A white man walked into a church…

but, this is no f*cking joke, people.

this is for freaking real.

a white man walked into an african methodist episcopal church in charleston, south carolina last night and killed nine people. murdered them. because they were black.

charleston shooting

photo from cnn.com

i’m so pissed. and so exhausted. sick from all of the violence. all of the hate.

how many people have to be killed before we wake up? how much more hate can we tolerate? and, honestly, what the hell can we do about it?

if i continue typing right now, i’ll just say the same things over + over again. so, i’m gonna let you read my friend’s (alex), words instead. this is from her post on Facebook. she nailed it.

“What the fuck is wrong with people?! I’m angry. I’m tired of compassion. I’m tired of forgiveness. I’m tired of empathy. Because it’s not fucking working. Saying, “We’ve come so far since the 50s and 60s” is just an excuse in my eyes at this point. Because this is unacceptable. Hate crimes are unacceptable. Police brutality is unacceptable. Racial profiling is unacceptable. Less pay for equal work is unacceptable. Sideways glances are unacceptable.

If you’re sitting on your couch thinking, “Well at least they can vote and go to the same schools and not be turned away for service at a restaurant and live in peace.” WAKE THE FUCK [UP]. We have Voter ID bills passing in state legislation left and right — to disenfranchise minority voters. We have gerrymandered school districts and poverty stricken areas of cities that have underfunded schools and teachers from the bottom of the barrel because we don’t pay them enough to care — all of which are serving a majority of the minority population. We have religious freedom bills passing all over the place that will undoubtedly be used by racist, hate-filled business owners and employees against people because of the color of their skin. AND PEOPLE ARE BEING MURDERED. All of the time.

So stop saying things are better than they were fifty years ago and then doing nothing because you figure it’ll work itself out. Stand up for ALL your neighbors. Stand up when you hear a friend say something racist. Stand up to YOUR OWN racist thoughts and actions. Have those uncomfortable conversations with people. Go to vigils for our fallen friends and neighbors of all races. Show up. Be a warm body in the crowd. Otherwise there’s going to be even more cold bodies dead in the streets and you on your couch running out of excuses.

I mourn these losses in Charleston. And I’m again invigorated to see this through to the other side. Because I believe it’s possible. But it will take every single one of us standing up for what is right in order to make it happen. Are you willing to be a part of this movement?”

you know, it’s infuriating. it’s mind-boggling. and it leaves me feeling helpless + overwhelmed.

but, there is something that we can do. there is something that you can do. there is something that i can do.

black lives matter (1)

photo from my trip to washington, dc in january

i’m talking to you, my fellow americans; and to you, my fellow swedes (where the racist party just keeps growing in numbers in sweden), and to you, my fellow global brothers + sisters.

it doesn’t matter how big or how little your gesture is, just spread the love. spread the peace. make a fucking difference in your life. shine a little light somewhere. anywhere. lead a revolution or just share a smile. but, just freaking do something. (mind you, i’m talking to myself too).

things can change. it is possible. it really, really, really is.

so, join the movement.

spread a message of love and live a life that reflects the belief that ALL LIVES MATTER. let us create together a better, safer, more tolerate, peaceful, just, equal world. it’s time for a change.

i’m in. are you?

onwards + upwards! xoxo

the day that love came to north carolina

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here we are. in 2010. at a rally for marriage equality in raleigh, north carolina. 

yesterday was day one in north carolina.

what does that mean? it means that it was the first day, ever, that same sex couples were finally treated as equals. the first day that same-sex couples received the right to file for marriage licenses and get married. and the first day that my love and i were legally, officially, recognized as a married couple in my home state.

it’s been a long time coming, and for a while, i wondered how long we would have to wait to be able to have the right to marry and build a life with the one that we love. but, tonight i saw same sex couples getting married in asheville, north carolina. like legally married. not a commitment ceremony, but a real live, legal marriage. with paperwork from the government and all. in north carolina!


it’s a long legal story, that sped up in intensity this past monday after a ruling in virginia struck down the law that defined marriage as only between a man and a women. in other words, it was unconstitutional (illegal). that ruling opened the door for other states to also strike down their own bans on same-sex marriage. north carolina has had a ban on gay marriage for a while now, but i didn’t really believe that the law would be stuck down anytime soon.

so, after a lot of drama and a lot of waiting, and hoping, and wishing, and last ditch political and horrific stalling tactics by republican, and almost giving up, at the last minute on friday night, a judge in north carolina ruled that the ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional (because of what happened in virginia on monday). and then, within minutes, same- sex marriages were allowed to begin. I couldn’t believe it when i saw it in my twitter feed.


when i saw the news on twitter… i ran to lina. we stood in amazement. just looking at each other. suddenly, within a flash, our marriage was recognized in our state. suddenly we were a married couple in north carolina – with rights and privileges. not just two girls living together. but, legitimately married. it felt amazing. and i could hardly breathe.


here we are, literally minutes after same sex marriage became legal in north carolina last night. we had to celebrate with a photo of a real, live, legally recognized married couple!

the government offices where you get marriage licenses stayed open late all across the state after the ruling in favor of same sex marriages. and couples poured in to get their licenses, and then immediately get married. there were ministers and clergy available everywhere to marry people right on the spot.

we decided to hop in the car and head down to the government building to be a part of this historic moment, and when we arrived, we saw that there were people milling about everywhere. couples were scattered in groups on the stairs in front of the building, getting married right there. other couples cheered them on. lina and i joined in. it is unbelievable how this truly affects the lives of so many people and so many families. it is so amazing that this has happened. that it is real.

to be clear, lina and i do not have to get married again. we were married in sweden almost 5 years ago, and as of last night, that marriage is now legal in north carolina! so, no ceremonies for us. only celebrations that our love and our marriage is something that is real and valid and recognized now. *deep breath* amazing.

here are photos of the wedding ceremonies and celebrations happening just after the ruling. it was so emotional and powerful and unbelievable…

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the rest of the photos are not mine. i pulled them off of different places on twitter. but, it shows you just some of the couples in asheville that got marriage licenses and got married. what a huge, mind-blowing, heart-exploding day! look at how cute these couples are – and they (along with lina and i) get to celebrate their love – and be recognized as full, legitimate spouses!

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yep. yesterday was day one. the day that love came to north carolina. the day that equality and justice won. i am so proud. so excited. and so overjoyed. and you know what else? it really did feel different walking around today, holding my love’s, my wife’s, hand – knowing that we are not just two women who live together. but, in the eyes of the law of north carolina and the united states, we are legally married. it is a binding contract, affording us the same rights and privileges as opposite gender couples. and i cannot adequately describe to you how incredible this feels.

yesterday, love won.

light + love

my response to your response.

whoa. i am overwhelmed by the response i have had after telling my story about my experience with the UMC and LGBT issues. you people are truly amazing.

thank you!

more than anything, though, i thank you for sharing and spreading my post – on Facebook and twitter and your blogs. keep sharing! but, not to up my readership, in order to get my story out there in an effort to bring about change. i seriously want to speak up for the other LGBT candidates for minister, ministers, and individuals who also find themselves alienated and confused with their home church. so, i’m going to keep writing and posting as much as i can, in as many places as i can. i am going to do what i can, in my way, to bring about change. i promise that.

as for me, just so you know, i am very satisfied and happy with my life right now. i am not pining away, crying in the corner because i am not ordained. while all that has happened surround my inability to be ordained in the UMC has been painful and difficult, i am so certain of the path that i am on. i have left the idea of ordination behind, not so much because i can’t do it = others have kept me from doing it; but i have left it behind because i have taken time in the past few years to search my soul, listen to the silence, and discern my calling to ministry. and what i have come up with is that i do not feel that i must be ordained in order to do ministry. and that comes from my evolving definition of ministry.


at one point, a long time ago, i learned about the idea of the priesthood of all believers, which is simply the idea that all people all called to ministry of some sort of another. that each of us have passions, gifts, and things to offer to the world that we can use, and are called to use, to make this world a better place, to spread love. all of us. each of us, you and i, have amazing things about us that make a difference to others. why wouldn’t we discover them and use them? and when we do, then we are engaging in ministry – no matter what: faith or no faith, UMC or any other denomination, religion or no religion.

and, since i believe in the idea of the priesthood of all believers, then i am called to ministry every day, and i take part in doing ministry every day that i am being true to myself – and for me that includes writing, mentoring, talking, listening…

ordained ministers are ministers just like everyone else, in the sense that they are called to ministry. what makes them different (in the UMC point of view) is that they are ordained = “set apart” for a lifetime of ministry. and by that, i mean that they have been educated, supported, encouraged, and felt a call from within to live and serve the church with their entire lives. something that i felt and experienced, up to the ordained part. however, after much thought and reflection (and based on my experiences), for me, ordained or not… i am called to a lifetime of ministry no different from my ordained brothers and sisters. i am called to share my gifts, talents, passions throughout my whole life. even though i may not be “set apart” as someone to work in a church, my ministry is something that exists beyond the church organization. this is just something that i have discerned for myself, i am certainly not knocking ordination or my ordained colleagues. this is simply how i hear god calling me at this point in my life.


there is one thing that i do want to do, though, that might make my ministry more “professional”. something that i have felt called to for a while now. it’s something that i have been considering since i was in seminary 6-7 years ago. one of my professors brought it up, and it resonated so deeply with my soul, though i had no idea how it fit into my life. and haven’t had any idea how to incorporate it into my life… until now.

i want to seek certification as a spiritual guide/mentor. i want to attend a 2 year program, exploring all kinds of spirituality and counseling techniques, so that i can be certified and able to offer my ministry of presence, writing, and mentorship to others in a more professional setting – even through my own practice, perhaps. as i said, this is something that i have felt inside of me for a while now, and i seriously want to consider beginning a program in the new year. mind you, i am not certain that i want to be connected to any denomination or faith, but i also do not want to just be flying about out there on my own.

so, for now. ordination in the UMC is not possible. and by principle, that is totally not ok. but, it is ok in my life right now. it is also not time for me to consider ordination in another denomination that allows me to be ordained, though many people have suggested that i “switch” churches.

what does feel right is to explore the possibility of becoming a certified spiritual direction/guide/mentor. so, that’s what i am going to do.

and what more can i say to all of you, than, i appreciate more than you will ever know, your support, your encouragement, and your presence in my life and on this blog. thank you from the bottom of my heart and my soul for journeying with me as i seek to be faithful to who i am called to be, learning more and more as each day passes.


open hearts? no. open minds? no. open doors? no. open wounds? yes!

friends, it’s happening again. love is on trial. you know, when people get together and begin to decide who is right and who is wrong. who gets to love whom. who gets to get married and to whom. and, in this case, who gets to do the marrying.

if you don’t know this already, here is a little background info on me:

  • i grew up in the united methodist church, and am still a member. though, not so active now.
  • the methodist church has always been a church that focuses on grace, love, and social issues, leading civil rights issues in the 60s. i felt at home here.
  • my granddad was a methodist minister, and i wanted to be just like him. he has always been my inspiration.
  • so, i decide to pursue this calling and was offered a job in a church a long time ago.
  • as of today, i have worked as a minister in a united methodist church (umc) for a total of 10 years.
  • during that time i studied theology and ministry at an african methodist seminary – an amazing, life-changing, world-opening, theology-busting experience.
  • i planned on being ordained in the umc – like an ordained minister, pastor, preacher, minister kinda person.
  • so to recap: i worked as a minister (unordained) for 8 years. i had a master’s of divinity degree. i jumped through all the hoops over all the years to become an ordained minister. i felt called to this, from deep within my soul. i was ready.
  • i met an amazing woman & fell in love.
  • soon, we got married and i was happier than i’d ever been. yes. woman + woman = love.
  • when i got married i was in my last step of ordination = i had completed the 4 year process of seminary, plus all of the paperwork and approvals by various groups & committees.
  • at a final committee meeting to approve to send me to the last committee before ordination (provisional is the fancy term), i mentioned that i was moving to sweden.
  • no problem, they all said. the umc is in sweden so i could still complete my process.
  • the problem came when i said that i was married. and used the words “wife” and “lina”, indicating that i was married to a woman.
  • the meeting abruptly stopped and i was asked to leave the room due to the fact that i violated a rule in the book of discipline (the rule book for the umc).
  • the rule, you ask? the umc will not ordain anyone who professes that they love and/or are living with someone of the same sex because it is “incompatible with christian teaching.”
  • after some time, someone came to get me and the committee gave me 2 options:
  • 1. since i had said that i was married to a woman out loud, and that is against the rules = no lgbt person can be ordained in the methodist church who says they are in any lgbt relationship, then i could pull my candidacy and quit the process myself. OR
  • 2. i could continue to say that i want to be ordained, follow my calling and what i feel is right for my life, and leave my fate up to the committee to decide = make them de-certify me as a candidate for ministry and say that i am no longer fit or worthy to be ordained.
  • guess what i chose? yep. 2. there was no way in hell i was giving up and quitting. they would have to force me out and deny my the right to be ordained.
  • and they did just that.
  • all because of who i loved. and because i said that i loved her.
  • never mind all the years of work in a church, all the years of studies, and endorsements from others (including some in that room).
  • never mind that i was exactly the same person that i had always been, even the same person as 1 minute before i said that i was married to lina. i did not change. i have not changed. i am still me, with all my gifts and passions and ways to help the world & the church. i still have all of the same things to offer. but, never fucking mind.
  • that was that. the end. candidacy over.
  • ordination was no impossible.
  • i was crushed.
  • and then i was pissed.

today the methodist church was at it again. only this time is was not against a person who was married to/in a relationship with the same sex. this time, it was a man, a methodist minister, who performed a wedding ceremony for his son and his son’s, now, husband.

Frank Schaefer

yep. the umc does not only discriminate against those who want to be ministers and are in same-sex relationships, like me, but they will not allow any of their current ordained ministers to perform any same-sex marriages. another rule in the book. but, this minister, this dad, broke that rule, saying that he was ministering out of love – and that the love overrides, overrules the ban on same-sex marriage. good for him!

how can a church say that people in same-sex relationships can not get ordained and can not get married, but are still “welcome” to be in the church and are worthy, just like everyone else? it’s a mixed message. and it’s just freaking wrong. it’s exclusionary. and, i do believe that jesus, who the church follows (not a rule book!), always INCLUDED everyone. exclusion was not in his vocabulary. so, why is the umc so exclusive?

well, the minister that performed the wedding for his son was put on trial yesterday. yes, the methodist church has a judicial system, to make it more democratic – which is a good thing. potentially. yesterday the court ruled that the minister was guilty of violating the law of the book. again – the book, not jesus. where are the freaking priorities here?!

and today, just a few minutes ago, to be exact, the minister’s fate was decided. the jury decided that the minister is suspended for 30 days and that at the end of his 30 days, he must repent (say he is sorry and he did wrong), or else he must turn in his ministerial orders = be stripped of his ordination. no longer a minister in the methodist church. all because of a wedding.

you see, the jury did a cowardly thing today. the jury decided not to take a stand on this divisive issue and make a real ruling. they didn’t want him to continue to be a minister, but they didn’t want to defrock him and strip away his orders either. so they took the easy ass way out. gave him a suspension and then said HE had to decide what to do. that’s just bs and exactly what the umc seems to be all about – let’s take the middle road and not offend. let’s see if we can navigate in the middle and make everyone happy, or better yet, just not make any strong statement for or against anything. gaaahh. infuriating!

hmm… reminds me of my “choice”. that committee who was dealing with me did not want to de-certify me as a candidate for ministry. there were many amazing people on that committee, who i know loved me, and were very sad to see the situation come up. but, i was not about to let the umc off too easy. it was not me that had changed my mind – i still wanted to be ordained. i was determined to force the book of discipline force me out. i was determined to make the committee deal with the issue. and they did. they chose to follow the book.

on the one hand, i understand. but i also understand that there are many who, like me, disagree with certain rules in the book, but still uphold it. and here’s where i am with that now: nothing will change unless we stand up and make it change. if we keep disagreeing and, yet, still keep following the things we disagree with, then we will remain a church that is divided and focused on excluding people because of our need to follow the rules. i pretty sure jesus wasn’t too concerned about rules that seemed to be unjust. or, rather, he was concerned with them. he blew right past them, ignored them, and taught others that there is a more just way. he stood for something and made a difference, risking even his life for things that no one around him understood. when will you, umc, follow in the footsteps of jesus?

what does warm my heart ever-so-slightly in the midst of all of this, is reading twitter and seeing the resolve of so many ordained ministers who are saying that they, too, will refuse to follow the entire book of discipline. that they will stand up and take that chance. maybe, just maybe. one day there will be a change, if enough people get up enough courage. i’m sorry, brothers & sisters in ministry, i would join you, if i was ordained. i’d stand up.

so, i am pissed again today. and disappointed. and glad that i have stepped away somewhat from the church. i know that it is all about making change and staying in so that change can come from within, but you know what? they wouldn’t let me in. and i am/was not called to be a lay person in the umc. i am/was called to be an ordained minister. so, for now, i have no place there. i’ve been kicked out. and that’s fine. i’ll keep sending letters and pleading my case. but, i can’t do it from the inside, because they won’t let me in.

being stripped of my candidacy happened almost 4 years ago. and the wounds are still fresh. and every time something like this trial comes up again in the life of the umc, i am hopeful. i hope that there will be a change, that more people will say screw the book and let’s love the people. but, it doesn’t happen. there are plenty of people who are saying it, but it’s not happening. so, every time there is a new trial or a new part of this old controversy, my wounds gape even wider. it hurts. it stings. and i move further and further away from the church that i knew and loved.

i just can’t do it. there are too many other places where i am wanted and needed and able to make my mark. so, that’s what i am doing.

but, my heart still aches. i miss my church. and i am so. very. disappointed. the church seems to have no idea how this affects people. i keep dragging these feelings and emotions of unworthiness and confusion around with me, like heavy chains. most of the time i can forget about them, or i have grown used to them, but every now and then, on days like today, i am reminded that i am not welcome as i am. i am reminded that, though i did everything right, i fell in love with the “wrong” person (according to the church) and “broke” a “rule”.

and then i get pissed again. because, i am not in the wrong. love is never, ever wrong. listen to me: love is never, ever wrong.

but, tonight. i am done. it hurts too much. the pain will never heal. it will keep getting easier, but there will always be a hole in my heart. all i ever wanted was to give my life to the umc, but they wouldn’t have me.

still, i must move on and forward. and leave this all behind. it’s done. and i will never ever, not for one second, regret being true to who i am, for having the integrity and courage to say that just because i love a woman, does NOT mean that i am not worthy of ministering.

i guess the umc will just miss out on my ministry. but, god will not. and the world will not. because faith, love, hope, and service are bigger than the methodist church.

peace. justice, and love for all.

wednesday wisdom. the words of cornel west.

photo from pinterest.

photo from pinterest.

“The country is in deep trouble. We’ve forgotten that a rich life consists fundamentally of serving others, trying to leave the world a little better than you found it. We need the courage to question the powers that be, the courage to be impatient with evil and patient with people, the courage to fight for social justice. In many instances we will be stepping out on nothing, and just hoping to land on something. But that’s the struggle. To live is to wrestle with despair, yet never allow despair to have the last word.” ~ Cornel West

cornel west is a political activist, philosopher, theologian, author, and all-around amazing person, in my opinion. his words will leave you shaking and squirming in your seat – challenging you to truly live a life of love and justice and integrity. calling you to question everything, to look at this world with a critical eye, to get yourself all mixed up with the messiness of life – like a great blues & jazz musician, to stand up straight, to raise your voice, and to never, ever lose hope.

in the end, after listening to cornel west last night at the university of north carolina at asheville (UNCA – my love’s uni), i was left with one burning question:

what kind of person am i gonna be?

peace, justice, and love.

i will always believe that peace is the answer.


i am a news junkie. or nerd. or whatever you want to call me. and on sunday mornings in the states, if i’m home, i like to watch all the sunday morning talk shows. as depressing and skewed and manipulative it may be, i want to be informed. of course, i don’t just rely on the mainstream media to get my news. i also listen to/read independent newspapers/sources. i read commentary and try to listen to global perspectives as well. but, on sunday mornings, i catch up with good ole american sunday morning talk shows = news talk shows.

this past sunday, i did just that. i made a pot of coffee and sat down to hear the latest on syria. something that is on my mind pretty much constantly these days. how in the world have we found ourselves (the usa) in the place AGAIN, where we think we have to flex our muscles, be the police of the world, and intervene (perhaps on our own) militarily in another country’s conflict? not that we shouldn’t intervene. we most definitely should. what is happening in syria is tragic and inhumane. but, perhaps, if we can find the money to station destroyers in the mediterranean and send missiles to syria, then we could find the money (= use the same money) for the millions of syrian refugees living in horrible conditions instead. perhaps we could save lives instead of killing them.

oh, i know that this is a complicated (understatement!) situation, but something about it is simple. at least in my idealistic, theological mind. it’s about humanity. and then ends justifying the means. which in this case, they don’t. that’s my ethical take on it. here’s the simple statement… and i draw on martin luther king, jr. again after celebrating his legacy last week:

violence only creates more violence. period. it never, ever solves the problem. as king says it:

“darkness does not drive out darkness, only light can do that. hate does not drive out hate, only love can do that.”

missiles, war, violence, and the need to show our strength & credibility to the world do not solve any problems, they are simply egotistical. in my opinion, those who are the greatest, are the peacemakers, the ones who are humble and merciful and even meek. the ones who live and work for others, not for themselves. the world does not see them as “great”, but screw the world. since when did the world have everything right? is money, power, greed, and a tough appearance the only way to get respect? i think not. the truly great ones, stand their ground and do not give up, but they do it non-violently:

like ghandi, nelson mandela, mlk, jr., mother theresa, julian of norwich, perpetua, and countless more “regular” women & men & children who are left out of the history books… even you & i. if we choose it.

we can be great. we can make a difference. and we can work for true justice. but, it cannot be through violent means. peace will never be achieved by flexing our muscles and threatening and hitting and punishing. peace will be achieved through peace.

and so, today, during my forty days of fika time, i am going to meet with others in downtown asheville to meditate for peace… specifically for the events in syria, for world leaders, and for our own courage to live non-violent lives.

wherever you are, will you join me at some moment today to stop & think about those suffering in syria, and how the world should respond to the horrible human suffering going on in that country and in many others around the world? will you consider that the greatest way that you can be a peacemaker is, perhaps, in your own life, the the people that you meet everyday? if we all did that, then what would the world be like?

peace and harmony… to you all.

keeping the dream alive.

originally, i was going to just post a photo and a quote and let those speak for themselves. but, now, as the day as progressed, i have too many thoughts rolling around in my head. in other words, i am inspired.

011809-mlk-p1you see, today is a great day of history in the united states. fifty years ago today, dr. martin luther king, jr. delivered his “i have a dream speech” in washington, dc. it was the day of the famous march on washington, where thousands and thousands of people gathered peacefully and literally marched down the streets of washington, like they had been doing in cities and towns all over the south the months before. they were marching for freedom. marching for equality. marching for justice. and they were all there to say that they were not going away.


concretely, they were part of mlk, jr’s non-violent movement… staging sit-ins, protests, and other demonstrations all over the south. what did they want? they wanted to be treated equally. they wanted to be recognized as the people that they are, not as the second-class citizens that the laws of the states in the 1960s defined them as. they wanted to drink from the same water fountains, go to the same schools, ride the same buses as white people. they were fed up. tired. angry. and man, were they passionate.

the things i love about this movement were, first, its dedication and commitment to achieving equality and justice through acts of peace. and, second, the fact that the civil rights movement was a grassroots movement, led by young adults. regular people who were extremely passionate about their cause. you see, i believe that the changes that occurred because of the civil rights movement happened because of the courage, determination, and gritty stubbornness of a generation fed up with the status quo, and ready to fight (peacefully!), whatever the cost.


the question is, are the young people of today ready for and prepared to lead another revolution? because we definitely need one. by the way, i’m not sure whether to put myself in with the younger revolution, or not. i teeter on the very upper edge of it, i believe. but, nevertheless, i feel as if i am one of the elders, a mentor, to those younger adults who see and feel and know that america needs another grassroots revolution. of course, it’s not just the young that see a change is necessary, there are plenty older adults who still keep on fighting and dreaming for the country to emerge as the country we all know it can be.

the focus on the youthful generation is because the young people, as obama eluded to in his speech today, are not afraid. they are not stuck. they are still idealistic and headstrong and bull-headed. they have the energy we need to get this movement moving.


as a resident of north carolina, where the state is flipping out because, either they are stunned at the legislature’s crazy laws and bills turning north carolina backwards instead of moving us forward; or they are part of the crazy legislature that is making these insane, unjust, discriminatory, dangerous laws and policies. i know that we need a revolution. we have got to move forward, not backwards. we need to instill more equality and justice, not take away freedoms and increase discrimination. yes, north carolina is flipping out.

but, i see and feel the rumbles of a movement here. and i have experienced it personally. but, we need more. we need more energy. more passion. more willingness to sacrifice (myself included). more commitment to non-violence and peace. we need to be more like martin luther king, jr.

so, today, as i soak up the speeches, watch the videos of the historical moments 50 years ago, and think about my dreams for this country & for this world… i realize that there is much to be done. and we each have a part, if we are willing to be a part of something greater than ourselves.

i don’t have the answers for all the problems. but, i do know that we have an example of a person who gave his life (literally) to ensure that all people are treated equally. today we celebrate the vision of that man, and all of the other unnamed men & women who fought for that vision to become reality. a vision of a land of freedom, equality, and love.

so, tell me… what is your dream? and will you help me carry on the legacy of mlk and all the others? can we be the civil rights, freedom riding, nonviolent revolutionaries of the 21st century? are we willing to step up & move forward?

peace & love, fellow justice fighters.

black and white photos: pinterest. color photo: belovelive

pins and needles.


waiting on pins and needles today as the supreme court is slated to determine the fate of the love and marriages of many families, including mine. yes, they say that today the highest court in the states will make their ruling on two cases regarding marriage equality. this is a big deal, both as a civil right for all people to have the right to live and love as they are, but also as a deeply personal decision that affects how my love and i live.

what will they decide? how will american society be affected? i’m dying to find out. gonna be glued to my computer today. good thing it’s raining, and that there is a public transportation strike happening, and that i can work from home. phew.

fingers and toes crossed that the judges vote to uphold the belief that love is love is love.

peace & equality.

jesus, the supreme court, & me.

i’m a woman married to a woman.

i’m an ex-pat american living in sweden, but moving back to the states in a few months.

i’m also an unordained, master’s of divinity degree holding, minister in the united methodist church.

and this is big week in my world.

and all of these factors will be contributing to what i write here.


first of all, it’s holy week. the week before easter. a week i have generally loved and anticipated, even with all of it’s talk of death and betrayal. i think it’s a week that has always given me perspective and hope. a reminder that life sucks. that bad things happen. that suffering is real. that even the most holy of holy people endure pain and injustices. that death is bearing down on us all, all the time. but, that, ultimately, life overcomes death. we are never meant to separated from that which makes us who we are meant to be… whole, soul-filled, images of beauty. lovers of life & each other. it’s just that the journey toward transformation and freedom is a long one. but, we are meant to live abundant lives, here on earth. not just in some amazing afterlife. but, right now. we are meant to soak up life, make a difference where we are, and receive & spread everlasting love every day of our life. i truly believe all of that. from deep within my soul, from my rational mind, and from my experiences. and i believe it for all of us, no matter what religion we are or are not.

so, this week, christians walk that lonely, difficult road to the cross that looms over us on friday. that reminder of what sufferings and injustices we are capable of inflicting on others. and what suffering and injustices we might face if we find the courage to speak up in order help prevent others from suffering injustices of their own. yes, this week we come face to face with death. and yet, for me, i am reminded of what it means to truly be human, to be part of this world. the cross is not some salvation tool for me. instead, it is a reminder of the shame of a human race that embraces power, war, and glory, instead of equality, justice, and love. and it is a symbol of the pain that is also possible if we seek to live lives that could be considered counter-culture and radical. it is a symbol of the calling that each of us have, no matter again which religion we are or are not, to work for justice and peace.

which leads me to the second important thing about this week:


the supreme court (the highest court in the usa) will hear arguments today & wednesday in a challenge to a provision of the defense of marriage act (DOMA) – the federal law that defines marriage as between one man and one woman. it’s also reviewing california’s proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriage.

DOMA is the federal (national) law that states that marriage can only be between one man and one woman. not only does it prevent same-sex unions in any form, but if there is a same-sex marriage/union from another country, it is not recognized. so, this law effectively makes it impossible for lina to ever move to the states on the grounds of our legal marriage. because our marriage is not legal according to the us government. it doesn’t matter if we were to move to a state, such as new york, that recognizes our marriage. we can’t get to the state because we have to get past DOMA first, which prevents same-sex international relationships from being recognized = lina can not get a green card.

DOMA also prevents ALL same-sex couples from receiving benefits if one of the partner’s dies, even if they are both american & legally married in a same-sex state. there is so much more that DOMA prevents, but i’m not gonna go into it all here.

bottom line: DOMA is being brought to the supreme court in order to try to get it declared an unconstitutional law. it is a law that leads to inequalities in the united states, and that goes against the us constitution, which clearly states that all people are created equally and have the rights to life, liberty, & the pursuit of happiness. DOMA = inequality based on who one loves. and that is not an american belief. or so the courts will seek to try to determine.

basically, if DOMA is ruled unconstitutional and thrown out, then it means equality under the law for all lgbts out there… national & international couples. in other words, it would be a huge deal in my life. and the lives of thousands of others. H U G E. like civil rights, desegregation huge, in my opinion.

image from hrc.

image from hrc.

and i have a reason to be hopeful in what verdict they reach.

you see, lately it seems that “coming out” is the cool thing to do. everyone’s doing it. if it’s not people coming out as lgbt themselves, it is straight people “coming out” in support of their lgbt friends, co-workers, and family members. and more legislation is passing that is focusing on equality & justice.

1. a republican senator, rob portman, issued a public statement IN FAVOR of marriage equality about a week ago. his son is gay, which helped to sway his understanding and acceptance and call for marriage equality in the states. and yes, i did say that this was a conservative, republican who is saying YES to marriage equality.

2. hillary clinton, we all know who she is, posted a freaking kick ass video on human rights campaign’s website last week, which has now gone viral, in complete support of marriage equality. BOOM. take that people. no playing around with her. she just flat out said it. this is what she believe sand she’s sticking by it. have i told you i love hillary?

3. just a few days ago, buncombe county (ASHEVILLE!!), where lina and i will be living, passed domestic partner benefits. what that means is that, even if north carolina voted against marriage equality last year, the people of asheville (and their government elected officials) voted for the equal benefits for same-sex partners that opposite partners receive = medical benefits, hospital visits, and other basic family rights. makes me feel so proud and even more excited to move back to this progressive, diverse city.

4. last week, also in north carolina, a united methodist minister and his congregation decided to not hold any marriages at their church until ALL people have the right to be married. the minister at this church, green st. umc, just happens to be my former youth minister. yep.

5. finally, today, i read an article about another government official, senator claire mccaskill, who has changed her mind on marriage equality:

The question of marriage equality is a great American debate. Many people, some with strong religious faith, believe that marriage can only exist between a man and a woman. Other people, many of whom also have strong religious faith, believe that our country should not limit the commitment of marriage to some, but rather all Americans, gay and straight should be allowed to fully participate in the most basic of family values.

I have come to the conclusion that our government should not limit the right to marry based on who you love. While churches should never be required to conduct marriages outside of their religious beliefs, neither should the government tell people who they have a right to marry.

My views on this subject have changed over time, but as many of my gay and lesbian friends, colleagues and staff embrace long term committed relationships, I find myself unable to look them in the eye without honestly confronting this uncomfortable inequality. Supporting marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples is simply the right thing to do for our country, a country founded on the principals of liberty and equality.

Good people disagree with me. On the other hand, my children have a hard time understanding why this is even controversial. I think history will agree with my children.

yes, my dear readers, i have hope. big hope. i’m not sure that the supreme court will do exactly what i want them to do this time, but it’s all on it’s way. marriage equality is a done deal. the question is… when?


now, being the person that i am, i need to tie all of these these together neatly in a little theological, practical, life-related package before i can let it go.

when i think about the fact that this major justice issue of equality is going before the supreme court this week, holy week, i am certain that there is a reason for that. not that it’s preordained and predestined or something, but that there are connections, that the timing is right, that there are signs pointing us which way to go, how to move forward, how to create a better world.

you see, during this week, thousands of year ago, jesus rode into jerusalem on the back of a donkey. he entered through crowds of people, shouting & screaming his name and shouting “hosannah!”. the people had hope. they wanted this man to save them. to make things right. to ease their suffering and to bring justice to their world. and that’s exactly what jesus was going to do… just not in the way they expected.

jesus had a message of justice, love, equality, & fairness. but, it was not a message well-received. he challenged the status quo. he got pissed off at how people were trying to look so religious, speak such religious words and do religious things, but did not live their beliefs from their hearts. their lives were not reflections of the things they say they believed. they were corrupt. power hungry. full of judgment. and stuck in a set of rules that was not necessary.

jesus called them on it. he turned over tables. he got angry. and he showed fierce, unconditional love. he hung out with the outcasts, bringing people to him, speaking of grace and love, and showing it to everyone who met him. the people spoke of rules, of should’s and shouldn’ts. they claimed to know what was right and what was wrong. they treated people according to how they measured up to their rules and religious rites. they excluded people. considered people sick, untouchable, unworthy. they only wanted to secure their own salvation. they were cowards. close-minded. greedy. self-righteous. judgmental.

but, jesus spoke of relationships. jesus turned no one away. he spoke of a kingdom filled with equality, freedom, acceptance, love. he denounced power, strength, greatness, and status as the people saw it. and that rocked their boat. they got scared. they couldn’t deal with the change.

his idea of love over power was a threat. so they killed him.


flash foward to today. where exactly would jesus, the life-giver, the lover, the accepter stand on this issue of equality? where or when would he ever condone excluding people based on who they loved? when would he chose to keep a group of people separate from others? remember, he called the lepers and the children and the women to him. and how much are we like the people of jesus’ time, refusing to open our minds because we are scared?

yeah. this is a huge week for me.

i’ve got holy week thoughts running through my mind. my wife’s granddad’s funeral is wednesday. i am constantly thinking and preparing for our move to the states. the supreme court will be discussing something that directly affects me. the church where i have prepared myself to be a minister still rejects me based on my marriage, which is also not even recognized in my home country right now. where will i work? what will i do? what will happen this week?

and yet, i have hope. i know the road is long and paved with suffering. i know that i have a voice and that i must use it. i know that i will have to sacrifice something, as i already have, in order to simply be who i am.

but i know that things are changing. that who you love is not grounds for exclusion & discrimination any more. and i know that, in the end, all that remains is love.

in the end, darkness and injustice and power and greed and discrimination and war and violence and hate will be destroyed.

in the end, love comes out on top.

summer 2012

peace, love, & understanding.

*all images (except the last) from pinterest.