True Religion?

Draughting Theology

This Sunday, as with every Proper 17 Sunday, we will pray that God might increase in us “true religion.”  Three years ago, when this collect happened to also join the lessons appointed for Proper 17 in Year B, I took the opportunity to preach on the subject of true religion with some help from my friend and professor, Diana Butler Bass, asking the question, “what is true religion?”

I’m pretty sure we aren’t praying for more expensive jeans

Three years later, I still find myself asking that question, especially in light of the lesson from James, which ends with these words that seem to capture the yin and the yang of religion, “If any think they are religious, and do not bridle their tongues but deceive their hearts, their religion is worthless. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows…

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Story with a moral: 2 gay tourists, 1 anti-gay merchant

76 CRIMES

Two tourists in Barbados come across a small protest against the country's buggery law. Two tourists in Barbados come across a small protest against the country’s buggery law …

Two gay tourists arrived on a cruise in Bridgetown, Barbados, on Aug. 19 and decided to explore the beautiful capital. On their stroll they passed a shop at the same time as a group of local boys who, according to the tourists, looked gay.

The Barbadian shopkeeper hurled homophobic insults at the youngsters and then turned to the tourists and asked if they wanted to come in for a drink.

The visitors indignantly said, “Not from you!”

The shopkeeper was left dumbfounded and with a lot to think about.

The gentlemen saw our little Stand for Equality and Inclusion in front of the Parliament mounted by the brave Barbadian trans* activist, Alexa D V. Strauss-Hoffmann. They decided to join us, and were shocked to learn that Barbados has up to life imprisonment for private consensual…

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Denial, prayer, fasting — growing up LGBTIQ in Nigeria

76 CRIMES

Promo for the latest No Strings podcast, "Growing Up LGBTIQ in Nigeria." Promo for the latest No Strings podcast, “Growing Up LGBTIQ in Nigeria.”

“When I first came out to my parents, they subjected me to a compulsory everyday prayer and fasting session,” a young gay Nigerian tells the No Strings podcast. “After my coming out, my parents never looked at me the same way again.”

He calls himself “Scarface,” indicating that he has to be strong-willed to survive. Because of the dangers that LGBTIQ people face in Nigeria, neither his real name nor his real photo is used.

In reminiscing about his life before and after he outed himself to his family, Scarface talks with podcast host Mike Daemon about life, denial, and coping with the everyday challenges that come with being gay in Nigeria.

The discussion is contained in “My Life As A Gay Man In Nigeria – Scarface,” the latest edition of the No Strings podcasts, which provide a…

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Is God here?

God in the Midst of the City

The first parish I served as a priest is Holy Apostles, located in suburban Memphis.  When I arrived there, however, Holy Apostles wasn’t located anywhere.  I mean that geographically, not spiritually.  Holy Apostles had been planted in a city neighborhood in the early 1970s, and as the demographics of Memphis shifted over the years, the parish’s fortunes waxed and waned.  Some years before my arrival, Holy Apostles had shrunk precipitously and sold its church building.  For some years they’d rented worship space in a Presbyterian church parish hall.  Eventually, that church, too, was slated to close, and Holy Apostles once again became a shrinking band of wandering nomads.  The low point may have been the day the Mission Council formally interviewed me to be their new vicar at a Perkins Restaurant on Old Shelby Drive in the middle of Memphis, amidst waiters busing scrambled eggs and French toast.

Once I’d…

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Senegal: No ‘anti-homosexuality’ law? Jail for 7 for gay sex

76 CRIMES

Senegal's location in Africa. Senegal’s location in Africa.

Seven men have been sentenced to six months in prison in Senegal after being convicted of homosexual activity in a private apartment.

In discussions with the U.N. Human Rights Council in 2013, the Senegal delegation claimed that no one is punished for homosexuality in Senegal, but only for homosexual activity.

Defense lawyers said that none of the defendants was found engaged in sexual acts.

But in Senegal, prosecutions of LGBTI people are frequently reported.

In this month’s trial, the BBC reported, the court in Dakar was told that “police caught the men having sex during a raid.” The Senegalese newspaper Le Quotidien gave a more detailed, less conclusive account of the police testimony: that two men were found together in an “uncomfortable position” and that five were found naked in the bathroom with one used condom.

Under Article 319 of the Senegalese Penal Code…

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