better life

“Jesus told this simple story, but they had no idea what he was talking about. So he tried again. ‘I’ll be explicit, then. I am the Gate for the sheep. All those others are up to no good–sheep stealers, every one of them. But the sheep didn’t listen to them. I am the Gate. Anyone who goes through me will be cared for–will freely go in and out, and find pasture. A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.” ~ John 10:6-10

Dear God,

They told me I had to choose:

Between you and having love in my life.

Except they called my love a sin.

And their love righteous

They told me to choose

Between you and having happiness in my life.

Except they called my happiness sin

And their happiness holy.

How can this be anything but good?

How can they tell us we don’t belong in the fold and that Jesus doesn’t love us?

I kiss her, and God, I am in church. It feels like walking on holy ground.

There is a sacredness of holding someone else’s heart in your own.

That is of God and I don’t know how it can be anything less than Good.

They sacrificed my love and happiness for their control and comfort.

For money and power. For money…and power within a sacred space.

The sacred space where God accepts all has somehow been used to cast out.

The sacred space where God accepts all is often not in a church sanctuary for us. . .

But it is often found in the arms of our partners who keep us safe and accept us when the safest spaces promised tell us we do not belong within their walls and hallowed halls.

If Jesus, your Jesus. And also my Jesus…is the Good Shepherd. Isn’t his promise of more and better life for all of us? No one owns Jesus. No one owns the Church.

This Christ who has been here since the beginning would rather associate with those of us you think are not good enough, or too broken, or too…outcast.

I’m pretty sure this Jesus sees us and associates with those of us waving rainbow flags and fighting not to kill ourselves.

He would reject any ideology associated with his name that involves keeping us out.

Dear God. . .

I feel your presence in hallowed halls that are often walled with trees, and the sacred space within the loving arms of my partner.

But the sanctuary I am told I am not holy enough for…that I must give up more for than anyone else…is somehow less sacred if I am with her.

They told me I had to choose–so I choose both. I choose both love of God and the love of my life.

Because heaven forbid I reject the gift that you’ve given–someone to love and who loves me.

I choose Jesus. I also choose her. And I’m not letting go. I choose this beautiful thing called life. Here and now. And in the future. Jesus gave us this freely–“more and better life than they ever dreamed of.” I choose life.

this thing called life

“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called life.” ~ Prince, Let’s Go Crazy

Who knew life could be this beautiful and this terrible all at once?

No one ever told me love would feel like this. I guess it’s something you have to experience for yourself. It’s both learning how to breathe for the first time and forgetting to breathe because the world is suddenly making sense in the arms of the girl you love.

I don’t know a lot of things for sure. Maybe it’s too soon to call. But I do think I know this:

Love. It really does feel like safety and home. Like being cared for as a whole person.

It is being seen. Being seen for who you really are and the other person not running away but in fact, running towards you when you’re in danger and chasing the monsters away.

Even when PTSD sometimes steals those good moments for me–just knowing I’m not alone is a beautiful thing. To be loved–truly loved–is to be seen and accepted for who you are.

To be loved is to just…be. It’s existing…and being not only allowed to exist in this world. But to exist in this world as who you are and to thrive.

It is thriving and growing and smiling in the face of the hard times because you know.

You know everything is going to be ok because you don’t have to do this “thing called life” alone anymore. And maybe that love for you isn’t romantic or coming from just one person. Hopefully, you will know many kinds of love in your life. The kind of love that helps you thrive. I hope that you will–if you have not yet–one day know what it is like to be seen.


Disability and The Church

Today I’m excited to introduce a guest writer on the topic of disability and fundamentalism…she NOT ONLY has written a thoughtful post on the subject but also crochets amazing creations, has two amazing dogs, Bailey and Jelly, and is married to an awesome guy who makes great breakfast food. She also blogs at

Hey, everyone!  I’m Casey, official best friend of Holly, here with a guest post for you on her blog.  I, like Holly, am a writer, but have fallen down on the job as far as sharing my writing with other people.
 Unfortunately, despite my best efforts, I seem to care too much what random strangers on the internet think of me, so I’m usually too terrified to put myself out there in vulnerable opinion pieces.  But here I am, because she gave me a topic and a deadline so I would actually get up off my ass and do something productive.
As most of you who are minorities will attest to, there’s a lot of intersection.  I can’t really separate all of the minorities of which I am a part because they are all a part of me.  So who am I?  Short introduction for you: I’m a 24-year-old bisexual autistic woman who was raised in a fundamentalist Baptist cult and am now a liberal, pacifist Christian.  Did you catch all that?  Yeah, me neither. It’s complicated.  So let’s just jump right in…
There’s starting to be a lot more conversation about what it means to be a woman, or a person of color, or a sexual minority, etc., and how that affects a person’s role in a church community.  And that’s amazing.  Where we’re not hearing a lot of conversation is how the disabled, and especially the neurodiverse, play an important role in the church.
I once told my husband that quite often I see churches with wheelchair ramp ministries – where people go all around the community and build ramps to make all sorts of places more accessible to the disabled community.  As an autistic person, my disability is for the most part invisible.  And the neurotypical world has no clue how to build mental “ramps” so that a church community can be more accessible to autistic people.  Or if they try… in my experience, autism ministries at most churches are patronizing and condescending because they are run by caretakers and not autistic people themselves.
In the foreword of a book I just started reading, Disabled Church – Disabled Society by John Gillibrand, Dr. Rowan Williams writes: “At the most fundamental level of all, the summons is to let go of the patronizing downward look at those who are different.”  Imagine what our churches would look like if we started making the kind of progress in ministering to the neurodiverse that we have made in ministering to other minorities.  Dr. Williams continues, “we jeopardize human dignity most when we try to bind it to the characteristics we can recognize and value and understand as mirroring only our own faces.  The harder labour is seeing ourselves in the person who is genuinely and painfully other.”
I challenge the church to see your autistic members. Value our contributions and take a step back so that we can lead as well.  We are different.  But we are all more human and more Christ-like when we can look at the “other-ness” in one another and recognize the diverse and beautiful nature of Christ in all of us.