Grounding My Love by Xochitl Alvizo

I love living in a second-story apartment. Having a view of Los Angeles, of the palm trees, the expansive sky, the distant mountains, and the city lights of downtown, makes life feel bigger, more full of possibilities. In the struggle of transitioning my life back to L.A., the view from my second floor apartment helps make me feel ok in the world. I’m in love with Los Angeles – the land, its topography, its sky, its desertness – and even its traffic. Beside the fact of sometimes being made to arrive late somewhere, I don’t mind being in our famed L.A. gridlocks – I don’t mind being in the slow moving flow of cars. I kind of enjoy being among the thousands of other folks sharing the collective experience of trying to get someplace. Traffic becomes for me a leisurely time when I get to do nothing else but enjoy the city.

Plus, the freeways – I love them! Have you ever driven on one of L.A.’s sky high on-ramps or carpool lanes? It’s like you get to fly. You get to be up in the sky among the top of the palm trees, with all the other cars and buildings off in the distant view. I would drive somewhere just to get onto one of our sky-high carpool lanes, I swear. Just recently I merged onto the carpool lane of the 110 North from an on-ramp I had not taken before, a magnificently long single-lane on-ramp that took me high up into the air, and I immediately thought, I need to remember this way so that I can drive it again sometime. Continue reading “Grounding My Love by Xochitl Alvizo”

Another Gay Bar Closes – Paradise Lost by Marie Cartier

It’s where I went when I wanted to be around other gay people when John Kerry debated George Bush in 2004 for the presidency. I had just moved to Long Beach from Los Angeles and I was still figuring out the city. I didn’t have access to the debate on my TV at home, and I needed to see it. The bartender turned it on for me and we all gathered around and watched. By we all, I mean the gay men and lesbians who frequented that corner café and bar.

I remember laughing so hard that day when someone in the bar said what I still love as a quote, “John Kerry: Bring complete sentences back to the White House.”

Later when I met my girlfriend, who would become my wife, we were living a few blocks apart and in the middle of those few blocks was The Paradise Café. We didn’t have access to the lesbian TV series smash The L-Word. We often went to the Paradise and guilted them into turning it on. We’d sit at the bar with French fries, which to this day I think are the best fries in Long Beach, and watch The L-Word, chiding a lot of gay men around us that they needed to watch to and catch up on this “amazing show!!”

It was where I went, where tons of us went after gay marriage was declared legal in California. I went in with a friend of mine, Carolyn Weathers, who is the cover girl on my book, Baby, You Are My Religion: Women, Gay Bars, and Theology Before Stonewall (BYAMR).

Continue reading “Another Gay Bar Closes – Paradise Lost by Marie Cartier”

“Inheriting Our Mother’s Gardens”: Trans/lating, Trans/planting and Trans/forming Life by Sara Frykenberg

Sara FrykenbergThis Friday, March 7, 2014, the Women’s Caucus (WC) of the American Academy of Religion, Western Region will be hosting its annual “Professional Development Panel and Workshop” in Los Angeles, CA.  During the workshop panelists and attendees will consider what ‘gardens’ we have grown in, who our ‘mothers’ are and how this impacts what we bring to the table or what ‘gifts’ we bring to the table when dialoging with and across differences.  Our title and praxis at this event is also meant to honor our feminist mothers.  Specifically I would like to recognize and honor Letty Russel, Katie Geneva Cannon, Kwok Pui Lan and Ada Maria Isasi-Diaz.  Among many other accomplishments, these women edited the 1988 volume entitled: Inheriting Our Mothers’ Gardens: Feminist Theology in Third World Perspective.  This book helps to give voice to women marginalized within feminist theological discourses and is the inspiration for our panel’s title this year. 

Preparing for this panel, I reflected that many of those who contribute to this blog have written about their mothers (biological or non-biological) and mothering.  (Most recently I found myself inspired by Marie Cartier’s meditation on aging, health, her mother and religion.)  I realized that I have said very little about my own mom; my mom, who I am so like, who I look like, and who is both my mother and my friend.  I have definitely ‘inherited her garden,’ so to speak: flowers, herbs, weeds, rocks and all.  So, momma, this blog is for you.

Continue reading ““Inheriting Our Mother’s Gardens”: Trans/lating, Trans/planting and Trans/forming Life by Sara Frykenberg”

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