Shannon T.L. Kearns
Shannon T.L. Kearns
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The Temptation of Apologetics
March 28, 2017
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The other night I shared my story at a local organization. At least some of the folks considered themselves religious and some evangelical. When it came time for the Q&A at the end the questions, as they usually do, turn toward apologetics. (A brief note for those who might not be familiar. Apologetics is the idea of making a case for the faith and in the context of specific issues (like homosexuality or being transgender) making a defense, based on…

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0
A Journaling Practice
March 23, 2017
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I don’t know when, exactly, I started keeping a journal. The first one I have still in my possession is from when I was 12. It starts with these words, “Today I am at my cousin’s house. It is very enjoyable.” In these early journals I still write with the cursive of childhood, large and looping. I talk about my obsessions of the moment (it was horses for a while). But even in these early journals there are hints of…

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1
Keep It In The Family
March 21, 2017
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It had been a bad day for our team. We were exhausted, it was hot. We traveled around on a school bus without air conditioning, sometimes hours between towns. I can’t remember exactly what happened, whether we had been complaining too much or had a bad attitude or were just tired and cranky teenagers. We were high school students giving up eight weeks out of our summer to travel to churches as a “ministry of encouragement.” But we were still…

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0
Ask Better Questions
March 16, 2017
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Sometimes I think that most of life is about asking the right questions. In almost every context I live and work in, asking the right questions is the biggest part of the process. Take the work I do with queertheology.com. So many people write to us asking “what does the Bible say about homosexuality?” Or “how do I convince my homophobic [insert relative of choice here] that the Bible doesn’t condemn homosexuality?” And after my initial responses of “read a…

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0
Empathy Will Not Save My Life
March 14, 2017
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A new play production process starts pretty much the same way each time. After the auditions and call backs, once the cast is assembled, there is a first rehearsal. After the initial introductions, the cast settles in and the read through the entire script for the first time without stopping. Then there is often a short break and the cast comes back together to have a conversation about what they just read. As a playwright these initial conversations are both…

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3
Hard Boiled Eggs And Toast
March 9, 2017
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In my online to-do list I have a list labeled “Ideas”. It’s a catch all list where I put fragments of thoughts, phrases, words; anything that comes to mind that I might want to write a play or essay about later. Sometimes things stay on the list for years waiting for the right time for me to sit down and write it. One thing that has been on my list for at least three years is this “hard boiled eggs…

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2
The Fear Of Being Touched
March 7, 2017
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We’re watching a movie and I am sprawled over the big armchair in the living room. My best friend is lounging on the ottoman, backed up against the chair. Her head is on my stomach and my arm is around her. We watch the movie and my mother watches us. Later on my mom pulls me aside: “You know friends don’t touch each other like that, right?” I wonder at this because my friend and I are friends. And we…

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1
To Be Seen. To Be Loved.
March 2, 2017
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It was tiny little music festival in a sleepy Pennsylvania town. The kind where you roll up and set up your tent in a field and could meet all of the other attendees in the course of a long afternoon. I was there because my partner at the time was performing with a friend of hers. It was a stressful time. We didn’t have a lot of money and I wasn’t sure how I was going to be able to…

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When Traditions Bring Death
February 28, 2017
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Over the last six months I’ve had several experiences that all point to a similar phenomenon. First, let me set the stages: Scene One: Chicago When tickets for “Hamilton” went on sale one of my best friends spent eight hours online until she snagged us a pair so that we could see the show for my birthday. She traveled from Indiana and I traveled from Minneapolis and we met in Chicago for a weekend of amazing food, sightseeing, and, of…

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1
A Mother Who Refuses To See
February 23, 2017
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This is a scene from my play Who Has Eyes To See. Jamie is a transgender man who has been away from home for a decade. He left after coming out as transgender. In this scene Jamie and his mother Catherine have a confrontation over Jamie’s identity. CATHERINE What are you girls up to today? You should come to church with me. (Silence) Jamie, don’t give me the silent treatment. JAMIE Oh, I didn’t know you were talking to me….

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