On “doing something”

I tweeted this more than a week ago. It hasn’t gotten better.

To Israel and Gaza we added Michael Brown. To Michael Brown we added Robin Williams. To Robin Williams we added the Ferguson protests and the mindbogglingly brutal crackdowns on those protests. To that we added ISIS and a “humanitarian intervention” in Iraq. Ukraine is still erupting, has been the whole time. And last night, police shot another black man in St. Louis.

I tweeted because I was, even then, overwhelmed by words and images. I know when I say this I am speaking from a place of great privilege. Other people must live the horror. I get to sit at my laptop, talking about the sensory overload I am receiving there. Read more of this post

Seeking Justice, Speaking Up

MikeBrownProtest“For what else shall we pray?”

 Father stretched out his arms, inviting the congregation to share their petitions. This was it: the only part of Mass in our parish that allows individuals other than the priest or lector to speak. My prayer lingered on the tip of my tongue:

 For an end to police brutality and racism in Ferguson, Missouri and around our country, let us pray.

 I hesitated. Taking a deep breath, I decided that I would let someone else say their prayer before I said mine. I sat, fidgeting in silence, awaiting someone else’s words. Surely there would be enough-

 “For all of these things, we pray.”

 I had missed my window. My hesitation had prevented me from speaking the words I knew needed to be spoken to our overwhelmingly white congregation. At that moment, I felt less like the Gospel’s Canaanite woman defying societal norms to speak out and more like Peter, denying what he knew to be true.

Read more of this post

In Times of Trouble, Mother Mary Comes to Me

rosaryFor several months, my family has been in conflict. There is anger, betrayal, greed, fear, lies, accusations, scandal — if you picture Game of Thrones taking place in the present-day Midwest, you’ll have a pretty good idea.

I am sleeping with my rosary again.

People say that when you become a parent, you will “default” to the way your parents raised you in times of stress, no matter how intentionally you planned to be different. I feel like in times of stress, I “default” to the religious practices of my childhood. The rosary has long been my companion for staving off intense bouts of anxiety, the one thing I’ve felt I can do when everything else is beyond my power, but I’ve never been in crisis this long before, and so I don’t think I’ve ever said so many consecutive rosaries in my life.

Read more of this post

let it go

(this is a repost from my personal blog)

For many of us who live and love beyond society’s norms, Frozen’s “Let it Go” has become an anthem and banner of embracing who we are–both the warm fuzzies as well as the cold pricklies. 

Many of us who identify as lgbt or as queer have truly resonated with the song’s theme of letting go; however, I believe that anyone who has been othered can relate to Elsa’s desire to be free of the shackles that limit and confine the fullness of being created in the image, love, and sound of G-d.   We’ve all had our share of moments of choosing or being forced to conform, whole chapters of our lives in which  “Don’t let them in, don’t let them see, Be the good girl you always have to be, Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know” seems to be written on every page (sometimes different sizes, different fonts, different colors, but the same message of denying who we are).  We’ve bottled up our feelings, repressed our curiosities, pushed away insights into our wholeness.  We’ve isolated ourselves, our bodies, our minds, our hearts, our spirits in order to be accepted, to pass, and to half-hazardly belong.  We’ve convinced ourselves that if we show others who we really are, we will be rejected, cast out, and marginalized.  By denying who we are, we find it safer (despite it being more painful) to deal with our own interior shatteredness and rejection, then face the possibility of communal rejection.  We retreat to our closets by wearing the mask of lifeless but “safe” conformity.

But like our Disney heroine, we must learn to embrace the storm within, to claim our power, and live into “letting-go-ness.”  Being labeled different has not always been easy for me but dealing with the sticks and stones is much easier than dealing with words that profoundly hurt.  I’ve come to realize that if we harness our inner storms, we spark rainbows that have led me to embrace and be embraced by a new familia and kindom–a kindom where this queen’s coldness and warmth is not seen as threats to be squashed but rather differences that birth freedoms to be celebrated.

For some of us, letting go means radically moving away from communities that have hurt us…for others it is revolutionizing and resisting systems of oppression.  For me, letting go is living each day recognizing that the “past is in the past” (we don’t forget, we just don’t dwell), becoming one with our winds and skies and dawns, truly believing at our core that the cold is not a bother or sinful or inhuman…of not letting fears control us.  Living into “letting-go-ness” is not easy, its a journey of taking chances, getting messy, committing bloopers…its a happier place where one sleeps better, is able to use the bathroom much smoother, where we are able to laugh, and where we can “test the limits and break through [walls of black/white into color], No right, no wrong, no rules for me, I’m free.”

I have not been able to construct my own crystal palace like Elsa, but I am getting there…I am a work in progress.  I am learning moment to moment to strive to let it go…the coerced expectations, the insecurities and self doubts, the false beliefs that I am somehow less then or not good enough.  I pray that each of us is able to embody whole-heartedly and soulfully that we are free, we will “stand” and “stay” facing (not perfectly but humanly) “the light of day”, living and thriving through the storms, actively being in empowering solidarity with others (and with ourselves!), not caring what others say, slamming the doors of our closets (behind us), so that we all can be free…Amen.

–delfin bautista is a member of the CTA 20/30 Leadership Team and the CTA Board of Directors; delfin is also a member of Dignity’s Young Adult Caucus and Trans Caucus.  delfin “preaches” on their own blog Mi Lucha, Mi Pulpito and  is a contributor to Believe Out Loud.

Being a gay Catholic at 27: Taking Stock

Rainbow_at_Faith_ChurchToday I want to break from the homily-style format of my first two posts and simply take an inventory of what being a gay Catholic means to me at 27 in the Green Bay, WI area. I’m trying to be neither positive nor negative here — just realistic. I’m sure your experience has been different (surely there are better and worse places to be a gay Catholic than northern Wisconsin), and perhaps this post will encourage you to share.

What does being a gay Catholic mean for me right now? Read more of this post

On staying

p07-19-13_13-001An earlier version of this post appears on my personal blog.

“So why do you stay?”

Two Saturdays ago, that question was posed to me–and to the other three members of our panel–by a gathering of women religious near Boston. They had invited us to talk to them about our experiences as young adult Catholics.

It wasn’t a surprising question. We were all contributors to the book Hungering and Thirsting for Justice. We spoke from our narratives in that book: the spiritual memoirs of justice-seekers who remain in a church that, as often as not, is a stumbling block for justice-seekers.  Read more of this post

20/30 Retreat Reportback

by John Freml, Springfield, IL

On July 11-13, Call To Action 20/30 hosted a summer retreat/workshop on the topic of small faith-sharing groups — what they are, how to start one, and how to facilitate meaningful conversation about spirituality with progressive Catholics. One retreatant, John, offers us this reportback.
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Some of us came to the Walker House in Boston all the way from the West Coast. Others came from just up the road.

One of us was a college student from Nebraska, who came to Boston to learn how he could build a more inclusive and just faith community for other students on his campus. Several of us are Catholic school teachers, who came to learn how they could reconcile their consciences with the Catholic theology they are asked to teach. One of us is an organic farmer who is discerning her call to the Roman Catholic priesthood. One of us is a lawyer who is actively involved in parish life, but wants to make sure that all voices are heard in the church.

I came as a member of a new inclusive Catholic community that has just started in central Illinois, who wanted to learn more about how I can reach out to other young adults in their 20s and 30s in my area. Read more of this post

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