Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Who Are You?

So, apparently lots of folks (okay "lots" may be an exaggeration) have looked at my blog--at least according to the little widget that counts page views. That said,

Who are you?


Why do you come here?

What questions do you have?


What are you thankful for?

As for me, I'm thankful for the family of choice (the folks I've celebrated Thanksgiving with EVERY year, except one, since 1996); my toddling little guy (who makes us laugh every day); my wife; and the life we've been graced with. Yup, stating the obvious here. That said,

Blessings upon each and every one of you, whoever you are!

Oh, and I'm messing around with the layout--readability is most important to me, but in trying to adjust the picture on the top I keep running into trouble. Suggestions?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Christian Left

What more could Christ declare unto us? How more could He stimulate the works of our righteousness and mercy, than by saying that whatever is given to the needy and poor is given to Himself, and by saying that He is aggrieved unless the needy and poor be supplied? So that he who in the Church is not moved by consideration for his brother, may yet be moved by contemplation of Christ; and he who does not think of his fellow-servant in suffering and in poverty, may yet think of his Lord, who abides in that very man whom he is despising. - Comments by Cyprian of Carthage (250AD) upon The Parable of the Sheep and Goats from Matthew 25 (borrowed from the facebook page of "The Christian Left"

This is "why" I became a priest. Sort of...

When I came out in high school, church became my safe place. And, it was a safe place because of the priest...who's response to my disclosure was, "oh, I thought you were going to tell me something bad". Her unabashed acceptance created a place of shelter for me and it allowed me to find the Christ within myself--in the midst of my own self hatred, her acceptance allowed me to "think of 'his' (sic) Lord" in myself.

And, when I was able to find Christ within myself, I became able to find Christ in matter how loathsome they may seem to me. That said, it becomes impossible for me to find anyone loathsome. Mostly because I can see the shadow, the glimmer of light, of the Christ child--the potential once was, in the midst of the what is, followed by what may be.

When I see this, when I can imagine that child, I can imagine love for anyone and everyone--no matter what.

It's heady stuff, this kind of love, it demands relationship, it demands compassion and mercy. Because, who, when their child asks to nurse gives him a snake instead...(and yup, that's a biblical reference--not just something I made up ;)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

How Far We've Come

I have mom friends. Friends with blessedly healthy toddlers. Friends who's worries swirl around raising up kind and generous children, the state of public schools and whether their children are, or will be, picky eaters.

Mom friends. This is a first for me, for us. As my little guy ran about with one of his small friends, as they laughed and giggled at the very surprise of each other...I found a well of gratitude. Gratitude that my world, my imagination has been expanded in so many ways.

Because, for so long, my understanding of parenting had been shaped by children who were sick and/or dying. By sudden collapse, pain and grief. And in my attempt to understand, to find God in the midst of the suffering, I embraced the image of La Pieta. This sculpture of Mary seemed, to me, to best model maternal love...a mother holding her dying son. And in those early sleep deprived days, I could imagine and hold her love and grief close--because my son seemed so fragile, so small against the face of so much misery in the world--because I was so afraid. Blessed Mary, mother of God...

But, this image of grief is not the full picture, just the one that that I had become most familiar with. Centering on grief, because it is so much of what I have seen, is apparently a failure of my own imagination. I have let fear win too often and of late I have begun to have my heart expand with the ability to just enjoy the joy of it all. Because, there is SO much more to be seen and imagined--visions of love and joy and grace and delight that formed the love that was able to hold onto the grief.

So let us imagine some other visions of Mary. Mary chasing after a toddling, giggling, raucous boychild, scooping him up to nuzzle his neck. Mary smiling at her nurslings fingers meandering about her face, a mama nose and lips gently touched. Yet, I am sure those moments existed--and it is my mom friends who have shown this to me.

Mom friends. Friends. What grace. And now my own sweet boy awakens--and I will go to find the joy he holds.