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Filtering by Category: Ricky Cintrón

But She Believed

Ricky Cintrón

by Ricky Cintrón

I’ve grown more cynical as I’ve gotten older. I know this and I own it. Part of the issue is as I’ve become an adult, I’ve become less of a big picture thinker and more of a detail oriented person – not that being a big picture person is bad, or that being detail oriented automatically predisposes you to being cynical, but you start to realize how much work goes into things you thought would be so easy and natural.

The other part of it is more grounded in the times; every day my phone or computer delivers constant updates of tragedy and heartbreak. Every hour there’s another school shooting, police brutality, queer bashings, environmental crises, I could go on, but I’m fairly certain you probably feel the same way. Elected officials tasked with serving people serve only themselves and the corporations they get donations from. Church leaders cry about the name of Jesus being twisted in the public square for decidedly un-Christian legislative agendas but they don’t do much else about it but hem and haw and play it safe….All while people die easily preventable deaths.

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You Are Welcome Here! (Restrictions May Apply)

Ricky Cintrón

by Ricky Cintrón

“Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.” [Matthew 10:40]

Jesus speaks these words at the end of a long sermon commissioning the twelve apostles to go out and proclaim the good news, to cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Jesus tells them all this and then tells them don’t worry about bringing a bag, or a tunic, or money, or whatever. These apostles would have to depend on the hospitality of strangers in the places they visited. The church from its inception has relied on the kindness of strangers, for those who welcomed the apostles welcomed Jesus. The early church depended on hospitality and it was charged with extending that same hospitality to others, and so today we Christians strive to be a people of welcome and hospitality.

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The Valley of Dry Bones

Ricky Cintrón

by Ricky Cintrón

The other day during Morning Prayer I found myself reading a passage from Ezekiel, the famous “Valley of Dry Bones” vision:

The hand of the Lord came upon me, and he brought me out by the spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me all around them; there were very many lying in the valley, and they were very dry. He said to me, “Mortal, can these bones live?” I answered, “O Lord God, you know.” Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them: O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord God to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. (Ezekiel 37:1-5)

This is probably one of my favorite passages in the whole Bible. Coincidentally, I had also read this passage during the Easter Vigil at church. That was my first time ever attending an Easter Vigil service; when I was a child, my parents didn’t go to the Vigil because it’s a super long service. As beautiful as this service was, I wasn’t filled with joy. I had a recent falling out with some friends, work had me really burnt out, and I was reminded of how lonely I felt in Boston, especially since I usually spend this holiday with my family back home. I sat with this passage, thinking about Easter and the empty tomb, and silently prayed: “Lord, breathe into the places in me that are dry and dead. Fill those places with life.”

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On Unity

Ricky Cintrón

by Ricky Cintrón

I’m not a big fan of the word “unity” these days.

More often than not, folks who say they want unity don’t want the hard work that comes with making it a reality. We’ve seen, for example, political leaders and private citizens alike from across the country respond to the phrase “Black Lives Matter!” with “All Lives Matter! Why are you dividing people by race? We need to come together! All lives are important!” Yet we know that historically, Black lives have not mattered, so responding with “all lives matter” seeks to simply erase the trauma and historical experiences of Black people.

This kind of unity – the kind that asks marginalized voices to stop making people uncomfortable – is not unity.

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Joy and Upheaval

Ricky Cintrón

by Ricky Cintrón

I love to dance. Specifically, I love to dance salsa and merengue. I’ve been dancing for as long as I can remember. It’s a form of self-care and healing for me, and I’ve spent many nights dancing alone in my bedroom. (It’s not as sad it sounds, I swear.)

This love of dance comes from my family. I was always my mother’s dance partner at our family parties, and from a young age, my dad instilled in me a love for salsa, exposing me to the giants of the genre like Héctor Lavoe, Willie Colón, and of course, my queen, Celia Cruz.

I didn’t learn all of the formal steps until this last year, actually, when I was given a brief salsa lesson in addition to instructions for a protest that I was a part of. I was participating in a "Salsa Shutdown" organized by Movimiento Cosecha, an immigrant-led organization that is working for the permanent protection of undocumented people in this country. The Salsa Shutdown was a means of showing the consumer power of immigrants.

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Seeing Over the Crowd

Ricky Cintrón

by Ricky Cintrón

The Gospel of Luke tells us that a man named Zacchaeus, a chief tax collector, heard Jesus was coming. He wanted to see Jesus but was unable to do so because he was “short in stature” and couldn’t see over the people surrounding Jesus. I can relate to that because I’m about 5’4”. I’m afraid of heights, though, so I haven’t tried climbing into a tree to see someone – but I can relate to the experience of being unable to see Jesus because of a crowd.

Most people that know me know that I grew up Roman Catholic. Most people that know me also know that I’m gay. At age 13, I knew I was different from other boys, and I also knew that there would be problems. My classmates made fun of me. My teachers didn’t know how to support me. The words of priests and bishops all sent me the same message over and over again: I needed to change my identity in order to be part of community. It was something I couldn’t do. This is the experience of countless people who grow up, not just in the Roman Catholic Church, but in all kinds of Christian communities. The church often plays the part of the crowd in this Gospel story; we surround the Savior and make it hard for other people – especially those on the margins – to see or touch Jesus.

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