Since the Inauguration there have been a number of Executive orders handed down that go against all things good and healing, against all things American. So much so that the current Pontiff, Francis has had to speak out against actions this newly enacted cabinet has taken. Francis has gone so far as to call Trump or anyone taking the actions against refugees, against humans, Unchristian. For a pontiff who has said, “who am I to judge”, this is a bold statement. Most everyone saw the storm in the candidate that the Republican party put forward, but I don’t think they thought, anyone thought, that he would win the Presidency. He is doing all that he said he would do and so for those reasons People of good Will need to band together, we need to speak out loud, reminding him and his cabinet that WE are the People, We are good and kind and welcoming to all. The next four years are going to be long but if we band together and let our voices be hear, our votes be heard, if we take action, the tide will be turned. A rebuke will be heard and delivered. The midterm elections here aren’t that far away. I will stand for Woman’s choice, for GLBT choice and the poor who’s voice is too often muffled and for the emigrant who is being pushed away from the safety of our shores.
Driving home at night was always my time with God. I would go over the events of the day, bring my intercessory prayers and work/wrestle out ideas with logic and love. Sometimes we’d even argue. On this night God and I were having a pretty intense conversation about work, my feelings, my many many frustrations with it. As it turns out it really felt like something shifted that night but I wasn’t sure what except that I knew things would be changing. It didn’t take long to find out what and when. The next day when I got to my job of eight years it became very apparent that I just couldn’t stay any longer. Between the odd schedule, odd hours, the long commute and lack of opportunity. It’s been an interesting journey since then. It’s forced me in a way to look at myself, to look at all of the changes that have happened since I decided to move back to Los Angeles from my comfortable life in Seattle. My relationship with god otherwise known as the elephant in the room has changed throughout my life (how could it not?) . Here I was again beginning to take a look at not just this relationship but my relationship to all that I’ve known, people, the space I live in. I’m convinced that God is about all our relationships including ourselves and its were we “touch” and “see” the face, the Will of “All That IS”. So I’ve been learning just how much deeper MY faith as a Catholic is. I’ve been learning just how much deeper MY belief in a Panentheistic God(dess) is. The two are not mutually exclusive BTW. For many many many years I have allowed catholicism as an organization as a religion to define itself, or rather to be defined by its Hierarchy. The same thing has been true of Paganism, of the Craft. I have my beliefs, my shared experiences with both and have learned that I get to not only define the drawings but do the coloring as well. The greatest source of pain for me within catholicism has been and remains that I as a gay married man cannot be fully embraced as equal within the church organization. I have struggled with this for years. I am learning to be ok with this. I’m being the change I want to see, as my wise friend Trish, a Catholic convert btw pointed out to me when I shared this with her over a few too many cocktails at Seattle’s Emmet Watsons one day after work.
So this is some of what’s been going on internally for me the last two months. I’ve been defining what the coloring book for work is going to look like, who’s in it, what I’ll be doing, where I’ll be doing it. I’ve wanted to make the transition to work that focuses on my strengths, abilities and most importantly my interests. You and I in this post industrial world spend most of our waking hours engaged in relationships with those we work with. I’d prefer at this point in my life that it was with people who have a somewhat shared sense of purpose. I’d rather it was with people I genuinely want to be around. I mean really, who wants to go to work with people you’d rather divorce? So on Yule this year true to God’s sense of humor and irony, on both the shortest day of the year where the Light is at it’s weakest and yet also finds its own renewed strength to conquer the Darkness around itself and increase, I was given a job offer that fits almost every bit of the coloring book I’ve been creating these past two months. I start at the beginning of this year. I’m excited, looking forward to meshing with my new co-workers and sharing my talents to make a difference in the lives of those I touch.
Catholic writer Kaya Oakes has done a wonderful service to the readers of U.S. Catholic in her recent article on women authors who are not often recognized for their Catholic identity. What caught my eye was that one of those authors happens to be one of my all-time favorites: Toni Morrison, the Nobel Prize winner. […]
i came across Sex as God intended as a part of my “Exploring my roots” process that was started awhile back. I had read some of John J. McNeil when I was much younger. The Church and the Homosexual was the first book and it was liberating. Now I’ve started reading some of his other works and I find them equally (more so actually) engaging and freeing. I can highly recommend this one in particular.
Even before any sense of sprirtuality, I’ve always instincually known that the Fall is the ending of one year and the beginning of another. It just seems natural to me that this would be the case. I look forward to it with a giddiness that is childlike. I get reflective about all that has happened in the previous year and hopeful for the coming year. It is also a time when those that have crossed over are more often at the forefront on my mind. it is a time to celebrate their lives, to offer up prayers and to perform acts of Love on their behalf. This is something that surprisingly is both very pagan and very Catholic which leads me to the main point of this entry. The Wheel of the Year and its parallel in the Liturgical cycle the Church follows. One has definatley informed the other and I think for the better. It may have been for reasons of conversion and cultural preservation that say for example Christmas happens at the time of the year that the Child of Light and the beginnings of Spring are birthed in mid-december. Out of darkness comes light
The Witches Wheel
I wrote this entr awhile ago, this past Fall to be exact. it’s not profound or riddled with insight but I like it and so I’m posting it.
By Bob Shine, New Ways Ministry, October 6, 2016 A Catholic bishop in Rhode Island said there had been “no choice” when firing a gay church worker, and that the decision to do so was in line with Pope Francis’ thought. Meanwhile in New Jersey, the top administrator at a Catholic school which fired an LGBT […]
In the time since I wrote exploring my Catholic roots. I have returned to the Catholic Church. It has been an interesting process for me as a gay man married to another gay man. As a natural born hedge witch, it has been interesting on another level as well. How do you make the various parts of who you are or at least who you see yourself as being, sing together so that you become the very best you, you can be?
The first question was and to a certain extant remains the primary. How does a gay married man integrate into an institution that says in its teachings and practises that I am “intrinsically disordered”? For myself the struggle continues. I personally believe that I am called to be the agent of change I wish to see in the Church. For Catholics the Church is two things. It is her members and it is the organization with all of its many rules and rites. It is the latter that at this point in history and place that doesn’t recognize the hand of God in my relationship or in my marriages sanctity. More Catholics than ever believe that the Church should recognize and to an extant celebrate GLBT marriages. I’m ok with were the Church is at because, she is working her way towards a more perfect union with Christ. She has at times taught as part of the catechism certain things that she later changed directions on through the eternal workings of the Holy Spirit. I have Fr. John J O’Neil to thank for helping me to work things through.
As to the whole question of how does a natural born Hedge witch return to Catholicism. This answer for me lives in the last paragraph, the Holy Sprirt. I have found in my return a richness and deepness that was not there before. i see in the Rites and Sacraments a lot of what I saw as truth as a Hedge witch. It reminds me of Romans chapter 1, which incidentally is usually used as an anti-gay reference but which is a call and an appeal to Pagans at the time to See the God who made All things that S(He) is much much bigger the Creation.
The rituals in paganism and the Sacraments in Catholicism at least from these eyes are very similar. The Church in Vatican II declared that the Church is the more perfect vehicle of God on Earth and to that I agree. She is not perfect at this time, she is working her way towards that. Other religions, beliefs and ideas contain Truth and should be celebrated to the extent that they draw everyone Closer to God, who is always yearning for us to be close. There has always been a deep yearning for closeness to God since I can remember and this journey has led me along many paths, it continues to do so. I’m grateful to God for S(He) for all of my experiences, the pleasant and not so pleasant ones alike as they have all led to a more closer union with Him.
My spiritual journey has been an interesting one. I won’t go into the long winding road except to say that it started when I was seven has led to many roads, sometimes meeting and crossing other roads which led back to previous roads. I’m not sure how it started exactly except that it may have been when I bought someone a book on the Eucharist by one of my favorite authors, Fr. Ronald Rolheiser. This led to a series of internal questions. As I’ve mentioned on my Facebook page, Lonnie and I have been looking for a spiritual home. This hasn’t really gone anywhere for a number of reasons. I really was the one leading the charge. I’ve felt disconnected spiritually from a group and from any sort of spiritual practice. When I was younger I was much more active in the Catholic Church and one of the things for any practicing Catholic is the centrality of the Eucharist. Catholics believe that when the priest recites the prayers at Mass that the host and wine BECOME the actual body and blood of Jesus Christ under the appearance of host and wine. This is a hard belief for some, especially non-Catholics as well as I imagine some Catholics who prefer to think of it all as a just a symbol or metaphor. So all of this lead for me to exploring this Sacrament more deeply. There are several recorded miracles wherein the host has become actual incorruptible living flesh, in at least one case several hundreds of years old. When the Church allowed for testing in all instances the host/flesh turns out to be from a human heart from a middle eastern man with a blood type of AB positive. What’s intrigued me is that these miracles aren’t all old. They’ve continued to occur even into this century. another interesting thing is that the blood stains from the Shroud of Turin when tested also is type AB positive and from a man from the middle east. I cannot explain these things and perhaps there is a simple explanation. It got me to thinking and remembering my experience of being Catholic and how much I enjoyed going to Mass. The organized ritual feeds me as does all of the symbolism. the Catholic church is not as far from what modern day Wiccans/pagans practice. the language is of course different and the theology as well but Most Wiccans would I think appreciate the use of symbols and ritual in your ordinary Sunday Mass. So with all this being said. I’ve started going to daily mass in the mornings after Lonnie leaves for work. I find it deeply satisfying and nourishing to my spiritual life. Now as a proud gay married man you might think this would be the last place I would want to be. You would be wrong. I’ve never had a problem with Who God created in me. I recognize that I am exactly made in His image as anyone in the pew next to me. The Church, at least in theory doesn’t have any problem with me being born gay. The Church does have a problem with any sexual expression outside of marriage and of course the Church doesn’t recognize civil marriages and hasn’t Blessed same sex relationships (since the early middle ages when it did). Further as a married man doing what married people do in the privacy of their home I would not be allowed to receive communion IF I believed I were in a state of mortal sin, which I would require me (by canon law) to “know that something I’m doing is wrong and purposefully do it anyway”. I have never believed my being gay is wrong. I believe gay people have always been a deeply prophetic voice in this world. I don’t believe my marriage is wrong, in fact quite the opposite. I know my marriage to Lonnie has made us both better, loving, kind and thoughtful people BECAUSE God is Love and our Marriage is based in Love. At first I didn’t receive communion because I didn’t want to be disrespectful but then late last week, I think it was Friday as I’ve meditated on the meaning of the Eucharist celebration any reservation I might have had was washed away. It was a deep internal conversation and at the end I knew that there was no reason at all to refrain. I have received Communion everyday since. There is more that can be said I will share more of the place I find myself now. I share my experience because I do believe that by sharing my experience it might help someone who feels just a little isolated and alone in their experience. Further I can’t help to hear the words of a really wonderful Catholic friend of mine who I use to work with in Seattle. There was a whole group of us, the girls and me. We’d go to Ivars after work sometimes for drinks and nibbles. One day she asked me why I didn’t go to Mass anymore and I told her it was because of the way the Catholic Church IS with gay people. Her response is what’s stuck with me all these years. “Be the Change you want to see in the Church”. So I want to thank Trishy for her wise words and her many years of friendship. I think she’d be happy with the road I’m on now.
Some interesting new things. Lonnie and I finally took the plunge into the raging waters of pet parenthood this weekend. We’ve been talking on and off about adopting a rescue dog. We even went looking a few weekends back at the Orange County animal shelter. I will try to avoid all mention of just how sad the situation is for so many living beings. It is an unbearable thought. So we looked and there a couple of cute dogs there but none that really clicked with us. Lonnie found the Irvine animals shelter and we’ve been looking online at doggies up for adoption. We went over there this weekend after we called about one that we both thought was cute and might be a match for us. The short version is he wasn’t and neither were the other two we looked at and tried to interact with. One of them was all friendly and licky licky when he was in his housing but as soon as he came out he literally laid on the ground and wouldn’t move. He was obviously trying to say as loudly as he could NOT ME. We were a bit sad by the whole thing and had one more dog to interact with. They called him Hasbro, like the toy company. Lonnie and looked at each other and knew that that name would NEVER stick. So we went over to his housing, knelt down and he was immediately affectionate and loving through the bars in his housing. We got to take him out on a leash and I knew immediately that he was going home with us. He was so immediately comfortable with the both of us. He played, gave us kisses, laid down and chilled out with us. So a trip home to get a copy of our pet friendly lease and we are now the proud and LOVING parents of Mr. Fancypants, Esq.
Besides Lonnie, I never suspected that I could so immediately love another being as much as I love Mr. Fancypants, Fancy if your nasty. He is like our child. I want nothing but the best for him. He is truly a combination of the two of us. He’s gregarious, loud, absolutely adorable, always knows where the camera is and simultaneously subborn and wants his way. He is also incredibly loving, giving generous and playful. He likes being on our laps or close to us. I can’t wait to get him into a groomer and buy all sorts of fun and necessary toys for him. And the cherry on the cake is that He and Behr Craig-Saunders are nap buddys. See for yourself
So a lot has been going on lately all around me. Lonnie and I have seemingly fallen into a regular routine again. This is something we both are happy about and value greatly but seem to take for granted when its happening. Work is as its seemingly always been. I came close to finding work in Orange county about a month ago only to the offer rescinded as I was just finishing up planning my great escape from the day jail I call work now. My current job provides me a much clearer living picture of what Catholics call purgatory. The Blessed relief is that enough prayers are uttered for my souls escape and seemingly I break free to drive through the dark tunnel that is the 405 freeway straight to Sanctuary,or as most people call it Home. I’m looking for my new day prison a bit closer to home and grateful that I have my current job to keep things floating I guess I’ve reached that age were I’m just over what I’m doing, too tired to figure out were my real passion lies. I’m guessing it has something to do with lounging in my recliner and doing nothing but I haven’t really seen any jobs listed on CareerBuilder for this lately (or ever). I’ll continue to look for IT jobs closer to home that will use the skills I have and make room for the areas I still find interesting. I know that I would love to work with new technology, reviewing, playing breaking and fixing. I’m just not sure how those ideas translates into a six figure income.
In other news Facebook is seemingly all about three things these days. politics which normally I love discussing, arguing and prophesying about. It’s getting harder these days to find anyone to argue politics with in a civilized way. I mean seriously just look at your average Trump rally. Those people can’t even tolerate each other let alone someone that has questions or disagrees with them. the second meme making the rounds is transgender issues and bathroom access. I find it amusing that this hasn’t been an issue, truly hasn’t been an issue for CIS people (non-transgendered people) mostly because they’ve never had to think about it until now. The best image/idea that I’ve seen about the subject was a woman holding a sign that read. “it wasn’t really about water fountains back in the 50’s and its not really about bathrooms now.” Being crude I think is appropriate here, take a leak in the bathroom you feel most comfortable in. If you’re a trans woman, use the woman’s room or a trans man use the men’s room. This is not about perverts looking to prey on children. It is about people needing to pee. Lastly, if you’re letting your child go into a bathroom by unaccompanied , you have bigger issues.
And finally some reality blew my way a couple of weeks ago. My father passed away (at home thankfully). As I’ve told most people, he and I had a complicated relationship. I guess that’s probably true of my familial ties. The short version of the story is that he was in and out the picture for the first two years of my life. After my mother was killed when I was 3, he was gone completely with the one 15 min visit I had at a hotel some here when I was around 12. I found him after a 25 year absence and we got to know each other as adults. He was accepting of me and my partner at the time but soon after had a “coming to Jesus” moment and suddenly I was an object of shame and judgment. I kept in touch with him because he was my father and it was the right thing to do. His wife, Nana, called me to let me know that he wasn’t doing well and I’ll be forever grateful to her for that. He had asked to speak to me (while he was still fully here). He told me he loved me and I told him that no matter what I would always love him. He got to reconcile with a couple of people he had estranged. I’m happy for him that he got to do this. So he’s gone now along with my birth mother. I’m mostly ok with things but I still have moments of intense sadness. Its not that I miss him, we barely had a relationship however it’s what he came to represent for me. I have the rest of my growing up family as well as the family Lonnie and I have together. Overall its been a pretty intense first quarter of the year. I’m just glad that I have my husband. I highly recommend you find either a husband or its equally useful counterpart, the wife.