Laurel Dykstra is an Anglican priest and climate justice activist. Their latest book, Wilderness Congregations, will be out in the fall.
Posts By This Author
A Guide for Parents with Kids Questioning Their Gender
“GIRLS JUST SIT AROUND and talk about being friends, but the boys go on daring adventures!” Arkansas first-grader Evan’s less-than-feminist argument for joining the Boy Scouts became the title of his mother’s book. Rachel A. Cornwell wrote Daring Adventures: Helping Gender-Diverse Kids and Their Families Thrive for kids exploring gender identity in unsupportive communities and for families seeking to support them. A United Methodist pastor, Cornwell emphasizes that full acceptance of transgender and gender-diverse people is entirely compatible with a life of faith.
At a time when Christians are championing anti-trans legislation, it is critical that cisgender, heterosexual Christian leaders publicly affirm trans and gender-diverse people. With the high rate of suicide among trans youth who experience rejection from family or community, books like Cornwell’s save lives.
For Daring Adventures, Cornwell draws from her own family’s experience with Evan’s gender transition and shares insights from interviews with nearly 20 other families of transgender and gender-diverse children. I was particularly touched by the high schoolers who started an online group for younger kids: They talked about favorite animals, transgender celebrities, and drew pictures of their future selves.
Consumption, Charity, or Change?
The month of November is a lectionary train wreck. The calendars of liturgical and secular feast days collide so that Halloween, All Saints’ Day, Thanksgiving, the busiest shopping day of the year, and lighting the first Advent candle all fall within 30 days.
This month we read the entirety of Matthew 25, but the crescendo of this “eschatological discourse”—which precedes the trial, crucifixion, and resurrection—is cut off abruptly by the start of Advent. Before we have faced Jesus’ death in Jerusalem, we are studying the signs that point us to his birth in Galilee. With no closure, we end our intense and bewildering grapple with the gospel of Matthew.
During a month in which there is an excess of consumption and charity but little focus on concrete social change, we hear a gospel reading about economic realities in first-century Palestine that is entirely relevant today: predatory investment, greed, and the accumulation of wealth. “For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away” (Matthew 25:29). Perhaps we can keep this verse and “those who have nothing” in our prayers and our actions.
A Harsh and Dreadful Love
Lives and Fishes
“That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. Such great crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat there, while the whole crowd stood on the beach.
We have returned now to what some churches call “ordinary time,” a designation more to do with the numbering of weeks than a plain or mundane time.
The Creator of Life
Easter, Ascension, and Pentecost are not three distinct seasons, but rather celebrations of and grapplings with three aspects of Christ’s resurrection and what they mean about Jesus, God, Sp
Resistance and Survival
The books of Luke, Acts, and 1 Peter dominate the readings this month; Peter and Paul are key players.
Word on the Street
This month, as we enter the high season of the church year, the common lectionary offers an overwhelming number of biblical passages for our consideration.
A Season of Repentance
Christians tell the same story over and over even though we know how it ends. We dread the execution even as we anticipate the resurrection.
Voices of Truth
In the Northern Hemisphere, the short days and long nights of winter come with lectionary readings full of references to dark and light.
A Prophetic Call
December 1 is World AIDS Day. Worldwide, 15 million children have lost one or both parents to the AIDS pandemic; in Zimbabwe, one in five children are orphans.
In a time of hardened hearts, the story of Exodus is relevant once again.