Other Through Grief

Grounding Each Other Through Grief

by Rev. Molly Bolton Trigger Warning: pregnancy/infant loss My friend told me a story of a man who was wailing in grief and how his spiritual elders gathered around him to press soil into his hands. They were grounding him to the earth while sorrow ripped through this body. I have known the depths of staggering sorrow recently; going into preterm labor with my twins during Advent last year. River and Wren were born too early to remain in this space-time continuum for more than a moment. As a chaplain and a spiritual director, it has been strange to wade through the swamp of grief, watching...

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On writing letters of wild love

On writing letters of wild love

Have you ever written a love letter to yourself? I have a vivid memory of a dear friend telling me, decades ago now, about writing a love letter to herself when her life was falling apart. Grief was a sharp, shattering force; loss tearing at the fabric of her life. She wrote herself a letter in celebration of her aliveness, aliveness that at the time felt tenuous, more cause for dogged endurance than celebration. I remember her sharing how she praised herself for the life-giving pleasures she knew how to offer herself–iced tea and orgasms and shade given by trees on sunny days. After...

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Circumference

Circumference

By Layton E. Williams Recently, in announcing a summer sabbatical for her team, Brené Brown referenced a quote from British actress, director, and screenwriter Michaela Coel that says, “Do not be afraid to disappear, from it, from us, for a while, and see what comes to you in the silence.” When the pandemic began, my world got very small. I moved into the detached guest suite over my brother’s garage for the first 4 or 5 weeks of “lockdown.” At the time, we didn’t know if South Carolina would issue a full stay-at-home order and if they did, I didn’t want to be totally alone (my...

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