a god for these days...
an invitation into theological imagination for today. how would you fill in these blanks?
“A god for days like these…
they are _______,
__________, and __________,
and in their company,
a god for days like these…
they are the organizing of unions,
the haunting of the wicked powerful,
and the protection of our precious pollinators,
and in their company,
I feel life fighting to flourish.
a god for days like these…
they are fed up,
weeping, and weary,
and in their company,
I can be too.
a god for these days…
they are comfort,
agitation, and imagination,
and in their presence,
I am lured toward worlds yet revealed.
I used to believe...
What’s one way your beliefs about divinity have changed in recent years? What have you let go, been freed from, or taken on as a new belief?
I used to believe the Divine______.
now, I believe _________.
I used to believe the Divine was a separate other,
now, I believe the Divine is truly among us.
I used to believe the Divine was fixed and unchanging,
now, I believe the Divine is always emerging.
I used to believe the Divine was kinda stodgy,
now, I believe the Divine is beauty and play.
I used to believe that Divine love was merely interpersonal,
now, I believe that Divine love is abolition, is reparations, is grassroots power, is systemic transformation, is always intimate and collective
The work of learning and unlearning, growing and transforming, building solidarity and love that liberates – it is lifetime work, generations work. It does not move at the pace of capitalism or 24 hour news cycles or the internet. It moves like seeds growing. It builds like intentional, collective labor. It thinks in pasts and futures. Integrating the work of justice into one’s whole life means learning how to get below the surface of things and outside of patterns that only repeat themselves to no end and to no lasting change. How are you spiritually grounding yourself in the work so that in it, there is joy, there is longevity, there is love, there is rest, and there is commitment that is lasting and true?
Write your own litany for sustainability using our template:
May your rhythms _________.
Though I try to…
Make me fervent in my commitments to
But keep me from ______________
Just as you have _______,
that I may live ___________.
May your rhythms uphold me in labors of love.
Though I try to think and act outside of patterns that
break down, break apart, break, break, break,
the currents are so strong.
Make me fervent in my commitments
to practices of freedom,
to relationships of solidarity,
to reaching toward what transforms.
But keep me from systems of overwhelm, from exploitation, from feelings of helplessness.
Just as you have woven me into the whole of things,
may all that is just, that is true, that is joyful,
be woven into me,
that I may live an integrated life –
in tune with the seriousness of these days,
and the precious gift of each passing moment.
This was originally written in December 2020. The numbers would need to be adjusted for current use:
In this season of Advent, we long for futures not yet here while we refuse to turn our attention away from what is.
Write your own litany using our template below:
Over 1.6 million globally.
Over 300,000 in the United States.
All of them ______.
Each of them __________.
______ webs of power ________.
Over 1.6 million globally.
Over 300,000 in the United States.
All of them precious.
Each of them betrayed.
COVID-19 reveals the sins of the nation.
Entangled webs of power stealing life, stealing hope.
We will not grow numb.
We will not stop mourning.
We will let this change us.
for an utterly rotten day
Write your own litany for an utterly rotten day using our template:
Today is a day rotten with _________.
It leaves _________ open to decay.
Though its stench _____________________,
it does not_____________________.
We will turn this garbage into compost,
______________ can only waste away.
__________________will last forever.
Today is a day rotten with corruption.
It sours life and what could be.
It leaves rights open to decay.
Though its stench turns my stomach inside out
it does not leave me empty.
We will turn this garbage into compost,
grow food and beauty in soils of this manure.
What is spoiled can only waste away.
The fruits of our labors of love will last forever.
they told me...
Write your own short litany using our template:
They told me the Divine is ______,
but now I _______.
The Divine is ______,
I have learned this through _____.
Now, I _________.
They told me the Divine is heteronormative,
but now I know that’s nonsense – boring and violent.
The Divine is a promiscuous love,
a very queer experience,
and a practice of acting up.
I have learned this through pleasure and pain – mine and generations.
Now, I see all around me the strange and nonconforming ones
and cry Holy, Holy, Holy.
a daily prayer...
Write your own litany using the template below:
I am so ____ today.
I crave _____.
I am concerned about _____.
I hope for _____.
With my heart set upon ____,
I will _____.
I am so determined today.
I crave the opportunity to contribute meaningfully.
I am concerned about the months ahead.
I hope for us to take care of each other.
With my heart set upon a world where all my friends can rest,
I will move through this day persistent in labors of freedom.
a god that isn't...
How would you fill in the blanks to express your own longings for a “more godlike god” in these days? Use our format below to answer. This question was prompted by this poem from Francisco X. Alarcon.
I want a god that isn’t ________.
I want a god that is _______.
six word story prompts
in six words, tell us a story about solidarity
They shared the consequences in community.
Shared labor. Shared resources. Real relationship.
The joy of choosing each other.
Practicing love that genuinely follows through.
practice radical imagination:
tell a story about the collective future you dream of in six words
“we don’t have jobs, we contribute”
“the pace is slow and gentle”
“trans kids flourish, we protect them”
“the land is returned, and rests”
“care is abundant, none are disposable”
making it through
Tell a story in six words about making it through hard things.
We didn’t cower. We laughed together.
Integrity means sleeping peacefully, whatever else.
Beauty carried me, flower by flower.
One day at a time, live.
Who has been caring for you – and how?
Who are you caring for – and how?
What do you care about collectively – and how do you practice it?
Tell a story about care in six words.
Filling the bird-feeder,
setting their table.
Covert racism all around.
Body craves rest.
Space is made.
They bring me coffee.
Tell a story in six words about something that recently brought you delight in the midst of hard things.
The morning yard –
a creaturely theatre.
It wasn’t a bill.
Building connections over longings for liberation.
Tell a story of courage in six words.
she didn’t hide anymore.”
“he was called out.
“what if it’s possible?
love does that.”
Tell a story of your healing in six words.
general prompts for reflection/journaling
What other-than-human life/lives are you learning from?
What have you learned about God from other-than-human life?
Do you notice seemingly shared values or where they differ?
Are you paying attention, being challenged, or changed, or just made to feel
in observing the ways of the neighborhood cat
or the grass growing in the concrete
in the rotting mushrooms
or a bee bumbling by?
We have so much to learn and unlearn about being human, creaturely, of the earth.
affirmation of belief
What feels true and trustworthy today?
Write an affirmation of belief in three lines:
I believe in the power of paying attention,
noticing the ordinary magic within reach,
being honestly present to the ache.
I believe in abolitionist futures.
I believe in imagining alternatives into practice.
I believe in the world-building of those who labor for liberation.
I believe in the dirt, the moss, the fungus.
I believe in the ancient, adapting, and slow.
I believe there is so much yet to learn about survival.
I believe prioritizing “nice” can be a subtle form of violence.
I believe in tenderness and fierceness.
I believe their roots entangle.
I believe in queering “I,”
in acknowledging the porousness of a life,
in honoring the others that make us every day.
a love letter to queer people
Write a love letter to queer and trans people in five lines:
You! Us. Precious Kin. –
What miracles are worn in y/our flesh.
What glimpses of God.
What wells of power soft and fierce.
All the world is blessed by love queerly practiced.
You make my heart pitter-patter.
The way you shed what doesn’t fit.
The way you listen beyond the surface.
The way you beam when in touch with your joy.
In a single phrase, tell us something you believe about divinity.
A mysterious presence of past and future with us.
Always encountered in the flesh.
A queer source of power and possibility.
The tiny spark of aliveness in times that deaden.
The way that change can happen at any time.
The collective urging towards justice and liberation.
All the stuff that binds our lives and bodies and breath together.
Sometimes just a weeping.
What is one way you intentionally share resources with others?
gratitude for non-human life
Write a small offering of gratitude for the non-human life that has been sustaining you in body and/or spirit.
For the melodies of birds calling forth the morning with aliveness.
For the smallest budding flowers, messengers of beauty, testimonies to life.
For the companionship of pups, faithful and steady.
For the water that cleanses, refreshes, renews.
For the squirrels that elicit laughter.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
What is something you have learned or unlearned about the Divine in the last year?
Something about the way the Divine can be encountered in and through your own skin?
Something about God as an action, an experience, a process, or a feeling and not a “thing?”
Something about the way whiteness has shaped your understanding of God?
What is the last thing you did that made you feel brave?
Did you confront a hard truth?
Take a chance on loving someone in a scary way?
Set a difficult boundary?
Participate in a call to action around something you care about?
insecurity to tend
What insecurity do you need to tend to in order to more fully show up to the work of collective transformation?
Do you feel a need to do/be perfect?
Do you struggle with taking feedback?
Do you fear you have nothing to offer?
Do you worry you won’t be accepted by others?
What are you longing for?
A particular beloved?
Meaningful and fruitful labors?
How do you nourish your radical imagination?
Through art? Radical writings? Preachers that point to wide and expansive possibilities? Engaging the creaturely life around? What/who helps you open to the beyond what-is? In a culture where imagination is hardly prized or encouraged among adults, how do you keep from letting the boundaries of the now shape your comprehension of the possibilities of the future?
Write a short poem or prayer about grief using the template:
4 words to describe the source of grief
5 words to tell a story about it
6 words to ask a question
7 words to name a longing
4 words about how you’re coping
overwhelmed by collective loss
white supremacy and greed reign
can hard hearts be broken (open)?
yearning for collective transformation that feels possible
I weep a prayer
who do you turn to?
Who is one saint,one courageous faithful,one ancestor in spirit or blood,or one ordinary practitioner of good whom you might remember, learn from, and connect with throughout these days?
What strength of theirs do you need to remember is also within you?
Someone who was brave?
Someone who practiced kindness?
Someone who kept telling the ugly truth?
grounding through anxiety
What are your practices of spiritual grounding when anxiety is running high?
Gathering in intentional community?
Retreating in solitude?
Taking actions based on what’s possible to know in the present?
How does prayer shape the way you show up to the world, to your loved ones, and to resisting oppressive forces?
By keeping you grounded in truth, even in difficult circumstances?
By intentionally lingering in the interconnectedness of our lives and well-being?
By expanding your capacity to listen and be stretched?
And – What does prayer mean to you?
A practice of meditation?
A form of spiritual grounding?
An opportunity to connect with the saints?
Holding beloveds – their pain or celebration – in intentional love?
Handing over anxieties to God?
Getting in touch with the dreams of God?
What is one destructive idea you inherited about your gender and how are you working to embody something better?
Something about bodies and desire? Submission or authority? Parenting or emoting?
What rituals are a part of your spiritual practice?
Worshipping in community?
Tending an altar at home?
Morning coffee with silence?
Tending to plants?
who shapes you
Who are the ones that won’t be remembered in worship, hung on the walls of a sanctuary, or named among the faithful? Who are the ones whose love was too scandalous, ideas too provocative, claims too true, hunger for justice too deep to find a home in the memory of today’s religious institutions?
Who are three people shaping your thinking right now?
An elder in a movement?
What is one of your favorite small pleasures of life that doesn’t cost money?
Learning something new?
Trans beloveds: what is one thing your gender has taught you about God?
Something about the Sacredness of change? Of enfleshing your own truth? Of becoming? Of finding God in each other in pursuit of justice, survival, and love? Trans beloveds:What is one thing your gender has taught you about God?
What do you most consistently argue with God about?
Pain, suffering, and injustice in the world?
A particular person?
What spiritual wisdom does the changing of seasons offer you?
An invitation to slow down?
Or to let go?
Or to pay attention?
What is one form of bodily pleasure that reminds you of the gifts and presence of God?
In days and times that bring despair, that disempower, or that overwhelm, staying attuned to the Holy and Sacred experiences of joy, laughter, delight, and pleasure that can manifest within the midst is an important spiritual practice. This is part of how we stay truly alive even in places of death. What is one form of bodily pleasure that reminds you of the gifts and presence of God that nourishes? A kiss? Mindful eating to truly taste a favorite food? A cool breeze on a warm night? Working out? A hug?
a topic more welcome
What’s one topic you wish were more welcome or common in conversations of faith and spirituality?
Real talk about sex and relationships?
How to support people who use drugs?
Relationships to non-human animals?
when a teenager
What is one thing you wish someone would have told you about God or spirituality when you were a teenager?
That purity culture is bad theology?
Or being queer is not a sin?
Or that God is not an enforcer of rules but a way to collective liberation?
the spiritual life you desire
What is the biggest barrier between you and the spiritual life you desire?
Time? Past experiences with destructive theologies? A lack of community?
the word 'god'
What do you mean when you use the word ‘god?’
The manifestation of Love-Justice?
The Sacred enfleshed?
The Spirit that binds all life together?
to confront white supremacy
What is one thing you believe churches should and can do to confront white supremacy?
At the spiritual/theological level, locally in your community, or through public action at the national level…
name for god
What is your favorite name to use for God?
Co-conspirator? Source of Life? God Who Remembers? Sophia Christ? Queer One?
What matters to you most in a spiritual community?
A set of values? A collective commitment to addressing a particular facet of injustice or prejudice? Authentic relationships? What matters to you most in a spiritual community?
What makes you come alive?
A practice? An art? A movement? A place? A collective contribution? What makes you come alive?
a piece of wisdom
What is one piece of wisdom gifted to you that has shaped how you live?
Perhaps about relationships, faith, identity, pursuing pleasure, or working for collective transformation?
a sacred space
Do you have a sacred space or place you turn to when you need to find some grounding?
A reading nook? A person’s embrace? A place deep in the woods?
uncommon spiritual practices
What is something that isn’t traditionally referred to as a spiritual practice but is one for you?
Cooking? Art? Taking the dog on a stroll? Deepening your understanding and knowledge of an area of your privilege?
What is one thing you know you bring to the world that challenges destructive ideas and systems?
Do you have the patience for bridge-building? Do you have the courage to interrupt everyday prejudices and biases? Are you an artist, a healer, or a poet?
what others can do
What is one thing others can do for you that makes you feel seen, cared for, and supported in community?
Cook you a meal?
Write you a letter?
Advocate for you?
Show up beside you when it mattered?
What are three books that have transformed your understanding of the Sacred?
Theology, fiction, poetry, photography, essay…
songs for grief
What songs do you turn to when you feel heavy with the world’s grief?
a tender whisper
What is one tender phrase you wish you could softly whisper in the direction of anyone struggling today?
you are so very capable of doing courageous things.
simply, you are loved.
you are not alone.
we need each other.
everything can change.
In what ways does your understanding of God challenge toxic masculinity?
What is recognized as sacred? How are people encouraged to be their full selves no matter their gender? How is power understood in relationship to the work of God? How does God manifest power?
understanding of god
Who or what most influences or influenced your understanding of the Divine among and within us?
A Sunday School teacher? A brush with death? The right book at the right time? The accountability of the prophets old or new? God speaks in so many ways…
resisting white supremacy
How does your faith equip you to resist white supremacy?
Does it call you from complacency?
Does it teach you how to relate to those in power, those targeted by power, or systems of evil?
How does God flirt with you?