I Am the Possibility of Teshuvah

...Now you must void yourself
of injuries, insults, incursions.
Go with empty hands to those
you have hurt and make amends.
It is not too late. It is early
and about to grow. Now
is the time to do what you
know you must and have feared
to begin. Your face is dark
too as you turn inward to face
yourself, the hidden twin of
all you must grow to be.
Forgive the dead year. Forgive
yourself. What will be
wants to push through your fingers...
--Marge Piercy, from "The Head of the Year"

On September 19, 2018, I woke up thirsty. Even though I hadn’t had anything to drink since right before sunset, I only sipped enough water that morning to swallow some Excedrin. I knew that without my morning coffee, I would quickly develop a headache if I didn’t proactively take some medicine, and this was not considered breaking the fast.

It was the morning of Yom Kippur, also known as the Day of Atonement.

The idea of earning Divine forgiveness for my sins through self-punishment does NOT resonate with me. Bu…

Tarot for Lent: Ash Wednesday

In those days John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness of Judea, proclaiming, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” ...Now John wore clothing of camel’s hair with a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. 
~Matthew 3:1-2,4

On this Ash Wednesday, we hear John the Baptist, the straight-talking Chariot, reminding us: From dust you have come, and to dust you shall return. Like the swords perched above the lamb on the Four of Swords, those words may seem menacing. But you can channel that lamb's inner peace...

Remember where you came from. Like the tree on the Six of Cups, your ashy roots are also contain the rainbow of Divine Love. Live inside that love now as you (repent of your inaction) turn your face toward justice, (believe in the good news) envision a better world, and act with kindness to manifest it.

This life is a fleeting, magical, liminal space between two eternal ashy existences. In it, you’re alive like Temperance, the alchemist…

Defined by story

“It's like everyone tells a story about themselves inside their own head. Always. All the time. That story makes you what you are. We build ourselves out of that story.”
—Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind

I have lots of stories in my head, about who I am, what I’ve done, what my life and its constituent pieces mean. Every one of my three (so far) tattoos has a story attached, but the one I will not always tell when strangers ask “what the tattoo means” is the story of my first tattoo. 

It’s a story that started out with one (complex) meaning, andnhas taken on new shades as I’ve grown. My stories define me, I define them, and the dialectic circle goes ‘round. That’s actually a really core piece of my theology—we have to keep telling our stories, but can’t ever let them get stuck. When we do that, we’re lost. It’s part of why the liturgical year means so much to me, and why I keep returning to the Bible again and again, even though I no longer believe about it what I once did. Thi…

Ways of Knowing: Advent, Tarot, and the Moon

I feel, so often, that my self is kind of a strange dichotomy. I am in seminary, currently on a path toward Christian ordination. The rhythms of the liturgical year are etched deeply in my soul, and right now it's Advent, the Christian pre-Christmas season of darkness, preparation and waiting. Yet the rhythms of the earth & sky are embedded in me just as deeply, and the Winter Solstice means even more to me spiritually than Christmas does.

I'm pretty sure both of these attachments and longings point toward a mystical core deep inside of me that's been papered over and stepped on and plastered and bricked up by the rationalistic-logical world of patriarchy. But layer by layer, I'm unearthing her. Through connections I've made in seminary and outside of it, in spiritually-oriented women's circles, I've begun to embrace a femme epistemology. Femme is a kind of queer femininity, and epistemology means a way of knowing and learning. It means I am turning to…

Secret Places

is about to change.
it already has.

It will be. It was. It is.

The dawn you eagerly await
to end the long, cold darkness
is already full sun
far off in the east.

Yet even after light’s return
spring is months away.
Thirty long years pass
after His birth
before the Messiah comes.

Stones of justice
have been tossed in the lake
but their ripples have not yet arrived,
have not resolved into the kin-dom
already present among us.

While we wait, let us seek
—in the darkness of
the Now and Not Yet—
for the treasures God has hidden there,
the riches of the secret places
only found by night.

This is what is promised us:
the wheel of life turns ever on
and darkness is a path to joy.

(Originally published in the UUCF Good News Journal, Winter ‘17)

Two Jesuses, a Good Friday reflection

Originally published in the Unitarian Universalist Christian Fellowship's Holy Week email series.

From Matthew 27...
“At that time they had a notorious prisoner, called Jesus Barabbas. … 
The governor again said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release for you?” 
And they said, “Barabbas.” 
Pilate said to them, “Then what should I do with Jesus who is called the Messiah?”
All of them said, “Let him be crucified!”

Did you know there were two Jesuses facing crucifixion on what has come to be known as Holy or “Good” Friday? Barabbas, a fellow rebel against the Roman powers, appears in all four gospel stories, but only in Matthew 27 do we get the proper name of this man, whom Pilate releases.

The Jewish Annotated New Testament explains that Barabbas means “son of a father.” Christ, or Messiah, is a title meaning “the anointed one” and is used to refer to kings in the Ancient Near East, whose power was consecrated by anointing with oil.

Of course, Jesus Christ wasn’t a king, but…

Making room

Darling, is there room for me?
Or are you all full up?

Full of pain
Full of sorrow
of regret

The desert is sapping you
wringing you out
Your thoughts pour forth
as you wander
You lament out loud
your sorrows
You sweat and cry
until you're empty

Only now
after you've exhaled
is there space in your lungs
in your heart
for me

For breath
For love
For hope
For life