Recently I was reflecting on how much information I’ve been taking in with no real way to share it or process it fully. A friend suggested that I share what I’ve been reading or listening to as way to process it.Read More »
Communion. Eucharist. The Divine Meal. What does it all mean? Why do churches partake in this every Sunday, or twice a year, or in between church services the first Sunday of the month? Why are there so many arguments about what it means from a theological standpoint?
Throughout Christian history, so much has been said on Eucharist and what it means. I grew up Catholic, so Communion was very particular. We had a lot of rules and a lot of regulations. I took lessons for my First Communion when I was in 2nd grade, an event I wore a clean and white dress for. When I look back to that day, I remember feeling excluded by my peers, but I can’t remember why. I think they wouldn’t let me take a photo with them. My teacher was nice enough to take a photo with me. But then when I ate the paper flakes and drank the wine, it felt Holy.
I was an altar server for awhile, so I can’t tell you how many times I watched the Catholic Transfiguration of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood. To this day, however, I still don’t quite understand the concept. What I did understand? That there were a LOT of rules. I had to do confession twice a year. I had to keep going to Mass. I couldn’t get married outside the church. I couldn’t get divorced. I couldn’t have sex. All of these things would limit access to the Eucharist.
When I went to Protestant churches later on, the little juice cups got passed around with the little bread pieces attached… or at chapels in college, I’d tear off a piece of bread and dip it in the juice. I no longer believed that I was eating the Body of Jesus Christ, but something kept drawing me back to it. Read More »
I sometimes think I hear this “voice” in my heart that tells me what to do. When it first really started, I knew “for sure” that it was God speaking to me somehow. I called it a “knowing in my heart.” It was a voice clearly outside of my own, because I felt that my own voice was sinful and self-hating. As my faith has been shaping and changing, and as my own personal confidence has grown, I still think that the “knowing in my heart” is somehow Divine, but I’m not sure the details. Perhaps a higher self that God Themselves instilled in me. I’m not sure. I don’t really care. It’s a mystery. I am only sure that the voice feels wise, and I have gained wisdom and love by listening to it.
I tell you all this because the story I want to share with you will sound a little crazy if you aren’t sure what it means. Sometimes it felt like I was speaking to myself, but other times it had knowledge that there’s no way I could have known. Sometimes I “felt things on my heart” that simply instructed me to call someone, or send someone kind words. But sometimes the voice was for me, to comfort me. Read More »
Have you ever heard someone be very vulnerable and exposed, share their story about how the Church has hurt them, and then someone else said, “Listen, I get it. But you need to remember a church is not the church! You shouldn’t ditch the necessity of church just because of a few bad apples.”
Do you know the word for that?
For the same reason, I’m exhausted by hearing “not all men are going to rape you, so stop being afraid”. I’m exhausted by basically hearing “you were vulnerable. someone hurt you. but stop having rational fears that relate to the pain you went through.”
“Not all men”
“Not all cops”
“Not all white people”
“Not all Christians”
Dismissive. Is your theory right? Sure. It is true that not all Christians will be like the ones who hurt you? Sure. But people are trying to protect themselves for damn good reason. The theory is right, but it isn’t helpful to say. In fact, it’s harmful.
Here’s why if you feel confused.
Church is an extremely vulnerable place. People don’t usually go to church because they’re bored. They go because their heart is longing for something more; they go because it’s a shot at healing; they go because they want to belong. These are all extremely vulnerable things to feel. There is no place for dismissiveness.
Before you read this, I want you to first be aware that I am absolutely NOT an important voice in the LGBTQ+ community. I personally don’t find any straight voice to be very important on these issues. I have provided more voices at the bottom of this blog because I think it’s more important to listen to the voices of those who have experienced these challenges, and a few of the ones who have helped me the most are Eliel Cruz and Kevin Garcia (also the people I know in real life.) I have not experienced challenges or oppression for my sexuality or my gender identity. I decided to share my story for the purpose of sharing my story and in hopes that maybe someone can be encouraged or enlightened, and to explain why I arrived at the (seemingly) radically different views that I have arrived to. I may still be wrong in some ways, and may not use appropriate language. I asked two close Christian friends who are part of the LGBTQ+ community to read and review this, so I’m hoping it’s affirming and encouraging to such an important community.
Now, for my story.Read More »