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.

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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.)