Holding On To Hope

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A photo of Maggie from queer photographer Sarah Deragon’s The Identity Project.

This is a post by Margaret Wagner: a writer, non-profit professional, cartoonist living in Austin, TX. She graduated from DePauw University in 2014 having majored in English Literature with double minors in Women’s Studies and Religious Studies. She currently works as a Communication Specialist for a non-profit organization in Austin dedicated to fostering peace and respect through interfaith dialogue. As a radical feminist queer Catholic, Margaret spends a great deal of time trying to reconcile all of her various identities with each other.

Ever since I moved away from home to try my hand at adulting in the real world I’ve noticed many major lifestyle changes, but one in particular stands out. Growing up, I was a regular church-goer, helping to fill the pews for mass each and every Sunday. But now that I’m all grown up, my church attendance has steadily dwindled down to a mere appearance at Christmas and sometimes Easter. In my family, we always referred to such individuals as “Chreasters”, jokingly shaming those who only found enough time to come to God’s house on the days they were most expected to. Now, as one of the Chreasters I so readily derided as a child, I cannot help but wonder what led me to avoid church more and more over the years. Continue reading

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Sister Ocean

This is a post by 瑠威 明 Francesco Matsuo. Lui is Japanese, FtM, was born in Japan and raised all over the world.  He was raised in a very conservative Buddhist family in a Shinto environment. Early in his life, he had an urge to become a Capuchin Franciscan or a Franciscan monk. However, due to his gender identity, he is still looking for any order that will accept him as who he is. Lui writes poetic reflections for the Young Adult Catholic Blog where he uses inspiration from nature to gain spiritual insights.

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Wall to Watch, Silvia Grav Photography

One summer day

I stood on a beach

Beneath my naked feet

Sands rejoicing rays of bright sunshine

I was on the beach

Carrying many cups of water from different sources

Water from different rivers

Raindrops gathered on leaves on alocasia

Water from kitchen sink and even from a toilet bowl

finishing homework over summer vacation

that Left me with many cups filled with water

I decided to go out and play

Standing on the beach

One by one I pour water from cups

Saw Sister Ocean gently accepting

Water I brought

Gentle wave making joyous sounds

Expressing their joyful reunion

Welcoming back her sisters and brothers

One thing I noted

Sister Ocean didn’t spit it back out

No matter which journey each cup of water had taken

Waters from different rivers

Water from sky in a form of rain

Water from kitchen sink

And water from toilet bowl

All were welcomed back in

Cups of water becoming one with the whole

Sister Ocean gave another wave

This time, a little bigger,

Sands under the feet drew me in

As Sister Ocean gives me warm hugs

With love of her wave

Welcoming me to join the celebration of reunion

Tears flew from my eyes

Realizing if Creator created such loving Water like Sister Ocean

Then how much more compassionately accepting our Creator would be!

No matter of what journey each cups of water took

No matter of what kind of purpose different water had

Sister Ocean welcomed them back

Rejoicing in reunion

So shall our Creator

No matter of different passages we take

Our Creator will welcome all back

Once Our journey and purpose is done on Earth

———

This is the experience I had after one science assignment in grade school over summer vacation back in Japan. (We Japanese have homework during our short less than a month of summer vacation.)

The nature had always been a good teacher and a mentor for me as well as being my spiritual brothers and sisters. I felt love from divinity in nature that day, and back then I only knew rejection by classmates, because I was “weird”, too rough, too outspoken for a gender that others applied me as.

I didn’t know rejection and oppression I was to face from the Church and Church officials, just because of “which gender identity I know I am”. I simply rejoiced in the finding of Ocean welcoming back the waters from different sources and I rejoiced the hug I received from Creator through sister Ocean and her waves.

Confessions of a Non-Binary Catholic Parent

This is a post by Angelique Goldor, a brand new writer for the YAC Blog!  Angelique is a proud mother to a 6.5 month baby girl and a recently confirmed Catholic from Bellingham, WA.  Angelique is a musician, outdoor-enthusiast and has an interest in the works of the Saints and writing poetic meditations inspired by those writings.  

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There are so many aspects of the sacraments that I find wholly sanctifying and life affirming. Each one branded with its own timbre or mood, which without a doubt, shed light on those traveling in the dark. To me, the Catholic Church speaks this evident truth to all who share in her blessings via liturgy, meditation, music, social justice and so on. Now, with all that gushy stuff in mind, I want to veer down the aforementioned notion of darkness. This kind of darkness is something I am still attempting to claw my way out of. For awhile the writings of Thomas Merton and C.S. Lewis gave me a temporary solace, in that Merton’s works conjoin and embrace the Eastern traditions of Buddhism and Taoism with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ; while Lewis writes effective apologetic commentary that often leave us a tad perplexed, but in a truly-good way (take for instance the Screwtape Letters or his rhetoric on Psalms). Yet, despite said solace, there’s a hole gaping within me, gnawing in desperation for a doctor to come by and sew it shut. That doctor can be found as the primary subject of the Gospels. But what made this hole so big to begin with?

Continue reading

Baptism

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“Evolution” by Holly Norton, Mellow Jelly Art.

This is a post by Lydia Wylie-Kellermann: a mother, writer, and activist in Detroit, MI. She works for Word and World: A People’s School currently organizing a Land and Water School happening in Detroit this summer.

My mom loved baptism. She had a fierce desire for theology and liturgy that was infectious. But when I was born that commitment was tested. She looked at this beautiful, fragile human being in her arms and realized the dangers she would place me in by baptizing me. Baptism was not as simple as entering a community or knowing the love of God, but about putting me on the road to the cross.

And then came the question of baptism. Water, words, community. Offering our child back to God. We would stand with Abraham at the sacrifice. We would give her to a God who models the cross. We would invite her to listen for a voice calling in the night, to vigil, to put herself at risk, to leave family and friends, to speak clearly a truth for which one can be executed. We would thereby invite her into the risks we have already elected and, by God’s grace, still will elect to take with our own lives. In the act of baptism we would wash away the possibility that our concern for her might justify a diminishing of our own obedience to our Lord’s perverse ethic of vulnerability and gain through loss.   –Jeanie Wylie-Kellermann, On the Edge 1986

I have clung to her writing on baptism. In the moments when I have felt scared and my knees shake, these words keep me steady.

Continue reading

Transgender and Catholic: Nick Stevens

1bscOViayn-jumboThe following was originally posted by the NYTimes on Transgender Today.  Nick Stevens a member of the Call to Action 20/30 Community.

Transgender and Catholic. These two words often aren’t used in the same sentence (at least in a positive way), but these words best describe who I am.

Yes, I’m a Roman Catholic in an increasingly secular world. But I’m also a Catholic in a transgender community who has often experienced religion as a mask for bigotry or even violence.

So when I came out as a transgender male at my small Catholic college in St. Louis I feared my peers would not respond well. Whether it was reactions of hesitation or outright exclusion, I knew things would change. Continue reading

Marriage for all and #morethanmarriage

In honor of the Supreme Court hearing the cases for Marriage Equality, here is my beloved and I sharing about how for us, family means for all moments I love you.  Our family is no less and no better than anyones, our family is equal.  We are #morethanmarriage and will continue to fight until all are equal truly mean all are equal…not just in terms of marriage or family structure but in all facets of our humanity and life experiences.

delfin bautista is a member of the CTA Vision Council and the board of directors for Trans Bodies Trans Selves; delfin is also a member of Dignity’s Young Adult Caucus and is co-chair for Dignity’s Trans Caucus.  delfin currently serves as the Director of the LGBT Center at Ohio University.  delfin “preaches” on their own blog “Mi Lucha, Mi Pulpito” and  is a contributor to the Young Adult Catholic Blog and to Believe Out Loud.

Whose son?

This is a post by Lydia Wylie-Kellermann: a mother, writer, and activist in Detroit, MI. She works for Word and World: A People’s School currently organizing a Land and Water School happening in Detroit this summer.

“Whose son?” is part of a series called Learning from Laughter where Lydia writes about her experience raising a two year old on www.radicaldiscipleship.net.

family-picSexuality is an invisible identity. We can walk around choosing not to be seen as lesbians in spaces we know would be unwelcoming. This comes with its own layers of grief and internalized homophobia. But we can hide it and we do.

Then came Isaac and now words roll off his tongue. We walk down grocery isles to the tune of “Mama! Mommy!” There is no place in the world, he would call us anything different or “choose” to hide it. And we would never want him to. There is something refreshing and freeing for us to have this child so filled with love, just name truth over and over again with no concern for funny looks or judgement. By his existence, he has called us to the important and terrifying work of confronting homophobia and refusing to be invisible.

A few weeks ago, we visited loved ones at their church, and when it came time to introduce us to their friends, without a pause they said “And that’s Isaac. He is Lydia’s son.” It’s hard to describe how something like that can feel so painful and shock you right into silence. It can trigger our own pain around religious exclusion, feelings of not being good enough, and not being loved and seen for the parents and partners that we are. Continue reading