This year for Long Beach Pride I had decided that it was time to “come-out” as Catholic. After many many years of struggle to find my place in the Church, I think I’ve arrived at a kind of, not truce, but genuine place of Peace. I bought a t-shirt basically announcing such. The response I got was amazingly heart-warming. I had a number of people comment on the shirt, or begin conversations with me about their spiritual journey and how difficult its been to find others, to find their sense of place, particularly within the Catholic Church. It has been true for me as well that I have often felt like I was living on an island off the coast of an even larger island.
Here’s the Truth though. We as members of the LGBT community have unique gifts that we bring, gifts that the Church needs, particularly at a time in its history when she is suffering assaults about relevancy in this day and age. We have always played a strong creative role, bought color to whatever community we are a part of. People need a Faith community, they need to know God more in their daily lives as the God of Love, of friendship. The God that journeys with them where they are at. I know I do. If I didn’t have this, my life would be about trying to fill it with things that do not satisfy. I encourage you, wherever you are at in your Spiritual journey, wether that means you are Catholic, Evangelical, Pagan/Wiccan, Jewish or something or nothing at all, find community. Find that place you can give of yourself, through feeding the hungry, volunteering your time and skills. You will find in return you will have an invisible support for those times when along the journey when you need it most.
So I have been a bit on the negligent side when it comes to posting and I feel that I owe everyone an explanation. My life like a lot of you has been in a state of flux since last October when I decided to leave my 9-5 to pursue writing and my Wellness Coaching Business. Things have worked out better than I expect but as is the case with all things, God had more in mind than I anticipated. It’s only now that I find my life reaching a place that doesn’t feel like I’m running crazy. The second thing also was that I had no idea what to blog about, sure I have lots of ideas, but ultimately I really had to get in touch with the direction, the mission if you will of what I want 13pastmidnight.com to be. After much prayer I’m pretty clear I want this site to be about and for those, that like me are a part of the LGBTQ community and also find themselves still drawn to Catholicism. I want to share those things, books, articles, meditations, ideas and software that are helpful to me and that you may find helpful as well. I very much would like to see you’re ideas, books etc that have helped you so that ultimately this site can be communal in nature. I welcome all Thoughts and Ideas as long as they come from a place of Love.
To this end, you will start to see new posts. I plan to post every Sunday following the Liturgical calendar with my thoughts from the readings that day. I also plan to start posting articles from other online Catholic publications that I find interesting and useful. Lastly, you’ll start to see software, gadgets and event listings. If you have any ideas about what you’d like to see, or if you’d like to post something yourself to the site, I’d love to talk with you. Do you have a poem you’d like to share or an article, idea, theological question you’d like to see explored? Please feel free to email me at [email protected]
A brief introduction to Creation Spirituality
The simplest definition of Creation Spirituality is that it is both an ancient theological framework as well as a more contemporary spiritual movement in large part, thanks to Mathew Fox, although he would likely beg to differ. Its viewpoint is largely panentheistic. and as such is characterized by deep awe for natural life.
Creation Spirituality sees God from a much more mystical viewpoint and less from the more traditional, orthodox view of contemporary Christianity.
Diving into the meat of the matter. Creation Spirituality fundamentally relieves around the idea of “Orginal Blessing,” that is that creation itself is fundamentally good and worthy of both celebration and awe. It is from this that all other ideas within Creation Spirituality framework flow. In contrast the view of “Original sin” which became the dominant view of modern Christianity through Neoplatonist Saint Augustine.
Although Creation Spirituality has been around for literally thousands of years, it has only recently reentered popular culture as I mentioned before by Fr. (Former) Mathew Fox, he originally framed it inside of a primarily Judeo-Christian framework. In truth, Creation Spirituality is NOT explicitly Christian or Jewish but fits more in a deeply non-denominational framework.
On a personal level, I have at my deepest core always identified as Pagan at least since my earliest sense of my spirituality. I have also identified as Catholic and had struggled for the longest time with integrating those two aspects of Truth into my life. I discovered Creation Spirituality with the publication of Original Blessing back in the late ’80s, I had an aha moment because Creation spirituality meshed both aspects of what resonates as Truth for me, the Pagan and the Catholic. For me, Creation Spirituality is the bridge that brings the two together. I personally find it to be the best theological approach towards nature-based spirituality which marries ancient Truths and the earliest ideas in Christian frameworks today.
It will not surprise anyone to hear that Fr Fox was repeatedly silenced and eventually kicked out of the Dominican order on orders from the Vatican in the early 90s.
The modern Roman Church continues to see Creation Spirituality as a threat to its inherent call for mindless obedience to Dogma and Obedience. The official Western traditions, particularly in the America’s brings Hope to those of us that see the transformative power of Creation Spirituality. There is slow and steady progress within Catholicism that leads me to see a future for Christianity were inclusiveness, and true Joy leads to Healing on an individual and Global scale.
After the recent Pennsylvania report that has come out once again a gaping wound has been opened for all to see. I have a few thoughts about this and the reactions from both inside the Church and outside. I’m horrified not only that Priests, Bishops, and others would sexually abuse children but that the Church would knowingly allow it and just shuffle them around to repeat their sickening behavior. It further boils my blood that the Church is supposed to be the moral compass for its members, how can the Church be trusted to provide any moral teaching when the very people espousing the teachings are living a morally bankrupt life themselves. I’m mad, I’m mad as hell about this and deeply pained that the Church I Love has yet to take responsibility, has yet to have a Mea Culpa moment. Still, there is a shifting of blame to individuals but only when there is incontrovertible evidence She cannot deny.
Many have left the Church over this and sadly many more will continue to leave. This too is deeply painful, how can change happen if you do not stay and be the Change that must happen for the Bride of Christ to be all that she must be. If the Church and Her teachings are true (and I believe they are) How can people as deeply angry and pained as they find a way to leave? How can you leave if the singular most important teaching that Jesus is Truly Bodily Present in the Holy Eucharist? is True?! What comes to mind is once again Simon Peters response to Jesus, “To Whom shall we go?”. I was raised to Believe that the Roman Catholic Church possesses the fullness of Truth and that all others, by comparison, are but dim reflections. So I find myself in an awkward place, aligned with my Brothers and Sisters who long for the Change, who long for and must demand (quite frankly) for that Mea Culpa without reservation. She must declare herself guilty of betraying the Trust and Faith that has been placed in Her. It is my opinion that it will be only then that Trust can be regained, Forgiveness offered (to the Church) and Healing begins. You cannot heal without first acknowledging you are in need of healing.
My last thought. I’ve done a lot of reading recently about this and one of the things I keep reading from those inside the Body of the Church some of whom complain that there is too much attention being focussed on the Catholic Church. So what! It’s not the attention being focussed on the Church that’s the problem, it is the acts that were done and covered up that are the problem. The Church is not the victim here, She is the perpetrator and the one in need of forgiveness and Penance. The Sooner she realizes this the sooner, forgiveness, healing, and growth will happen.
I have a confession. Not anything lascivious or immoral. I have every good intention to go to Mass on Sundays, but I don’t. It’s not because I don’t enjoy the Mass, I do, very much. Maybe I should start with all of the things I love about the Mass. I love the flow of the Mass, the reliability of knowing where in the celebration we are, the responses back and forth between priest and the people of God. I Love receiving Communion where it is both a shared experience reminding us we are all One Body of Christ and where it is also the most deeply intimate moment with Our Lord. Here’s a few things that keep me from Mass, in some cases laziness and this ones on me. There is no way to make this look pretty. Lately however it’s a two fold thing, it’s the priests and where I’m at on a Spiritual level. It was not that long ago the church I attend had (two) amazing dynamic priests. Their homilies were on point and useful, not the far too common bland and wordy retelling of the readings without any meat to bring into our daily lives. When the priests offered Mass you could sense, you could tell they were in the moment, in the words and prayers they were uttering on the congregations behalf. This changed late Spring a year ago, one of the priests was reassigned to a different, though somewhat local parish and the other inexplicably took a personal leave of absence (that is a whole different post). The second reason is that while I love all of the things I had mentioned at the beginning, I get fatigued with not feeling truly a part of the community I worship with,. I get fatigued with not being able to truly share my life and my marriage with my congregation. I guess it boils down to this sense that I am a discordant cog in an otherwise beautiful wheel. I stay because it is the only way to bring about the Change I Hope and believe will come.
There is a Spirit of change happening in the Church. One of the reasons I started this blog was because as a gay Catholic I’ve always felt bit double minded, like so many of my brothers and sisters who have heard all of the very loud voices from within the Church telling me how much we’re NOT welcome but that still small voice in our heads would say “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of Eternal life” John 6:68 . I have fortunately always been a bit deaf to the opinions of others. One of my good friends and I got into a conversation years ago at one of our weekly after-work get togethers (for cocktails) on the Seattle waterfront. It radically altered my thinking about the Church. She said “Be the Change You want to See”. It made all the sense in the world to me and has stuck with me ever since. This blog was started with this idea in mind and has recently relaunched. I am hoping that it can become a place for those of us that still identify as Roman Catholic and Gay can form a community to share our experiences and ideas and get news. If you haven’t already please signup and of course follow on the usual suspects. Thanks and Blessings – Ken
A Catholic parish in San Diego hosted a special Mass recently to commemorate the 20th anniversary of “Always Our Children,” the U.S. bishops’ document addressed to parents with lesbian and gay children and to pastoral ministers. Attendees at the LGBT welcome Mass hosted by the Diocese of San Diego Bishop John Dolan, auxiliary bishop of…
Eat real food that makes you feel good from the inside out! That’s my motto and that’s why I’m sharing with you these delicious protein-packed lunch combinations that won’t leave you feeling like you just ate rabbit food or leave you hangry before you know it. I love this quote from Chris Rocchio – “If you […]