When I spoke over video call with CEO and editor-in-chief Jason Woodruff in June, he told me that The Pour Over was founded out of “a lack of better options.”
“Traditional news sources promote obsession, they promote anger, they promote division,” the 28-year-old Iowa resident told Sojourners. “That’s why people either become shaped by those [divisions], or they flee and they become uninformed.”
Branded as a “politically neutral” and “trustworthy news source,” The Pour Over is Woodruff’s answer for Christians looking for facts without the spin. It’s a publication that doesn’t take sides and offers a brief biblical encouragement at the end of each story. It highlights the day’s biggest news, approximately takes five minutes to read, and is purportedly punchy.
But while we disobey unjust laws to obey the moral laws we have been given by God, there’s a flip side: When human laws do serve the common good or restrain evil, we should obey them.
Though some colors have been removed or added over the years for different reasons, six of the original colors continue to exemplify the shared humanity of everyone who marches under their banner. Each color has a meaning that carries deep significance for the LGBTQ+ community. At the same time, there is a biblical connection to the rainbow that speaks to the promises of God. This Pride month, I feel it’s worthwhile to reflect on what each color has to teach us about God and ourselves.
The working-class town of Bellefontaine (pronounced “bell-FOUNTain), nestled among the farm fields and hills of rural Ohio, in the heart of Rep. Jim Jordan’s legislative district, is not the easiest place to grow up queer. The churches are much more likely to hold to conservative views on sexuality than be LGBTQ+ affirming, and “Trump Won” flags far outnumber rainbow Pride flags.
The situation is dire but U.S. climate policy is not changing. While lawmakers in the U.S. are stuck at tax credits for electric vehicles, a sixth mass extinction event is already here. Electric vehicles and small-scale conservation efforts can’t fix this.
There are two problems at hand: First, there is a material problem. Humans, especially humans in the richest nations, are producing and consuming too much, which not only contributes to pollution, but also increases emissions and causes a never-ending sprawl of unsustainable land use. This ultimately displaces animals from their habitats. The second problem is a spiritual problem: Humans have become so alienated from other nonhuman species that they no longer recognize themselves as a part of creation. Instead, humans view themselves as above it.
I’m proud to say that I benefitted from affirmative action. These policies, sometimes called “race conscious admission policies,” allow colleges and universities to address unequal access to educational opportunities by taking different aspects of a student’s background, including race, into account among other admission factors. But even with affirmative action in place, in 1994 I joined fewer than 25 other Black men in a freshman class of over 1,000 students at Emory University.
Speech opens a door to previously unknown experiences. In a way, speech — or language — makes and unmakes the world as we know it. When I speak about myself, I tell you the truth of who I am.
So, in an era where people of faith, specifically Christians, are popularizing anti-trans language, it feels like my responsibility to say something — anything — to lift up those of us who identify as transgender and Christian. The truth I want to communicate here is this: God made me to be trans.
“To live fully and authentically.” It’s a phrase that resonates for me as someone who came into their queerness later in life. For a long time, the possibility of living fully and authentically felt just beyond my reach; I felt I was skimming the surface of my being and longed to be fully immersed — soaked and drenched — in who I am. But I was afraid. What would living authentically mean for my place in the world? As a second-generation Korean American who has long struggled to be seen and accepted, I wondered if being queer would foreclose this possibility.
Saddleback Church in Southern California was kicked out of the SBC in February 2023 for ordaining three of its longtime female staff members as ministers in 2021. Saddleback founder and former pastor Rick Warren appealed the church’s ejection at the 2023 conference.
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary president Al Mohler rebutted Warren’s appeal, arguing that the issue of women’s ordination is a matter of “biblical commitment” and “biblical authority” that allows no room for compromise within the SBC. About 88 percent of “messengers” — Southern Baptists’ language for delegates — then voted to reaffirm the church’s expulsion.
Who gets to belong? This was the question Miles Morales asked himself in 2018’s Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. The smash-hit film introduced superhero movies to the multiverse, the idea that multiple universes exist parallel to each other, marked by only minor differences between them.
Although the Roman Catholic Church might disagree with me, my Catholic faith revolves not around a man but rather a woman. Her hair is covered in an opaque veil; she wears a long white gown under a blue mantle. Her hands are outstretched and rays of light radiate from her fingertips, pouring down at her sides. Her name is Mary, mother of God, and within her rests the fulcrum of my queer Catholic joy and trauma.
Families like the Duggars go to great lengths to ensure their kids never learn to give anyone the middle finger — and I can only imagine the Duggar children would have been strictly punished if they had. But as a Christian and a father, I believe it’s neither possible nor desirable to exert total control over my children’s education and experience of the world around them.
Last weekend, for the very first time in my life, I dyed my hair. I walked into a woman-owned barbershop and gave them permission to change my short hair from its usual very dark brown to an extravagant, and for me, shocking, blonde. Someone else’s hands ran over my tender scalp, creating something new.
Recently, a report from Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) found that Black Protestants are the only Christian group in which a majority — 63 percent — believes that congregations should get involved in social issues even if doing so means having difficult conversations about politics. This tells me that white congregations, in contrast, believe that churches are best left as places of solace, where difficult conversations do not take place. Ultimately, this allows for white supremacy to remain intact within these houses of worship. I am the senior pastor of Lake Street Church of Evanston, a predominantly white church, and our path out of white supremacy has required us to take the lead from Black congregations on a variety of social justice issues.
Some insurance companies still use the phrase “act of God” to describe fires or other natural disasters for which no human agent can be held responsible. But we need to stop putting God on the hook: These disasters are happening because governments are drunk on the fossil fuel industry’s deadly Kool-Aid.
Elizabeth Weinberg draws connections between things many of us haven’t thought to link together. In her 2022 book, Unsettling: Surviving Extinction Together, a whale’s excrement is not just feces but the nourishment that fuels whole ecosystems.
My trans nonbinary identity means freedom to step outside of the gender binary. My gender does not define me first; rather, I am first a human and a beloved child of God. This trans nonbinary identity and my Christian faith have always been intrinsically linked; my experience of queer joy is not separate from the joy I have in my salvation. I think of this joy through a trinitarian lens: At its core, my queer joy is the joy of knowing the Father has created my unique identity and calls it very good, that Christ “queers” or subverts the norms of this world, and that the Holy Spirit is continually forming me to love this world as my full self.
Ted Lasso season three has been unbelievable, and not just because season two ended with the destruction of the series’ defining image: a yellow paper sign with the word “BELIEVE” scribbled across it.
I know some Christians do not fully share my theological convictions about gender and sexuality, but on issues of human dignity and civil rights, the church should be firmly united: Transgender and nonbinary siblings are God’s children made in God’s very image and likeness. Prohibiting lifesaving medical care, tolerating discrimination, or denying someone the ability to use their name is wrong; you cannot deny people those rights because you disagree with their beliefs about gender or sexuality. Christians should be standing in the breach in defense of the full humanity, dignity, and rights of their trans siblings.
Asexuality and aromanticism describe those whose orientations are often defined by lack and rarity. We’re atypical in that we don’t experience sexual and/or romantic attraction, or when we do, it’s the exception to the rule or under certain conditions. We’re inconvenient to remember — on all sides of the political and religious spectrums.