The Idol of Whiteness

One of the images from Leah's youth that she shares at the beginning of the teaching (that’s Leah in the wedding dress). Picture from “Into the Woods”, San Diego Junior Theatre, circa 1993.

One of the images from Leah's youth that she shares at the beginning of the teaching (that’s Leah in the wedding dress). Picture from “Into the Woods”, San Diego Junior Theatre, circa 1993.

What does it mean to be white? What does it mean that white people have such a hard time engaging conversations about race? And how can we, as a faith community, create safe spaces for a diverse group of people, if we aren't willing to acknowledge the ways that our socialization into Whiteness distorts the way all of us see reality, see one another, and see God? These are the tough questions Leah engages personally and invites Haven into collectively as we consider the "Idol of Whiteness".

Listen to the teaching below or read Leah's notes here.

The Idol of Heteronormativity

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In this teaching, Leah examines human sexuality and the distinct categories that it includes: biological sex, gender, and sexual orientation. She begins by exploring the lens cultures, as well as faith communities, have often viewed these aspects of sexuality through: heteronormativity. Do these traditional ways of viewing sexuality in the church and the broader culture match the complexity of these topics? If not, how might our faith actually inform a change in perspective?

Listen to the teaching below or read Leah's notes here.

The Idol Behind Patriarchy

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While presumably most folks attending a church pastored by a woman are not interested in upholding patriarchy (the oppression of women as a group), are we aware of what lies behind this ancient system of oppression? In this teaching, Leah explores how the way our cultures have historically thought about masculine and feminine, feeds patriarchy and shapes our understanding of many facets of reality, including God.

Listen to the teaching below or download the notes here.

Smashing Idols: An Introduction

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Leah kicks off our new late spring and summer series by considering how the way we view the world, and privilege certain points of view over others, might keep us from experience authentic connection with God. In this introductory teaching, she explores how our frames and lenses for viewing the world may be understood as "idols", and what we might learn about the insidious power of idolatry by looking back at our ancient ancestors of faith.

You can listen to the the teaching below, or review her notes here. Want to take the learning further? Check out the post on our “Beyond Sunday” blog for additional reflection.

Vulnerability Redeemed

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In this final teaching from the Vulnerable Together series, Leah considers the resurrection story through the lens of vulnerability. What happens to Jesus’ human vulnerability after he is raised from the dead? How do we encounter the Easter story when we are still suffering?

Listen to Leah’s teaching below or read her notes here.

When Love Hurts

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How do we show and experience love in the midst of pain? How does God show love to us? In this passage Leah looks at a passage that shows Jesus communicating care to two women in a painful situation: the death of their brother, Lazarus. Also, beginning at minute 39, our own Ginny Prince shares her vulnerability story.

Review Leah’s notes here or listen to the teaching below.


Healing is Different than Cure

Public domain.

Public domain.

In this teaching, Leah explores questions about healing, sharing a framework that defines healing as broader then cure. She asks questions around how this understanding might help the church do better when ministering to persons with illness or disability, and looks at the story of Jesus healing a person with leprosy. Also, our own Connie Barker shares her vulnerability story about the intersection of being queer, female, and living with a disability. (If you just want to hear Connie's story, listen beginning at minute 35.)

Listen to the teaching below or review Leah’s notes here.

We're All Vulnerable...And That's OK

PC: Bill Dickinson.  Learn more here .

PC: Bill Dickinson. Learn more here.

On this Sunday before the official beginning of Lent, Leah introduces us to the theme. Haven will be inviting folks to consider throughout the Lenten season: the vulnerability of being human. What if the most true thing we can say about the human condition is that it’s vulnerable? What might that tell us about the significance of God’s choice to reveal God’s self by becoming a vulnerable human? How might reflecting on the vulnerability of Jesus shape our Lenten journey? Leah considers these questions and more as she looks at the story of Jesus being tempted in the wilderness.

Listen to the teaching below or read Leah’s notes here.

Check Your Sources

Image Credit to  Alan O’Rourke  for this image.

Image Credit to Alan O’Rourke for this image.

In this third and final teaching from our series, “Hearing Through Noise”, Leah examines the role that outside influences play over how we think and what we might be able to hear from Jesus. In addition to insights from Jesus*, Leah looks again at how the work of 20th Century Philosopher/Anthropologist/Literary Scholar Rene Girard might help us think through these questions.

*Please note that Jesus’ critiques mentioned here of some specific 1st century Jewish leaders should not be understood as critiques of all Jewish leaders or Jewish people, either in ancient or contemporary contexts. Rather, these critiques apply to leaders in any group context, including Christian, who would use their influence in rivalrous ways.

Listen to the teaching below, or check out Leah’s notes here.

Know Your Own Voice

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When trying to sort through what we might actually be hearing from God, a classic quandary is the question “Is that God or is that me?”. As Leah points out in this second teaching on discernment, a first step in answering that question has to do with understanding ourselves better, so we are more aware of what our own voice actually sounds like. This teaching includes a look at Jesus’ journey growing in self-awareness. It also considers what tidying (via Maria Kondo) and the Enneagram typology (via Richard Rohr and Christopher Heuertz) might teach us about ourselves.

To learn more about the Enneagram, check out the following resources:

Books -

The Road Back To You by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stable
The Sacred Enneagram by Christopher Heuertz
The Enneagram: A Christian Perspective by Richard Rohr and Andreas Ebert

Podcasts -

The Liturgists “Enneagram” Episode (Episode 37)
The Road Back to you Podcast

Listen to the teaching below or review Leah’s notes here.

Turn Down the Volume

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In this message, Leah starts our first teaching series of the year exploring the theme of discernment. “Hearing Through Noise” will explore how we make space to tune into the voice of the Divine, even when life has a lot of noisy things screaming for our attention. This first teaching in the series starts by exploring what Leah thinks has to be foundational - committing to carving out time for stillness. Includes insights from Henry Nouwen, Pico Iyer, Blaise Pascal, Mary Oliver, and Jesus.

Listen to the teaching below, or review Leah’s notes here.

In the Company of Others

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In this fifth and final teaching in our “Reconstructing Faith” series, Leah considers the benefits and challenges to navigating faith with others in spiritual community. Kim D. also shares some of her story regarding deconstructing and reconstructing faith alongside others, beginning at minute 5:30.

Listen to the teaching below or check out Leah’s notes here.

When We Sing

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In this “Reconstructing Faith” teaching, Leah tackles the topic of musical worship, considering what role it might play in a community like Haven that sees to be safe, diverse, and Jesus-centered. Alisa Winkie also shares her story of deconstructing and reconstructing musical worship and worship leading in her journey of faith (beginning around minute 6:30).

Review Leah’s notes here or listen to the teaching below.

Let's Talk About the Bible

Photo credit: Coen Peppelenbos found  here

Photo credit: Coen Peppelenbos found here

A critical piece for many of us in regards to Jesus-centered faith seems to do with how we think about the Bible. In this teaching, Matt Silas shares some of his journey of deconstruction around the Bible (beginning around 7 minutes in), and Leah opens up a conversation around some of the ways we might think about reconstructing a healthy relationship with this set of texts the Christian faith calls sacred.

Review Leah’s notes here or listen to the teaching below.

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Who is God Anyway?

photocredit: johnfinn564 http://www.flickr.com/photos/johnfinn64/3278505071/

photocredit: johnfinn564 http://www.flickr.com/photos/johnfinn64/3278505071/

In this teaching, Leah tackles deconstructing and reconstructing our understanding of the Identity of God, and Izek Champ share’s his own story on topic. (For Izek’s story, listen at 9 minutes.)

Listen to the teaching below or review Leah’s notes here.

Questions In the Dark

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In this teaching, Leah kicked off a new teaching series, called “Reconstructing Faith”, exploring the journey of deconstructing and rebuilding our spiritual frameworks and practices. Here she explores where the journey often starts, and looks at a character who appeared in the life of Jesus that seemed to walk a similar path.

Listen to the teaching below or check out Leah’s notes here.

Joseph

The late Rene Girard.

The late Rene Girard.

In this teaching, Leah considers the story of Joseph from Genesis, and what it tells us about envy, rivalry, and how God might consider those things, with the help of the late anthropologist/philosopher/literary critic Rene Girard.

Look at Leah’s notes or download the teaching below. (Please forgive the first two minutes of sub-par audio quality. It does improve.)

Hagar

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In this teaching, Leah explores a story from the life of Abraham; one that centers Hagar, a woman caught up in the story of the Ancient Patriarch. In doing so, Leah considers what the inclusion of Hagar's story in Genesis might tell us about God's heart and the importance of our own stories in the community of faith we're building.

Listen to the teaching below or check out Leah's notes here.