Hello! Just for a moment. I know the chaos of the world is on your shoulder. I know you are wondering what happens next, thinking silently or screaming into your pillow, “Can I move forward?” “Does my dream still have a chance?” “Will tomorrow be any different?”
Yes! You are more powerful and capable than you imagine. You rode the waves through storms that you thought would take you out! Look at you! Wanting to pull the bed cover over your head, you still get up and you make your way, sometimes with a little spark and sometime with a gigantic spark, but you make your way. Yes! Tomorrow will be different, because you are determined to keeping moving, in spite of what this crazy world looks like. Whew!! You are one badass!
Now go show them what you got! Be Blessed My Friends!
Thank you! This is what I and my husband pray to God before going to sleep every night. It is a simple prayer, a reminder to us to be grateful for even the smallest of things. Our world today is up side down and often there are little reasons to see things to be appreciative of. I get it! But I also know, and yes, there’s that word, “but”…… I have the opportunity on any given day that is presented to me to be a positive force in this world. On any given day, I can raise my voice to call out hate. On any given day, I can write a letter to representatives to call out senseless gun violence. On any given day, I can choose to love my neighbor as myself. On any given day, I can choose to make a difference to build a better world. For that, we say “thank you”.
Today, say a simple prayer of “thank you”, to your Creator. Now go and bring peace to a place that so desperately needs it. They are waiting on you!
What do you hear when your windows are up and there is a slight breeze coming through? Do you hear your neighbors gossip as they sit on their porches? Do you hear the cars from a nearby busy street? Do you hear children playing and laughing as they jump in a bouncy house placed for a birthday celebration? Do you hear the birds chirping? Do hear the dog barking at the squirrels running up and down the tree? Do you hear the video reels in the background of old Sopranos clips being played because someone in your household can’t let go? Do you hear your heart beat? Do you hear your breath? Do you hear space full with vibration that is safe? Do you hear life happening around you that is pleasant and assuring, with no thought of hearing sounds that destroy and murder? Do you hear the future of living in a world where gun violence in not the norm?
Do you hear children playing and laughing……? Do you hear?
I have shoes, a lot of shoes! I cleaned out my closet, trying to get rid of clothes and shoes I can no longer wear. I had a problem letting go of the shoes I couldn’t get my swollen feet into. I have shoes that are over 10 years old, never worn, hoping for some crazy reason, that on a good day, my feet and ankles will appear slim and slide into the shoes like Cinderella putting on her glass slippers. I tried again today knowing that my ankles looked like a round can and the fat on my feet creeping to cover my toes. I don’t do well in the summer heat! Finally trying on the shoes multiple times, I let three pairs go, but still held on to the other two pairs. Hey! Don’t judge me! It could happened! Is there a lesson to this? Well, of course!
As I age gracefully, there are some things my body will not do anymore. My bald spot in the top of my thin hair will not grow. My breast will never ever lift again and stand at attention. My hips will look like dimples dent created by cellulite and my feet will require that I find the most comfortable pair of shoes, so that I won’t wobble as I walk.
Embrace all of it. Embrace that you are still alive to experience the image of looking in a mirror and seeing the wrinkles in your forehead, trying on again a dress that you wore at your friend’s wedding twenty years ago and being disappointed that your waist has gone sideways, and appreciating that you still have many good memories that keep you grounded in a chaotic world, imagining that it is still possible to wear those shoes you still keep in the box, collecting dusk. One day. One day. Maybe? It doesn’t matter! Just keep the damn shoes!
I grew up as most Christians with the belief that my soul is not worthy and is need of saving. Sitting on the pulpit on a Sunday morning, with songs of praise echoing throughout the sanctuary, I sat in wonder about my journey in ministry. My journey is leading me to a path of self discovery and I must admit that I am a little frighten of what my soul is aching to push out. I am finding that I no longer relate to a Christian thought or belief that Christianity’s main function is only to save souls for heaven, where we will all suffer no more. This thought has allowed a selfish agenda that patterns capitalistic thinking, rewarded with getting that big mansion in the sky. In this thought we have missed human relationships and connections with each other. So busy trying to change each other that we have not seen the beauty of the soul in our path. We have missed opportunities to free a world from abuse and hatred. We have missed opportunities to love. We have missed opportunities to be a better nation, all because we have deemed that somewhere we must get people in a “right” relationship with God when we have not been in “right” relationships with each other.
This change happening within my being and soul frightens me. I must admit that I am struggling to join in with Christians who preach a Gospel that is not of love but instead of one that seeks opportunities to preach that we are all sinful and unworthy. Don’t get me wrong, of course there is evil, white supremacy, sinful systems that deny people their fundamental rights, these are the things we must preach against. These are the things that must be eradicated. Yes, this change happening within my being and soul frightens me, but oh so much of it is also beautiful and freeing. Of course, I am only sharing my new discovery on my journey in this space, because I feel safe to do so.
I wonder have any of you experience the beauty of your soul yet? Is there something about your faith that has led you to a place of enlightenment that steers you to know there is more than waiting to get to a heavenly place, and that God uses us to bring heavenly places here on earth? I believe in God. I believe that Jesus shows us and has provided examples to us how to love each other. There is a change that is happening within my being and soul and I am embracing it. I am a Christian. I am a Christian who loves myself and my neighbors. I am a Christian who stands for the rights of others, that be a woman right to choose, a right to marry who you love. I am a Christian. I am a Christian who believes that everyone should have housing. I am a Christian. I am a Christian who believes that there must be equal pay for all and $15 as minimum pay is not even enough. I am a Christian. I am a Christian who takes care of the environment because God trusted us enough to do so. I am a Christian and I believe your soul is beautiful.
The Dance of the Dissident Daughter A Woman’s Journey from Christian Tradition to the Sacred Feminine is bold and pleasantly frightening. Sue Monk Kidd questioning her spiritual journey and wondering if her Christian faith actually recognizes her womanhood and speaks to her directly, is a question I believe many women have asked, including myself, and what is so surprising is this memoir written over 25 years ago, is still very relevant today. Sue Kid Monk’s tenacity to deal with the question is one of bravery and begins the process to heal what she calls, “feminine wounds.”
In all honesty, reading this book was difficult because it tugged in those neglected spaces women usually just settle for, and at the same time, there is liberation taking place. Kidd gently forces women to truly focus on what roles they play in their faith journey and reminds us not to just accept the status quo as is, but that it is quite alright to search for a place that includes you and includes your worth. This book is for women who are ready to heal wounds caused by a Christian faith tradition that has stifled the voices of the feminine sacred divine. This book is for women who are searching for a rebirth in becoming who their authentic, beautiful and holy selves truly are.
There is a warning though that comes when you begin to open your mind to the The Dance of the Dissident Daughter. Don’t be surprised as you read Kidd’s memoir, that you soon remember a moment when listening to a sermon you didn’t agree with and secretly screamed out loud but kept the facade of a smile on your face to show your loyalty, or when participating in a women’s conference that somehow managed to include Adam’s rib into their description of women, and yet you kept that silly grin on your face, that you as well have participated in patriarch oppressive systems. You will come to the realization that you too might be ready to start a faith journey you can claim your own, but be further warned, with that comes labor pains that may take longer than expected, but the stretch marks will soon tell the story of a journey worth taking.
In our muddy pits, we will continue to walk heavy through the slush of hatred, racism, sexism, homophobia, classism and all that causes harm to the Other.
In our muddy pits, we will continue to keep our eyes and minds open with creative spirits that will build a better place where all are well and free.
In our muddy pits, we will continue to share stories of our woes and victories so that someone who has lost their way, their being, their purpose, will be healed by the stories they hear.
In our muddy pits, slimy and slippery as it may be, we will keep our hands connected to each other, so that any falls we experience might be gentle.
In our muddy pits, we will call out every injustice in the land, speaking in different tongues, but with unified voices, from every nation, as those described unity in the Book of Acts.
In our muddy pits, dirty, tired, weary, but strong with a God who is with us in these muddy pits, we will drudge on. And when we rise from these muddy pits, we shall remember the dirt that stuck to our hands, the clumps of clay that hardened our thighs, the debris that fell into our mouths and flowed through our bodies, we shall then know that we are bonded together and only together we will rise from these muddy pits.
In the Name of Our Creator, In the Name of Jesus, In the Name of All Tribes Gathered!
May it be so! Amen!
Be Well My Friends!
I am finding my way. After trying to be what the church told me I needed to be, to be good, to go to church every Sunday, to be a lady and not use foul language, to hide my cleavage with a safety pin, to believe that God will provide all I need and desire, because I’m saved; after trying to figure out so much of what could be wrong with me while trying to figure out what should be right with me, I’ve come to the conclusion that I all I want to do is breathe. That’s all I want to do!
Friend, don’t be so hard on yourself. Be kind to you and to others, love yourself and others.
Queering the American Dream is a memoir of resilience, hope and the dare to live in the moments of joy and grief. Angela Yarber shares subversive, revolutionary women and goddesses as she journeys through the bravery of camping in strange and beautiful places, letting go of past hurts of microaggressions delivered by Christian church folk while facing difficulties of experiencing family trauma and addiction. Queering the American Dream shows us that it is quite okay to do things differently, to think differently, to live differently, to create a world that is different from the status quo, to create a kind of America that does not always look like a two car garage with a white picket fence, a mom and dad and two children, a male and female, but instead a tiny house with a mama and mommy and children who get to decide their pronouns for themselves. Queering the American Dream gives permission to dream a reality that is creative and liberating. Angela Yarber pours her dreams into reality making it possible for all to see that queering America, perhaps, is exactly what is needed to make this country a more loving and kind place. I highly recommend reading this touching memoir, Queering the American Dream.
What does love look like? Will it look like sidewalks that sparkle when we walk our children to school? Will the air smell like magnolia trees in full bloom and allergies be non existent? Will the streets be clean of debris which our towns sweep to welcome guest who come from far away places? Will our restaurants be full of laughter and conversations, opinions and disagreements, in safe spaces that we create? Will government officials be truly for all the people, not based on party lines or personality politics, but because their service calls them to do good and do what is right? Will our schools allow for the history of all people to be heard and learned and appreciated, even when the history is stories of genocide and hatred? Will police officers stop the killing of black and brown people? Will no-knock warrants cease? Will those who are descendants of an enslaved people ever get reparations? Will those who were on this land first ever be recognized because of their goodwill offering to share with us a blessing? Can we ever get to a point where we see each other as equals and not competitors? Can we normalize that love is love regardless of who’s hands we hold or who we share in making passionate love? Will we embrace our trans children who stand in defiance to our ignorance? Will we stand with those who are brutalized by dictators that kill innocent people and fight with them to gain freedom? Will we welcome all refugees seeking safety no matter what their race or nationality? Will we notice a stranger’s smile in the grocery store and will we smile back? Will we search for ways to end hunger and poverty? Will we seek ways to ensure that all people have shelter? Can we get to a point where material objects are not the things that define our being but realize we have enough so that others will have enough? Will we learn that the death penalty is not a righteous act? Will we serve our enemies food and water? Will we write to the mothers of our enemies that their children are safe in our protection? Will we understand that we are interconnected like highways, bridges, fiber connections that expand the internet, and like those things, when they become crumble and broken, when we lose the ability to connect with each other, we become crumple and broken. Finally, will we discover that at the end of the day, LOVE that heals all of us, that feeds all of us, that clothes all of us, that protects all of us, that accepts all of us, demands one thing from all of us, and that is, simply, that we love ALL OF US!
Hear what Christ our Savior saith. Thou shall love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments, hang all the law and the prophets.