Ordinary Mary

Ordinary Mary

The very first sermon I ever preached was called “Ordinary Mary.” It explored the Annunciation of Mary, when God asked an ordinary girl to play an extraordinary part in healing the world (Luke 1:26-56). As a fourteen-year-old young woman, I was fascinated with this God who would invite people like me into such plans.

It was and is still important to me today to emphasize the human-ness of Mary, her ordinariness. Her story bears much hope and power, but only if she is not immaculately conceived, “born [especially] pure,” or whatever else nonsense folks have put on her over the centuries of church argument.

Put plainly, they have been trying to figure out what to do with a woman so intimately involved in the redemption of the world.

Mary being a woman is not enough for some theologies. Their deficient doctrines of original sin gets in the way; Mary has to be immaculately conceived in order to be holy enough to get pregnant with God. But not only does this not have to be true, it misses the point of the incarnation. God became flesh and dwelt among us. The scripture does not say God became “perfected flesh” or “oddly pure” flesh. The Word became flesh, period, of a woman who just so happened to get one every month.

Mary’s story bears its intriguing and liberating lesson if Mary is just Mary—a human female chosen to be the mother of God, chosen to birth Jesus into the world.

"Peace on Earth Begins at Birth"

"Peace on Earth Begins at Birth"

“Peace on earth begins at birth.”

I heard this quote somewhere years ago. It is a fairly popular refrain among female activists and birth-givers. I thought it referred to “calm,” “soothing,” or “natural” birth practices, or, I don’t know, trying not to make the baby cry. I thought it was about the baby’s experience.

However, my experience of finishing Ina May Gaskin’s Guide to Childbirth on Good Friday and then going to services—all during peak ovulation and its brave hope—brought out a different and deeper meaning that extends and encompasses the baby’s experience, the mother’s, and, indeed, the whole human community.

If we truly respected women (or “womben”), life-making, and life-giving, there could be peace on earth. If we truly recognized and honored the sacred nature of the birthing process, the holy passage of it all, how could anyone move to diminish or destroy creation, that which came through such a sacred course? If we understood and honored all of the hope and tears and spiritual labor that went into one child—how could we ever take that person from this world, either with one bullet or hundreds of denied opportunities? How could anyone destroy a mother’s child? Someone who has come though the sacred gates?

For My Womenfolk, Vocational Duty, & Hot Soup - Seven Gratitudes, vol. 45

For My Womenfolk, Vocational Duty, & Hot Soup - Seven Gratitudes, vol. 45

This week I am grateful…


For my womenfolk.

In this photo are women on my mother’s side. From left to right: me, Grandma, Aunt Monica, Mama, and Granny.

Leanna, Doris, Monica, Michelle, and Earlene.

We took the photo after Granny and Poppy bought us all breakfast Saturday morning.

Mom and I were down for the weekend with Aunt Monica in her forest home. I am not sure if we knew it going in, but it was definitely a YaYa kind of weekend for the three of us.

A weekend for sharing and receiving stories, daring to be present to one another and to see one another as the women we are. It was a weekend for falling asleep as we talked Friday night because we can relax together and rummaging through antiques Saturday morning because we can be honest about what inspires us and what doesn’t. It was a weekend for tears, laughter, and trust, trust, trust.

It was a weekend for my women, the ones whose blood runs through my veins, whose stories echo deep within me.

And it was—

Sustainably Feminine: How To Bleed In Peace - Quick Switch #007

Sustainably Feminine: How To Bleed In Peace - Quick Switch #007

Sustainable body care is an absolute no brainer, especially when it comes to caring for one's most intimate body parts.

However, it took me a while to make the switch. It was a matter of ecological awareness and practical knowledge. Once I realized that my pads and tampons were forever sitting in a landfill, I wanted to make a difference. But I did not know how (even my doctor did not know about the DivaCup back in 2007!!). So it was also a matter of community--or lack thereof. I didn't know a single other woman who was interested in eco-friendly periods, much less actually using sustainable products herself.

Happily, I can now report that there are several women in my life--and millions upon millions around the world--who have "green-ed" their periods. Ecologically-loving and female-empowering period supplies are becoming more popular and, thus, more readily available to all. Woot!

I share this #QuickSwitch with the hope that it helps women who face the issues of awareness, knowledge, and communal support that impeded my steps toward sustainable feminine care years ago.

This post is also a whoop of joy with the many other women who have found a way to 'bleed in peace!'

In No Particular Order: Pizza, Multiple Conversations, & Sex - Seven Gratitudes, vol. 7

In No Particular Order: Pizza, Multiple Conversations, & Sex - Seven Gratitudes, vol. 7

A spiritual practice is an activity through which we engage God, self, and creation that deepens our awareness of liberation and communion. It truly is practice, practice in loving God, self, and other.

We practice anything we care about, you know.

Seven Gratitudes is a weekly spiritual practice for me and several of my friends. My intention is that by carefully considering and joyfully sharing my thanksgivings, I might be moved to a deeper sense of God’s pervasive presence in the world and, also, my place in it.

I was dearly hoping to meet you here, too.

There’s a lot in the world that would keep us from rehearsing our gratitude, friends. I celebrate, however, your presence and the chorus we make for praise, no matter what.

Thanks for being here. 

This week I am grateful for...