are we running with you, Jesus?Posted: September 24, 2015 Filed under: Episcopal thoughts, Religion, Society | Tags: Are You Running With Me, Jesus, Malcolm Boyd, Susan Russell 2 Comments
Are You Running With Me, Jesus? is the title of a book published by Episcopal priest Malcolm Boyd in 1965, fifty years ago. It is a book of prayers reflective of the turbulent 1960’s in which Boyd speaks directly to Jesus in everyday, casual language about society and the struggles people face. Boyd published a revised edition ten years ago (with the cigarette omitted from the cover photo) that to me did not have quite the edge of the original.
The inversion in the above title is courtesy of the Rev. Susan Russell of All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Pasadena. Are we running with you, Jesus? was the title of a workshop she did for the Episcopal Diocese of Mississippi in August, as well as a sermon she preached at All Saints’ on a recent Sunday. The reversal does justice to Boyd. He himself published a book in 2000, now out of print, entitled Running with Jesus.
Susan makes the point in her sermon that Boyd’s prayers from 1965 are as relevant today as they were in 1965. She’s correct. She reads from the book:
Here I am in church again, Jesus.
I love it here, but, as you know, for some of the wrong reasons. I sometimes lose myself completely in the church service and forget the people outside whom you love. I sometimes withdraw far, far inside myself when I am inside church, but people looking at me can see only my pious expression and imagine I am loving you instead of myself.
Help us, Lord, who claim to be your special people. Don’t let us feel privileged and selfish because you have called us to you. Teach us our responsibilities to you, our community, and to all the people out there. Save us from the sin of loving religion instead of you.
Yes. I could do worse than to run with Jesus.
not all like thatPosted: September 9, 2013 Filed under: Religion, Society | Tags: All Saints’ Episcopal Pasadena, Dan Savage, NALT, not all like that, Susan Russell 1 Comment
Dan Savage is well-known for his outspoken views on sex and sexuality, and for his unwavering defense of the gay community. I know he has been criticized for insensitivity to the “T” (that is, transgender) component of the LGBTQ community, but I believe that he has acknowledged that and is trying to be more considerate in his public comments. Of course his legacy is the It Gets Better project, which has spawned thousands of videos intended to reassure gay teens that they are loved and supported and that they can get beyond the harassment and bullying that they have experienced.
Dan has long been anti-religion. He grew up Catholic, but as a gay adult male he traded that in for atheism (or perhaps agnosticism, but really atheism, I think). He has railed, and rightly so, against the likes of Pat Robertson and Michele Bachmann and their condemnations of homosexuality.
But something amazing has happened. In the midst of all of his rants, loving, caring Christians who support equality for all gay and transgendered, told Dan, “We’re not all like that.” And you know what? He listened! Not only did he listen, but he took action. He set up another project in parallel with It Gets Better. It is the NALT (Not All Like That) Christians project. It’s a place where Christians can upload videos in which they express their love and support for LGBTQ individuals.
I first learned about this from The Rev. Susan Russell of All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Pasadena. She describes the project in her blog, and shares the video she made for it. I commented on the post, and wrote how impressed I was that Savage listened and acted. Susan replied:
It’s a HUGE switch-around for Savage … he had to do more “evolving” on faith voices than Obama did on LGBT equality. So I totally want to give credit where credit is due … and he’s getting a ton of blowback from uber-atheists and religion-phobes
So thank you, Dan Savage for both listening and acting. And to my readers, if you have a minute, please take a look at Susan’s clear and direct video.