A Poetic Reflection on Light & Love

I sit here in my simple house, and find myself caught by the light flowing into the room through my blue curtains.

Each thread is visible, each shade of the curtains colors fade in and out of shapes created by pleats—shadows both deepen and disappear as your eyes travel over the bare body of the fabric.

My cat sleeps only a few feet away from this colorful and minimalistic dance; the same light is highlighting each hair on her body as she breathes taking her own part in the dance.

My eyes are glued, my mind is clear, and my heart rests to take in the sight.

This light that God has created, that gives form and color, and beauty to everything we can see, is given to me.

In this light is infinite love and compassion; a balm for the cracks of my heart, but also a window for my soul the recognize the God that is within and around and beyond myself and all that is created.

In this light, there is ultimate love and possibility.

Most humbly of all, and hardest to fathom and understand, I am the light…and the light is me….and the light is everyone.

I’ve been found by beauty.

I’ve been found by transcendence.

I’ve been found by stillness and love.

Interfaith Ministry

Christian Honesty

Something that I don’t think is talked about enough , is the feeling of doubt that leads to unbelief in Christianity–and more than likely in every spiritual or religious tradition in some way.

Honesty is a pillar of Christianity–so much so that even those who do not practice the Christian faith are aware of it’s centrality in our faith life. More often than not, however, we put on a holy mask and parade around like nothing effects us because we have Jesus and we believe in the Bible. While that’s great if it’s true, I’d venture to say that more of us have more doubts than we appear to have.

I’ve been a priest for six years now, and a spiritual seeker for many years before that. I spent so much time trying to find right belief and the right practice–being told by seemingly spiritual people that once I put my faith in Jesus, he would take care of everything else. The advice I was always dished out: just believe. Just believe? That’s a tall order in a faith that preaches love and is known for their condemnation, or for a faith that proclaims that a first century Rabbi was the divine son of God–the second person of a trinity, that’s really a unity, but not really at the same time–who died and rose again.

Of course, I’m not saying that these things aren’t true, because they are essential to my faith as a Jesus Follower…but I am saying that it’s okay to doubt it sometimes. Faith tells me that putting my trust in this person called Jesus doesn’t mean that my questions and doubts disappear. Faith tells me that, even though I don’t understand (and sometimes when I straight up don’t believe) my faith in God is not diminished. This is a vast universe, and life is too complex for us to have all the answers to anything–including our own scriptures–and that’s okay!

It’s time for us to be honest about what is going on in our hearts and minds. Jesus’s followers had doubts when the events of the Bible were taking place, and they still walked along the path Jesus led them down. Being able to express these beliefs and vocalize our questions is essential to our mental and spiritual health. It keeps us from feeling like we’re drowning, or inherently evil, or like God is condemning us to hell because we can’t accept everything like the smiling seemingly-spiritual people around us. It’s time for Christianity to be honest, and to see where God–who we believe makes his home with the doubting, the hurting, the broken, and the outcast–takes us. I bet, if we can have the humility to be honest, the soul of the world could start coming back to life with love.

May it be so.

Interfaith Ministry

Knowing the Unknowable: Seeking the Fullness of God

Throughout my life, I have had a continuous journey of faith. I did not begin my faith journey in Christianity. In fact, I was born into a Non-religious family whose only comments of faith or God came from cultural references of what God supposedly told humans never to do, and how Karma was a bitch that would get you back when you were bad. Funny, huh? I’m grateful for this in a way, though, because it allowed me to find my own way to God.

My road was not laid before me, nor was it lying there in an inviting way. I feel that I was thrown on to my path. You see, when I was around the age of 7 or 8, I lost my paternal grandmother–my best friend. This woman was the apple of my eye, the person that saw the most light in me and in whom I saw the most love. She was a comfort in my harsh and sometimes dark world. She was my everything, and one day she was just gone. I had no idea what death truly was until this point in my life. All I knew was that my grandmother was here, and then she was lying in a casket in the front of the room, and I would never actually see her again. This broke me–in fact, it’s something I deal with to this day (especially when I lose people who are close to me). So where did I turn now that I felt I lost my identity? Where can I find answers to these things I have heard about in passing–heaven, ghosts, next lives? Well, pretty much since I was born I was obsessed with witches. I loved them in every movie there was, I played them, I quoted them; they were my life. So, I turned to Wicca. I learned one day that there are people who identify as witches in this world, and I could actually be one! My heart sprung to life knowing this, and I took my first step on my faith journey. In Wicca, I learned about deities, the earth and its cycles, meditation, prayer, and so many other spiritual concepts. As the years went on, I began exploring other religions–Buddhism, Judaism, Islam, Christianity. This led me to be the person I am today.

So why do I mention this rather abbreviated spiritual biography? Because these experiences have taught me about who God is and where he can be found. My image of God has changed as me and my faith have developed over time. The same being that I prayed to as a Wiccan, the same being that I felt moving in my spirit as a Muslim, is the same being that I proclaim in Jesus today. God, as I’ve experience him/her, transcends all of these titles that we put on faith traditions–titles that are supposed to be used to give us a way of identifying with other people, not a way of identifying God. God, the creator of this vast, beautiful, diverse universe, is a vast, beautiful and diverse God. He/She takes the shape of you and me, and he/she transcends any shape or characteristic that we can imagine. That’s the beauty of God. Sometimes, I think we think of God as being like water–transparent and taking the form of it’s container. But God doesn’t take the form of our religious containers, we are called to take the shape of the uncontainable God.

You see, God is not binary. We oversimplify things to be black and white so that we can have a sense of control, of undertsanding in this world. But God will never be understood. In fact, in my tradition, Jesus doesn’t tell us who God is in conrete terms or laws. Jesus shows us who God is through stories and metaphors. This God, that can only begin to be understood through abstract stories and poetry is the God that I know deep within my heart. He/She moves in my spirit, and calls me out of my tragic, seemingly organized, angry, and unresistingly sinful self to the radical love of another–another who sees the same God differently; another who calls God by a different name; another who walks the path that this same God has called them to, but is nevertheless different from my own path. In my own faith, this is also the beauty of Jesus, because Jesus, to me, embodied God in a uniquely human way–in the way I am called to follow in example.

We, too, as beings made in the image of God, are called to transcend our humanity–our limitations, our racisms, our cultural biases, our own views of gender and sexuality. We are reflections of this invisible God, and our behaviors in this world should reflect that holy mystery. God isn’t what I make him/her, and my faith is never about what I make him/her. My faith journey, my own personal call and invitation into the heart of God and the other, is about what this beautiful, transcendant, and radically loving God is making me. With each prayer, with each moment spent seeking God in contemplation and other spiritual practices, I am being steeped more and more into this amazing God, with the hope of knowing him/her more and more as I walk through life.

I invite you, as well as my own soul, to start to seek God in his/her fullness–not to limit God, or what God can do. Let us seek the mystery that calls us forward in love, and allow that love so to re-form our hearts and minds that we can begin to live into our divine image ever more.