Our church is in the midst of a major transition: it’s becoming bicultural. The combined joy and pain of our growth is intense and surprising at every turn. Sometimes I wonder if this is how a tree feels when it begins to grow new branches. I often feel fatigued in advance by the complexity of the conversations we want and need to have, as well as scared of where we are going and what it will require of me.
It’s at these times that I find myself contemplating the comforts of what we used to be, a monocultural church
It started with food. A long line of people stood outside the church door waiting their turn as the groceries piled up on folding tables around the sanctuary. Most of these people, in truth, wanted nothing to do with our church itself.
In a booklet titled Zionism Unsettled, a group of Presbyterians has issued a blanket denunciation of Zionism, terming the Jewish quest for a homeland in the ancient land of Israel inherently racist, exclusionary, and devastating for non-Jewish inhabitants.
Jewish and Christian groups have rightly criticized the booklet for its sledgehammer one-sided approach, theologically and politically.
When I first became a veterinarian, image mattered a lot. I was young and female in a profession that valued experience and was overwhelmingly male. I quickly learned to use everything I could to look like “the doctor” was supposed to look: business professional clothing, white coat, stethoscope, name tag labeled “Doctor Janisch.”
In the last year, my church—St. George Episcopal in Leadville, Colorado—has gained a number of Latino and Latina members. Last week we held our first ever bilingual vestry meeting, at which we quickly realized that the language barrier itself was not our primary challenge.
Not many people would think of being pen pals with a terrorist. But Rory Green, a Christian who lives in Nottingham, England, did. After reading about Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, whom the U.S. government believes masterminded the 9/11 attacks, Green wrote him a letter.
In 2011, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott labeled the Super Bowl “the single largest human trafficking incident in the United States.” Since then, an annual flurry of media stories suggest a strong link between the national sporting extravaganza and an increase in forced prostitution. Responses to this perceived increase include awareness campaigns and heightened enforcement.
When it comes to church, I’m a wanderer: I don’t have a church home so much as a village of church tents. All this wandering has made me a connoisseur of church welcomes or the lack thereof. I can tell you where I did or didn’t feel welcome—though I can’t always say why.