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, May 31, 2013

Why is it?

why is it

that those who are poor give the most?
why is it that those with the most power and privilege feel the most persecuted?
why is it that many Christians feel they have to do God's work?
Why is it that oppression of women is done in the name of "family values"?
Why is it that they right never have enough 
in the eyes of the rich, the poor are always being given too much?
Why is it that people hate in the name of a God of love?
Why is it that bad things happen to good people?
(I know, that is an old one, but it still bugs me)
Why is it that people just accept what they hear from FOX 
and don't do a little research?

why do we as human beings
also seem to be so quick
to believe the worst
react positively to hate 
wallow in fear

it is because we are like 
the blind being led by the blind
like the one with a plank, striving to find that speck of sawdust
perhaps it is because
we have lost our connection
to a God of amazing and scandalous love
and no longer allow the essence of that God
to well up from our deepest place

we are instead

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Hearing the song of grace!

As Jack Kornfield recounts in the book “How, Then, Shall We Live?” it is the custom in one African tribe that when a woman decides to have a child, she goes and sits alone under a tree, and she listens. She listens until she hears the song of the child who wants to come.  Once she hears the song, she returns to the man who will be the child's father and teaches the song to him. When they make love to conceive the child, they sing the song to call the child to them.

When the woman is pregnant, she teaches the child's song to the midwives and old women of the village so that when the birth time arrives, the people surrounding the mother sing the song to welcome the child among them.

Then as the child grows up, the other villagers learn the song. If the child falls or hurts his knee someone picks him up and sings the song. When the child does something wonderful, the people of the village sing this song. When the child goes through the rites of puberty and becomes an adult, the villagers sing the song.

It goes this way through life. At a wedding, the songs of husband and wife are sung together. Finally, when this child grows old, and lies in bed ready to die, all the villagers know the song, and they sing it for the last time.

Sometimes I think I forget my song
I know it should be a song of love
A song of grace

I know it should be a song that has woven into its melody and harmonies
peace, and joy

And yet I allow the noise of the world to drown out this song
I hear the traffic
The pain
I hear the fear and the anger

and I no longer hear "the song"
unlike that horrible song from the 80's
it does not play through my head remorsefully

it is lost
no wonder, at times, I no longer feel like dancing!

Lord, this day
restore my song
may it play through my head
haunting me
until I cannot help but hum along
and do a little dance!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A prayer for this day!

this day
gently comes
with the rising of the sun

gold pink skies
purple irises
verdant fields
stretching into pines and firs
that beauty,
nay more,
is present

this day Lord
let me be
a branch
clinging to the vine from which
life and love flow

may i
walk slowly
feel deeply
may i listen well
and be
totally present
in each moment
for each person
who stumbles into my path

my i find the capacity 
for mercy
and tenderness
this day may i find purpose in being
not being in purpose (thanks Mark Nepo)

this day Lord
may i 
wear you

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Religion that Wins!

Religions were to have a contest
something perhaps
like a beauty contest
or maybe 
a pie eating contest

which one would win?

how do we judge these faiths afterall
that come come at us 
with books
and sacraments
and proclimation
of truth
(at least in their own eyes)

it seems
to me
i would humbly assert
that the one that wins
should be the one
that creates the most love
that brings forth the most kindness
and tolerance
and compassion

it should also be the one
that makes my own beauty
and value
to me

and your own beauty

to you

Monday, May 27, 2013

In the Deepest Place

For the raindrop
Joy is joining the river
from the deepest place
love flows
like a spring
love flows

in the deepest place
who I am is found
and lost
in something bigger

in the deepest place
my starving soul
fixed on the scent of light

in the deepest place
I am fed
and deeply connected 
to the One

I live
and breathe
and have my being
and being becomes
something through which i pass

the shallow lands become transformed
is fed
by that deep spring

Sunday, May 26, 2013

God's Priority

Here is wonderful poem by Johanna Anderson...

The Lord of the Small

Praise to the Lord of the Small Broken Things,
Who Sees the Poor Sparrow That cannot take wing.
Who loves the lame child and the wretch in the street
who comforts their sorrows and washes their feet.

...Praise to the lord of the faint and afraid
who girds them with courage and lends them his aid,
he pours out his spirit on vessels so weak,
that the timid can serve and the silent can speak.

Praise to the lord of the frail and the ill
who heals their afflictions or carries them till,
they leave this tired frame and to paradise fly.
to never be sick and never to die.

Praise him, O Praise Him All ye who live
who've been given so much and can so little give
our frail lisping praise God will never Despise.
He Sees His Dear Children Through Mercy Filled Eyes!


This was turned into an amazing anthem by Dan Forrest
As I agonize over the way our society seem far too prone
to abandon and betray the poor and the vulnerable,

the poem and this song
bring me back to God, the Center, who is indeed
above all the Lord of the Small


Going Deep

Richard Rohr believes that the biggest mistake we make is by creating two worlds, a sacred and a secular, or profane.  He notes,  that “everything is profane if you live on the surface of it, and everything is sacred if you go into the depths of it—even your sin.”  When we go deep into our own mistakes, we find God. If we stay on the surface, even the things of God, like Bible, sacrament, or church, can be destructive, unkind, even  evil.

If we go deep we can "mend and renew the world by strengthening inside ourselves what we seek outside ourselves.." (Naked Now, p. 160)

What he is saying (or so it seems to me), is that as people of faith, when we go deep, and connect with the Sacred within.  When we give the Spirit (to give this piece of the Sacred a name) a place to dwell, and room to move, we create a different world, because we change the way we see and respond to the reality that surrounds us.

Then Rohr offers a series of admonitions, that I dearly love.  This morning, as the world around us looks fragmented and hopeless.  This morning, as those with radical ideologies stumble around in ideological blindness, and those who are prepared to fear see danger everywhere, as those who hate spew words that are ugly and hurtful, I would like to offer the hope that we can create a different reality as we respond in the power of the Spirit.

If you want others to be more loving, choose to love first
If you want a reconciled outer world, reconcile your own inner world
If you are working of peace out there, create it inside as well
If you notice other people's irritability, let go of your own
If you wish to find some outer stillness, find it within yourself
If you are working for justice, treat yourself justly too
If you find yourself resenting the faults of others, stop resenting your own
If the world seems desperate, let go of your own despair
If you want a just world, start being just in small ways yourself.
If you situation feels hopeless, honor the one true spot of hope inside you

If you want to find 'God, then honor "God within you, and you will always see God beyond you.  For it is only God in you who knows where and how to look for God.
(Richard Rohr, The Naked Now p. 161)

Have a blessed Sunday my friends
Go deep

Saturday, May 25, 2013


The late snow came
wet and heavy 
it blanketed 
the early blossoming trees
 bending them to its will
and then
it was gone
overwhelmed by spring
its cold grip no match
the emergence of
new life
and yet
its imprint remains
some trees, bent almost to the earth
have sprung back
reaching again
joyfully to the sky
others remain bent
with help
they too will once again stand tall
and proud
like broken on the ground
their green vitality
already shriveling into
brown death
why do some recover
and why for others
does the imprint
of adversity 
or overwhelm?
why too
do some people recover
from those dark
winter moments of the soul
while some 
remain bent
and some
flexibility (openness)
responsiveness (and ability to open up to the healing
that comes from the sun/son)
perhaps there is
no formula
but from those moments that 
would bend and break
deliver us O God
or send us One
send us one
who can help us
reach once more
for the sky

Friday, May 24, 2013


“In all creatures you may see, and honor God. If you do not 
do this the whole world will rise against you,”
Francis of Assisi 
 It is all a matter of priorities
A matter of
to us
is important

our priorities show
in how we spend ourtime
how we behave toward others

as a Senator
or Congress person
priorities show
in how one votes
or what kind of budget one proproses

as a boss my priorities show
in how I treat
those wonderful
and amazing people who work in 
the program

as a counselor
a pastor
a friend
my priorities show
in whether I attend
have compassion

Lord it is easy to think more about
and money

than about people

it is sadly easy to forget those who are 
and powerless

but Lord
people are always your priority

those who are hurting
help me Lord
this day
to get my priorities straight! 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Missing the gifts!

Many a morning
not this morning
I stand on my porch
and gaze at the splendor of the mountain
there it soars
brightly into the sky
crowned with snow 
and kissed by the sun
I do not see this
my mind is on other things
things past
things to come
things done
things undone
in that moment I am not present
being present
in the moment
attentive to the beauty
the person
the world 
that is right in front of you
is how we grab
the gift of life
 The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.”
― Thich Nhat Hanh, Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


vibrant green
once reaching for the sky
with the 
audacity of spring
to the earth
by white coldness
that will not let it rise
but bows it 
the cold earth
yet warmth will come
and with the sun
that it 
might once again

thank God for the resilience
of trees
and communities
and human hearts


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

When the winds roar

When the winds roar
and the seas rise
the beauty and terror 
of nature
fling themselves full force
and tear asunder
and lives
houses and communities

we are confused

voices come from everywhere
God caused this
God took those poor people home
God spared those people
It is the wrath of God
God obviously doesn't exist
How could a loving God allow this to happen?
 It is part of God's plan

we are moved
our responses are varied and sometimes strange
there is anger
there are people who throw their anger and hate
at everything
and everyone

and there is love 
and compassion
and remarkable acts of kindness

tragedies tear at the fabric of our hearts
and our logic
our theology
our faith

just as surely as the winds of a tornado
tear apart
a grade school in Oklahoma

I have no answers
O Lord
for such moments

I do not clearly understand
I will never understand

but then I do not understand
the cross

so much is beyond my comprehension
only one thing stands clear
That you are present

as you were present 
even as Jesus cried
my God my God
why have your forsaken me

you are present
you are with them
in them

Oh Lord remind all
in travail
of your presence
help them to know
that your tears 
mix with their tears

and help them stumble
out of the valley
and the shadow 
of death
into love 
and grace

(and teach us how
to walk with them
and each other...
help us to be present as well
in your name)

Monday, May 20, 2013

Popcorn Therapy

Tough encounters
a tired soul
a mind that doesn't want to work
my computer screen
and my attention wanders
sometimes nothing will work

Another Monday Morning

the clouds hover
hugging the ground
tears of life
in the gray stillness

the day is silent and dreary
the mountain is hidden
in muted obscurity 
behind the stolid haze
and yet
in the filtered rays
of the sun
which must be there
the rich green
of nourished grass
and the regal purple
of iris'
a doe
wanders through the meadow
the quail
as she makes her way
gently through the abundance
 of spring
Thank you God
that even in moments when
life seems a bit dark
and closed in
there is still beauty
to be seen
and life begins again
each morning
each moment

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Becoming what [we say] we hate

right wrong
good bad
us them
binary opposition

no room here
for conversation

everything is defined

and out of radical dualism
which is very Old Testament 
(by the way)

and yes
let us not forget this.....

I find it interesting that Jesus was rarely
if ever

Is it right to pay taxes?
Come on Jesus, Yes or No

Pay unto Caesar that which belongs to Caesar
and unto God
that which belongs to God


love your neighbor 
as your self
both sides loveable and loved

The problem with the being a person
especially a religious person
who goes into dualistic thinking
is that one becomes a "mirror image of both what you oppose
and what you love"  (Richard Rohr, the Naked Now).

I know people who hate other people
and I hate
like that 

Damn those people who damn people
in the face of hate we become haters
in the face of intolerance we are intolerant
in the face of violence we embrace violence

I know I know
it gets complicated
and what about holiness
and all that stuff

but was there ever  a moment when
the hate and anger and ugliness of the world
was more profound
the cross?

and in the midst of that
how did Jesus respond?

it is something to think about

Saturday, May 18, 2013

From thoughts in the middle of the night... deliver us oh Lord

middle of the night
thinking of too many things
of the hurts
and ills of this world
at the violence
and death
so far away
of the violence
so close 
so close
of people who cannot talk
of those who hate
and fear
and judge
of a culture of violence
that shatters bodies and lives
of a culture of enmity
which takes the worn
fissured faces of 
those who are poor
and different
and erases them
making them a cipher
a mere shadow
and then devalues them
making them
I think of politicians who lie
and exagerrate
and lead people who 
fearfully follow them
in to places
that can only be described as the shadow of death
I think of my own
often times
fragmented life
and all I can do
is look deep within
to that seed of the sacred
to that place where 
the sacred and I meet
and cry

Friday, May 17, 2013

What makes a life!?

What makes a life?

Is it meetings attended?
Tasks accomplished?
Places visited?

Is life a matter of 
Think about what moments
bring a smile to your face
Sitting in a conference
learning new things?

A balanced budget?
It is those moments
when you connect another person
when in the meeting
you see a friend
and smile
when, while at dinner
you have a conversation
that is real
it is those moments
stolen from the
when it is just you
and another
I will really get it!
Love is something that you make
Something that you give
Something that you are
Love is you

And oh if you look
If you look in the right places
It's got a million faces
And you can find the traces
The traces of love
Alain Clark via "The God Article"

Thursday, May 16, 2013

What is Spirituality?

It is an odd thing
what happens when me make
all about things of the mind

Do I believe the right things?
Know the right things?
Understand the "rules"
We start to live in our left brain
and life
and faith
and even God
becomes matter of
and judgement 
We end up trapped in our heads
angry, attacking
pushing and pulling
in an odd paradox we become
the mirror image of what we opposed
if our hearts were honest
we hate (thanks to Richard Rohr)
and in our entrenched place
we lose interest in the things
that are at the heart of
the Sacred
justice, tolerance, healing,
is about the heart
it is not intellectual assent
but is about opening up
holding on to hope and truth
and being a reciever
and ultimately a broadcaster

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Generosity of God

“And still, after all this time, the Sun has never said to the Earth,
"You owe me."
Look what happens with love like that.
It lights up the sky.”


The mountain soars
against the blue sky
speckled with clouds
from poured forth
life giving rain
and now cede the sky
to the sun

the ground is wet
and the smell of life
comes from
trees and flowers
with the tears of heaven

Ah the 

Monday, May 13, 2013

A moment of Happiness

It caught me be surprise
I was sitting on the porch
minding my own business

in the later afternoon sun
as brightness
pales to dull glow

a squirrel 
robbing the birdfeeder
and my does
(or so I think of them)
bedded down
unconcerned in the pasture

and the quail fat 
and unconcerned gorging on sunflower seeds

and there it was 
a moment of happiness
and for that moment
I wallowed

Sunday, May 12, 2013

God's Mother Love

One of my mom’s favorite stories about me when I was really young involved she and my father coming home from a trip.  As the story goes (I have no memory of this ) I crawled into my mother’s lap and asked her  “Do you still love little boys?”
 of course she said
is God's
mother love
for us
when we ask
do you love me?
in spite of all the broken things
left behind
in spite of all the rebellion 
in spite of