Dark Devotional: Creating From The Wound

I live in Los Angeles, the epicenter of self-defining artists. And, like most people in this city, I consider myself an artist. However, unlike most people living in Los Angeles — I believe we’re all artists in some form or another. I'm in constant awe of the way people create, perform, produce, and refine their skills. I see this in the visual arts, parenting, writing, cooking, teaching, care-taking, and most avenues of life. In LA, I’m constantly bombarded with things that take me away from my … [Read more...]

Mary Magdalene, Wonder Woman, and Me

In honor of the Feast of St. Mary Magdalene, July 22I wore a long, red, silky and glittery skirt and golden bangles to play Mary Magdalene in our church’s Lenten Passion Play, circa 1990. Per ancient Christian tradition, the script conflated her with the sinful woman of the city from the gospel of Luke (7:36-50). I still can recite her opening lines, written as poetry by one of our Sunday School teachers: Sick with deep shame I sorrowfully come / offering tears and repentance of soul / s … [Read more...]

Dark Devotional: Worthy

My first memory is of flushing my father’s drugs down the toilet. I was 3, and he and my mother were fighting. Again. About his drug use. Again. My mother found some stash or other, and sent me to flush them. I did.By the time I was 5, my parents had already separated and reunited several times and were finally separated for good. I had been in a major car accident--my father was driving, high. I was a confused little girl. I loved my father. I remember him playing games with me and making gr … [Read more...]

Dark Devotional: Alive With Decay

We know that all creation is groaning in labor pains even until now; and not only that, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, we also groan within ourselves as we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.  My son hopped off the bus and ski -ran toward me, clutching the corn plant to his chest, a big smile on his face.“Look! We got to bring our plants home! We can grow POPCORN!”I cringed. I love my son. I love teachers. I love plants. I even love p … [Read more...]

Taking Intersectionality to Church

I just read an article in First Things, called “First Church of Intersectionality,” by Elizabeth Corey. Her article was timely, in that I've been, over the last several months, reflecting more and more on what it means to have a body. To be a body. To move through life in a female body. In a body with fair skin. In a body that’s both given life and been the scene of a crime. In delving into the riches of Catholic teachings on justice and social issues, I come back again and again to … [Read more...]

I Love a Good Clean Murder

Best are those with minimal blood: perhaps poison, asphyxiation, or even strangulation.But even better is the off-camera death, where we don’t see the victim stalked by their killer.Oh, I like a murder that feels staged—and that’s also available on Netflix.My husband and I watch at least three murder mysteries a week, usually of the BBC variety: Midsomer Murders or Marple, Sherlock or Foyle’s War. In between, I devour mystery novels, reading through author’s life’s work until I run ou … [Read more...]

Dark Devotional: Toxic Love

Jesus said to his apostles: "Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it" (Matt. 10.37-39). It was early in my PhD. One of my colleagues had a friend come up from Birmingham and so invited a bunch of us round to his … [Read more...]

Trying to Say God: An Address to the Artists

 The following was delivered as a plenary address by Bishop Daniel Flores of Brownsville, Texas, at the inaugural TRYING TO SAY GOD conference at the University of Notre Dame, 22 June, 2017.  THE POVERTY OF THE WORDThe WORD is our most constant and mysterious companion. In some way we come together during these days to celebrate the poverty of the WORD. And this in two principle senses. We rejoice in the poverty assumed by the WORD when he took flesh, and secondly we celebrate th … [Read more...]

Dark Devotional: The Mystery of Persecution

  But the LORD is with me, like a mighty champion: my persecutors will stumble, they will not triumph. In their failure they will be put to utter shame, to lasting, unforgettable confusion. (Jeremiah) One thing I learned while studying for my PhD was to distinguish the persecution from suffering. The two issues are interconnected, but while the problem of suffering affects all--both the righteous and the innocent--persecution strikes the righteous because they are … [Read more...]

Séance with the Freudenabteilung (or, Communing with Dead Nazi Sex Slaves): Listening to Joy Division as Religious Experience

 “Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.” – Neitszche  When you struggle with depression, it’s tempting to juxtapose your own horror stories with the real horror stories of history in an attempt to gain a more sober perspective. But these efforts usually backfire and cause even more despair. Pilgrims must be on guard for the monsters they will enco … [Read more...]