Everywhere I look, I'm seeing statements about the latest round of war in the Holy Land... faith communities, denominations, non-profits, political leaders... they're all offering a statement, before then turning around and picking apart the statements of others. Not to mention, everyone on social media has somehow become an expert in peace treaties. And war.
Yet, for whatever reason, the Spirit led me strongly to make a statement of my own today. Not so much to add more static to the noise that's already out there. But to call out yet another example of how binary thinking can get us into trouble. In this case, I chose to make a vlog... mostly because I wish I were still a hip young person who uses words like vlog.
Being bisexual is a blessing in my life.
Actually, let me pause there for a moment. It’s not lost on me that even my ability to begin a blog post with those words is a profound blessing because, truthfully, it hasn’t always been the case. A few years ago, I likely would’ve named it as a “burden” instead; more on that in a bit. But now, in recognition of Bisexual Visibility Day in the year of our Lord 2023, I’m able to celebrate my bi identity for the blessing it is – personally, vocationally, and spiritually.
Over the past week, my social media feeds have been overwhelmed with a viral article entitled "Departure: Why I Left the Church," authored by the Rev. Alex Lang, a PC(USA) pastor who recently stepped away from parish ministry. Along with the many reposts of that specific blog post, I encountered many, many response posts penned by other clergy friends, colleagues, and acquaintances from across the denominational spectrum. Many of those responses lifted up similar sentiments, in a "me too" vibe. Others served as more of a counter to Rev. Lang's words, with many a post suggesting he had it coming.
Did you know I have a blog? I do! Well… sort of. By that, I mean it exists in the cloud somewhere, but I usually forget it’s there. If you’re a faithful reader, you can be forgiven for wondering if I forgot my login information, considering my last post was published in February.
Every now and then, my blog reenters my consciousness. This time, it happened when I quoted from Nadia Bolz-Weber’s (far more active, far more popular) blog in a recent sermon.
Every Wednesday at noon throughout the Idaho state legislative session, you can find me on the steps of the Capitol building, standing still and praying silently. The silence of my thoughts is interrupted only by the occasional sniffle, as my nose angrily protests the bitter cold I’ve subjected it to.
I don’t stand alone, but rather alongside colleagues representing the Interfaith Equality Coalition – pastors, ministry leaders, and faithful members of a variety of faith traditions gathering to bear witness to the all-inclusive love and justice of God in the context of a state (and a world) that seems hellbent on ushering in hatred and injustice instead.
It’s February, which means if you haven’t done so already, it’s time to make your way to the store to purchase an overpriced Hallmark card for your spouse/partner, children, or grandchildren. Don’t forget to pick up valentines for everyone in your child’s classroom, and a Dutch Bros gift card for their overworked/under-paid teacher. While you’re at it, you may as well throw in some heart-shaped sugar cookies and dark chocolate as a gift for yourself, too.
"Jesus was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell. The third day he rose again from the dead." These words from the ancient Apostles' Creed form a foundation for Christian faith.
They’re a part of what we believe, and a part of who we are.
Jesus was murdered as voices of hatred shouted out in thunderous support. He died. He descended into the darkest places of existence. Then, he rose from the dead to be with God, with death having lost its sting.
Humankind is made in the Imago Dei – the image of God. This, first noted in the very first chapter of Genesis, is a part of the foundation of our faith, too. The face of each person bears the face of God, simply by virtue of having been created by God.
This, too, is what we believe, and who we are.
The uncomfortable truth, then, is this:
We can't speak of the Crucifixion of Christ as if it were in the past tense.
At two years old, Layton was growing like a weed, awaking each morning with boundless energy to explore the world with infectious curiosity. What a joy! Yet, I worried that many of those childhood experiences would soon be lost to fading memories (his and mine, both). I wondered if my increasingly busy life would prevent me from seeing the little everyday sorts of moments I’d want to cherish.
Music has the power to bring words to moments where words are hard to come by. A well-written lyric and a soaring melody can work to make sense of the wholly sublime as much as it can create a self-paced guide through the deepest gulfs of grief. I'm convinced that the global songbook has something for every human emotion.
Maybe that's why so many of us seem naturally equipped with the ability to weave music into the passage of time. When we identify "just the right song" it can help to transport us back to another moment, or else to celebrate how far we've come from a given moment.
“What the world needs now is love, sweet love. It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of.”
So goes the well-known refrain of the mid-60s anthem made popular by Jackie DeShannon. If you’re anything like me, the melody enters your consciousness as soon as you read those lyrics.
You may be surprised to learn that it’s a song that was almost never written. According to the tune’s composers, Burt Bacharach and Hal David, the waltzy nature of the chorus came to them quickly, but they stumbled over the content of the verses for several years. With their inspiration coming from a world in conflict – the Vietnam War and the fight for Civil Rights in the United States, for example – they struggled mightily to find words that would not seem too soft for a time of such crisis.
I'm a husband, father, news junkie, theatre lover, enneagram enthusiast, bi advocate, amateur foodie, wannabe barista, and an ordained pastor in the Presbyterian Church (USA).
All works by Rev. TJ Remaley on this website are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
This blog is maintained personally by me and does not necessarily represent the views of any congregation I have served. Every effort is made to give proper attribution for quotations, images, and other media used on this page.