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

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Jesus Wept

“Those who do not weep, do not see.”
                     Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

I have always found it profoundly important
that Jesus wept

that this one who was all love
this one who was stuffed full of sacred
and oozed healing
should weep

but it is clear he did
he wept for Lazarus
he wept over Jerusalem
he wept, perhaps for himself
as he prayed on that rock in Gethsemane, and “sweated blood”

why did he weep
this man of sorrows
this one acquainted with grief?

because he had eyes that saw
the people
all those people who littered his path

the rich and the poor
the righteous and the unsavory
the welcomed and the excluded
the greedy and the generous

he saw them all
and he saw their pain
their anger, hate, and fear
their greed

and he saw how they treated one another
as they lived out of the house of fear

he saw the oppression,
the exclusion
the hoarding
the cruelty

he saw all the miseries of human kind
he saw death

not just physical death
but spiritual death
emotional and relational death

he saw it, and he felt it
and he wept

and he lamented
Oh foolish people
“how often I have longed to gather [you] together,
as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings,
but you were unwilling!”  (Matthew 23:37)

Jesus wept because he saw
He felt
He took in
He carried
The pain of the world

He carried that pain all the way to the cross

Ah, that we might have eyes that see

Eyes that can look out
Past our own pain, our own self interest
And see the people around us

Ah that we might see the poor
The rejected
The oppressed and the minimized

Ah that we might see all those made vulnerable
By poverty
Or illness
Or by the color of their skin
Or their creed
Or the sexual orientation with which they were born

Ah that we might see them

And the fear, the loneliness
The depression and desperation
the hopelessness

Ah that we might weep
Weep for all the miseries of human kind

Weep for the wounds
Self-inflicted or imposed

But may we not just weep, but act
But offer ourselves
(in whatever way we can)
As instruments of healing and reconciliation

As our eyes see, and as our ears hear

May our hands be full of bread
Our hearts full of compassion
Our words full of kindness

Friday, November 29, 2019

no death

There he sits
in the house his hands have made
a wizened, gnarled version of himself

his daughters hover

“Hey” he says as I walk in, “how are you doing?”
“That is my question!” I respond

the chair next to him is empty
after so many years
his wife, with her quick smile and easy laugh
is gone

reflexively he reaches over
but there is no hand to greet his

he is still strong, at 94
but in his eyes a question lingers
and in his voice
is the slightest hint
of a heart that is broken


When you lost a loved one, you suffer. but if you know how to look deeply, you have a chance to realize that his or her nature is truly the nature of no birth, no death. There is manifestation and there is the cessation of manifestation in order to have another manifestation.
                                                                                  Thich Nhat Hanh

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God[a]; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going.”  

We come from something (God, the Sacred), we become something new (who we are in this world), we carry the Sacred with us during this walk (The Spirit), and when we die, we go on to something else (not sure what that is, but it is ).  We return, perhaps, to the one who created us, and from whom we were never really parted.

Thursday, November 28, 2019


“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
                             Stephen Kliewer

It has been decreed. 
History impels us!
Tradition demands it! 
The merchants insist! 

We have no choice!  Count your blessings
Rejoice in your affluence
Eat ‘till you founder,
Then go out and shop till you drop and buy till you die….

It’s the holidays, its Thanksgiving, and Black Friday, and, eventually, Christmas,….
American style

But wait a minute!  What if you don’t feel thankful? 
What if your life isn’t all that great?

In a long past Peanuts cartoon
where the crew has entered the dining hall at a camp
and breakfast is on the table. 
Lucy digs in. 
Peppermint Patty says,
“Wait a minute!  We are supposed to pray first. 
We have to give thanks for what we are about to receive!” 
Lucy, with a distressed look on her face answers… 
“Well I’ve already received it, and I’m not thankful.”

It happens, doesn’t it?! 
There are times when we just don’t feel thankful. 
Instead we feel discouraged, beaten, or frustrated. 

How do we, when our day, or week, our month, our year has gone poorly, give thanks? 
To use the words of the Psalmist,
how can we “Sing the songs of the Lord while in a foreign land.”

I think, to over simplify
The secret is

Sacred Presence

The secret is understanding that
the Sacred is present, woven into the fabric of who we are
in such a way that we are never
never unloved
never without the capacity
to overcome evil with Good
hate with love

call this understanding faith
call it anticipatory hope
call it what you will

One of my favorite prophets is Habakkuk! 
Habakkuk was not a person who, from a human perspective
had experienced blessing, or abundance. 
He had watched as the Egyptians killed good King Josiah. 
He had stood by helplessly as the hordes of Babylon had poured through the land of Judah,
conquering city after city.  
He had seen Jerusalem itself fall under siege. 
He had experienced famine, injustice, treachery, death and defeat. 

But somehow he found it in him to write these words…..
Though the fig tree does not bud
And there are no grapes on the vines
Though the olive crop fails
And the fields produce no food
Though there are no sheep in the pen
And no cattle in the stalls,
Yet… I will rejoice in the Lord
I will be joyful in God my savior.

Can you imagine writing such words?  Lets bring it up to date!

Though climate change looms
And economic inequity grows
And injustice rules
And children are imprisoned
And minorities are oppressed

Though the rich and powerful abuse their power
Though I personally struggle with illness
Or poverty
Or loneliness or depression, or anxiety

Though I feel as if there is nothing I can do
And the world is falling apart around me
Yet, I will rejoice in the Lord!

Habakkuk understood that
 there is no direct connection between outward success,
comfort, ease, or even health,
and blessing. 

He understood that thanksgiving depended on something other than all that outward stuff.

It depended upon a sense
that God is as close as one’s breath
and that God is Love

and living gratefully
out of that place of being loved
and knowing that that Love

poured into us by the Sacred
will ultimately
be enough

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

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Speaking for God, or not

It is a curious thing
Lots of people seem to think they have the right to speak for God
As if has somehow made them a personal confidant

Take for example a candidate for the US Senate
who, when commenting about a rape
and the subsequent impregnation of the woman

felt entitled to tell us
the WHY

Why it happened.

Pregnancies from rape are “something that God intended to happen."
(it seems)

God told him?

We tend to do this a lot
Put words in God’s mouth
Intentions in God heart

Poor God!

The problem I suspect is that we want certainty
We want to understand
We want formulas to explain how everything works

Do good and prosper
Do evil and fail

Love God and be blessed
Reject God and suffer

We want it neat and clean
We have an obsession with knowing WHY

And the easy solution is that God is in control of everything
And God makes everything happen
And God has God’s reasons

And so we go to this place where God micromanages everything
its all God
whatever happens it is God's will

The problem is not what is happening
The problem is simply our understanding

You know the platitudes
“God's will is like a jigsaw puzzle, sooner or later, all the pieces will fit together.”

There is of course, an element of truth in such insights

But ultimately this is an odd formula
One not exactly supported by scripture

And one that seems to ignore the fact that people have a lot to say
when it comes to evil

I think it is one of the great theological mistakes,
this idea that God makes everything happen...
not only the good
but also the bad and the ugly.

It takes us such weird places
A child dies... we must make sense of it
Why?  Why? we cry...
We must know why!

And so people say "God wanted this beautiful child in heaven with Him"
Not my God. He would not do that to a loving parent.

A woman is raped and gets pregnant.
God must have wanted another life?

It doesn't work!
The formula is flawed, and no amount of creative thinking
can always come up with a reason WHY God did something...

As with Adam and Eve,
we darn well have our own minds
and we make our choices
and its not always good
and we can't always make sense of it, except to say

that's life
that is what happens when people
who are all too flawed, have choices

“WHY” is the wrong question
It takes us to horrible places

But Paul did remind us... all things work together for good, for those who love God"
God is certainly in the mix

So I think the question is this... WHAT?
What can God and I do with the mess I have made?
What can God do with the mess those around me have made?

What can God in the power of the Spirit
do in me
do through me
do with me,
to create good out of what is clearly not good.

Is it God’s will that a rape result in a pregnancy?
No! Hell no!

But is God there, in the midst and the pain?
Is it God’s will to work with us to try and make good emerge
Even from the darkest and most evil sitautions?

So as darkness falls
And evil flourishes
It seems the primary question should not be WHY
(although we will always want to know,
  even Jesus asked “why” while on the cross)


What can God do?
What can I do to help?
How can I work together with God
So that love, and grace, and forgiveness thrive

Because this I do believe
With God
All things can work together
For good

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

The Gospel, Period

“I don't preach a social gospel; I preach the Gospel, period. The gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ is concerned for the whole person. When people were hungry, Jesus didn't say, ‘Now is that political or social?’ He said, ‘I feed you.’ Because the good news to a hungry person is bread.” - Desmond Tutu

What do we do with the lump in the throat that is God?
What do we do when the wind of the Sacred roils through our souls,
turning us inside out and our world upside down?

What do we do when we come awake to that infinite, immanent One
When that transcendent intimate reality
Who loved the world into being
And sustains it still

And realize that we carry divine DNA
That we carry Sacred Presence (to put it bluntly)
and are
Sacred Children?

The answer should be obvious

We enter into a new way of doing life!
a radical
profoundly new
way of being in this world

this is about Love
that Love which is woven into the fabric of our being
by the one who is love 

oozing out of our very pores
shaping our thoughts, our perceptions, our feelings
and above all
our actions

Dallas Willard once put it very well

“Jesus does not call us to do what he did,
but to be as he was, permeated with love.
Then the doing of what he did and said
becomes the natural expression of who we are in him.”


Jesus was so permeated with Sacred
that the distinction between sacred and common (human)
was meaningless

I will never get there
I will always be painfully human

but I am a Sacred child
and I carry Sacred Presence
and I can
do live a different way

“The Spirit of the Lord is Upon Me”
Jesus proclaimed

‘That I might proclaim good news to the poor.
proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free”

The presence of the Sacred is in us
that we might do the same
that we might not only proclaim good news
but that we might BE good news

faith is lived
faith is most manifest not in holy songs
and rituals
but in acts of compassion and kindness

faith is most manifest not in sanctuaries
but in soup kitchens
and immigrant camps
and yes, perhaps, voting booths

and “preaching the Gospel”
is not about sharing ideology
or “magic” formulas that “save”

it is about meeting people where they are at
and touching their lives
at their point of need

it might be about healing a soul
it just might

but it is just as likely to be about
and clothing
and housing

it is just as likely to be about
justice or equity

What do we do with the lump in the throat that is God?
What do we do when the wind of the Sacred roils through our souls,
turning us inside out and our world upside down?

What do we do when we come awake to that infinite, immanent One
When that transcendent intimate reality
Who loved the world into being
And sustains it still

The answer should be obvious

We enter into a new way of doing life!

Saturday, November 23, 2019

a lump in the throat

AT ITS HEART, I think, religion is mystical. Moses with his flocks in Midian, Buddha under the Bo tree, Jesus up to his knees in the waters of Jordan: each of them responds to something for which words like shalom, oneness, God even, are only pallid, alphabetic souvenirs. "I have seen things," Aquinas told a friend, "that make all my writings seem like straw." Religion as institution, as ethics, as dogma, as social action—all of this comes later and in the long run maybe counts for less. Religions start, as Frost said poems do, with a lump in the throat, to put it mildly, or with the bush going up in flames, the rain of flowers, the dove coming down out of the sky.
                                                                        Fredrick Buechner

I am not a big fan of religion

All that dogma
All those rules, and rituals
All that form and government

In the day of my youth Donovan’s plaintive voice
Echoed in my ears

“When rain has hung the leaves with tears
I want you near, to kill my fears
To help me to leave all my blues behind
Standing in your heart is where I want to be
And long to be
Ah, but I may as well try and catch the wind”

Ah, but I may well try and catch the wind

In many ways religion feels like our pathetic attempts
to try and catch the Wind

the Wind of the Spirit

which does not mean I do not have faith

I believe in Sacred
I believe in a power
Call it Sacred, God, Love

In a power that draws all together, and holds all together

In a power that is totally, wholly (Holy?) other
and yet is totally, wholly, woven into the fabric of my being

Someone once told me their major issue with faith was their concept of God.  They saw God as some sort of vague being, some great “other”…
and kept picturing tapioca pudding. 
The big guy in the white robe with the lightning bolt isn’t much better.

God, the infinite one is hard to connect to. 
But there is another side to this reality I call God... 
the immanent. 

Immanence is not the opposite of transcendence, it is the correlative. 
Immanence and transcendence are two sides of the same coin....

If transcendence is the infinite God,
Immanence is the intimate God

This is the God who is present,

And this God I experience
and whom we “experience”

and that is the definitive word

This is the lump in the throat,
the bush going up in flames,
the rain of flowers,
the dove coming down out of the sky.

This is inner presence

If I have to use Bible talk
I would say this is the Spirit within. 
The teacher,
comforter that Jesus talks about.

This presence is there
It is woven into my fabric
It is what makes me a Child of God

And makes you one too

But wow!!
This world!

it is so ugly
the wicked flourish
the innocent die

lies, and greed and cruelty seem to win
and win, and win
so much winning

and we wonder
today a friend asked a question

“Do you think g_d is out there somewhere... listening, able to do something... willing to do something? Anything?”

“I used to.”  He wrote, “But there’s seems far too much evidence to the contrary...
that either g_d is not, or does not exist/express as we’ve been taught,
as we often insist/expect. This is my struggle as I cling to hope... hope in hope.”

I do not think g_d is just out there
I think g_d is in here, in me

and yes, I think it makes a difference

Jesus, in his last, intimate talk with his disciples
Who were going to be left in a world that left them wonder
Pleaded with them to stay connected to that Sacred reality,
the way a branch stays connected to a vine

Grab hold of God, Jesus said,
in such a way that the life giving presence is there
and you can be fed

The word he used was abide

maybe a better word is the word cling.
We need to cling to God,
as when
and afraid
and  hurting
We cling to another

Clinging and finding in the holding
the touch
the experience of the other being there
the healing flow of love

Of course clinging doesn’t work if it is one sided

And that is the good thing about this infinite, immanent reality
I call God

we don’t just cling to God
God clings to us…
and as we desperately seek to love Love
Love loves us back

So while I am not a big fan, much of the time, of religion
I am sold on that reality
Who showed up in a burning bush
and blew through the disciples souls
and comes to me
on beautiful fall mornings
as a lump in the throat
As Aquinas said
"I have seen things,"
"that make all my writings seem like straw."

I am seeing things that make my theology
Seem like a pile of dry dust

But still
I believe

Thursday, November 21, 2019

the fatal capacity of compassion

Compassion is the sometimes fatal capacity for feeling what it is like to live inside somebody else's skin. It's the knowledge that there can never really be any peace and joy for me until there is peace and joy finally for you too. ”
                                         Frederick Buechner

they sat on the bench
two old souls
wrinkled by the sun
baked brown by the heat

even in the warmth of California
they bore the weight of coats
several sizes too large

a buffer perhaps against not only the cold
but the harshness of a world
which has shoved them to the margins
almost invisible

they were surrounded by bags
dozens of them scattered on the side walk
and stacked between them
a fortification courtesy of Walmart and Safeway

one eagerly tore at rolls rescued from
a dumpster death
eating eagerly


she seemed to notice for the first time
her beleaguered neighbor

then without a word
she passed a roll across
the wall that divided

eyes and hands touched
and they both


call it what you will

it is the power
that created
the power that shapes this world
the power that shaped us
into the divine image

and shapes us still

giving us the capacity to see others (all others)
feel for others
connect with others
give to others

it is the power that enable us to understand
at that deep down
soul level

“that there can never really be any peace and joy for me
until there is peace and joy finally for you too.”

it is what gives us the capacity
to reach out
with whatever we have in our hand
(or heart)

And give

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

die before you die

We are only afraid of death as long as we do not know who we are, but once we know ourselves objectively to be a child of God, we are already home and our inheritance is given to us ahead of time. Then we can begin living and enjoying instead of climbing, proving, or defending. Our false self, as all religions say in one way or another, must “die before we die.”
                               Richard Rohr (reflecting on the teachings of Francis of Assisi

Bless our little souls
we are afflicted by so many niggling fears

they dance through our brain
they are carried in our bodies
they rock and roll in our soul

all those anxieties
and uncertainties
all that unease and trepidation

leaving us feeling unsafe
and uncertain

it is like a poison, this fear
eating away at the fabric of who we are
leaving us tattered and torn

the walking wounded
desperately trying to heal

but we do not know how to heal ourselves
all our efforts
leave us more damaged

we try to heal through achievement
we strive and hoard
we grab power
we abuse
but we are left with only the fear
that we will lose what we have gained
that we will fail, or worse
someone else will take our treasures away

and so we become hard

we keep others at a distance
we keep minimize them and marginalize them
we oppress them and suppress them
we exclude them

we simply cannot welcome
those we fear, those we see as threats
our country
our churches
our lives

how sad we become
as we seek to prove our worth
as we clamber over others, scrambling
toward power or wealth
armoured with hate, and prejudice
or perhaps with camo and an AR-15
or even a Bible

there is only one anecdote
to believe in a God of love
a God who IS Love

and to believe that we are the Children of that God
loved and accepted
and forgiven
and that our destination is sure

Jesus often suggested that we have to die to live
that we have to die before we die

so that we might be born again

which is another way of saying
we must “die” so that we might find
a different way of doing life

so it is
we have to die to fear
that we might be born to faith

die to anger that we might be born to forgiveness
die to greed that we might be born to generosity
die to hate that we might be born to love

and it is when we have died
that we can truly live

so this day
and every day
I plan to wander through the minutes and the hours
muttering to myself

Child of God
Child of God
Child of God

not just about myself
but about every tattered and worn soul
I meet

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

New life starts in the dark

After the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was a voice, a soft whisper.
                                                              I Kings 19:12

“...new life starts in the dark. Whether it is a seed in the ground, a baby in the womb, or Jesus in the tomb, it starts in the dark.”
                                          Barbara Brown Taylor, Learning to Walk in the Dark

Soft as the voice of an angel breathing a lesson unheard
Hope with a gentle persuasion whispers a comforting word
Wait till the darkness is over wait till the tempest is done
Hope for the sunshine tomorrow after the darkness is gone….

Whispering hope oh how welcome Thy voice making my heart any sorrow rejoice
If in the dusk of the twilight dimmed be the region afar
Will not the deepening darkness writin' the glittering star
Then when the night is upon us why should the heart sink away
When the dark midnight is over watch for the breaking of day
                                                   Septimus Winner 1868

There is nothing I hate more than stumbling around in the dark
Things get scary in the dark

Everything is magnified
Every sound
Every smell
Every sensation

Its terrifying

And when it is really dark
I mean deep down
Soul dark

We sometimes feel hopeless
And helpless
We see no end to this darkness
It feels as if the light will never come

But of course
It does

And it is then we realize
We learned things in the dark

About ourselves
Mostly about ourselves

We learn what we are afraid of
What we hate
We learn where we are weak
We learn about resilience
And patience

Things are born in the darkness
That blossom
When finally exposed to the light

Hope is born
So is generosity
And love

What gets us through those dark times?
Those moments when we think
The light will never come

What gets us through the night of despair
When it feels as if the world will never be right again?
When it feels as if hate wins
And love loses

When it feels like we will never be right again

Sometimes it is nothing more than a whisper
The hint of an angels breath

Sometimes it is a message so faint
We can barely hear it
So soft we wonder if it is real

You are loved
You are a child of God
You can start fresh
Love wins

Monday, November 18, 2019

No time? Or we just don't care?

“Instead of saying “I don’t have time” try saying “it’s not a priority,” and see how that feels. Often, that’s a perfectly adequate explanation. I have time to iron my sheets, I just don’t want to. But other things are harder. Try it: “I’m not going to edit your résumé, sweetie, because it’s not a priority.” “I don’t go to the doctor because my health is not a priority.” If these phrases don’t sit well, that’s the point. Changing our language reminds us that time is a choice. If we don’t like how we’re spending an hour, we can choose differently.”
                                         Wall Street Journal

Priorities are a thing

Because priorities are lived
Priorities are expressed in action

and priorities reveal our values

if we want to know what we really believe
What we really love
Who we really love

then all we have to do is look
at the priorities
we have encoded into behavior

it is indeed true,
that all we have to do is
when explaining our actions
add the phrase “it is not a priority”

its disturbing

I didn’t call you, because you are not a priority
I didn’t tell the truth, because being honest isn’t a priorities
I didn’t listen, because caring isn’t a prioriy
I don’t eat well because health is not a priority

That’s harsh
On a spiritual level it gets even worse
I don’t worship because connecting with the Sacred isn’t a priority
(Or I don’t get up and watch the sunrise, because the Sacred isn’t a priority)
I don’t pray because opening my heart to God isn’t a priority
I don’t forgive because reconciliation isn’t a priority
I don’t give because helping the needy isn’t a priority
I don’t include, because welcoming the stranger isn’t a priority

I don’t follow the words of Jesus, because…… ???

You can finish that one for yourself

What is it we put above love?
Who is it we put above Jesus

This seems like a pretty critical question

Because it appears that too much of what we do
What we say
How with think

Suggests something quite troubling

That while being rescued from our errors might be a priority
While escaping divine retribution is a priority
While being blessed by God is priority
And having God protect us, and give us wealth and power
Is a priority
While using God as an excuse to manipulate and abuse is a priority

Following in the footsteps of Jesus

It is interesting to me that the book
In His Steps
Which popularized the phrase “what would Jesus do?”
Emerged during a period of American history much like this one

During a time when the rich reigned
And when economic inequity was a harsh reality
When the rich indulged
And the poor suffered

The author posited, by way of the novel
The basic question

What Would Jesus Do?  WWJD?

Right now, what WOULD Jesus do
About the immigrants
About inequity
About injustice
About the lies, and the greed, and the hate?

What would Jesus do?
He would love
He would welcome
He would open his arms to the little ones
To the poor and vulnerable

And as to those rich rulers
Those rich men feasting at the table?

He would love
He would welcome
He would seek reconciliation
And transformation

Jesus number one priority is always simple
Loving people into eternal wholeness
Loving people into healing, and hope and joy
Loving people into generosity

Jesus’ priority is clear
Is ours?

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Bless our little hearts

In the story of Abraham, God blesses the one who was willing to leave a previous way of life for one new and unknown, saying, “I will bless you . . . and you will be a blessing.”  The meaning is that the power of blessing in conveyed to us.  The power of blessing is the power to draw more of the Light into the world, and this power is now in our hands.
                                                                                  Beatrice Bruteau


sometimes we think blessing
is all about showers of gooey goodness
coming down from heaven

I am so blessed we say
as we think of lovely things that have happened
a promotion
a new car
an awesome child
an affluent life
a loving companion

our vision of blessing seems to involve a
God (or a Jesus) who wanders around like a deranged
fairy God Mother, wand in hand, dispensing “good things” the “chosen”

but blessing is much richer and deeper than that
blessing means to “be made holy”
or better yet “to be set aside”

Abraham was set aside for a task
So was Moses
And David

So was Peter
The “sons of thunder”
and Paul

so am I
so are you

being blest means
the Sacred One has given one the power
to make a difference
the responsibility?
to make a difference

as one blest, I have been given
love, forgiveness, generosity
I have experienced (from the Sacred) compassion
and patience, and more patience, and then more compassion

not so I can wallow in my blessedness
and hug it to myself

but so that I can pass it on
so that I can be a blessing to those whose lives I touch
each day




down south
they have a saying
“Bless your little heart”
Its another way of saying
“You are an idiot but I like you and care about you so I don’t want to hurt your feelings”

The Sacred One must feel like saying that all the time
to me

I can hear her now
“Honey, why bless your little heart, but I gave you all those skills
and gifts, not just so you would prosper, although that is OK, but so that you
would help those around you”

the blessing I receive
is not just about me
the blessing you receive is not just about you

it is about the Kingdom
it is about the light

we are given love so there might be more love in the world
we are forgiven so there might be more forgiveness in the world
we are given peace so there might be more peace
we are given the Presence so there might be more God in the world

bless our little hearts

Saturday, November 16, 2019

When was the last time you sang?

When was the last time time you sang?
(Question put to the sick by a Native American Medicine Man)
          Quoted by Mark Nepo in the Book of Awakening

When was the last time you sang?
not a hymn,
or a song for a chorale
or choir

but sang
joyously, freely
just for the hell of it
because your soul was so full
of the joy of the Sacred
that you could not be silent?

When was the last time you laughed?
laughed at the absurdity of life
laughed for no reason
laughed until the tears ran down your face
and you snorted

when was the last time you gave voice
to whatever was deep within you

when did you last cry
from the heart?
Freeing the torrents of anguish
the pain dammed behind the façade
you present to the world?

Ah as we creep thought this word
Tip toeing really
little, and shriveled and old of soul
we need to

there is healing
in that giving voice
in the laughter
the song
the cry
the whisper

even if it feels
that no one hears

for no song
no cry
no laugh
goes unheard

by the ear

Friday, November 15, 2019

Sunshine and Butterfiles

A few years ago, a Facebook friend let his wife read a draft of a sermon he wrote
When she was finished, she just shook her head.  “Don’t you ever preach on anything happy?” she asked him. “Just once,” she said, “would it kill you to preach on, you know, sunshine and butterflies?”
                                         (David Henson, December 28, 2014 on Patheos)

“Sometimes it seems safer to have just enough God to get to heaven, but not so much that he radically alters our lives.”
Chris Hodges, Fresh Air

I wonder if those precious souls
impelled by force I am sure they did not understand,
dropped their lives into the first convenient trash can
and followed Jesus,
ever said to themselves

“What have I done!?”

I wonder if there were ever moments,
when as they listened to him teach,
they felt overwhelmed by the radical nature of the way
they were being asked to follow?

Give up all you have
Turn the other cheek
Love your enemy
Forgive 70 times 7

Die to live
Give to receive
Serve to Lead
Be last to be first

I suspect the disciples felt like they were swimming in a sea of expectation
and drowning
that drumroll of radical, strange, upside down, inside out demands
never stopped
forget sunshine and butterflies

it was all sacrifice
No wonder they wailed “INCREASE OUR FAITH” (Luke 17)

there are moments when I too
feel like I am drowning in expectations

and when I too call out increase my faith

and the answer comes
all you need is a tiny seed of faith
that is all you need

I don’t think that is another expectation
I don’t think Jesus was trying to guilt the disciples

Suck it up
Have a little faith

I think he was suggesting God is so big (infinite even)
And God is so close (intimate even)
That even the tiniest bit of faith
Is enough

So give me faith, Lord

Enough to keep swimming
In that sea of expectations

But more
Enough to radically alter my life
That I might give up all I have
Turn the other cheek
Love my enemy
Forgive 70 times 7

give me a seed of faith
so that I might be a seed of change
a pinch of yeast
in a world that needs to be

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

colo-rectal theology

To be engrossed by something outside ourselves is a powerful antidote for the rational mind, the mind that so frequently has its head up its own ass - seeing things in such a narrow and darkly narcissistic way that it presents a colo-rectal theology, offering hope to no one.”
Anne Lamott


journey inward
journey outward

journey inward to that place at the center
where the sacred lurks
ready for us to be present to the Presence

journey inward to the place where Sacred lurks
waiting for us to arrive

journey inward to that place
where we can be touched and transformed
by Love

we must make the journey inward,
for who we are in God is who we are

Sacred Children
God carriers

I don’t know about you
but sometimes, many times
I get lost on that journey

Instead of moving deeply into myself,
to the region of heart and soul,
I wander around in my head
which is a bad neighborhood

there are bullies there
which assail me and diminish me
and make me fearful

and there,
in that ghetto of doubt and fear,
it is “all about me”

my future
my needs
my desires for power
my resentments
my lust for retribution

if I live here
it turn myself in upon myself
and end up with a severe case
of cranial anal inversion

No, I must make that journey inward
it is not an option
it is a profound need

and when I make it, I am changed

but the journey is not complete unless there is a corresponding
journey outward

where the world is in turmoil
and pain abounds

where children are caged
and people die for lack of healthcare
and children go hungry at school
or cower under desks during “shooter drills

where families mourn those lost to drugs
and the greedy destroy the earth
and angry people make their statements with a gun
and dishonest, selfish, vindictive souls tear a country apart

faith is about discovering who I am
but faith is more
it is about discovering who I am in this world
this battered, hurting, hungry, bleeding world

and discovering how I can be a healing, helping, hopeful presence
how I can so speak
so act
so give
that I help restore hope, and restore health in others

I know the need is huge
but this day
this day
there is likely to be one person

even if it is just one

whose life I can touch with love and compassion

my faith is about me
but it must be about more
way more
than me

from colo-rectal theology
deliver me