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, November 30, 2016


We are not as near each other as we would like to imagine. Words create bridges between us. Without them we would be lost islands. Affection, recognition and understanding travel across these fragile bridges and enable us to discover each other and awaken friendship and intimacy. Words are never just words. The range and depth of a person's soul is inevitably revealed in the quality of the words used. When chosen with reverence and care, words not only describe what they say but also suggest what can never be said.
                                                                        John O'Donohue,  Excerpt from BEAUTY

It times of stress
whether that stress be societal (an election)
or personal (a loss, or other trials)

we are either drawn radically together
or we are driven apart

which one it is has, often, to do with our words
words are bridges
they are the fragile link (along with actions) between us

and over these bridges can pass many things
anger, hate, frustration, fear
love, acceptance, comfort
and yes, love

sometimes the waters between us are
roiled by many powerful things which threaten
to destroy the tenuous link we have forged

as hate and fear and distrust roar
as people (and webpages) with agendas that are often hidden and horrible
seek, literally to sow discord and anger

our connection to each other is threatened

when there is pain and sorrow
when there is loss an suffering
and bad thing happens

our connection to each other is threatened

Sometimes the bridges simple collapse, and all that is left between us is the churning rage 
Sometimes the bridges hold, the connection persists
And love, kindness, and compassion, still make their way between us

We need to take care of the bridge
Build it well, and strong
We need to have care, what passes across is

It is so easy to throw words on a computer screen
And send them flying through the internet
So easy to let words of anger and frustration flow forth

Toppling the bridges between us
And filling the space between
With dark and ugly things

Words are never just words
They are a caress
Or a slap
They build
Or destroy

I am not always careful with my words
Neither of some of those who speak to me

But in this dark time
While hatred, racism, and many other things
Flow around us, a flood
We need our bridges
We need love and compassion
We need each other

Hearts of Stone

" The rain will be of no avail ....
upon hearts,

... which have turned into stones. "
                             - Sheikh Sultan Bahoo

We must not close down
And turn our hearts to stone
So that we might bear the terror of this age

For Sacred Love cannot write
Words of hope upon stone

Sacred power flows
Only through hearts
That dare to be open

We must accept pain and suffering
And continue striving
If light is to return

Monday, November 28, 2016

God of the Small

“I do the very best I know how, the very best I can,
and I mean to keep on doing so until the end.” 
                                                           Abraham Lincoln

I am scared
I mean it

Such a small group of people
Given power by less than a quarter of Americans
Have so much power to do so much damage
In such a short amount of time

And so much power to do so much good

But in this moment
Given who has been elected
And who is pulling the strings behind the scenes
And the cold compassionless legislators
for whom money and power are more important than people

I believe that damage is what we will see

I wonder if this is how it felt
To be a Unionist in the early days of the Civil War
To be Abraham Lincoln

And see beyond the unfinished dome of the capital building
The campfire smokes of the confederacy
And know how fragile our democracy really is

And now here we are again
In danger

The dangers are too many to list
And creating a litany of dangers will not help
Those who are willing to see, already know them
Those who have chosen not to see, won’t

So this leaves me with the question of what to do

I have said I wanted to disappear
I still do
I am tired of trying to get people to do their homework
Find the truth
Trying to counter the lies that come from all those horrible websites that support
Both ends of the spectrum
And effectively pull America apart

I am tired of trying to be positive and not angry
I am tired of the knot in my stomach when I read about the first 100 days
Which may be the first 100 days of a long and terrible “war” (of sorts)
That will cost many people their souls and even their lives

Tired of look at the potential, wonton destruction of things that while not perfect, were things that
Took us toward a compassionate inclusive society

So I don’t want to be here
Back again writing in this blog

But the passage I am preaching on this week says
“Do not tire from doing good”
And then there is Abraham Linicoln

So here I am
Avoiding Facebook as much as possible
Avoiding the TV

And I will be insisting, that in spite of what way too religious folk say
By their words, actions, and attitudes,

That God is love
God is compassion, inclusion, acceptance,
God is sacrifice,
God has and needs no ego
God abhors injustice and inequity
God is anguished when people refuse to share

This is the uncomfortable God
that is the true God

The truth is that many in America
(not as many as it feels like, less than 25% voted for Trump)
have chased after a God who is about power, domination
hate, winning, ego, and wealth,

a god who crushes enemies
and abhors the poor
a god who excludes

This God is worshiped in many American Churches
Not in mine

I can’t stop the right wing as it attacks (yes attacks)
Muslims, the LGBTQI community, the poor
I can’t stop the GOP from destroying our health care system
I can’t stop the attempt to make America a theocracy which follows a caricature of God

But I can, in my office
As people come in for support and counseling
Offer unconditional love and acceptance
I can accept this person, who is so afraid of what Trump will do
How he will affect their life

I can comfort this person and let them know
We care
All of us, Republican and Democrat alike
Who work at Wallowa Valley Center for Wellness

We care, and will be here, protecting, caring, advocating

And I can, in my church, work to ensure that
We at Lostine Presbyterian Church, remain an outpost of the Kingdom

A place where love wins
Where anyone is welcome
and accepted
a place that is safe
for anyone

conservative, liberal, outcast, addict
frightened parent, scared child

we will be here
and our God will be here
to welcome those
who would dare
shout against the darkness

we will be here
reviled by some
Called “new age” or “a cult”  (yes, we have heard these words)

waiting to welcome those
who just need a place they can breathe
Who need to know they have value
And are loved

Who need to know that God is love
And love will ultimately win

It is a challenge to say that right now
For so many times in our history
The way back from the kind of abyss we are now in
Has been full of terrible moments
And much pain

But God is love
And God is always the God 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.
                                           Johanna Anderson