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, June 30, 2016


“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.”
― Thich Nhat Hanh

I look at my daughter
smiling at me from the screen
just a vacation picture
but joy oozes
and the smile

it lights up the room

and I am envious
for I am not sure I remember how to smile
oh I do
from time to time

but that smile that makes your face ache?
that comes from somewhere deep within?

Ah, that is an elusive thing

other people seem to find a their smile
they take a selfie, and sparkle
I take a selfie and look like I just had a colonoscopy

I have always been a bit of a serious soul
I think I was old by the time I was 10

but seriously
it would be so nice to smile
really smile

to feel the joy
as it flies (thanks Blake)

but how do I bring a smile to the surface?
how do I move from looking, and feeling
so pained?

the smile is the thing
perhaps the smile draws joy to the surface
perhaps a smile draws joy from afar

I suppose it cannot hurt to smile
so I will try
just don’t chastise me

if I walk around looking

just smile back

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

A treasure hunt

Treasure is stored in the ruined places. Do not break the hearts of the poor and heartbroken people.

see that one over there?
the one we would describe a ruin of person

that one torn apart by alcohol
or drugs
high on anger

that one
not so clean
a little ( or more than a little)
rough looking

that one who has lost his job
or is estranged from her family

in that one
a treasure lies

hidden perhaps beneath the rubble
but there,
infinitely precious

I can of course
judge this person,
I can reject
or shame

I can pile heartbreak on heartbreak

or I can see the hurt
the pain
the despair

I can feel it

and see that this is an precious, precious soul
and enter the desert of this pain and failure

not to correct
or teach
not even to liberate, to save

but to love
and in the love
create that space
where treasure can be found

Monday, June 27, 2016

Thoughts on faith

Christianity is at its best when it is peculiar, marginalized, suffering, and it is at its worst when it is popular, credible, triumphal, and powerful.”
― Shane Claiborne, Jesus for President: Politics for Ordinary Radicals

I wondered if there were other restless people asking the question with me: What if Jesus meant the stuff he said?”
― Shane Claiborne

I have not lost my faith in the Sacred
I use Sacred rather than God because we have done such terrible things to God
Creating God in our own image, and losing sight
Of this amazing reality that is love
And is in us


I have not lost my faith
But I sometimes struggle with “the faith”
As it is taught, and lived out
Or rather not lived out
By, in particular, the American church

It seems as if the church has sold out
Pushing what sells,
what is appealing,
and offers us benefits (not sacrifice).

Jesus came to reveal Sacred nature to us
And to show us what it looks like when the Sacred
Really comes alive in a person
Becomes so powerful, so dominant
That the Sacred can no longer be separated from the “human”

What it looked like in Jesus
was love, compassion

It also looked like
Giving one’s self away
for the sake of all those
the world would reject
the oppressed and the marginalized

the poor
the addicted
the person whose skin color is different
whose creed is different
whose sexual orientation is different.

Giving one’s self away so that love might flourish
And hate might die

It is a peculiar way
This path taught by Jesus
It violates our logic
It runs counter to the values of our culture

I do not live it very well
I wish I lived it better
But I know what it looks like,
And I know what it does not look like

and thus my dilemma, as a name I would embrace

“Christian”, becomes almost an embarrassment

With its hate, and anger, its intolerance, and exclusion
Its punitive, excluding God

And its addiction to success, and power, and wealth

But I will embrace the name
And seek to think in a way
Live in a way
Accept in a way
Include in a way
Love in a way

That brings honor to the Sacred One who is love
And the humble man, who lived singing love
And died singing love
And was raised, singing love

I live, caught between flesh and spirit.
But even though I will be
a person who both succeeds and fails
is good, and bad
both wounds and heals
loves and hates

I know I can trust in Sacred Love
(I call it grace)

And thus I will keep living
Keep trying
Keep hoping

Knowing that Jesus meant what he said about servanthood
And meant what he said about

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Being Spiritual

And try to squeeze light
.... into your parched being " .....
- Hafiz

we work so hard
at our spirituality
trying to squeeze Sacred from our soul
as juice from a lemon

or perhaps more aptly
water from a stone


but the secret is in the ceasing
and the being

relief comes to this parched soul
as I stand motionless
in the dust of the road
and watch the sun rise into a cobalt sky
and kiss the mountain

Sacred fire

Saturday, June 25, 2016


“We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men; and among those fibers, as sympathetic threads, our actions run as causes, and they come back to us as effects.”
― Herman Melville


as much as I am a loner
I understand
The importance of community

community often goes unnoticed
although we have this vague sense that it is there
even if we do not give it a name

I feel it every time I near the town in which I was born
I rarely go there (it being in the middle of nowhere, deep behind the sagebrush curtain)
but even now, almost 50 years after I left it to go to college
there is a tug at my heart
this is home
these people are my people

I feel it at weddings
and funerals
at family celebrations
and yes, I feel it at church
as the little flock gathers, old, young
farmers, professionals,
believers, doubters
to see if there is something in the idea of the Sacred

and find
that “yes, yes there is!”

but I think I (we) feel it most profoundly when tragedy strikes
when a child is killed,
when a crazed extremist opens fire with a gun

it is then that we discover
how profoundly we are connected

we gather in home
we call on phones
we share our pain on Facebook

we come together
and we help each other
we heal each other

there are many forces that would tear us apart
even religion

 there are many forces that want to push us
toward isolation
or aggression

we cannot let them win
for when we have lost empathy
when we stop reaching out
with acts of compassion
when we stop connecting
when we lose community
and communion dies
so too dies
our essential

for we were created for community

Thursday, June 23, 2016


I have just finished a “conversation” on Facebook
It didn’t end well

Oh… yes, I get it!

“I talked (wrote) a lot a listened very little

Forgive me, Lord: it was a monologue and not a dialogue
I explained my idea and did not get his;
Since I didn’t listen, I learned nothing
Since I didn’t listen, I didn’t help
Since I didn’t listen, we didn’t commune…”
                              (an excerpt from a prayer by Michael Quoist, Prayers,  p.19

It matters not if we agree about a subject
There are lots of things about which we can disagree (guns for example)
And Facebook (and texts, and email) is not the best medium for any conversation

For they do not allow for body language, tone of voice
(forget emoticons)
They do not allow for corrections, and that slow stumbling toward understanding

What matters in the end is that we listen, and hear
That we refuse to get pulled into the kind of dialog where
People feel diminished, marginalized, ignored

I know it is not all about me
That mistakes are usually made on both sides

But I have control of me


For all the times, including the conversation today,
Where I have not engaged in dialog
And where understanding has not happen
And respect has not been communicated

For all the times it has not gone well

O Sacred One forgive me