Joe Kay

Joe Kay

Joe Kay is the associate minister at Nexus United Church of Christ, Butler County, Ohio. He also writes a weekly blog at https://joekay617.wordpress.com. His email address is listed on the blog, in case you care to contact him directly.

Posts By This Author

America Has Never Been One. But It Has Been United.

by Joe Kay 07-21-2016

Image via /Shutterstock.com

At times like this, it’s good to remember that our founders valued our vast differences and set up a big government of checks and balances that would force us to compromise and cooperate. Government fails — and we fail as a nation — when people go to Washington and statehouses insistant on getting their way, without compromise.

That attitude is an un-American attitude. It goes against the heart of what makes us who we are. It makes us unravel.

To My LGBTQ Friends: Thank You for Your Courage

by Joe Kay 07-06-2016

Image via /Shutterstock.com

In the past year since the Supreme Court ruled for marriage equality, many of my gay friends have thanked me repeatedly for being a straight ally. At first, I didn’t know quite how to respond. I’d say something along the lines of, “You’re welcome, of course! I’m just glad I could help in some way.” Somehow, though, that answer seemed inadequate.
 
Or I might have followed up with, “It’s just sad that it took so long and involved so much pain to get to this point. I’m sorry for that.” Which is better, but still lacking. Something more needed to be said.

Bullets and the Radical Welcome

by Joe Kay 06-16-2016

Image via /Shutterstock.com

Something incredible happened there after the murders. Family members publicly forgave the killer. People filled the church the following Sunday — some sitting on the very spot where blood had to be cleaned from the floor – and proclaimed their commitment to compassion and forgiveness.

And the next Wednesday night, they did what they’d always done on Wednesday night. They held a Bible study. They welcomed anyone who was interested, and sat together in the same room where nine people had died and committed themselves to the Spirit of radical welcome. The topic of discussion that day: the power of love.

Archie Bunker and Me

by Joe Kay 06-08-2016

Image via Jim Ellwanger/Flickr

Fearing those who are different from us seems to be our default setting as humans. It’s true for me. I’m more comfortable in groups of people who are more like me in some ways. People who think like me and have similar life experiences. Yeah, there’s that little bit of Archie in me, too. It’s just a human trait, I suppose, woven throughout our history and religious texts. And so is this: the moral and spiritual imperative to push past our innate fears and learn love each other and appreciate our differences. 
 
 

Who Would Jesus Pee With?

by Joe Kay 05-13-2016

Image via /Shutterstock.com

The gospels provide short, thumbnail descriptions of what Jesus is passionate about: Feeding the hungry, healing the broken, sheltering the homeless, visiting the imprisoned, sharing everything with those in need. Trying to love everyone unconditionally. Being compassionate and accepting. The gospels go on and on about this. 

Peeing? Not a word.

A Mother's Day Liturgy: 'That They May All Be One'

by Joe Kay 05-06-2016

The liturgy for this Mother’s Day is unintentionally perfect. It’s from John, the part where Jesus is praying for his dear friends at the last supper.

What does he pray for them to be? Great preachers? Saintly saints? Perfect people? Nope. He prays that they will be one – one with each other, one with God.

Will We Be Divinely Vulnerable?

by Joe Kay 04-08-2016

Image via /Shutterstock.com

Will we sit and listen to a refugee mother talk about her family’s horrific life in her war-torn country, and realize we’re no longer afraid of her? Will we talk to the gay couple that needs a cake and hear their love story, and feel a bond because it reminds us of our own love story? Will we look into the eyes with the homeless person begging just outside our car window and see another human being in pain, and suddenly feel an urge to help them? Will we make ourselves divinely vulnerable?

In that moment, we reach beyond our fear. We’re finally freed by love. No longer hiding in a tiny room behind a locked door. That. We all need more of that.

When Your Prayer Needs a Do-Over

by Joe Kay 03-02-2016

I’m a hospice volunteer. I visit several patients each week, just sit down and chat about stuff. I do it primarily for me – it’s who I am, how I’m wired, and I suspect that I get a lot more out of it than the people whom I visit. They share some of the most poignant and difficult and joyful moments with me. And their final days.

Campaigning While Christian: 6 Tips for the 'Jesus' Candidates

by Joe Kay 02-26-2016

Empty podiums at the Republican debate on Dec. 15 in Las Vegas. Joseph Sohm / Shutterstock.com

I can’t watch the political debates for long without feeling sick: So much animosity and ego and bullying and attacking and negativity; so little thoughtful discussion and kindness. The toxic words seep inside my skin and into my emotions. I have to get away from it.

The worst part is when candidates use their “religion” as a justification for all of the ugliness being spewed — when they start trying to one-up the other and convince voters that they, themselves, are true believers who rank right up there on Jesus’ most-favored list.

Will We Live Alone, Behind Walls of Our Making?

by Joe Kay 02-19-2016

Image via /Shutterstock.com

Francis is right. The spirit of religion is about healing and nurturing and bringing together. And he puts the question into the politically charged air once again: Walls or bridges? What’s it going to be? 

Do we open ourselves to the spirit that wants to give us new hearts? Or do we choose to have hearts as cold as a stone wall?

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