Thursday, January 10, 2019

I Was Reminded I Am a Creature of the Borderlands

By Santi Rodriguez

This is a reflection based on a recent visit to the U.S.-Mexico border in Laredo, Texas as part of January Term.

I was not born at the border. In fact, I only came to the United States from Colombia at age sixteen. Moreover, after college, I moved in Canada. Nonetheless, I am acquainted with the realities of the borderlands. As an immigrant, I have lived and experienced the borderlands on a regular – if not daily – basis. As a person of color, I am often made to feel that the spaces I inhabit are not made for me. You don't look white, where are you from? Everywhere I have pitched my tent has become a borderland. My many visits to the U.S.-Mexico borderlands – in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California – confirm my status as a creature of the border. A creature abreast of the strangeness of longing for a home sin fronteras, while straddling two spaces – two cultures seemingly at odds. Pero no soy de aquí, ni de alla. I am not fully de este lado. I've never lived or belonged del otro lado. All I know is that I am a stranger. You have an accent, where are you from? I concur with Gloria Anzaldúa's assertion in her book Borderlands / La Frontera: identity is a state of soul not of mind or of citizenship. Nonetheless, both mind and citizenship afflict the soul.

Monday, December 10, 2018

My Encounter with Meditative Running

By Santi Rodriguez

Men's Journal
Running was never love at first dash. For most of my life, I hated running. I tried it every once in a while, but it never took. Then three years ago, after a number of transitions in my life left me feeling anxious and obese, I laced up an old pair of sneakers and took them for a spin. Running worked its magic in me. It gave me the power to transform a bad day into a good one; frustration into inspiration; a trail into a creative studio. Mile by mile, I fell in love with running. This love motivated me to “go the distance.” It inspired me to explore the limits of my potential. It also awakened something in me. My encounter with meditative running revealed something to me about my human experience, reignited my spiritual life, and helped me to discern the life of the Triune God in me. In order to establish the consequences of my encounter with running, this reflection describes how meditative running lead to a new prayerful behavior, and eventually to a richer and more matured discourse about my humanity and my experience of God.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Account of a "helping incident"

By Santi Rodriguez

This entry was part of my Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE application) under the section, Account of a "helping incident"

Before joining the Episcopal Church, as part of my formation to be a Jesuit priest, I spent six week in 2010 at a L'Arche community. L'Arche communities are places where people with and without intellectual handicaps live and work together. It was in Cap-de-la-Madeleine, Québec, that I lived out the experience.

I was tense in the weeks leading to the beginning of the experience. Sometimes I could feel my bones straining under the weight of my apprehension. I did not feel prepared to care for men and women with severe mental and physical handicaps. I was worried I would hurt others in my attempt to help them.

Monday, November 12, 2018

The Priesthood of Rick Grimes

By Santi Rodriguez
Rick Grimes has been a major part of The Walking Dead since the beginning of the show. In the pilot, we watched Rick get shot and stumble out of a coma into a world in chaos. Before the encountered the endless herds of zombies, he shuffled through the desolate hospital until he found a padlocked door with confusing signage: DON'T DEAD OPEN INSIDE (meant to read – don't open, dead inside). Rick struggled to understand what that meant – and so did we.

Over the last decade, the alternative message became a little clearer for Rick: to avoid walking dead, he needed to journey inwardly. From King County to Atlanta and from the West Georgia Correctional Facility to the Alexandria Safe Zone, Rick learned that to be fully alive, and to avoid falling victim to the chaotic world around him, he needed to articulate the movements of his inner life.

In light of Rick's last episode on the TV show, here's what the machete-wielding, zombie-killing Officer Friendly taught me about priestly ministry (as outrageous as that claim might sound).

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Happy Anniversary to My Wife

By Santi Rodriguez

Happy anniversary to my dear bride!

Dear Julie,
I am still the luckiest guy in the world.
Love beckoned us – and Love taught us to live into this sweet 'I Do.'
I am honored to be your husband. You are truly a gift from God.
You have the patience of a saint and the wisdom of a queen.
You are a generous dispenser of love and a witness to hope and grace.
I admire your childlike joy, your tireless devotion to family, and your unquenchable spirit.
Your love is unconditional and comfortingly consistent.
God has made this union strong, and we can’t boast about it.
But I can boast that you are my wife, and I shall never tire to tell the world how lucky I am.

Happy anniversary, amor.

Friday, September 28, 2018

A Latinx Theology Reading List

By Santi Rodriguez

Viaje con Escalas

I am Latino. Soy Colombiano. I learned about God through Spanish lullabies, the stories of my abuelos, y the love of mami y papi. I was born into Spanish, and then translated al Ingles. After decades in Canada and the United States, my identity remains a puzzle. There is no box on the form for complicated. When I am asked where I am "really from" or why I have an accent, I am reminded that my Latinidad has no expiration date. Lately, I’ve realized that God wants me to honor the heritage of my faith. So, I have set out to search the roots of my faith.

I need to be reminded that God first spoke to me in Latinoamerica. I need to recall the Aztecs and the Incas, and also remember Spanish conquistadors stealing gold and baptizing babies. I need to call to mind the bitter sweet realities of the father of my fathers and madres - to plunge into stories of liberation and slavery. Of chronicled ancestry and undocumented romantics.

To better comprehend the rhythm of my faith, I need to dig in and do the work. Therefore, I took to Twitter to inquire about the best books on Latinx theology. What follows is a curated list of the suggestions I received. These are books by authors from different faith traditions. It is a beautiful mix of races, genders, and perspectives. An assortment of theology that tastes like tacos, sancocho, and sugarcane.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Camina con Santiago: Austin 1.1

By Santi Rodriguez

I arrived in Austin three weeks ago. Since then, I settled down in our new apartment (Mia, the social butterfly / Bernese Mountain dog is here with me), completed New Student Orientation, and retreated with my classmates at a beautiful ranch in the Texas Hill Country. 

Here's a dose of memorabilia -  a list of what I’m enjoying or pondering.

Where I'm finding inspiration —
The story of Moses and Zipporah. This year, Julie, Ty, and I are separated. I am starting my formation at Seminary of the Southwest. Tyson is beginning 4th grade in Alexandria. Julie is finishing her last year in the Coast Guard. I cannot wait to be reunited next year. This experience makes me ponder about Moses and his separation from his family. I'm mulling over their leave-taking and their time apart. With my sanctified imagination, I have been chatting with Moe. "Why did you leave them? How did God comfort you during your time without them?" I've visualized the moment he said goodbye to Zipporah and his children, and what that felt like for them. His journey to the Nile Delta, and his prayers to 'I AM WHO I AM' for his family's safe-keeping. His ministry in Egypt while he longed for Zipporah and pined for his children, Gershom and Eliezer. These scenes comfort me, and increase my trust in the plan God has for our family during this year of geographical distance.