Enough Already

Enough already

I am ready for it to stop

All of it

The wars

The shootings

In schools and by cops

Enough children left to die

In hot cars

Enough children left behind

Without hope

In schools that only test

And forget to teach

Enough billionaires

A million or two should

Easily be plenty for anyone

When so many have nothing

Nothing to eat, nothing to do

Nowhere to go

Where they won’t be afraid.

Enough hands held up

And bodies shot down

Enough hard workers

Who can’t pay their rent

Everyone must die

Pain is part of life

We can’t do much

About earthquakes

And only some about disease

But we are here

To make it better

Not worse

Enough already

 

 

 

#ferguson

My hands are up

Don’t shoot me please

Young black man

Just walking home

It makes his mother cry

 

It is my right

Leave me alone

Young white man

Asserting his rights

Assault rifle on his back

 

Oh waste of loss

America we’ve failed

Storm clouds gather

Justice must rain down

Tears are not enough.

 

 And from Sweet Honey and the rock: Ella’s Song

 

 

 

 

 

Red, Blue, and Purple

Cute-Purple-Backgrounds

 

I recently moved from one of the reddest states, Utah, to one of the bluest, California.   One of the reasons I moved was so I could live in a state where my marriage would be recognized.  After almost 40 years together, it seemed like time.  Two of our three adult children also live here, and it makes my heart glad to be near them again.  There was also loss involved with the move.  Hardest of all was to leave a ministry and a congregation full of people that I loved.

So what does it feel like to have made this change?

On the GLBT issue it feels totally great.  I have noticed that while I still pay attention to the court cases on marriage equality, it is with much less emotion.  They aren’t impacting me personally anymore.  Utah’s Governor Herbert and Attorney General Sean Reyes can say all the hateful and bigoted things about GLBT people they want, but MY governor and attorney general are nothing but supportive.  So are my neighbors and random people I meet in the street and the supermarket.  Life is pretty good for GLBT people when the state is a blue one.   The weather here in California is also delightful.

I also think the move is going to be good for me as a minister.  I was beginning to feel very frustrated and almost bitter about Utah’s red state politics.   It wasn’t just marriage equality, it was also their failure to expand medicaid, their love affair with guns, and their total disregard for the environment.  I won’t even go into the corruption.  Their last two Attorney Generals are being indicted for selling their influence to the highest bidder.

It does not serve a minister well to wear frustration and bitterness underneath a robe and stole.  As a minister, I believe I must always serve something much greater than myself.  I must always hold up hope for the people and the community I serve.  I must help create a clarity of vision that is untarnished by any of my own personal angst.  That was becoming less possible for me in Utah.  I had done it for seven years; I just couldn’t do it anymore.

Since June 30, I have not been serving a congregation.  How different that has felt.  Even when I was on sabbatical, my heart and spirit were still entwined with all that was going on with the church that I would continue to serve.  I was still their minister.  This break has been different.  I haven’t been anyone’s minister for almost two months.

That is about to change. I will begin with a new congregation in less than a week.  It is in Berkeley CA, no less, one of the most liberal communities in this very blue state.  I am extremely excited.  I haven’t met any of them in person yet, just a video interview and a few emails, but  they need a minister and I believe that I can serve them well.  I am ready to love them and lead them as best as I am able.  In a red state or a blue state, people need community, they need comfort when they are hurting, they need meaning in their lives, they need laughter and music, and a way to connect to what is holy in life.  Life itself is sacred, but we need help sometimes to learn to live that way.   Our liberal religion of Unitarian Universalism offers all of this.

Red and blue when mixed together make the color purple.  Purple is a color that is associated with religion.  Lighten it up just a bit and you have  lavender.  It is not a menace but a dream.   Amen to dreams.

 

 

The sun rises

Ocean-Sunrise_beautiful-ocean-sunrise

The sun rises

And the earth turns

Both are true

Depending on where you stand

 

The sun ducks

Beneath the ocean waves

Beauty is more

Than an illusion

 

The stars too

Have their stories

If we listen

With our eyes wide

 

Music plays

The rhythms deep

Within our bones

Keeping time

 

 

 

 

Faces

images-9

 

Their faces show up

In my dreams

Small flickers of light

Stones dropped

Into water

Their grace

Rippling through my days

 

A small boy’s grin

Cracks open his face

His joy to0 large

To be  contained

 

An old man weeping

Every time he sings

His dear lost wife’s

Favorite hymn

 

Old friend still funny

Telling the same jokes

That made us laugh

When we were just kids

 

Once made

The connections last

Over time

Through space

Beyond even death

It is a blessing

My heart knows

 

 

 

 

Growing

IMG_0968

This birch tree was in my front yard in Utah.  It is hard to tell at first glance, but two of the tree’s branches grew together and then separated again.  In my yard in CA, I have a redwood tree that became two trees.  They share roots and a trunk, but rise close to 100 feet separately.

20140730-165309-60789517.jpg

I think that is how we grow too.  Sometimes we need to check back with where we have been before we are ready to grow again up into the sky.

Returning

I haven’t posted in awhile.  Transitions are funny things; it is hard to maintain a focus when surrounded by boxes and you aren’t quite sure of the time zone.  We moved from Utah to California on July 1.  The furniture came several days later, and then on the 12th, we left for a long planned vacation to Europe.  Bad timing in some ways, but the trip was paid for before I decided to leave the church in Ogden at the end of June.

The house is coming together, but I don’t have my home office really set up yet and I don’t start at my new church until August 15th.

Changes.  New things.  Then again, it is also coming home, back to the house where we lived for 25 years and raised our kids.  Some of the old neighbors are still here as are some of our favorite restaurants.   Prices are much higher than Utah, for everything. California isn’t perfect, but it is so worth it to live somewhere my marriage is recognized without question, even by random people standing in line at the deli counter.  (You can’t get Molinari Salami in Utah, and my comment about that started a whole fun conversation about why I had lived there and why I left.)

More poetry will come again I know, but for now, I just wanted to explain my rather long absence.

 

 

Keep Moving

move_cartoon

Pack and unpack

Wrap up and open up

Life goes on

In small surprises

The bud comes to bloom

Blossoms fall to seed

The earth waits

And holds us all

In its gritty muddy

Sometimes messy

Always generous

Sunshiny embrace

 

 

Snakeskin

89

 

Everyday

We lose some of our skin

Flaking off in the bath

Or in the wind

Life does that

So new skin can grow

Softer maybe

Scales and scars discarded

Our pores opening

In eagerness

To the sunshine

Of the new day

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kate Kelly – Not Asking For Much

The same week that Kate Kelly was excommunicated from the LDS church, my congregation named me “Minister Emerita”, one of the highest honors that can be granted to a Unitarian Universalist minister.

They did this even though I am a woman and a lesbian to boot.  My faith tradition is not only open to the gifts that women and LGBT people can bring, we actually celebrate diversity in our ministry and in our congregations.

Kate was excommunicated, but frankly, she wasn’t asking for very much.  Although her group is called Ordain Women, ordination in the LDS church is very different that what it is in most other faith traditions.  Virtually ever 12 year old Mormon boy can be ordained into their priesthood.  Catholic women who are working for ordination want women to be in a priesthood that really has a special status.  The Pope has not excommunicated any of those feminists for their activism.

No, the Pope instead said last week that the mafia was excommunicated.

I don’t know Kate personally, but from everything I have heard, she is a fairly nice person and not a criminal by any stretch of the imagination.  Has John Swallow, the disgraced and likely to be convicted ex-attorney general of Utah, been excommunicated?  Will he be?  I doubt it and I also suspect there are many Mormon men who have committed serious crimes, including rape and domestic violence, that still have their temple recommends.

Patriarchy stinks.  It just does.

I have a lot of respect for Kate Kelly and the other women (and men) in the Ordain Women movement.  But if they get tired of beating their heads against the temple walls,  I hope they know that there are other churches that would welcome them with open arms, churches that would be grateful for the gifts of the spirit they have to offer.  We won’t ordain them, unless they attend an accreditted seminary, get a Masters of Divinity,  and successfully get through the intensive fellowshipping process, but the same is true for their husbands, brothers, and sons.

It is all about the difference between the love of power and the power of love.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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