There have been a lot of (often problematic) conversations in church spaces I occupy about how to promote more diversity in voices and leadership. And although there are plenty of cultural conversations about things like how women or other oppressed people need to “lean in” or claim more space, there is less conversation regarding the other, more controversial side of the same coin.

Sometimes in order for there to be space for oppressed people to claim, someone else has to step back.

This rubs up against our sensibilities about politeness or fairness. We have been taught that fairness means that…


As a faith leader engaged in anti-racism work, I am always looking for resources that will speak to different people. As a white mom of Black kids, I had to learn the hard truth that loving my family didn’t mean I somehow magically escaped internalizing and being influenced by my socialization in a white supremacist society. Quite the opposite — my love for my children urgently compels me towards the need for all white people to do anti-racist work, including and especially myself.

Below is a guest blog by Madena Maxine, who volunteered her personal experiences when I asked the…


Originally posted on “Formerly Unchurched.”

White people love to think of ourselves as Nice.

This is especially true of a certain brand of white people, many of us middle class and hailing from the Midwest. We pat ourselves on the back with pride for being [Your State Here] Nice. Where I grew up, in a state that is about 94% white and filled with Lutheran churches, we liked to say we’re Iowa Nice.

Niceness is about convenience. It’s about our comfort. It’s about control. It can never include disruptions. …


A message for the 3rd Sunday of Advent

Much has been written about Mary, Mother of God. Not unlike the often perverted legacy of her son, there have many attempts to whitewash, sanitize, and tame this dynamic and defiant prophetess into an Idyllic Submissive Woman, often used to chain women to oppressive gender roles instead of liberating us from them. …


“One of my favorite things about you is all of your intersections,” the designer said to me as I perched on the futon across the room, “You know I love your selfies on Facebook, all the mascara, big hair, everything. You post about ministry, and being queer, and you also walk around here in these platform stiletto heels. I’ve never met a pastor like that before.” Part of me wanted to assure her that actually, there was a whole swarm of us out there, pastors and pastors in training like me. Pastors who carry eyelash curlers and tampons in the…


A message for World Mental Health Day 2017

I sent a group chat to my best friends from high school at 3 am from my freshman dorm room. I don’t remember exactly what I wrote, but it upset them enough that they all showed up within the next 12 hours, traveling to Iowa State from various colleges around the Midwest. When I asked them what they told their professors, how they were able to just drop everything, all of their responsibilities and deadlines, and show up here so quickly when they lived hours away, they told me,

“Family emergency.” …


Image Credit http://bisexualityislegit.tumblr.com/

Those of us who fall under the Bi+ umbrella may make up the majority of the LGBTQIA+ community, but we often feel on the outside of it. Erased and rendered invisible by monosexuals in queer and straight communities alike, the isolation that bi people face has real consequences for our lives. Bi women in particular suffer high rates of domestic violence and sexual assault which lead to increased risk of both physical and mental health issues, including PTSD rates that approach those of combat veterans. With this level of trauma stemming from isolation it is no question why bi people…


A reflection on #mykindachurch, a project of #decolonizelutheranism in partnership with Saying Grace. Learn more about #mykindachurch in our intro post here.

#MyKindaChurch was started as a project for Epiphany. We thought that doing this listening project was especially appropriate during the season after Epiphany, a time of revelation and new insights. A time where we celebrate that the incarnation of God is revealed to us in a particular time, in a particular place, in a particular person.

#MyKindaChurch introduced us to queers and radicals and witches and atheists and all sorts of people who are made in the Image…


A reflection on Week 7 of #mykindachurch, a project of #decolonizelutheranism in partnership with Saying Grace. Learn more about #mykindachurch in our intro post here.

This week we heard from a Leftist Philosopher, an Anonymous Doubter, a Creative Redhead, a Hospital Chaplain, and a Deviant Radical. We heard stories of doubts and questions being suppressed. We heard pain about the church living into unjust systems. We heard a plea for the right to push back against those in authority.

Sometimes, when I look around, the world I live in seems overrun with evil and oppressive forces. Forces that tell trans…


A reflection on Week 5 of #mykindachurch, a project of #decolonizelutheranismin partnership with Saying Grace. Learn more about #mykindachurch in our intro post here.

I love opening up the main blog page for #MyKindaChurch. I love each of the individual entries, but I love the main page most. I let my eyes wander over each of your faces as I scroll through, looking at your smiles, remembering the stories they represent, and when I see all of the beautiful diversity that’s there (something so often lacking in our churches) I think to myself, “The Reign of God is like…..”

The…

Elle Dowd

Bi-furious | Pastor school student | Spent more time in jail than #DarrenWilson | Stands with Standing Rock | Bloody Mary Drinker | she/her | @hownowbrowndowd

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