Catholic Church, Schmatholic Church….

“I’ve got nothing against God, it’s his fan club I can’t stand.”

~A Bumper Sticker

I’m not Catholic. In fact, much in the same way I refuse to join a specific political party, I refuse to choose a religious denomination. I’m not interested in being told what I should and should not believe, or support, by some flock leader.

I understand the draw and comfort of a congregation, but in general, I prefer to come to my own conclusions about faith; conclusions based on self-reflection, education and my own interpretation of what I think I’m being “called” to do, the kind of person I aspire to be and the world I want to live in.

So, I can’t really begin to understand what it feels like to be let down by a religious institution I’ve devoted my faith to following. I imagine it hurts though.

I recently read an article that quoted the Catholic “Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith” as saying, “It is impossible for God to bless sin,” thus officially declaring that the Catholic church cannot bless same sex unions.

I say, who cares? You don’t need that blessing, because you already are blessed. You were born to be who are and to love who you love.

Quite frankly, if you ask me, it’s a bit rich for Catholicism to be making grand proclamations about what it will and will not bless anyway.

Over the past few decades, Catholic abuse scandals have been exposed in countries all around the world. In most cases, clerics of various rank have been credibly accused of abuse, and of breaking celibacy vows with seminarians and others over whom they serve in positions of authority.

Yet, when brought to the attention of higher ups in the church hierarchy, the accused have rarely been punished and instead are often just moved to new dioceses (with brand new victims to prey upon), and sometimes promoted to positions of even greater power and influence in the church.

And MY God, the one I believe in, thinks that’s some holier-than-thou bullshit.

I guess I just have a hard time respecting, or even taking seriously, a religious organization that has allowed criminals to not only flourish within their ranks, but has also supplied them with victims, all under the banner of faith.

I mean, come on now Catholicism….don’t you have enough ACTUAL sin to keep you busy un-blessing and exorcising for a while?

I don’t believe homosexuality is a sin. And, I don’t believe in the self-serving interpretations of verse, by humans,who weren’t even around in the 4th century, who make those claims.

The Bible has been translated eleventy-billion times from ancient and now dead versions of the Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek languages. And let’s be real, the human race has more than proven it can’t be trusted.

So, unless one of those priests was there, sitting at the last supper, drinking wine and breaking bread with Jesus, and he looked over and said, “You know, Archbishop so-and-so, homosexuality is a sin, write that down, will you?” They don’t know.

Now, I don’t claim to be a biblical scholar myself, or a bible beater….or all that virtuous, actually….but, I can toss out a verse or two myself….

For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.” ~Somewhere in Corinthians

Just saying…

Faith is simply a strong belief based on spiritual understanding rather than proof, and no one religion owns it.

Faith belongs to each of us. It’s intimately ours to nourish and to turn to for support and comfort and guidance. It’s not meant to be exclusionary, or weaponized.

So, marry your person. Build an authentic and true life that you love. Own your faith. You’re already a blessing.

💛

When Life Hands You Lemons Make Something Sweet…

“The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.”

Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace

Well, hey there! How are you?

It’s been awhile….even though in many ways it feels like it’s just another hour in what has turned out to be an incredibly loooong and exhausting day, right? I know I could use a vacation. And by “vacation” I mean essentially anywhere….an obligatory kids birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese. A ride in a slow moving, humid elevator full of people carrying doggy bags from a seafood restaurant. A late running appointment at my doctors office with a waiting room full of annoyed women….all of us waiting to get mammograms and pap smears together. Delightful.

Needless to say, this pandemic has altered my standards. Almost everything that used to be sort of annoying and torture-like, sounds appealing, charming and even whimsical these days.

Yet, as much as I yearn for the waiting world to reopen, I have to admit that I’ve tried to embrace the opportunity to slow down, however much I also desperately wish the catalyst for it was something profoundly different and better….like, the world taking a collective timeout to reflect and restart. Instead of a global health crisis that has wreaked massive, unimaginable havoc.

I can’t say that I’ve used the time in any really profound way though. I thought I would write more, but clearly, I haven’t. I didn’t master the piano, or split an atom, or even look up what “splitting an atom” means.

I mostly just stayed home, stayed out of the way and did what I was told….by the scientists, not by they who must not be named.

I’ve read some books and enjoyed some long walks. My son and I set up several bird feeders and we enjoy learning about the different types of birds who visit. We also enjoy finding creative ways to thwart the efforts of the super cute, but also greedy little chipmunks who inevitably discovered our feeders and have no concept of portion control, or what it means to share.

👇🏼 What a glutton…

I’ve listened to every true crime podcast available. I now feel fairly confident I could easily commit the perfect crime….so there’s that.

I discovered that the first few seasons of essentially every reality TV show that follows the lives of housewives and polygamists and bartenders, etc., etc., are actually really interesting human interest pieces….until the subjects begin to consider themselves actual celebrities with talent. Then, they all morph into the worst, most desperate versions of humanity as they desperately try to stay relevant. So sad.

I finally learned how to use an eyebrow pencil. So, yes, I also spent a lot of time admiring the transformation.

But, of course, it hasn’t all been woodland creatures and makeup tutorials and Bravo TV and murder (none committed by me though, just so we’re clear).

It’s been a year that continues to present itself in peaks and valleys. I’ve lost some things and some people. My kids have struggled. I’ve spent more hours than I care to admit crying over third grade math. My business folded. Yet, overall, my family and I have been extremely fortunate and for that, I am grateful.

Believe it or not, I’m actually an everything happens for a reason, there is always, always, always something to be thankful for, this too shall pass, the glass is half full, sunshine practically shooting out of my ass, annoying AF optimist. It’s true. Genuinely believing that the only thing I can truly control in this life, is the way in which I choose to respond when life kicks me in the teeth, has helped me through some pretty hard times.

It doesn’t mean that I walk through life with a perma-grin, stifling my feelings and suffering in silence. I feel it all. I sit with it, I rage against it. Sometimes I feel bad for myself and I hate the world and everyone in it. But, even when it seems like the worst won’t ever end, I do my best to keep an eye out for the bright spots and the opportunities.

Sometimes, they present in the form of lessons and I don’t always enjoy what I’ve had to learn. Quite frankly, many times the education sucks, but still, I welcome it. I’d rather learn something hard than repeat a cycle that doesn’t work.

This past year, my personal bright spots and the lessons I’ll carry with me have come in moments and days that have both filled me up and broken my heart and, at times, made me wonder if I’ve lost my mind. I imagine the same is true for many.

If you’re reading this, I hope your silver linings this past year have been more abundant than your darkest days. And if not, I hope you’re hanging in. I think the world is on the verge of opening up again and I think it’s worth waiting for.

💛