Friday, December 20, 2013

Living into the fullness of life, Coming Out to Meet God

Ephesians 2:8-9   For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Jeremiah 29:11  For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Beloved, life is lived fully in the grace of the community of God and witness, and this by faith and faith alone.  It is this relationship, rooted in faith, that gives life her definition and her character.  Her color and her hue.  Those stress points and stretch points becoming angles of wisdom revealing a peculiar albeit a queer faith.

Reflecting upon the joys and sorrows of a life lived to its fullest I wonder shall anyone be willing to come out and experience the God of the infinite and the intimate, of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Rumi, Muhammad, Mary, Mother Theresa and Jesus? Shall anyone hear the  invitation of the divine and say yes, oh yes to the creator, sustainer and rock of life herself.   Who shall have the courage to hear and receive?  I think this to be difficult, even challenging without the spirit of God employed, as the desire for safety, comfort, familial relationships and most of all the familiarity of this world become the primary concern of the day.

The one who is willing to hear and receive God's calling must come out of their comfort zone to meet God on God's terms.  Beloved  "Coming Out" is a daily occurence, a sacred space of trust not to be taken lightly.  The one who chooses to come out shall receive a sincere blessing seldom found in bastions of comfort and ease.  The one who answers the love of God must embrace the words, "the cross before me, the world behind me" with all sincerity and license, a song sung yet seldom believed, interpreted to give solace and comfort.   Surely beloved resting and loving in the bosom of God and the community of God and witness becomes that most holy sacred space of joy.

Rev. Monica Joy

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Thoughts on a conversation between family and friends on love and belief from a Christian perspective, A discourse on Dogma

There are many difficult conversations during the holiday season.  Different believes, ways of living and loving; forms of grace and mercy, which reveal the uneasy tension of God’s diverse humanity.  Family and friends whose minds, as they identify, open or closed identify as conservative, liberal, progressive, radical; identifications throughout the spectrum of human personality and thought.    This post emerges out of this family holiday experience. 
After an uneasy conversation with family and friends I found myself at the local Star Bucks Coffee Shop for, hmm, let’s say coffee therapy.  Not having a lot of money this is the closest I can come to therapy at times beyond my Veteran’s Administration therapy.  As I sat at the table drinking a Caramel Macchiato, with soy and extra caramel I began to reflect on the conversations I have had with my sister, son, mother, ex-wife and associates.  I ask myself why do I even talk to them, why do I engage them.   They say loudly through words and actions, “I don’t approve of your lifestyle.”  As if I needed or longed for their approval.  I tell them that I don’t need or want their approval but I do call out of love and the fact that I still like them.  My life and journey, and the faith that empowers what I believe compel me to love, even like, in the midst of differences and contradictions, the paradox of life.  This call of faith has definitely had its difficult and challenging consequences.

In the midst of these consequences, i.e. gains, losses, the forfeiture of worldly desires I long for a fashion of love that reflects some sort of unity between people who profess a belief in God and God’s divine love with God’s embodied differences.  So much time spent protecting the unconscious, the ignorance as matters of integrity of believe and not love or being.  Oh how I long for a unity between love and modes Christian belief.  Is this wrong, is this not right?  I wonder is what we believe more important, even more significant that our love for our sister or brother of difference?  Clearly what we believe in may or may not reflect God’s call for us to love.  Beloved we must sit with this.  Is it more important to protect what we believe, i.e. the dogma than to love or even, if possible, to like our sister or brother of difference?

So, this comes down to a discussion on dogma, i.e. rules and regulations that supposedly embody God and love and (from my perspective) not genuine authentic love or a desire to like members of your family, or friends or even community.  Hard core stuff which has caused serious splits in the Christian community.  There are times when I think the greatest most effective tool of Satan or for some the devil, is dogma.  It becomes a means to disempower the Church ensuring that the power of the Church even Jesus is muted and the soul torn asunder for the sake of the integrity of limited human understanding.

I think the hope of this holiday season is to take off the dogma and just love God's difference in your family, friends, and associates.  Yea, get beyond the dogma into God's great and sincere love.  Yes beloved pull off the dogma and know the liberation you and the Church.

The passing of Nelson Mandela becomes a point of access to assess where I am on activism. Is activism as I live it out actually impacting hearts and minds? Am I, a Black transgender women, who identifies gender queer, raising a different consciousness, a different imagination among the people I meet on the street, at work, in school and in my family and my church. Are my life experiences and education actually having an impact? Lord knows I spent/owe enough money. Nelson Mandela's life compels me to reflect on the struggle of who I am, of defining and embracing my identity, irrespective of social and cultural identity concerns, choices made for the sake of my soul. And for me this is the legacy that Mandela, like other great leaders before him have left, that the one supreme message of life, is that of freedom, liberation and most of all justice.


Thursday, December 5, 2013

Thoughts on the word "No", The Joy of "No", One Person's Perspective

In the midst of life the word "no" becomes most welcomed.  It becomes that word that though it only has two letters it is a most powerful anointed word.  "No" more than any other word is a transitional word meaning this isn't it, it's not your home, you must keep moving until at last you have found that special place for your heart to rest.  "No" won't let you rest, it is sincere, forthright and noble.  So what of the word "no"? Sitting here drinking coffee, listening to some jazz on a cold and dreary night thinking of the word "no" I am reminded of my dealings with "no" and how it gingerly pushes me away to somehow find my voice.  Can it be that the word "no" with all of its negative connotations, and this is from my perspective, be more positive, even more loving than the word "yes"?  You see there are a few folks who see "yes" as that most invitational of words.  Surely nothing is so great as the word "yes" yet there are times I long for the word "no" when you are told no more, enough, finished. Love and life are dynamic, risky and seldom without event and in this context "no" can become be a welcomed friend. 

Learning and then loving the word "no" emerges from a journey that has experienced the joys, sorrows, pains and suffering of a hope filled life.  Now it may seem that "hope" and "no" may not belong in the same neighborhood but on the contrary they very much do.  Frankly its hard to vision "hope" without "no" being a part of "hopes" narrative.  I suggest here that "no" is the origin even the ground of hope.  This may be too hard or may be too abstract for some yet I suggest that nothing like the word "no" prompts as much rebellion and longing for change like "no". 

When we are told "no" to medical care, "no" to education, "no" to employment, "no" to our state of being, we are transitioning into that hopeful place that calls for action.  It is that place, that sacred place that compels one to do something.  This post does not emerge from an academic paper for the purposes of a scholarly pursuit but from a life, a person who knows the value of "no".   And this is where the joy of "no" comes, that the word "no" somehow fulfills the human soul, even the touch as it creates more and more a longing of the soul for a most sincere pure and cosmic love. 

I invite whoever reads this post to look at the word "no" and rediscover this little word and its power to transform life indeed I suggest more than the word "yes" and experience the incarnation of the beloved in a really different way.

Rev. Monica Cross