I was saddened to hear recently from the Episcopal congregations in your community, St. Luke’s on Vermillion Street and St. Mary’s in Afton, that Hastings has recently become the latest flashpoint in the painful and highly charged division that characterizes so much of our public life these days.
I was heartbroken to learn that at the center of the controversy was a child and that child’s treatment at the hands of adults in the community.
I have the honor of serving as the 10th bishop of the Episcopal Church in Minnesota.
In that role I am called, first and foremost, to follow and emulate the One who came not to be served but to serve; to, with God’s help, reflect and embody the love of Jesus in a world that is starving for it.
I know that many in our country believe, with good reason, that those who call themselves Christian are aligned first and foremost with the powerful, with white nationalism, with anti-democratic movements in our midst, with intolerance, and with violence.
The Episcopal Church has its own sinful history of perpetuating oppression. However, as a follower of Jesus, my allegiance is always to those whom Jesus came to love and to serve.
Make no mistake: while Jesus does not prefer political parties, Jesus does choose sides.
The politics of Jesus are about embracing the poor, loving our enemies, feeding the hungry, lifting up the oppressed, reforming the unjust structures in society, seeking good for the other instead of insisting on our own way, disregarding the boundaries of social exclusion, calling out our own self-interested hypocrisy and that of our religious and civic leaders, making room at the center for those who have been pushed to the margins.
Those are the things that Jesus actually did. These are the marks of what it means to be his followers in the world.
The Episcopal way of following Jesus is unequivocal in affirming that all of God’s children, including our trans siblings and including those with whom we ardently disagree, are beloved, accepted, worthy of dignity and welcome to fully participate in the life of the church.
We as a people are better when our churches, and all our public spaces, both affirm and reflect the wonderful diversity of humanity, which together more fully reflects the very image of God.
During this Christian season of waiting in hopeful expectation for light to come into the world in the form of a child, I will keep your community in my prayers, and will look with hope and expectation towards a future in which our divisions cease and our world looks more like Jesus.
My heart goes out to that child and the family! Kids and other parents can be so cruel and this is the perfect example of it. We had a boy down the street who always wanted to be a girl and would take my daughters barbies because his father wouldn't buy him what he truly wanted. He's all grown up now, and yes he's gay, so what. He was a really nice kid and now a very loving adult! Everyone needs to support both kids and parents and absolutely shouldn't matter. If they consider themselves a boy or a girl. Please be kind and not destroy any family the way these people on the schoolboard did! This is way beyond cruel to do!💙
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