Over many years, I have been in an on-again, off-again conversation online with a conservative Presbyterian named Joe. As long as I have known him, Joe has been lobbying for his congregation to leave my church, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)—to forsake the mainline for a more clearly conservative Presbyterian denomination. Joe insists that the days […]
The Presbyterian Church (USA) faces difficult discussions ahead. Marriage is once again being is debated and discussed in presbyteries across the country as we consider recommendations from the 221st General Assembly, in particular, recommendation 14F. My thoughts turn to what it will take to inspire gracious, productive conversations about marriage in our church. For me, […]
The pilgrim’s journey has been central to Christian tradition from the beginning. It’s a helpful image for the still unresolved discernment among Christians about the place of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in God’s heart and in the church. We inherited the spiritual practice from the Jews: remember Jesus’ repeated treks to Jerusalem […]
Blessed to be a commissioner to the 221st General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in Detroit this June, I have publicly vowed to vote from start to finish as the majority of the Young Adult Advisory Delegates (YAADs) do. Reaction to this commitment has been mixed, from both older and younger Presbyterians. Some of […]
I became aware of my trust in God when I was thirteen, during an overnight with the daughter of our church’s minister. We weren’t in the same school, but that year her dad taught our confirmation class and we became friends. We had turned the lights out—her mother had asked us to—but, as usual, we […]
While I identify as bisexual, my sexual orientation has been a point of confusion for me throughout my life. In my latest Believe Out Loud piece, I explore the fluidity of my personal experience of gender and how it contributes to whom I am capable of loving.
Creating Change is the annual organizing conference of the National Gay and Lesbian Taskforce. It is big, refreshing, challenging—great for running into old friends and making new ones—and generally awesome. Creating Change shot me home like the ball out of a cannon. Let me try to inspire similar enthusiasm in you by sharing some reflections on my experience there.
On December 16, 2012 my Uncle John died. It is only recently that I have slid comfortably into calling John “uncle.” John was, from before I was born, the beloved “friend” of my father’s oldest brother, my Uncle George. Uncle George passed away in 2000 at the age of 89. They lived in California, so growing up, I knew them only from visits to Pittsburgh – mostly in the fall to enjoy the change of seasons. I have spoken of them often, but not by name. As they have both gone on to Jesus, I think I can now.
I have read, reflected and prayed over Scripture most every day of my adult life. This commitment, woven together with the experiences of my life’s journey – such as marriage, motherhood and my Christian education and service – has moved me closer to knowing God. And yet, as a Presbyterian, I know that I alone could never fully discern God’s mind or will.
Today, my church, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), has the opportunity to join in this response to the loving spirit that is touching hearts across our land. In San Antonio, Texas, the highest court in the 3-tiered judicial system of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is hearing an appeal of a conviction against the Rev. Dr. Janie Spahr.