My Favorite President: Hillary by Marie Cartier

Can I finally write about that night? Not sure. Here goes. Hillary Clinton. My heart beat. I voted for her every chance I got. Loved her passionately—the way I’ve heard folks talk about working for a candidate with their whole soul. I was so happy: she was winning. We were going to have a woman president.

            What do you want to be when you grow up?


Girls can’t be president, stupid! That’s never gonna happen.

No more. My wife and I wore our white pantsuits to the primaries. What a night! She won! The most exciting political event of my life –and that’s saying a lot for someone who first put her body down in front of a nuclear facility at fifteen. I know politics, And protests.

Continue reading “My Favorite President: Hillary by Marie Cartier”

Don’t Look Away by John Erickson

Why can’t social media be fun anymore? Why can’t we spread happy pictures of puppies, babies, and rainbows? While the answer may be simple to many of us, let me state it plainly to my relative: Because the world is on fire and we have a racist in the White House creating edicts that call for babies and children to be placed in ‘tender age’ facilities.

WEHO CA (June 7, 2015)©2015 Rebecca Dru Photography All Rights Reserved

Don’t look away. I know how hard it is to say this but don’t look away. All of those images, recordings, and other horrific accounts of the deplorable, sickening, and unconstitutional events at the camps they have set up along the southern border need to be your fuel to take action, get fired up, and take back this country from those that would want to destroy everything we hold dear.

I’ve written a lot about how the 2016 election has impacted my family. If you want to catch up on any of those posts, you can click here:
         * A Letter to Those I’ve Lost
         * Happy Anniversary

I didn’t think I’d be writing a series about my family post-2016, but if I learned anything, it is that the personal is political, and sadly, things don’t seem to be getting any better. Continue reading “Don’t Look Away by John Erickson”

My Hopeful Prayer for 2018 by Anjeanette LeBoeuf

When the dust settled after November 9, 2016, many were looking for a better 2017. Alas, 2017 was one of the roughest, heaviest, and revelatory years in the last twenty years. 2017 shook many to their cores. Every morning seemed to bring new horrors, new mountains to climb, and more piles of ridiculousness to shift through. And it didn’t seem to relent. Every moment, every hour was met with baited breath. Is this the moment that our world falls apart? Is this the moment we wake up from this nightmare?

Continue reading “My Hopeful Prayer for 2018 by Anjeanette LeBoeuf”

Hillary Clinton, What Happened and What Happens Now? by Marie Cartier

“In the past, for reasons I try to explain, I’ve often felt I had to be careful in public, like I was up on a wire without a net. Now I’m letting my guard down.” —Hillary Rodham Clinton, from the introduction of What Happened

I just finished reading Secretary Hillary Clinton’s new book, What Happened. It is currently Number One on Amazon, outselling even Stephen King’s It and Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale at this moment. Put another way- hardcover sales of the book are the highest for any non-fiction book in the past five years.

I’ve written several times during the past year regarding Hillary Clinton and the election of 2016. About the real meaning of “sanctity of life”—living a full life and voting for a candidate who believed in that for everyone, including women’s right to choose and also about the process of those trying to silence her/ shame her/ not listen to her and how she refused to be silenced.

Devastated after the election I wrote a post here on FAR. And months afterward, I wrote how many of us were not “over it” and were not “ready to play nice.” We, along with Secretary Clinton, are not “ready to play nice” still. And probably will not ever be. We may be willing to (as I will speak of later) lead with love and kindness—but that is different from “playing nice.”

Continue reading “Hillary Clinton, What Happened and What Happens Now? by Marie Cartier”

A Letter to Those I’ve Lost by John Erickson

Out of all of these things, the one thing that has kept coming to my mind is G-d. What is he (or she) thinking? I feel like I’m back in one of my Old Testament classes discussing the harsh and cruel G-d that thrust so many horrible things onto their believers. Maybe, the worst part about the election isn’t Donald Trump, but it is the realization that G-d may be dead after all.

Dear [Insert Name Here],

Something died on November 8, 2016, and I do not think I’ll ever be able to get it back. I sat there, walking back to my house, in disbelief and utter shock and scared about the next 4 years of my life.

For weeks leading up to the election, I had found myself praying in the copy room at my work almost daily. I would sit there, silent and alone, having just read some misleading article or alt-right post from a family member that called Hillary Clinton the devil, and wonder: when did everything go so off the rails?

Although we’ll spend years trying to figure the answer to my above question out, for me, it is a question I have been asking myself ever since election night and specifically knowing how certain members of my family would, and ultimately did, vote. Continue reading “A Letter to Those I’ve Lost by John Erickson”

Making Room for Joy this Advent by Katey Zeh

cwico_oeuis-nikola-jelenkovicDriving around my town in North Carolina, I have come across a handful of houses that had decorated their yards with an empty manger staged in front of an empty cross. This juxtaposition of Christian symbols struck me as peculiar, so I began asking some of my friends if they had ever come across a display like this.

My Catholic friends were helpful in understanding the empty manger, which I could recall having seen previously. Traditionally Catholics wait until the Christmas midnight mass to place the baby Jesus in the manger. If Advent is a season of expectation of the Christ child, this liturgical practice makes sense. But what about the cross behind it?

I believe this stark manager and cross scene was intended to emphasize a theology centered around atonement: Jesus was born, so that he could die and save humanity. These combined symbols are somber reminders to all who drive by of our own sinfulness and need for salvation. I’m intimately familiar with this particular understanding of Christianity, so this wasn’t surprising.

But still, I find myself deeply saddened by this display of the empty and isolated symbols. Continue reading “Making Room for Joy this Advent by Katey Zeh”

Moving Forward and into a New Season by Elise M. Edwards

elise-edwardsIt’s only been a month and I am still reeling from the US presidential election.  I feel like I’m just beginning to emerge from the sense of loss and futility that has cloaked me.  But I am beginning to move forward.

I don’t feel better.  I’m still confused and discouraged about why people voted for Donald Trump.  I’m very concerned about his cabinet picks and his proposed policies.  But I am actively seeking a path forward and a path of resistance.  I’m finding support in my spiritual practices and communities.

In the Christian calendar, we are in the season of Advent.  Advent carries profound symbolism, and this year it is especially poignant for me.  The word advent bears meanings of arrival, birth, and emergence.  It’s the beginning of the Christian year, which is patterned on the life of Christ, but the year does not begin Jesus’ birth.  That celebration is observed at Christmas, four weeks into the church year.  The weeks preceding Christmas are a time of preparation and reflection on the need for the Incarnation.  The Incarnation of God in the Christ Child may be a distinctly Christian doctrine, but I believe the need for it–even the idea of it–is found in other spiritual and religious teachings.

Continue reading “Moving Forward and into a New Season by Elise M. Edwards”

A Lament for My Daughter by Katey Zeh

I wrote this the morning after the Presidential Election. While there will be time for hard work, there must also be space for the sacred work of lament. This is mine. photo-1461733558461-ff6968a0ae80.jpeg

Last night I dressed you in the Hillary shirt I ordered the morning after the first Presidential debate.  As I placed you in your crib, I kissed your sweet face and turned on the noise machine to block out the celebratory cheers that I knew would be coming in a few hours. We wouldn’t want to wake you.

As you drifted off to sleep, downstairs in the kitchen your dad was cooking shells for taco salads. The champagne was chilling in the bottom of the fridge. The news was streaming, filling our home with words of “too close to call.”  I said, “Let’s mute it for now while we eat. Let’s enjoy.” I painstakingly created an “H” out of shredded cheese and snapped a picture to post on Instagram.

Last night I sported my “I voted” sticker on the collar of the white pant suit I’d proudly worn to the polls to cast my vote for the first woman President. White, the color of women’s suffrage. White, the color of supremacy and oppression, a legacy of racism that awards me and you undeserved, boundless privilege.

Through the night I watched in horror as these United States turned redder and redder. The color of rage, of blood. “Have another glass of wine, Katey. You’ll feel better.”

No, I need to feel this. Every ounce of this pain. The pain that I often choose to not see, now staring me in the face. I couldn’t look away.

I took as much as I could bear. At midnight we part ways with our guests. Take the champagne with you.

I swallowed one of the bitter yellow pills my doctor had prescribed me earlier that day when I told him I couldn’t block out the noise: the gun shots, the threats, the gleeful cheers of white supremacy and sexism and homophobia and Islamaphobia and transphobia, and the sinful silence from people like me in response to these horrors. The pill dragged me into dreamless sleep for a few short hours.

And then you woke up, singing sweet songs in your crib. Happily oblivious. Cocooned. I envied you. For the first time in your life I wished that I could pull you back inside of me and keep you there forever, the amniotic fluid muffling out the horrors of the world outside.

But instead I didn’t hide my red swollen eyes from you. I let you see my tears, even though you can’t yet understand their source. I want you to see. I won’t–can’t–shelter you from my pain, from my fear for you. For all our babies.

Today I feel my heart breaking open, wider and wider. Creating more excruciating pain, yes, but also creating exponentially more room within me for love.

Love wins. I do not know how. But love wins.

Katey Zeh, M.Div is a thought leader, strategist, and connector who inspires intentionalKatey Headshot communities to create a more just, compassionate world through building connection, sacred truth telling, and striving for the common good.  She has written for outlets including Huffington Post, Sojourners, Religion Dispatches, Response magazine, the Good Mother Project, the Journal for Feminist Studies in Religion, and the United Methodist News Service. Her book Women Rising will be published by the FAR Press in 2017.  Find her on Twitter at @kateyzeh or on her website


My Reaction to the Election Results by Elise M. Edwards

elise-edwardsI wanted to stay in bed yesterday morning.  I wanted to stay in bed for the whole day.  When I heard that Trump won the US Presidential election, I didn’t know how to deal with it.  How can I accept this reality?  I still don’t have an adequate answer.

Turn to prayer? Yes.  Do some writing? Ok. I’ll also take every hug and kind word that’s offered to me.  And still, my emotions will be raw for a long time.  I cry at random moments.  My voice catches unexpectedly.  I feel that so many Americans embraced a vision of the country that is intensely hostile to people like me (women, African-Americans, Black Lives Matter sympathizers, liberals, intellectuals). How can I not take that personally? Dismissing the harm of Trump’s open hostility or accepting it in deference to some supposedly higher goal feels like rejection too.  It justifies and legitimizes his contempt and denies the seriousness of it.  Do we really accept a man who speaks so openly of sexual assault because he promises to bring jobs back?  That denigrates women and all assault victims. The hatred directed at immigrants, Muslims, and LGBTQA persons is even more unrestrained and horrifying!

Continue reading “My Reaction to the Election Results by Elise M. Edwards”

#NastyWomen Not Ready to Play Nice by Marie Cartier

Author with friends at Dixie Chicks concert

I have blogged on this site about Hillary Clinton’s campaign, and my support of her for president of the United States, in several FAR posts this past year: here, here and here. So—this is my last post regarding her campaign before the election November 8th.

We all, by this point, have seen or heard about Donald Trump, the Republican nominee, being videotaped while he said that grabbing “pussy” is OK and women “let” him do it—because he’s a star. We’ve heard him call Hillary “a nasty woman” during the 3rd Presidential debate. We’ve heard him interrupt her, patronize her and other women, and also unleash a floodgate of sexism and racism in the process. Remember according to polls, 40% of the populace, despite all of the above is still voting for him. Why? Because they are voting in support of sexism and racism STAYING IN PLACE. Most of them are not voting for Trump because they feel he is the more qualified candidate to be president. They are voting to keep in place a race and sex status quo that has kept women and people of color out of the power structure since the founding of the United States. That status quo is crumbling. However, as it crumbles, rocks are being overturned and – stuff is crawling out. Continue reading “#NastyWomen Not Ready to Play Nice by Marie Cartier”

Opting In, Opting Out: Navigating Political Divisions “for the Sake of the World” by Katey Zeh


Over a year ago I made the decision not to watch–not to consume the vitriol of this political disaster we in the U.S. have created for ourselves. It was a conscious choice in favor of my own self-preservation which I stand by. I had no idea at the time how important that decision would be for my own mental and spiritual health in the coming months.

Since then I’ve done a lot of opting out: not watching the Presidential debates (not in full anyway), not reading much political analysis (the article titles alone cause me rage), not discussing the election before bed. Late one night my husband mentioned some egregious thing that Donald Trump had said earlier that week, and I got so riled up over it that afterward I couldn’t sleep for hours. After that we had to establish a rule that no one could bring up politics after sitting down for dinner.

My way of coping this election cycle has been similar to how another person might react to a violent image on TV: I’ve kept my eyes shut, peeking every few moments to see if the worst has passed. This avoidance behavior has begun to feel uncomfortable, even unethical. As a person of faith, is it not my responsibility to call out abuses of power for what they are? If I do not offer my voice to the cacophony of political discourse, am I complicit in the hatred being spewed? I’ve thought often of Audre Lorde’s famous line, “Your silence will not protect you.” Continue reading “Opting In, Opting Out: Navigating Political Divisions “for the Sake of the World” by Katey Zeh”

Debating a “Winning” Personality by Sara Frykenberg

Sara FrykenbergI wasn’t sure I wanted to watch the debate between presidential candidates last Tuesday. As John Erikson discussed in his post “The End is Nigh,” one could easily predict Trump’s sexism and misogyny, it was just a question of how his hatred would surface and whether or not he would tip his hat to “how truly dangerous he really is.” So, I compromised: I watched some of the debate, able to shirk part of what I felt was my responsibility to history for a more pressing responsibility, the need to put my daughter to bed. And, of course, Donald Trump delivered what his ‘brand’ promises… (poor) mis/re-direction, lies, bullying and incompetency.

Continue reading “Debating a “Winning” Personality by Sara Frykenberg”

The End is Nigh by John Erickson

How will the world end? No, it isn’t Lucifer himself coming from hell to bring in the end times, it is someone far worse, and his name is Donald Trump.

John Erickson, sports, coming out.When I was a little boy I was terrified that I would live to experience the end of the world.  Whether it was by an asteroid, Y2K, or a zombie plague, I would make myself sick by picturing these horrible things that could befall me and my family.  Although I was a precocious child, the crippling fear that would lurch its way up my stomach and into my head would sometimes make it impossible to sleep at night.  While I like to think I grew out of that phase, I now sit here feeling that way again.  I’m crippled with fear that the end of the world is at hand and there may be nothing we can do to stop it.   How will the world end? No, it isn’t Lucifer himself coming from hell to bring in the end times, it is someone far worse, and his name is Donald Trump.

By the time you’re reading this post, the first Presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will have occurred and, no matter where you look, the aftermath will haunt us for weeks to come.  We will either be sitting here, coaxing in the sunlight that Clinton has, in proper fashion, just goaded Trump into revealing to the 100 or so million viewers that will have chimed in to viewing how completely dangerous he truly is, or will we be scurrying to uncover decade old bunkers that were used during the 1950s and the Cold War to take shelter from the fallout to come should, Donald Trump become the next President of the United States. Continue reading “The End is Nigh by John Erickson”

Religion, Politics, and the RNC: Separation of Church and State Anyone? by Marie Cartier

MarieCartierforKCETa-thumb-300x448-72405When you read this Feminism and Religion community, we will have just finished the televised portion of the Republican National Convention (RNC), which as I write this Wednesday, July 20 has announced that Donald Trump is the presumptive nominee for president of the United States.

Last night the first night of the RNC we witnessed the emerging platform of the party going far to the right.

From the New York Times:

Republicans moved on Tuesday toward adopting a staunchly conservative platform that takes a strict, traditionalist view of the family and child rearing, bars military women from combat, describes coal as a “clean” energy source and declares pornography a “public health crisis.”

The platform demands that lawmakers use religion as a guide when legislating, stipulating “that man-made law must be consistent with God-given, natural rights.”

It also encourages the teaching of the Bible in public schools because, the amendment said, a good understanding of its contents is “indispensable for the development of an educated citizenry.”

One thing we might ask—those of us who discourse in religion and the profane, or ways of the world—is the somewhat obvious question- whose God? Whose religion? Continue reading “Religion, Politics, and the RNC: Separation of Church and State Anyone? by Marie Cartier”

If Jesus Ran for President by Gina Messina

Gina Messina-Dysert profileIf Jesus ran for president, what would his campaign look like?  Where would he stand on social policy? Who would be his running mate? Who would (not) vote for him?  With our current political dialogue dominated by supposed Christian views and a nation that overwhelmingly claims the teachings of Jesus as the basis for its morality, what would the response be if we came face to face with the (unintentional) founder of the tradition?  How would we really respond to Jesus’ teachings in contemporary society? And maybe more frightening, how would Jesus respond to us?

Imagine that Jesus was in the US today and launched his bid for the Whitehouse. Don’t imagine him announcing on the deck of an Aircraft Carrier, he’s more of a Homeless Shelter guy. Would he be the conservative “Christian” he is often labeled by the right? Would he be a Democrat as so many book titles have claimed? A libertarian? Green party? How do his teachings measure up with the various political parties and would there be room for Jesus at any of their tables?

What would Jesus think of our current and past presidents, nearly all whom have invoked the Lord’s name during their time in office.  What would he think of both Jimmy Carter and George W. Bush claiming that God wanted them to run for POTUS?  What about Bush’s (and Ronald Reagan’s) claim that God guided all of his policy making decisions while in office? And what about Barack Obama’s statement that when it comes to his politics, at the end of the day, “God is in control”?

Although not bringing God into the conversation would be career suicide for any politician and a large population of voters in the US claim a Christian identity, few would actually vote for Jesus if he ran for president.  Many of the values and ideologies associated with Christian views are in direct contrast to the teachings of Jesus.  For one, Jesus was anti-materialistic and we are living in one of the most gluttonous nations in the world.  Let me say upfront, I am guilty.  I have an unhealthy obsession with handbags and little makes me happier than a good sale at Nordstrom. I own it. But that doesn’t change who Jesus was or his teachings. Even if he was alive today I don’t think Jesus would be swayed by Nordstrom—-although I have seen amazing sandals there.

We have adopted Jesus as an American Icon, and in doing so, have twisted his words and teachings to support our own ideas.  It’s enough to make one think those WWJD bumper stickers stand for “What Wouldn’t Jesus Do?” And so, if Jesus did run for President, it is impossible to imagine, in a country that has adopted him as its icon and claims a “Christian” identity, that Jesus would ever be elected. His understanding, loving  approach would probably bar him from even getting a reality show—which appears to be key for a presidential resume these days.

Jesus Tweet

That’s right.  Likely no Christian would vote for Jesus and most would attack him for his teachings and politics – yes, Jesus was highly political. Some might like his message, but the media would label him unelectable and the GOP would go after him for being a left-wing, pro-union, welfare supporting, Obamacare enthusiast and democrats would argue that Jesus is a nice guy but doesn’t know a thing about running a country. If it came down to it, and the country was under threat, Jesus would never push the red button. Both would rather him be a mascot for their campaigns – “Jesus the carpenter” – AKA the new “Joe the Plumber.”

While Jesus the American Icon might have a chance in a presidential election, Jesus the Jewish carpenter of the Gospels would be laughed off the ballot.

This article is an excerpt from  If Jesus Ran for President coming from the Far Press in Fall, 2016 and was co-written with Steven Mazan.comingspring 2016

Gina Messina, Ph.D. is Assistant Professor of Religion and Gender Studies at Ursuline College and Co-founder of Feminism and Religion. She writes for The Huffington Post, has authored multiple publications and is the co-editor of the highly acclaimed Faithfully Feminist: Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Feminists on Why We Stay. Messina is a widely sought after speaker and has presented across the US at universities, organizations, conferences and on national platforms including appearances on MSNBC, Tavis Smiley, NPR and the TEDx stage. She has also spoken at the Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations to discuss matters impacting the lives women around the world. Messina is active in movements to end violence against women and explores opportunities for spiritual healing. Connect with her on Twitter @FemTheologian, Facebook, and her website

The Politics of Being a Woman in a “Christian Nation” by Gina Messina-Dysert, Jennifer Zobair and Amy Levin

FF Editors.001

The far right is pitting God against women. Mike Huckabee’s support for the decision to deny a 10-year-old rape victim an abortion is just another example in a long history that continues this election season.

At Fox News’ Republican Presidential debate in Cleveland, Jeb Bush boasted that, informed by his faith, he “defunded planned parenthood and created a culture of life in my state.” When Megyn Kelly asked Scott Walker if he would “really let a mother die rather than have an abortion,” he refused to temper his position that there should be no exceptions to his “pro-life” position.

Ted Cruz professed “God speaks to me every day through the scriptures and this informs my position on religious liberty, life, and marriage.” And Marco Rubio argued that even in the case of rape, women should not have the ability to make choices about their pregnancies. Sadly, such proclamations ignore individual rights, freedom of religion, and the fact that faith as a guiding principle can be dangerous when the foundational teachings of social justice are ignored. Continue reading “The Politics of Being a Woman in a “Christian Nation” by Gina Messina-Dysert, Jennifer Zobair and Amy Levin”

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