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! 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
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.
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
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?
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.
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.
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.