Existential Crises

Holy Spirit, we need to talk about this whole humanity thing.

Because I am plumb worn out from having existential crises about the human race!

Between pandemics, systematic oppression, the continual pursuit of power and principalities that screw the costs, and the whole the earth itself seems to be crying out from abuse thing, my head is spinning.

This is not to mention poverty, homelessness, neglect of those who are addicted, and the deaths of black and brown children, and I am reminded once again of the orphans which (again) have been created and abused by my very own government, oh and there’s a war in Armenia where my Aunt is located– I find I am bone weary.

Can these bones walk?

Holy Spirit, do you sometimes give humanity the side eye when you appear in bird form?

Because I trust in you. I trust God, and I love Jesus. This is not about that.

But I am dried out, cracked at the core when I think of humanity as whole.

I have found amazing human beings on earth. In the Singular I know individuals: gracious and forgiving ones, selfless and devoted ones, tireless and hard working ones. I love many-a-person…

But when it comes to humanity…

Well let’s just say I understand that whole flood thing better now.

Sometimes I wish I could do a reboot too, but we both know that doesn’t fix the inherent issues with being human

And so, here I am, stuck in an existential crises.

Why do we exist?

And, maybe the real existential question is this: if I know we can do better, how are we not doing better? Why?

Ok, but we have to try.

We have to show that those who are poor, or homeless are beloved.

We have to constantly interrupt racism and oppression, and plots to kill people or the neglect that lets people die. We have to stand up to power.

God, I remember a story in the Bible when someone asked Jesus a very political question about marriage, he basically said “that’s a human thing, God doesn’t care about such things”

Immediately this was followed up with a question about what does God care about, and Jesus responds with a simple “Love God, and Love each other” summary of, well, basically everything!

As always, when I have trouble loving other humans, I reground myself in loving you God.

Because I don’t know how to love humanity, and I don’t know why we are here.

So I guess I’m going to have to love you, and trust that you are continually helping us to course correct so that all things work together for good.

But right now, I’m going to snuggle under the covers, and tell myself that its ok that I don’t know how to process humanity’s existential crisis right now, because that’s not my job.

Help me to do my job–

that whole loving thing, I pray

Amen.

Agnusday.org - The Lectionary Comic

https://www.agnusday.org/comics/456/matthew24-36-44

More Mundane Prayers Here, Here is the Link for Pandemic Prayers and Resources

Please Share/Adapt with Credit to Katy Stenta and Please contribute to my Doctorate of Ministry with a Donation  I have PayPal https://paypal.me/KatyStenta?locale.x=en_US Venmo www.venmo.com/Katy-Stenta or Google Pay to Katyandtheword at gmail

Why #holyweek? #drwho & #depression

Why Palm Sunday? Why do Christians do this crazy Holy Week thing, where we parade Jesus one week fully knowing he will be betrayed and die.
 
Dr Who’s (possibly best) episode in the reboot is a visit to Vincent Van Gogh who struggles with depression. He and his companion Amelia visit, and spend time with this amazing man who could see beauty amidst the the terror. They return to the present and Amy is convinced he would have lived longer, not died by suicide, and made more paintings. Seemlingly, nothing changed. And yet, it counted, Dr. Who says that the way he sees it (and he has had to struggle with his own darkness and good days). Life is a pile of good things and a pile of bad things. The good things don’t fix the bad things, but the bad things don’t ruin the good things either.And Dr Who says “We definitely added to his pile of good things”
drwhoDrwho2
 
This is not just about Jesus’ resurrection, its about the full scope of humanity.
 
If you map Jesus’ journey he avoided Jerusalem–ping-ponging around Israel. Because he knew his very Being in Jerusalem would cause revolution, because Jesus’ very existence is revolutionary.
 
Ever have the feeling where you just click with someone and you know you are going to be friends? That’s how EVERYBODY felt with Jesus, so when he enters the center of power, the power starts to shift. Because who doesn’t want the person who SEEs you, GETs who you are and what your about, and LOVEs you.
 
Here’s the deal tho….Jesus knows he’s going to die. But whereas I might be cynical or really sad to enter Jerusalem knowing I was going to die, my guess is Jesus accepted it as what it was.
 
This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.
 
Jesus knows he is going to die, and appreciated it. Because at this moment, at the Hosanna time of the palms, people were good.
 
It was a good thing, and Jesus added it to the pile of good things. Human life is about the good and bad things. This is why we pray about the joys and concerns in our lives. Someone’s joy doesn’t fix someone else’s hurts…but it adds to the good things.
 
I believe that God is in every good thing. I believe that following God is to valiantly look for and add to the good things. Its knowing that especially in the midst of hurt and suffering and oppression, the good things matter. They matter so much, one kind word, one achievement, one moment of child’s laughter–can help you make it through the day.
 
That’s why Palm Sunday–because to be fully human is to embrace the good, to feel and know suffering. I’m sure Jesus had to deal with anxiety and stress, I’m sure he had relationships that didn’t work out the way he wanted them to…I’m sure he saw people hurt and die who he cared about.
 
Why Palm Sunday?
 
Because Jesus knows that suffering is a part of life, but so is joy, beauty and hope.
 
Because Jesus embraces the fact that God is within every-single-day, whether it is good or not (note the verse isn’t this is the good day that the Lord has made). This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Practicing Being #human #paris

Tonight, I’m going to look at the stars. I’ll look and wonder and remember how big the world is, how small I am, I’ll remember beauty and joy and hope, I will count the countless, remember small things and think wispy thoughts.

I will look at the stars and think of Paris and Japan, of Syria and the Middle East.
I will look at the stars to practice my humanity, I will do it, because I need to pray, and I don’t know what to do, except to respond by remembering what it means to be human.

calvin

Tonight I’ll be one small human being looking at the stars, and I invite you to do the same.

Look at #HarryPotter, (with help from Diana Butler Bass) and Christ & Culture

I have an ongoing theory about where religion is going….

It happily matches Diana Butler Bass’s, though is from a differing perspective

In undergrad I got a BA in Hist and Engl and (almost) a minor in Philosophy…but really, I was studying fairy tales & fantasy. I did my thesis on that.

Then in seminary, I would sneak off and read fantasy and try to study Lewis and L’engle on the side, of course taking Osmer’s Fantasy class (I got to help with the reading list that year) YAY!

So….I’ve noticed how fantasy is not only the sort of fiction our souls need, as the inklings theorized, but also that its mirroring of spirituality is amazing.

Here is the thesis in a nutshell: Fairy Tales did not exist before Christ, before that there was no forgiving God, no happily ever after. (Cupid and Psyche is simultaneously the last myth, the first fairy tale)

There the idea of Human Progress and Mythic Recess. Science was on the move, Oz has to be hidden, Narnia can’t be find, the Elves are leaving in Tolkien.

Science is taking over there is no room for magic/religion

We are now, in 2015, witnessing the Harry Potter generation coming into adulthood. If I am at the beginning of the millennial time (I was born in 83), then my sister (born in 93) and graduating from undergrad this year, I think will be the end of it, and the beginning of the new generation. How can it not? The economics have changed, religion has changed, rights have changed….read Diana Butler Bass’s book Christianity after Religion for more.

This Harry Potter generation read about Muggles and Wizardfolk. Side by side, intertwined. The magic is hard to find, but once you discover it, it parallels and is (and as it turns out has been) integrated into “regular” life. Urban fantasy, by the likes Charlaine Harris &

I feel this is a signal to where religion/faith is going in the future. How does our spirituality fit into our lives?

More (w)holistically to be sure, more diverse, more interspersed with those who are not typically religious.

People like C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkein, Neil Gaiman, Madeline L’engle, Robin Mckinley all of whom speak to the truth of fantasy….

I know it is but a mirror, but the fact that fantasy was founded as a conversation about Christ and Culture, and looking to the big questions

Where does humanity start? How is the great battle between good and evil going? What is the individual’s call within that battle?

(Geek moment. I consider Science Fiction to be about adding technology onto humans to augment and change it. Fantasy to be about what happens when magic is thrown into the normal world. Both are about the state of humanity, what makes someone a person?)

I think that as the Harry Potter Generation, those who literally grew up with the books, signal where interest in spirituality might be going next, and that their might be a revival…..and I find that fascinating……

Still mulling about that wonderful Dystopic Fantasy…I think Diana Bass Butler’s theory about the bridge of change….is helpful ….even more helpful for me is to move beyond the flat narrative and looking more carefully at the narrative of those who have to bear the burden of those changes, people of color, the poor, the LBGQT, etc.

‘You know those…

‘You know those moments when you are fully aware of God? That nanosecond-to-a-second fullness of time where you and the universe in it are connected and the beauty of the divine exists? Since we are only human we can only take in that immenseness for a moment in time, but that is part of why we are in a community of faith instead of just living as individual believers!’

A Pastor Katy Theological Apostrophe hehehe

Smee “I think I’ve had an Apostrophe”

Hook “I think you mean an Epiphany”

Smee “LIghting, just struck my brain”

Hook “That must have hurt”

Book Review: “Dead Ever After” by Charlaine Harris (Sookie Stackhouse Series)

In honor of this being the last book in the series, I did what I always do with good series, I reread the entire series before starting on the final book…(I’m a rereader)

(Note, trying to avoid spoilers)

The ending is good–there is still a lot of mystery-type-plot…a lot of loose ends are tied up and there is a definite progression of characters (esp. Sookie Stackhouse). Here is the deal though, I don’t think of books individually (esp if they are about the same character)…they are just HUGE chapters to the ongoing story.

As my husband says, the ending is key…because it reflects on the WHOLE (not because it is an important piece)..see I do book reviews like I do my theology (w)holistically,

ps wholistically should totally have a w on it, it helps the meaning…

Anyway…Here is what I think what makes the Sookie Stackhouse series so good.

1. It explains why so many deaths happen in a dinky little town…my mom says she likes mysteries but after a while its hard to buy that so many murders are happening in the middle of nowhere, vampires, werewolves and shapshifters help

2. It struggles with the questions of humanity (what does it mean to be human? Why am I here?) through the contrast and comparison with the supernatural

3. It deals with Bigotry–big time… it deals with real and perceived differences, prejudices and how even other groups can be bigots (homophobic shapeshifters anyone?)

4. It shows growth…again I know I said this, but the only way you can sustain an ongoing series is to have the characters grow–now Sookie Stackhouse sleeps around a little too much for my taste, but I think that she is sleeping around because she is searching for some self-definition, and in the end, she has learned a lot, not just about guys but relationships, friendships and herself. There is a little bit of obsessing about looks, manners, appearances etc. but I think that is the reality of Sookie’s life (some of it being the culture of a small town, etc)…and she doesn’t frustrate me too much with these hang ups….

I recommend as a fantasy and mystery fan and as a feminist

Series List

Better Off Dead, Living Dead in Dallas, Club Dead, Dead to the World, Dead as a Doornail, Definitely Dead, All Together Dead, From Dead to Worse, Dead and one, Dead in the Family, Dead Reckoning, Deadlocked, Dead Ever After

Another Vampire Review Here

Theology of Vampire Here

(PS I did watch the first couple of seasons of True Blood, but it was a little too drug obsessed for my taste, not to say that it wasn’t good the focus just seemed to be different…………..)

I firmly believ…

I firmly believe that humanity is no better or worse that it used to be….I think humans like to believe the myths of “human progress” or “the world ending” because its hard to find purpose if we aren’t running towards or away from something. Of course, what we should be running towards is God and what we should be running away from is evil. Also, we tend to look a “the world” from our own individual perceptive and judge it accordingly (when we’re up the world is better, when we’re down the world is ending) However, I think that we are human, we have ups, and downs. We have flaws and we have gifts. It may be easier to believe in a change, but I think that that truth is humanity will always remain human, and part of humanity is that need for relationship, the need for love in our lives.