Shannon T.L. Kearns
Shannon T.L. Kearns
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All Are Welcome Is A Meaningless Phrase
July 19, 2018
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All are welcome! It rings like a refrain over the event. Speakers use it and every time people wildly applaud. We should be a church where all are welcome! Over and over again. On the one hand, I get it. I know these people are using it to call out the places that have often excluded people. I know they are saying “Our churches should welcome LGBTQ+ people, people of color, women, and other marginalized people.” I know what they…

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Space To Dream
July 17, 2018
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“You’re going to be in Houston, you have to go to the Space Center.” This was a refrain as I prepared to take a group of youth to Houston for the ELCA Youth Gathering. And I thought, sure, whatever, that’ll be a fun thing to do. I’ve never really been a “space guy.” Astronauts are cool and all but it wasn’t on my list of “things I want to be when I grew up.” I like a good space thriller…

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Getting Out Of My Funk
July 16, 2018
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The last couple of months have passed by in what feels like a blur. When people ask how I’m doing I’ve said, “I think I’m in a funk.” It’s the closest thing I could find to describing how I was feeling. It’s not depression. It’s not even an existential crisis. It’s just….a funk. 

But over the last couple of weeks I’ve been coming out of said funk. Slowly, little by little. And it feels…good. It feels exciting. It feels like…

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When People Do Not Love What You Love
July 12, 2018
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When I was just coming out I discovered Buffy The Vampire Slayer and it saved my life. I loved every single bit of it. The writing. The music. The world. But I especially loved the way it made me feel: like I wasn’t alone. Lately I’ve been rewatching the series with A who has never seen it before. She likes it, but some of the things that I fell in love with don’t seem to resonate with her the way…

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The Sound Of Silence
July 10, 2018
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“Get on your feet!! Clap your hands above your head! Come on!” The DJ yells and the crowd goes wild. They are screaming and applauding and singing at the top of their lungs. A few minutes later: “I can’t hear you! Sing your praises louder!” The crowd responds with more. Always more. Until our ears are ringing. These moments brought me back to my high school days, always feeling out of place in my introverted skin in the face of…

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Stop Being A Martyr
July 5, 2018
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In the midst of the break up of my marriage came a stunning realization: We were both broke and would have to continue to live together until our lease was up because neither of us could afford to break the lease or move out early. That meant two full months of continued co-habitation even though our relationship was over. Those two months were pretty hellish, not gonna lie. Not only did we have to see each other pretty much every…

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When You Are Tired And Crabby
July 3, 2018
creativity

The alarm goes off and I roll out of bed and stumble into the shower. I’m already thinking about an afternoon nap before I’ve even had my morning coffee. I just can’t seem to get enough sleep these days; even when I go to bed earlier. Even when I sleep well. I head out the door and go through the motions. I go to work, I answer email, I sit through conference calls and meetings. I do lunch and coffee…

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A Poetry Gumball Machine
June 28, 2018
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It looks like a giant gumball machine but in reality it’s so much more. Put two quarters into the machine. Give the dials a turn. Open the little door. Inside is a plastic container and inside that is a small scroll. When you untie the scroll and unroll it, you find a poem. 

These poems have been curated by people who are incarcerated and part of the Minnesota Prison Writing Workshop. MPWW goes into correctional facilities and hosts writing workshops;…

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The Sin of Pride
June 26, 2018
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Growing up pride felt like the worst of all of the sins. Well, I mean, other than the sins that involved whispers sex and bodies. Pride was the worst of the sins that we felt that good Christians were capable of. Pride was the one we were warned about. 
Don’t be too big for your britches. Don’t get a big head. Don’t forget your place. God wants you to be humble. God wants you to give the glory to Him…

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How To Change A System
June 21, 2018
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Another Tim Ferris prompt: What are bad recommendations do you hear in your profession or area of expertise? You can only change the system if you stay in it. I hear this a lot both in the church world and in the arts world. There is this idea that the only way change happens is from within. By playing by the rules (or selectively and gently breaking just a few rules. That if you stand outside of the institution you…

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