Love had taken away my practices, a warning and losing my religion…

Love had taken away my practices
and filled me with poetry.

I tried to keep quietly repeating,
No strength but yours,
but I couldn’t.

I had to clap and sing.
I used to be respectable and chaste and stable,
but who can stand in this strong wind
and remember those things?

A mountain keeps an echo deep inside itself.
That’s how I hold your voice.

Santiago sits with my art notebook

Dear Ones,

I am drinking my morning cup of coffee and listening to the Mahalia Jackson station on Pandora but wishing instead that I was at church. Had to visit the church of Rumi and soft kittens and furry blankets instead. I researched churches this morning and ended up not going as I didn’t find anywhere I felt I could feel at home in both my heart and my body.

Nevermind my faith beliefs, I doubt I could go anywhere that agrees with my views – but I am not looking for agreement, a celebration of open God-Loving would be fine with me….not so easy to find.

The ones that seemed progressive enough to have dancing – still used language on their website like mankind and man instead of humans and men and women. (and hell)

The ones that seemed to have powerful teachings, featured topics like “giving up your religion” as if that was a progressive Christian thought and then had an statue of Mary, Buddha and David’s star as part of what to “give up”. Huh?

The ones that are in my area only have white people with white people. White on white. Sigh.

Am I being too picky here?

The ones a town away that had brown skinned brothers and sisters didn’t show photos with any white people in them, though truth told that is where I often feel most at home. At least there is dancing even if there is some brimstone thrown in. I grew up often going to all black schools and whether or not it is politically correct to say this I have often wondered how I turned out this color, kind of like Steve Martin in the Jerk when his mother tells him he is not their natural born child.

Ok so every once in while I am not politically or spiritually correct. Just say NO to reading further if I offend. I have to get off the fence sometimes and start kicking some proverbial tires with the rest of the good ole’ girls.

The ones that honor the feminine, though very few, don’t allow for Jesus lovers and I am not a closet Jesus lover, He is my number one man-God. And I don’t give lip service to the feminine, Mary is my supreme Mother and I am COMPLETELY devoted to Her as a part of the Christian story. She is not just a vessel or a good girl, She rules at the right hand of Her Son in a big gold jewell encrusted chair and has a giant crown on (giggle, I have no idea but that is how I see Her, I am rather childish in thinking about Her, like often I just go get in Her big ole lap and have Her cover me with Her red mantle of grace and I cry and cry into the folds of her dress)

Those churches where I can move my body to good ole’ Christian rock and roll don’t want to honor Mary for who She is and who the original ancient church says She is. She is not inconsequential. “A great woman appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun” Rev. 12. How can churches expect to truly thrive when women don’t have equal status? I don’t get it, at all. So bored of talking about it for so many years I just don’t anymore. Most of the time.

Those that honor Mary outwardly don’t usually want you to move your body too much during service. Sigh. I know there are other times for dancing but I was RAISED to dance in my love of the Lord through Assembly of God and Glide Church in San Francisco. I just start swaying and rocking anyway until someone kindly bumps into me to remind me where I am.

At least they ALL agree we should get on our knees and pray (that is next on my list today)

The ones that preach the good news as “law of attraction or there are no mistakes” confront me too much, since they don’t really include Jesus or Mary as primary, but mostly because they make me mad since I know my friend who just had her breasts removed didn’t call it in for a lesson and my other friend who just got divorced just really did marry the wrong man, mistakes happen. Grace also happens. I can count on that.

I am one of those oddball Christians who really chooses Jesus, that is my path, and ALSO the Feminine, that is also my path. And who has no issues on other religious choices — except for ones that allow killing in God’s name, and those who think we call disease to ourselves and think there is nothing random. Besides that I really feel like live and let live. Just choose something and practice it and seek the Beloved and hopefully we will all be allr right in the end and in the beginning. And I chose what I chose because it chose me and I love it and I am sticking to my story but I just don’t know where to go to worship so I feel I am not finding my religion anywhere…

Actually I have NO idea what the real story is and God knows that since I told Him/Her. But since Jesus came to me when I was a teenager He has never let me out of His sight. Then when Mama Mary came on the scene for me – well let’s just say She keeps a tight reign on me making sure I stay just under the outer edge of hem of Her garment. Red of course.

The one I go to the most, that has my heart and my roots, is the Orthodox Church. My root is Russian, my great Grandfather was a Russian Orthodox Priest.  The church, which I adore, but which is so holy and reverent and I am right now an awol Chatachumen and feeling too wild to stand still and be good. I am sure I will be called back again, I was earlier this week. I had a rites of passage for myself, and went to church to have it blessed.

I went on Thursday to the Skete (the house of Nun’s like a convent) for the Feast Day of Our Lady of Kazan – and was so blessed. I spoke with many old men in long black cossacks with sparkling eyes and hair so white it was blue/green. One of them, said to me – I had warning in a dream, about death, and it may be for me, but I feel compelled to tell you, Don’t wait, the time is short. Then he walked away. I talked to another one, we spoke of dark matter and the cosmos and the firmament and wondered how anyone could understand Christ’s message if they didn’t acknowledge the Blessed Lady’s role in the plan of salvation. He couldn’t even comprehend a Christianity without Her, being cradle Orthodox he has never known anything but Her.

The Orthodox never moved Mary off the altar like the Western Church – she remained front and center for all time. Sure they are super partriarchal, but they also honor the Mother of God as THE bridge between the worlds. Thank God someone does. She came to me when I was 22, I told the Orthodox recluse he feed the old monks, and he said to me, That was a vision, when I told him the story of her coming to me. I felt heard, and happy to be in the company of this old man of God. Then the head Mother of the order, just told me to pray pray pray and she told me that all prayers count. Every single one is tracked and managed by God. And we had salmon and mashed potatoes and chocolate cake for dessert.

Where to be at home when one is both choosing Jesus and the feminine? I feel homeless. So I shall turn to the canvas first – my mystical church – and go spend a day cleaning up Cosmic Cowgirls – if not my own church and flock , at least my non-denominational community center – all women welcome wherever they are on their path.

Desperately Seeking Sustenance: A sanctuary where I have a feeling when I walk in that GOD is in the house, a church with dancing and all kinds of brown people clapping and white people moving their hips, men and women leading together, honoring of Creator as masculine and feminine, if not as one, at least somehow ruling together, non-judgment of others while totally committed to spiritual path, reading of the Bible without a brimstone edge, a deep inquiry into the mystical, a few healers laying the hands on the sick and sorrowful, a feeling of connection and tribe with the folks, communion for those who love God, a few hats with feathers would be nice, organic coffee and good cake afterward, acceptance of images (icons) and an emphasis on creativity…LOVE at the center of everything. And it should be beautiful with candles lit. Ok. Now I am going overboard. Well we make lists for everything else: work, mates, money, why not a church? Mary are you listening? Bring me home Sweet Mama!

Ok so my Kitty Santiago just came and pressed save on my computer and I hadn’t even decided if I was going to post this or not but I guess my little furry guy from the Black Madonna has made my decision to press PUBLISH.

Have a beautiful Sunday wherever you are and however you worship or don’t, I send my love to you.

Shiloh

I don’t know about tomorrow
I just live from day to day…

from my favorite song: I Know Who Holds Tomorrow

Just came on the radio — that is only song I know how to play on the guitar, it was the first and last song, Isaiah taught me on the guitar. Time, high time to learn some more so I can rock out myself and pretend my house is a house of God. It is decorated like a Mexican shrine dedicated to Our Lady so it shouldn’t be too hard. If only the kitties could dance with me.

Dedication: This post in its own independent and wayward way is dedicated to a dear friend whose life was lost yesterday in Mexico, a man named after a Saint, a friend of our family since I was child, who is the first one who introduced me to high class standards…who took my to Disneyland with my Sister Shanita …who taught me to fix my hair…who let me drink champagne when I was 8…who we all loved very much.  Prayers for his family and for my sister. I trust the Beloved One took him into Her arms.

(Sometimes blogposts, like this one, are the confessionals for the wayward.)