Only two days after hosting a town hall to address violence against transgender people, the First Unitarian Universalist Church of New Orleans was vandalized.
According to a post on the church’s Facebook page, someone threw a brick through a stained-glass window during a service Sunday morning.
“We think it might be in reaction to the town hall meeting we hosted on Friday afternoon, organized by Transitions Louisiana, on violence against transgender people,” the post read.
The church has several other ties to LGBTQ communities. It is a venue for LOUD: New Orleans Queer Youth Theatre, which posted a message of support to the church on Facebook.
“At this time, we do not have evidence that would link the simple criminal damage to property incident today with Friday’s [town hall],” the New Orleans Police Department said in a statement to the New Orleans Times-Picayune.Read more (3/13/17 4:06 PM)
On Sunday, the United Methodist Church made history. For the first time ever, the church commissioned a nonbinary trans person as a member of the clergy.
M Barclay went to seminary in Texas, where they read feminist and queer theology alongside other texts. M tried to join the clergy in 2012, when they identified as a lesbian in a same-gender relationship, but wasn’t approved. Later, M joined a more inclusive Methodist network in Chicago, came out as trans, and started on the path toward being ordained.
Barclay said they have received many messages from people opposed to their leadership in the church because of their gender identity. But Barclay has also heard from LGBT Christians, from the parents of LGBT youth and from supportive churches that seek Barclay’s input about a theology that embraces Christian teaching and queer inclusion.
“How do I theologically and scripturally advocate for trans people? I’m invited a lot to preach on that question,” Barclay said.
Now, as a member of the clergy, Barclay will continue the ministry at Reconciling Ministries Network and will give more sermons and workshops at Methodist churches, with one noticeable change: Barclay will be wearing a collar. Most Methodist clergy don’t wear their collar every day, but Barclay wants to.
“I feel very called to do that,” they said. “A visibly trans person who is an extension of the church — queer and trans people need to see that. They need to see themselves reflected in the life of faith.”
The story is of course not as simple as this; the article linked above includes quotes from people who still oppose M’s participation in the clergy, as well as explanations of some of the other challenges LGBTQ Christians face. But M has achieved something big here, a well-deserved honor that they will undoubtedly use for good. Congratulations.
Ruining the mystery/First thing taught in Paladin school
So during my first dnd campaing, which was Castlevania based, I was playing Paladin of the Church, which led to the following bit, just as we entered the castle:
Dm: …And to the left, you see a hooded man sitting on a flying carpet, playing a gold fiddle
Ranger: I go to say “Hi, Im Kaito, who are you and what are you doing here?”
Mysterious hooded: Hello there travelers, we dont get many visitors around these parts, my name is Light and I’m but a simp-
Me,half jokingly half serious: Oh, hey nice to meet you Lucifer, kinda surprise you’re here.
DM: ……….so the man just sighs, and reveals himself as Lucifer, former prince of darkness, and former ruler of castlevania
Warlord: Wait doesn’t he have to roll or something to know?
DM: He’s a Paladin of the Church, The first thing they teach you in paladin school is about Lucifer, that it means Beautiful Light and his betrayal……There was going to be this whole bit of his identity being revealed later, but that’s scrapped.
Me: Well you shouldn’t have named him Light and given him a golden fiddle
And that is how Lucifer joined us in our adventure to defeat Dracula
When I made the first version with only Church of Satan and The Satanic Temple people asked where all the other groups were. To be honest, there’s a shit ton of Satanic and Luciferian groups/religions and some are Satanists but don’t want to be called that and yada yada.
Notes: While many Satanic groups claim to be Atheist, The Satanic Temple are the only people who don’t believe in any sort of magic. They call themselves a religion for those who have no supernatural believes but still have a right to the benefits that comes with belonging to a religion in America.
Temple of Set aren’t keen on being called Satanists, but they are an offshoot of Church of Satan, use the inverted pentagram, and they worship Set whom they believe is an older version of Satan.
Order of Nine Angles is the most secretive of all the Satanic groups, was probably founded by a neo-Nazi (though he denies being the founder), is partly rooted in some of the Thule Society beliefs, and the only Satanic groups who advocates human sacrifice. There’s a rumor going around that to be able to kill humans legally some members become soldiers and police officers.
The Neo-Luciferian Church is based in Denmark, and when I looked up the founder’s facebook page I noticed we have a lot of the same friends. Color me surprised that I’m this close to Satanists.
Cold, cold cold. The chapel is always too Cold. The men complain about the heat. A grandmother brings blankets for herself and the elderly lady who always sits next to her. One day you go searching for the thermometer. It is never cold again. The men complain about the heat.
The pulpit is raised. The pulpit is lowered. The pulpit is raised. The pulpit is lowered. Th
A child is screaming somewhere behind you.
The floor beneath you is a sea of blue. You wonder if you will ever sink into it.
A child appears from underneath the pew. You do not know where it came from. It stays for 4 minutes to make conversation about the toy it brought along. It ducks back underneath the pew.
There are Spanish hymnals under the pew. Your sister pulled one out. You reach below but there is only an empty box. You check the pew a little farther. A little farther. All the boxes are empty.
The congregation opens their hymnals. Suddenly the room is a choir. Loud, like angels, you sing. Your ears continue to ring long after the song is over. The sound of books shutting waves over you.
Who changes the song numbers?
You once met an elderly lady in the lobby. She was 80 or so years old. You have never met her before, but she feels kind. She comments on the testimony you shared some minutes before. She says she felt prompted to talk to you. She tells you about her grandson. You both break into tears. When she is finished, she walks out of the building. You are too stunned to help her. She was not in your ward, or stake as far as you know. You do not see her ever again.
The building is all hallway and doors. Your cousin’s building has a staircase. You do not know where it goes. Your cousin does not know either.
What is in the mother’s lounge? You have vague memories of it from your childhood, but that is all they are. Vague.
Amen. The word shakes the building.
There are things not spoken. You want to speak of them, but the words do not come out of your mouth.
Burlap is everywhere. The tan scratchy texture accompanies your childhood memories of Sundays. As you watch the children run their hands up and down the walls as they walk, you know it will stick with them as well.
You do not walk through the multipurpose room in the dark. You know everyone in your ward. You trust them. You believe the stake to be trustworthy too. You still not walk through the multipurpose room in the dark.
You think you hear the sound of a basket ball bouncing against the waxed court floor, but there is none.
You walk past the primary room. The children are shouting, but you can translate it as singing. You know this song. “They wished they had listened, when they saw the rain… Follow the prophet, follow the prophet, follow the prophet…” You do not smile. You wish it was cute. You walk away.
When everyone separates, where do the men go? What do they talk about?
You walk around the church grounds with one of the youth. It is hot. The grass is dead. They tell you they do not believe in God. You feel bad for them, not for their atheism, but because church must be hard.
When everyone separates, where do the women go? What do they talk about?
You clean the church building every Saturday. Sometimes 30 people show up. More often then not it is somewhere between 3 and 6. It averages at 5. You were vacuuming the chapel when you saw someone wearing white, standing between the organ and the sacrament altar. They were watching you. You apologize, ask if they were there to help clean; they reply they weren’t, but were willing to help. You give them the task of making sure there was hymn books in all the pews, as most of the work was already done. They begin to sing while they work. You remember the sound of a congregation, and know your previous metaphor does not come close to the sound of an angel. You stop in your tracks and tears come to your eyes. Their song becomes your favorite hymn.
You hear stories of people seeing angels, but you don’t believe them. Your visiting teachers bring you a pan of lasagna. You have been living off of beans burros and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the past two weeks. You have not told anyone. They knew. You saw angels that day.
It’s raining when church gets out. The children shout with laughter as they run through it. You cry.
You play hide and seek. There are too many doors. Thousands of doors. Hundreds of thousands. Some have blackened windows on them. You are scared of the doors.
There is a speaker above the bishop’s office. It gives out static noise.
Everyone shakes hands. Everyone. At the doors two men are posted so you have to shake at least two. You can come in late to try to get past them. You sneak in the chapel; people will suprise you to shake your hand in the lobby. After the meeting, someone comes up to you anyway to shake your hand. You give in.
You hear your parent’s stern voice. “You are going to church, if you like it or not.” You sneak out of your youth classes with a few others down to the dollar store down the street. You buy a few cold sodas and wait til you have to go back. The cool liquid calms your heart. Your friends laughter gives you courage. Whether or not God is real, you know he would want you to choose for yourself.
One day, for combined mutual, the youth go swimming. It’s not too hot, not too cold. The day just is. There are also hotdogs. I think someone brought watermelon. The leaders do not swim.
You feed the missionaries. These two are different then the ones you fed two weeks ago. Two more will soon replace them.
You hear your parent’s stern voice. “You will not go to church with those devils, whether you like it or not.” You sneak out well into the meeting, but you are there for the closing hymn. The words calm your heart. The melody gives you courage. You know God is with you.
You look up and count the tiles on the roof. You are convinced the amount changes every time you count. You have your brother count with you. You both get two different numbers.
You do not walk down the hallways with the lights turned off.
Who rings The bell? How do they ring The bell?
Deep doctrine. Deep false doctrine.
A deacon messed around with the microphone in the chapel once. His voice boomed down the halls, filled the classrooms, and the multipurpose room.
A kid asks for scrap paper from the library every Sunday for 7 and a half years. One year, they stop. The librarians never knew what the child did with the paper, and regretted never asking.
Food in the serving area is devoured. No food left unattended will survive. Claiming it in Sharpied names does nothing to detour the devourers.