Sunday, September 8, 2013

Update 2016: It was an amazing day, but, sadly, OUnI no longer exists. Too much drama to go into here. I still regard myself as an Interspiritual minister, though delighted to be 30 lbs. lighter than I was here.

Amazing! A ceremony that took all of 16 minutes really packed a spiritual punch. Wow!

It is truly difficult to put into words what has taken so long in coming. Those who know me best, knew this would come, even when I doubted it. Had a couple of false starts, but yesterday I became an InterSpiritual minister with the Order of Universal Interfaith (OUnI), founded in the tradition of the late Br Wayne Teasdale, among so many other amazing interSpiritual pioneers.

And this is an ordination, not a coronation. An intimate group gathers in a circle, of which I, too, am part. No one above anyone else; we are equals. No special status was bestowed on me.  The spiritual energy, though, was palpable.

What made the day extra special is when several of my dear friends came up to lay hands me, regardless of their faith tradition or none. They affirmed what they saw there and claimed me as a ministering presence among and for all people.

This ordination is not about titles and robes, but about presence and service. It's about living the interSpiritual vision, not about tearing down any religious tradition. It's not about me; it speaks to the interconnection of all sentient and nonsentient life.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Just Being

Before I am anything, I am just a human being; I transcend labels, particularly religious ones.  I love the God who dances between, above, under, around, and in, our beings.  It's truly all about love; the rest is commentary.

A dear friend says that I am all of the traditions which feed me, yet none of them.  Spot on.  I don't mix "religions;" I don't believe as much as I simply experience it all anew each day. God IS.

I don't have to go to church, synagogue, or temple because I or others think I should. But, if and when I want to do so, I will. This is not flighty in the slightest; it simply is the way I dance in the love of God.

It has been, and continues to be, a blessing, to be fed by Christianity, Judaism, Sufism, and Buddhism.  They speak to me, but do not contain me. 
Though I have been initiated in each of these traditions, I no longer say that I am a Christian, a Jew, a Sufi, or a Buddhist; I simply am a fallible child of God walking the Way, dancing with the mystics of each tradition.  It is by so doing that I see that of God within all Life and am compelled to live compassionately and make for justice...

Monday, June 3, 2013

Faith in the Mean Time

It's interesting just letting go and letting be what is.  Often times, simply standing still in the middle of the storm invigorates. In the words of an old Quaker hymn: "No storm can shake my inmost calm while to that rock I'm clinging. Since love is lord of heaven and earth, how can I keep from singing?"

A sense of equanimity pervades my being; not much riles me now. But I also find that I am deeply passionate even more than before about issues in which I believe. This is a deeply-felt feeling that is balanced by the spiritual.

Life is truly a sacrament--all of it--not just the neat and tidy, but also the dull and grimy. Living in the present moment reveals such freely-given grace in the darndest of places. It's breathtaking.

Birdsong and car horn's blaring, my psalms of praise to an unknown God. Being present to all beings, sentient or not, my communion of love. Graffiti of wall and heart, my scripture. Tears of gratitude or frustration, or both, baptism. A smile of acceptance, my absolution.

Let me, then, be a minister, not of creed and ordo, but of hope and silliness, of comfort and compassion. Let me know that I may not have all the answers other than to be deeply present.

Monday, May 20, 2013

The Circle of Life

Death, where is thy sting?  Right in my heart, thank you!  How can a cat, or a person for that matter, be alive one minute and dead the next? It really is that quick.

It was surreal to wrap Lucy the cat's lifeless body in a cotton towel, dig her grave, and bury her. I have done this before with other pets and I will do so again. What once was live, lives no more.

Loved ones, whether animal or human, die. It's that simple. And when they're dead, no life force is present.  My hope is that we will meet again; my heart tells me that this is so.

This beloved cat was only seven years old; she died as the result of an accident in which she most likely slipped, while sleeping, from the kitchen table and cracked her neck under a heavy chair that fell with and on her.

Her brother/litter mate, Ricky; her cat sister, Gidget; and her dog sister, Ginger, as well as Jim and I mourn her. Grieving is another form of letting go; it sucks, but is necessary in order to go on. The Circle continues.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

An Empty Fullness

It is amazing the twists and turns that my spiritual journey has taken. I have gone over bumps, been jostled to and fro, hit brick walls, and have had any sense of God disappear completely from my life. I have also been to the depths and heights of ecstasy, feeling as if God embraced me completely. I wouldn't change it for the world.

Undoubtedly, most of those looking on simply don't get it--especially the ones who think they do. They mean no harm. Each of us has different ways of God-awareness.

It seems I have come to the place where Meister Eckhart's prayer has been totally realized: "I pray God rid me of God." There simply is no God there. Hell, there's no there, there. Unlike when I hit the brick wall known as the Dark Night awhile back, no terror this time. A sense of total peace pervades my being.

The challenge of this awareness is that church doesn't feel right. I feel completely disconnected from it. Again, I am not unsettled about this, merely grieving its loss. This is an amazing liminal space in which the Divine has led me.

Furthermore, I need to let be what is. No need to fight it or run from it. Just accept. Patience and faith.  

At this point, I don't know whether God exists or doesn't exist. Methinks the emptiness must even include this: total letting go of all that went before. I do not know where I will end up, but I'm in this for the duration.

Chogyam Rinpoche supposedly once said of the spiritual journey, better to have never begun. Oy! He was onto something here!

What I can do is be in the present moment, mindfully. No more; no less. What a trip... 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Slowing Down and Allowing the Questions

It is amazing what some perspective can do. Taking time to go deep and just sit there in the Presence of God Who bursts into bloom within the heart that is open to God. Giving voice to things with a trusted person helps that to happen.

In meeting with my spiritual director today, a Jesuit, I was able to do just that; but something more important happened. With no prodding from him, the Holy Spirit stirred my deepest thoughts and allowed them to rise. More questions than answers.

When I step back and look at the Church, I see it as gasping under its feudal structure; yet I also see the countless mystics who remained within it, calling it to a deeper holiness. No human institution is perfect; I  have no illusions that it ever will be. And therein lies the rub.

And yet it goes deeper still.  It is being willing to stand in and with and within this Mystery, knowing that God experiences all of this with me--the joys and sorrows. God made it, yet God contemplates it with and through me. This is holy ground even though it feels as if the ground beneath my feet has fallen away.

This liminal space invites me to let go of what was, yet not be fully part of what is to be. In this place of in-between, God calls me to look at Creation through God's eyes. 

Jesus knows this intimately. He protests the horrific conditions in which his people live. He embodies compassionate action. He does this even to the point of asking that this chalice pass from him the night before his execution. Jesus is profoundly human and this is what makes him so compelling.

This very human Jesus invites me to walk with him as he walks with me. He asks what do I have to offer a Church and world so sorely in need of love and transformation. I want to run and hide, saying "who, me?" But Christianity is not done alone; it is communal in nature. So it is with this question that I am left and must engage. The answer remains a mystery for the time being.

So, what is this Catholic do about going to church in light of this. This does not have to be answered definitively right now. I have this tendency to want to fill in a hole when it becomes evident. Better to allow time to be silent and listen to the Holy Spirit.

I am going to be spending time with the Quakers for now, and also going to Mass on Saturday or during the week. And, more importantly, I am going to let it all go and allow God to lead the way.

It is amazing how these insights came to the fore in the compassion of my spiritual director who held the situation gently, allowing it all to simply be.   

Sunday, January 6, 2013

To a Place of Grace

Did I leave the Roman Church, or did it leave me? Maybe we left each other; maybe it doesn't matter. But let us be clear: I am still a Eucharistically-centered Christian in love with the saints and mystics, and most importantly, Jesus. But the Eucharist, the saints, mystics, and Jesus embrace a whole lot more than just the Roman Church! 

I wish I could hang in there but I can no longer take the abuse from the Pope, the bishops, and many priests; I refuse to take part in my own oppression any longer. The hateful language they spew forth over gay/lesbian and women's issues befouls the Church. Their response to the abuse crisis has rendered their moral authority flaccid. I thought I could hang in there until the "seeds of regeneration" break ground or at least have that hope, but I no longer have that desire. Merely finding an inclusive parish does not solve anything, either.

But, I also have theological reservations with this Church. For one thing, where does one draw the line with theological disagreement? When does one stop being a Roman Catholic?  It seems to me, that many, whether conservative, liberal or somewhere in between, want their dissent and their Church as well. That can only happen to a point, but then it can go too far and a person has to ask himself or herself that all important question.

So, for now at least, I dance in the Heart of God, interconnected with all life. It is "outside" the Roman Church, but a place of grace nonetheless, as a friend of mine said upon hearing I had decided to leave. If I am called to embrace a Christian tradition later, it will most likely be the Episcopal Church, as I find myself more in sync with Anglican theology, delightfully finding God in the messiness of ordinary living. It is both Catholic and Reformed, as am I; it is within it that I practiced for over 15 years.

I am, however, one of those odd ducks who both loathes, yet is somewhat attracted to, organized religion. It is not always the most comfortable place to be, but it is there that I stand. It seems I didn't "leave" anything after all, but, rather, embraced the fullness of living within the joy of God.