The Solar Eclipse and Spirituality

The Solar Eclipse and Spirituality

This guest post is written by Kate Harveston, a writer and political activist from Pennsylvania. She blogs about culture and politics, and the various ways that those elements act upon each other. For more of her work, you can follow her on Twitter or subscribe to her blog, Only Slightly Biased.

On Monday, August 21st, the entire contiguous United States saw its first total solar eclipse in 99 years. While it lasted for only a few precious minutes, it was a moment of great anticipation that indeed did unite America’s 50 states, federal districts, territories, and islands for a brief and rare moment of community.

Of course the country — the world — saw the solar eclipse as an event to be celebrated, but more so for the phenomenon we understand it to be scientifically, as opposed to an overtly spiritual event. However, looking back at religious perceptions of solar eclipses, we learn of their major spiritual significance, both negative and positive, within different religions. The human’s fascination with solar eclipses is thousands of years old, and naturally the various interpretations of them have shaped religion’s appreciation of these events today. Continue reading “The Solar Eclipse and Spirituality”

11 ways leaders can make non-binary youth feel welcome at church

11 ways leaders can make non-binary youth feel welcome at church

Having two LGBTQ+ children makes me hyper aware of the challenges they face growing up in the LDS church.

Growing up gay in the LDS church is problematic enough. Identifying as a gender outside of the conventional binary of either male or female adds even further complexity to the challenges queer youth face in the church.

The LDS church strongly adheres to the typical gender binary. It’s reflected in their scripture stories, in their temples, in how they approach parenting, in leadership responsibilities, and so on. Segregation of the sexes begins at 8 years old, with boys being shipped off to weekly Cub pack meetings and girls being shuffled to biweekly Activity Days. This segregation continues into adulthood, right to the day one dies.

This is problematic for people who don’t identify as male or female. They feel out of place when forced to segregate, and the discomfort (to put it mildly) can lead them out of the church ultimately.

Few resources are provided to youth leaders to help them address the unique experiences of the non-binary youth they are asked to lead. This goes not only for young men and young women leaders, but bishops and stake presidents, too. So, it’s not surprising, then, that leaders do little to accommodate their non-binary youth.

I reached out to our gender-fluid child, Ash, who will be entering the youth programme next month, and we worked together to compile these 11 tips on how leaders can make non-binary youth feel welcome at church. Continue reading “11 ways leaders can make non-binary youth feel welcome at church”

4 lifestyle shifts we can take from Buddhism

4 lifestyle shifts we can take from Buddhism

This guest post is written by Kate Harveston, a writer and political activist from Pennsylvania. She blogs about culture and politics, and the various ways that those elements act upon each other. For more of her work, you can follow her on Twitter or subscribe to her blog, Only Slightly Biased.

Some consider Buddhism a religion, while others say it’s more of a philosophy. Oftentimes, it’s referred to as a path or a practice: something you do, rather than something you believe.

Although it’s often classified as a religion, it differs in significant ways from how traditional religion generally operates. It’s much less dogmatic and does involve more practice than anything else.

While more study and experience is needed to really understand Buddhism than this post can provide, the many great characteristics of Buddhism lend to its usefulness in our daily lives, and those who practice don’t necessarily having to ascribe to everything about it. Once put into practice, many of these ideas can improve our lives in numerous ways. Continue reading “4 lifestyle shifts we can take from Buddhism”

Why I was wrong to march with Mormons Building Bridges

Why I was wrong to march with Mormons Building Bridges

Last year, I marched with and organized a group of local Mormons in the Lethbridge Pride Parade. We marched under the Mormons Building Bridges banner.

My reasons for marching were varied. Our daughter had publicly come out the previous summer. The LDS church had released their divisive and damaging policy update on marriage equality just months before. I thought it might be an act of solidarity to show the local LGBTQ community that some Mormons wanted to be supportive. I also considered that marching openly as a Mormon was an act of protest, co-opting “Mormon” from the church and redefining what it meant to be Mormon.

I realize now that marching was wrong. Continue reading “Why I was wrong to march with Mormons Building Bridges”

9 church initiatives for the inspired activist

9 church initiatives for the inspired activist

This guest post is written by Kate Harveston, a writer and political activist from Pennsylvania. She blogs about culture and politics, and the various ways that those elements act upon each other. For more of her work, you can follow her on Twitter or subscribe to her blog, Only Slightly Biased.

The good works of holy disciples have always been a point of pride for religious organizations. While it might seem like a touchy subject in today’s polarized America, faith can provide opportunities to contribute, even for those with non-traditional views.

The church is nothing without people, and many of those responsible for inspiring a return to community service are young people. Spurned by what they feel is a commercialistic approach to faith — the televised megachurch approach — new church leaders are opening up to new ideas and promoting community involvement for people from all walks of life.

Here are a few great examples. Continue reading “9 church initiatives for the inspired activist”

4 things to remember about the church before you judge

4 things to remember about the church before you judge

This guest post is written by Kate Harveston, a writer and political activist from Pennsylvania. She blogs about culture and politics, and the various ways that those elements act upon each other. For more of her work, you can follow her on Twitter or subscribe to her blog, Only Slightly Biased.

Christians in today’s society have been given a bad name, often because the loudest, most judgmental ones are the people who capture the headlines and make others think that all people who subscribe to the faith are against entire demographic groups, such as the LGBT community, Muslims, or even women.

However, Christianity is a more diverse religion than you may realize, and it’s important not to become overly closed-minded and make assumptions by getting too focused on the downsides when examining the faith.

There are numerous admirable things associated with Christians, some of which are outlined below. Continue reading “4 things to remember about the church before you judge”

“But it’s not natural . . .”

“But it’s not natural . . .”

If your Facebook News Feed was anything like mine during the second week of July, you probably saw a lot of posts about Teen Vogue’s article on anal sex. Most of it probably in opposition to the article. There were even progressive voices criticizing it.

But this post isn’t about anal sex. Well, not really.

Last week, I was discussing the article after a Facebook friend posted a popular video of a woman criticizing the article. In this discussion, someone labelled anal sex as unnatural, using phrases like “against how the body is constructed” and “the anal (sic) is not made for that purpose”.

And it’s that idea of nature that I want to discuss. Continue reading ““But it’s not natural . . .””