December 11, 2018

  “What about the self as the grotesque?. What happens when that category is applied to ourselves, as opposed to when we apply it to something other? What happens when we begin to see ourselves as the other?” These questions that really struck me when I heard them. They’ve stayed with me, partly because of the way I experience myself. As someone who is extremely introverted I’m used to seeing myself from the outside, feeling like I’m outside the group,… Read more

November 19, 2018

“Can you comment on the self as grotesque?” The men on the panel at the conference looked bewildered, but the woman knew exactly what the questioner meant. Is experiencing one’s body as strange, even as grotesque, just part of being a woman? Later many of us shared our stories–tales of embarrassment and horror over what our bodies can do, can make, can shed. Each of us had them. Each of us nodded in agreement and empathy as the others spoke…. Read more

November 7, 2018

Something changed inside of me during the week following this summer’s shattering Pennsylvania Grand Jury report on sex abuse in the Catholic Church. I began facing serious PTSD-like flashbacks about an experience I had with a priest who betrayed my trust and stomped on my dignity a few years ago. Though I had mourned and processed that experience as honestly as I could since it happened, it was only with breaking of the Grand Jury report that I began to… Read more

November 2, 2018

The trees are getting naked around here. The trees: companions in my neighborhood, definers of the landscape, manifestations of God’s goodness, creativity, and strength. Towering oaks, maples, aspens, birch, all tucked between the pines. These wide-reaching wonders now expose their bark, limbs and brownish cores. Orange-tan leaves that once defined them, now cover the ground and create a crunch underfoot. It’s a stripping.   And, a great modeling of love.   Therefore, you shall love the LORD, your God, with… Read more

October 23, 2018

The first thing you notice about Salem is that it looks like every old port city in New England. Lovely 1700’s colonial homes with cobblestone sidewalks line narrow streets. The harbor boasts beautiful views and some of the best seafood restaurants in the world. These days, there are shops, restaurants, museums, and quaint inns aimed at capturing the tourists’ imaginations (and dollars). As I parked my pickup truck, I had the fleeting thought that I could be on Cape Cod,… Read more

October 17, 2018

After The Important Book by Margaret Wise Brown The important thing about stories is that they’re always partly true. They’re fun to read, and sometimes they’re called fiction and sometimes they’re called nonfiction. Sometimes they’re called sermons and sometimes they’re called lyrical creative flash poetry. You may read them, or hear them through the keyhole, or know them in the depths of your heart from the time you’re born. But the important thing about stories is that they’re always partly true. The… Read more

October 8, 2018

The Witch: A New England Folktale, one of the best horror movies of the last decade, is now streaming on Netflix. It says a lot about current events that a few of us at Sick Pilgrim found it to be a comforting alternative to our social media feeds last week. We found relief in just straight up acknowledging how scary the world feels right now. (Comedy makes me want to punch someone in the face, one friend commented on FB)…. Read more

October 5, 2018

The last time I sat down to write a Dark Devotional, a meditation on the Bread of Life discourse and my experience with the Eucharist, it turned out to be only a couple days before the release of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report. The gruesome report, detailing allegations of sexual assault against 1,000 minors by 300 priests, along with the arguably systematic coverups of the crimes by bishops, immediately threw my relationship to the Church hierarchy into crisis, and has… Read more

September 19, 2018

“He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, ‘Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.’” Mark 9:35   Four years ago, a dear friend and professor died on the lawn of my seminary while playing frisbee with students.  Jannie was a tall man from South Africa and was nothing like our other professors. I admit to hating him at first because he assigned reading BEFORE class started and he even sent… Read more

September 13, 2018

“Bruised. Derided. Cursed. Defiled. She beheld her tender child…” Many Catholics I know are wondering, “How do we come back from this level of corruption and evil?” Of course I am referencing the levels from Pennsylvania about all the sexual abuse and misconduct. I am wondering it. I have voiced it. Don’t each of the words used to describe Jesus in this sequence seem to also apply to our Church right now? Bruised- The victims and families and all members… Read more

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