Category Archives: Religion and Spirituality

Acts of Sin

Sin finally understood,

bowed under the weight

of pervasive

thoughts and acts –

not being as attentive

to the needs of others,

leaving them feeling

undervalued and not appreciated,

Acts of contrition

leading Acts of omission

 

Spinning wheels,

chasing dreams

of saving the church building,

earning money for good works,

instead of strengthening my faith,

always seeking to worship the Creator

through attention to the Physical

 

Sin pervades my life –

spending more than I make,

seeking the ways of this Earth,

attending the festering

of want and desire,

never satisfied with simplicity

and the spareness

of a pure life

 

Am I a Martha

always working,

attending to the minutia,

concerned with the physical

not the esoteric and  spiritual,

instead of being Mary

sitting at the Lord’s feet

drinking in his words?

 

My mind finally open to Sin

I can not evade it

it worms into my consciousness,

pervading my psyche,

filling me with shame,

my skin crawling with remorse

 

What will it take

to enter the Kingdom of God

on this lowly ground I walk?

Now that I know Sin,

understanding that Purity

will never be within reach,

how will I stretch beyond futility

to enter communion

with the Spirit?

Must I ever walk through my days

with this heavy, squirming heart

of remorse, ever failing

to see the Light?

Where is Hope

in this life weighed down

by Sin?

The Dichotomy of Religion

Making my  way through the labyrinth of differing philosophies is never easy in my family. My children are staunch conservatives in Christianity. I, on the other hand, am definitely a progressive liberal. Communication  can get quite tense as a result.

This was definitely apparent in the past couple weeks with the determination by the United  Methodist church to disavow gay priests and open sex marriage. It is so hard to keep your mind open when you are discussing  heated topics that cut so close to your heart.

I have found this subject to be quite painful to me even though I am not gay myself. But those I love our face this issue, at least some of them. And knowing what wonderful people they are makes for a painful reality.  I do not want to see these people in pain.

In talking to my children, where they see homosexuality is a sin, it is particularly difficult to pause my feelings when listening to their’s. Inside, I rage when I hear them speak.  And I wonder how we can ever get to a place of mutuality.

Knowing I am one day going to live with or near my children makes this particularly disturbing. I wonder how I could ever live with conservativism as a way of life. I have always been of a liberal bent . I disagreed with their father, and now I am disagreeing with them.

How we can possibly make peace with each other in the midst of such a wide disparity gives me pause. We get along so well, and our love for each other  is so deep.  I want nothing but the best for them in this world, but I also want what is best for me. Finding our way to each other and peaceful reconciliation seems impossible.

As humans, we are faced with this dichotomy in life. We want to get along, and do everything we can to try to, but still our inherent natures get in the way.  It is a matter that begs resolution, and I pray for it to be so.

At stake are no less than the Bible and Heaven. My children fear they will not see me there. I am not worried about it. I know I am a Christian and have made my way through the eye of the needle. Except for the nagging question of my liberalism.

Is God a conservative?  Does He/She really care?  Isn’t the goodness of a person what is most relevant?  Or is it Dogma that holds the most sway. I pray that isn’t so. God made our diversity.  It is for us to honor that, in the spirit of consilatory celebration.

In this world of manic opinions and rabid dictates, may we listen to John Lennon and give peace a chance, imagining our way to a mutually receptive viewpoint.

What is Sin?

My mind is aswirl

spinning out of control

what is Sin?

Yes, yes, of course,

murder, mayhem

lying, cheating,

everybody knows that –

but more insidious are

misdemeanors of the soul

Was Paul right

in his definitions?

Was he overstepping,

casting aspersions

on incalcitrant congregations?

What were Jesus’ words?

The God of Love and Forgiveness.

On adultery,  sexuality, prostitution,

go and sin no more

but more often critical of women

letting men off the hook

the female prostitute told

to go and sin no more

but what of the men

lined up at her door?

Sin weaves its way

into the fabric of one’s being

but if all Sin is created equal,

all needing absolution,

what is the bottom line?

We are told to forgive ourselves

and to treat others

as we would ourselves,

then why are people on Death Row?

Why is their Sin unforgivable

when Christ forgave them?

Why is homosexuality

considered a sin in the Church?

Two people loving each other,

treating each other with

kindness, acceptance,

purity of the spirit

holds true no matter

where love lies.

So what is Sin?

And if it is all Forgiven

if one just asks

who are we to condemn?

Casting About

Are you listening?

I haven’t heard

your still, soft voice

within for some time.

Aching for answers

I look for justice, peace, meaning,

casting about,  not knowing

where to turn

where do I go from here?

I know you are there.

I just can not hear you

or feel your presence

nestled in my heart.

Calling for you,

yet knowing it is me

who lacks the ability

to comprehend.

I refute the big decisions

they grate on my nerves,

I can not believe

you would support them.

When is it time to give up?

To accept the inevitable

and draw near to new beginnings,

to give up the fight?

Call to me again.

I will try harder to hear.

Your words are

my salvation.

 

 

 

 

Broken Body

Father, I cry, use this broken body

weighed down by the encumbrances

of living- its use remains vital

though careworn and shabby

no thought was given

to the making of these battle scars

my impudence in years of abuse

harvested my ill-gotten gains

still and always I worship you

and keeping you close to my heart

yearn to make meaningful

the years I have left

to do your will and rejoice,

make meaningful the way

clear the path to fruitful gains

according to your desires

and my humble interpretation

take this broken body

and make it your instrument

for the greater good

 

Belief

You caught me unaware

I’d given up 

On ever receiving

The understanding 

of your grace.

And now its come

what was there all along

but only now I know it

Acceptance . . . the fight as gone out

it has no reason for being

All I had to do was see

to feel your grace

to know you are

all that has been said of you.

Thank you in leading

me down the road 

to know you are God

and Man both

Jesus Christ

my savior

Savior’s embrace

Still I look for the Savior

flashes of illumination flicker past

quicksilver blurs

rapidly becoming dim memories

elusive  awakenings

drifting into somnambulant musings

I can not sustain the light

the lure of darkness holds sway

Theoretical justifications for distance

rear up at choice moments

leading me away from acknowledgement

I sigh discouraged

for just once to uphold the truth

and let the light

wash over me

rising me up

from despair’s temptation

I long

for the Savior’s embrace

Tres Dias

I had never heard of Tres Dias before signing up for this past weekend.  For me the weekend was to hopefully provide sustenance to my failing spiritual health.  I had been feeling spiritually and creatively bankrupt for some time.  The words of my new pastor lay fallow on my ears.  Her words don’t seem to speak to me and I felt guilty because I held a leadership position but felt so very unconnected.  

My Church was the one my father had preached at from the time I was in Fifth to Seventh grade in school.  I feel a tremendous amount of obligation and commitment to the church.  This is made so much harder as my spiritual needs have not been met since our last minister left for retirement.  I have readied myself to leave this church in spite of the wonderful people within it.  This brought on much guilt. For thos

Tres Dias awakened me to options and commitments I wouldn’t have dreamed of before.  For those who haven’t heard of it, Tres Dias is a movement and fellowship in Christian congregations.  With 54,000 members worldwide, it draws from Catholic and Protestant denominations alike.  The Community makes itself felt during the three days you are there and prepares you for a leadership role in the Church.  For me, coming from a depleted place, this was indeed a revelation.  It is nurturing, welcoming, and inclusive.

Now I feel charged again.  I can do both – continue work in my old church and look for a church that better meets my spiritual needs.  I don’t have to choose.  And I can continue to help my church grow as my obligations require.

Awaiting the Spirit

Searching for my soul –
alone, bereft
long since in hiding
an aching deep within
is recovery possible?
how to miss so deeply
the body’s lightest weight

I yearn for my normalcy –
that cherished feeling of
blessed warmth and firm resolve,
in touch with my savior –
lost without it
teetering at the edge
of a yawning chasm
hoping for a sign
of abiding mercy

Come upon me –
Mystery of
wonderful nourishment
settling over me
when the Breath of the Spirit
touches inner knowledge
bringing draughts of wisdom,
answers, direction,
and a font of peace.

I await mysticism –
praying I let the door
open enough
for the Holy Spirit to enter.

A Flurry of Questions

Are you one of those who, when asked for a volunteer, raised your hand and said you would? Be wary, be very wary.  I recently volunteered to be the leader of the Staff/Parish Relations committee of my church.  I floundered through the first few meetings, doing an adequate job but not really knowing what I was there for.

Then I went to a meeting on heading up that committee and what my role was in it.  At 5:00 the next morning I dragged myself out of bed, unable to sleep because I wasn’t aware of the ramifications of the role or the committee to any educated degree.  Opening my computer, I spent the next few hours researching. OMG.

Overnight I was rocketed into a new dimension.  We had been given a rare opportunity to make a leap of faith into growing our church more and becoming vessels for change in people’s lives and in the community.  Now I have to say our church is special.  While having a small congregation, we do a lot with what we have.  We genuinely care for one another and we have services we offer up to the community which are used: a food pantry, thrift shop, 6 AA meetings a week make their home in the church, community dinners, and free catering funeral and wedding services.

But we need to do more.   I think of our congregation, with its elderly population and its old building requiring constant attention and ask how much more can we accomplish?  I would like to start a ministry in the prisons but I would likely be a committee of one.  We need to attract the minorities in our community and the children.  Young people and young families would be welcomed through our doors.  Gay people and those with other alternative lifestyles would be lovingly received.

How do we get the word out?  How do we make this old, majestic, but rather intimidating building become user-friendly to those seeing it and not knowing what is within so we can welcome new members?   How do we make the children’s rooms safe, happy havens with joyful voices ringing through the halls again?  I can remember those sounds, the explorations into vacant rooms and hidden staircases.  I want so badly to give other children the opportunities I had here.

And to accomplish those goals, I need to up my game as a leader and as a member of the congregation.  How do I ask people who give of themselves all the time to give of themselves more?  Busy people, who have jobs and responsibilities, who are lovingly dedicated… is it fair to ask more from them?  At least until we see results and the burdens of responsibilities can be shared by new members.  In a small congregation, there are many jobs but not enough people to do all of them.  What is fair and equitable?

Many questions stir through my head these days, but not near enough answers.  I hope to grow clearer and find my way to a resolution soon.  In God, I must trust.  That is where the answers will come if I can but hear them. As I read through this, I see that is where I left out the primary ingredient.  Trust in the Lord and open myself to his voice.  Hear the still, small voice within my heart.  Or maybe the clangor requiring recognition.  Become a true Disciple of God.  And trust what must be is what should be, regardless of my perceptions and opinions.  I must carry the shovel, use it to the best of my ability, but understand God, not me, is directing the plan.