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, November 29, 2020

Casting people into the light

In a mesmerizing interview between Dan Rather and Carlos Santana, Santana, who was molested as a child, was asked by Rather "if" and "how" he had recovered from the trauma. Santana responded that he had indeed fully recovered because within his heart he had cast his abuser into the light of God. He said that if he had instead yielded to the temptation to cast his abuser into hell, then he himself would have joined him. “There is no future without forgiveness.”   “I am not what happened to me”


On-air segment of The Big Interview with Santana, January 20, 2015




you know it has been a tough year when

as a person who believes love wins


you find yourself wishing bad things

might be justly visited upon certain souls


Not proud of that

But there are voices rattling around in my soul

Saying that some people really deserve some of the hell they are creating


And there are voices in my soul saying that our country, our world

has been made into a kind of hell


and yet

and yet

and yet


Ah John, the beloved


Man of passion

Child of the Spirit


“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it”


The light shines

Jesus lives


and the light cannot be defeated

and Jesus over comes death

(and a lot of other things)


this world is not what we have done to it

just as an abused child is not defined by what has been done to it

but is still and always a Sacred Child


so this world is not defined by what we have done to it

but is always, only the first incarnation

God’s expression of the Divine Self


the light shines

there is darkness

but the light always returns


ah yes

we can choose to cower in the darkness

we can sit in the gloom and believe that is all that there is


but the light is never overcome

it is there

in the world

in our souls


and we are called to choose light

to choose to walk into the light


Ah John, probably not the first John

but still, a student

reminds us


“God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.

If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness,

we lie and do not live out the truth.

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light,

we have fellowship with one another… “


We cannot live in the realm of hate and darkness

call it “hell” if you will

we cannot wish others ill


we cannot cry to God

to treat “them” as they deserve

for that would be to ask that we be treated as we deserve


we cannot ask for others to be dragged into the darkness

without be dragged into the darkness ourselves


I am angry right now

Angry over the hypocrisy

The lies

The neglect that has killed hundreds of throusands

The racism

The hate

The violence


I am angry at the President

I am angry at a hypocritical group of Senators

Who have set aside ethics, morality, even justice, for power


In my rage I wish them ill

and yet even as I do so

I know, I know, I know


That there is not future without forgiveness

To cast them into the darkness means I will be in the darkness myself

To cast them into the fire, means I will be in the fire myself


for we are connected

we Sacred children

and we must find our way to the light

we must believe in the light

we must walk in the light


there is no other way


so this day, even as I rage

even as the desire for retribution nibbles at my soul

I pray that Spirit might help me cast

those who so deserve darkness

into the light of God’s love


and that having cast them there

that I might follow







Saturday, November 28, 2020

Getting Heaven into Us

Nowhere is my destination.

And no one is my identity.


My daily bread is powerlessness.

Temptations can be overwhelming.

Gone is every hope of help.


An abyss opens up within me.

I am falling, falling,

Plunging into non-existence.


Is this annihilation?

Or, is it the path to the Silent Love

That we are?. . .


               —Thomas Keating, “The Last Laugh”  (quoted in Richard Rohr’s blog 10/26/20



I have been thinking a lot

about the “self” lately


maybe it is just that I am getting older

with far less road ahead of me, than behind me


maybe it is the chaos in which we now low live

as the earth screams in pain from the cruelty of human beings

and the poor suffer abuse at the hands of the poor

and the powerful manipulate and oppress

using their crumbling scraps of power



it seems as if the air is full of ego

and our world is dominated by the actions of people

who cannot see, proverbially

beyond their own noses


where ME rules

and WE is diminished


into this darkness

which is as brooding and cold as a winters morning

come the words of one

who would transform


who would warm our hearts

and fill our souls

and transform our minds


the words echo

they bounce around my sometimes empty soul

unavoidable and insistent


the first shall be last

the last shall be first

the old must die for the new to be born

you must give to gain

you must deny yourself

you must die to live


these words flow from the mouth of Jesus

they permeate the Bible


how do we miss them?

how do we ignore them? (and we do)

how have we managed to make faith about







how have we managed to change Jesus

in to a sick parody of himself?


the fact is these are hard times

these are frightening times

the raw appeal to hate is terrifying

the blatant abuse of power threatens all

(even those who celebrate it)



and we have done what people have often done

in such times


turned to ego

turned to self

turned to tools of ego, power and wealth

hoping for safety and survival


now, which it is hardest

now, when it is dangerous

now when it is costly


is the time to die to self

to let go of so many of the things we hold on to



to fall into that abyss

of fear and uncertainty

into that liminal undefined space

within us


for if we let go of the old

the new will come


if we die to self

we will be resurrected to a new self

our true self


empty we will be filled with the Spirit

empty we will be reformed


transformed by the Sacred

whose greatest desire is to turn the world right side up

and get heaven into us

rather than getting us into heaven!**


we will be reborn

and the world with us



**  This wonderful concept comes from Gregory Jerome Bentley via Facebook

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Time to say yes

… many humans can identify with Mary more than they can with Jesus because she was not God, but the archetype for our yes to God!  Not one heroic action is attributed to her, only trust itself.  Pure being and not doing…  Mary is the Great Yes that humanity forever needs for Christ to be born into the world…  In Mary we see that God must never be forced on us, and God never comes uninvited.

                               Richard Rohr, The Universal Christ  p. 127


If you want the Virgin will come walking down the street


with Light and


                     St John of the Cross



most of us want a better world


it is the rare person who loves chaos and worships violence

very few of us really, if we thought about it

are ready to embrace hate and fear


(although there are those souls)


most of us want a world

where natural beauty abounds


we want that peaceable kingdom

where “the wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat,

the calf and the lion and the yearling together”


we want peace

and we want love

above all we want love


but we struggle

we struggle because we seem to have weird ideas about how to get there

something the pathway involves power

the use of power

even the abuse of power


and so they attempt to implement their vision for the world

through coercion, through force

but using that every popular “power over” approach


others think it has to do with accumulation and consumption

and so gathering wealth

and using resources

become the keys to happiness


but sadly those approaches don’t work

they do




Indeed those approaches have proven

Time and time and time again

to be counter productive


and those approaches are not inclusive

not everyone has the power, some do some don’t

not everyone has the wealth, some do some don’t

some are included

some are excluded

some are empowered

some are oppressed


and we end up with have’s and have not’s

and we end up with

hate and violence

anger and fear


There is only one way to the Kingdom

and that is “yes”


that yes that is more about accepting and recieiving

than striving

that yes that makes room for God to be present in us

as God was present in Mary


that yes that fills us

makes us pregnant with love


that yes that allows us to give birth to love

that empowers us to pass on

Sacred Presence


to all we meet


the way to the Kingdom is to

receive what God is doing (loving)

and to hand it on to others


it is time for us to say our “yes” to God

“a yes that cannot be undone

 A corporate yes that overrides our many noes” (Rohr, p. 128)


how on this day

how in the days to come

will we say yes?


Monday, November 23, 2020

Sacred is everywhere

I doubt if you can see the image of God (Imago Dei) in your fellow humans if you cannot first see it in rudimentary form in stones, in plants and flowers, in strange little animals, in bread and wine, and most especially cannot honor this objective divine image in yourself.

                               Richard Rohr  “The Universal Christ” p. 118



Thomas Merton once said, “the gate to heaven is everywhere”

which is perhaps a way of saying


everything is Divine

everything is Sacred

everything carries a piece of the Creator


everything at some level is the Sacred incarnate

Word become rocks

Word become water

Word become plants and trees

Word become creatures of the seas

And birds on the wing

And all the creatures of the earth


Even me

Even you

Even our friends and lovers

Even our enemies


Even Donald Trump and Joe Biden

Even that one who has wounded us dreadfully


Why is it so hard to see God?

God is everywhere



Perhaps it is because our concept of God is so limited

Perhaps it is because we don’t look deep enough


Perhaps it is because when we think of Sacred

We want to be lifted out of this world

When really our goal should be to be planted firmly in the world


To see God in the grit and dust

In the immovable rock

In the changing leaves

In the early snow


Perhaps it is only when we see God

In this world

When we respect the incarnational nature of God


That we will be able to see God

in ourselves, and in the people around us


I suspect that we will not treat the world with respect

That we will not take care of the planet, until we see God in it

And understand that this world is God’s self-expression, God’s Word


I suspect that we will not be able to treat each other with respect

Until we see all other people as the ongoing incarnation of Jesus

God carriers

(for God loves things by becoming them)


Without this inner vision

We will continue to brutalize the earth

And we will continue to brutalize each other


When we stop harming the earth

That will be the sign that we are ready to start harming each other too


This day

As the sun rises, and the clouds glow

And the trees shimmer red and gold

And the frost glistens on the grass


This day as the mountains loom

And the eagles soar

And the aspen leaves ripple in the wind


This day is a day to go down and in

To go beyond the surface to the depth

To that inner place where things are what they are

Where people are who they are


And make the discovery

Ever old

Ever new


That God is everywhere

And to respect and love the divine image


In the world around us

In the people we meet

And in ourselves



The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge.

They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them.

Yet their voice[b] goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.

                     Psalm 19

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Blessing is a way of life

Stay clear of those vexed in spirit.

Learn to linger around someone of ease

Who feels they have all the time in the world.


Gradually, you will return to yourself,

Having learned a new respect for your heart

And the joy that dwells far within slow time.

                               John O’Donohue,  from “For one who is Exhausted, a Blessing”

                               From “Bless the Space Between Us”


Deep peace of the running wave to you

Deep peace of the flowing air to you

Deep peace of the quiet earth to you

Deep peace of the shining stars to you

Deep peace of the Son of peace to you

                               Traditional Irish blessing, quoted by Christine Valters Paintner

                               “The Soul’s Slow Ripening” p.39



in cursed times

we need blessing


we need to find that place of gratitude

that place of thanks


in cursed times

we need to feel the blessing of the Sacred One

who comes and with divine love says

“be not afraid”


we need the blessing of parents

present and passed

the blessing of knowing they loved us

were proud of us

were blessed by our birth and life


we need the blessing of children

to hear in the hungry dark

“you are a good dad”

“you are a good mother”

“thank you”

“I love you”


we need the blessing of those around us

the acknowledgement of our gifts

our contributions


in times of curse

we need to be a blessing

we need to carry the blessings we have received

as precious gifts


and offer them to others

along the way


I remember reading once

(I don’t remember where)

That in Kabbalistic wisdom there are two different types of vessels

that carry divine blessing divine energy


Some are containers open at the top and closed at the bottom.

They allow the life force to flow in but do not let it flow out of the other end.


Others are not stopped up at the bottom.

They are conduits for blessing

Sacred blessing flows in on one side and out from the other side.


Those vessels that are closed eventually shatter from the abundance of good

They try to contain


Those who pass on what they receive, fulfill their purpose


As those who are blessed

We must be a blessing


How do you be a blessing?

With a smile, or with a hug (after Covid)

By always thinking of giving, of helping,

By lending a hand.

By offering an invitation instead of waiting to receive one.

By caring for a stranger,

By making someone feel at home.

By teaching, and helping others to learn.

By offering insight and inspiration.

By encouragement or a kind word.


So this day, let us count our blessings

Take some time to wallow in gratitude

To acknowledge the gifts and graces present in our lives


and then let us enter into partnership

with the one who blesses


and pass the blessing on


blessing is a way of life



Friday, November 20, 2020

Traveling light

Read Genesis 17:1-2


God is not found in the soul by adding anything, but by a process of subtraction

                               Meister Eckhart (Quoted by Matthew Fox in Christian Mystics)


We need to step out and feel the way, how the Spirit guides.  The wind and current come from behind to usher us forward.  God is saying we must walk first, not follow, and feel the allure of the Spirit along the way, to trust that the fresh perspective will come as  wind or current from behind.

                               Christine Valters Paintern (reflecting on the call of Abram)

                               The Soul’s Slow Ripening



ah! that Abram (and Sarai)

standing on the edge of nowhere

looking into the far reaches of nothing

feeling the breath of God on their necks

feeling the Spirit push them gently into the desert


toward a destination unknown


ah! those disciples, hiding in a room

suddenly blasted by the wind of God

and seared by the fire

and driven into the street proclaiming!


ah! those ancient Irish monks

foolish souls who stepped into coracles and let the wind

blow them into the unknown

to the edge of the world


ah!  may I join these wanderers on their journey

may I step out into the day

not knowing where the wind will blow me


this is not easy for me

I want to know where I am going

I want a map

I want the route defined


at least it seems, Sacred could lead the way

giving me a path to follow


I get following

following Jesus

following “the way”

following the teachings of scriptures

following the confessions



following I can do


trailblazing is another matter

letting the Spirit blow me

into God’s new thing


I suspect I often look ridiculous

as, buffeted by the wind of the Spirit

I cling grimly to what is old

and comfortable


refusing to let go

of old ideas, old priorities

old expectations

old patterns

old frameworks


but God is not about old

God is about NEW

and this is where we err

we intense and dedicated ones


who sternly fight for the status quo

and think we are being faithful


standing up

standing against

standing by

standing for


but in reality we are often just

hanging on to things that we must let go of

if transformation is going to come


Abram could have stayed, comfortable in the city

and looked out from the comfort of his home

at the inhospitable desert


Those monks could have stood on the shore

and looked out over the endless sea


the disciples could have stayed hidden in their room


we can lookout at the world

changing, moving

and stubbornly insist we will not move


But then Abram would never have become Abraham

Pentecost would not have been a thing

And those monks would never have touched distant shores

And we?


A Wind of God


Blow us out of the safe and familiar

Move us

Transform us


our vision is small

our expectations pathetic


we cannot grasp what you can do

impel us into wonder

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

all is possible

Can the Creator of all lure poetry out of a stone?

Or cause a stirring of Divine Love in a human heart?

All is possible for the Creator of all,

Who loves to manifest the impossible

In endless configurations.

                     Thomas Keating, “Out of a Stone”

                     Quoted in Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditation, 10/19/20



just how good is God

at creating a new thing?


Just how good is Sacred

at drawing forth good out of evil

generosity out of greed

compassion out of apathy

kindness out of hardness?


Can that Power in whom we live

and breathe and have our being


really create springs in the desert

and make a way straight in the wilderness

that we have created?


Can our hearts of stone

really come alive

and beat with the rhythm of divine love?


Can a nation careening wildly

down the path of greed and domination

toward moral and spiritual death

turn around

and climb out of the grave

newly alive and ready to realize that black lives matter

LGBTQI+ lives matter


newly alive to love

and ready to let justice roll

and equity abound


ready to heal the sick

feed the hungry

clothe the naked

and house the homeless?


Can God do that?


“All is possible for the One who “loves to manifest the impossible”


For the Beloved artist of sunrises and sunsets

the Lover of the elk and the deer

the creator of the birds of the air, and the creatures of the sea


all is possible for the one

who put all that love and power into a little child

who became incarnate

so that we could see

what love could do with hate


who broke the bonds of failure



and death


all is possible for the one who stirred this heart

and lifted this life

out of the pit


giving my withered soul

more chances than it ever deserved

smothering me with mercies

that are new every morning


Ah yes,

All is possible for the One

who can create sacred children out of stones


and so as the earth burns

and elections loom

and evil sits in high places

and hate struts “proudly” in the streets


I will breath deeply

and wait for God’s new




Tuesday, November 17, 2020

On the way

…wanderer there is no road / the road is made by walking

                               Antonio Machado, quoted by Christine Valters Paintner


The Christian scriptures speak of a “way” but it is not the path of our expectations.  It is not the 10-step plan for inner peace.  Instead, this way calls us to deeper and more radical trust and to realize that the way is made by walking.  Each step is shaped by listening to how the divine presence calls us forward, the direction we take, the choices we make, and how much control we are willing to yield

                               Christine Valters Paintner, “The Soul’s Slow Ripening”  p. 28



Christianity has be called, at times, “the way”


But even though God creates a “way in the wilderness”  (Isaiah 43)

And even though “Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low;”


and though “the rough ground shall become level,” (Isaiah 40)


the way is not a freeway

it is not even a two lane highway wandering through

the Oregon outback


it is not a way firmly establish

paved with rules and principles


it is a way made by walking

by putting one foot in front of the other

as we seek, moment by moment

to follow Jesus


indeed it is the way of following

almost blindly

offering radical trust to this One

who leads us through us day


through each moment

through each choice


it is never defined

but is always emerging

God’s new thing!!!!


this means this way is full of surprises

and full of challenges


this means we are taken, often

into dark primeval forests


where all we have left is trust

in the One who leads us

in the One who guides and instructs

through those inner promptings of the Holy Spirit


and sometimes we get lost

we wander off “to find where demons dwell” (Borning Cry -Jacque Darragh)


but the one we follow

seeks and finds us, as if we were lost and foolish sheep

and places our feet back on the way


where one thing counts, one thing matters



Ah yes, there are rules, of sorts

We love God, and follow

We love ourselves, and claim our rightful place as Sacred Children

We love others, and see them and treat them as Sacred Children too


So here is to the journey

Here is to putting one foot in front of the other

Here is to following the One

To following the breadcrumbs of God through

Swamps deep

And forests dark

And mountain jagged


Here is to following the way

through the wilderness

we call life




Every valley shall be raised up,

    every mountain and hill made low;

the rough ground shall become level,

    the rugged places a plain.

And the glory of the Lord will be revealed,

    and all people will see it together.  (Isaiah 43: 4,5)

Monday, November 16, 2020

Waiting for the Light

All the great Celtic festivals begin with a celebration the night before…


These reminders that everything begins in darkness and emerges from night, much like the great womb of our own birthing, offer some solace and courage to welcome the darkness in our lives.  We might, perhaps, begin to see the fertile space of new life alongside the uncertainties and fears.  The invitation is to trust in that great holy night, the “treasures of darkness” which the prophet Isaiah writes truly exist.

                               Christine Valters Painter, “The Soul’s Slow Ripening” pp.14,15



I am not a fan of the dark

while fall is my favorite season

and I dearly love the snows of winter


I struggle with the long darkness

when the long day’s journey into night (Eugene O’Neill)

becomes a long night’s wait for day


darkness can be not only the darkness of night

when day dies to be born again


but also the darkness that is difficult times

and that inner darkness

which comes and comes and comes again


there are so many times when we struggle

and wait

those advents and lents of the soul


when we strain for resolution and release

for the coming of the light


there are lessons to be learned in the darkness

about what to grab hold

about who and what can be trusted

about what to let go of


there are lessons to be learned about ourselves

as our pasts trickle up from dark places

and thought come unbidden into the dark emptiness


for me this dark space

this time of pandemic and corruption

of hate, and fear, racism and authoritarianism


has been a time of “slow ripening” (Paintner)


I have been forced to think about what I believe

About the very nation of the Sacred

About what makes for success

About what is important, and what is not

About who I am, and who I want to be


It is not all bad

This darkness

This uncertainty and turmoil


There have been many nights, but also many mornings

Many challenges, but many changes

Many “deaths” but also many “rebirths”


And so I sit in the darkness

Not just hoping for, but expecting, the light

Expecting God to do God’s new thing

Expecting us to learn, at least for a brief season, some lessons

As individuals, as a nation

About love, and compassion, and generosity


I sit in the darkness, waiting for the Light

Seeking to be the light

I suffer through this “small death” knowing that resurrection will come




“In the bulb there is a flower; in the seed, an apple tree; in cocoons, a hidden promise: butterflies will soon be free! In the cold and snow of winter there’s a spring that waits to be, unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see”

                               Natalie Sleeth  “Hymn of Promise”


Sunday, November 15, 2020

let go (of fear)

Those who are in great fear are so intent on their own passion that they pay little attention to the suffering of others

                               Thomas Aquinas


God is not found in the soul by adding anything but by a process of subtraction

                               Meister Eckhart


(both quotes from Matthew Fox’s “Christian Mystics – 365 Readings and Meditations)



we see every day what fear looks like

we see it as it struts on balconies and holds rallies

we see it as it carries a gun into a McDonalds

we see it as it suppresses the vote

we see it as if abuses power

we see it as it desperately consumes, hoping that through sheer consumption


it can tame the hungry ghosts that lurk


fear is all consuming

it fills our brains with muttering, chattering voices

it fills our hearts to overflowing, until there is no room in the inn

for love


it fills our soul, slowly devouring

until we are withered

our original blessing depleted

and that original sin

the lust for power and wealth



we live in a world of fear

we have a leader who nurtures fear

we have a nation that is near unto death

because of fear


fear is in the air

so thick we can no longer see

our brothers and sisters

we can no longer see the children in cages

or the black man, lying in his own blood on the street

or the hungry child in the home of poverty

or the frightened senior, cowering in isolation, COVID bound


all we can see is our own fear


which is perhaps why

God says over and over and over and over again

to those who notice God’s presence


be not afraid

To Abram, Joseph, Hagar and Moses

To Ruth and Samuel

and the people of God, Israel and Judah


when afflicted by threats from without

and evil leaders from within


to the disciples

who were slow learners


a drum roll of assurance

and a lesson


that we must let go of fear

to make room for love


“There is no fear in love.

But perfect love drives out fear,

because fear has to do with punishment.

The one who fears is not made perfect in love”  (I John 4:18)


when we are scared shitless

God says

“Be not afraid”


drop fear, grab hold of love


it only takes a little bit of fear to make us miserable people

who create misery


it only takes a little bit of love

it only takes a little bit of God (for God is Love)

to make us people

of love


people who embrace a new way of doing life

people who can see others

and the suffering of others


and can live


and compassion

and kindness


people who can overcome evil with good

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Singing Songs of Love

It is the calm before the storm

or so I am told

by those who know such things


the wind will come

so too the rain (and sometimes snow)

and the trees will roar their complaint

even as the thirsty ground gives thanks


storms it seems, always come


sometimes we see them coming

as the clouds gather and the mountains hide

and the gray darkness

rolls across the valley


sometimes they catch us by surprise

and we are caught


and unprepared


so too the storms

that arise in our souls

that gather in our minds,

and roar through our hearts

shaking us to our core


sometimes we see them coming

sometimes we are caught by surprised


always, always

we are shaken


this is a time of storms

there are storms without


hurricanes of course

and winter’s assault

but also the storms of hate and greed

the chaotic tumult created by those who lust for power


the storms of falsehood

and cruelty

and manipulation


there are storms within

as we struggle with our fears

our desires

our prejudices


and when the storms meet


Sweet Jesus!


and so as we are blown this way and that

as we are buffeted and beaten

but those terrible winds

that come from the mountains and the mouths of men (and women)


we cry out

we reach out

we breathe

we center

we calm


and we keep going

left foot, right foot, left foot



and we find the eye of the storm

which is that which is Sacred

which is love


and we allow that calm to enter our hearts

we welcome that love into our hearts

our fragile but fertile hearts


in the midst of the storm

we stand

and sing

songs of love

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Turn around

Jesus quite clearly believed in change.  In fact, the first public word out of his mouth was the Greek imperative metanoeite which literally translates as “change your mind’ or ‘go beyond your mind”…  The word metanoeite, however, is talking about a primal change of mind, worldview, or your way of processing – and only be corollary about a specific change in behavior.  The common misunderstanding puts the cart before the horse; we think we can change a few externals while our underlying worldview often remains narcissistic and self-referential.

                               Richard Rohr, The Universal Christ, p.86



some people like change

God for instance

“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?

I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland”  (Isaiah 43:19)


Some people don’t like change

That would be most of us


Change is difficult!

Which is why the images related to change in sacred tomes are often quite radical



Cataclysmic events


Which is why apocalyptic  literature is rarely comfortable to read


if any group of people on this earth should be open to change

open to growth and newness

it should be those who claim to follow the one who called people to be


born again

which really means to be born from above

which really means to be open to the powerful transformative presence of the Spirit

which really means being blown by the Spirit into to places

and reoriented by the fire of God’s transforming love


it is true of course that not all things change

Sacred doesn’t change

God is who God is


Sometimes our concept of God needs to change

being tainted by ideology, and social norms,

by bias and hate

and fear

but God is who God is


The primacy of love doesn’t change

Love God

Love yourself

Love your neighbor as yourself


That never changes!


God’s lust for equity,

and justice


God’s preference for the poor…

never changes


but we need to change


our minds need to change

our hearts need to change

our way of seeing things needs to change

our behaviors need to change, badly


we need to go “beyond our minds”

to the mind of Christ


we need to go beyond of prejudices

our biases

our “deeply held beliefs” in certain societal norms


right now too many voices are screaming at us

to hang on to the old

to the delusion that the way to “win” is to seek domination and power

to our almost universal addiction to wealth

to the false notion that one race is superior to others

to old views regarding the LGBTQI+ community

and more


God is saying change

Too many times we respond by saying “no”


No! I won’t see all as valuable and valued

No! I won’t include all

No!  I won’t love all

No! I won’t let go of my lust for power. 

No! I won’t let go of my view that might makes right, and wealth is a sign of blessing


But here is the thing

God’s new thing is irresistible

It will happen!


And we can be part of the God movement

Or not


Our choice


But if we choose not to go with God

We will need to do some pretty grim things to combat change


We will have to lie, to ourselves, and others

We will have to intimidate and coerce

We will have to shut our eyes to the pain and hurt others are experiencing

We will have literally work against equity and justice


As for me?

I know change is difficult

It stretches me, spiritually, mentally, emotionally

It is, at times, painful

It requires me to admit I have been wrong

It asks for sacrifices, and the abandonment of privilege

It forces me to go against people I care about


But I have to go with God

Wherever I find God taking me

I have to let the fire transform

And the wind blow me where it will


Because God is doing a new thing

And I want to see it!  And be it!

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Ever New

Truly, my life is one long hearkening unto myself and unto others, and unto God


We must defend Your dwelling place inside us to the last

                               Etty Hillesum, An Interrupted Life


We melt down a little each day.  The candle burns down.

And it may wonder at times, it may wonder:

What will become of me?  What will happen to my precious flame?

O, so much brighter, my dear, you will become so much brighter.




it all comes down to what is inside us

being spiritual, it seems, is a matter of soul


and we learn a lot about what our core is made of

in times like these

when greed abounds

and abusers rule


when we are bombarded by hate and falsehood

hate and fear

from all side


it is as if we are sinking deeper and deeper

into a primordial swamp

and the deeper we go

the more we are squeezed


the pressure builds and builds

and we threaten to crack


and here is the truth

if we are empty

if we have spent our lives living from the outside in

seeking to fill the empty place within

with the stuff of the world


with money and power

with sex and other pleasures

with “things’


we are still empty

and being empty we are easily crushed


we must be filled

and the only way to be filled

is to be awake to the indwelling


to the presence of the Sacred within us

the Spirit, in us

Christ, in us

Sacred (God) in us


and presence is eternal

it is persistent

it is ever new


it is like a spring welling it

it is like the wind that blows

it is like a flame that cannot be extinguished


and the more we are “attached” to this presence

like a branch to a vine

the more there is


the more power

the more hope

the more kindness

the more compassion

the more love


and as all of this flows through us

as we are conduits of the Sacred

as our lives are a “one long hearkening unto myself and unto others, and unto God”


the more there is

and the more the Presence is ever fresh, ever new


poor Donald

poor all of us

thinking that our titles, and our wealth

our flimsy power

our things


can define?


poor us

trying so hard to protect empty shells!


when will we stop

feeding on what does not satisfy?

when will we let go of our addiction

our need for more and more and more of what does not work?


this is the hard truth

if we do not let God well up inside us

if we do not take the time to stop




the world will control us (squeeze us into its mold)

the world will crush us

we will melt away


but if we do that?

Isaiah put it this way


“those that wait upon the Lord will renew their strength

They will soar on wings like eagles;

    they will run and not grow weary,

    they will walk and not be faint.         (Isaiah 40)



Friday, November 6, 2020

Lament to hope

"Someone asked me,” Hanh writes,“ aren’t you worried about the state of the world?” I allowed myself to breathe and then I said, “What is most important is not to allow your anxiety about what happens in the world to fill your heart. If your heart is filled with anxiety, you will get sick, and you will not be able to help.”



this morning I lingered

I simply did not want to get out of bed

and enter this day


yesterday was not that great

nor was the day before


and I am tired

tired of the lies

tired of the stupid games

tired of the manipulations

tired of Covid

tired of the hate that oozes

tired of the acceptance of the unacceptable

tired of the hate, and fear, and racism


tired of the human nightmare we have created

(no I am not depressed but thank you for your concern)


and my heart is heavy

filled with pebbles of sadness

pebbles of despair


I know too well what humans can do with the divine dream

how we can turn the heavenly kingdom into a dystopian nightmare


I know how far people in high places

who love power

and love money

will go


I know what they are willing to do to other human’s

for their own benefit


and so I am weighed down


and I know too that God

hands us over to ourselves

and will let us literally reduce our lives

our countries

our world to rubble


but I know too what God can do

with the rubble

I know God is love


and I know that God brings life out of death

hope out of despair

love out of hate


and I remember the words of Isaiah (25)

who after piling words of doom on words of doom



“And God will swallow up on this mountain the covering that is cast over all peoples,

    the veil that is spread over all nations.

God will swallow up death forever; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces,

    and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth,

    for the Lord has spoken”


and so I reject

the sickness unto death

that is despair


and I breathe in

and I breathe out

and with each breathe I whisper



and God who is fire and wind

who is as near as my breath

renews my heart


and I am lifted up




each day is a little Easter

a moment when I affirm


that while God may not smite the evil ones

and while the rain may fall on the just and the unjust

and while the world may crumble around me


God is here

and God will stay here

and walk with me through this valley


and I do not need to fear evil


I breathe in

and I breath out

and I walk with Love into this day


seeking to be a resurrection person

and striving to pass that Love

so amazing so divine (thanks Isaac Watts)



to all I meet