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

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Pass it On

it only takes a spark
to get a fire going
and soon all those around
are warmed up to
its glowing

we do indeed
pass it on
or forward

but what do we pass on?

it depends on what we are nurturing in our hearts
at the core of who were are
we are nurturing fear
we pass on fear
(look at facebook, there is just a touch of that )

if we nurture anger, anger

if we are busy judging ourselves
we will tend to judge others

if we are nurturing
if we are nurturing 
the sacred
that is what we pass on
it is time to say
the cycles of hate a fear
stop here
it is time to say
starts here

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

We Were Born Singing

The minute we arrive
we are born singing (Mark Nepo)

You thought that was a cry

and it was

a cry from the heart
about fear
and hunger
and yes
that need to breathe
and become part of life

to give voice to what is
keeps us breathing

to voice our hope
our fear
our love
to learn to give voice
to the cries of our heart
to learn to have a voice

when we praise God
we sing
when we weep
we sing
when we share our pain and give voice
to the emptiness within
we sing

and having giving our song
a way out
we have also created a way in
for the song of the universe
the songs of others
the song of God
so sing
give voice to anything
just sing

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Learning and unlearning

Remember who you are
my mother would say
I would leave the house 
for a night out
in our little country town
as if anyone would let me forget!
and yet I do forget
I have a massive case of amnesia
oh it is not that I don't have an ide
of who I am
I just don't have a picture of 
who i truly am
who God created me to be
I have been taught you see
by so many
who I am
that my image of myself
has become blurred
so it is with so many of us
each day I listen to people who have learned
they are bad
a waste of space
spirituality I have decided
is as much a matter of unlearning as learning
of unlearning all those things
a fallen world has taught us
it is a matter of going inside
and finding God
 for it is the moment that we find God inside ourselves
that we find ourselves inside God

and it is then that we 
unlearn that which be unlearned
and learn again
what it means to be a child
of God

Sunday, February 24, 2013

A River of Thoughts

in my head
there is a river of thoughts

roaring and rushing

it can be really crazy in there
have you noticed?

perhaps not
for often we 
are not mindful of the mind

and yet
our thoughts
color our world
how we speak to ourselves
brings us joy
or pain
fear or hope
 In my head
there is a river of thoughts
sometimes it is important
to sit on the bank
dangle my toes in the water
and watch it go

Friday, February 22, 2013

Letting Go

Piece by piece
The debris
The flotsam
Goes into the fire

A quick toss
And then the hungry flames
Flairing, roaring

Licking the needles off the branches
Quickly, crackling
And then more slowly
Eating away at the heart wood
Slowly consuming

And then with the power
Of self-made wind
Taking what was
And sending it skyward
Sparkling smoke
Into the far reaches
Of the sky
And free

Piece by piece
I feed the debris of my life
My failures
Relationships that were
But are no more

Slowly I feed them
Into the hot fire of divine love
Believing that the fire of the Spirit
Can transform them
And send them skyward
Into the vast expanse
Of God’s love

Twirling freely
Sparkling smoke

Thursday, February 21, 2013

My Inner Coot

some people say
we need to find our inner child

I don't disagree
I need that inner child
that part of me
that can dance in the snow
sing in the rain
splash in the mud puddle

but who i am
is made up of all the persons I have
throughout the years

the geeky grade school boy
with knobby knees
and a crew cut
ears peeking out 
grandly from behind dark rimmed glasses

the shy high school boy
who often in pictures
is never really looking up
and whose
body is framed by a brace

the college kid
trying to figure out 
who he is
and what he wants to become

eager intense young minister
battered young minister
seeking his way
 tired administrator
trying to figure out "what next"

and on it goes
I am the totality of my parts
none can be denied
and all must be appreciated and nurtured
for all of these
are me

what I was
what I am
what I am becoming

I am now trying to nurture
my inner coot

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Beginners Mind

MY LORD GOD, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. 
from the "Merton Prayer"
life is a matter
of endless beginnings
we do not know
how it will go
But as we are blown forward
by the wind of the spirit
not knowing where we go
not understanding
from whence we come
(John 3:8)
over and over
and over
there are beginnings
and endings
and beginnings again
each moment
each choice
is a chance to be 
a new creation
and thus we need
a beginners mind (Suzuki Roshi)
and accept these
endless beginnings
with a mind that can let go of that from that past
that does not bring life
and embrace
the newness that lies before us
to discover
that which has not yet emerged
new creation



Some Days

Some Days
just don't work

they just don't
no matter how hard you try
it is all

and then you end up
in a show down

out of balance
you seek something
that you can grab
to get back in balance

usually something
out there

grasping wildly
at what
seems like air

you simply slip further out of balance
piling stupid statement
on stupid behavior


you realize
that your center of balance
inside you
at your center
your core
where you
that is your true self
and the sacred meet

and dance together
happy dance

Monday, February 18, 2013

Thinking Outloud, Redux

Its always a spooky thing
to think out loud 

we often come to places 
we don't live in

but as we pass through
it is profound
some times we wander
boggy places
that slow us down and make us struggle

some times we  wander into deeper 
places that seem
spiritually, or emotionally
the "valley of death"

and sometimes
we wander into places 
that really are 
the valley
as we face cancer, or strokes
all those things that batter our frail bodies
and move us on what whatever is next

on that journey
we can really only do one thing
and that is

it does not help to think too much
to go into the world of
better, different, more

(I should have done

all we can do is be
in that moment
in that place

we can be who we are
be who God created us to be
be for others
be open
be quiet

we can stop and breathe
and in that moment
(perhaps we do need to say to ourselves,  "stop it")
as we just are

allow ourselves to engage
with the moment
and particularly with the 
who is there, right there
in front of us

whether that be the person we see in mirror
or the person we meet along the way

we need to accept the suffering if is there
but also be open to the possibility of happiness
and understand
that it is there
that possibility

not in the accomplishment
or possessions
or status

but there
along the path of understanding and compassion
we feel, allow ourselves to feel
we feel for others
we feel with others 
we feel for ourselves
and nourish deeply
our connection with the sacred
that is deep
sometimes very deep
within us

in short
 we can be present
in ourselves
in our lives
present in that profound reality
that is the Sacred
that is God
or rather let that presence
that is Spirit
be truly present in us

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Thinking Outloud

Thinking out loud

I sit here on a Sunday afternoon
An over 60’s man
Who has seen a lot
Done a lot
Accomplished a lot

I have a resume that would choke
Jabba the Hut

I have two masters
A doctorate

I have published two books
And have been

A minister
A fund raiser
A person working in international disaster relief
An executive director of a non-profit
A therapist

But today as I sit here
I feel like I am in the desert

I am intrigued with desert symbolism
Charles Cummings, Trappist monk reflected on that symbolism this way: "The physical desert, with its appearance of unlimited godforsaken emptiness, is a symbol of the human experience of the absence of God in our life, and the feeling of being abandoned by him and left to our own resources . . . . In the spiritual life, a desert experience is the feeling of inner emptiness that comes from being somehow cut off from the divine presence that is our deepest satisfaction and fulfillment.  The desert is not a place where we can expect to dwell secure. It is a place in which to wander.

The desert is where you are alone
And perhaps, cut off

On this winters afternoon I am thinking out loud
About why I feel
Like one trudging through deep sand
In the emptiness of the desert

Why I feel essentially alone
I took an amazing walk
And fortunately God walked with me
But as I walked I reflected on my human connections
And the sand began to shift
In the wind

At work I may be appreciated, perhaps even valued
But there is also this sense
Of being alone

My sisters rarely connect with me (and I admittedly don’t do any better back)
But brothers and sisters should feel connected
shouldn't they
Nephew and Nieces tolerate me, and are kind
But I feel like I could disappear
And they would not notice

My children I love.  But their mother makes me look like
A stranger, outside looking in
With her amazing efforts to engage

At church
In the community

I feel like a pool ball
Bouncing around the table
Casually bumping in to people
Glancing off
Sometimes having a little impact
But then moving on my way

I have been reading recently posts by high school friends
Stories of shared experiences
I remember watching from the sidelines of life
As my classmates, connected, played

And I was an observer

The resume
The jobs
The accomplishments
The degrees

Do not mean much
If you are alone

And so I am thinking out loud
About what it is

I can think about this a lot
And conjecture
Perhaps I am too busy
(yes, I am too busy)
And so don’t have time, or don’t seem to have time

Perhaps that old friend, not feeling like I am enough
Has me trying too hard
Trying to impress, trying to connect
And coming across arrogant, or selfish,
Coming across desperate
Or needy
Coming across as if I want something more
Than to just find a friend

We do use each other
It is a viable concern

Perhaps I am so tired
That I have nothing left to give
So all my attempts to give to others
Comes across as counterfeit, empty, shallow

Perhaps I really am not enough
At some basic level
Incapable of connection

Perhaps I am so protective of my self
So trained to be “strong” and “perfect” (or close too)
That I have put up an impenetrable barrier

But it would be so nice
To have people to walk with
To have a drink with
Or dinner
To watch a game
To just talk and be

It would be so nice to feel as if
For somebody, somewhere
I was important
Really important

Important enough to write
To call
To invite to be in a fantasy football league
Or go fishing
Important enough to make a priority

Not because of what I can do
But just

I know God loves me
Sometimes I even feel that

But I have never had
From the beginning of time

A person for whom
I was their best friend
There has been the moments of connection
Times I have reached out
Times where, for a moment I thought



you would think
A 60 year
Minister, counselor, director

You would think this person who has wandered the world
And done what I have done
Could figure it out

But right now I am just here
Thinking out loud

Saturday, February 16, 2013


It is a place of dryness
there is nothing
as far as i can see

it is a place
this desert
to wander

there is an odd comfort
in this emptiness
but also fear
fear that I will always wander
and that I will never again
find home

that I will forever be
separated from the One
from the presence
that gives me life

I feel naked

and so the voice of the tempter comes
offering me
a way out of this wasteland

there is no need to wander
no need to go through
the search
the struggle

I am tempted to believe
that solutions
that are not solutions
will get me to the promised land
that there is a way
I can get there on my own

that I can medicate my way
control my way
manipulate my way

to where I want to go

when really it is the journey through the desert
where I struggle alone
but not alone

merely alone with God

and learn to trust
that still small voice within
that is the sacred
the Spirit
that gets me 

Friday, February 15, 2013


I crave a lot of things
sunny days
a fast car
fresh squeezed orange juice

the list goes on

then there are the biggies

but I love
well love is different isn't it

I love a sunny morning
I love the mountains thrusting into the sky
I love my wife
I love my amazing sisters
I love God

love is different from craving

with craving we never have enough
with love,
we sometimes worry we can't give enough

with craving it is all "me"
with love it is very much "you"

When I crave I hurt
When I crave I am empty
When I crave I never have enough

When I love....
it is a different story