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Do I Have to Go, Ma?: Musings on the Necessity of Church

Photo by Dan Whitfield from Pexels Church every Sunday is getting tedious. I don’t know if it’s because virtual church spoiled me or what. After all, there’s no commute. No pressure to get dolled up. Hardly any set-up/breakdown time. But of course, I missed going to church in person, just like we’ve all missed living our daily lives with others in person. In fact, only yesterday one of my introvert friends, who might consider herself a homebody, told me she couldn’t wait for everyone else to get their vaccinations so she could leave the house more. Like she said, there’s a difference between choosing to stay home and being forced to stay home. But if I’m being honest? There’s more to my exhaustion for church. It’s not getting in the car, driving, attending, and then going to the next activity. When we were solely online? I usually couldn’t wait to get church over with. Even if my schedule was clear after. Sure, during quarantine, some days I looked forward to the conversational intera
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Jesus Talks about Same-Sex Couples?: A Book Review of Ronald W. Goetz’s “The Galilee Episode: Two Men in One Bed, Two Women Grinding”

Photo by Tim Samuel from Pexels INTRODUCTION Growing up, I wasn’t a stranger to the deep-rooted homophobia in my faith. I’m still not. It’s why I’m only out to a handful of people at my church. (You can read my blog post about that here .) Throughout that time, I’ve heard several scripture verses used repeatedly as evidence that homosexuality is a sin. I’m sure you have too. I’ll name a few: Genesis 1-2 and 19:1-9, Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13, and Romans 1:24-27. People constantly go, “The Bible says…” Then they spew one of these verses without referring to the historical or cultural context of the scripture. That’s problematic. But what bothers me the most is when people quote nothing.  Sometimes they make it up, saying things like, “The Bible says all homosexuals go to hell.” I’m sorry? Which part of scripture is that from? The Gospel of Nonexistence? Verse 0, chapter 0? (Forgive my sass). I have a family member who went to seminary. She had a professor who held up a Bible to his ear e

Love Your Neighbor as Yourself: A Sermon for Valentine’s Day by Rev. Selena Reyes-Martínez, Guest Writer

Photo from Canva Pre-Introduction Ah, February. The month with the one holiday that’s all about love: Valentine’s Day. As a kid, I’m sure you remember handing out valentines to every single other student in your elementary school class. But it was always such a thrill to give the one to your crush, right? Though you desperately hoped they wouldn’t know they were your crush, while also simultaneously hoping they would. Not only that, but many of us probably made special valentines for our parents too. That’s exactly what I experienced before the next stage, which was actually having a date for Valentine’s. That didn’t even happen until senior year of high school! After years of enjoying having a significant other for Valentine’s, though, I finally found myself single again. I really thought I'd be depressed. Now, don’t get me wrong. I was nostalgic for and saddened by the failed relationships I’ve had. In all honesty, though, it’s kind of funny how my view of this holiday has come

My Happy New Year: How My Resolution is Helping Me Start 2021

Photo by Olya Kobruseva from Pexels Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be happy. It’s a question I’m sure everyone’s asked themselves during their lives, right? Why am I thinking about happiness so much now, though? It’s because of my New Year's resolution. Let me back up. New Years is my favorite holiday. Most commercialized holidays spew gifts and involve too much shopping. But New Year’s is about hope, growth, and self-improvement. In general, people walk around with high expectations and optimistic views of the upcoming future. Take away the overindulging of alcohol. Remove expectations for a kiss. (Both of which I did without this year). What did the holiday become? A breath of fresh air to my wallet and psyche. Side note: For those reading this post in the years to come, I’m writing this with the 2020 to 2021 mindset. Anyway, now that I’ve put that in perspective, I’m sure you can see what I mean. People were looking forward to the end of 2020. All th

Abundantly Encouraged: A Book Review of Derek Rydall’s “The Abundance Project”

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels Introduction Have you been to a book club? In my experience, this is what they’re like.   There’s a selected chapter weekly or a book monthly. Then you meet to either analyze it or answer designated questions.   Sound normal to you?   The last one I attended (virtually because of COVID, of course) was for The Abundance Project: 40 Days to More Wealth, Health, Love, and Happiness , by Derek Rydall. I will admit that calling it a book club doesn't do it justice because we did more than just read, analyze, and answer questions.   Turns out, it was a book transformational study.   My friend Sandy Munroe made sure we took Rydall’s challenges to heart with her group. Then we described our experiences, providing support for one another and piggybacking off each other’s observations. In addition, we concluded with a meditation to bring that chapter’s lessons to a close.   It was heartening to watch the growth with my group members by the end, including myse