Though I am deeply drawn to Mary and images of the divine feminine, I rarely use images of Christ in my art. I was so deeply drawn to the focal image of Jesus on a friend's Pinterest site recently, however, I added it to my palette of items in Polyvore. This Polyvore digital art set kind of poured out of my mouse tonight and became "The Way of the Cross."
I am what I call a quiet Christian, but I definitely am a Christian. Born into a non-practicing Christian family, my mother (who had been raised Dutch Reform) did join the local Baptist Church when I was a kid because I asked to start attending there. It was literally my second family until I was in high school. We Baptist kids couldn't dance at our church, so I began church shopping--and I really have never stopped. I have been on a spiritual path long before I even started kindergarten. My dad, by the way, claimed to be an atheist.
At 21, I converted to Catholicism because I married a Catholic man and had always been drawn to the mystery of the mass and all the symbolism. I embraced Catholicism passionately and was deeply involved in the life of our parishes during all the 27 years of my marriage and for many years after that. In the 1980s, I received my M.A. in Comparative Religions and loved my studies. My thesis was on Fr. Thomas Merton. I'm a student by nature and will be until the end of my life, I hope.
About eight years ago I began seriously attending a few of the Episcopal churches in my area as the doctrine and dogma of the Catholic Church began to make no sense to me. But, I feel most at home in a liturgical Christian church. Six years ago I joined a tiny Episcopal Church, Christ Church, just a block from my house and I've found a church home and a wonderfully, inclusive community. For the past four years I have been attending a weekly study group called Education for Ministry which has been an intensive study into the Old Testament, the New Testament, church history, philosophy, theology, and the church in the modern world. Again, the student in me continues to find her niche.
Two years ago my friend Mary Lou and I made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land and though I'll admit that many doctrinal/dogmatic things about Christianity trouble me, walking where Jesus Christ had lived and died was a real game changer for me as a Christian.
This past Sunday I was "accepted" into the Episcopal Church in a beautiful liturgy celebrated by Suffragan Bishop Diane Jardine Bruce. I have already been baptized and confirmed as a Catholic. My rector Robert Cornner has been a real inspiration to me. Inclusivity is his hallmark and the foundation of Christ Church. I jokingly call myself a heretic, but at my church, I feel fully accepted just the way I am.
Holy Week begins this Sunday and I guess this Polyvore set "The Way of the Cross" is my way of saying, "Thanks, Father, Son and Holy Spirit for the gift of my life."
Thomas Merton says best how I feel about my own Christianity.
From the Love of Solitude, Part II, “Thoughts in Solitude,” by Thomas Merton
“My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore, I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.”