Monday, June 23, 2014

Communing, Communicating, and Excommunicating

"How is it I can feel peaceful, glorified, connected in the literal presence of sharks? That next to them, I can forget to be afraid? And sitting still in the house of God, I feel myself drowning.”

---Nicole Hardy, reflecting on a swim with sharks, compared to a seat in the pew, in Confessions of a Latter Day Virgin

This morning I read an article about Kate Kelly, a member of the Mormon church. 
 Last night twelve men, church leaders, sat to review whether Kate Kelly, and how she asks questions, fall enough within to stay In, or are too far outside.
They met to determine if she will be excommunicated.

I am drawn to these stories right now.  Not because I am Mormon.  But because the stories are abounding and they are not just in the Mormon church but in many churches.

Some journeys are hard to speak of while we are on them. 
I've been moving from a practicing Roman Catholic to a practicing Cafeteria Catholic. 
Which means: I take what I like and leave the rest.  
For those who take Everything, the term Cafeteria Catholic is not a light one.   It is indicative of someone with commitment issues.  I guess that is now me.
Social justice and contemplative nuns and monks and Thomas Merton and the Jesuit tradition of asking questions and the Franciscan tradition of deep compassion?  Yes please.
Also, examining and acknowledging the history of all the good stuff, along with examining and acknowledging the history of all the shameful and wretched stuff.  Yes. 
One without the other means there is no healing and no growth.  One without the other is stagnation and continued secrecy.  Air and acknowledge the dirty laundry because it needs to see the light of day in order for any transformation to occur.  For those who were and continue to be injured.  And for those who did the injuring. 

Sometimes growth and healing is a big huge mess at first.  And religions are not exempt from this.

These two questions are coming up in churches of all traditions:

What are we going to do about The Women?
What are we going to do about The Gays?

 Many religious institutions come back with the same answer. 

This leads to a  lot of smaller meetings, starting with, What are we going to do about Kate Kelly?

Monday, June 16, 2014

We winned!


Tonight I took Miss C to an Irish pub to watch the US play Ghana on the big screen. 
We left at halftime, when the US was up 1 - 0. 

Driving home, I was all, How awesome is it that we could finally win!  Winning is the best!  Nothing in life matters except for winning!  (Just kidding about the last two sentences.  But seriously.  Winning a soccer game is noice.)

And she was coming up with ways to make the losing team feel more secure.

(My squirrel lovin' cousin has this theory about Irish parenting vs. American parenting.  It is this: American parents say, "Honey, you are wonderful and kind and amazing.  You are just great."
Irish parents say, "Um. You're a bit chubby love.")

So apparently I've been American parenting because to hear Miss C come up with alternative incentives for the losing team was like she wanted the reward for losing to beat the incentive for winning. 

Miss C:
What if whichever team wins gets to keep going in the World Cup, but the losing team gets to help with kids soccer teams, and visiting classrooms, and also fundraising?

Me, in my brain:
That would be so nice.  If Ghana could help with fundraising and stuff. 
Out loud:  Honey, you are wonderful and kind and amazing.  You are just great.

Miss C:
What if the team that loses could stay in the World Cup and not have to go home so soon and also visit classrooms and help teach soccer?

Miss C:
What if you could pick if you won the game or if you lost, but if you won you had to be in the World Cup forever, but if you lost you could go all around to schools and soccer teams and do all different things?

Miss C:
Well, what would you pick?  If you could pick yourself to be any team and pick if you won or lost the game?  Mom? 

This kid is Queen of Extremely Specific Hypotheticals.

I have to say, I would pick to be the team that kept going in the World Cup. 

Miss C:
But you have to be in the World Cup forever.

Would there be any breaks?

Miss C: 
No breaks.  For the rest of your life.

She just made the World Cup sound like punishment.  Like a factory job making shoe inserts until you die.

No matter.

I would still pick being in the World Cup.  But I'd like to visit the classrooms too.

Miss C: 
You can't do both.  Are you sure you don't want to just lose and do all kinds of cool things?

I'll think about it.

Sunday, June 15, 2014


Being Papa's Day, I wanted to post this encouraging article.

It shares the story of a family in which both parents are HIV positive, and through their dedication to treatment and their mutual support of each other, they have three children who are HIV free.

In a study conducted between 1999 and 2005, services that promoted male partner involvement in the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV reduced the risks of conveyance by 40 percent when compared to no involvement from male partners.
When men are tested alongside their pregnant partners, it reduces stigma of the virus and strengthens male understanding of the child-bearing process. If fathers are in-the-know regarding early HIV treatment, their female partners are more likely to stay committed to a healthy pregnancy.  
           article by Robby Coach

Reducing stigma is one of the blocks to adequate treatment of HIV. 
Since women are more likely to be tested because it is part of prenatal care, they are often the visible or known recipient of the diagnosis.  Men have less incentive to be tested, and thus much of the stigma of being HIV positive falls upon women.  In some communities, women are shamed if they ask their husband or partner to be tested.  

Kudos to this dad for doing what should be done for every woman who receives this diagnosis.  He acknowledges his status, and they comply with treatment for the better health of each other and their family.