Twice last weekend, I found myself somewhere I haven't been in a long time: the back pew of church.
In Horizons, younger sisters reflect on their lives, ministries, spirituality and the future of religious life.
I suppose being tossed from one side of the emotional spectrum to the other shouldn't really come as a "spiritual surprise," since it seems to have happened even to the disciples as they journeyed with Jesus.
I'm what you might call a cradle Catholic. I grew up in the "Catholic ghetto" on the south side of Indianapolis. Everyone I knew, aside from a few Asians and adopted kids at my school, was white and Catholic. My senior year of high school, I experienced a significant holy disruption to the bubble of white privilege in which I lived — a holy disruption that continues to shape my journey today.
Lent is about to start, and I'm thinking about what I'll be getting this year. Yes, I know I sound more like a child on Christmas Eve than an adult preparing for a season of repentance and conversion. And while conventional wisdom tells me I should be choosing what I'll give up, I'm not. This Lent, here is what I'm getting and how I hope it'll help me encounter God.
I wonder when U.S. Christians began to lose touch with Jesus. The thought has crossed my mind from time to time in recent years, but lately it surfaces daily. My heart sinks as Christians in the news and on my Facebook feed rally behind building a wall on our southern border and denying Muslims from war-torn countries entry to ours. I'm baffled as Christians brazenly proclaim, "America first!" while professing to follow the Nazorean carpenter who declared more than once, "The last shall be first, and the first will be last."
I am gripping ski poles through fleece-lined mittens, my feet secured to cross-country skis. My arms and legs slide back and forth, propelling me forward along the trail. I have only been in these woods on this bright Saturday morning for about 10 minutes, but my warm breath is already fogging up my thick glasses.
On television this week, I watched the footage of startled and scared travelers from the seven countries banned by President Donald Trump's executive order, finally free after hours of being detained, questioned and, in some case,s even handcuffed by immigration officials, pushing their luggage carts past large crowds of people in baggage claim.
I made my way to the Women's March on Washington last Saturday filled with a mix of excitement and trepidation. I had gone back and forth about whether I should go, torn between a deep-seated conviction that there are matters of basic human rights, dignity and justice that need to be defended, and an internal disquietude about a broad protest platform that included certain positions I didn't agree with.
The words of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. haunt me. Are we too comfortable in the center of society as to step out to the margins? Are we too focused on the divisions among us that we do not have the courage to be the Christians we are called to be?
During this National Migration Week, I've been reflecting on these opportunities I've had to "migrate" out of my comfort zone and to be welcomed as "stranger" in other lands. I reverence those crucial parts of my life. They have made me a better Christian.
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