Thoughts on the “Why Christian?” 2015 Conference by Emily Swan

A week and a half ago I attended the Why Christian? conference in Minneapolis. I’m not much of a conference person; I was there to support my wife, Rachel Murr, one of the speakers.

But, wow. What a conference.

Rachel Held Evans and Nadia Bolz-Weber created Why Christian? for two primary reasons: 1) to elevate the voices of women in the church, and 2) to inspire hope using the age-old art of the testimony. Hence the title and ultimate question: Why are you a Christian? Even in the face of how messed up the church and Christians can be, why are you a Christian? Continue reading

Businesses (and Churches) That Discriminate Should Say So Up Front by Emily Swan

Indiana needs a prophet.

I may live in Michigan, but I’m a Hoosier in my heart. I grew up in Indianapolis and graduated from Butler University. I am also gay.

So it was with sadness, and (if I’m honest) a little fear, that I read about their new state law that would allow businesses to deny services to people simply because they’re gay. You can read the law here: http://indy.st/1FTQsNX.

Earlier this year, the state of Oklahoma considered a similar bill. However, they were forced to consider that bill with a mirror held up to their faces, thanks to the prophetic act of state Representative Emily Virgin. The job of a prophet is to expose injustice, and Rep. Virgin’s amendment to the bill did just that. The amendment said businesses who wished to deny services to gay or interracial couples would be required to publicly post notice of this in their establishment, as well as on their web site.

The bill did not pass.

Rep. Virgin later wrote on her Facebook profile, “This would save same-sex couples the trouble and embarrassment of going into that business just to be turned away.’”

Which is what I’ve been thinking churches should do. Continue reading

Third Way: Staying Together Despite Sharp Disagreements by Emily Swan

There will always be sharp disagreements among followers of Jesus, because we have different traditions, different cultural lenses and narratives, and different ways of interpreting Scripture. The Third Way allows us to continue in community together, trusting that Jesus alone is our judge and is the one to whom every one of us will answer. But it’s an opt-in approach and works only when all involved are able to lay down their right to be right for the sake of the gospel. Continue reading