Posted tagged ‘Christian’

I Had My Reasons

January 8, 2012

I used to claim that I didn’t need to go to church.  God is everywhere, right?  And there exist a multitude of ways to connect with God.  Therefore, I have no need for church.  Or, at least, that is what I told myself.

But, truth be told, walking into my church renews me.  The music centers me, brings me to myself and to God.  I can’t always stay 100% in the moment.  Sometimes my mind wanders during the sermon.  Or I find myself off on a tangent, analyzing this or that.  But, when I force myself to focus, to listen, I know that God is there in that place.  And the collective experience of worship is what makes it holy.  We need each other, to love each other, to honor God in the way we treat each other.

I need church.  I am not my best self without it.  I remembered that today.

 

Beginnings (2012 Edition)

January 2, 2012

I love New Year’s resolutions.  Maybe it’s because I am really into new beginnings.  Clean slates and all.

This year, I made 3 resolutions:

1) Write every day.  Here or in a journal.  Either counts.

2) Blah blah Jesus blah blah blah.

3) Get more organized.  I realize this one wins the vagueness award, but the problem is that I really don’t know how to be more organized.  Things just kick around in my mind, and I try to sort them as best I can.  I don’t keep a calendar (BIG mistake since having a kid).  I tend to work on several projects at once, and there is always one that I forget about until the very last minute.  I procrastinate.  I don’t even know where all my office supplies are, for goodness’ sake.

So, I guess I will take this one incrementally… use a trial and error approach.  Tomorrow, I am going to make a list of goals for the week.  First thing.  Over coffee even.  And, if Jane keeps in her new routine, I will starting my day at 4:45 a.m.  Hurrah!

Here’s to new beginnings.  Very organized beginnings.

Beatitudes

February 19, 2010

Monkito may not be a church-goer, but she is always willing to listen to me rehash the sermon for her.  In fact, she always asks what church was about when I return home… which keeps me on my toes.  No daydreaming during the sermon for me.

When I came home from Ash Wednesday service, she wanted the low down about the sermon.  She had been at an Urban Charrette shindig, so we got to swap stories.  When it was my turn, I told her the sermon series for Lent was going to be based on the Beatitudes.

The what?  Be… what?  What did  you say?

Beatitudes.

Be-ATTITUDES??? Ha!  What is a Be-ATTITUDE?

Uh… are you serious?  You know, like in the Sermon on the Mount.

(crickets)

Well, tonight’s sermon was about the one that starts “Blessed are the poor…”

(interrupting) What do you mean blessed are the poor?  How can the poor be blessed?  That doesn’t even make any sense.

‘Kito, I feel a little bit like we are on a bad segment of a children’s Christian radio program, where the heathen kid is sent in to question the faithful Christian kid.  Seriously.

But it doesn’t make sense… it seems like… it seems counter-intuitive.

Cool, because the sermon series is called “The Transforming Paradox.”  Nifty how they did that, huh? Perhaps you should go with me.. you know, just during Lent and all.

No, seriously ‘Kito.  You should.

Heathen.

The Lenten Season Begins

February 17, 2010

My sister called to say, “Happy Ash Wednesday!”  She is an odd child.  Funny, but odd.

If you celebrate Lent, I hope you have a blessed season of reflection.  If you don’t celebrate Lent, I hope you enjoy all the chocolate, pizza and cookies that everyone else gave up for Lent.

Prayer

February 8, 2010

Ever had anyone pray for you?  Not in the kind of abstract, “I will pray for you” sort of way, but in the hold-your-hands-and-address-your-specific-needs sort of way?  Yeah, I am not much for that, either.  Or I wasn’t, until the pain of the miscarriage crashed through the tolerable threshold.  So, on Sunday when the pastor announced that there would be healing prayer offered in the chapel, I called him on his bluff.  I mean, what did I really have to lose?

As soon as I got in the chapel and sat down with my two designated pray-ers, I started crying.  Looking at these two women, and seeing their genuine concern, I felt my guard crumble.  I told them how much it hurt; I didn’t justify my response or offer qualifiers about my faith… I was just honest.

And I immediately was flooded with relief.  And, as they prayed for me, I felt peace.  And I was sure that everything would be okay.  And, trust me, the way I have been feeling lately, that is an incredible gift.

Stolen

February 4, 2010

Christianity and I have had some quarrels.  We have learned to live peaceably over the years.  And I, in fact, am a Christian.  But I often find myself skeptical of folks who broadcast their Christianity, who act “in the name of Christ.”  Many, many acts of hatred and intolerance are perpetrated in God’s name…

I particularly bristle at missionaries.  I realize that is unfair (and part of my current prejudice comes from having just finished The Poisonwood Bible). Not all missionaries strive only to break cultural customs and force a foreign idea of God onto unsuspecting people.  Some missionaries care deeply about those they encounter, trying only to demonstrate God’s love through their compassionate actions.  But many a missionary has been sent to save the “savages” from themselves… to introduce them to Jesus before it is too late and to force them to adopt a more “American” way of life, one that makes them less savage and more like us (which I find laughable). With my distrust of missionaries in mind, I will tell you that I have watched the Haitian missionary saga unfold with great interest.

Admittedly, my immediate reaction when I first heard about the efforts to remove Haitian children from the chaos and suffering that followed the earthquake was that quick action should be taken to remove them from Haiti and to facilitate adoptions for the orphans.  See, I am not immune to ridiculous responses based on emotion and grounded in ignorance…

After I began to educate myself about some of the problems with adopting Haitian children,which include a host of cultural issues and some “American as Messiah” issues, I realized that the answer was to attempt to help stabilize Haiti so that families could remain together and children could grow up immersed in their own culture, instead of in a foreign land, with family ties possibly severed forever.

The times that the American government (or American citizens) have attempted to intervene in a country’s placement of their “orphans,” well… let’s just say things haven’t gone well.  The American missionaries that have been charged with kidnapping in Haiti represent what is wrong with white, Christian Americans believing they know what is best for the “savages.”  They tried to take children who have families to the Dominican Republic to place them in an orphanage that was being built there.  At least that is the story they tell.  I believe it is far more likely that the missionaries were planning on having those children adopted by white, Christian Americans… who certainly could offer a better life… after all they are Christian AND American, which naturally equates to superior (in their own eyes at least).

Either way, those missionaries stole Haiti’s children.  Now they must atone for their sins.  Unfortunately for them, that atonement may occur in a Haitian prison.

Random God Thoughts

November 11, 2009

Would it be blasphemous to classify religion as my hobby?  Okay, then… perhaps the study of religion works better?

I am fascinated by religion.  All types.  I grew up in a conservative Presbyterian church.  I ran around insinuating that my Jewish classmates were hellbound, unless they accepted Jesus as their messiah.  Even better, I pointedly told at least one Jewish classmate that he was brainwashed by his religion… and if he would simply look at the evidence, he would know Jesus is who He says He is…

Yeah, I was totally popular.

Anyway, the conservative, condemning religion bit was really a mindf*ck when I realized I was gay.  Quick karmic boomerang, perhaps?

Since then, I have explored Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, paganism and garden variety spirituality.  I am currently reading the Qur’an.  And Seeds, by Thomas Merton (Catholic monk).  And Conversations with God, by Neale Donald Walsh. So, yeah, there is a lot swirling in my head about God, the human condition and love vs. fear.

Spirituality also drives the AA program of recovery.  One of my favorite things about AA is their insistence that you choose a God of your own understanding.   I don’t have to buy the Christian concept of God.  I don’t have to agree with your understanding of God.  I can even believe that any conception of God we have is inherently too small for God… and that is cool, too.  I can continue on my journey to discover more about God without any rush to pin things down.  How arrogant to assume I could pin God down anyway…

I do not believe that we are all “wretches,” lowly groveling creatures that live in sin from the moment we are born.  I do believe that our attachments drive us away from God.  We grasp on to the impermanent, seeking security.  Letting go allows us to explore our connection to the divine.  Of course, letting go is easy in theory…

It seems as though we stray further from God when we allow fear to drive our decisions.  In order to begin to find God within, we must choose love and compassion.  Conversations with God claims that every decision can be boiled down to fear vs. love.  Compelling thought.  But overcoming the fear to get to love can be a struggle.

My friend’s facebook page states simply that “Love Wins.”  Right now, that is what I believe.