Important Disclaimer

Since I currently have several employers/supervisors/churches/etc., please know that none of the words on my blog represent them or their beliefs. This blog is my own creation.

It also does not represent my children's perspective, nor my mother's; they think I am funny, but misguided.
(Quick update: only my mother thinks I'm funny now.)

Monday, August 27, 2012

Coffee Hour Doesn't Count

For the best coffee ever, go to
It's phenomenal!
These days I'm working with four churches to coordinate their youth ministry programs. In various ways they are all working together, but in various ways they are all maintaining their own identities. My Sunday morning time is split among the churches: two Sundays a month at one church, one Sunday a month at two of the churches, and if there's a fifth Sunday I wander over to the other church. It's complicated.

Sometimes I preach, and sometimes I'm just in church. Each of the churches is distinctly Presbyterian in in their liturgies, and yet they each have their own traditions and habits that distinguish them from one another. I'm learning names, but I have to admit I'm learning faces faster. It's going to take me a while to sort everyone out.

One commonality is the coffee hour. Coffee hour is like a church cocktail party without the booze--which is probably a good thing: coffee hour would be pretty wild if we were spiking the joe. Every church has its habits about coffee hour--half n half vs. creamer, muffins or no muffins, juice for the kids, tables and chairs variously set up--they all have their ways.

At every coffee hour, and especially if I've preached that morning, I greet between 40 and 100 people in the course of 20 or 30 minutes. Some people are brief, others follow me about the room with extended conversation. Sometimes I seek certain people out.

It's a bit dizzying, actually, all these people with their stories, lives, situations, wants, and and needs.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

I Will Build You a Hut

I preached this morning at West Trenton Presbyterian Church. My thanks to the Rev. Jim Pruner for lending his pulpit, and to the fine congregation of that church, who welcomed me kindly and with enthusiasm.

This sermon includes information about the Love of God (L.O.G.) student-led retreat program, which we began last weekend with the help of the L.O.G. community in South Bend, Indiana. I am grateful to the students and adults who brought us this program at their own cost, and to the Rev. Terry McBride (who was my youth pastor in 1985-1989). And thanks be to God for the gift of this ministry.

Sunday, August 19, 2012
Sermon by Katie Mulligan

Scripture Readings: Exodus 25:1-9, 26:15-25 and Matthew 17:1-8

The story of the Transfiguration begins with the words “Six days later,” and when I began to work with this passage my first thought was, “Six days after what?” Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter, James and James’ brother, John, and led them up a high mountain, by themselves. What were they doing six days before? So I flipped back a chapter to see.

A week or so before Jesus took his disciples up to the mountain top, Jesus had fed four thousand people crowded on a hillside. The people had gathered to hear him speak and brought their loved ones for healing. They had not thought to bring food, and so Jesus fed them, with seven loaves of bread and a few small fish. After making plenty out of scarcity, Jesus sent away the crowds and wandered off again, alone in a boat. The local religious leaders came to meet Jesus, asking for a sign from heaven. It seems that the miraculous healings and the feeding of four thousand people from a nearly empty bread basket was not enough, so Jesus turned them away saying, “you know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.” Or in other words: you can figure out tomorrow’s weather just looking at the sky, but you see all that I am doing and cannot put together who I am.” So he left the religious leaders too, and met up with his disciples on the other side of the sea.

When he joined the disciples, Jesus discovered that they had forgotten to bring any bread to eat, and he sharply reprimanded them. He was not concerned that they had forgotten bread—he was more

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Be Careful What You Wish For

The Bird to Bet On!
Cornell University Library
I've been too busy to write, and that's probably a good thing. I've been doing stuff I really love with people I think are fantastic, and there's more of all that stuff to come in the next month. I've missed youth ministry, and it's good to be back to it. Really good.

And anyway, what I would have written about the last few weeks would have been the chicken joint and heterosexist and cissexist oppressiveness and a certain boycott of said chicken joint and a Christians eat said chicken sandwiches day. And then about how some people were going to go to the chicken joint and ask for just water, like we sometimes did to our friends in high school who worked at fast food joints. And then I heard about some folks who were going to do a same gender kiss-in at that chicken joint, which is dangerous in some parts of this country, frankly. Folks at my undergrad did a kiss-in; people literally walked by and gagged. Might have been me that walked by and gagged--my level of self-understanding was at an all-time low in those college years.


I'm glad I haven't had time to write, because mostly what I have felt is massive irritation at the conversation. Writing when I'm irritated usually produces pointedly nasty posts that I delete for the good of the world. 

When I was in seminary, one of the students in our lgbtq group spoke on a panel about the role of queer allies. She said, "I really appreciate your enthusiasm, but sometimes I just wish you'd take it down a notch or two. Most of us are just living our lives and getting by, and you take things too far." I remember being irritated by that because I was not out to the world yet, but I was passionate about all things lgbtq. I didn't want to be told to take things down a notch, I wanted to knock down walls.

This last month I've watched so very many straight folk go off about the chicken joint. Then I watched a bunch of folks go off about how we shouldn't go off about the chicken joint. Then I watched folks go off about how we shouldn't tell people whether or not they can go off about chicken joints. Then some folks said it wasn't about chicken.

And it's not about chicken--if y'all had an ounce of taste you wouldn't eat that chicken anyway. It's about money getting spent to hurt people like me. I'm so massively irritated that it is even necessary to discuss this that I forget that I spent the last several years rallying for people to discuss homophobia and transphobia and sexuality and gender. One of my primary complaints over the last several years has been that nobody wants to really talk about this stuff.

Times, they are a-changing, and people are talking. They just aren't always saying what I want them to say. And sometimes they say stuff that I and other queer folk have been saying for a really long time, and it's like those words from a queer ally are prophet's words, and I want to do childish things like troll their blogs and link back to our posts where we SAID this stuff before.

So, um, it's probably just as well that I am really really busy, doing things I really really love. Because what I wished for is that people would talk about this stuff, and they are. For better or worse, queerness is getting centered in Christian conversation. So yeah, be careful what you wish for, like my dad always says.