I’m Spiritual AF!
But are we even allowed to say that? The pressures of conforming to social norms and culture have been REALLY intense in our religious history as a nation in the US. Really, I think that’s true everywhere in the world. What comes to mind for you when someone says they’re spiritual let alone that they are a “minister”?
I’ll be honest, I’ve had a TON of judgment about religious and spiritual people. Sometimes it’s people in my own faith and sometimes it’s people in other faiths. But every time, it’s about some stereotypical concept or generational pressure that makes me feel like there’s a “prototype” to what it means to be really spiritual and live a spiritual life.
No Really, I’m About This Sh*t!
I’ve been a connoisseur of profanity my entire life. Growing up as a child in a world where my only parent had a severe mental health issue meant all sorts of fun stuff. One aspect of that was being in adult contexts at a very early age… all the time. From as far back as I can remember, I was hanging out with a bunch of prototypical men in American society. I learned to curse, drink, smoke (many things), fight and otherwise lean into the bravado of so-called manhood.
As I began to discover myself as a spiritual being it became obvious that who I was didn’t really seem to be welcome in spiritual communities. Somehow, the person I was raised to be was suddenly unacceptable altogether, I was judged as aggressive, abrasive, agitating, alienating, and even awful… and those are just the A’s!
My Divided House…
Over time I did my best to conform. I did my best, which was only really mediocre, to keep my language clean when taking classes, volunteering and dealing with people as a spiritual practitioner and eventually as a minister. At first, I thought this made me a fraud. I was one way in my spiritual context and another in my other contexts. Most of the people who meet me or knew me in my youth are still skeptical that I’m even an actual minister at all!
After years and years of repression, those valves tend to leak. The pressure of balancing more than one personality was too much for my psyche and my father’s schizophrenia had me WELL acquainted with what happens when there’s more than one voice in your head. So, I began to act out, press boundaries and flat out rebel against the censoring of my speech. That’s a dangerous thing for a public leader to do… but I’m badass so, I did it anyway.
More Than One Road, Not More Than One Traveler…
What I failed to realize was that I COULD reconcile who I am with the services I provide to others. If a community hired and paid me to be their spiritual leader (God bless you Oneness CSL!!!) then it was appropriate for me to adhere to the way they wanted to hear the message. So that’s what I did. However, what I also learned was that I could be even more freely who I am in smaller groups as I began to build rapport with people. This would happen in classes, in counseling and in small group ministry and fellowship.
But even that felt restrained a bit; not because it was inauthentic, I had been engaging very well and cursing in small spurts where appropriate and that made me feel pretty badass too, however, when I’m alone with close friends and family I’m the absolute pinnacle of expletive punctuating dramatics. Should I dislike that aspect of myself because others feel it’s inappropriate?
The Answer is Yes… and No.
What I lacked (I say that past tense as an affirmation, cuz this is still true for me!) was the composure and grace to be creative enough and patient enough to articulate things in ways people could hear in certain contexts, but still love the profane communicator I enjoy being with folks who either opt-in to that aspect of my personality or are just similar and not harassed at all by that language.
So, here I am. This space is mine to cultivate so, you can bet I’ll be using profanity in plenty of my content. Perhaps I’m a minister who’s content may sometimes not be suitable to all audiences… but when the world is real as fuck and someone needs to talk some shit, isn’t nice to be able to have a place to go where it’s OK to do that and not feel like we’re somehow failing in our spirituality? I know I feel that way sometimes when I’m judged or policed for my tone and language so I invite you to share this rugged space with me.
This space is a brave place for profane communication. NOT to be confused with abusive… so don’t get out of hand. I just mean to say that my life is hard and sometimes I cuss more than most people would expect a minister to and that doesn’t make me any less spiritual than I’ve always been.
Measure Twice and Cut Once, Measure Once and Cuss a Lot…
So I invite you, if you’re resilient enough to handle my cussing, to know that it doesn’t mean you’re required to cuss too. It just means that’s how I talk sometimes and sometimes it’s the only adequate way to feel like I’m able to express my feelings, thoughts, and experiences. It isn’t about demanding other people to do it the way I do… it’s about asking people to afford me the grace to do it the way I do it. So, Let’s get Spiritual as fuck!