Judas: The First Recipient of the First Eucharist

This piece originally appeared on the Huffington Post. During Holy Week last year I was asked by my priest to offer a reflection at one of the evening services. The passage described Judas’ betrayal of Jesus, as described in John 13:21-32. It is a dark story, in a dark week, which finally erupts into a great light. I decided that the best way to start was to search the gospel accounts and find out what we know about Judas. Here’s what I learned: He was chosen as one of the original twelve apostles, and was keeper of the purse. He did at least some good works, like feeding the poor. He was given the authority to cast out demons and heal the sick. He was sent out to proclaim the good news. In

Let Me be a Washer of Feet

The timing is right for sharing this Maundy Thursday experience from a few years ago, because I received an angry, threatening tweet from a reader of one of my LGBTQ+ affirming HuffPost pieces this morning. It was a good reminder of the stance I need to take. Last night's Holy Thursday service was a gorgeous mix of joy and sorrow. We celebrated the institution of the Eucharist and the new priesthood. We washed feet and were washed. We watched the stripping of the altar. And then we mimicked the slow plod to Gethsemane. We began in light, and ended in darkness. We closed by pretending our willingness to stay with him in that garden, singing the Taizé piece "Stay with me". As usual, I wept dur

Today's Reader Feedback Made Us Cry

Today we heard from the Board president of a coalition of faith organizations which welcome, affirm, and include LGBTQ+ people in New England. He and his fiancé have been working their way through Where True Love Is together, and he now wants to get copies for each member congregation in the coalition. Here's what he had to say about the devotional: Thank you so much for WTLI; it's not only the best LGBT devotional I have read, I consider it a must read for all Christians. I think I am going to be buying a bunch for Christmas presents. ... The people I am planning to give it to will read it. And I think they will be moved some. You use logic and theology and reason...I have no words to des

What Transgender People Need from Churches

This post originally appeared on the Reconciling Ministries Network website. Recently, I attended the Spring Awakening event organized by the Missouri Conference Reconciling United Methodists. It was my first time at an RMN function, and my wife and I were thrilled to meet wonderful people who are all working toward social justice and inclusion for the LGBTQ community. The centerpiece of the day was a panel discussion. The panel was composed primarily of transgender people, but two others also participated. The first was the mother of a young trans man, and the second was the director of the Washington University Transgender Clinic. The discussion was insightful, but one question captured my

What Happens When You Hide Your Light Under a Bushel?

“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 5:13-16) A few years ago I read this passage from Matthew in an entirely new way. Previously I'd just envisioned a basket being plopped on top, and the light being blocked. But

What Makes Traditional Marriage Traditional?

(A version of this piece first appeared on the Marriage Revolution blog.) I've been thinking about the phrase "traditional marriage", and wondering how the concept of "traditional" is being applied. I concluded that it must be related to time; the length of a practice and its repetition renders something a tradition. And so I decided to look at the "one man, one woman" argument, commonly known as "traditional marriage," from the perspective of time. Turns out polygyny (one man, more than one woman) was alive and well in Christianity until relatively recently. Paul counseled that church leaders have only one wife, which makes it pretty clear that it wasn't a requirement for regular Christians

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