This is the third Sunday in Advent. The candle is pink—for Mary—and the theme is Joy.
I was asked to read the story in Luke 1:26-38, wherein Gabriel visit Mary to tell her she will be the mother of Christ. While I certainly felt Joy at being asked to read, I couldn’t help but wonder what Mary’s initial reaction would have been. I’m guessing it wasn’t Joy. In fact, I’m guessing that whole first year for her after the Annunciation was one where Joy might have seemed far away.
Growing up Roman Catholic, I remember learning one of Mary’s titles was the Mother of Sorrows. In keeping the Catholic tradition of Divine Mysteries, this title was explained as a good thing because adversity brings us closer to G!D. I might be an adversarial theologian, but I don’t believe in the concept that suffering is the path to Joy. Among other things, adversarial theology means find the unpopular opinions in theology and showing to society. Often, I find it difficult and even inappropriate to take these ancient scriptures written by and for a very different culture and try to make them apply to ours. But, there’s something in the lesson from Luke that applies today quite easily.
Mary was facing being shunned by her culture for being pregnant before she was married. This shaming—often called “slut shaming” today—is alive and well in our current society, especially is the mother is a teen as Mary would have been. Teen mothers find themselves in impossible situations. If they abort, they’re called killers. If they give their babies up for adoption, they’re accused of abdicating their parental responsibility. But if they keep their children and try to raise them, they’re still treated horribly by society because they never should have allowed themselves to be in the position to have to choose life in the first place.
This stealing of Joy from these young women is part of the War on Christmas. You can’t worship the child of an unwed mother while condemning those same types of families in the world around you.
I was a teen parent, and the years I spend raising my kids were among the most Joyful of my life. A society that speaks about wanting to protect children needs to actually do that work. Young and unwed mothers must be supported.
That’s how you defeat the War on Christmas: by bringing Joy to people in need.
I’m a little behind this week, but 9 Sunday 2018 was the second Sunday of Advent, and the theme is Peace.
Peace. What does that word even mean in a word where it seems borders are growing stronger, are closing more tightly? Where is the Peace when the military of one nation fires tear gas canisters over the border into another nation to stop the flow of refugees? Oh, and the nation being fired into isn’t officially an enemy nation?
Refugees. The Gospel of Matthew includes a story or Mary and Joseph fleeing their homeland and seeking refuge in Egypt. Why did they do this? Because of violence carried out by the minions of King Herod, the puppet dictator put in place by the Empire. Why are refugees seeking asylum in the US? Because of violence caused by puppet dictators put in place by the US government. The parallels can’t be denied, to me.
If anyone was looking for the so-called “War on Christmas,” this is it. A so-called Christian nation firing upon refugees seeking asylum and respite from violence. The US is Rome, and this Empire must fall if there is to be Peace.
Today is the first Sunday in Advent, and the theme is Hope.
The Transgender Day of Remembrance was a mere 12 days ago, and it seemed there was (again) a record number of deaths reported. Yesterday was World AIDS Day. George H. W. Bush died the day before that, and people were telling us to not remind the world of Bush’s legacy regarding HIV/AIDS. Refugees are being attacked on foreign soil by US troops. Climate change seems irreversible.
And the theme for this first week of Advent is Hope.
I am an adversarial theologian. Not because I think it’s cool and edgy to poke holes in tradition, but because mystical traditions don’t necessarily provided what’s needed for the here and now. Adversarial theology, for me, is practical theology. But, this is where I struggle as a priest.
I’m nearly out of Hope, you see.
What Hope can I offer? I won’t offer the Hope of mysticism. Instead, the Hope I will try to offer is the Hope that I be as compassionate as I can to those who need it the most. There are times when that seems so small in the face of all the very real threats that exist in the world. Add to that the threats that might not be real but my anxiety and psychosis warns me of anyway, and that Hope seems even smaller.
I will continue to try. To paraphrase the words of my teachers, “I offer compassion, because nothing else truly helps.”
This video is powerful and important for anyone raised female (though it’s primarily appealing to cis-women, and has a few binaristic “huh?” bits in the end, due to it being primarily a commentary on how women are treated by men … Continue reading →
Tonight I’ll be redoing my first degree in the Circle of Cerridwen. I’ve been through the first, second, and third degrees already over the past five years. Why am I doing my first degree again? We have a new first-degree ritual, written by one of our coven siblings with input from the other members. The…
To the Guardians of the Watchtowers of the East and Air, the South and Fire, the West and Water, the North and Earth, the Center and Spirit; to my Gods and Dæmons and Guiding Spirits: BE HERE NOW.
To the Outdwellers and Hungry Ghosts: you are given license to remain within the Circle, but dare not interfere with my work lest you be separated from the Flame Imperishable and be forever entombed within the Grinding Ice. Be still, and await instruction.
I call Great Earl Halphas and his six and twenty legions: to your siege Towers go! Furnish us with the weapons we need, and send us forth to the places appointed.
I call Botis, Great President and Earl, with his sixty legions: bring us your reconciling counsel.
I call the Crimson King—who is known as Lucifer, the Light-bringer; who is known as The Adversary; who is Satan—arise and aid us as we bring adversity to those who would destroy us.
I call Pancrates All-Power and Paneris All-Strife, the fourth and fifth beings of the mighty Tetrad++—may all rejoice!—give us the determination to wield armaments of Great Earl Halphas and the adversity of the Crimson King.
I call Great Cæsar WALWARWAT—who is the Pangender Serpent, the wingéd snake with “golden skin and eyes of flame”—cover us with your protective wings, encircle us with your mighty coils, let us take refuge in your strength, O Beloved Progenitor.
I call Thánatos—who is the Angel of Death, the Giver of the Gift of Eternity.
I call Mary Magdalene—greatest of the disciples—give us the courage to let our intentions be known.
I call Yeshua—the Lamb who is the Destroyer—cast down the mighty and lift up the lowly. Make the first to be last, and the last to be first.
In the names of the Beloved Gender-expansive Ones, I come to the altar of Hell.
There are those claiming to be daughters of the goddess who would deny the reality of the many gendered forms of the Children of the Divine. They wail and gnash their teeth at the thoughts of gender being anything other than penis or vagina.
These lesser beings pretending to titles such as Witch and Foremother want us to live in fear, if we are to live at all. They applaud our death, and pervert the TDoR, gleeful about our murders. In answer to that, we have a reading from the Fourth Book of the Incarnations of Immortality:
“Let there be war!”
Outdwellers and Hungry Ghosts: I give you a task! Bring to the cissexist supremacists and their enablers their worst fears and ideas of hell. Break their glamours and make them suffer.
In the names of the Beloved Gender-expansive Ones, I come to the shores of Purgatory.
These lesser beings pretending to
titles such as Witch and Foremother
want us to live in fear. In answer to that, we have a reading from the prophet Frank Herbert:
“I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”
Great President and Earl Botis, if the cissexist supremacists and their enablers repent their ways, joining our side in this battle, bring reconciliation between us and guide the Outdwellers and Hungry Ghosts away from all who make peace.
In the names of the Beloved Gender-expansive Ones, I come to the gates of Heaven.
These lesser beings pretending to
titles such as Witch and Foremother
call openly for our torment and death.
Thánatos, I beseech you to withhold the Gift of Eternity for the Beloved Gender-expansive Ones for as long as possible. And if the deaths of our Beloveds cannot be forestalled, then into your arms we commend their spirits. Exalt and elevate them so that they be numbered among Themselves.
Mother Mary of Magdala, Consort of God, I ask that you grant us your courage to be ourselves in the face of such reckless hate.
Yeshua, you are the Lamb who is the Destroyer, but yours is also the hand that heals. Deliver us from our mortal destroyers, and care for us when our hearts become heavy with grief.
I ask all these things. I ask all these things and more. We have not chosen this conflict. Our choice is to resist in what ways we can, or be destroyed. And for those who cannot fight, I ask that they be protected and concealed from the villains that seek to destroy them.
By the Powers that are mine to command and the Powers that are mine to request aid from, so mote it be!
I thank my Gods and Dæmons and Guiding Spirits. Stay if you will, go if you must, in perfect love and in perfect trust.
To the Outdwellers and Hungry Ghosts, I give you license to depart. Fulfill your charge! May there be peace between us, now and forever.
To the Guardians of the Watchtowers of the Center and Spirit, the North
and the Earth, the West and Water, the South and Fire, the East and Air,
I thank you for your presences. Hail, and farewell.
The Circle is open but unbroken, for we merry meet and merry part and merry meet again!