Life Updates, or, I started saying “Jesus Christ” as a profanity

Because I feel like I’m both invoking and giving shit to my favorite deity, the one who I’ve talked to through it all, who’s sweetness and snark guide me and remind me who I am. The one who reminded me the fish and the loaves are my fucking inheritance and your fucking inheritance, but redistribution is my fucking inheritance and your fucking inheritance too. Who teaches me how to multiply them, and multiply them, and trust in their multitudes.

I’ve been reading my bible again to make sure this commitment to Christian practice isn’t just Stockholm syndrome. That I can actually have a coherent reading that affirms this embodied, commie Jesus, patron saint of distribution and queering up gendered roles, a refugee and working person, persecuted by the state. And I really, really have faith in that Jesus. I really really have faith in that Jesus who, through Mary, was sent to feed the poor good things, cast down the mighty, and send the rich away.

And I really want to be here for that. I want to, in some small way, answer my own prayers, for a just and equitable world. Or something less unjust. Or at least hold myself and my friends well while we suffer through the injustice. I want to follow Jesus into the profane, the embodied, and make things holy, and make never-endingly shareable meals. Of taking Jesus back from the wealthy, the state, institutional evangelicalism, and reclaiming Jesus for the poor, the suffering, the immigrant and the refugee, the queer, the unhoused and imprisoned.

So here’s where the updates come in: Here’s how I’m bumbling around this world, trying to figure out how to do that better.

In June, I’m leaving town to Los Angeles to work at a Catholic Workers house. Catholic workers have a history of creating hospitality alongside the poor and unhoused, and I’ve really been drawn to their stories and feel so lucky to get an opportunity to work with them.

After that, in September, I’m spending a year working with Quaker Voluntary Service in Minneapolis. Quakers allowed me to dip my toes in the water of radical, non-hierarchical faith. Us Quakers aren’t perfect and have a lot to repent for, but I’m setting intentions of using this year to forge my path towards a life of person-centered, faithful action.

And on top of this all, I’m writing a fucking book of poems that needs to be done in, like a week and a half.

I’m really praying and really hoping that through all these pursuits I can get a little closer to my sweet weirdo Jesus, and live his good news of freedom for the prisoner and food for the hungry. But also who knows if any of this does any good. I guess it’s a leap of faith or whatever.

So here are some loose ends and ways I could use support right now:

I have a ton of cute clothes, good books, and some small pieces of furniture, including a bed, to give away. If you want any of it, PLEASE hit me up and take it off my hands!

Transportation from spot to spot is my biggest question mark right now. If supporting Christian/Quaker leftists is in the realm of your affinities, and you have extra miles for an airline you’d be willing to donate, or are driving down California in June or across the country (from West to East) in August at all, I humbly ask that you let me know!

This feels a little out of place in this update but if you want a copy of my book, let me know. I am asking for a suggested donation of 5-10 dollars for each copy. But like, if you can’t, don’t hesitate to ask.

I don’t really know how to tie this all up. I feel disjointed and excited, and ethically conflicted about asking for material support, and so so hopeful and grateful for the people who have surrounded me and lifted me and and helped me pursue my vocation. Thank you all. Blessings.

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Learning to cook with fruit and other new year intentions

A focusing in on vocation and union. A deepening as opposed to a widening of love and skills. Not throwing things at the wall, but plucking up with intention. Learn crisis de-escalation skills. Learn some basic first-aid and self defense. Call people by their names and look them in the eyes. This will be a year where I love myself so goddamn well people will be shaking in their boots. Or at least be a little kinder to myself. Take more showers and keep working out.  Re-dedicate yourself to claiming Christianity for who it was intended– the oppressed. Calling on Jesus and saints for support. Calling on myself and my community for support. Trusting that is enough. Trusting I have what I need. May I learn gratitude and contentment. Learn to love better and deeper and stronger. Eat more salads, learn to cook with fruit. Friendship is radical– remember that. Do it well, do it with all your fucking heart. Friendship will save the world. Share your resources, even when you feel you don’t have enough. What I mean by this is ask for resources when you need them, and show up for people when they need them. Make big batches of cheap healthy food and always ALWAYS offer it to others — you always end up with enough food. Travel a little if you can. At least get out of town every once in awhile.  Write more. Maybe develop a daily writing practice but be radically accepting of yourself when you fuck it up because you have depression and you’ll get unmotivated and you will fuck it up. But guess what? You you still deserve to love yourself. Maybe learn some theory from source texts instead of memes. Ah, fuck it, memes work for me just fine. And keep your room clean, warm, and dry. These things make your room feel magical and like a haven to you.

Advent Reflection December 2nd

My whole life, I’ve fluctuated between the big side of average and the small side of fat. I’ve gained and lost weight in significant spurts. Sometimes by healthy means, sometimes unhealthy.

Every time I’m smaller people tell me how good I look. It’s disheartening, because I know I’ll be bigger again, take up more space, and loose points in those people’s pretty books.

Life has an ebb and flow. Same thing with my sadness and anxiety. Sometimes I’m barely sad at all. Sometimes it feels unbearable.

There’s lessons in being big, and lessons in being small. There’s lessons in my times of great function and achievement, and lessons in my time of “yeah, i’m gonna not leave the house again today.”

I live in a material world, and I’m a material girl. Literally, made of matter. And I forget that– I forget that I’m not just a disembodied spirit.

The embodied divine reminds of this– to remember and make holy space for the sacred matter that is me. When it’s fat and when it’s small. When it’s sad and when it’s happy and when it’s both.

Anti-Capitalist Advent Spell for December 2nd

Place your hands on your belly. Take a breath and make it big. Feel it rise, expand, take up space in the world. Trace stretch marks, let your fingers listen to the stories they have to tell.

This culture hates bellies. We try to melt them, to make them disappear. Tell your belly it is loved and it is welcome and it is wonderful the way it is.

If the kingdom of heaven is near, it must be near our bellies. Jesus had a tummy too.

Advent blues

The other day my sweetie and their friend and I were sitting in a Panera in some non-descript strip mall in Massachusetts.

We were all shooting the shit, catching up, and started talking politics. A man in a baseball cap and a plaid shirt came up to us.

“I heard you talking about liberals. Sad how this country is going, isn’t it?” He said.

We all agreed.

“You all Christians?” he asked? My sweetheart shook their head. Their friend shook his head. They all looked at me.

Good question. I try to escape it, and sometimes I do, but Jesus is rearing his delightful, obnoxious, shit-stirring head in my life again.

“Yes?”

I think a more accurate answer would have been “Yes. I believe the subversive call of Christ was to usher in a classless, stateless society, a religion that worships a bastard god, a kingdom that centers the marginalized, the homeless Palestinian refugee.”

“I’ve been really hurt as a Christian. I’ve been kicked out of spaces that used to call me dear. I’ve seen the same thing happen to those I love, over and over again, and it’s fucking exhausting. But every time I almost quit, I feel the pull and sway of Jesus, a god who shit their diaper and pulled intense feats of direct action and who makes me laugh every time I read the his snarky, powerful words.”

“I feel my heart say no,  stay, and do the long, frustrating, messy work of reclaiming the gospel for libera Continue reading

Is Resurrection a Pre-existing Condition?

The most Christian thing

one can do is make

Jokes about the body:

Dick, fart, shit, and

Vulva jokes in the

Name of Jesus Christ.

 

If Jesus was God embodied and he

Elevated the body

Then shouldn’t we

Elevate the body too?

 

I want to elevate the body by

Celebrating the body by

Familiarizing the function and surface of

The body.

 

There’s spirit in the unfurling of

Hair from it’s follicles,

God, in the sprouting of

Nails from their cuticles.

 

I see God in the

Upturned corner of your lips

when I say

“Pull out,” in polite conversation.

 

God was a body,

Spit, shit, cum, and skin

Crucified,

 

Jesus’ pink Lungs gave out under

The weight of a brown

Body dangling from a

State sanctioned cross.

 

(Did you know know 3.1 million people in the

U.S. alone have emphysema? Their pink

Lungs are collapsing too, maybe even expelling

Some of the same particulate matter

Jesus breathed.)

 

Queries for Disgraced Summer Campers- Or, Why I’m not Working at Twin Rocks this Summer

This October, I was asked not to return in a volunteer or work capacity to the sweet Quaker camp I worked and volunteered at since 2014.

The camp directors sat me down at a communal table at a coffee shop. They had a copy of the blog post Church Camp Pentagram I had written, printed out, scribbled all over and highlighted.

They began the conversation by complimenting the post, affirming that they appreciated what I had to say.  We politely argued a little. A coffee-shop goer tentatively asked if they could set their bag down at the table we were sitting at, visibly uncomfortable. Weirdly enough, folks tend to get all frozen up and awkward when they see a purple haired lady raising their voice to accuse someone of grounding their theology of hell more in Dante than in the bible over Americanos at a busy lunch hour. But I digress.

Eventually the camp directors asked me if I believed in eternal punishment. Ultimately, we decided that since I don’t really think too much about whether or not hell is a thing any more, and I have a hunch that it’s not, I can’t sign the faith contract the camp asks their employees and volunteers to sign, since that faith contract implies a confident belief in a literal hell.

***

I’m still processing how to talk about being asked not to return to volunteer and contribute to this place that meant so much to me.* Because it’s painful. And it’s confusing.

And talking about pain in ways that are healing and not just from a place of resentment is sticky and difficult and I don’t know how to do it.

I’m too averse to wholeness and certainty to write a Good Christian Blog Post tm- (This was painful but Jesus is the shit so it’s all okay, or it’s not okay but Jesus is still the shit, or get your act together because Jesus is the shit!)

And I’m way too fucking pedantic to be a good poet.

So I thought I’d draw from the Quaker tradition I fell in (awkward, heart-wrenching, beautiful, transient,) love with at this camp.

Quakers have this practice of using queries to worship and ground their practice. We’ll sit in a room together, and someone will pose a question or set of questions. Then, we’ll sit in silence until Spirit moves us to speak.

I think spirit has moved me to ask, but not to answer. So without further ado, here it goes-  Queries for Disgraced Quaker Summer Campers.

***

-How do I talk about my own pain in being asked not to return in the same capacity without being selfish? Without being a shit-starter? Other counselors and workers have been asked to leave too, people talked about how their dismissal related to their sexual orientation or political activity in hushed whispers. How does my own pain play into a bigger struggle?

-How do I speak truth to power when I regularly eat dinner with power’s little sister? Power isn’t a bad person, just a bunch of people complicit in their role in injustice.

-And what about when I’m Power? How do I stay accountable to my whiteness, my education, my able-bodiedness, having a home and a job, in sacred and religious spaces?

-Now that I’m disgraced, can I come clean about that time I set an orange on fire in the mini golf field?

-What about when a gaggle of teens on the bus to beach day were screaming the star spangled banner and I whispered (okay lets be real) said very very loudly “NO GODS NO MASTERS” when they were done yelling their patriotic affections? (I was very tired, okay?)

-Will I ever find a place so verdant and life-giving again? A place who’s air buzzes with sea salt and the divine? Will I ever fall in love over shitty barbeque on the grassy hill by the volley ball court again, or meet a kindred spirit over hushed giggles and profanities in the soft glow of a wood cabin, late morning sun shining in through giant windows? The smell of pancakes wafts through the room.

-How can I carry this sense of the divine with me?

-How can I carry the sense of urgency that came from being asked not to return in that capacity? What about the sense of urgency that comes from seeing this happen quietly over and over to my queer friends?

***

Us Quakers have a sweet practice after sitting in silence and reflecting on queries by ending it with another question. I love this practice. It gives me peace, and helps me remember that through speaking truth, hopefully things, divine things will happen. Because of community, truth, beauty, and the universe, divine things will happen. Around us, through us, in spite of us.  So,

Have you been faithful?

Is your heart clear?

*(The camp directors made it clear it’s not that I’m not welcome, I just can’t volunteer at the camp.)