Comics and Sci-Fi Do More Than Entertain

by Salome Chimuku, Ainsworth United Church of Christ, Portland, OR
Superman protestorsAs we come into the fall season, people stay in, watch their favorite shows and movies, or curl up with a good book. Well, for some of us, including me, that book may be a comic book. The world of fiction, sci-fi, and superheroes has played a role in almost everyone’s life. We can all remember a time we woke up on Saturday morning and watched or listened to the adventures of some hero battling the forces of evil. These heroes did more than just entertain–they sometimes fought the evils found in our everyday lives.

“It was a big deal for an African-American woman to portray an officer on television,” said famous actor Nichelle Nichols, who played Lieutenant Uhura on “Star Trek.” Often we find these fictitious universes and worlds to be more advanced from a social justice perspective than current society. It would be another 20 years before a woman of color could hold such a high-ranking position as Lieutenant. Imagination often pushes reality. Bold futures start in someone’s imagination and dreams.

What I learned at General Synod 29 – July 2013

by John Hickox, Dufur, Oregon
I thought “bullying” was about high-school cheerleaders making fun of the girl with a bad complexion or 8th grade boys pushing around 4th grade math whizzes.

That is, of course, one dimension of bullying, but there is much more!

I didn’t REALLY understand the issue until a woman who, shall we say, doesn’t quite fit our image of a person in a leadership position in the church, stood up and said, “I was bullied in kindergarten, I was bullied in grade school, I was bullied in high school, I was bullied in college, I was bullied in seminary, I WAS BULLIED 5 MINUTES AGO WHEN I APPROACHED THIS MICROPHONE TO SPEAK!”

Pride Season and People of Faith

by Karen Kulm, First Congregational United Church of Christ, Vancouver, WA
June is International LGBT Pride month, commemorating the anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion of June 1969. Stonewall is celebrated as the beginning of the modern movement for the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

In 1972, the United Church of Christ (UCC) ordained the Rev. Bill Johnson, the first openly gay person ordained in a mainline Protestant church. In 2005, the General Synod of the UCC voted overwhelmingly to “affirm equal marriage rights for couples regardless of gender,” thereby becoming the first mainline denomination, and the largest Christian denomination in the world, to support same-sex marriage. Yet now in 2013, only twelve states and the District of Columbia allow same-sex marriage. Twenty-nine states still have no law barring workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation, and 34 states also lack such state protections based on gender identity.