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

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

God, we are MESSED UP

I made a mistake God
a big one
I read the news
God, are we messed up
We know that you are love
We know that your priority is people
all people
all races
all cultures
rich people (yes, them too)
poor people
hungry people
homeless people
gay people
lesbian people
heterosexual people
hungry people
sated people
sad people
happy people
ragged people
pampered people

we know that you want us
to have people as our priority

but when I read the news
as I read about state legislatures
as I read about the behaviors of corporations
 I see that we are not
all about love
we are not all about people
we are about power
and wealth
more specifically it appears
our power
our wealth
it is not so much "us" and "them"
as it is "me"
O Lord
from our lust for power
and our love of money

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A real Prince

The authentic religious life is a matter of becoming who we already are,
and all that we truly are! Can you imagine that? Is the seed already
within you—of all that God wants you to be? Do you already know at
some level who you authentically are?
Richard Rohr


Who are we?
Who am I?

I am
created in God's image

I am unique
I am special
I am gifted by the Sacred
I have the divine spark in me
I am sacred
 I participate
in all that is

I am a child of God
a child of the
of all that is

a real


How about that !!

Monday, July 29, 2013

A Prayer for Monday Morning

“Waking up this morning, I smile. Twenty-four brand new hours are before me. I vow to live fully in each moment and to look at all beings with eyes of compassion.”
Thich Nhat Hanh


O Lord
why are you doing this to me?

I sit here on this Monday morning
listening to the sound of my furnace
you heard me God!
my furnace 
I look out on a world 
not yet lit by the sun
and feel the crisp edge
of the morning air
and I realize that
with its long 
and lazy days
 is already on the wane

I am not ready for this God
and I am not ready for the weekend to end
I am not ready for this week
which already feels long and overwhelming

but I know
O God
that this week will be
for the most part
what I make it
how I live it

let me walk through it gently God
with eyes
and mind
and heart open

may I live moment by moment
may I live each moment fully
may I
be a calm presence
and touch each person I meet


Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience  - Colossians 3:12

Sunday, July 28, 2013

All of Me

What you don't transform
you transmit.   
Richard Rohr
some days it comes to me
the shocking news
that my faith is far more about 
than about You
It is all too often a search
for myself
rather than a search for You 
(an insight from Rohr)
and yet
and yet
while I am search for my self
I am also running from my self
afraid of 
the dark side of my soul
that part I want no one
especially not You, to see
as if
but God
your are amazingly unimpressed with 
with my dark side
and You know
O God
that those hidden parts
are really the
I transmitt
through my words and my actions
shine Your light in the dark places
help me
to accept your acceptance
help me to accept my self
my whole self
that I might be comfortable in my own skin
that I might be transformed
that I might


Saturday, July 27, 2013


It is Chief Joseph Days 
in Wallowa County, Oregon

Native Americans
and "cowboys" alike gather

our little town of 900 becomes a 
town of thousands overnight

and for over 20 years
perhaps closer to 30
I have participated 
in the 
rituals of the event

the family rituals

the next to the last rodeo show!
north grandstands
center section

staking out space with plastic chairs for the parade
up at 5
in town by 5:30am

then down to the rodeo grounds for the 
Shriners breakfast
followed by a look at the rodeo animals
and then a hike through all the booths
set up downtown

the parade
dogs and burgers at our place
whatever is next
the lake
or just sitting in the sun talking

but times change
life changes
rituals come and go

Saturday night is now Friday
the carnival is no more
and frankly
the pancakes
and sausags
and really bad coffee aren't the 
same without brother-in-law Dan
nor is the walk through the booths
Dan was born here and knew everyone
and he loved to talk
it would take an hour to go a block
Tiger Lilly
our lovely paint mare
 is not going carry
one of the chiefs this year
and I have no relative in the parade
 for once

things change
things remains the same
and yet those traditions and rituals we can hang on to
are somehow comforting
and rewarding
 I would be deeply saddened not to have
the rituals of Chief Joseph Days

it reminds me of faith
and worship
things change
things remain the same
as we rush to "worship God"
in new ways
let us remember that there is great value
in some of those "old" traditions
they provide a foundation
from which we find 
the security
and freedom
to move forward into new places
and create 
new expressions

Friday, July 26, 2013

Collecting wounds, Letting go

There are faces all around me Lord
They come before me
each day
In my office

as if by accident 
on the street

in homes visited
as one who would
however poorly, represent the love of God

Young faces, firm and flushed with health
Old faces, tired and lined
Joyful faces, expectant one
and then those other faces
Angry or sad
Hopeless and empty

Some faces Lord haunt me
They cry out
One face cries for help,

As cancer eats at the body below it

Another face cries for peace
And as story of anxiety and concern spills forth
A story shared over coffee and cookies

A face cries for forgiveness,
As it spills forth anguish
About children who are struggling

I collect those hurts and wounds
I cannot help it
They are given to me as a gift
And I am asked to carry that hurt in my heart

And at times I am weighed down by the load
Slowly pressed down by the precious burdens
With which I have been gifted.

Help me to remember lord
That those hurts are not mine to keep
or solve

Only mine to carry gently, briefly
And then
place in your healing hands

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Granddaughters are grand

She isn't very tall
She doesn't really use words
although she has a few
and uses sign language
(yes, her mom is teaching her sign language)
but she has a way of making her wishes

but she moves
a never stopping
bundle of energy with happy feet

she smiles 
a lot
and laughs
every inch radiating glee
with the world
and her place in it

she loves her pink glasses
and her beads
she just discovered kitties
and dogs
after all, that is what one does on a farm
(her great aunt's)

she has a love affair with dirt!

what can one do
when in the presence of such beauty
and energy
and joy

but just 

and smile?

(and Erin and Ryan)
did good work!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Emotional Housecleaning

O Lord
I have a plan for my day

to clean my shop
it is funny how
even though I try to be good
and keep it picked up

it still gets
totally messy

pieces of wood
that stain I spilled on the floor
the stuff I just dropped on the workbench

soon my
wonderful retreat
a disaster

its a lot like my mind God
has this way of getting cluttered
so quickly
so completely

perhaps it is also a day
to do a little emotional housecleaning!

from my
own self
deliver me

O Lord!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Be Happy, O, and let other's be happy too!

I hear O Lord
about the birth of a child
a prince among men to be exact

People were excited
a country was excited
and happy
happy for the young royal couple, indeed,
but just happy

here was something to rejoice

and so of course Lord
the comments began to be posted
on FaceBook
in Blogs

about how stupid it was to be so happy
about how all this focus on a child was ridiculous
and I thought to myself
O God
Why is it so hard just to be happy?
and let others just be happy
full of joy
why can't we just let people do their
"happy dance"
why do we have to sit on the sidelines
and judge
and ridicule
what is it about us Lord
that we behave this way?
I do it too O Lord
if it is not my happiness
if it is not about me, or is not a joy I can understand
I become this 
dour sophisticate, stand on the side of the dance floor
watching others
Ah, there is is Lord
I really don't dance very well
I want to
I want to just let go
kick off my shoes
wave my arms
do a little jig
I want to be able to make a fool of myself
with abandon
out of sheer joy
but that is hard for me
Mennonite, Presbyterian, Kliewer
one who must always
strong and in control
I am jealous Lord
of other's happiness
This day O lord
let me embrace my own joy
and let me embrace the joy of others
and then
I can dance

Monday, July 22, 2013

Lord, Help Me to See

 Kramer sits
18 years old
my neurotic cat

this morning as every morning he
sat by the door
waiting to be let in
yowling for his food
demanding his ice water (yes, he likes ice in his water)

he was petted
and fed
his water made fresh

his little sister Tess raced in
gobbled her food
and now is back outside
trying her best to turn my bird feeders
into a cat feeder

but Kramer sits
no longer the young crazy boy
who would crash into a 
Seinfield like

just an old boy
looking up at me with big eyes
he has everything
the thing


and so I put down my hand
and lazily scratch his head
and give him the one thing
the only thing
that at this moment he needs


how often Lord, do people come into my life
and I am busy doing all sorts of
things for them
when all they want
and need
is for me to be there
with them

for just a moment of love and grace

Lord this day
help me to truly see the people in front of me
and at least for a moment
and focus
and be
their friend

Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak.  She said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.” Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed at that moment.  
Matthew 9 :20-22

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Humanity, Shared - God Experienced

“Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It's a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.”
― Pema Chödrön,

Good morning God
I thank you for this amazing day
for the mountain soaring in front of me
for the blue of the sky
for the cat chasing butterflies
and the sound of birds

Today O God
people are going to listen to me
as if I have something to say

I will stand in my lovely little
church building
graced for 128 years
amazing saints

people who carved their wisdom
out of the earth
and found their deep places
in the deep woods

today I will stand in front of them
and because they have 
gifted me
with the invitation to be there
I will talk
about God, and life
and death

I will talk about

I will talk
and talk
and talk
and (in the eyes of some I am sure)

and sometimes
most times
all time
I wonder why I am there

but Lord, I am just one of the little flock
just one of the sheep
we are all in this together Lord
we are all  in this together

we are all saints
all sinners
we are all wounded
and we are all healers

it is in the gathering God
that the magic happens


O God, bless our little outpost of the kingdom
as we gather
in Your presence


Saturday, July 20, 2013

Fiinding Joy

“Keep on knocking
'til the joy inside
opens a window
look to see who's there”


It is morning Lord
a not so lazy Saturday
full of chores, and trips to the "big city"
to shop
oh yes, the crisis phone
It is morning Lord
and with my morning coffee
come morning thoughts
sip coffee
engage mind
engage mind and ...?
Ah there is the rub God
it is the mind that gets me into trouble
for my mind has some bad habits
it worries about the future
a lot
it ruminates over past failures
a lot
it churns and clanks
and takes me on journeys
deep into dark places
someone once said
pray before you think
turn to the sacred space
before you let your mind take you
into the places
from which the sacred has been banished
(other wise they wouldn't exist)
this day Lord
I pray
that you will get my attention
that you will come knocking
I know I know, you told me to knock
but you do such an amazing job
of knocking, knocking, knocking
the joy inside
to come out

Friday, July 19, 2013

Where O Where is God?

Donald Miller begins his book "Blue Like Jazz" with these words:
"I once listened to and Indian on television say that God was in the wind and the water, and I wondered at how beautiful that was because it meant you could swim in Him and have Him brush your face in a breeze.

I am early in my story, but I believe it will stretch out into eternity, and in heaven I will reflect upon these early days, these days when it seemed that God was down a dirt road walking toward me.  Years ago he was a swinging speck in the distance; He is close enough now I can hear His singing.  Soon I will see the lines on his face."


O God
a wise man once said
that if you are not in everything
you are in nothing at all

this day
as I sit in the vague light of early dawn
as I see the sun burning orange atop the horizon
and listen to the final hoots
of the night owl

as I watch the earth once again gain color

this day as I remember
my dear friend Sharon, facing cancer
and her loving husband 
as I think of my sister
who faces her future without her Dan

as I think of the people I will meet this day
 as I struggle 
to find something
anything to say this Sunday
that is authentic 
and helpful

I realize that
the only way to walk through life
is to realize that all is sacred

is to understand that you are the breeze against my cheek
you are the birthing sun
you are the mountain
the rivers
the owl

you are in each person who struggles
in each person who sings
and dances
you are in each person I meet
and you 

you are not distant and vague
a speck down the road
but you are present

Ah, so close

you are present
in even the wrinkles

Thursday, July 18, 2013

God, give me new eyes

So many people
Wide and thin
Short and tall
black, brown, white
Smiling and crying
Striding into their day, full of hope
wearily and tentatively edging into this day
Cautious and afraid
truly unprepared
to face another day

So many people
And with my eyes and mind I define them
Categorize them
Good or bad
Strong or weak
Well or sick
Worthwhile or
God help me 
may I never see anyone as worthless
For in your eyes Lord
Everyone is sacred
A beloved child
Precious and valuable
Not defined by addiction or illness
Failure or fear
Not defined by those things we as humans use
To label or categorize and judge
God is always saying,
 “Here I am, I love you
and in love will do anything for you
and I only ask one thing of you
that you love others as I love you
 that you see others, as I see you
that you touch all of life as if i am touching it through you
and understand
that the person in front of you
 is sacred"
Lord, let me see each person who comes into my path this day
As sacred
Valuable beyond belief
And treat them accordingly

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


I have been thinking a lot lately, and writing a lot lately, about the need to go inside. To go to the core of who we are, and find there the sacred presence that is there, and connect with that presence, and then, in the context of that connection, seek to find one's deepest self.  I have become convinced this is the key to spirituality, and to becoming what we were created to be.  As Paul writes, "The secret is this, Christ in us the hope of glory."  (Colossians 1)

Many years ago Elizabeth O'Conner wrote a wonderful book about getting to a place where one can live a life of meaning.  The title?  "Journey Inward, Journey Outward".  First we must go to our core!

Christopher Germer in his book about self-compassion talks about going inside while focusing on one's breathe, and using phrases to comfort one's self when one is struggling.  During one "tough patch" I decided to use a walk as a way to try and get in touch with my own center.  I have trouble sometimes practicing what I preach, and sometimes getting outside and getting into nature helps me center.
As I walked I began to develop a set of phrases that I used as a tool to get in touch with my inner self.  I walked, and breathed, and repeated the phrases.  And it made a difference.

The phrases were loosely based on the metta phrases that come out of the Buddhist tradition.  I framed them in the context of my own faith, but one could change the first two phrases in many ways, to fit many different forms of spirituality.  

At any rate, I thought I might share them.  Play with them.  See if they might have some meaning for you.

May I find the Christ within
May I find myself in Him
In the context of extravagant love
May my soul be healed
May my heart be healed
May my mind be healed
May my body be healed
May I be at ease (or peace)

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


As the lungs remember to breathe, even when we sleep
the spirit keeps us alive through
the dream of our will
Mark Nepo, "The Book of Awakening"
"Peace depends on whether we fight
or ride
the stream"
Mark Nepo
 Sometimes Lord
life is a struggle

Sometimes, it seems as if nothing goes right
as if all is chaos

life feels like trying
to claw one's way
up the stream
against a current 
of hate and fear and remorse
a current of failure
and regret

that is simply too powerful

and soon Lord
I am exhausted
I have tried too hard
too long
I have fought
and struggled

and I am still in

but sometimes Lord
I am moving
I am moving through life
watching the 
beauty as it unfolds around me
funny how those moments
are those when
I stop
and trust
that the powerful
flow of your Spirit
will carry me