A Pastor’s Farewell


I answered your call
you asked me to sacrifice
what was most sacred to me
and I foolishly complied

Now I have to go
I don’t fit anymore
And I wonder if I ever truly fitted in
From the words I heard, now and past

Unloving
mean-spirited
disrespectful
ugly

When my main crime
is being gay
in a place where difference has little room
like the tattoos on my skin

And yet another problem is
what I don’t have between my legs
When what is in the heart counts less
then what is on the skin

A painful process of opening up again and again
not knowing if judgment or embrace awaits
carrying my heart on my hands for all to see
exposed to wind and rain

Now I turn the page
moving forward
looking towards what lies ahead
with love, hope and trust

Staying true to myself
true to my love
returning to my roots
embracing God and self

Grateful for all those who showed me love
for all the friendships that stay
All the others-
I wish you nothing but love,
and blessings of peace on your path.

Whose Church?


If the Church is Christ’s body
and He is the head

it is not
My church
it not
Your church
it is
Christ’s church

Whom did He approach?
Whom did He touch?
Whom did He welcome?
Whom did He heal?
And whom did He reject when they came to him?

How are you,
How can you,

place yourself in the seat of the judge
and decide who is worthy
who is pure enough
who is not too sinful
who fits your criteria
who fits into your concepts, ideas, and dogmas

to join the church?

That is, because it has become YOUR church
instead of JESUS’ church–
and you’re ashamed to see those
who don’t fit
into your theological box
contaminate the imagined purity
of your ecclesial fantasy

The hurt you cause,
the brokenness and rejection-
who will heal it?

Go run to Jesus –
he loves and accepts,
takes us in,
All as we are,
loved and cherished.

Lay Down


No, NO!

We won’t let evil have the final word

In solidarity with the victims
with their families
mourning the lives that were lost
and those who were so deeply affected

Yet calling out to end
end this madness

Churches are meant to be
spaces
of
hope
peace
resilience

The Church
is a people
following her Master

The Prince of Peace
who willingly turned the cheek
and paid the price
and told his disciples to do likewise

For all who take the sword will perish by the sword
For all who take the gun will perish by the gun

Disciples, lay down your guns
Your weapon is love
Your shelter is God

Blessed are the Peacemakers
They will be called God’s children.

Blessed are the Meek.
The will inherit the Earth.

pain & serving


Sometimes I wonder if chronic illness -autoimmune diseases- and ministry really go well together.

During those moments, I think that I should always be an example, and should always be strong, without fault. Being tired, vulnerable and in pain doesn’t fit the equation.

Yet it is true that despite the RA, I always give my best, and never back down. And I have come to realize that if a preacher/pastor would have to be perfect, nobody would ever qualify.

Last sunday I was invited in another church to “give my testimony”, about various aspects of my life – amongst others, my tattoos and my illness. Afterwards, I got only positive feedback, also from other people who were sick as well, and were encouraged to hear/see how I handled it.

I am not perfect, will never be – and don’t want to be. Where (and when) I am weak, God and his/her grace are strong, and can be my strength. I can always rely on that. I refuse to let the disease define who I am. It is a part of my life, and in a way, I have to accomodate that and find ways to live with it. And there will always be some days that’ll be harder than others – but isn’t it that way for everybody?

Life is a precious gift, and is worth being live to the fullest. One thing I have learned through my RA is being more patient, with myself and with others, and to see the small miracles of everyday life even more clearly, and to become more grateful, to become more and more dependant on God’s grace. Love & peace have taken, and are taking are more and more bigger and more important place in my life, as is taking the Bible and prayer.

So whilst I’m not saying that the disease per se is something good, good has come out of it – because I refused to let it pull me down, because I refused to give in.

This love, peace, grace, love for God, the Bible, people, my church – isn’t that what is important for ministry? So what, RA?

Peace out, God bless.

#ThingsOnlyChristianWomenHear


It’s been a couple of days now that tweets with the hashtag have been going strong on twitter.

It is everything from saddening to maddening that this is still something that has to be said and mentioned, and even said loudly today. There are so many hurtful and shameful statements if you go to that hashtag and read – and some are just plain stupid.

Unfortunately as well, I also had quite a few “pearls” to add from my past:

And the worst was probably this one. As I said in a previous blogpost, I had been abused from age 4 on, and also been raped as a teen, and later again as a young adult. As a teen, I once heard someone talk about abuse, and finally decided to open up, after all those years. It was already difficult enough. After what seemed like a long silence, I was brought to some leaders who told me something about purity, and

You can imagine how painful that was.

Between this, and other things that I heard, and that happened to me and others, I walked away from church, Bible and faith for some time. Or, at least, I tried to. The Good News had become Bad News for me. Asking questions was synonymous with being rebellious. Sometimes I’d still try to read the Bible, but too many painful memories and voices would come up with whatever I’d try to read. The christians, the church who had done that to me had been more or less the only church I had known for a long time.

Until one day I met some who were different, and showed me that the Good News could indeed be, Good News. From there on, it was a long journey of healing, and having the great joy, priviledge and blessing of finding a wonderful church full of wonderful supportive people who accepted me as a person, with my flaws, my history, and who valued my gifts and helped me get through my theology studies. There, I was finally consecrated the first female preacher of that church – and now serve as, again the first woman preacher, in another church.

It is my hope and my prayer that one day, and one day soon, we won’t need the hashtag any more. With the grace of God, the church can change. When the Spirit moves, and hearts are open, anything is possible. I want a better church, a better world for my daughter – and not only for her, but for everybody. My vision for the Church is that of a place where everybody is welcome, loved and appreciated – and their gifts encouraged and supported, women and men, and nobody is ridiculed or belittled for any kind of reason. A church where there is There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28)

Church of the Misfits


The Church should be made for misfits, and be made up of misfits.

When I grew up, I spent some my teen years living in a drug rehabilitation center – since one of my parents had gotten into trouble with drugs. It was a place where we lived together with others searching to be set free of their addictions as well, and learning to adapt to a new life without drugs.

At school, I got asked how I could bear to live together with such “people”: drug addicts (who just had their withdrawal in hospital behind them), convicts, some had debts from their past, a former prostitute, punks, hippies, rockers. What “people”?

Misfits.

To me, they were just that – people, normal people – like me. Of course, each came with their own load of problems, but who of us doesn’t, right? But I felt like I kinda fit right in. Nobody looked at me in weird way. I can’t exactly say the same of the church, which sometimes seems so pre-occupied to fit into the norms, to be and stay acceptable, and well-to-do.

But wasn’t Jesus a misfit, who travelled the country with a band of messed-up misfits? What good can come from Galilee… and fishermen, seriously? Smelly, sweaty, poor, not the best educated – but with the heart in the right place, and willing to follow their Rabbi on the quest to bring the Kingdom of the Heavens on earth. Through His, and their humanity and brokenness, a Revolution began – a Revolution that still continues today.

And as such, the Church should be a place especially for the misfits of society – all those who feel left out, discriminated, left behind, hurt, broken, misunderstood, lonely, seeking – those suffering from all sorts of –isms, the tattooed, the pierced, the punks, the handicapped, the disabled; those who are different from the vast majority and feel like they don’t fit in; the doubters, those who are questioning and wondering… radical love and radical acceptance of each person, as he met them, was Jesus’ attitude. He didn’t bring a bulletin board: I love you, but yada yada yada first you do this and that – he met the person right where she or he was, and showed them a way out of their brokenness, into the Kingdom. He loved everybody the way they were, the way we are.

On the flipside, being a disciple in the ideal should mean being a misfit. The values of the Kingdom are not the same values as those of mainstream society: Peace, justice, reconciliation, equality, healing, forgiveness, openness, hospitality. The Kingdom is about creating a new society within society, within this world, that will serve as transforming agent within this world – a transformation through love: Love God, and love your neighbor as yourself. That’s what discipleship is about.

I’m not saying “Hey, everybody get tattooed and get into mischief… !”  – but as a misfit, the Church is my place to be.