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

Sunday, December 31, 2017

New Years 2018

New Year 2018

Transformation usually includes a disconcerting reorientation. Change can either help people to find a new meaning, or it can cause people to close down and turn bitter. The difference is determined by the quality of our inner life, or what we call “spirituality.” Change of itself just happens; spiritual transformation is an active process of letting go, living in the confusing dark space for a while, and allowing yourself to be spit up on a new and unexpected shore.
                                                                                                     Richard Rohr

Another year
Another mess
More greed, more hate
More violence, more death
More poverty, more oppression

Yet each year we celebrate and ending
And herald a new beginning

It seems we have problem

And the problem is we want change
Not transformation
We want to change our habits
But now our hearts, our souls, our minds

But our habits don’t change, unless we change our hearts, our souls, our minds

And that isn’t just change
That is transformation
And transformation
Is a process

A scary, troubling process
It is letting go of what as been
Spinning for a while over the abyss

Like a high flying trapeze artist
Suspect over, nothing

And then only then, after those moments of sheer terror
Do we find something to hang on to
That something new
That something next

And that… well we are never quite sure what it is going to be
When we first let go of what was

It is often unexpected
Sometimes challenging
Often scary

But it is what is next
And there is always a “next”

So this New Year
Don’t resolve to change some habits
Take a moment to breath
And think
Pray, meditate

Then let go
And grab hold, of God’s new thing

Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 30, 2017


“If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?”
                                           Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956

We know evil when we see
When we hear it
When we encounter it

We walk, these days, knee deep in evil

It is there
In evil people
Insidiously committing evil deeds

And at one level our hearts scream against what we see
And hear
And we hear the screams of those
Who are neglected

but our hearts are conflicted
we hear the siren call
for safety
and the promise of wealth
and our hearts are dawn
by the sinister power of hate
and by the warped “supremacy” of the bully

and we waver
and we let false shepherds convince us
that somehow
what we know is false is true
and that what we know is true
know at our God level is true,
is false

and we vote for Roy Moore, and Donald Trump
and we celebrate a heartless budget
and we exclude the refugee
and we neglect the poor
scrambling for scraps from the table of the masters

and we slowly sink into the ooze and slime
slowly sink

until there is no return
short of death

Lord may we die
Die to self
Die to greed
Die to hate
Die to patriotism

May we die a million little deaths
On our way to our great death

For in that death is life
For in that loss is victory
For in that letting go, we grab hold of what is good

For in that end, is perhaps
A beginning

Friday, December 29, 2017

Astonishing Light

I wish I could show you,
When you are lonely or in the darkness,
The Astonishing Light
Of your own Being!

the world is dark
there is no other way to put it

the shortest day of the year
(soon arriving)
Leaves us getting up in the dark
Leaving home in the dark
Getting home in the dark
And spending our evenings, completely in dark

we know darkness

and yet we are told
that a light shines in the darkness
and it cannot be extinguished


to find it?
Look inside
Yes, there
In another place you often think of as dark
The deep place
Where Sacred lives

Look inside
For there glows Sacred Presence

Its astonishing, really!
What is there

Think of it as a baby
Nestled in a manger
Pure Light

Pure love

Thursday, December 28, 2017

this demented inn

“Into this world, this demented inn
in which there is absolutely no room for him at all,
Christ comes uninvited.”
                                           Thomas Merton

There is so little room
For Jesus in this world

It is so crowded with noise
Coming from everywhere

It is so twisted and tortured
By hate and fear

We can be a demented race, we humans
So unable to grab hold of our divine image
so challenged by the very idea
of love

yet into this place
into the ooze and slime and old decay
Christ advents


Bringing only himself
Which is enough

Bringing only himself
Unconditional love

Revealing his way to a recalcitrant world
Coming in love
Living love
Dying love
Rising love

And saying gently

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Over the edge

“O the mind, mind has mountains; cliffs of fall
Frightful, sheer, no-man-fathomed. Hold them cheap
May who ne'er hung there.”
                              Gerard Manley Hopkins

Ah the mind has mountains
and cliffs too

and sometimes we fall
we fall
down into the dark valleys

plummeting into frightful places
unable to find something we can grasp
to stop our fearful slide

and yet in those deep places
when we have no place else to go

we find the genesis of our salvation

for in that place, our hand reaching high
we begin again our ascent
into the light

falling upward into grace
and into that new thing
the Sacred has in store

we cannot find this promised land
while hanging grimly to the cliffs
only release will allow us
to fall unto ascent
to die into new life

This is the Sacred paradox
which we must accept and live

other wise we hang
we hang above the abyss
and slowly die

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Which God do you Worship?

Which God do you worship?
Do who worship a God who is all about power?
Or a God who is all about love?

Do you worship a God who is all about punishment?
Or a God who is all about forgiveness?

Do you worship a God who is inclusive,
Seeking to draw all people together,
Or do you worship a God who is exclusive,
And who is for you, and your group…
All others “be damned” (literally)

Do you worship a God who is about cold, rigidity
Or a God who celebrates creativity?

Do you worship a God who is all about earthly kingdoms
About places on a map
Or a God who is all about the human heart,
And about the nurture of the soul?

Do you worship a God who penned a book which must be read rigidly and literally
Or does God speak not only through sacred books, but also in the power of the Spirit,
In many ways,
and choose to engage us daily in a living, creative way?

Do we worship a God who demands we deny science
Minimize women
And reject people who are LGBT              QI,
For the sake of this literal interpretation

Or do we understand that God is always bringing new understanding into the
Minds and hearts of people, and a new freedom to love and accept?
God is always doing a “new thing”

Do we have a God who “goes to bed” with politicians
And seeks to establish Sacred rule through political means,
Or do we have a God whose kingdom is not of this world,
And who warns us not to merge our faith with earthly powers?

Which God do you worship?
Which God is the true God.

It makes a difference

Monday, December 25, 2017

hearts full of grace

“Not everybody can be famous. But everybody can be great, because
greatness is determined by service. You don’t have to have a college
degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to
serve. You don't have to know about Plato or Aristotle to serve. You
don’t have to know Einstein's theory of relativity to serve. You don’t
have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve.
You only need a heart full of grace and a soul generated by love.”
― Martin Luther King, Jr.

what does it mean to be “great”
Trump thinks is about money and power
And the use of that power on others…

Crush, maim
“I win”

Happy Dog things greatness in a human
Is about walks taken
Balls tossed
Snacks offered

It is about kindness
And love
And “being there” (at 5:30 am when he wants to play)

Jesus would agree more with Happy Dog
“The one who would be first must be last”
“The one who would be great must be the servant of all”

This day I will have many chances to be great
They will come in the grocery store
When I am in my office
As I walk the street of my tiny community

And greatness will be measured
Not when I prove how brilliant I am
Or impose my perspective on another

But when I listen
When I care
When I am kind

My one goal this day
Is to be great
With “a heart full of grace

and a soul generated by love”

Sunday, December 24, 2017


Dear God, please reveal to us
your sublime

that is everywhere, everywhere, everywhere

so that we will never again
feel frightened

my divine love, my love
please let us touch
your face

St. Francis of Assisi


The angels came

They came to Zechariah
and he was afraid
struck dumb with the enormity of the visit

they came to Mary
and she was afraid
although the moment was pregnant with promise

they came to Joseph
and he was afraid
and perhaps puzzled, and even a little humiliated
this was deep stuff
and did God think he, Joseph was a fool?

they came to shepherds
who must have decided that the last batch of wine
had gone a little bad
and who must had looked incredulously at each other
as the skies shone
“Whoa!  Look at that, dude!”

The angels came
and there was fear

but also hope
be not afraid
be not afraid
be not afraid

for you have God all wrong
all wrong
you can be in awe
you can and should be overwhelmed
you should feel the power and presence
and be driven go beyond who and what you are

propelled into a world new
a life new
a heart new
a mind new

but be not afraid

for this God is love
and if you don’t believe it
soon God will prove it

God will come
not growling and threatening
not in power on the clouds

but crying and
reaching for his mother’s breast
a little gift of love
the sacred wrapped up in ragged cloths
and soon, needing to be changed

and you can touch

God’s face

Saturday, December 23, 2017


So dark the morn
For no other reason
Than it is that time

As year flows to year
Darkness comes and darkness grows

ever darker

in the black place
beauty hides

the trees melt into an abyss
and peaks and sky blend
until the soaring greatness of the mountain
is lost

black upon black

but even in this dark time
light will come
slowing pushing aside the gloom
until brilliant
the sun turns the cold morning into
white and blue
and diamonds gleaming scattered

snow and ice gathering the light
recklessly sharing their joy

and though we march ever deeper into darkness
solstice will come and
the blackness will turn, will turn

and the world will grow
ever brighter
for this the flow
of each day, each year
this is the pattern of life, of history

the darkness comes
but we, the lovers of light
keep walking, keep living
keep loving
keep hoping

for each year that moment comes
solstice, Advent
the beginning of the beginning
when all is about to turn

and in that moment
we people, living in the dark
remember, if we do not see, the light

and our hearts sing of what is to come
of justice, and love, equity and compassion
generosity and forgiveness

and our souls cry out
for the world is about to turn

(Thanks to the Canticle of the Turning by Gary Daigle, Rory Cooney & Theresa Donohoo

 for inspiration and hope)

Friday, December 22, 2017

sacred and secular

“There is nothing so secular that it cannot be sacred,
and that is one of the deepest messages of the Incarnation.”
                                                           Madeleine L'Engle

the place where the animals sheltered
became the place where the Sacred sheltered

the common, dusty roads of Palestine
became the place where
Sacred was shared

the gravel roads I walk each morning
as the sun rises
and happy dog dances
becomes my sanctuary where Sacred resides

Sacred too are the precious souls
who come to the place I work
to share, to struggle, to heal

and Sacred are the tired grey heads
to join on Sunday morning
to stir the embers of faith

Sacred is the one who mutters along the side walk
a hundred voices in his head
and Sacred to the single mother who amidst
the chaos of a cluttered living room
hugs her child

even the halls of the mighty
can be Sacred
those places where laws are past
and Sacred too, those souls
tangled in the web of power and wealth

the Sacred is sometimes difficult to see
to touch
but there is nothing, and no one

so “secular”
so immersed in the way of desecration
that the embers of
holiness cannot be stirred

it is our job
to stir the embers of our own soul into fire
that we live love, compassion, generosity, acceptance

to so live
as Sacred children
that we become the power
that bends the world

toward Bethlehem

Thursday, December 21, 2017


Hope is the place where joy meets the struggle
                                           Parker Palmer


here at the beginning of the beginning
as the world takes a slow breathe
and waits

waits for Sacred presence to make all things new

here as we stand with the whole weight of darkness
at our back
and the smallest hint of light

we look for hope

we want to have hope
not that we even understand what to hope for,
such are the tendrils of darkness that have woven their way
into the fabric of our being

but still we hope
gazing at a faint glimmer of light
hoping against hope
that we will understand,
that something better, bigger will surface
from deep within

and if we are lucky
something rises within us
call it joy

call it expectation
that what we wait for
here at the beginning of the beginning
will come

joy is energy
it moves our feet, our hands
it moves us forward
toward the light

and when it touches
the challenges

the hurt, the pain
the disappointment, the fear
the anger,
even the hate

when it touches the challenges
it overcomes
and hope is born

and each time hope is born
the light
so dim
so distant

as we move toward morning
and the end of the beginning

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

3 most important things

“Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.”
                                                           Henry James

there is nothing left but to be kind

the liars and thieves have left no other path
than this

to overcome evil with good

evil with evil
we whirl into hot discord
soaring every high into hate and anger
burning out

falling again, nothing left

ah but with kindness
we gently sooth the wounds of those
damaged by such careless disregard

those neglected
those robbed
by those driven by such false desires
as power and greed

we have two hands
one perhaps for taking
but the other for giving

and in the giving
forgiving, and healing
calming and nurturing

this is a dangerous trek
into kindness
for we will be called fools
and we will feel like fools
and perhaps we will be fools,
for God’s sake

but it is in lovingkindness
as we stop and plant the seeds of love
making loving wishes over and over in our heart
that our hope lies

what blind voter, convinced by voices that lie
and facts that are alternative
will be swayed by words, by more anger, even by facts?

What hater, convinced that he or she is not safe
And that “they” will soon rend and destroy
Will listen to empty assurances

But kindness speaks, it shouts
It is found in a smile, a kind word
It is found in silence
It is found in a touch, and found in a loaf of bread

It is found in multiple acts of kindness
In shoveled sidewalks, piles of wood
A casserole, a hug

We cannot out evil the evil
We can only counter evil with good
One person, on relationship

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

A serious thing

“it is a serious thing // just to be alive / on this fresh morning / in this broken world.”
                                           Mary Oliver, Red Bird

It is a serious thing to be alive
To walk in the frigid air
And feel the snow crunch beneath my feet

A serious thing to watch happy dog
Do the “I found a stick dance”

It is a serious thing to breathe the freshness
Watch the sunrise
Follow the flight of the raptor soar
Raise up one’s eyes to the mountains

It is a serious thing
to carry
through this beauty
so much ugliness

anger at one who lies, and hates
who divides and bullies

anger at those who would steal from the poor
to give to the rich

despair that those who say they follow Jesus
should blindly and passionately support behaviors,
words, legislation, budgets
that violate the way of Jesus

confusion, about how people can go into Advent and Christmas
singing about the one who came and comes
celebrating love, joy, hope, and peace
and yet be committed to people and policies
which are cruel, and rob people of joy, hope, and peace
and perhaps
even life

how can such a beautiful world be so broken?
And how do I contain both the beauty
And the brokness

Without losing the beauty in the brokenness?

How do all of
Carry the life in the brokenness?

Sometimes we are silent
Sometimes we speak
Sometimes we are angry
Sometimes we are patient
Sometimes we act
Sometimes we wait

But always we listen to the Sacred
We give the sacred the room to move
Deep within our soul

Always we stay connected

Always we carry, as best we can the Sacred with us
And always

We are present
To the small ones

In that way
We might just

Monday, December 18, 2017

no destination

Here is the thing
About this journey we call life

there is no map
there is no road
there is no destination

it is not that we struggle through the valley
and clamber to the heights

and finally make it to that “place that’s really swell” (Pema Chodron)

there are just moments
that come
and go
then come again

moments that make us stumble
and fall
others which life us up
into a semblance of joy

the trick is to catch ourselves,
gently and compassionately catching ourselves (Chodron)
as we move from moment to moment

pain comes and leaves,
then comes again
peace comes, and leaves
then comes again

and we just put one foot
in front of the other
waiting for the advent again

of something
call it love, call it hope
call it joy, call it peace

and falling
stumbling in the dark
catching ourselves again, and again, and again
with compassion

and taking one more step
in to pain, into ease
into war, into peace

letting go of the pain
letting go too, of the joy
taking one more step
one more breath

with open mind
and a heart

on our way to

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Time to dream

“I want to think again of dangerous and noble things.
I want to be light and frolicsome.
I want to be improbable beautiful and afraid of nothing,
as though I had wings.”              
                              Mary Oliver, Owls and Other Fantasies: Poems and Essays

what was in that busy head
when you woke up this morning?

as all those twirling thoughts
danced in magical chaos
through your skull

which wraithlike
dancers it you follow,

and in to what unexpected places
did you go?

did you wander into darkness,
wondering why you are even alive?

Or did you find yourself in that clear
high place
where possibilities live and breathe?

were your feet light? Or made of clay?

did you sink or soar?

Ah Sacred One
fill our minds with such wonders
endow us with such hope

that we may rise expectant
and see that heaven
is just beyond the horizon

and arrives
with the rising sun

Friday, December 15, 2017


“The things that matter most in our lives are not fantastic or grand. They are moments when we touch one another”
                                            Jack Kornfield

Walking in the dark
in a wet half frozen world

an old familiar path
down which I have walked many times before
thinking about life

what is it?
this spare existence
but pathway upon pathway

some familiar
some new

and what do we accomplish
as we plod, we plod, we plod

we hang so tight to our doings
to titles
(Rev. Dr. Father Sir)
to those tangible deeds
that we hope, against hope, give our pasts meaning
and our futures purpose

but in the end we realize
that all that really counts is those moments
when we touched another

when we gave them hope, or peace
when we helped them along the way
when we made them feel alive
and perhaps

but touching others is such a fragile task
and so much can go wrong

and sometimes touch can wound and destroy

may we in this world
where pathways cross
and people meet

learn to touch each other
with authenticity, and generosity
gently, kindly

for it is in those moments of touching
that our lives are made
or unmade

and we are our worst self
or perchance
our best

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Loves Extremity

“All empty souls tend toward extreme opinions.”
― W.B. Yeats

standing on the watch towers
we scream our opinion

words laden with hate and fear
black and white
fly from our lips

missile like into the dark
weapons of mass destruction

we are vomitus
perhaps hoping that the sheer volume of our polemic
will win the day

words me words
crashing together
tumbling to the ground in a no-person’s land
of hateful rhetoric

and we wonder why we are so empty

we do not fill our empty souls
by projectile hate
or by the consumption of tangible fear

that void within
which causes us so much pain
can only be filled
as we find the Sacred within

and let love and forgiveness seep until
fills and softens
and calms

and we can once again
see, and feel, and live
compassion and generosity

and we find ourselves
on that middle path
in that middle way
which is love’s extremity