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, November 30, 2017

To be

“Life is not a having and a getting, but a being and a becoming.”
                                           Matthew Arnold

Happy dog
Presses a cold nose in my back
And so the day begins

So much to do
As the week
Filled with bits and pieces of accomplishment and failure
Comes to a whimpering end

And yet, Frostian
I have long to go before I sleep

Tasks are lined up
waiting to be done
by a body unable and a mind unwilling to cooperate

and this morning
my soul feels more unraveled that refreshed

this is what happens
when all is striving
and little is being

perhaps a pause is in order
a moment
to walk happy dog
take a deep breath
sip my Americano

and start over
my essential nature
is to

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

I rise

“You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may tread me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I'll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don't you take it awful hard
'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines
Diggin' in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I'll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I've got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history's shame
I rise
Up from a past that's rooted in pain
I rise
I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.”
― Maya Angelou


The sun rises every morning
Sometimes soaring into azure blue
Sometimes orange and fiery red, reflecting back upon itself
Cloud bound

Sometimes invisible
Nothing but a promise behind a curtain of gray

But it rises
And rises again

and so too love
and kindness

so many forces
try to destroy these better parts of the human soul
hate, fear, greed that lust for power.
Evil people fan the flame of fear,
And legislate greed

and those who seek justice and equity
are crushed, and crushed again

and yet our divine genetics
make us resilient
and always Sacred
rises, rises, rises
even out of death


Tuesday, November 28, 2017

all that is left

It is only late afternoon
but the shadow of the mountain
has evolved into deep darkness

and the clear night air
is now laden with cold
which works its way through my clothes

standing in the clear night air,
I raise my eyes to a sky that glows like a shower of sparks

and in that moment
the world fades

all the anxiety and the fear
the greed and the hate
shatter, like ice,
and fall away
leaving me naked
and still

all that is left is

Sprinkling me
With quietude

and in that moment
I am in the hands

Monday, November 27, 2017

learning compassion

“Wounding and healing are not opposites. They're part of the same thing. It is our wounds that enable us to be compassionate with the wounds of others. It is our limitations that make us kind to the limitations of other people. It is our loneliness that helps us to to find other people or to even know they're alone with an illness. I think I have served people perfectly with parts of myself I used to be ashamed of. ”
                                                                         Rachel Naomi Remen

The question I not
What is “right” about me, and what is “wrong” about me

But rather how can I use my whole self,
The good, the bad,
And even the ugly,

to help others

how can I, with Sacred Presence unleashed
use all parts of myself

to heal the world around me?

For God overcomes evil, within
God overcomes evil, without

Simply by transforming evil with good
Turning darkness to light
And death


Sunday, November 26, 2017

Grief feels like fear

“No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.”
                             C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed

another day
another shooting
more innocents dead

more excuses
more game playing

another day
more politics of greed
more people left behind
along the trail of “America First”

who is “America”?
the angry white men with rifles?
the smugly rich in Washington DC
the millionaires and billionaires

the haters, the racists?

I have struggled to put a name to that which
like a dense fog, lingers in my soul
and obscures the sun

but today I recognize that it is grief
a grief that feels like the fear,

the fear that we have so departed
from the way of justice and equity
so departed from the way of generosity and compassion

that we will never again, truly thrive
this grief tires me
it wears me down and makes my body ache

and there is nothing I can do, in my grief
except turn to Love
that Love embodied in Jesus
and know that this love will endure, beyond
all the casual abuse,
beyond this momentary hell


Saturday, November 25, 2017

second coming


Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.

The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
William Butler Yeats


recently it feels as though things have fallen apart
and the center no longer holds
what was good is evil
and what was evil is good

what was prized, compassion and honesty
are now neglected, and what was despised
brutality and greed, are now exaluted

Does all that is "not Sacred" slouch toward us
waiting to dominate, to "win"

and what do we do, we citizens of Bethlehem?
do we "stand rooted and speechless while the pavement cracks to pieces and the sky falls down" (Louise Penny adapted)

or do we wait for another coming
of a better world,
a Kingdom where nothing exists that is not Sacred
a Kingdom of "heaven"

and do we, instead of standing
birthing through our acts of love, generosity and compassion,
that for which we wait?

Friday, November 24, 2017

only dance

" Only dance,
and your illusions will blow .... in the wind ....
Dance, and make joyous the love .... around you ....
Dance, and your veils which hide the light .... Shall swirl
in a heap .... at your feet. "

the day is gray
and white
the clouds glower
but the snow falls bringing unique beauty

it is an in-between day
not quite sad
but not one to life your heart either

I am settling into this day
Recognizing that I too am in-between

There is a richness to life
And yet an emptiness too
white and gray

there is the good news to share
and there is news that hammers at the soul
about injustice, and greed, and falsehood

there are people to work, and sing, and play with
and yet a sense of being, at a profound level

no, I am not depressed
more reflective
somewhere in between
feeling at peace with my life, and with myself
and deep discontent

just know dear ones
that you, as you wander in an out of my life
as you like me, or despise me
as you are enriched by me, or hurt by me
as I attend to you, or seem to think only of myself
As I share my opinion,
kindly or aggressively

that you are what this life is all about
it not all about me
I can never say, “the one that matters is me. I'm the only one that matters”

Because I know that I need others

I want you, and need all of you in my life
I may not know what to do with you
But I need to know you are there

I have decided that it is time to dance
To dance along the dirt pathways in the snow
or rain, as the case may be

finding myself in the dance
finding the sacred in the snow and mud
in the trees
and in the antics of happy dog

and I will remember that you are out there
hopefully dancing


Thursday, November 23, 2017

Gratitude Day

“Eucharisteo—thanksgiving—always precedes the miracle.”
― Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are


A Haiku for Thanksgiving

how does thanks emerge
by waiting for gifts received
or living gratefully


O Sacred one
let me on this day of thanks
choose to be a person who lives with gratitude
may I be both thankful
and expectant

“We plough the fields, and scatter the good seed on the land;
But it is fed and watered by God's almighty hand:
He sends the snow in winter, the warmth to swell the grain,
The breezes and the sunshine, and soft refreshing rain.

All good gifts around us
Are sent from heaven above,
Then thank the Lord, O thank the Lord
For all His love.

He only is the maker of all things near and far;
He paints the wayside flower, He lights the evening star;
The winds and waves obey Him, by Him the birds are fed;
Much more to us, His children, He gives our daily bread.

We thank Thee, then, O Father, for all things bright and good,
The seed time and the harvest, our life, our health, and food;
No gifts have we to offer, for all Thy love imparts,
But that which Thou desirest, our humble, thankful hearts.”

                                                                        From Godspell

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

What do I value?

Two questions have been haunting me lately
hanging around my head
going on my morning walks
joining me in my bed

ruining my morning soak

But they are good questions

The first question is this…
What do I value?

Not what are my goals?
Not what do I want to accomplish with my life
But what are the values that get me up in the morning
And take me through my day

What are the values that craft the direction of my life?

I have a value set by my family
Kliewers serve.  Period.  End of conversation
It just is.
Ministers, Doctors, Therapists
Serve your community!  That is why you are here

But who can exclude love
My faith system demands that
That crazy, foolish way of being taught
by some guy named Jesus

love God
Love your self
And love the people around you

Accept love
Nurture love
Be love

Actually most of what I value gets captured
In that thing called love
Compassion, generosity, connection
Kindness, all the standards
So I have to come up with something else….
And I chose

Being real
Being honest… to God
To myself, and to….. you

Hard to do when you think  you have to be perfect
An accomplisher
When you constantly compare, compare, compare
Strive strive strive

Under you are not a fool for Christ’s sake
But just a damn fool

But still
There they are
Service, love, authenticity

Serving the people, all people, in love?

Ah but there is more
So much more

Because the second question is important too
Am I living toward what I value?

The answer is often yes, sometimes no

But here is the thing… my values path is not a straight line from A to B
It is a direction, nothing more
I am moving toward a destination I will never get to

What is important is that I keep moving
And I keep moving the right direction

Sometimes I’ll get lost, at others I’ll get stuck
But I will keep heading
Down that path

Toward that compass point that is
Service, love, and authenticity

And when I fail?
With I slip and slide into strange and sometimes dark place

I will simply pull out my values
Dust them off
And begin again.

Monday, November 20, 2017


“The saddest word
in the whole wide world
is the word almost.

He was almost in love.
She was almost good for him.
He almost stopped her.
She almost waited.
He almost lived.
They almost made it.”
                             Nikita Gill

It feels, some days, as if all those things
for which I have reached

have slipped through my clumsy

eluding my grasp as surely as a snowflake

my dreams a visions of self
as a minister,
parent, spouse


as a person!

have gone, far too often
slip sliding away

not quite lived out

almost love
almost kindness
almost integrity
almost honesty
almost effectiveness

but then again
I tried

Sunday, November 19, 2017

only possibility

“The magic of each day lives in the unknown. It's waking up as one person, and accepting that when night falls, we may be someone else entirely. So, when you ask what my story is, forgive me----I'm not quite sure yet.”
                                                           J. Raymond

this day I wake up
a little tired still
with a body that chastises for me all the years
of abuse and neglect

happy dog
is panting to hit the road
even though the road is yet unseen

in the profound darkness of late fall

the windows of the house star at me
black and empty
as I wander, and ponder
and wait for the light to come

I do not know what this day will bring
Oh, I know what is on my calendar
but life is not defined by the expected
but the unexpected

today I will have many choices
but they are scattered in front of me like the breadcrumbs scattered wildly
by a demented God

and I am often lost and confused

I have made enough poor choices to last a lifetime,
And beyond

people will come and go
news articles will appear on my computer
the phone will ring

and at the end of the day
I may well feel like a painting whose
Creator cannot leave well enough along

Sometimes, lately
The pondering has led to sadness
For things lost
For mistakes made
For friendships lost
For paths abandoned

and yet
it is this fact that I am constantly dying
and constantly becoming
that gives me hope

even now
for each moment where something is lost
becomes a moment of infinite possibility

no path is set
nothing is inevitable

the lonely grasping person
can find a sense of people
and get outside himself to notice, and focus others

the fearful person can find peace
the greedy person generosity
the cruel person, compassion

so often we fuse to our stories
but each story has not only a beginning
but an end

and in the freshness that is this moment
we seek to make the next right choice
and we begin again

For life changes
Our story changes
We change

Each day, each moment

We have no permanence
Only possibility

Saturday, November 18, 2017


“Earth's crammed with heaven...
But only he who sees, takes off his shoes.”
― Elizabeth Barrett Browning

it is almost dark
the sun is only a hope
and the world is gray upon gray

and yet in the cold stillness
a star shines
hovering over the mountain
tardy in its departure

the white tail of a mule dear
bobs and weaves through the juniper

and the dark specter of an owl swoops toward earth
dawn patrol

life is everywhere
magic too

and I am tempted
(if it were not 25 degrees)
to take off my shoes

Friday, November 17, 2017


“Tears are words that need to be written.”
                                            Paulo Coelho

the tears do no always come
they do not flow from my eyes and down my face
to be blown away by the wind

to join the tears of the Sacred
falling from heaven

but they are there
a cry of the heart
a rending of the soul

there is so much pain out there
and thus
so much pain in here

people divided
angry, hateful

driven by words unwritten and unspoken
into acts of essential selfishness
into fearful acts of
and casual violence

pain not shared become
that which separates and divides

yet pain
and tears shared
become the bridge
across which compassion and love walk

across which God walks
to make
all things new

Wednesday, November 15, 2017


In the darkness
the cold gathers and embraces

and the stars sparkle
so alive and so distant


and in this place
the hungry ghosts
the demons of the soul howl

all the voices call
why is it am I here
where is it I will go

when I die
will I just disappear
quickly forgotten

Voices from the old days
From the future

Does anyone care?
Does anyone really care?
Enough to invest time, and love
In this meager soul

Under the clarity of an October sky
So many questions,
The answers
I don’t know