Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Queerying Epiphany B

River Needham, MA queeries the Tanakh reading.

ID: View from the observation platform in Alishan, Taiwan just before sunrise

Tanakh: Isaiah 60:1-6

Get up, for your light has dawned; The Becoming One's essence has shined on you!
Look! Darkness shall cover the earth, the peoples will be covered with thick clouds; But upon you the Becoming One will shine, and Her presence be seen over you. Nations shall walk by your light, sovereigns, by your shining radiance. Raise your eyes and look about: they have all gathered and come to you. Your sons shall be brought from afar, your daughters like babes on shoulders. As you behold, you will glow; your heart will throb and trill—for the wealth of the sea shall pass on to you, the riches of nations shall flow to you. Dust clouds of camels shall cover you, the camels of Midian and Ephah. They all shall come from Sheba; they shall bear gold and frankincense, and shall herald the glories of the Becoming One.

Queeries for the text:
What is the light that has dawned?
How is it the Becoming One's essence?
When else did darkness cover the earth?
What do sons and daughters refer to?
What is the wealth of the sea?
Where is Sheba?
Who heralds the Becoming One today?

Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Gospel reading.
ID: against a cloudy background on a dark screen, two people who read as women stand with their backs against each other, one facing forward and one facing to the side. Their hair and skin are dark. The one facing forward has a black corset on and short, dangly earrings. The one facing to the side has a gold bangle on her hand that reaches to her head, is wearing longer hoops and an orange top, and she is wearing a head wrap.
Gospel: Matthew 2:1-12
In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, witches from the East came to Jerusalem, 2asking, ‘Where is the child who has been born ruler of the Jewish people? For we observed their star at its rising, and have come to pay them homage.’ 
3When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; 4and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. 
5They told him, ‘In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet:
6 “And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
   are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
   who is to shepherd my people Israel.”

Then Herod secretly called for the witches and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. 8Then Herod sent them to Bethlehem, saying, ‘Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found her, bring me word so that I may also go and pay her homage.’ 9When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. 

10When they saw that the star had stopped, the witches were overwhelmed with joy. 11On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure-chests, they offered the child gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 12And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, the witches left for their own country by another road.

Queeries for the text:
Who are the witches? What impact does gender have?
Why is Herod frightened?
Who are the religious leaders quoting?  What was it really about?
How do stars guide? When do stars move?
How old was Jesus when the witches arrived?
Why myrrh?
How do encounters change us? Our paths?
What happened next?
What are your queeries?

Monday, December 28, 2020

Queerying Christmas 2

River Needham, MA queeries the Tanakh reading.

ID: a night club filled with people with a variety of skin colors dancing in a variety of ways with strobelights and discoballs shining light.

Tanakh: Jeremiah 31:7-14

For thus said the Becoming One: cry out in joy for Jacob, shout at the crossroads of the nations! Sing aloud in praise, and say: Save, O Becoming One, Your people, the remnant of Israel. I will bring them in from the northland, gather them from the ends of the earth— the blind and the lame among them, those with child and those in labor— in a vast throng they shall return here. They shall come with weeping, with compassion will I guide them. I will lead them to streams of water, by a level road where they will not stumble. For I am ever a Parent to Israel, Ephraim is My first-born.

Hear the word of the Becoming One, O nations, tell it in the isles afar. Say: the one who scattered Israel will gather them, and will guard them as a shepherd their flock. For the Becoming One will ransom Jacob, redeem him from one too strong for him. They shall come and shout on the heights of Zion, radiant over the bounty of the Becoming One—over new grain and wine and oil, over sheep and cattle. They shall fare like a watered garden, they shall never languish again. Then shall maidens dance gaily, young men and old alike. I will turn their mourning to joy, I will comfort them and cheer them in their grief. I will give the priests their fill of fatness, and My people shall enjoy My full bounty —declares the Becoming One.

Queeries for the text:
Where is the crossroads of the nations?
How might disabled people receive and respond to this passage? How might different people receive and respond to this passage?
Why are level roads important?
Where else do watered gardens show up?
What does it mean to dance gaily?
How is fatness positive?


Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Gospel reading.
ID: on a background of deep black, stars and galaxies are visible in the distance with one towards the top left and one towards the top center-right of the photo surrounded by light-colored gas. Waves of cloudy gases drift down from near the star out into space.
Gospel: John 1:1-18
1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2The Word was in the beginning with God. 3All things came into being through Her, and without Her not one thing came into being. What has come into being 4in the Word was life, and the life was the light of all people. 5The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. 
6There was a person sent from God, whose name was John. 7John came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through the light. 8John himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. 9The true light, which makes everyone vivid, was coming into the world. 
10The true light was in the world, and the world came into being through Faer; yet the world did not know Faer. 11The light came to what was Faen own, and Faen own people did not accept Faer. 12But to all who received the light, who believed in Faen name, the light gave power to become children of God, 13who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of a man, but of God. 
14And the Word became flesh and pitched Her tent among us, and we have seen the glory of the Word, the glory as of a parent’s only child, full of grace and truth. 15(John testified to the Word and cried out, “This was the one of whom I said, ‘The One who comes after me ranks ahead of me because She was before me.’”) 16From the Word's fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Child, who is close to the Parent’s heart, who has made God known.
Queeries for the text:
Who is the Word?
How are light and darkness in conflict? How do they work together?
How can light be unaccepted?
What is the will of those who are not men?
What is a child's glory?
Why does John the Testifier like riddles so much?
Where is grace and truth in law?
What are your queeries?

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Queerying Christmas 1

River Needham, MA queeries the Tanakh reading.

Tanakh: Isaiah 61:10-62:3

ID: a Sukkot, built up for the festival of Sukkot, the third in a series of festivals in the Jewish High Holy Days, after Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashannah and before Simchat Torah.

I rejoice with the highest joy in the Becoming One. My whole existence exalts Her, for She has given me the triumphant clothes to wear and wrapped me in a cloak of victory. She has dressed me like a bride and groom in their wedding attire. Just like the earth brings forth growth and the garden feeds the seeds so they grow tall, so will Becoming Itself be victorious and known throughout the nations. I am not silent for the sake of Zion and Jerusalem. I cannot, I will not be still until she is victorious and resplendent, her triumph like an Olympic torch. As you travel the earth, nations will see the victory of the Becoming One, and every sovereign your majesty. You will be called by a new name that the Becoming One will give you. You will be a royal diadem and a glorious crown in the hands of the Becoming One. 

Queeries for the text:
What is the highest joy? Where can it be found?
What might be a cloak of victory?
What's the relationship between Becoming Itself and The Becoming One?
What is victorious about an Olympic torch?
How far did the world extend in this text?
Who gets a new name?


Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Gospel reading.
ID: a Black woman welcomes and awaits the dawn with arms widespread
Gospel: Luke 2:22-40

22When the time came for the family's cleansing according to the law of Moses, they brought Jesus up to Jerusalem to present him to the Becoming One 23(as it is written in the law of the Becoming One, “Every firstborn male shall be designated as set apart to the Becoming One”), 24and they offered a sacrifice according to what is stated in the law of the Becoming One, “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”

25Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on Simeon. 26It had been revealed to Simeon by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Becoming One’s Messiah. 27Guided by the Spirit, Simeon came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him what was customary under the law, 28Simeon took Jesus in his arms and praised God, saying, 29“Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word; 30for my eyes have seen your salvation, 31which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, 32a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.” 

33And Joseph and the child's mother were amazed at what was being said about Jesus. 34Then Simeon blessed them and said to Jesus' mother Mary, “This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed 35so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed—and a sword will pierce your own soul too.” 

36There was also a prophet, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37then as a widow for eighty-four years. She never left the temple but worshiped there with fasting and prayer night and day. 38At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem. 39When they had finished everything required by the law of the Becoming One, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. 40The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon Jesus.

Queeries for the text:
What did we skip? Why?
What cleansing? How is it customary?
Where else have I heard of two turtle doves?
How amazed could Mary and Joseph be after their experience with the shepherds?
When do swords pierce our souls?
Where is space for proclamations and prophecies from diverse people?
When is fasting good? Necessary? Harmful?
What does it mean to redeem a country?
What is the favor of God like?
What are your queeries?

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Queerying All the Christmases

River Needham, MA queeries the Tanakh reading.

ID: two shabbat candles next to a chalice. Behind them is a cloth embroidered with Hebrew and a bottle of white wine.
Tanakh I: Isaiah 9:2-7

The people that walked in darkness have seen a brilliant light; on those who dwelt in a land of gloom light has dawned.

You have magnified that nation, have given it great joy; they have rejoiced before You as they rejoice at reaping time, as they exult when dividing spoil. For the yoke that they bore and the stick on their back— the rod of their taskmaster— You have broken as on the day of Midian. Truly, all the boots put on to stamp with and all the garments donned in infamy have been fed to the flames, devoured by fire. For a child has been born to us, a son has been given us. Authority has settled on his shoulders. He has been named “The Mighty God is planning grace; The Eternal Father, a peaceable ruler”— in token of abundant authority and of peace without limit upon David’s throne and kingdom, that it may be firmly established in justice and in equity now and evermore. The zeal of the Becoming One of Angel Armies shall bring this to pass.

Queeries for the text:
How have Christians misappropriated this text?
Who was Hezekiah?


Tanakh II: Isaiah 62:6-12

Upon your walls, O Jerusalem, I have set watchers, who shall never be silent by day or by night. O you, the reminders of the Becoming One, take no rest and give no rest to Her, until She establishes Jerusalem and makes her renowned on earth. The Becoming One has sworn by Her right hand, by Her mighty arm: nevermore will I give your new grain to your enemies for food, nor shall foreigners drink the new wine for which you have labored. But those who harvest it shall eat it and give praise to the Becoming One; and those who gather it shall drink it in My sacred courts.

Pass through, pass through the gates! Clear the road for the people; build up, build up the highway! Remove the rocks! Raise a flag over the peoples!

See, the Becoming One has proclaimed to the end of the earth: Announce to fair Zion, your Deliverer is coming! See, Her reward is with Her, Her recompense before Her. They shall be called, “The Holy People, the Redeemed of the Becoming One,” and you shall be called, “Sought Out, a City Not Forsaken.”

Queeries for the text:
What are tribute payments?
Who is colonized today?


Tanakh III: Isaiah 52:7-10

How welcome on the mountain are the footsteps of the herald announcing happiness, heralding good fortune, announcing victory, telling Zion, “Your God is Queen!”

Hark! Your watchers raise their voices, as one they shout for joy; for every eye shall behold the Becoming One’s return to Zion. Raise a shout together, O ruins of Jerusalem! For the Becoming One will comfort Her people, will redeem Jerusalem.The Becoming One will bare Her holy arm in the sight of all the nations, and the very ends of earth shall see the victory of our God.

Queeries for the text:
When did the Becoming One return to Zion?
What is the victory of our God?
Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Gospel readings.
ID: against a background of deep darkness, speckled with bright specks, yellow gas and clouds waft from a central bright point, from which a narrow line of light comes out, like a lightsaber.
Gospel 1: Luke 2:1-20
In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the Roman world should be registered. 2This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3All went to their own towns to be registered. 
4Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. 5Joseph went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. 
6While Mary and Joseph were in Bethlehem, the time came for her to deliver her child. 7And Mary gave birth to her firstborn and wrapped the infant in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the guest room. 
8In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9Then an angel of God stood before them, and the glory of God shone around them, and the shepherds were terrified. 
10But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see— I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: 11to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Becoming One. 12This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” 13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly angel armies, praising God and saying, 14“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom God favors!” 

15When the angels had left the shepherds and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which God has made known to us.” 16So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. 17When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; 18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. 19But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. 
20The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
Queeries for the text:
What was that night like for Mary?
Where was the manger?
What sort of workers were the shepherds?
Gospel 2: John 1:1-14
1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2The Word was in the beginning with God. 3All things came into being through Her, and without Her not one thing came into being. What has come into being 4in the Word was life, and the life was the light of all people. 5The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. 
6There was a person sent from God, whose name was John. 7John came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through the light. 8John himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. 9The true light, which makes everyone vivid, was coming into the world. 
10The true light was in the world, and the world came into being through Faer; yet the world did not know Faer. 11The light came to what was Faen own, and Faen own people did not accept Faer. 12But to all who received the light, who believed in Faen name, the light gave power to become children of God, 13who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of a man, but of God. 
14And the Word became flesh and pitched Her tent among us, and we have seen the glory of the Word, the glory as of a parent’s only child, full of grace and truth.
Queeries for the text:
Who is the Word?
How are light and darkness in conflict? How do they work together?
What is the will of those who are not a man?
What are your queeries?

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Queerying Advent 4B

River Needham, MA queeries the Tanakh reading.

ID: This Magen David, in a diffuse rainbow color with a black background, is reminiscent of the mystical symbolic meaning that the Becoming One would always protect David and David's line.

Tanakh: 2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16

When the king was settled in his palace and the Becoming One had granted him safety from all the enemies around him, the king said to the prophet Nathan: “Here I am dwelling in a house of cedar, while the Ark of the Becoming One abides in a tent!”

Nathan said to the king, “Go and do whatever you have in mind, for the Becoming One is with you.” 
But that same night the Becoming one came and said to Nathan: “Go and say to My servant David: The Becoming One told me: Are you the one to build a house for Me to dwell in? From the day that I brought the people of Israel out of Egypt to this day I have not lived in a house, but have moved about in tent and tabernacle. As I moved about wherever the Israelites went, did I ever reproach any of the tribal leaders whom I appointed to care for My people Israel: Why have you not built Me a house of cedar? 
“Further, say to My servant David: The Becoming God of Angel Armies said: I took you from the pasture, from following the flock, to be ruler of My people Israel. I have been with you wherever you went, and have cut down all your enemies before you. Moreover, I will give you great renown like that of the greatest people on earth. I will establish a home for My people Israel and will plant them firm, so that they shall dwell secure and shall tremble no more. Evil people shall not oppress them any more as in the past, ever since I appointed chieftains over My people Israel. I will give you safety from all your enemies. 
“The Becoming One declares to you that She, the Becoming One, will establish a house for you.”

Queeries for the text:
Is safety ongoing? Why or why not?
What does it mean to be live in a tent?
Why choose to live in a tent? Who suffers when living in a tent?
What do angel armies have to do with the situation?
What is missing?
What has become of David's House?
Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Gospel reading.
ID: On a dark background, white writing reads Nobody: followed by nothing; Angels: and a mouth emoji surrounded by many eye emojis surrounded by many flame emojis. To the right are the words: be not afraid

Gospel: Luke 1:26-38
26In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, 27to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28And Gabriel came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Becoming One is with you.” 
29But Mary was much perplexed by Gabriel's words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. 
30The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a child, and you will name the child Jesus. 32The child will be great, and will be called the Child of the Most High, and the Becoming God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. 33The child will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his reign there will be no end.” 
34Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” 
35The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Child of God. 36And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a child; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. 37For nothing will be impossible with God.” 
38Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Becoming One; let it be with me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.
Queeries for the text:
When is God perplexing?
What is there to be afraid of?
When do we question God?
How is gender at play in this text?
Who else conceived in old age? What happened with Elizabeth and Zechariah?
Where is consent?
Who believes Mary?
What are your queeries?

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Queerying Advent 3B

River Needham, MA queeries the Tanakh reading.

ID: the Dome of the Rock mosque behind a collonade of the temple mount in the old city of Jerusalem.

Tanakh: Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11

The spirit of Becoming itself rests on me because the Becoming One has annointed me. She has sent me as a herald of good news to the humble, first aid to the injured, release to those in prison, liberation to those oppressed. To proclaim a year of the Becoming One's favor, and of God's vindication. Comfort for those who mourn, provisions for them, turbans instead of ashes and festive ointments instead of ashes. Clothing full of color and joy instead of sadness. They shall be trees of victory for the Becoming One. The ancient cities will be restored, so will the desolate villages. The renewed city and desolations will teem with life.


For I, The Becoming One, love justice and fair wages. I hate robbery with burnt offerings, so I pay wages regularly and fairly. I make a timeless covenant with them. Their offspring will be known among the nations, their children among many people. All those who see these children will know that the Becoming One has blessed them. 

I rejoice in the Becoming One, my whole essence celebrates my God because she clothed me with triumphant clothes and put a victor's robe on me. Like a groom wearing a turban or a bride wearing her finest things. As the earth fosters plant growth and a garden of seeds shoot up, so will Becoming itself make victory and renown emerge in the presence of all the nations.

Queeries for the text:

Who or What is Becoming itself?
What is first aid to the injured?
How do we release those in prison?
Where is the liberation in our world?
What text was left out?
What areas in Israel long for restoration? What are possible resolutions?
Where are fair wages lacking in the US?
How are plants and growth becoming signs of victory?


Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Gospel reading

ID: on white background, black lines form various patterns, including coming out like rays from one central point and repeating parallels across the page. A house with a cat is drawn in the bottom right corner.

Gospel: John 1:6-8, 19-28

6There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7John came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through the light. 8John himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. 


19This is the testimony given by John when the Judeans sent clergy and leaders from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” 

20John confessed and did not deny it, but confessed, “I am not the Messiah.” 

21And they asked John, “What then? Are you Elijah?” 

John said, “I am not.” 

“Are you the prophet?” 

John answered, “No.” 

22Then they said to John, “Who are you? Let us have an answer for those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” 

23John said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Becoming One,’” as the prophet Isaiah said. 

24Now they had been sent from the clergy. 25They asked John, “Why then are you baptizing if you are neither the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the prophet?” 

26John answered them, “I baptize with water. Among you stands one whom you do not know, 27the one who is coming after me; I am not worthy to untie the thong of their sandal.” 

28This took place in Bethany across the Jordan where John was baptizing.

Queeries for the text:
What happens to witnesses?
What's missing?
Who questions prophets?
Who is not the Messiah?
What is John misquoting?
Who would want anything to be made straight?
Why do people baptize?
What else happens in Bethany?

What are your queeries?

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Queerying Advent 2B

River Needham, MA queeries the Tanakh reading.

ID: artist rendering of an exoplanet orbiting a star in Messier 67. The darkness gifts the ability for light to show the planet.

Tanakh: Isaiah 40:1-11

God tells you to utterly comfort Her people. Speak to Jerusalem with tenderness and declare to her that her term is over and that her wrongdoing has been cleansed after the Becoming One charged her double for her sins.

A voice calls out: Clear a pathway for the Becoming One! Make flat and direct a highway for our God. Let every valley rise up and every hill and mountain bow down so that the rugged ground becomes level and the ridges are indistinguishable.
The presence of the Becoming One shall appear, and all humanity shall see it at once, for the Becoming One has declared it so.

Two voices dialogue:

"What to Proclaim?"

"All flesh is grass and it's goodness fades like a field of flowers: grass withers, flower fade right at the breath of the Becoming One. Humanity is but grass: grass withers and flowers fade, but the word of the Becoming One is always with us."

Climb a high mountain to declare joy to Zion; raise your voice with power. Raise it fearlessly. Announce to the cities across Judah: Behold your God. Behold! The Becoming God comes in might, and Her arm wins his triumph. Her reward and recompense are with Her, and like a shepherd She pastures Her flock: She gathers the lambs in Her arms and carries them in Her bosom.

Queeries for the text:
Where is comfort today? What are we being comforted from?
How are punishments administered?
What paths are there for the Becoming One?
What shall all humanity see at once?
What does it mean to be grass and flowers?
Who is our God? Who can we announce Her to?


Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Gospel reading.

ID: a cereal advertisement for Locust and Wild Honey with bright, warm colors with a bowl of dead locust and honey.
Gospel: Mark 1:1-8

The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Child of God.

2As it is written in the prophet Isaiah,

“See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way;
3the voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Becoming One,
make Her paths straight,’”
4John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by John in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. 6Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. 7John proclaimed, “The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of this one's sandals. 8I have baptized you with water; but this one will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

Queeries for the text:
What are other beginnings?
Who else's good news is proclaimed?
What does Isaiah actually say?
Why would anybody want anything straight?
Why are they gathering in crowds and not masking up?!
What do locusts and wild honey taste like?

What are your queeries?

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Queerying Advent 1B

River Needham, M.A. queeries the Tanakh reading.

ID: skyscape over a body of water. The body of water holds a globe that resembles earth, the continents Africa and Asia are facing the viewer. The globe is partly submerged up to the southern 3/4s of Africa and the southern 1/4 of the Arabian Peninsula.

Tanakh: Isaiah 64:1-9

As when fire kindles brushwood, and fire makes water boil—make Your name known to Your adversaries so that nations will tremble at Your Presence, when You did wonders we dared not hope for, You came down and mountains quaked before You. Such things had never been heard or noted. No eye has seen them, O God, but You, who act for those who trust in You. Yet you have struck them who would gladly do justice and remember You in Your ways. It is because You are angry that we have sinned; we have been steeped in them from of old, and can we be saved? We have all become like an unclean thing and all our virtues like a filthy rag. We are all withering like leaves, our iniquities, like a wind, carry us off. Yet no one invokes Your name, rouses themself to cling to You. For You have hidden Your face from us and made us melt because of our iniquities. But now, O Becoming One, You are our Beloved Parent; we are the clay, and You are the Potter, we are all the work of Your hands. Be not implacably angry, O Becoming One, do not remember iniquity forever. Oh, look down to Your people, to us all! Your holy cities have become a desert: Zion has become a desert, Jerusalem a desolation.

Queeries for the text:
How does God influence the world?
When was this written? How had climate changed around it?
Are God's ways justice? Why or why not?
What are the cycles of relationships? Where is God and Israel's relationship?
What ways have angered God? How can we complicate the traditions? How can we set the traditions right?
What are the climate cycles? Where are we now on the climate cycle? Who is going to feel the upcoming climate changes the most? 


Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Gospel reading.

ID: on a brown background a map of what is now known as the contiguous united states reads: you are living on and directly benefitting from stolen land, within a nation built by stolen bodies, which is the foundation of the police state that occupies these sacred grounds of the original peoples. Indigenous Peoples' Day

Gospel: Mark 13:24-37

Jesus said:

24“But in those days, after that suffering,
the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light,
25and the stars will be falling from heaven,
and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.

26Then they will see ‘the Human One coming in clouds’ with great power and glory. 27Then the Human One will send out the angels, and gather the elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.

28“From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. 29So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the Human One is near, at the very gates. 30Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. 31Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

32“But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Holy Child, but only the Beloved Parent. 33Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come. 34It is like a person going on a journey, when ze leaves home and puts hir slaves in charge, each with hir work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch. 35Therefore, keep awake—for you do not know when the owner of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn, 36or else ze may find you asleep when ze comes suddenly. 37And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake.”

Queeries for the text:
What does it look like when the sun is darkened? 
What gifts does darkness bring?
Where does earth end?
What has passed away? What is passing away?
Who has not passed away?
How can signs indicate a time no one knows?
Who keeps awake at night?
How can we keep awake today?

What are your queeries?

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Queerying Reign of Christ A

River Needham M.A., queeries the Tanakh reading.

ID: a flock of sheep on a hillside with green vegetation.

Tanakh: Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24

Then, the Becoming God said: Here am I! I am going to think about my flock, and go find them. As a shepherd seeks out her flock when some have gotten lost, so I will seek out my flock, I will rescue them from all the places to which they were scattered during the cloudy and gloomy day. I will take them out from the peoples and gather them from the nations, and I will bring them to their own land, and will pasture them on the mountains of Israel, by the watercourses and in all the settled portions of the land. I will feed them in good grazing land, and the lofty hills of Israel shall be their pasture. There, in the hills of Israel, they shall lie down in a good pasture and shall feed on rich grazing land. I Myself will graze My flock, and I Myself will let them lie down—declares the Becoming God. I will look for the lost, and I will bring back the strayed; I will bandage the injured, and I will sustain the weak;and the fat and healthy ones I will destroy. I will tend them rightly.


Assuredly, thus said the Becoming God to them: Here am I, I am going to decide between the fat animals and the lean. Because you pushed with your whole being against the weaker ones and butted them with your horns until you scattered them abroad, I will rescue My flock and they shall no longer be a reward. I will decide between one animal and another. Then I will appoint a single shepherd over them to tend them—My servant David. He shall tend them, he shall be a shepherd to them. I the Becoming One will be their God, and My servant David shall be a ruler among them—I the Becoming One have spoken.

Queeries for the text:
Who is the Becoming God?
Where are the flocks? What are the flocks of?
What lies are we told about being fat? How can they be remedied?
Who are the people pushed away? Who pushes them away?
How will David be the ruler of the people? When will this happen?


Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Gospel reading.

ID: an infographic showing statistics connected to TDOR2020 for the 350 trans people accounted for as murdered globally in the last year.

Gospel: Matthew 25:31-46

Jesus said:
3‘When the Human One comes in Their glory, and all the angels with Them, then They will sit on the throne of Their glory. 32All the nations will be gathered before Them, and They will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, 33and the Human One will put the sheep at Their right hand and the goats at the left. 34Then the ruler will say to those at Their right hand, “Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the dominion prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 35for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.” 

37Then the righteous will answer Them, “Liege, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? 38And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? 39And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?” 

40And the ruler will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” 

41Then They will say to those at Their left hand, “You that are accursed, depart from me into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels; 42for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.” 

44Then they also will answer, “Liege, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?”  

45Then They will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.” 46And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into everlasting life.’

Queeries for the text:
What kind of ruler is this? Who might rule like this?
Why are sheep the preferred animal over goats?
What does it mean to be thirsty?
How many visits to Black, Indigenous, People of Color in prison will make you question the prison industrial complex?
How many people will you give food, water, and shelter to until you question the capitalist system of requisite poverty?

What are your queeries?


Thursday, November 12, 2020

Queerying 24th after Pentecost A

ID: a series of four interconnected winged disks. The disks are shaped like circular rings, and each has four wings at right angles to each other.

River Needham M.A., queeries the Tanakh reading. 

Tanakh: Judges 4:1-7

Now that Ehud was dead, the Israelites did things that offended the Becoming One. So, the Becoming One offered them to King Jabin of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor. Sisera commanded the army based in The Heads of the Nations. 

The Israelites cried out to the Becoming One, because Sisera and his 900 chariots oppressed the Israelites harshly for two decades. Deborah, who had a husband, was a prophetess. She led Israel during this time. She sat under her palm tree between Ramah and Bethel in Ephraim's portion of the land. All of the Israelites could come to her for decisions. 

One day, she summoned Barak, son of Abinoam, of Kadesh in Naphtali. She said: The Becoming One, Israel's God, has commanded: Get up, go to Mount Tabor. Take 10,000 humans from Naphtali and Zebulun.  I will attract Sisera and all his troops to Wadi Kishon, and hand them over to you.

Queeries for the text:
Who was Ehud?
Where was Hazor?
Why was the army based in The Heads of the Nations?
Where else are chariots used to liberate?
Who is unnamed in this passage? Why is that significant? Who remains nameless?
What are the consequences for participating in oppression?
How does the story end?

What are your queeries?

Monday, November 2, 2020

Queerying 23rd after Pentecost A

This week we queery in loving memory of the Rev. Dr. Cheryl Pero, who died this past week after a short illness.

ID: the Rev. Dr. Pero in a purple and pink sleeveless dress, with her slightly graying hair pulled back into a ponytail. She's sitting in front of a white background at a woodgrain colored table with her elbow on the table and her hand on her chin. Her other hand reaches around her elbow.

After nearly three months away, and passing her Ph.D. qualifying examinations, River Needham M.A., returns and queeries the Tanakh reading this week. 

Tanakh: Joshua 24:1-3a, 14-25

Joshua assembled all the tribes of Israel at Schechem. He summoned Israel’s elders and commanders, magistrates and officers; and they presented themselves before God. Then Joshua said to all the people, “Thus said the Becoming One, the God of Israel: In olden times, your ancestors—Terah, father of Abraham and father of Nahor—lived beyond the Euphrates and worshiped other gods. But I took your father Abraham from beyond the Euphrates and led him through the whole land of Canaan and multiplied his offspring.
“Now, therefore, revere the Becoming One and serve Hir with undivided loyalty; put away the gods that your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates and in Egypt, and serve the Becoming One. Or, if you are loath to serve the Becoming One, choose this day which ones you are going to serve—the gods that your forefathers served beyond the Euphrates, or those of the Amorites in whose land you are settled; but I and my household will serve the Becoming One.” 

In reply, the people declared, “Far be it from us to forsake the Becoming One and serve other gods! For it was the Becoming One our God who brought us and our fathers up from the land of Egypt, the house of bondage, and who wrought those wondrous signs before our very eyes, and guarded us all along the way that we traveled and among all the peoples through whose midst we passed. And then the Becoming One drove out before us all the peoples—the Amorites—that inhabited the country. We too will serve the Becoming One, for Xe is our God.” 

Joshua, however, said to the people, “You will not be able to serve the Becoming One, for Xe is a holy God. Xe is a jealous God; Xe will not forgive your transgressions and your sins. If you forsake the Becoming One and serve alien gods, Xe will turn and deal harshly with you and make an end of you, after having been gracious to you.” 
But the people replied to Joshua, “No, we will serve the Becoming One!” 
At which point, Joshua said to the people, “You are witnesses against yourselves that you have by your own act chosen to serve the Becoming One.” 
“Yes, we are!” they responded. “Then put away the alien gods that you have among you and direct your hearts to the Becoming One, the God of Israel.” 
And the people declared to Joshua, “We will serve none but the Becoming One our God, and we will obey none but Hir.”

Queeries for the text:
What is missing from this text?
How might the ancestral gods be read differently?
How does this text read in an election year?
Why is jealousy portrayed as an acceptable reason for violence?
Where does God act violently?


Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Gospel reading.

Gospel:  Matthew 25:1-13

Jesus said:

"Then the dominion of heaven will be like this. Ten attendants of the wedding party took their lamps and went to meet the betrothed. 2Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. 3When the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; 4but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. 

5As the betrothed was delayed, all of them became drowsy and slept. 6But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Look! Here is the betrothed! Come out to meet them.’ 

7Then all those attendants got up and trimmed their lamps. 8The foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ 

9But the wise replied, ‘No! there will not be enough for you and for us; you had better go to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’ 

10And while they went to buy it, the betrothed came, and those who were ready went with them into the wedding banquet; and the door was shut. 

11Later the other attendants came also, saying, ‘Liege, liege, open to us.’ 

12But they replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I do not know you.’ 

13Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour."

Queeries for the text:
How might a collectivist culture read this text?
How might a capitalist culture read this text?
How might a single person read this text?
How might a polyamorous person read this text?
What other options do the attendants have?
What are we waiting for?
Who do we not know?
Who doesn't know us?

What are your queeries?

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Queerying All Saints A

Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Gospel reading.

ID: the beattitudes in Spanish at Saint Cajetan Church in Mexico City.  The first beattitude reads Blessed are those who choose to be poor because theirs is the reign of heaven.

Gospel: Matthew 5:1-12

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. 2Then Jesus began to speak, and taught them, saying:

3“Blessed are those with the spirit of the poor, for theirs is the dominion of heaven. 

4“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. 

5“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. 

6“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for right relationship, for they will be filled. 

7“Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy. 

8“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. 

9“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. 

10“Blessed are those who are persecuted for right relationship’s sake, for theirs is the dominion of heaven. 

11“Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely in my name. 12Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Queeries for the text:
When have we read this before?
Who has the spirit of the poor?
Who mourns?
Who will inherit the earth?
Who hunger and thirst for right relationship?
Who is merciful?
Who are pure in heart?
Who are the peacemakers?
Who are persecuted for the sake of right relationship?
Who are reviled and persecuted? Against whom is uttered all kinds of evil falsely in Jesus' name?
Who are you?

What are your queeries?

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Queerying 21st after Pentecost A

Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Gospel reading.

Gospel: Matthew 22:34-46

34When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, 35and one of them, a lawyer, asked Jesus a question to test him. 36“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” 

37Jesus said to him, “’You shall love the Becoming One your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38This is the greatest and first commandment. 39And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

41Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them this question: 42“What do you think of the Messiah? Whose child are they?” 

They said to Jesus, “The child of David.” 

43Jesus said to them, “How is it then that David by the Spirit calls them Liege, saying, 44‘The Becoming One said to my Liege, “Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet”’? 45If David thus calls them Liege, how can they be his child?” 

46No one was able to give Jesus an answer, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask him any more questions.

Queeries for the text:
How did Jesus silence the Sadducees?
How is silence good? How does silence harm?
What is Jesus quoting?
What are all the law and the prophets?
Who could be the Messiah?
How many questions does Jesus get asked in Matthew's gospel?

What are your queeries?

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Queerying 20th after Pentecost A

Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Gospel reading.

ID: on a white background black and gray text defines nothing from Oxford Languages as a pronoun (not anything; no single thing); an adjective (having no prospect of progress; of no value); and an adverb (not at all) with examples.

Gospel: Matthew 22:15-22

15Then the Pharisees went and plotted to entrap Jesus in what he said. 16So they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are sincere, and teach the way of God in accordance with truth, and show deference to no one; for you do not regard people with partiality. 17Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not?” 

18But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why are you putting me to the test, you hypocrites? 19Show me the coin used for the tax.” And they brought him a denarius. 20Then Jesus said to them, “Whose head is this, and whose title?” 

21They answered, “The emperor’s.” 

Then Jesus said to them, “Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” 22When they heard this, they were amazed; and they left him and went away.

Queeries for the text:
Where did this conversation take place?
Who do I try to entrap today? Who tries to entrap me?
Who were the Herodians? Why would they collaborate with the Pharisees?
Who pays taxes? Who doesn't?
What purpose do taxes serve today?
Why do they have a denarius in the temple?
What does not belong to God? 

What are your queeries?

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Queerying 19th after Pentecost A

Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Gospel reading.

ID: Text above states "WORK-FROM-HOME FASHIONS" a person with dark, shoulder-length hair is shown three times, first with a zip sweatshirt, leggings, and hair part up; the second with a long, heavy sweater, pj pants, and hair in a towel; the third is labeled Skype Conference Look! and has glasses, a button-up shirt, schlubbiest pj pants, and hair down and brushed.

Gospel: Matthew 22:1-14

Once more Jesus spoke to the religious leaders and elders in parables, saying: 2“The reign of heaven may be compared to a president who gave a wedding banquet for his child. 3He sent his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding banquet, but they would not come. 

4Again the president sent other slaves, saying, ‘Tell those who have been invited: Look, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready; come to the wedding banquet.’ 5But they made light of it and went away, one to their farm, another to their business, 6while the rest seized the slaves, mistreated them, and killed them. 7The president was enraged. He sent his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city. 

8Then the president said to his slaves, ‘The wedding is ready, but those invited were not worthy. 9Go therefore into the main streets, and invite everyone you find to the wedding banquet.’ 10Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered all whom they found, both good and bad; so the wedding hall was filled with guests. 

11“But when the president came in to see the guests, he noticed a person there who was not wearing a wedding robe, 12and he said to them, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding robe?’ And the person was speechless. 13Then the president said to the attendants, ‘Bind them hand and foot, and throw them into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 14For many are called, but few are chosen.”

Queeries for the text:
To whom do we compare the reign of God?
Who would the president invite?
Who wouldn't show up? 
Who disregards the president?
Where are troops being sent? How are they destroying?
What happens when a ruler invites you somewhere?
Where is life?
What would happen if the people from the streets didn't want to go to the president's banquet?
Where is choice?

What are your queeries?