Church nerd alert: this past Sunday I had the opportunity to join two Sunday school friends in worship at the United Church of Christ parish in my old ‘hood. So there we were all in a place two of us weren’t familiar with wondering what it might be like. I felt a little like we were seven or eight again. I think we behaved fairly well: we dressed appropriately, didn’t need to be pinched to subvert squirming, and there were no pew kneelers for me to loudly play with.
Pastor Lawrence delivered a sensitive sermon on Matthew 5:1-4 (“blessed be those that mourn for they will be comforted”), Psalm 23, with references to King David losing his beloved son. He mentioned in his sermon that he had written a book describing some of his own losses. I was so captivated that I bought his book after the service; of course I had it signed!
In his thought provoking and poignant autobiography, Pastor Richardson shares his cathartic and poignant autobiographical story of his life as a transgendered person of color called to Christian ministry of word and sacrament. Raised, living, and serving in Minneapolis, he shares his story of a very troubled childhood which in some ways is reminiscent of Dave Pelzer’s A Child Called It. Despite all of the abuse and neglect he suffered at the hand of family, the church, and the larger society, he remains true to his calling to God and to himself. Pastor Richardson’s light shines on all whom he encounters.
This book is especially helpful because it clarifies aspects of LBGTQ identification and lifestyle which is probably unfamiliar to most of us living outside of that circle. It also includes some valuable biblical commentary on the topic.
This book is an easy read and I literally could not put it down until I had finished it. I highly recommended it to everyone but most especially to those who work or worship in Christian churches and to those that work in social service type of occupations.
Richardson, Lawrence Tanner. 2018. I Know What Heaven Looks Like: A Modern Day Coming of Age Story. LTRichardson.com.
Heidi S. Hansen, Spirit Garage Children’s Minister