It started with my divorce. If it had not been for the divorce, I would have never left my church. If it had not been for the divorce, I would have never experienced the sacred bitch smack that left me stymied and weeping in the church pew. But I was there to catch the sting, to hear the unholy sermon of: “to marry a divorced woman would make of her a harlot.” I was already beaten and brittle. I had come to church for sacred salve but found only salt for my wounds. I sat with my small son beside me and witnessed my heart crack and then splinter and then turn to sand. The shock was that I didn’t see it coming. I had never imagined that my spiritual home would offer me an ungraceful off-ramp, a dis-honorable discharge. Like my marriage, I would have never left.
Suddenly there was a choice. I could stay in the stew of sin and spiritual assault or leave. The decision was made for me. It was clean and precise like a guillotine, amputating me from all that I had known. I would have never left my church, but I could not allow my son to be raised in a community that called him mother a whore in the sermon, on Sunday morning. Call me high maintenance, but that was not something I could live with.
Sad side note: This was not the first alarm clock that tried to wake me. I had sat for years listening to the liturgy of how homosexuals were abominations. And still, I kept cozy in my fractured faith. I am sorry I slept through what was an obvious call for concern. I am sorry that I did not wake up until it got personal.
So I left and like Hagar, I roamed the desert in fear and thirst. Only to find that I did not need to drink second-hand water. Not when I was the fucking well. Divorce did not make of me a harlot, it made of me a minister.
It was perfect of course. Had he not left me, I would have never found myself. Had I not been spiritually annihilated, I would have never discovered my tribe. I would have stayed silenced and sedated under the spell of that misogynistic ministry that would have never allowed me to preach. I would have stayed loyal and legal and loosely loved by the conditional laws of control. So, although it just about broke me, I am so grateful that he left. I am grateful for the lesson in soul preservation and I am grateful that I too stood and walked.
In the last decade-ish of doing church in the Chicago area, I have sometimes struggled to explain the experience that I longed to host for all who have been derail and disenfranchised by religion.I still struggle to explain, but I no longer need to explain, because you can come and experience it for yourself.
Yesterday I was serenaded and seduced by our resident rock star, Cathy Richardson, who not only struck a holy cord but went on to regaled our artisan souls with inspirational stories of the limitless and unlikely possibility of love. The woman is a genius and so damn funny.
Then Maureen Anne Claffy, this beautiful artist, painted a word tapestry that ushered in a holy tone and set the stage for Spirit to have Its say.
Regina Catherine stepped up to not just offer her gift of meditation and yoga to the community, but to be a teacher of teachers. To hold space for this new and wonderful sunrise yoga experience and set an example of generosity and unconditional love.
And then we talked of LOVE. Of all the tender topics that this community has conversed about, this one made speaking EASY. Because as Elizabeth Keats so eloquently, poetically, and exquisitely pointed out, at SpeakEasy, it’s easy to love.
Thanks to ZOOM, I got to see my sister J Pierson Weisi from New Jersey, my new friend Carine from Georgia, and my old friend Richard Oshen from California. I got to watch Beth Salzman Gordon blush and beam and hear the heroic nature of love from Debra Spedale-lang.
What sometimes happens in the name of religion is so far from love that even God can’t bridge the gap. But what God can do, is deliver you to a whole new possibility that you would have never even dared to dream of.
So feel free to join us at SpeakEasy each Sunday on Zoom at 10:30 am CT. But never forget that although being in community is almost as healing as the sun, you don’t need my watered-down interpretations. You, my friend, are also “the well”. In this community we sit heart to heart and all voices and variations are welcomed.
No matter where you go, or who you love, or what you do, stay connected to your Source, and everything will work out just fine.
We have a whole host of awesome offerings… most are FREE. If you would like to attend any of the classes, just click the link. If you would like to donate to our community, there is a link for that as well.
I have also added the next two talks of the Chakra series. I hope you enjoy listening to them as much as I enjoyed delivering them.