Why did you do it? Three Reasons I Became Catholic.

Just Be God’s: A Call to Continuing Conversion is a series of blog posts. You might want to start reading it from the beginning: Here.

October 9, 2016

Why did I do it? I was asked this the other day by a post church of christer married to a catholic post church of christ… I don’t think I answered the question. You’d think after 3 years I would have my answer all worked out. I just met this person. My words?

“It was a slow burn…”

“The community…”

“I don’t know if I could have done it outside of Boston, the Jesuits, etc…”

Even though I wrote in the last post that the reason was to do the denomination thing and liturgy–totally true. It’s a copout for the more mystical answer, that is, the Eucharist.

Why did I do it? The Eucharist.

There is something indescribable that happens. And in trying to explain it, I would only ruin it for myself or someone else. That’s what Mike McHargue says in Finding God in the Waves. To sit and to be and to experience the ritual – everyday, any hour, in any language, all across the globe. There are not many (if any?) churches that can say they do this.

I love communion in church of Christ and I continue my adoration in the Catholic church.

Why did I do it? Universality.

Like in the above–I can go anywhere in the world, and be at home. The Catholic church is so huge and so small and homey at the same time. Then there is this sort annoying paradox of “universality” and “exclusivity.” How can something so huge actually be exclusive? The only exclusive part of being Catholic, is that you choose to commit. Is that too much to ask? Is that any different from any other church?

I understand the issues many have with the Catholic church (particularly on gender and sexuality), but it is still in dialogue. I appreciate this. Leadership in the church is like parents fighting over what they think is best for their children. They want the best, we’ll turn out ok…

Lastly, why did I do it? Conversion.

Because I believe in a God of conversion. If you are born and raised Christian, are you really a convert? Where is your heart blocked off from God, because you don’t believe you can be converted, changed, transformed, healed, forgiven, forgiving, or reconciled. That’s what God is after. Just because I was confirmed Catholic does not make God any less after me. Regrets? No. Issues with Mother One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church? Of course.

If I can believe in conversion for myself and others, I can believe for the same for any religious institution that is made up of myself and others.

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Publishing the Sermon

Just Be God’s: A Call to Continuing Conversion is a series of blog posts. You might want to start reading it from the beginning: Here.

November 19

D to Paige

Paige, what a delight it was to receive Bob’s email about the sermon you recently preached at the Brookline church. It would have been wonderful to have been there to hear you preach. Maybe there will come a time that it will be possible. I would love to hear from you to know what you are doing and what your plans are. We have a Women in Ministry Network and I would love to include you. In fact, if you are on Facebook I can add you to our conversation page. That is, if I can figure out how to do it. So if you befriend me I can work on making that connection. However, that may not be your interest.

What I would really like is a copy of your sermon. A few years ago Kathy P., who was the first women to preach at the Brookline church, advised me to save all my sermons. She explained that in all her research about women who were preachers in the early years of the Restoration Movement she had not found any of their sermons preserved. So, I took her advice and asked her to send me a copy of her first sermon, which was preached around 1987. That began a project that is really beginning to take shape. I have been collecting the sermons of women in the Church of Christ for several years now and have about 22 women who sent me sermons or promises of sermons… I would love to include your sermon in the collection. Many of the sermons are the first and/or the only sermon a particular woman has preached. Some were preached in university settings or in hospital chapels. But that is part of our story. And I am hoping to not only create a historical document but record the story of women in ministry in this generation.

Here is what I would like from you: 1. give your sermon a title and put your name on it. (You would be surprised how many did not do this and it is hard keeping track of them once I save them to my file.) 2. provide the date and the place where you preached it. 3. Write a preface to the sermon. I would like a paragraph that tells something of your story. How you came to preach this sermon. Was it your first? If not, where else have you preached and is this the first you preached in a Church of Christ worship service? What was the experience like for you. Share anything you would like to about your journey to this moment. 4. The sermon ­­ 5. A bio: in your bio include your education and where you are at the present time. Include something of your family background, etc. Anything you want to add. It should be a short paragraph.

If you do all of the above, you will be way ahead of the game. In the beginning I didn’t give any guidelines or requirements and I have had a lot of editing to do. Keep your format simple and I will do the rest.

I hope you will accept this assignment. Let me know as soon as possible if you intend to submit your sermon. I am busy editing right now so I can wait until February 1 for your sermon. If you would like a sample I can send you someone’s sermon to give you an idea of the preface as well as the sermon. However, I want it to be expressive of you so whatever you send me will be great.

I look forward to hearing from you soon. Blessings, D

November 23

Paige to D

Hello D,

It’s wonderful to hear from you! This whole semester has been unexpectedly wild for me. While I’ve been in Boston a while (5 years), I haven’t been that amazing of a church of Christ goer. But as soon as I committed to attending this year (in addition to Catholic Mass), and let someone know I have a Master’s in Pastoral Ministry from Boston College, I was invited to preach. Like I said, it is wild. When Bob said you’d be emailing me, I was pretty taken aback. It’s been a long time since my days at Pepperdine, but my experience there, seeing women in the church of Christ in ministry, is really what planted my desire to minister (formally or informally and pretty much anywhere).

I’m delighted that you want my sermon and may include it in your book! I can definitely get you my sermon before Feb 1st, and I may even have preached again by the time it comes around. Clint, who puts the preaching circuit together at Brookline, is including me in the new year. It should be fun. Brookline is a fantastic church, and I like to call it “The Best Church of Christ in the World.”

A little about what’s going on with me before sending the sermon. Presently, I’m in a little bit of a transitional time of life. I work in Tech Support at Boston College (the job that got me through my two Master’s there). I’ve done that for about 2 years now, and my boyfriend just moved to Florida. Come summer, I’ll be finishing up in Boston, walking the Camino de Santiago in Spain, and moving down to Florida with possibly no money or job. I’m very excited! I’m actually heading down to Florida today to have Thanksgiving with his family this week. It should be very nice. And warm. New England has been wonderful, but it’s time to go.

I’d love to be included in the Facebook group! Say hello and send my love to Zach and the fam. I certainly miss Malibu. I will send you my sermon all formatted before Christmas. If you need any help editing, just let me know. I’d love to help in whatever way I can.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving! Paige

D to Paige

Paige, it is great to hear from you. I loved hearing about what you are and have been doing and to hear about your boyfriend. Is his university a Catholic university? If you do, in fact, move to Florida you may have to increase your attendance at the Catholic church. I don’t know of any Churches of Christ that are gender inclusive. However, I might be surprised, although there is quite a groundswell of churches that are making the transition to gender inclusion. It is very encouraging. I know how you feel about the Brookline church. It was a leader among churches of Christ in becoming inclusive and they have nurtured and encouraged many women and men through the years.

Your summer plans sound wonderful. I have always been intrigued by the Camino de Santiago, especially after watching the movie that was made by Emelio Estivez (sp?) and his father, Martin Sheen. I know it will be a memorable experience for you. Are you going alone?

I will pass your greeting on to Zach and Haley. I remember so well when Zach brought you to his birthday party at Ken and Libby’s house and we played cards. I was so impressed by your beautiful, thick red hair. And with you, of course.

I look forward to receiving and reading your sermon. Thank you for responding so quickly. I will keep in touch.

D

December 1

Paige to D

Hello D!

I hope you had a nice Thanksgiving. I spent mine eating (of course) and fishing in Florida. It is indeed a Catholic University, Benedictine by tradition. Steve, my boyfriend, is Catholic, studies and writes mostly on systematic theology, but was hired to teach ethics. I visited there this past week, and the campus was pretty nice (it’s tough always comparing to Pepperdine). It’s in a nice hilly area (for Florida) overlooking a big lake. I also do not know any gender inclusive Churches of Christ in Florida, there are A LOT of CoCs there, especially around Tampa. My mom, grandparents, and a couple of my cousins attended Florida College in Tampa which isn’t too far from St. Leo, but is, I believe, quite far from gender inclusion. Church of Christ history in Florida is fascinating.

My best friend and boyfriend are planning on walking the Camino next summer with me! I’ve booked my tickets with Steve for June 12, and she’s going to try and meet us at the starting point at the same time.

Ha. Zach’s birthday party! That is a nice memory. I think we taught Libby how to play poker for the first time in her life.

I will have the sermon to you before Dec 18th! Could you send me a sample so I can match the format exactly? I don’t want to create any unnecessary work for you.

Happy Advent! Paige

Universal Salvation

Just Be God’s: A Call to Continuing Conversion is a series of blog posts. You might want to start reading it from the beginning: Here.

October 22

This morning I watched a video of a friend of mine who has a moderately successful social media/blogging career. I think it probably took her about eight years before it took off. It has only been her profession in the last year. The main thing I took from watching this thing grow was that in order to be successful you have to a) be patient, b) know who you are and what you do and do it, and c) network, be nice, and connect with others in the same area.

I have been patient, and to some extent, my writing on the internet has led to a moderate level of success— Yelping, working for my mom, a regular blog. Only recently I realized this thing about patience. It’s just life. I’ve spent a lot of time dying to get to some undisclosed successful place instead of enjoying the ride. No matter what, it takes time. Every overnight success has over a decade behind it, and if they haven’t been working that long, virality is akin to winning the lottery.

Knowing who I am, this, has been the biggest struggle. I’m all over the place, but again, over time, my skills, expertise, and desires have made themselves known. In many ways, asceticpaige.wordpress.com has become a place to write about spirituality and food. Mass and meals. But I haven’t made the blog my sole directive because my soul feels pulled in so many directions. It might be time to just let go and let mass and meals guide me.

It’s all very personal. I write so much about this. So much that no one sees. I keep it all so close to myself. So secret. Why? Maybe because I don’t want some people to know what I’m thinking and doing. That I’m not perfect. That I wonder. That I get mad. That I care. That I’m crazy. That someone will hate me? That someone will like me?

Who are these people I don’t want to know, anyway? My parents? Future employers? Current employments? That’s reason enough to keep to myself. But writing simply on food and spirituality. That is harmless, and that is something that I love and enjoy and think a lot about. I think this is the direction I will take my public writing. Focus on the food and the spirituality, and the occasional intersection.

Which brings me to today. The lectionary reading from Romans is very pleasant:

Romans 5:12,15,17-21

Sin entered the world through one man, and through sin death, and thus death has spread through the whole human race because everyone has sinned; but the gift itself considerably outweighed the fall. If it is certain that through one man’s fall so many died, it is even more certain that divine grace, coming through the one man, Jesus Christ, came to so many as an abundant free gift. If it is certain that death reigned over everyone as the consequence of one man’s fall, it is even more certain that one man, Jesus Christ, will cause everyone to reign in life who receives the free gift that he does not deserve, of being made righteous. Again, as one man’s fall brought condemnation on everyone, so the good act of one man brings everyone life and makes them justified. As by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man’s obedience many will be made righteous. When law came, it was to multiply the opportunities of failing, but however great the number of sins committed, grace was even greater; and so, just as sin reigned wherever there was death, so grace will reign to bring eternal life thanks to the righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The idea of Jesus as the new Adam—this is nothing new. It falls in line beautifully with the gospel of Luke. So many times in Luke, there is this picture of a forgotten and unexpected character that does something good for someone or is the crux of the story. For example I’m thinking of the story of the persistent (annoying) widow from Sunday (Luke 18:1-8). It’s as if Luke is saying all through the Gospel, “If the bad can do something good, then how much more will God do good for us?” If whoever we consider the “bad” guys can figure it out occasionally and do good, then how much more good will God do?

If one single man can bring the fall of mankind, then how much more can God do to heal people-kind? The passage is full of hope. Now, I was not paying full attention in Mass, but the priest talked about how not everyone accepts this as true: that God will do good and “save” us. The next question is whether or not you need to accept this to be “saved”? That is, do I have to believe in God to be saved?

If your answer is “No.” Welp, okay then. We’re all good to go.

If your answer is “Yes.” Well, when does this need to be accomplished? Before I die, or at any point now or in the afterlife?

If the answer is “Before I die.” Okay. Well, how did you come to that conclusion? Eternity is a long time, and my life is a very short time.

If the answer is “Now or after I die.” Ok well, how did you come to that conclusion. Interestingly, I think a lot of people prescribe to this line of thought without realizing it. Some church fathers were for this sort of “universal salvation.” We can be saved now and after our bodies die.

Someone is probably annoyed now, but think of this “universal salvation” as love. If someone has never known love in this life, they will. We hope. Who am I to say how and when God saves? As far as I know, the Bible doesn’t say that to be saved I have to accept Jesus Christ into my heart before I die, though it may certainly help, not in God’s saving me, but in my life and in how I serve others.

If someone is prone to “rejecting” the Gospel over and over, maybe that’s because what they are being told is the Gospel, isn’t actually the Gospel? Because if the love of God is true and experienced, how can anyone reject that? I don’t think it’s possible. I hope. So, I have to conclude, that if I perceive someone to be rejecting God, it’s not actually God they are rejecting, but something entirely not God.

Now we’re running into the wall of free will. If I can’t say “No” to God, then do I really have free will? Well, do you have free will to choose who your parents are? Does a child have free will to be taken care of by their parents or not? Not really. Do I have free will to choose whether God loves me or not? I don’t think so. There is a beginning and ending to everyone’s free will.

If someone hands me a million dollars, no strings attached, do I have the free will to accept or reject it? Well, yes, but also no, because how can I? Why would I? Well, maybe it comes from someone I hate, or maybe I just hate myself. Or maybe the million dollars is presented in such a way, so distorted, it sounds nothing like a million dollars. There is so much context that drives that decision, and likewise how much more context is there with a decision about God.

There are tons of situations where I may feel like I have no choice in the matter. There are millions of people who are in these situations. Probably, every person on the planet, and yet, we hold on to our “free will.” Which we do indeed have, but we are not made to reject good things. All of us are made to be loved.

 

First Sermon: Every Heart a Chasm

Just Be God’s: A Call to Continuing Conversion is a series of blog posts. You might want to start reading it from the beginning: Here.

Every Heart A Chasm

This sermon was preached at the Brookline Church of Christ, in Brookline, Massachusetts, September 29, 2013.

Paige Cargioli

Preface to the Sermon

When I was growing up, preaching wasn’t exactly a vocational option, but it was something I always wanted to do. I wrote in my notes at church on August 11, “Maybe they’ll let me preach here someday.” Six weeks later, I was at the pulpit. This being the first time I preached, I wrote a preface for them that sums up my feelings. “There are two things I have to say. First, it’s important to let you know I believe this is the best Church of Christ in the world! I wish there were more people, barring today, to hear the great preaching here. Secondly, I don’t know if you realize how crazy this is to me, but probably not, because Brookline has had women preaching since before I was born. Thank you for this opportunity.

In preparation, I listened to D’Esta Love’s sermon she preached at a Sunday morning service at a Church of Christ. Other than a sermon she preached at Brookline with her husband, Stuart, it was the first sermon she had preached alone at a Church of Christ service. She was seventy-years-old! In light of D’Esta’s legacy, I simply want to acknowledge her and all women in the Church of Christ, particularly those in churches where there is gender inequality or discrimination. Today, I want to stand in solidarity with those women.”

Reading the Text: Luke 16:19-31 (New American Bible Revised Edition)

There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen and dined sumptuously each day. And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps that fell from the rich man’s table. Dogs even used to come and lick his sores. When the poor man died, he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried, and from the netherworld, where he was in torment, he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. And he cried out, “Father Abraham, have pity on me. Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am suffering torment in these flames.”

Abraham replied, “My child, remember that you received what was good during your lifetime while Lazarus likewise received what was bad; but now he is comforted here, whereas you are tormented. Moreover, between us and you a great chasm is established to prevent anyone from crossing who might wish to go from our side to yours or from your side to ours.”

He said, “Then I beg you, father, send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them, lest they too come to this place of torment.” But Abraham replied, “They have Moses and the prophets. Let them listen to them.” He said, “Oh no, father Abraham, but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.”

Then Abraham said, “If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.”

The Sermon: Every Heart A Chasm

When I was growing up I recognized that this was one of those “heaven and hell” passages. Just this week, I was going over this text with a small group, and someone recognized it as such. The good guys go to heaven; the bad guys go to hell.

While it’s arguable, I look at this passage and see it as a type of parable, so there really isn’t a clear lesson. And while this one isn’t as confusing as the lectionary gospel text for last week (Luke 16:1-13: The Dishonest Steward), this text can be pretty fuzzy.

At the same time, on the most primary level this is definitely a jab at the Pharisees (and really anyone) and their greed. The moral of the story is: Don’t be greedy. Just because things are good now, it doesn’t mean they always will be. But even the pagans know that.

Looking more closely at the passage, it doesn’t say the rich man did bad things, and the poor man did good things. It just says that the rich man was rich, Lazarus was poor, they both died, and they went somewhere else where their places were reversed. Not that I want to make Lazarus out to be the bad guy in the afterlife, but it was kind of similar. Let me explain.

Abraham says to the rich man, “Moreover, between us and you a great chasm is established to prevent anyone from crossing who might wish to go from our side to yours or from your side to ours” (Luke 16:26).

In the first half of the story Lazarus and the rich man are close in distance, but you could say there was a chasm between them. What could the rich man do to cross over this economical or cultural gap to really put them on the same level? They didn’t know each other. They didn’t talk. They just were. And like Amos prophesies in the first reading for today (Amos 6:1-7), the rich man was simply enjoying his riches, enjoying the blessings he had been given in life, whilst consciously or unconsciously ignoring the suffering before him.

The picture is very similar after they die! There is a great chasm, but not so great that the rich man can’t have a pretty strange and lengthy conversation with Abraham, whilst dying for a little help! In their conversation across the chasm, the rich man pleads with Abraham so he can warn his brothers, but Abraham still says, “Nope. They won’t believe it.”

I wonder what the rich man would say to his brothers, because there are no instructions here. Abraham doesn’t tell the rich man what he should have done. It doesn’t say what the rich man did wrong, or what he should do to fix it. But really? They won’t believe it if someone is raised from the dead? This is definitely a foreshadowing of Jesus’ resurrection. We’ve all known people so stubborn and so caught up in their ways, not even someone rising from the dead would make them change their minds. I know such people.

I’m not bragging, but my grandpa was a preacher in the Church of Christ. His son, my uncle, is also a preacher in the Church of Christ. There are more on my mom’s side of the family, but when I was a teenager my uncle stopped talking to my family because we started attending the wrong type of Church of Christ.

I imagine there are some here who have, to some extent, experienced something similar: a fear-driven community struggling to grasp the grace and compassion that the gospel story tells. I am striving to be a witness to Christ’s unconditional love, swimming in the chasm, full of discomfort and frustration. In painful moments such as this, while it’s difficult to see, we share a desire for healing as well as a certain solidarity with Christ and God in their frustration, their righteous anger.

My uncle probably wouldn’t be thrilled at my preaching this morning, and I don’t know if even someone rising from the dead would make him change his mind, or at the very least allow some space for grace and mercy. There is a great chasm between my family and my uncle.

Permit me another example. For my entire life my dad didn’t believe, while my family and his were believers. In reference to my dad, I was the rich man. I expected him to do something, to take care of himself spiritually. Also, I thought I could do something—pray or argue instead of simply being a witness, being uncomfortable, being grateful for him, and loving him. There was a great chasm between us.

I’m sure we could all think of endless examples of broken relationships, chasms that have been healed—or have not. These chasms are where we have not allowed love, forgiveness, grace, and mercy to enter and heal. These chasms, whether we are rich or poor, are created by pride and also by greed. Pride makes us think of others as somehow above or below us, and we expect something from them.

Now, I haven’t been entirely fair to this passage, because I’m not taking all of Luke into context. In Luke, the poor, the last, the lost, the broken, and the “other” always appear to come out on top. Even more so, they are always the conduits of Christ. Jesus is always working in and through them.

And in Luke, the rich are out of luck. They never give enough, and they never seem to care enough, and it’s usually too late once they do. Yet, we have an entire gospel dedicated to this binary of rich and poor—God lifting up the poor and reaching out to the rich.

Conceivably, we are the rich. If you are here, in this church, in Boston, we are the rich spiritually, economically, and intellectually. And it may make us feel like there is something we can do because of our status. There are all these things we need to do, in order to be more like Christ or become closer to God.

We may then come to the conclusion that our job, as the rich, is to take care of the poor, i.e., “Don’t be greedy,” and in some ways this is true. Perhaps we say to ourselves, “I, oh so high, rich, mighty, and spiritually deep and pious, have to somehow help you—the lowly, the lost, the poor.” But, I really have to be careful with that sort of language—the language of them and us.

I don’t think that was the point Jesus was trying to make. Not that I’m trying to shirk our responsibilities to take care of one another. It’s like the example with my uncle and my dad. We can all be the rich, and we can all be the poor. We ought to give help, and we need help. We are not giving to the poor out of our riches, but we give out of our poorness. We serve the poor out of our poorness, our realness, our vulnerability, and our humility. But sometimes that is easy, and it feels good when I cross the chasm to have a relationship with someone I want to reach.

So, then I couldn’t help but wonder, “What about those people, or groups, or institutions that I don’t want to serve, or relate to, or with whom I want to fix the chasm?” I am referring to those relationships where I justify the chasm, and I am perfectly happy with that chasm, now and in the afterlife. We all have those people whom we consciously ignore or avoid. Even someone rising from the dead to tell me I’m wrong, probably wouldn’t change my mind. I am stuck.

This is more real to the story of the rich man and Lazarus and the chasm that exists between them. The questions that I need to ask myself, as “the rich man,” are:

“What converts me?”

“What in the world jars me?”

“What compels me?”

“What gets my attention to the point of genuine action?”

The chasm is deep and the chasm is wide. Sometimes we reach across it for help, and don’t receive it. Sometimes someone reaches across the chasm for help from me and I don’t give it. Sometimes I ignore the chasm; sometimes I even like the chasm. But that is not the type of relationship to which we are called.

I, alone, cannot fix the chasm. And at the end of the story, we are left with more questions than answers. So what do I do? What do we do?

Now, this is where I’m going to try and drive a point home, but it’s not coming that easily, because this passage in Luke can feel pretty grim. We are called to hope and to love. In the simplest of terms, we hope that Jesus fills the chasm. We believe Jesus heals the chasm. Jesus closes the chasm. And we are compelled by Christ’s love to work together, to serve, to receive in the midst of co-creating the kingdom now and the kingdom to come.

With my dad, I prayed for years. I gave up. I was angry. I stopped caring. I didn’t give him an ounce of mercy. I cried because he was going to hell and I was going to heaven, and he is a super good dude. Lots of people would give anything to have my dad as their father. I went through all of these feelings, and eventually, as an adult, I stopped worrying. I just started loving—I became an uncomfortable witness in the chasm. And without my help, my father came back to his faith a couple of years ago. It seems weird. Was there ever even a chasm? Where there is such radical transformation, whatever I thought existed before is now difficult to remember. That is the power of Christ.

Honestly, there is a lot of discomfort with the relationship between my uncle and the rest of the family. It ought not be denied, but I have to hope that some day he will come to meet us in the discomfort, in the chasm that has already been healed. That is what Christ does. Christ fills the chasm between God and humankind, clean and unclean, rich and poor, Church of Christ and Church of Christ, gay and straight, man and woman, time and eternity…

It’s not our job to fix the chasm, because the chasm is fixed in Christ. I have to remain hopeful about the broken relationships in my life. If I don’t have the faith or the strength to hold onto that hope—if I feel helpless, then I should express my weakness. I ought to be able to confide in my community, where maybe someone else has enough hope and faith for me and for the transformations and healings that need to take place.

These passages, and all of Luke’s gospel, are about our inability to bring about transformation and healing on our own. Liberation comes with knowing this. It comes about by finding hope in our helplessness, and that hope is Jesus.

I will fail. I will be wrong. I will be rejected. I will reject. I will give up. I will ignore. I will deny. The list goes on. But I am only one person—we hope and we try and we have faith together. We do this—believing, hoping, suffering, healing, forgiving, and reconciling—together and in communities with Christ. We are uncomfortable together and we laugh and have fun together.

We shouldn’t keep the love and hope and riches to ourselves. And that way when I don’t have enough, I then can trust and have faith that someone else has it for me. When we walk together in the chasm, we experience Christ’s healing power, love, restorative justice, and forgiveness.

 

This sermon was published in Finding Their Voices: Sermons by Women in the Churches of Christ, ACU Press, 2015. Love, D. Editor.

This Spiritual Enlightenment Path is THE WORST

Just Be God’s: A Call to Continuing Conversion is a series of blog posts. You might want to start reading it from the beginning: Here.

September 26

Woman.

I ask myself over and over, “Why am I doing this Catholic thing?” Also, “Where am I most needed?” And also, “Where am I being called to?” Naturally, I started thinking about being a woman. Follow me.

Now, I am preaching in a church of Christ on Sunday, but I can’t do that in Catholic church. For a moment, I felt like I had less opportunity to serve in the Catholic church as opposed to the church of Christ. Then I realized that that might be true, for less than 1% of churches of Christ. Because in the other 99%, I can’t do anything except form and teach tiny unbaptized child minds. The only thing I can’t do in Catholic churches is be a priest. I could still do homiletics. I can teach, pray, read, and so on. I can’t “absolve” sins, but my protestant roots won’t let the priest do that anyway. Jesus does that. Thank you very much.

I have a tendency to get really into things that I’m into at the time. Most things don’t stick. Right now, I’m really into spiritual-y things and being a preacherette. I’ve listened to D’Esta Love and Nadia Bolz-Weber. And I’m really into it. I am also always wondering what I’m supposed to be doing with my life, and at the moment, I’m feeling like I might want to be some sort of minister. Alright, that’s not really news. But I think what I’m struggling with now, is how? Where? And why there?

It’s basically impossible to be a woman minister in the church of Christ, and I don’t know if I want to. I’m not even sure what ministry in Catholic churches looks like. I know they can be frustrating and limiting, and I’m not sure if want to. What’s that? A church ministry that is frustrating and limiting? No. I’ve never heard of such a thing.

I wondered, maybe, “Episcopal Paige?”

Part of my hesitancy in the church of Christ and Catholic church is the fact that I know I am not appreciated there, and that is what sucks. Does that matter? Working on this whole “Becoming Catholic and Being Protestant” thing is hard, but I do love it. I like pushing my spiritual bounds. And I’ve been saying that for a while, I want to do ministry. The most difficult thing has been figuring out where. Which I guess I’m kind of doing right now. This spiritual enlightenment path is THE WORST.

I’m listening to ICONA POP right now. I was thinking about how I think I’m going to need to dance post preaching. And I thought how silly it would be to just have a dance party after church, just like a short little shake it out. Goof off, let go, be weird, vulnerable, relax, go home. No afternoon nap necessary. Oh man, I’m going to nap so hard when this is all over!

If I ran a church there would be a dance party after every service (within context of course).

More Complex Millennial Expectations

Just Be God’s: A Call to Continuing Conversion is a series of blog posts. You might want to start reading it from the beginning: Here.

September 24

Five days from preaching, and I’m going to assume that since I haven’t heard anything serious back from my friends who I shared my sermon with, that there isn’t anything drastically wrong with it. That’s good.

Today is one of those days where I feel a bit lost. It’s a usual thing, asking myself questions like, “What am I doing?” “Where am I going?” “Why am I doing it?”

Last night, I was talking to my mom about Gen Y (Millennial), and a HuffPo article about our expectations being way higher than previous generations, and thus, leaving us unfulfilled and unhappy when we don’t meet our “change the world,” “have a successful non-profit,” “live overseas,” “be paid to do nothing” expectation.

Then, I thought about my own life, and what I expected from it growing up, and where I am. And my teenage dreams where/are kind of boring. My life plan was pretty basic, you know, get a job (either as a doctor or teacher or something), and get married, and live the life somewhere.

Now, I think I’ve highered my expectations. My expectations have become more complex, and are less dependent on my job and marital status. My expectations are day to day: help people, listen to family and friends, express myself, be honest, be good, love…

Wake Up!

Just Be God’s: A Call to Continuing Conversion is a series of blog posts. You might want to start reading it from the beginning: Here.

September 21

This morning I woke up with a booming voice in my head, “Get up and write!” over and over. I responded,

“Can I at least get my coffee first?”

The voice stopped…

I worked on my sermon.