Introduction to The Church Cracked Open: Disruption, Decline and New Hope for Beloved Community by Stephanie Spellers (pre-order now; releasing 3/17)

It was Saturday, August 1, 2020. I know because my text log tells me so. That afternoon I wrote to a friend:

Tempered Joy and Saying Goodbye to Donald Trump

President Donald Trump has left the Oval Office, but I find it hard to rejoice. Not for the reasons you might think.

I hear fair-minded folks saying we should avoid public celebration. It’s not gracious or Christian to celebrate while others weep. Don’t cast judgment on Mr. Trump’s moral character, or chant the litany of his crimes, sexism, racism, fascism or lies. …

Excerpts on kenosis and solidarity from The Church Cracked Open: Disruption, Decline and New Hope for Beloved Community by Stephanie Spellers. To be released in March 2021 (

From Chapter 2 on Beloved Community and Kenosis

Jesus offers to train us out of self-centric and self-seeking behaviors, toward self-giving and self-emptying. The word for this counter-intuitive movement is kenosis. It comes from the Greek “kenos” which means “empty”, so “kenosis” is the act of emptying oneself. In theological terms, it refers to Jesus’s willing renunciation (or emptying himself) of divinity in order to become incarnate as a human being. The…

Originally published in the July 2020 issue of “Vestry Papers,” a magazine of the Episcopal Church Foundation.

The day after George Floyd was murdered by four Minnesota police officers, I posted this question on Facebook: “America: why can’t you stop killing us?” I thought it was rhetorical. It was not.

Two days later, America reached the tragic summit of 100,000 dead due to the COVID-19 pandemic — disproportionately black, brown and native people who lack access to adequate health care, information or protective equipment, made more vulnerable because their largely invisible, overwhelmingly underpaid work has been deemed “essential.” …

A Letter to the Church on Breaking Free of White Supremacy — By Kelly Brown Douglas, Stephanie Spellers and Winnie Varghese

** Video of authors reading letter:

On this day, July 4th, our country celebrates its Independence. Our Episcopal Church also marks this as a major Feast Day, a day to pray in thanksgiving for the founders who “won liberty for themselves and for us, and lit the torch of freedom for nations then unborn.”

Yet, we must ask what is the meaning of freedom in such a time as this, when the COVID-19 pandemic disproportionately ravages Black, Brown…

Stephanie Spellers

Priest, writer, seeker of justice, lover of souls

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