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National convocation is almost a month away!

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In honor of tomorrow’s International Drag Day, here is one of many reasons you need to join the Network at RMN’s national convocation, ChurchQuake, over Labor Day weekend… Carmen-Vira Di Va.

Carmen is a drag entertainer based in Los Angeles, and has traveled all over the country to perform and make guest appearances. Her work draws on the influence of Latin American divas and old Hollywood glam. In her words, “Drag is the intersection of religion, spirit, and body.” Through her drag, Carmen aspires to be an ambassador to the LGBT community bringing a positive message about beauty and spirit.

Other ChurchQuake entertainers include: Dr. Ysaye M. Barnwell, Sile P. Singleton (LUSTER), History in the Making of Entertainment (HiTM ENT), Takisha (KELO) Dower, Dsquared, and Tom Goss.

Also, be sure to read Joy Butler’s testimony on her first time attending a convocation!

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Have Blacks Lost Faith in The Justice System?

– by Dr. Rev. Pamela Lightsey –

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I am not stunned by the verdict in the Zimmerman trial. Angered but not stunned. In addition, I neither respect this verdict nor have “faith” in the American justice system. Like the Martin family, I pray about justice to the only One in whom I have absolute faith.

Faith is acceptance and confidence in something, someone, and especially in God. Theologically, faith is assurance in the One who has given evidence of justice and loving care for all creation.

The American justice system has historically not shown evidence of its full commitment to justice for its Black citizens. The justice to be found in “the system” is realized only at our insistence. This is true because justice, in this realm of life, is rarely fair and for Blacks it frequently is blind not for the sake of objectivity but because those charged with implementing its guidelines are too often blinded by either racism or their lack of cultural sensitivity…

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Marriage Anxieties

– by Kurt Karandy, II –

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I am extremely anxious about marriage equality.

My concern is not about any specious claim that same-sex marriage damages society, nor does it stem from any internalized sense of self-loathing or shame.

My unease is over the central position that marriage occupies in contemporary movements for LGBT rights in America.

Endorsing same-sex marriage, or “marriage equality” as it is popularly referred, has become the primary indicator of one’s support for LGBT people and our civil rights. When politicians want to show they are champions of LGBT people, they endorse marriage equality.

Even in The United Methodist Church, much energy in the LGBT movement has shifted towards marriage equality. Some local churches—such as Foundry UMC, the church in which I worshipped regularly while residing in D.C.—declared they would marry same-sex couples because they believe this is an issue of pastoral care. Others vow that they would not perform any marriages until all are able to marry. I applaud the courage that guides both of these prayerful decisions.

Attention to marriage also occupies a significant focus of the Biblical Obedience witness sponsored by the Reconciling Ministries Network. As I scroll through the list of signers of the Altars for All petition, I’m proud to see many familiar names from across the Connection. I commend them for their witness.

Yet I remain anxious. Not anxious that the goal that these United Methodists agitate will never come to fruition, for it is really only a matter of time. No, I am anxious because marriage as the centerpiece of the movement has focused on a narrative about equal treatment to heterosexuals…

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Devotion through Dysphoria

– by Mary Leet –

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Back in the middle school years, I used to worry that I didn’t look or act like everyone else. I spent a ton of time in front of the mirror trying to learn to change my face with makeup, and even though my personality didn’t suit it, I spent lots of my parent’s money on the clothes that were trendy at the time. When these attempts to blend in didn’t work, I got pretty upset sometimes. And my mom would smile at me and hand me some makeup remover, softly reminding me that “God don’t make no junk.”

As I grew up, that stuck with me. When my first girlfriend left, when I failed a geometry test, when I realized I wanted to study writing despite the barren field of jobs available to me, my mother made sure I remembered that I was exactly what God wanted me to be. But that got a little bit harder to believe when I first started becoming aware of my gender identity.

Even within the LGBT community, the T gets forgotten often. Transgender doesn’t just include Male to Female and Female to Male, but is actually an umbrella under which a whole world of gender identities is included. The more time spent in meditation and prayer as I’ve struggled to understand myself, the more I’ve continued to realize that I don’t feel strongly connected to either end of the spectrum. My identity is genderqueer, as I feel I am neither and both all at the same time… 

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In case you missed it…

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Mobilizing United Methodists of all sexual orientations and gender identities to transform our Church and world into the full expression of Christ’s inclusive love.

 

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