EPISODE 617: MY NAME IS HAUNTED MANSION

Happy Pride!

POP CULTURE SPIRIT WOW

Just came upon this old routine of Tig Notaro’s, which is basically the genius comedy equivalent of what I did to you all last week.

If you’re still here reading let me just say, in the words of my one time college hall director: you’re a star.

616 is Marvel comic’s designation for its universe. It’s Earth-616; we’re Earth-1218. Last week was Episode 616, so I just thought…

Hello? Is this on?

Hey I just try to keep things interesting.  As does this dog owner.

Real sign, real dog. I imagine its eyes are enormous and terrifying and yet I don’t care, with that name I need that dog in my life.

A lot going on in my tiny corner of the universe. I got back from this crosscountry journey I was on Friday. You might wonder, what’s it like driving cross country? On the way east, I would say it was exciting, in the sense that on some deeper level that I wasn’t even really aware of, I didn’t really believe it was possible to go all the way. I don’t know what I thought would happen, I just didn’t think you could actually do it.

How did people ever get in sail boats and propose it was possible to cross the Atlantic?  Jesus Mary and Joseph were they crazy.

On the way back I had intended on taking Route 66. Because that’s where you get your kicks, amirite?

Except it’s also where the speed limit is often 35 and the towns have been eaten alive by the desert and the absolute lack of tourist dollars in the last 15 months.

I spent one night in a place that was absolutely a murder hotel….

…and one in an absolutely fantastic place in New Mexico where the owner lit a campfire every night and invited people to come out and have a drink. Which I would have done except I had driven 35 hours in the prior 3 days. I honestly almost stayed an extra day in a town that literally had zero to do just for that fire pit. (It was a great hotel.)

But instead I came home and now my world is boxes, which is to say “how much weight can I carry?” I had started packing before I left, bought all these boxes only to discover huh, if you fill the big boxes they are impossible for all but the Incredible Hulk to carry. I could hear my friend Jean nodding as I told her about this discovery on the phone. “Big boxes for clothes. Small boxes for books,” she said. Of course I bought no small boxes. Because big!

This tweet is apropos of nothing and a Star Wars deep cut but I want you to have it.

I thought it would be hard to figure out what to keep and what to get rid of, but honestly, the whole thing is happening at such a clip for the moment there’s just no room in me for romance. Yes, I’ve always wanted to read this book, but I have now owned it for 11 years and still have not read it and so no.

The Benedictines, I am told, have a tradition of getting rid of anything they don’t use in the course of a year. It’s a very interesting exercise just to consider. In my experience, you really don’t use that much of your stuff in a year. I mean, it’s embarrassing how much of my stuff falls into the “I said eight years ago I will read this someday and so I still have it” category.

(This is one of the great side benefits of Kindle. You can have a thousand books that you have not yet read, but you don’t have to be confronted by it. On the other hand, when Amazon inevitably collapses all those books you converted to digital to make things easier are going to be very hard to read.)

(Crazy but true: I have literally considered filling a very old iPad with books as a backup for that apocalypse.)

With the Jesuits there can be a certain amount of judgment around the number of boxes you might have. Can you believe he needed a U-Haul? You mean like a normal person? 

It’s a poverty thing, and that’s not bad in itself, but it’ll drive you crazy if you think much about it. So of course I am.

So far I’m actually kind of pleased, though. I really don’t have that much stuff, aside from comic books (which is a rather huge aside, hey, look, what’s that over there?).

And actually I’m going to need to buy clothes, a fact that I realized very clearly when I was in Chicago and this water fell from the sky and everyone seemed ready for it but me.

Honestly, I’ve also been living in shorts for a long time. And that’s maybe a little beyond what dress casual allows in NYC?

It seems crazy to say, Hey, I’m moving: New wardrobe! But when you move from the West to the East, that’s how it goes, I guess?


Me In a Tweet:


So it’s Pride Month! Happy Pride!

Last year at this time I had the privilege of being able to preside online and talk about pride. We sang Somewhere Over the Rainbow and Rainbow Connection (because of course we did). And I might have gotten a little vklempt.

I’ve been thinking lately, one thing that is never not challenging about being gay in the church is that even if you get to the point where you are okay enough with yourself to admit who you are first to yourself and then to others, you’re still moving in an environment that is undermining to that sense of self.

You might be in a good community where the priest gets it and the people are welcoming and that is a huge help. Huge. But it’s all impermanent. The pastor leaves, the bishop changes, the pope changes or you just ever go anywhere else and all that progress is potentially gone. Which is to say it’s not really progress in the first place, just the beneficence of certain temporary authority figures.

I can’t imagine that’s going to change any time soon, though can one hope. But I think that situation is really important to remember. Until there’s actual change in policy in the church, queer Catholics can’t actually feel safe and at home.

Actually, the position of queer Catholics feels in some ways like how a lot of us are feeling right now pandemic-wise. We’ve been vaccinated, we’re more or less safe to do the things we did before, and to do them without masks or constant hand washing or anything else.  And yet we still feel vulnerable. We see people not wearing masks indoors in public spaces and it’s like, Steer Clear, Baby. And I don’t care if In the Heights is in theatres and it’s incredible (it really is, you guys), HBO Max sounds fine.

In my experience queer people in the church live with that same underlying sense of vulnerability. We’ve lived with it for so long, it might not be as top of mind as wearing a mask is right now. But it’s that sense of things being constantly uncertain. And unlike the pandemic, there’s no vaccine we can look to in order to remind ourselves we’re actually fine. Everything really is okay.

There’s the natural and very good impulse to understand being a support to queer people as welcoming us, trying to make us feel at home. Which is great and beautiful and revelatory.

But another way of creating a place of welcome is to join others who are calling for change. Or, in this month of pride, to be a part of those moments when queer people are celebrating. Dance it out with us and together we’ll create an experience of the reality of the kingdom of God that is undeniable (and also fabulous).


This feels like a weird thing to put directly after something about Pride but I love Aidy Bryant and I hope you like it.

That’s all I got this week. Next week…well, either I’ll be mostly done with packing and sending things away or I will be in nightmare and this newsletter will probably be just a series of goofy tweets that I found. Stay tuned…

In the meantime, wishing you all well in your own journeys through this weird post(ish?) pandemic time. Take the roads and the time you need to. If we learned anything last year, wasn’t it in part the gift of accepting who you are and treasuring the little moments along the way?

See you soon.

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