Thursday, August 27, 2009

back home and thinking, praying, meditating

i've been back for a week and half or so now and i've been:
*talking with a lot of people - a friend who works for episcopal relief and development and i'm meeting with someone in the mission office at the main office of the episcopal church (affectionately known as 815 due to its address of 815 second avenue in nyc).
i've also been talking with priests, pastors, nuns, and laypeople because of some thoughts i was having before i left for africa but put to the side because i was so focused on getting to africa. now that i'm back, i am having these thoughts again. and here's what i'm thinking. when i go to church and i watch the priest bless the bread and the wine i'm reminded that since we lived in caves, humans have always had a need for shamanism/magic workers/religion/spirituality. i think that's what the ritual of the church fills - when the priest stands there wearing big, colorful robes, waving his or her hands over wafers and a fancy goblet of wine ... it looks like a magic show or something to me suddenly. it looks incredibly silly. i've been going to the same church since i was 12. before that, i went to catholic school and i've been watching priests do this since i was small. i don't believe in transubstantiation and i'm not required to thank god (literally) but i've never thought the eucharist was silly before. now, i really have to ask myself - what is the purpose of this? why is this priest wearing that silly outfit that (s)he would never wear in normal life. why is (s)he waving her/his hands over these bits of bread and wine? what has this to do with the christian message? with the good news of jesus? with love your enemy?
i think part of it is that i'm just not feeling it at church these days. it feels like motions to go through, not a genuine reflection of god's love for her people.
i'm looking at emerging church. i did some research and found anglimergent and some emerging churches in manhattan. i also watched brian mclaren's keynote speech to the diocese of d.c. at their convention which i highly recommend.
i also found some stuff about neo or new monasticism. you'll just have to google that one, i can't include all the links. there's a house in north philadelphia that i'd like to visit. it's called the simple way. closer to home there's radical living. just looking at the websites they seem like intentional living communes. they're neither of them episcopalian but they are christian. they don't pray together like how traditional nuns do the daily office but they are living the message. st. francis once said preach the gospels. use words if necessary. that's what they are doing.
but, this is just the beginning of my search.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

overseas nun sighting

so, despite my doubts that i should be a religious, i'm still seeing nuns. i saw one in the johannesburg airport the day i was leaving (god is so ironic and bitchy). today, in london, i was waiting for the lift (elevator) to take me up from the tube (subway) station and saw a nun in white habit reflected in the shiny lift doors. i turned around and smiled at her (grimly).
last hope - order of st. helena's in augusta, georgia. they have something going on in ghana i believe. i'll call them when i get home.
please keep me in your prayers because i am really confused.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

lots to think about

i'm in england now - london. i'm heading to whitby tomorrow. i've just been in swaziland for close to two weeks. when i get home i'll put pictures up. the sisters from ohp run an orphanage for girls who have been abused in swaziland. they have 25 girls right now and 8 are hiv positive. the girls were so sweet and fun and good. i worked with a few of them on homework and one girl in particular on reading. i won't go into the girls' stories but many of them are horrific. a lot of rape.
i had some really good, long, intersting talks with sr. carole, ohp. she runs the orphanage with sr. karan but sr. karan is in england for chapter so i didn't get to meet her. i don't think she'll be there when i am at whitby either. that's ok though.
here's some of what came from my conversations with sr. carole:
- this convent is closing up its work in africa. they've recently closed their house in johannesburg. sr. carole doesn't expect them to be in swaziland but a few more years.
- if i do enter ohp (or any other convent when i think about it) i would not go to africa or i would only go for a little while.
- instead, i would probably do administrative work at the mother house.
- i would probably also take care of the older sisters.
- what will the convent look like in 40-50 years when i am old? will there be anyone to look after me? would i be the last nun standing?
- am i really going to give up my pension for that?
to be continued ...