So Great a Cloud of Witnesses

Throughout my life, I have been fortunate enough to have some truly incredible teachers. With their help, I've grown in the classroom and as a person. One teacher I will never forget is the professor who taught Histories of Queer Activism when I was a college student at Bowling Green State University. At some point during that semester she shared that from a young age she had sensed a call to serve as a pastor, but as a young adult in the 80s and 90s didn't believe a church would hire her as an out lesbian. When she shared this sense of call it made so much sense. Her lectures were like sermons and each class held more than historical information. I learned so much with and from her not only about activism, but also about being a good human.

One of the sessions I'll never forget was all about monsters and martyrs. It is so easy to look at situations and name the good and bad people. The truth is, though, often there is so, so much more to it than that. Also, by creating monsters and martyrs, we permit ourselves to not have to be held accountable for our own issues because "we aren't as bad as that person" and at the same time to not have to do brave things because we couldn't possibly be as good or smart or strong as a hero.

This week's scripture names some people who acted in incredible faith to make a difference. All of these people did great things and were oh so very human too. On Sunday, we'll reflect together on what it means to be a hero and how sometimes the outcomes are different from the expectations.

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