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, January 31, 2021

Get over yourself

when I was a sophomore in college

I wore a deep track to the registrar’s office

to change majors


I had started out pre-med

seeking to follow in the footsteps of my father

an amazing physician and surgeon

a true healer


but then I hit chemistry,

and realized I was not a scientist

and my gifts lay elsewhere


I tried on history, political science, and sociology

eventually moving to philosophy, adding in literature

and later theology and psychology


I obviously didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up

and in the midst of this mess, the Beatles broke up


they had been a part of my life starting in Junior High,

all the way through High School, and into the tough early years of college


and then they were gone

leaving behind one last album, “Let it Be”


and on that album was a song,  “I, Me, Mine”


All through the day

I me mine, I me mine, I me mine

All through the night

I me mine, I me mine, I me mine

Now they're frightened of leaving it

Everyone's weaving it

Coming on strong all the time

All through the day

I me mine


This was not an anthem for toxic individualism

quite the opposite


instead George Harrison was actually rejecting individualism –

believing that a focus on what "I" have,

on those things which belong to "me",

which are "mine" –


prevents us being fully realized


it was a song about the danger of being wrapped up in ego


this was a cornerstone of Indian philosophy

it is also, I believe, the cornerstone of Jesus teachings


after all, Jesus did say this

If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.


we can talk a lot about what is wrong with the world right now

about what is wrong with the United States of America

about what is wrong with the so called “church”

about what is wrong with “us”


but I think it comes down to this



people are radically attached to “their rights”

violently attached


to the right to carry a gun

to not wear a mask


to the point, paradoxically that

“my rights”

become the right to impose

one’s agenda, beliefs, and ideology

on others


Richard Rohr talks about the Cosmic Egg

and suggests that for all of us there are three stories


there is my story, where it is all about me

where I seek significance through power, possessions and privilege

when on is  wrapped up in “my story”

the plea to wear masks for others become tyranny


then there is “our story”, the story of the tribe

the world of groupthink, nationalism, tribalism


if my story is about egocentricity

our story is about group egocentricity

and it is even more dangerous


a nation with the disease of toxic individualism can do much more damage

than a single person with the same issue


which leads to “the story”

which is the story told by Jesus

the story lived by Jesus


the story of inclusion, sacrifice, generosity

the story of “all”

where all are loved, all are treated justly

all are valued


and where we are willing to give up some of what we have

that all might have enough


that mentality where, as we wander down the road of life

our time is spent not fighting our own way to success and comfort

but is spent picking others up,

working as hard as we can


to make sure we all get there, together


in this time of toxic individualism, the verse that guides me

the concept that drives me

and that has become my “anthem” for 2021 is this


If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.  Let the same mind be in you that was[a] in Christ Jesus,  (Phil. 2:1-5)


Its time we get over ourselves!


(note:  yes, I know the dangers of not having “boundaries”, and there is a point where being for others becomes enabling and co-dependence and toxic in its own right)

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Do what matters

woke up with my head buzzing

a cacophony of thoughts

whirling through my brain


what day is it?

what do I have to do?

what have I forgotten to do?


I had the most profound sense of dis-ease

as if my soul were being assaulted


I did not notice happy dog, nuzzling my hand

or the misty beauty of a snow morning

I did not feel at home in my body

I did not greet the new day

with joy


what have we done to ourselves?

we people who delve in the book of faces

and tweet on twitter

and jump to our inboxes the moment we awake


this is, as Thomas Merton suggests

innate violence  (Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander)


we allow our schedules

our jobs

we allow the shoulds, oughts, and musts

we allow our brains to bully us


this is spiritual violence

as we allow ourselves to

be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns,

to surrender to too many demands,

to commit [ourselves] to too many projects

to want to help everyone in everything…”  (Merton)


as we over connect with the world

we lose our connection to the world


we no longer see the sky

hear the birds

smell the roses

feel the warmth of the sun,

or the crisp coldness of the snow


we rush, and rush, and rush

leaving our souls neglected


“Ah” we cry, “but there is so much to be done!”




but flailing away blindly at the problems of the world

is no way to live a life

and no way to truly change anything


paradoxically we must start our striving

by stopping our striving


we must go inside, to where the energy of God lives

and sit in Sacred space


that is when things start to happen

that is when the Sacred suddenly appears


and that is when we are moved by Sacred Energy

to the places we need to god


and that is when we understand, finally

the things we need to do


and can set the frantic busyness of this world

and our need to perform (in order to have value)



and become human beings

and find ease (instead of dis-ease)


and do what matters

Thursday, January 28, 2021

the mystical eye

In the sense of theology that liberates, the soul that is united with God sees the world with God’s eyes. That soul, like God, sees what otherwise is rendered invisible and irrelevant. It hears the whimpering of starving children and does not let itself be diverted from real misery, becoming one with God in perceiving and understanding as well as in acting. For people in the slums, redemption does not consist of some great and far removed actor ending the misery of the oppressed. Rather, in coming so very close, that far-near one acts in and through those who have become one with that actor. In liberating movements, the mystical eye sees God at work: seeing, hearing, acting, even in forms that are utterly secular. In the contingency of literacy programs or collaboration in building a school, God’s action is manifest. It is a mysticism of wide-open eyes. . . .

          Dorothee Sölle, The Silent Cry: Mysticism and Resistance,

          trans. Barbara and Martin Rumscheidt (Fortress Press: 2001), 283

          Quoted by Richard Rohr, Daily Meditations, 1/22/21



go deep the wise ones tell us

go deep into your own self

into that place where Sacred dwells

into that place that defines who you are


go deep into that quiet place

where, amidst the cacophony of the world

you can hear the “still small voice” of God




be in the moment!


notice what you are thinking

accept what you are feeling



be with your own self

be with God


and in that being

be transformed by the renewing of your mind

let go of everything

and go where the Sacred takes you


as Jonah had to let go of his fear (perhaps)

and later his resentment

and accept the guidance of God

and the loving-kindness of God


as Peter and Andrew and James and John

had to let go of their nets

and their security

an go with Jesus

to be people of The Way


every great belief system holds this truth

close to its core

every great faith system has its mystical side

that says good deep

encounter Sacred

let go

and go


some believe that such work

is a form of retreat from the world


but the reality is much different

the more we are united with God

the more we are connected to the Sacred

as branches to the vine


the more our eyes, and ears

and hearts

are opened


being intimate with God (and with ourselves – perhaps for the first time)

we are more sensitive

not only to what is going on inside us

but to what is going on around us


paradoxically we do not separate from the world

but we enter into the world more completely


we enter into the pain, the misery

we enter into the joy, the hope


we see the hungry

we see “the whimpering of starving children”

we see the inequity, the injustice

the racism

the hate

the love

the compassion


we see it all

and we enter it all

heart, soul, mind and strength


we see it, hear it, feel it

and in the power of the Spirit

we respond


we see to feed the hungry, clothe the naked

comfort the afflicted

fight for justice


this is true mysticism

it is “the mysticism of wide open eyes”


the world needs more mystics


can I get an “Amen”?


Wednesday, January 27, 2021

move on

Brendan, the Irish saint

is said to have asked God

as he and his intrepid band traveled in their coracle

seeking the “Promised Land of the Saints”


“How will I know what I seek?”


how many of us travel through life

like those brave monks

who journeyed across chaotic seas


facing many a danger

and finding many a land 



“will I ever get there?”

and “will know it when I find it”


how many of us go through life

somewhat homesick


feeling uprooted

as if we have left our place of origin

but not quite she if we have landed where we were meant to be

or even if we are headed the right direction?


it seems to be the almost permanent condition of God’s people

to be “on the way” to the promised land

and to be wandering


it is as if there is no straight path


there was no straight path of Abraham

nor for Isaac, or Jacob

nor for Joseph, and later Moses

and Aaron


Samuel did his wandering

and Saul too

and David walked many a crooked mile


there is blessing in the wandering

in the uncertainty

there are gifts to be found

along the way


and there is something powerful in the question

“How will I know what I seek?”


How indeed

How will we know we are on the right road?

How will we know the place we are meant to be, when we find it?

And when we find it?  Then what?


Do we get to camp?  To settle?

or do we get to appreciate this land of promise,

taste the fruit, wander in the shade,

only for a moment


before we are called to move on,

higher up,

deeper in?


and do we leave the place we have lingered

better than it was before

before we move on?

do we leave better people?


people journey

nations journey

perhaps even faith systems journey


blown by the wind of God

across sometimes violent and dangerous seas


let us always be those who seek the promise

let us always ask the question

let us always move toward the promise

not looking back


but pressing forward

toward the promise

of hope

of joy

of peace

of love



Monday, January 25, 2021

The answer (is blowing in the wind)

When I taught at a medical school

I did a lot of work related to the interface of health and spirituality


Even wrote and published a book about it


All of us working on this issue at the time (1990’s)

Realized that it was important to allow people to bring their spiritual resources

to bear on their illness


that health was not just physical

but emotional, mental and spiritual


only if all facets of the person were engaged could a person

truly move from dis-ease to ease


one of the things we looked at was how to assess the importance of faith

to the patients


and one of the tools we use was HOPE

a series of four questions


“What are your sources of HOPE, strength, comfort, meaning and peace?”

“Is Organized religion important to you?

“Do you have Personal spiritual practices?” (Like meditation)


“How would you like your spirituality to Effect your healthcare?”


We also used FICA

“Do your have a Faith system”

“Is it Important to you?”

“Are you part of a faith Community?”

“How would you like your provider to Address these issues in your health care?”



I remember, during one of the presentations we made

someone suggested it was important that we ask people how

important their spiritual lives were to them


And then it hit me

Spiritual Lives?

What other kind of lives are there?


Which is of course why what we were doing was so important

We are spiritual beings.


As Pierre Teilhard de Chardin famously put it,


We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience


we are spiritual beings

and all of life is spiritual


our personal lives

our work lives

our family / relational lives

our political lives

our outer lives

our inner lives


everything is spiritual

which means everything we do

everything we say

the way we do our jobs

the way we vote

the people and policies we support

are all spiritual practices


and everything we do or say

should flow out of our spirituality - which means they should all flow

out of our living connection with the Sacred



we are in the world

part of the dust and dirt

we just bones and flesh and blood

but we’ve been breathed into by the pneuma

the breath of the Sacred


we have been enlivened (Ezekiel)


and so everything we do is Sacred


every breath we take

every word we speak

every vote we cast

every move we make


what does it mean in this time

to be spiritual?

What difference does it make in how we see ourselves?

In the choices we make?

In what is important to us?


I don’t think there is a clean answer

I think the answer is blowing in the wind

In the wind of the Spirit as it blows through us


the answer comes, moment by moment

as the Spirit moves in us, and through

as in each moment

as the Spirit prays for us

Informs us

and comforts us


for after all

We are not human beings having a spiritual experience.

We are spiritual beings having a human experience


and when the Spirit

is blowing through our soul

newness happens


or as John O’Donohue suggests

“When love awakens in your life, in the night of your heart, it is like the dawn… 

 When love awakens in your life, it is like a rebirth, a new beginning.”

(Anam Cara)

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Hypocrites all

“One thing you can't hide - is when you're crippled inside.”

                     John Lennon




I’m a hypocrite

You’re a hypocrite

She’s a hypocrite, he’s a hypocrite

Wouldn’t you like to be a hypocrite too!?


I starting thinking the other day

about how in the morning I can write about loving my enemy

and then a few hours later

pummel someone verbal on Facebook


about how I can talk about generosity in one breath

and about joyful giving

and the pour over my finances, determined to increase my net worth

the next


It hit me just how often my words and actions do not line up


How about you?


It is not that I intentionally say what is false

It is not that I am pretending to be something I am not

It is not that don’t try to live up to my words

To practice what I preach


It is simply that all too often

If find myself violating my own intentions

My own values


I have a great deal of sympathy for Paul

Who wrote in Romans 7


I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate… I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do.


It appears Paul was a hypocrite too?!


At least he was my kind of hypocrite


Here is too all of us who try and fail


I know there are those who are intentional

I know there are those who are blind to their own duplicity

I know there are Those who talk love, act hatefully, and don’t even see it


There are hypocrites and then there are hypocrites


I am talking here about those of us who

Try and fail

And know we fail

Who are pained by that failure

Who, hopefully admit that failure


Those who confess, and repent


And then

Seek to connect with Sacred in such a way that

we become new,



this isn’t a matter of trying harder

trying harder won’t get us there

we will always fail

ask Paul


This is a matter of being permeated by love

Filled with living water

Lifted up by the wind of the Spirit


This is us being transformed by the renewing of our minds

and the cleansing of our hearts


so that we move ever closer

to doing what we want to do

and being who we want to be


children of God

Friday, January 22, 2021

Seeing the best

they swirl around us

like snowflakes in a blizzard

relentless, thick


enfolding us complete so that we can barely


where we are going


all those stories

all those “facts”

all those rumors


all those pieces of news

some real, some manufactured


about this group or that group

this person or that person


did you hear!?

according to the FBI!

the President said!


we are presented each day with a plethora

of information

and we must sort through it all

trying to discern truth from falsehood,

struggling with how to respond


sometimes it seems as if the choice is between

falsehood and truth

and it is


but I think it goes deeper than that


obviously we all see the world through our own lenses

our perceptions are all altered by

a myriad of factors


our ideology

our faith system

our culture, our race, our gender, our sexual orientation

our education level, our training


and also by things such as trauma

our life experiences


but I have noticed something lately

in myself, but not just in myself


I have noticed a tendency to believe the worst

of those who are not in my “tribe”

and sometimes even of those who are


this last weekend announcements came out

perhaps from the FBI (I was never quite sure where the new came from… “sources”)

that “liberal” churches were in danger from “them”


it may have been true

perhaps there was chatter somewhere about

“attacking those libs”


but I was amazed at the fervor with which those

in the more liberal churches embraced the idea that “they”

those “deplorables” were going to commit violence against them


I know there are churches, and church leaders, who have had to live

With the threat of violence.  Churches that embrace LGBTQI members

Churches that have had the audacity to hang up a BLM banner

I get that the danger is, actually, real


But still, there was something unsettling with the ease in which

we jumped to the ‘demonization’ of others

how quickly we “believed the worst”


I have been on the other side of that human tendency

When people have been quick to believe the worst of me

Have without hesitation given the worst possible interpretation to

my words or my behavior


I suspect you have been too

And I have, at times, been that person

who believed the worst


And now we live in this polarized world

With angry and even violent polarity


And it is even easier to demonize others

After all

The proof is out there!


The lies are out there

The violence is real

The assault on the capitol happened


We’ve seen “them” with their guns

and their flags

we have read their posts




there is something that tells me

that this is the pathway to destruction


I am not calling for us to be “naïve”

or maybe I am

perhaps there is a kind of holy naiveté


Jesus was not naïve

He saw people who who they were

But he also saw them for who and what they could become


He saw that creepy tax collector

but he also saw a child of God, capable of honesty and generosity


what if

what if we asked the Holy Spirit to give us eyes

that see the Sacred in each other

that see the potential, the possibilities

the best

in each other


not the worst?


And what if we responded to others



I know there is risk.  There are the predators

There are the narcissists, the pathological

There are those so badly damaged


We do need to be careful, and we do need boundaries

But what if our default was NOT to believe the worst, but the best?


how would our relationships change?

how would our lives change?

how would the world change?


It’s something worth thinking about

As we enter a week filled with division and rancor


It is something worth thinking about

Even as right wing evangelicals suggest

We can’t “preach the cross if we only see the good” (simplybible.com)


It does seem radical, and dangerous

And naïve

But still


It seems so Jesus


Matthew 5 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[i] and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,  that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.  If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?  And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?  Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.


No one ever said the way of “The Lamb” was easy

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

we have the power

Never underestimate the impact of a small kindness...

or a [small] cruelty.

                     Pat LaMarche



it was a small thing really

in the economy of the world


not a big gesture

at all


just a worn piece of bronze

a little lepton

leaving the hand of that poor widow,

faintly pinging in the mite box  (Luke 21)


a small gift of love

from a big heart *


sometimes it is the small things

that make the difference

that reveal the soul


small kindnesses

small cruelties


small cruelties

reveal small hearts, small souls


those little slights

those casual rejections

those demeaning labels

that tear at the fragile and the vulnerable


we see the casual cruelty of Trump mocking a disabled reporter

we read the small cruelties that flow from twitter and Facebook

we watch the children with a disability mocked

and people who are vulnerable minimized and oppressed

in so many little ways     


little ways that when added up become terrifying


and sometimes, even destroy

as young people (and older one’s too)

after too many small cruelties

decide that they are worthless, and life is not for them


we live in a culture that has monetized

and rewarded cruelty

(think Parler, Twitter, FB and more)


but as small cruelties add up

so do small kindnesses


a quick smile

a kind word

an small act of compassion

an affirmation


can not only change a day, but a life


We must never underestimate our power to do ill

Nor must we underestimate our power to do good


So let us make kindness

A way of life


Monday, January 18, 2021

someone loves you

All I wish

Is for you

To one day

Love you

The way

I do

                     Atticus, The Truth About Magic, St. Martin’s Griffin, p.37



what makes me

so insecure?


what drives me, day in and day

to have to prove myself

as a pastor,

a therapist,

a leader,

a man?



why do I have to prove that I am a valuable human being?


what makes me worry so much about how people see me?

why do I need so much affirmation?

why do I so often slip in the gooey realm of “not enough”?


and before you assure me that I am OK,

let me assure you

that I probably won’t really hear you


I’ll be grateful for the affirmation

but it won’t penetrate


and let me remind you

that this is not just me

this is also you


how few of us

really feel valuable


I suspect that even those who seem most assured

have, inside, the same raging doubts


what goes on inside that bombastic person

who struts and brags?

often the same thing that goes on inside that retiring person

who hides and is silent!


we all react to our sense of deficit differently

I became an overachiever

Some become angry

Some bully (think Trump)

Some hide


but for all of us

however we got there

trauma, parental expectations,



there is a common need

to know that someone values us, respects us

loves us


not because of what we have done

how we look

not even because of who we are


but simply because of the fact that we are


where does such love and affirmation come from?


Sometimes mothers or fathers

Sometimes siblings

Or friends


but always

from the Beloved


if we understand God correctly

that Sacred Power that is behind all

and is Love


we know we are loved

we know we have value


and in the midst of those times

when we wonder why we are here

and lament our failures

and struggle with the mess that is the world


that Love is there

nestled inside us (if we will but look)

inside me, inside you,

inside each one of us, even the most damaged of us


whispering, imploring



Child of God, Child of God, Child of God

All I wish

Is for you

To one day

Love you

The way

I do

Saturday, January 16, 2021

I am bleeding hope

May you be blessed with a wise and compassionate guide

Who can accompany you through the fear and grief

Until your heart has wept its way to your true self.


As your tears fall over that wounded place,

May they wash away your hurt and free your heart.

May your forgiveness still the hunger of the wound


So that for the first time you can walk away from that place,

Reunited with your banished heart, now healed and freed,

And feel the clear, free air bless your new face.”

                     John O'Donohue, To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings



I am bleeding

My heart is torn, my soul is shredded

And I am bleeding



and hope


but worse, I am bleeding anger and perhaps

dare I say it

even hate


this “blood” pours from wounds created by lies

created by betrayal

and intransigence


and it drains me


I do not know what to do with these wounds

with this pain


wise voices whisper forgive


“overcome evil with good


I hear the words of Jesus echo from the brutality of the cross

“forgive them’


But the abusers still abuse

and those who have so grievously wounded

a planet

a nation

a woman, a man

a child


want me to forgive and forget

to smile and pretend

it never happened


or it wasn’t that bad


what do I do with this lack of repentance?

with the lack of regret,

with the behaviors that simply


and continue,

and continue?


what do I do with those who continue to harm,

to oppress,

to abuse?


I long to forgive

My heart’s desire is unity

I yearn for reconciliation


as one reconciled to Sacred

and (at least somewhat) reconciled to myself

I have been given “the ministry of reconciliation”


But can reconciliation happen,

can we find our way back together,

with just forgiveness?


Or can forgiveness become license?

Can it become enabling?

Can forgiveness and accountability go together?


Is forgiveness without accountability

Really forgiveness?


I believe we live in a time of hate when we are called to love

But perhaps we also live in a time of injustice when we are called to demand justice


If we demand justice but do not love we are, perhaps, cruel

But if we seek to love but do not demand justice, we are enablers of injustice


this is the dilemma

how do we fight for justice with love

when there are those who take love for weakness?

who will continue to do what they do, and go further and further

who will continue to wound, and even kill

until (literally) stopped?!


Love empowers forgiveness

It also empowers justice


for me in my humanness

how do I, like Jesus, bring the two together

to create reconciliation?


Ah Sacred!

This is beyond me


may You be

“a wise and compassionate guide

Who can accompany [me] through the fear and grief’


May You teach me the way

to overcome evil with good


But Lord

the abuse

(political, social, sexual, physical, psychological, spiritual)

has to stop

Friday, January 15, 2021

the story

We were all born to live

born to love

millions of years

perfecting the part of it,

and yet still,


it comes to unnaturally

to most of us.

                     Atticus, The Truth About Magic,, St. Martins Griffin, p.21



each day we watch

as the human story unfolds


and all too often, our hearts hurt

for that story is one of tribalism, domination, and greed


a story of strife and striving

with the human animal warring against


and warring against one another


who will have the most power?

who will accumulate the most mammon?


this narrative is one of violence

filled with wars and rumors of wars


and if we have not become numb

our hearts are rended

as the story unfolds


and yet

another narrative exists

the intrusive narrative of Love


it is the original narrative, the creation narrative

this other way


and while this story has been muted

at times

it is still The Story





that has been from the beginning and will not

be silenced

but will be told, and will be lived


it is a narrative of love

the story of paradise found


of the human creature finding again

original blessing

and sharing once again in the unfolding

song of creation


it is the story woven into the song God

sang when chaos became order

it is the story lived and taught by Jesus


it a story of blessedness

where the poor gain the kingdom

and the hungry are fed

and the mournful once again laugh


A story of justice and equity

of truth and wisdom and kindness,

of love


we will need help

this narrative is a difficult one to tell

amidst the cacophony of narratives

humans tell


we will need the Word

to shape our words


we will need the Sacred

to live our words


it is our story

if we will tell it

it is our story

if we will live it


it is a story that must be told



Christ came singing love

Christ lived singing love

Christ died singing love

If the song is to go on, we must do the singing

                     Words used by New Freedom Singers,

                     Whitman College, 1970’s

                     Original source unknown by me


Thursday, January 14, 2021

walk in the darkness


The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.

                     John 1:5



the darkness is profound

this deep darkness of hate and fear

that blinds and leaves us groping


fearful we freeze, and cower

waiting, hoping for a glimmer of light


anxious we flail

striking out in the darkness

at whatever is out there, lurking, plotting


but we can learn to walk in the darkness*


in the darkness our world narrows down

our senses awake

small things become large

the sound of a pin dropping echoes in the night


the darkness is a time for learning

as the darkness of the world

the darkness of our souls

pulls all things in

to that black space


leaving us straining to see

to hear

to make sense of it


this dark night is a time for reflection

a time to breathe

a time to notice

the distractions gone


a time to hear the still small voice


what do we hear in this darkness?

what truths begin to emerge as our eyes

now wide open

begin to see? (if only vaguely)


and Whose hand do we find

to cling to

in the night?


Ah, I hate this darkness

as mobs assail

as politicians provocate and vacillate

as people threaten violence and death

the uprooting of all



as all those things we have come to rely on

crumble and erode


I love this darkness

as I am forced to look keenly

listen carefully


as I am driven into the deep dark places of my soul

where in the darkness I am met

and held


by Love


Wednesday, January 13, 2021

lift your voice

“...and when the world tells you to lower your head and submit in silence to how things are and always will be, lift your voice instead and sing bravely of how things can and should and will be, because that song is why you are here.”

― L.R. Knost



Sometimes it seems as if

“its just the way it is”


We watched stunned

As lies are accepted as truth

As alternate realities are believed and embraced

As hate flourishes

As people work against their own best interests


We watch the rule of law bent and broken by those who tout

The rule of law


We read people words, dragged into the light from

Parler and other dark places

About violence and disruption

About “the storm”


We stand, almost in awe

Our mouths open

But silent


And in the silence it feels as if our souls are leaving our bodies

We feel empty and helpless

We have done what we can

We have spoken the truth



It is what it is

Nothing changes

Children are still in cages

Children still die

The poor are still shame

The rich still wallow in affluence and privilege

The literalist legalists still violate the Bible

Fascism still flourishes

People still do not wear masks and people still die


It is what it is


And yet

We remember the prophets

We remember John the Baptist

And Jesus

And Paul

And Dietrich Bonhoeffer

And Martin Luther King Jr

And Desmond Tutu

And Nelson Mandela

And Dag Hammarskjold


A we hear the words of the palmist echo in our hearts

Sing to the Lord a new song (Psalm 96)

And we remember the proclamation of God through Isaiah

“Behold I am doing a New Thing, can you not see it?”


And sometimes we say “no”

I can’t see it

And sometimes the song gets stuck in our throat


But still we are called




To lift up our hearts

And life up our heads

And sing justice

Sing forgiveness

Sing acceptance

Sing Hope

Sing Peace

Sing Truth


Sing love


We are to “lift [our] voice instead and sing bravely of how things can and should and will be, because that song is why [we] are here.”

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

hearts set free

A human being is a spatially and temporally limited piece of the whole, what we call the “Universe.” He experiences himself and his feelings as separate from the rest, an optical illusion of his consciousness. The quest for liberation from this bondage is the only object of true religion. Not nurturing the illusion but only overcoming it gives us the attainable measure of inner peace.

                     Albert Einstein (a translation from the original German


Note:  This statement has been altered many times and misquoted. 



it seems we have a choice

“how then shall I now live?”


how shall I live in this world

with its love of domination?

how shall I live in a society

that does not value all people the same?

how shall I live in an economy in which profit

is more important than people?


how shall I live?


how shall I live if I take seriously

that I carry the Sacred within me?

how shall I live if I take seriously that each person I meet

no matter their color

or social status

or education level

or title

or affluence

also carries the Sacred within them, and is a Sacred Child


how shall I live?


while sitting in that stark and unhospitable land of temptation

Jesus was given a choice

the choice to follow the way of power and domination

or the choice to follow the long, complex, messy path to the cross


the Jesus path is messy, and complex, and difficult

and there are many ways to think about

the choices


that takes us down the path

or off the path


do we choose dominance or servanthood

generosity of accumulation

inclusion or exclusion

merit or grace


but in the end there is only one choice

will I remain an encapsulated ego

a person wrapped up in myself

(can you spell toxic individualism)


or will I be a person who sees him or herself

as a part of a community

not a small community

not a tribe


but a really big community

the community of human kind


and will I make choices that benefit the community

not just me

the community as well as me


Thank you Albert

for understanding better than most of us Christians

what Christianity is all about

what it means to have a heart set free


our faith should indeed liberate us

to be people for others

people notice others, connect with others

and insist


that as we walk down life’s twisted and dangerous pathway

we do it, together

and we get all get home


Monday, January 11, 2021

Someday blooming


It is like a vision out of a nightmare

Violent people crawling like flies up walls

Windows breaking


Faces wild with excitement and glee

bodies emblazoned with the name of one

they follow


driven by a hundred devils

resentment, racism, greed, hate, perhaps even

a fear they will not admit


They revel in their power

to destroy and cow


no matter what they do

it seems they win

no matter what is done to resist them

we lose


if we cower, they win

if we strike back, they win


we are either overwhelmed

or we are sucked into the vortex of hate


yet here we stand



knowing we must do something


what would Jesus do?

what does our allegiance to the prince of peace



we are called to be light, and to offer

a glimmer of hope in the darkness

we are called to be yeast, inexorably defining the whole

we are to be seeds planted




someday blooming


what can we do in these times?


we can work for peace

we can work for justice

we can speak of love

we can speak of equity and justice


remembering we are only a sliver of light

only a bit of yeast

only a seed buried in the earth


what can do we in these times?

So little, yet so much



Thankful for these words attributed to Oscar Romero


“This is what we are about

We are the seeds that one day will grow

We water the seeds already planted knowing that they hold future promise

We lay foundations that will need further development

We provide yeast that produces effects far beyond our capabilities….


We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master builder and the workman.”

                     Quoted by Scott Wright in Oscar Romero and the Communion of Saints