A #BLM Pentecost

TW: police brutality and black violence/death

This Sunday marks the Christian holiday Pentecost, celebrating the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles and followers of Christ, forty-nine days after Jesus’s Easter resurrection.

Pentecost is a joyful celebration, marking the “birthday” of the Christian church and offering us a time to revel in the mystery and wonder of God. Denominations celebrate in a variety of ways including fasting, utilizing the color red to signify the fires of the Holy Spirit, and singing songs and hymns inviting the Holy Spirit to breathe upon us again.

This Pentecost, it feels odd to celebrate and be joyful during such a tumultuous time. We are in the midst of a global pandemic, which is stressful enough. However, we are also experiencing ongoing police brutality against black and brown bodies. Protestors are gathering in the streets to memorialize black men, women, and queers, and to demand justice for their murders. An odd moment to pause and reflect on the joy of Pentecost …

But maybe we can reimagine the celebration. We can practice our celebratory traditions in more meaningful ways while mourning and grieving alongside our siblings.

During our fasting prayers, we can pray and reign down the Spirit for justice, mercy, and righteousness to bring the perpetrators of violence to justice.
We can utilize and wear the color red to signify the fires of the Holy Spirit and to signify the blood of our black siblings being shed in the streets.
We can sing songs and hymns inviting the Holy Spirit to breathe upon us again, and inviting the Holy Spirit to spare the breath of more people. Those infamous words of “I can’t breathe” have been screamed from dying bodies as the breath left them and their soul ascended.
We can ask the Holy Spirit to breathe its own breath of justice and righteousness into bodies, ones that will inevitably be marked for violence because of the color of their skin. And still to other bodies, giving them the ability to scream out in protest of others’ lost breath.

We celebrate Pentecost in remembrance of the spiritual awakening of the Christian people. Over 2000 years later, we are in desperate need of another spiritual awakening. Denominations of all types have been complicit for far too long in the violence perpetrated against God’s children.

This Pentecost, I urge Christians, especially white Christians, to pray down the fires of the Holy Spirit: to protect God’s vulnerable children; to bring justice to the families of the precious children of God that were taken from them; to bring reform – and abolition, where needed – to the systems that target God’s most vulnerable people.

I also urge us to be still and pray. Pray and ask how we have been complicit in oppressing God’s people. Pray for guidance about how to do and be better. Pray about where our skills and money are needed. Pray for peace, and love, and justice in our world, but also pray for how to couple those fruits with tangible action. Pray about how to be actively anti-racist, not just against racism.

Read Matthew 21 and Mark 11, recognizing Jesus’s “violent” protest in the Temple at the mistreatment of holy ground. Now imagine what Jesus’s reaction would be to the mistreatment of holy bodies.

Pentecost is the birthplace of the Christian tradition. It should also be the birthplace of the reawakening of our souls and actions for righteous justice.

For information about the history of the police and their brutality against black people:
Britannica on the history of police brutality
Time article on the racist history of the police
Medium article on policing’s history from the slave economy

Funds to donate to:
George Floyd Memorial Fund
Equal Justice Initiative
Minnesota Freedom Fund
Black Visions Collective
Black Youth Project

I Left My Heart on the Hiking Trail

The thing that hurts the most
about becoming disabled
after twenty years of “health”

it’s not the difficulty in dating
the hurtful comments and stares
or having to ask for help with the most mundane of tasks

but rather the powerlessness to explore the earth
the inability to set out into the wilderness
and just go

The feeling of the ground welcoming my feet
the power I have in my hiking boots

strong, powerful legs gripping down into the dirt
scampering across rocks in the briskly running creek

sculpted arms drawing me across boulders
climbing up and up, never bothering to look down

Setting out on an adventure
Bilbo with his map bounding through the valley

breathing in the crisp mountain air
the mist from the creek dewing my skin

with each step, my mind emptying
leaving behind my worries with the altitude

My soul longs
it is starving

to race up a mountain
to trek up even just a hill
to find itself amongst the clouds

I wonder if I’ll ever feel that rush
or taste the heavens

On Tears, Or the Lack Thereof

I passed a fawn on the side of the road
tongue sticking out attempting to lick the pavement
legs cockeyed bucking the long-gone car
I sobbed at the loss of life
and had to pull over because the tears
just kept falling like the sheets of rain
that pour down in High Country summers

I hit a squirrel and cried for the next mile
mourning the innocence that jumped out
just before I could swerve or even process its existence
on its way to store nuts for the coming brutal winter
with a family back home awaiting his arrival

D. crawled into my lap and promised me
he would share his Halloween spoils because
“it’s crazy adults can’t get candy”
nestling his tiny hands into mine
resting his sweet blonde head against my chest
falling asleep to the deep breaths behind my gentle sobs
oblivious to the trickling tears he had caused

I watched Lord of the Rings for the twenty-fourth time
and weeped when Arwen stepped onto the boat
destining Aragorn to a mortal life without his love
leaving behind her Evenstar to protect him
because the impending war between Evil and the race of Men
was too much for the Elves
the pure creatures that they are
to bear

In the span of one year
I cried four times

What is it that causes me
to choke up over
dead animals
compassionate children
fictional love

even after the fighting
and being left behind

I still can’t cry over you

The First Closet

In the beginning

when Yhwh created the heavens and the earth
darkness concealed the beings in the ambry
hiding under the rafters
while a wind from Yhwh swept over the beings

then Yhwh said
“let there be light”
and there was light

Yhwh called the light Freedom
and the darkness They called Closet

and there was authenticity
and there was hiding

the first binary


then Yhwh said
“let us make humxnkind in our own image and likeness
let there be us and them in one being”

so Yhwh created humxnkind in Their image
in the male and female image of Yhwh
They created them

the first spectrum


Yhwh blessed them
and Yhwh said
“be fruitful and fill the earth
and live in it
and love in it”

and it was so

Yhwh saw everyone They had made
and indeed they were very good

and the beings went forth
and were fruitful
and filled the earth

and lived in it
and loved in it

they found each other in their own likeness
and went forth and prospered

they lived and they loved
communing together and sharing
in the blessings of Yhwh

You are altogether beautiful, my darling
there is no flaw in you

A bountiful garden is my love
a fountain overflowing for me

Their rounded thighs are stone pillars
the work of a master creator
Their belly is an ebbing sea
soft and adorned with lilies’ stems
Their two breasts are small knit pillows
welcoming my head to lay
Their channel is a well of living water
flowing streams of sweet nectar

I taste them
and I am revived
reminded of the goodness of Yhwh
to entrust me with such a love

I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine
Make haste to me, my love

and Yhwh saw that the union was good
and They blessed it


and then the enemy came

slithering out from behind the Tree
into their souls
turning them against one another

spreading lies of heresy
and destruction
and fear

Yhwh berated the serpent
but They could not intervene
as the humxns partook

in tearing lovers apart
shaming them
and forbidding their unions

the first sin

and the lovers were sent

into the darkness
into the ambry

under the rafters
bound to the binary

de- & reconstruction


losing faith
walking out of unwelcoming spaces
pleading with the deity for answers
hearing nothing


solid foundation
building blocks
putting the pieces back together
examining each one
throwing out the ones that don’t hold up
finding how i fit into the puzzle


walking hesitantly back into community
challenging bad theology
inviting others in
worshipping with abandon
childlike simple faith
peace, joy, hope

A Litany | In Remembrance of Rachel Held Evans, and in Response to Bethel’s #OnceGay Movement

This past Spring, the Christian faith community lost a powerhouse of a woman — Rachel Held Evans. She was a woman of valor, a source of light in the darkest of times, and the friend so many of us didn’t even know we had. We looked to her for spiritual guidance, allyship, and inspiration in the face of tragedy.
She stepped out in faith before many other straight Christians to affirm LGBTQ+ folk in their identity and their place in the Christian faith. After her passing, the community mourned collectively. Queer+ Christians flocked to share how Rachel inspired them and what her allyship meant to their own personal faith.

In the last couple of weeks, Bethel Church in Redding, CA, has been promoting their “Changed Movement.” Although more digestible than similar historical movements, it is an ex-gay ‘community’ thinly veiled with ‘accepting’ theology. While not outright anti-gay, the message they are preaching is that God cannot love you as you are, and you must change in order to be acceptable to God and the Christian faith.Continue reading “A Litany | In Remembrance of Rachel Held Evans, and in Response to Bethel’s #OnceGay Movement”

Staying Safe

Kiss your partner before you open the door.
Make sure the blinds are closed.

Once you step into the harsh outside world,
don’t show affection and don’t look back.

With your keys poised between your fingers,
like your life depends on it.

When you get home,
lock the door.

Check out the window for moving figures.
Double check the lock.

Suffer through the heat at night
because it’s safer than
opening the balcony door.

     Continue reading “Staying Safe”

Rainbow Church

I wrote this during Spring Break of sophomore year of college. My roommates had all gone back home, I was holed up in my little apartment amongst the blizzard-ridden Blue Ridge Mountains, and I was desperately searching for a faith community that would accept and comfort me among the secret I was hiding. I needed support, and I needed it fast — before I spiraled into utter self hatred, spurred on by internalized homophobia, courtesy of the evangelical church.Continue reading “Rainbow Church”