June is Pride Month for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) communities across the country—and parades abound.
I first saw the rainbow flag of LGBTQ Pride in a church.
American Idol finalist La’Porsha Renae made comments about the LGBTQ community that gave many pause. When asked about the controversial bill that was passed in her home state of Mississippi, Ranae said that she did not agree with any law that would discriminate against anyone.
A little over a year ago, I took part in my first NYC Pride March, having just moved to the city in August 2013. My initial intent was to simply cheer on friends from the sidelines, as I was already exhausted from a weekend packed of Pride activities.
Living today in New York City, my hometown of Calhoun, Georgia, often feels far away.
But when I go home for the holidays and spend time with my friends and family, I’m easily transported back to my childhood, revisiting the house and the town where I spent my most awkward teenaged years willfully ignoring my crushes on girls.
“Your joy is your sorrow unmasked. And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears. And how else can it be? The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain. Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter's oven?
My church, First Church Congregational in Rochester NH, has been "Open and Affirming" (a designation of the United Church of Christ) since 2002.
I have never in my life heard a Pentecost sermon that began in total honesty. A Holy Week homily can easily start with “It is finished.” And who can resist the back-and-forth that begins Easter Sunday sermons around the world: “He is risen!” followed by an emotional “He is risen, indeed!”
The Pentecost story gives preachers no such easy start.
Photo (l-r): Rev. Deb Conklin, Rev. Liv Larson Andrews, Rev. Chris Snow, and Pastor Jan Shannon
The way of the cross is an ancient tradition that retraces the steps of Jesus, remembering his suffering but also remembering the love, hope, and promise into which we are invited to enter.