Primitive religion is not believed, it is danced!

Arthur Darby Nock

Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
And only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.

Elizabeth Browning

Friday, March 31, 2023

Justice equals compassion

If “compassion means justice” as Eckhart insists (and the Jewish prophets of old insist), then to do justice in the midst of injustice is to bring the Divine back to history and culture.  It is to bring love back since “God is love” and compassion is another word for love.  And justice is another word for love.

                     Matthew Fox (Daily Meditations)



when I was young we used to sing


love, love, love, love

Christians this is your call

love your neighbor as yourself for

God loves us all


it is more than that

God is love

and if we participate in the Sacred

if we are permeated with the Sacred

we will love


and love is not passive

love welcomes

love accepts

love embraces


welcomes, accepts, and embraces all people



not just those like “us”

not just those who are our color

embrace our creed

our culture

but all


and welcome acceptance, and inclusion

are not possible

without justice

without equity

without compassion lived out


how is it then

that some, in the name of Jesus

have embraced injustice and inequity

have pursued domination and coercion

have opted for exclusion and even eradiation

rather than love?


I supposed we should not be surprised

read a prophet, almost any prophet

and you will see there the ancestors of those

who today would oppress and hoard


those who today would dominate and control





those they have decided

are not children of God


Micah predicted woe on such people

“Woe to those who plan iniquity, to those who plot evil on their beds!

At morning’s light they carry it out because it is in their power to do it.”


We could come up with a lot of woes!

Woe to those who accumulate and leave others hungry

Woe to those who neglect the poor, the ill, the vulnerable

Woe to those who do not welcome the stranger

Woe to those who throw away transgender people

Woe to those who try to create a “Christian” nation through oppressive and cruel legislation

Woe to those who think guns are more important than children

Woe to those who think profits are more important than the planet

Woe to those who think they are superior to others simply because of pigmentation

Woe to those who minimize and marginalize women

Woe to those who push hate and fear for political power


The list could go on


None of us do it all right

all of us have ways in which we violate love


what do we do when we struggle to love those who do not love?


my thoughts about a certain political party and certain

political leaders are not very loving most days!


I admit it


but the fact is we must try love

and love requires justice

and justice must be equal

and for all

not just for some


love, love, love, love

that is our call

and we must live it out


and living it out is not just a matter of how we treat our neighbor

(although it is that)

but it is a matter of the systems we support (or don’t support)

the people who choose to listen to

and the people we vote for


to return to Micah

“What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”


we must get out of our egos

we must fight for justice

we must be kind (to all)

it is as simple and difficult as that

Friday, March 24, 2023

True Freedom

“We wanna go back to Egypt” the people cried

looking ahead into the unknown

into the undefined


“it may have been slavery back there,

but it was our slavery

it was our “known”

and we were happy (or so we remember)

with the scraps of vegetables and the fish that came our way

easing the hunger


“We wanna go back”

say all people, everywhere, in every time

looking ahead through the haze

into the unknown


true freedom is not all we thought it would be

it is uncertain and frightening



and God knows we love our certainty

and our comfort

we want what we believe we can control

what is safe


we would rather be enslaved and pretend to be free

than be truly free

we would rather be controlled, and pretend to be in control

than be truly free


we wanna go back to Egypt

we wanna go back to 1952

we wanna go back to those times

when everything was black and white

and the pews were filled with the unthinking


and we could ignore the harsh realities of racism

and ignore the gender spectrum

and ignore the poor

and ignore injustice


and pretend all was well

and that America was great


it is easier to trust old rules

old systems

old hierarchies

old prejudices


than to trust the One who would set us free


we do not want to be released

cast from our comforts

into the desert of the unfamiliar


and yet only if we trust

in God

in Love

in community


will we find our way through

the wasteland of fear and hate

to a land flowing with milk and honey

a land of equity and justice


only if trust

and let go of the old

can we find our way

to the promise




Thursday, March 23, 2023

Original Blessing

"And now, with God’s help, I shall become myself..."

          Søren Kierkegaard


But I'm not crazy, I'm just a little unwell

I know right now you can't tell

But stay awhile and maybe then you'll see

A different side of me

I'm not crazy, I'm just a little impaired

I know right now you don't care

But soon enough you're gonna think of me

And how I used to be

          Rob Thomas (Matchbook 20)



we hear it all the time

I am

I am broken

I am a sinner

I am an alcoholic or an addict

I am


but the real question is,

“Who am I?”

Do you know

Do you care?

Do I even know who I really am?


I believe in original blessing

that we come into this world

stuffed with Sacred


look at a child

any child

even children who, from a human perspective

with syndromes and other challenges


look at a child

look deep into their eyes

and you will see


or if not God

a stairway to heaven


in those eyes


I have gone through I lot in life

I had wonderful parents, healthy siblings

Privilege, and safety


I was gifted with reasonable looks

Moderate size

Decent intelligence


I have been educated beyond all reason


I have also made horrible mistakes

and have allowed an overactive and anxious brain

to haunt me


I have stumbled through 70-plus years

doing good, doing bad

helping and hurting

being moral and being a mess

eating well, and eating poorly

compensating for my bully brain in ways

that damaged and eroded soul, mind, and body


and here I am

wondering, as I look in the mirror at this sagging body

wondering as my soul stumbles as much as my feet

and my brain replays all the lowlights of my life

who I am


when was I most who “I am”

when was I optimal?

the closest to the divine blessing

the original intent?


I don’t know

I can remember a time when I was healthy




Relatively undamaged





At least I think I can!

How old was I

Before I started to pick up the garbage

That I have hauled around for so long?


The thoughts and feelings,

The memories

That cling and burden

And twist and distort?


That leave me saying

“I am not enough”

“I am not loved”

“I have made too many mistakes, and am not respected”

“I have nothing to say”

“I am only liked for what I can do, not for who I am”

(Perhaps you know the litany?)


How old was I before those years when I drank to me

And now, these times when I eat too much

Hammered my body

Until now everything hurts, and what doesn’t hurt doesn’t work?


I can picture myself





And as I do I remember Jesus, talking to another

Wrinkled gnome of a soul, Nicodemus

Another soul deeply imprisoned by his head

Out of tune with his heart and saying


You must be born again

(which means you must be born from above)


You must open yourself again to Sacred Love

Be filled again, even if you leak

With God’s presence


You must once again see yourself as a child of God

A child

twisted, humped, wrinkled, white-bearded, but a child

one in whom the Sacred shines through

one with bright eyes, looking forward into the future

one still grown

still improving

on the way


one God can look at as see God’s self

the image

reflected back


one with eyes, full of love and hope

acceptance and welcome

In heaven (perhaps) there will be only five-year-old eyes (Michel Quoist)


I do not want to see myself

As old


Twisted, withered, dried, hard


I want to see myself as a Sacred child

Forever (in all the ways that count) young




Open, all of you, little old creatures

It is I, your God, the eternal, risen from the dead, coming to bring back to life the child in you.


Hurry! Now is the time. I am ready to give you again the beautiful face of a child, the beautiful eyes of a child.


For I love youngsters and I want everyone to be like them!”   (Michel Quoist, Pr