Sunday, December 16, 2012


It seems, perhaps, that I am being called even deeper--the divine drag comes off and I face God by simply being in God's presence. When I dance, God is the music, the ground, the sky, the flute, the dance itself, and even this one dancing. I truly hear the Scripture of Life on the wings of the wind and in the streams babbling and jumping down the mountainside. As I have said, I no longer believe; I experience God ravishing my very being. It's as if I cease to exist, only to reappear in a fuller way, if that makes any sense...

Such is life with the would run if one could or simply not begin down this path. Once one does, no turning back...

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The wind blowing through the trees
speaks God's will but true;
we fight over ancient words
printed on a page

Is it not enough to say
a profound prayer
of "Thank you" for
All That Is

All Creation dances praise,
two sticks rubbed together,
bow to violin's caressing,
don't you hear it?

Let God be God, let
go of God, be filled,
just Be,
that's all there is

Redeemingness ripples over
all who sing, move, praise,
barn owl benedictions,
laughing mountain melodies

Radiance splendor illuminates,
totality of life's reality,
buzzing, rumbling, rambling,
sizzling, ALIVE

For God is No Thing,
empty in fullness,
full in emptiness,
welling up soul-drank hue...

Yossi Lopez-Hineynu, Copyright 2012~All Rights Reserved

Saturday, November 17, 2012

What do we value? What do we hold dear?

BBC cameraman and his wife with the body of their 11-month old son, killed by mortar fire in their home recently in Gaza. I cannot even fathom their pain, their loss, the tender love that still is expressed through all this tragedy.

How many couples have shared this painful intimacy over the body of a lost child killed by senseless war? It could just as easily be Israeli, Croatian, Bosnian, Serbian, Northern Irish, African, Latin American: anywhere ethnic cleansing and armed conflict takes place--why is it always the innocents who suffer?  

Where is God in all of this?  God could ask the same of us.  What are we doing to stop war, or more importantly, make for peace?  Why does this scene not outrage us, but Twinkies going away does?  What do we value; what do we hold dear?

We are standing in this picture; it is our child who is wrapped in death. It is also us who surround this couple in compassion in attempts to comfort. But is also us who drop the bombs, fire the shells, and are hell-bent on the destruction of a people. We are those people who lob mortars back.  

War is oh so costly and so stupid. It proves nothing, but cuts down lives without thinking of the beautiful potential they hold. It steals the innocence of a generation. How many retired soldiers, particularly generals, have said as much.

In just a week or so, Christians begin the period of Advent, when we prepare for the child Jesus to be born. The land in which he was born is a war zone. Jesus was a Palestinian Jew: he is the symbol of peace if we will but allow him to be born. Can we do that?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Sit With It

Sit with it.  Sit with emptiness that is really full, though I do not have any way of truly knowing that.  Let go of  everything!  Yikes...

But it is the only way to be.  My late friend, Br Randy, a hermit in the Episcopal Diocese of New York, said more episodes of the dark night would visit me, and probably be worse (from my perspective).  Damn, he was right!

More than anything, I would like to give up this sitting, to just walk away and get on with my life.  But I can't.  Whenever I attempt to do so, something holds me, and it is not fear. 

And, it is never a good idea to make major changes when in this state.  So, I am just present to and with the Emptiness; it is present to and with me as well.

With the exception of my experience of community last week, church neither beckons nor calls.  I do read Compline every day; I sit in Silence. While I may not like it, it is okay.

Supposedly it is always darkest before the dawn. I just have to trust that is so and that, some day, the Light will shine even more brightly.

Sunday, November 4, 2012


I had a profound experience today. It was not an end to this dark night in which I find myself; in fact, I wasn't moved by the ceremony itself per se.  

A group of friends (some are ordained) gathered around a dining room table. No vestments, no collection, no creed, no religious politics, just a group of folks coming together to offer thanks. But in this simplicity, the power of community was felt in a way that none of us feel in church.  Sounds like Jesus and Co.

It seems like a good place to be. It nurtures my very being. It may not be officially Roman Catholic, but God is bidden and present.

I have no idea where I will end up eventually; I may leave organized religion altogether. But at this table, I will always be welcome, for which I am grateful.

Friday, November 2, 2012

What it's all About?

Oh, yes, the institutional Church strikes again.  The University of San Diego has disinvited British theologian, Tina Beattie, from coming there on orders from the Vatican.  Oh my, she signed an advertisement support civil marriage equality in her homeland.  

The Church on the institutional level needs to get over itself.  The hierarchy is morally bankrupt in light of the abuse crisis: thousands are leaving it every day.  The second largest religious group in this country is comprised of former Catholics (10%); the "nones" are now 20% of the US population. Where is the dialogue promised by Vatican II?  Bishops, the people are not listening to you anymore.  At all.

The paradigm is shifting; some experience as it is happening now.  The Community of Disciples is alive and well; it always has been and always will be.  Eventually, bishops will remember their place as SERVANTS of the servants of God and God's people.  Collegiality will govern the Church comprised of priests (both male and female), married folks, Religious, LGBT, mentally and physically challenged, people of all races, and single/widowed people.  The Beloved Community will come, with or without the present cadre of bishops.

Jesus came to preach the GOOD NEWS of liberation for all.  He is compassion incarnate.  Let us incarnate Christ and BE the Church, guided by the power of the Holy Spirit!  The rest will take care of itself.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Dark nights and the Presence of God

It seems to me that many folks give up when they hit a dark night.  It is, indeed, terrifying the first time one goes through it.  It often comes several other times in one's life.  It is as if the rug is pulled out from under you; it does a number on complacency.

What I learned in spiritual direction today, however, is that being one with the darkness can yield great spiritual fruit.  Sitting in it means I am in the Presence, though I am not aware of it. God is in my presence, too. I certainly don't feel it. I have to trust on that.

If my heart didn't long for God so strongly, I wouldn't be writing this post.  I simply wouldn't care.  That's just it; I care that much.  But it means that I have to be vulnerable; I am not in control.  That part sucks, but it is totally necessary.

God is just as much in the darkness as in the light.  I just have to sit and let God be, trusting in the process.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

There is a time to be born...

It's hard to believe that I will turn 47 yrs old at approximately 8:03 tomorrow, to be exact. Wow! 

Seems I was just 20, or 30, or even 40; where do the decades go? I have been blessed richly in this life, as much, if not more, by the hardships, as the good times. Many folks have come and gone in my life. I am the richer for it.

Even though I am a graduate student, I know far less now than at 20, when I thought I knew everything! My greatest prayer is gratitude; a simple "Thank you" to God for each day, each moment, spent wisely or not--for all things can teach if allowed.

I have learned not to take life so seriously or be as concerned with what others think.  Oh, I have my moments where I do, but they are less and less now. 

We only have so much time on this earth. The older I get, the more I am aware of this. My prayer is to spend it wisely dancing in the fields of the Lord. Let my whole existence be an "Amen"!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Touched by Love

As I turned off Canal Street onto Roosevelt Road this morning, I started listening to Phil Collins sing "True Colors" on the radio; I lost it.  At first, I thought about all the bullied kids who took their life after years of abuse.  Damn near ran off the road.

As I crested the hill on Roosevelt Road, another feeling hit me.  I simply loved everyone in an incredibly deep way.  I didn't see the light Merton saw, but I experienced total love: for all life, sentient and non, with no agendas, distinctions or labels. It simply was. It took me several hours to process.

Songs can inspire, but not like this. This emotion was overpowering. As soon as it hit, it was gone but a few minutes later. But I am grateful that it happened. Things like this have taken place before, but this was the most powerful. All Creation danced with the Divine in that moment; love was real.

Thursday, July 19, 2012


Joy is like a river! I keep hearing the Alleluias sing under the buzz of the world. Yes, I know that evil exists in this world; I have witnessed it and been victimized by it. The institutional Church has been part of it. But, I return to the Church, the People of God, far wiser than when I left it. No Stockholm Syndrome here; if you think there is, you haven't a clue about who I am.

At almost 47, I am simply able to live with the paradoxes. I can live with things that are grey; naturally they are also tinged with purple, orange, torquoise, red, electric blue and green! Change is the only constant; I am at home with that.

To me, if we don't "go and receive our mission" (the real meaning of the words at the end of the Mass) and go out and make for justice and peace, our time in church is a farce. To be able to receive the Body and Blood of Christ, we have to be able to be the Body and Blood of Christ to the poor and the marginalized. We have to get lost in serving others in order to find ourselves, to paraphrase Gandhi. We have to both feed the hungry and find out why they are hungry; comfort the oppressed and ask why others are putting them down. We need both to celebrate the Mass and to ask the questions that make for justice!

We need to realize, too, that "the energy of Mass is equal to our willingness to empty our egos" (Why Stay Catholic: Unexpected Answers to a Life-Changing Question, Michael Leach, 97). By emptying ourselves, we allow God to fill us and move us. We become as Christ.

Christ's emerging--incarnation--shows us that matter, matters. We need always to thank God for creation because it reflects God's light and love; it sings God's song. If we look closely enough, we can learn a lot about God by being silent and observing. 

Francis referred to "Brother Sun" and "Sister Moon" and even, "Sister Death." None of these things is God, but they all point to God. He saw that we are all interconnected. Whether it was the leper he kissed or the birds to whom he preached when the people wouldn't listen, Francis knew that all creation gives glory to God. We can do no less.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Radical Verdancy

What joy to be studying St Hildegard, St Bridget of Kildare and St Julian of Norwich, plus the Beguines in this week's class entitled "Mystics, Prophets and Rebels," with Edwina Gateley. She brings them alive!

One thing that God says to Dame Julian in a vision: "Don't worry if you feel nothing in your prayer; it is still precious to me." How easy to make it about myself. It's just what I have been doing for so long--whining and pining for God. All I had to do was pray and God would handle it; all I had to do was hang in there while simultaneously letting go.

When I finally cried out in desperation to God, things changed. I needed to get to the end of my rope, as it were. I needed to be so empty, to have nothing left. Only then could I receive the very God I could not feel. God was in my heart all along.

My fear is that so many get to this point, and then just give up on God not waiting for this receiving. Dame Julian, however, reminds us that "all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well." 

We are ALL mystics if we allow ourselves the freedom to be just that. We need to get out of the mind and into the verdancy of the heart. When we do that, we look around and realize some things need changing--in Church and society. What we then have to say may alarm the officials; but what of it?

An acquaintance of mine knew a Sister years ago who wore a pin; it said "Religious are DANGEROUS." We go deep into the stuff of life and find God there, right in the chaos; miracles do happen.  We need to listen closely to our hearts to hear God's voice calling us to our special work realizing God's Reign.

We need to get RADICAL--get to the root of things. We need to stir things up, not for the sake of doing so,   but to allow compassion and justice to flow. When we go deep into Godding, we see with different eyes.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Letting Go

I am giving away six boxes of books. Why, you ask? Because they're in the way and they are bogging me down, internally as well as externally. I need to let them go wherever someone else can use them.

These are not books I'd get rid of normally. Things, however, on the outside have a way of reflecting things on the inside. I need to unload. You might have something else that gets in the way.

And believe me: I am a bibliophile extraordinaire! When I did this a few years ago, some of my friends thought I was nuts; I was, perhaps, in a way. But the mistake I made then is that I did not state an intent; I just did it. The feelings after I did it went from euphoria to same-old, same-old pretty fast.

It is good to speak an intent to the God within, asking him/her to help you change and grow. The Reign of God is most definitely within. The problem today is that too many of us are afraid to ask. 

This certainly is not New Age in the least. All too often, New Age spirituality focuses on "prosperity consciousness." One asks for even more things to bog one down. No, one has to let go, and allow God to lead. Much of this New Age spirituality is "me" focused. 

I cannot, however, reside only in the mind; rather, I have to allow myself to be guided by the song in your heart. I am feeling freer and lighter. Now, I must truly let go and allow God to speak Silence and show me how to live. God will take care of me if I let him. 

This is God's song. Think, see, feel from your heart; it will make all the difference.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Two Parades

I love a parade! Actually, Jim and I rarely go to Pride, but did go this year. We went to honor the various religious groups, including the Mormons, and organizations making justice, like the Howard Brown Health Center, AIDS Foundation of Chicago, The Night Ministry and PFLAG. And, yes, to dance a bit and catch some FABULOUS beads.

It is important to honor the struggle of the LGBT community and to celebrate life, which can be all to serious much of the time. We need to remember and we need to be proud everyday. 

Later, however, I went to Mass at my parish, St Clement Church. We had a parade there too. No beads or floats, but a procession of gifts to the altar. Simple gifts of bread and wine, destined to become the sacrament of Holy Communion. No magic, just the power of the Holy Spirit and the will of the people.

And then (as part of the same motion, really), we each get up and march to the altar singing for joy to meet our Lord once again. And, somehow, we are changed, transformed, transfigured as a result. We become radiant. 

Two parades, one day. Both bless me. I am gay and Catholic, and proud of both. The LGBT community and the Catholic Church each have a lot of growing and healing to do. My hope is that they can help each other.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Coming Home

My friend Cecilia died last week.  She was a joyful and radiant soul from Peru, a Third Order Carmelite dedicated to working with the poor of her native country.  She was here in the States pursuing a Masters degree through Loyola's Institute for Pastoral Studies.

My friend Thom is very much alive. Among other things, he is a blogger.  His recent postings "Vaya Sin Dios I and II" speak truth.  His writing is a wonderful ministry; he is a Secular Franciscan.

My close friends and classmates live their faith daily. So do my professors and the staff of IPS.

All of these folks have had a profound impact on who I am and am becoming. They know how I have raged at the injustices committed by the Church against the Sisters, women, LGBT folks, children, and the list goes on. They have also stood by the Church; I left it.

Right after Cecilia died, I wondered what she would say to me. I could hear her getting excited saying "Don't worry about the hierarchy and some of the priests; just do IT!" Just live your faith; it's a relationship. She is right.

I simply cannot remain outside the Church, the Roman Catholic Church, any longer; it's where my heart sings. Yes, I still disagree with it on many issues. But I also stand in the long tradition of dissenting with an informed conscience. Many saints did it, so why not me? Many were treated like crap by the Church, but didn't give up.

Heaven knows that I have a rather interesting journey of faiths. That's okay. Some will be betting how long I remain this time. But something's different; I am different. I am far more ready to weather the storms because I am in a much more secure place than before; I am home.

In returning, I find myself in very good company. People are not taking things sitting down any more. This is an exciting time to be a Catholic! The Spirit of Vatican II still beats in the hearts of faithful Catholics everywhere. I need and want to be part of a Church that is so much more than cranky hierarchs and some stodgy clergy, though the Church includes them, too! I want to show folks the beauty that is the Church.

Coming back will not be easy; but it will be worth it.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Brandon Elizardes, Presente

What the hell is going on here? Another young gay man, Brandon Elizardes, takes his own life after being bullied. He simply wanted to be himself. School officials in this case (and this was in Texas, mind you) even attempted to help; it was not enough.

We can have all the gay and lesbian pride we want, but it will not bring Brandon, or any of the others who have died by suicide, back. We mourn the loss of so many beautiful kids who didn't even stand a chance.

Obviously, it doesn't get better for everyone; it didn't for Brandon. Haters can be found everywhere. When they literally hound someone to death, they must pay the price. A thirty-day slap on the wrist doesn't do it.

When the memorial candles go out and Brandon's cold body is laid in the earth, what can and will be done? When God is silent, what should we do? The solution, whatever it is, is not easy to find; but we cannot give up trying to reach it.

Brandon's death reminds us that not everything's coming up rainbows.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

What's it all about?

So who or what is God?  God, if God exists, simply IS.  God cannot really be given human qualities and certainly cannot be put in anyone's box.

Can I "worship" God? I surrender to the Totality that is Godding, I suppose; but I cannot sing hymns and chant psalms to this God.  It seems artificial, forced, fake. My hope is to LOVE this God, if that is possible.

And what about death and what, if anything, comes after?  If nothing comes after of which we are conscious, then the whole thing is a farce. I will not slobber over a God who allows me to be annihilated when my life ends. If we continue somehow, then, I want to love this God with my whole being--no doctrine, dogma--just pure love.

Frankly, I wish I could let this issue go, but I cannot.  A "God seed" seems to have been planted within my heart and is blooming; no amount of rationalization can erase it. It does come perilously close at times!  That being said, however, I cannot stomach easy answers and cutesy little more belief,  just being.


Friday, May 11, 2012


It's about the Journey. It's not about doctrines and dogmas, which help to a point, but then they get in the way and end up bugging the crap out of me.  They need to be let go of eventually.

For me, "worship" needs to go too. Community is the not the exclusive purview of the Church.  When I stand in awe of Creation, I know that God manifests there.  God is in everything and everything is in God.  Not sure what God is, but THAT God is.

God needs not to be "believed" in but experienced as the One. Other people need to be experienced as the One--it's all God! This does not make me God, but a very deep part of God.

When I go to a running practice, I experience God; same too, when I walk by the side of the Lake with my beloved partner. Even being in a well-run restaurant where the staff really enjoys the jobs they do, the people they meet, and the food they serve: God is there. Sometimes God even shows up in church.

Let us go deep and dance in the Godding...

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Thank you, Mr. President

What a difference a day makes!  Amazing: the President of the United States has said that he has evolved to support marriage equality. Thanks be to God.

The battle's not over, but it feels good to hear President Obama say it. The first sitting president to do so.

Yes, North Carolina enshrined prejudice; the United Methodists did too. But we're a hell of lot closer to victory in the marriage equality fight.  Hell, demographics are on our side, period.

Let's us be proud!  But let's not rest on our laurels. We have work to do. And let us not cast aspersions on those with whom we disagree. As hard as it is, let us keep the upper hand, rooted in compassion. We WILL triumph, but let us do so with grace.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


Now, y'all might wonder why I put this picture when I am going to talk about North Carolina.  Well, because thank God there exists places in the state that maintain the welcome for LGBT folks and marriage equality, even when the majority of the its citizens vote against it.  

It SUCKS that we have to fight over something so STUPID in the 21st century, but there it is.  Not only does my heart go out to those LGBT folks in relationships who would like to get them recognized by the state, but it also embraces those straight folks who are in relationships other than marriage.  

North Carolina IS the South; it might take a bit longer there.  Of course, we can support our President and make sure he gets re-elected.  Then we can make sure he PUSHES to overturn DOMA with the Democratic House we are going to elect in November alongside the strengthened Senate..  

It's a matter of time, period.  We WILL overcome.  But we can never let our guard down.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Blessings, All!

Yup, I am running a full 26.2 miles in the Chicago Marathon in order to raise money for the AIDS Foundation of Chicago. Every 9.5 seconds, another person tests positive for HIV; 2.1 million have it in the US.  We need to end

So, why does a healthy person who is not HIV+ and does not have AIDS, run?  I run to remember.  I re-member Roger Bessie Bates, Thomas Joseph, The Rev Waylon Melton, Sean Colvin, Bernard, and Allen Andrew.  They were friends who no longer brighten my day. They shall not be forgotten.

I run, too, for all those who live with HIV now.  Thank God, it is pretty much a chronic condition rather than a death sentence, but that doesn't make it right.  We have to end this.

I run for the AIDS Foundation of Chicago to support their incredible work.  AIDS funding might be cut 50% in Illinois; AFC needs your help.

Every drop of sweat and muscle pain shows my dedication to running this race for life.  Please join me, and together, we can do our part to end AIDS forever.

Love and life,


Wednesday, April 25, 2012


We need to get over denominationalism.  For one thing, we are called to discipleship!  We are called to live the Way of Jesus.  Creeds and doctrines have their place, but these must point beyond themselves to the Mystery that is God.

Another reason we need to get over it involves the denominations themselves. A person can attend a local parish of one, but not hold strongly to the philosophical and theological foundations thereof.

For example, I happen to attend a Lutheran church that I stumbled upon on Easter (fully intending on going to an Episcopal church). It is really close to me. It is not rich, in fact it is struggling to a point. It has a line item in its budget to help folks in the local community. All this with around 30 regular attenders!

This parish has its Christian priorities straight. They managed to get a roof on the place, too. The minster does not mind if you come weekly or biweekly or whatever; it's not important how often you come. What is important is how you live the life of discipleship wherever you are.

I do not agree with much of Luther's take on theology. I am not concerned with Lutheranism per se; I just love this parish. The battles of yesteryear are over. This is where I find myself today.

Nor am I simply a Catholic-in-exile; there is much there with which I disagree as well. I am simply a Eucharistically-centered Christian.


At the start of this past semester, I wondered whether or not I could possibly return to the Roman Catholic Church. Not a chance. 

The overwhelming majority of the bishops have proved themselves morally bankrupt; a few of the priests have as well. The treatment of nuns and theologians is horrific. The translation of the Mass banal. Some are called to stay and fight for change; others are called to move on and live lives of discipleship outside its boundaries.

I love my friends who choose to remain. They are wonderful people who love the Lord. They have ministries that serve the Reign of God, which includes the People of God. I respect them for staying; I cannot stand with them. 

For me to remain in the Roman Church violates my deeply informed conscience; I simply cannot do it. To go back to Rome would violate my sense of integrity. To pretend to be something one is not is a sin, period. I prefer to stand as a disciple of Jesus where I am.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

God Bless the Sisters!

God bless the Sisters!  God bless the Sisters!  God bless the Sisters!  There, I said it, thrice!

You don't have to be Catholic to love the Sisters.  They teach, tend to the sick, the dying, feed and empower the poor.  They stand for justice. They live a gospel life...period.  So what's the beef?

These are women on fire with the gospel! They didn't hang their heads in compliance when Bishops, Inc, wanted them to toe the line.  They continue doing what they have always been doing: they proclaim Christ!

Stand firm, dear Sisters!  Do not allow a morally bankrupt bunch of men tell you what to do.  Keep living your vows and living the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Monday, April 9, 2012

A New Day Dawning

Christ is Risen! Indeed, He is Risen! Alleluia!

Amazing!  Somehow, in all this, I actually have come through this dark night. I really didn't know if I would ever end up feeling the presence of God again.  Can't say that I do like I did, but I do, now, differently. From what my spiritual mentors have said: this will happen again, perhaps, even more profoundly than this.  Oh joy (said with sarcasm).

God is deeply real to me, even closer than my own breath.  It's almost as if God is so real that I don't really need to feel him.  He simply IS. 

Christ is Risen!

Everything returns to normal now, or does it?  We can still say "Christ is Risen! He is Risen, indeed, Alleluia!

Bad things still happen. If we allow ourselves, we can face them head on with the love of Christ.  Think about it: if we who are Christian did this, we could bring peace on earth.  But, then, there are too many "realists" out there who say they believe, but do not live like it.

Try living like CHRIST AROSE FROM THE DEAD!  Christ is Risen!  Alleluia!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Easter.  New life, renewed hope.  Death is conquered; O Death where is they sting!  O great joy!


Thursday, April 5, 2012


Jesus our Lord and Savior must die on a cross, suffering and alone.  He must die on a cross, wracked with pain, with doubt. He must die.

Jesus must suffer at the hands of the Romans and a handful of Jewish collaborators.  He must succumb to dying for love, for justice.

Jesus must die.  This is it. This is the end. All that ministry for nothing.

Or is it?

Maundy Thursday

It is difficult to believe that another Holy Thursday is upon us.  How often we would rather just fly by this and go right into Easter Sunday.  But then, Easter is just another day, albeit dressed up.

We need to go through the crucifixion with Jesus. We need to go through the grime and sweat of Good Friday. We need to go through the wondering of Holy Saturday, and then, and only then, come to the first alleluias of Easter Day.  

It is too easy simply to jump to Easter Sunday. It is, however, much better to walk the way with Jesus.  From the agony in the Garden, to the arrest, to the mock trial, to the Crucifixion, to the end--that is the way to go.  But wait, there is more: Easter Sunday.  It is a day of triumphant alleluias resounding!

Let us own each day in its own right.  It is imperative that we do do.

Cracked pottery

This is how I feel at the present.  Parched, dry and cracked.  Yet, I still feel I am supposed to be where I am supposed to be. I simply leave it at that, for now.  

I feel worn out, yet at the same time, that I have a purpose.  It seems like a paradox, but it is not.  Perhaps it is the way in; the way to understanding what is going on here.  I do not know.  Maybe that is the point...

So, I wait; I sit.

Christ, hear me!

Funny how Christ seems to reach out and grab you.  Right when I think I am going to Judaism, I find that I need to remain a Christian.  It does not make sense, but it is what it is.

I am a Christian, but not an ordinary one; that is for sure.  I am not sure where I will go, even if only occasionally.  Since I do not do doctrine and dogma, I will have to see about this.

The Episcopal Church makes the most sense, but I do not know.  It seems right up my alley, but it is still missing something. The Lutherans are too negative, but the local congregation has a pastor who reads Borg; so there's hope yet.  The Romans are just too doctrinaire and have a bad liturgy; yet somehow it is still home.  I simply do not know.

Maybe I will spend the Triduum at various churches; perhaps I won't spend it anywhere.  But with it being Holy Week, I feel called to do so. I am just not sure.

But I am sure of one thing: I am a Christian.  I am on the left, but I am still hanging in there.  This is not a head thing as much as a heart thing.  Perhaps I am meant to be a Unitarian Universalist, but I doubt that.  Why is it so much easier for others to find their home and stay there?

So, I wait the Triduum.  I wait it with trepidation, yet relief.  It may not be as joyous this year, but it will be.  I enter the last few days of Holy Week with eyes wide open, as if for the first time.  I make no promises, but it is here that I will stay.

Sunday, April 1, 2012


The photo above is from a part of the Camino de Santiago/The Way of St James, which I hope to walk in a little over a year, hopefully with a small group of friends.  Since seeing a wonderful movie entitled "The Way," I have known that I will, indeed, walk it; I simply have to.

What's most important, however, is that I have been walking the way my whole life. Plugging into a contemplative awareness of life allows one's heart to open.  By so doing, this expanding heartness, if you will, also exposes the shadow side, allowing it to be illuminated.  This can be painful at times, for sure, but growth results nonetheless.

Like Jacob from the Hebrew scriptures, God and I have wrestled.  Actually, it is I who have done the wrestling with a rather bemused God. When I stop, I realize that the Beloved wishes to dance with me!

Doctrine and dogma, regardless of the religious tradition, are based on a cosmology that does not reflect reality as we know it presently. We have far more knowledge of the cosmos than those during the time various scriptures were written. Maybe we need to ask the question: what is God saying to us today and how can we best express this through ritual and words in our traditions?

Until quite recently, I thought I would return to the Episcopal Church, which I love, but find that I simply cannot do so. Jesus speaks strongly to me, but he does so as a Jewish teacher to my Jewish heart. It is that simple.

I am Jewish; I am Sufi; but most of all, I am simply one who dances with God to an interspiritual melody. Truly I experience and see God in the beautifully ordinary. And I am deeply grateful.

At the end of this week comes Pesach/Passover, a time to celebrate liberation.  Each and every one of us must do his or her part to make for compassion and justice in this world.  We do so with this God who makes for salvation.

In other news: my Kindle book of poetry comes out this week, details to follow later.  It is a dream come true and I am grateful to my publisher, Watermark Publishing, and its founder, my dear friend, Heather K. O'Hara.  Expect to see more poetry, as well as prose, coming in the future.  May the words that flow through me from such a powerful Source, make this a more beautiful and just world.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Dry Bones

The Beloved never wants us to get too complacent.  Sometimes we find ourselves right smack in the middle of an existential and spiritual crisis.  It is not necessarily bad, or even unsettling, though can be.  Crisis means "dangerous opportunity," so it involves a time to slow way down and listen for the subtle movements of the Spirit.  Dark nights are like this.  Kinda reminds us that we're not in charge...nothing like hitting one of these, or having one continue, right during need to "give something up" when everything is turned upside down, except for God Who is closer than our breath...sometimes we simply wait in faith and hope 'cause that's all you've got.

Standing in the liminal space can be like this.  Birth cannot come without labor.  It is easy to think you've lost your marbles.  You might wonder why what used to comfort no longer does; this, of course, is the point.  It is time to grow beyond your own borders.  

It is a time of deep silence, questions without words, perhaps.  Prayer rolls like tumbleweed: coarse and dry.    Often only meditation grants solace.  Where, we wonder, does the Beloved want me to go?  What does this mean.  Why does nothing "taste" right anymore?

How long, O Lord God, how long?

Friday, March 9, 2012

Standing in the Liminal, or Nu, What's a Wandering Jew to Do?

Liminal space is an experience of gestation leading to a new realization; I presently dwell therein.  It is that shaky experience between 'that which was' and 'that which is.'  It is not terrifying, but rather comforting, actually, if a tad unsettling.

Dissonance between what I thought I believed and what my heart tells me true leads to crisis which places a dangerous opportunity before me.  I can ignore it, thus rendering myself inauthentic, or embrace its challenge with eyes open.

I struggle with the concept of beliefs, "petals blowing in the wind" as I call them. I find that I get nervous with too many definitive statements in the face of Mystery.  Hell, I get antsy with the whole notion of religion.  In that way, I am very true to my wandering Jewishness!  

For those who don't know, I joined the Jewish People formally through a traditional ritual of conversion several years ago.  Even if one does not practice the religion, one never stops being a Jew. It is in good company, then, that I stand when I wrestle with these questions, with God. I am proudly a Jew by choice.

Funny thing, to some I'd imagine:  I find the Beloved even closer to me than my own breath when I am in this liminality. God is all that matters to me; the rest is commentary, which all too often impedes my relationship with the Ground of All Being.  It is here that I truly feel the most 'real.'

God's revelation doesn't stop with the final period of any scripture book.  A lot can be learned from diving deep within it, regardless of the tradition from whence it comes.  But all too often, it is made into an idol; it is forgotten that God still speaks, as our friends in the United Church of Christ remind us in their advertising campaign.

Many doctrines find formulation in a time when the cosmology's quite different from our own.  But don't we have to ask how God is acting right now? Contextualizing this through ritual is fine, again, as long as the ritual does not become an end in itself.

For whatever reason, God has made me in such a way as to be able to stand in several spiritual traditions simultaneously and experience the Oneness behind them. This does not involve mixing them up, but, rather, honoring the integrity of each. But, I also transcend their human made boundaries. Don't lock my poet's heart into the rigidities that needn't be there in the fields of the Lord!

So, I stand here now, without answers, but also without questions.  Sometimes it is better to simply be for a bit and see where this leads.  My primary spiritual practice has been non-sectarian meditation for quite some time. I often pray with beads, usually saying "shalom" on each; I hold others in my prayerful heart.  These practices lead me beyond myself toward others and to haShem (Heb "the Name").  As a result, my faith shall lead me home...maybe I am actually standing on its threshold already. 

Saturday, February 18, 2012


That a child has to beg like a dog in the 21st century shows that God simply doesn't swoop in and make things right, no matter how many prayers fly.  If the Reign of God lives within, then it seems that it's up to us to make this right.  Perhaps God is this child.

Prayer changes us, opens us to action.  Maybe our paradigm of God needs to change.  An old Irish saying tells us that "bidden or not, God is present."  Perhaps we are the hands, voice and feet of God in this world.

If we "live, move and have our being" in God, how silly to speak of a God who "tests" us by refraining from making justice with his (sic) all-powerful hands.  No loving parent is going to teach his or her child a lesson by allowing that child to suffer; no sane one, anyway.  Perhaps we need to experience God a new way.

In this world where the politics of hate reign, where a child like the one above becomes "other," we need to make for justice before it's too late.  Perhaps Lent is about that and not giving up meat only to eat lobster on Fridays.  Perhaps...

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Fugue in Lent Major

The crispness of Silence enraptures like ice-cold windy blast,
awakening the dawn, hope's flow resoundeth anon.  
Void rumbles empty not, full of possibility's ever newness,
sapstream stirs yearneth 

bareness knoweth leaves fulltility, aloneness no, for Beloved permeates
All, all, Ground of Being stretcheth self's borders, radical ecstasy
embraceth membranous hue, goldwhite song rides the air
light's folly

many onenesses, Oneness, many, anoint now's rays.
Manifestation ebb and flow, toward ashy forehead's moment,
now eternal, end beginning rising sun,
see through glass clearly

relearn earthiness from whence cometh, ruach imbibes spirit,
longish forty-day reverie amidst thawness,
let go, take on, never static, soilness o'erturned,
bliss'ning cross cleaves

Yossi Lopez-Hineynu, Copyright 2012~All Rights Reserved