Exploring my Catholic roots

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.

Mr. FancyPants, Esq.

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.

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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

 

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Life, Work and Other memes

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.

Sleep

Its slowly been happening.  I’m turning into one of those people that only require five or six hours of sleep and then my body says WAKE UP in its best Jim Morrison American Prayer voice.  It would seem not all of me agrees because I’m sitting here yawning wishing I could return to bed but cannot until its time for my afternoon nap at which point that is all long for.  I’m becoming one of the nap people.  

Moving Parts

Below is a post I wrote back in the Fall but didn’t end up publishing. It’s always interesting for me to find my computer littered with such mental scraps. It gives me a glimpse of where I was at and in some ways still am.

It’s a furious and complex dance when you’re moving from one place to another. There are often so many parts that have to be remembered, incorporated and timed just right for the move to go smoothly. It leaves you exhausted and needing a vacation just to recover. Lonnie and I were given the option to take the apartment two doors done from us when our lease was up at the beginning of last month. We of course jumped on it because either way our rent was increasing. It’s not a hard choice t make when the choice is between signing a new lease on a renovated apartment with new everything or staying put and STILL paying the same as the renovated apartment. So today begins the moving day. I don’t think I’ve ever moved such a short distance, it’ll be interesting to see how much smoother it goes. This isn’t the only moving part going on in my life or rather our lives. Its funny when you’re married or partnered at least for me it always comes naturally to say “our” instead of “my” life. I don’t know if others do the same thing but for me especially now that we are married, it seems almost everything I do affects the “us”. Lately we’ve had to deal with friends illnesses, there have been deaths, both personal and cultural. School is almost over for Lonnie which will bring a whole new chapter to our lives. To say I’m proud of him is a severe understatement. He just keeps surprising me and amazing me with something new to love about him every day. Work for me continues to a moving part, one day I can’t wait to leave and then next I find a renewed appreciation for what I have had for the last six plus years. I’m looking for work closer to home, another moving part, the good bit with this is that I get to be particular about what I want to do, where it is and home much I get paid to do it. I don’t often brag but I’m very good at what I do and I’ve come to know that I am which a powerful thing is. In January I plan to go back to school, once Lonnie is back working full-time. It’ll be exciting and a new adventure for me. I’m still building and helping people with Melaleuca and believe not only in the company and its mission to help others but in the products and the business model. It is enormously important to reduce household toxins, not to mention shoring up our body’s to fight off the damaging effects of the environment. Melaleuca offers this to everyone, affordably, easily and can provide a pretty decent income at the same time. A plan B if you will. Spiritually, I’ve been wandering and really feeling the need for a home. This is the last moving part I’m looking to get a hold on this year. I’ve almost always operated as a solitary pagan, occasionally celebrating the Sabbats and Esbats on my own. This year I’m hoping that will change and I’ll find a Coven to call home or at the very least a group to celebrate and make magic with. As I said at the beginning of this journal entry, there seem to be a lot of moving parts happening right now it’s exciting and I know we are looking forward to how our life together is going to look in the coming months.

Surface Pro 3

I recently purchased a Surface Pro 3, the Core I3 64 gig version and to be honest with you am pleased as punch.  One of the things that I’ve noticed as I get older and more and more technology appears trying to innovate our lives is that I’ve become pickier about the technology I use.  I used to want to buy and have the newest and best of the newest gadgets for no real reason.  Now I think about these choices before making them.  I’ve had a Surface tablet since the day they came out and have upgraded as the newer models become available.  There is something about the Surface tablet that I have yet to put my finger on that just makes it a delight to work on.  The Surface Pro 3 especially. So here is the lineup of the tech that I’m using, my three favorite and constant devices.  My iPhone 6 (the smaller one), no phone is better as far as practical usage goes.  I love my Lumina 1520, I really do.  The screen while big and beautiful is too big to be a phone and not practical for one handed texting. The apps while catching up are always it seems going to lag one or two versions behind.  This is a horrible horrible shame as Windows in spite of itself has an amazing operating system they just need to market it better and get more developers onboard to bring the apps people use.  The second device I use all of the time is my Kindle HDX, a beautiful little reader, media player and on the go device.  The Screen and sound on this thing is amazing, stunning even.  It is exactly the right size for reading books in bed or in your favorite chair.  My only gripe is that it isn’t connected to the Google Play store which is a shame as the Amazon app store isn’t nearly as big or diversified.  There is always side loading apps, which is mostly what I’ve had to do.  The last and certainly not least is my Surface Pro 3, while I’ve only had it a short while, it’s already more useful and efficient than both previous Surfaces that I’ve owned have been.  So there it is my gadgets.  Now I need to figure what to do with all of the other tablets, laptops and such laying about.

Paris tragedy & fainting goats

 

WARNING: Heavy Seriousness and venting going on below.

 

As of this writing, at least twelve people are confirmed dead following an attack by terrorists (masked) in Paris. Among the them are a number of satirical cartoonists. It is unacceptable to me that people use religion as a scaffolding for their fears of anything “other”. This runs the gammet from Islam, which is the Wests new boogyman to Catholicism with its double speak (we love you but your going to hell) on Gays, Woman and Social justice. Its become a fine line to support those I love who identify as Catholic or Christian or even Muslim because I know they are trying to live the higher tenants of their chosen Faith all the while said Faith continues to bring oppression, bigotry and pain into the world. It has been my experience that the majority of people that identify as Christian or Catholic live their lives in such a way as they could just as easily be identified as heathen, believing that eye for an eye is acceptable (it is not) , that you have to get yours and protect yours before reaching outside of your immediate circle. they find it an odd idea that taking the higher path, not to avoid some punishment down the line from an all loving god, but simply because it is the right thing to do. Taking the Higher path is the very thing that will bring Peace into the World that will extend the reach of Love from person to person. It’s when senseless acts like the one in Paris or 9/11 or any of the thousands of others that I get angry at our stupidity as a race and become sad at our capacity for violence and ugliness. I need a couple of glasses of wine and to go watch some fainting goat and cute cat videos

Half Light, Epoch, and Phase

Been in a bit of a funk, a late mid life drama if you will.  Music seems to always be there, like some soothing medicine. I was listening to  Daniel Amos one of my favorite bands of all time on my drive home last night. The album I had blaring out of pickles while traveling down the I5 past downtown, through all the industrial towns that lead back to the security of my home in Orange County was Darn Floor, Big Bite.  When I’m confused, frustrated at my inability to live the perfect life, or simply to explain ANYTHInG at all Half Light, Epoch, and Phase serves as wake call reminder that I am little more than the same teen-age boy that keeps trying to make himself a better more loving and kind man over and over again till I’m now a 51 year old teen age boy doing the same thing. So with much love to Terry and the rest of DA for making music that speaks to my experience and helps me cope with doubt and indecision here are the lyrics
 
These are the images I arrange
To fill in my report on you
Holiness, mystery, disturbing and strange
Obscuring the point of my view
 
Everyone seems to know just what you are
But I never seem to break through
Forgive me please if I can’t see that far
Life’s dulling the point of my view
 
Chorus:
Half light, coming through the dark glass darkly
Half light, where faith and doubt remain
Half light, tattoo scars where shadows mark me
Half light, I don’t expect you to explain
 
This is the passage I undertake
Over the epoch and phase
The terror and sweetness of history and fate
The last word on the very last page
 
Everyone seems to think they’ve got it made
That you’re on a rack by the door
It’s true, I don’t know much except I am saved
From falling through cracks in the floor
 
(Chorus)
 
Tomorrow I’m planning to write the great book
In which I will capture our time
Set forth the fury, the sound and the look
If I could just make up my mind
 
Everyone seems to think you’re on their side
But I don’t think you’re that small
How could they see it when reason has died
We haven’t a clue to it all
 
(Chorus)
 
Words and Music by Terry Taylor, Tim Chandler, and Greg Flesch
©1987 Broken Songs (ASCAP)

Paris tragedy & fainting goats

WARNING: Heavy Seriousness and venting going on below.

As of this writing, at least twelve people are confirmed dead following an attack by terrorists (masked) in Paris. Among the them are a number of satirical cartoonists. It is unacceptable to me that people use religion as a scaffolding for their fears of anything “other”. This runs the gammet from Islam, which is the Wests new boogyman to Catholicism with its double speak (we love you but your going to hell) on Gays, Woman and Social justice. Its become a fine line to support those I love who identify as Catholic or Christian or even Muslim because I know they are trying to live the higher tenants of their chosen Faith all the while said Faith continues to bring oppression, bigotry and pain into the world. It has been my experience that the majority of people that identify as Christian or Catholic live their lives in such a way as they could just as easily be identified as heathen, believing that eye for an eye is acceptable (it is not) , that you have to get yours and protect yours before reaching outside of your immediate circle. they find it an odd idea that taking the higher path, not to avoid some punishment down the line from an all loving god, but simply because it is the right thing to do. Taking the Higher path is the very thing that will bring Peace into the World that will extend the reach of Love from person to person. It’s when senseless acts like the one in Paris or 9/11 or any of the thousands of others that I get angry at our stupidity as a race and become sad at our capacity for violence and ugliness. I need a couple of glasses of wine and to go watch some fainting goat and cute cat videos

A grimoire of observations, notes and ideas