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, February 28, 2021

noisy introspection

I am not asking you

to take this wilderness from me

to remove this place of starkness

where I come to know

the wildness within me

where I learn to call the names

of the ravenous beasts

that pace inside me

to finger the brambles

that snake through my veins,

to taste the thirst

that tugs at my tongue.


But send me

touch angels,

sweet wine,

strong bread,

just enough

                     Jan L Richardson, In Wisdom’s Path p. 54



today we enter the season of lencten

the “lengthening of days”


as we begin the final journey from the darkness of winter

to the light of spring

the journey from Galilee to Jerusalem,

from the transfiguration to the cross

the journey from “sin” to redemption


it is a time of slow plodding

of noisy introspection

of sitting in awkward silence


it is a time in the wilderness of a soul

fractured and torn by life

a time of getting to know ourselves

as we are, without pretense


a time for honesty

for both lament, for the ways in which our divinity has been blurred

and joy, for the surprising presences of sacred energy

that still lingers


the tumult of our world

simply reflects the chaos in our souls

and so we sit, and sometimes fast

our 40 days in the wilderness*


struggling and reflecting

allowing emptiness to come

until the emptiness hurts, gnawing at our entrails


and waiting like Jesus

for angels to tend to us


we prepare for the light

and new birth


we empty so that we can be filled


with the energy of God

filled with that which we cannot contain


that which sometimes will spill forth

and sometimes merely trickle out

through our brokenness



watering the dry ground

so that God’s newness springs forth



Saturday, February 27, 2021

Patching our Souls

His was a selfish love


his soul

with all

of her pieces

                     Atticus The Truth About Magic  p. 164



the pandemic has been

a time of people

and no people


a time when everything is intensified

a time when everything is blurred

and slowed down


it has been a time of observing


observation is a very scary pastime

watching we humans


and fight


watching as adversity and isolation

as poverty and illness

as the tension of this time

seep to the surface


these are, as Thomas Paine once famously wrote

“times that try [our] souls


sometimes, observing

leads to lament


how have we gotten to this place

where there is so much anger,

so much hate

so much selfishness?

so much disregard for others?


perhaps it truly is that we are

so empty

so fragile


that we have broken, become fragmented


so that love and compassion

hope and regard

generosity and forgiveness have

“left the building”


perhaps it is that we have attempted

to deal with our brokenness

by being predators


drawing into ourselves what we think we need

from outside ourselves

‘patching out souls”

with money, or power


using others, devouring others

in our own desperation for wholeness


Today is Fat Tuesday

and on this day of Mardi Gras

when we are called to gorge ourselves

with excess

or at least pancakes


we peer into Lent

and ponder the disparity between


grasping and releasing

excess and paucity

celebration and solemnity


on this day as we move from

beads and breasts

to ashes


it is time to think of the strange strategy of the Sacred

where we are called not to grasp, but to empty

to let whatever good there is within us

whatever love

whatever compassion

whatever hope


flow through those cracks and fissures

in our souls

out into the world


where we are asked to walk with empty hands

asked to scatter our “wealth” around

to those who have less


where we are asked to leave our anger and bitterness behind

and forgive


where we are compelled

to drop our own self loathing


and become nothing

that we might become everything


so that out of the ashes of this time

out of the ashes of failure

might rise


new creations

sacred children


for the in weird alchemy of God

as we empty

Sacred fills


a spring of living water

bubbling up


When was the last time your God died?

when was the last time your God died?


not God

not YHWH

not the reality that is somehow behind all that is

a part of all that is

a part of you


but that “god” you had in your head

built perhaps out of stories from the Bible

or the Koran, or the Torah

or built, perhaps out of sunrise and sunsets

out of mountain high and valleys low


that god you have created out of your own

heart and mind

your own experiences


that god others have created for you


when was the last time that god died?


for me, my sense of who and what God is

has died many times


I don’t think my “god” died


until I started to take God seriously


growing up God was a given

pretty vague if the truth were told

a reality accepted but never really take seriously


that changed when I left my home church

and the home of my birth

and wandered into the world


where the Vietnam War was raging

and friends died

where, in college, I face true failure for the first time!

and had to abandon my pre-med track

out of sheer ineptitude


that changed when I met people who actually seemed to think

that God should be a part of one’s daily life

that one actually was connected to God


God got more real

and more troublesome


because everywhere I turned I ran into something

about my vision of God, and how God works

that didn’t work


and so the god of my childhood died

to be replaced by the god of my college years


and then I hit seminary

and everyone seemed to have, at some level

a different god

and their god was different from my god


oh sure, we all pretended it was the same god

but in reality we all had our own version

which we arrogantly pieced together

as we waded through Hebrew and Greek,

and studied the Bible and read

Calvin and Luther, and the Niebuhr’s, and Schillebeeckx

and Tillich and Barth! 


my god became more defined and more troublesome


I became surer about what I believed


and then life hit

my first church, and my second, and third

incredible success, massive failure


where was God when I needed God?

that God I thought I knew

but how died, again and again

the god who protected the good and trounced the evil

the god who honored a life well lived


when my father died of cancer, my god died

the good who keeps good men alive


when my mother died (at 69 of bulbar palsy)

god died again


when I made so many mistakes in life

inspite of my knowledge, and my good intentions

when I got divorced


god died


the god who guides, who comforts

the god who is there in the valley of the shadow


but there is something about God

even though my understanding, my perception of God dies

God keeps showing up


after every death and resurrection!

I guess that is how God works

my inadequate understandings of God die

and God returns, newly alive

not yet fully understood


never fully understood

which is why my version of god must die, and die, and die again


but with each resurrection

God becomes a little more real

not better understood, but more real


experienced in new ways

deeper ways


God returns

and I connected to this reality

this power

this Love

that I do not understand


but which is present

and which empowers

and comforts

and yes guides (how well I listen is another matter)


I am connected to this reality

that does not change the world

but changes how I see the world

how I experience the world

and how I related to the world


recently my god died when racists invaded our capitol

and died again when evil was accepted and enabled

and my god will die again


something, somewhere, at some point in time

will violate what I thought I knew about God

and that god will die


but there is always resurrection

as God continues to show up

rising out of the tomb of my disappointment

in the early morning’s light

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

:Porous Egos

Make your ego porous.

                     Rainer Maria Rilke


The ego hurts you like this: you become obsessed with the one person who does not love you. blind to the rest who do

                     Warsan Shire


The ego stands firmly between the seeker and the light that hidden within

                     Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee Prayer of the Heart  p. 18



the word “ego”

as far as I know

does not appear in the Bible


it’s a word we use a lot

in a lot of ways


I am not sure we even know what it is

Freud may have gotten all of this started with his

Id, ego, and superego


The Id being the wild child of the soul

The superego being the soul’s moral (proper) self,

And the ego being that part of the self that mediates between those two

And keeps us protected and safe


Helping us satisfy our urges, but helping us do so in a way that is

“socially acceptable”


Go ego!


But most of us see ego a different way

For most of us the ego is our “self” asserting itself


It is us being self focused


It is that part of our selves that is “all about me”


For many of us the ego is who we think we are.

It’s our false identity, that faux front we have developed to hide ourselves from the world, which we have created to impress the world


It is our body image, education, theological knowledge, clothes, friends, social status, job, successes and accomplishments.


This aspect of ourselves, whatever we call it

is not so cool


our “inner control freak” has its uses (as Freud pointed out)


but it can also be a problem


it can make us self focused


and closed


it can stand between us and the energy of God within

it can block us from the influence and guidance that come from

from that part of us where Sacred dwells


oddly, with ego, we close ourselves off from others

but we also close ourselves off from our own true self


which is why almost every faith system challenges us

to die to this false self, this self we have created

that keeps us from being the self God created us to be


that keeps us from being children of God


this is hard work, however.

it’s excruciating, to be honest, almost like dying.


Paul likens the process to being crucified


"I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me" (Galatians 2:20).


In Sufi literature the same wisdom exists


“He who loves does not think about his own life; to love truly one must forget about the self…  if your desires do not accord with your spirit, sacrifice them…(Attar – Conference of the Birds)


Buddhism as I understand it (not saying I do) holds that personal identity is delusional, that each of us is a self that turns out to not actually exist

and that clinging to or being obsessed with the delusional self

is the major cause of suffering


however we think about this

part of who we are that separates us from others

that insists on its own way

that puts itself over others…


its danger lies in the way it blocks us from being united with the Sacred

and being united with one another

and even, at a core level, being in touch with our true self


which is why Jesus talks us needing to have a new relationship with our self. .” (Luke 9)


If anyone would come after me,

that one must deny the self and take up his cross daily and follow me

for whoever wants to save his life will lose it, and

whoever loses his life for me will save it.”


The word life is not the word for physical life.

There’s a good Greek word for that: bios, from which we get our word biology.

The Greek word that’s translated “life” is psyche, meaning “self.”


what Jesus seems to be saying is that our old way of having an identity,

of gaining a sense of self,

has got to end.


In a sense we have to die to it.



So God can give us a whole new identity.

Or perhaps, better, restore our original identity


either way

we are called to find a whole new true self


a self connected to Sacred energy

a self permeated by love

a self that is porous

so that the light gets in

and the light gets out


and we find our selves able

to be more and more a part of a whole

people with others

people for others




Spirit of the Living God, Fall fresh on me

Spirit of the Living God, Fall fresh on me

Melt me mold me

Fill me use me

Spirit of the Living God, Fall fresh on me

Monday, February 22, 2021

The need for TRUTH

When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it--always.”

                     Mahatma Gandhi


Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from telling lies.

                     Psalm 34:13


You will know the truth and the truth will set you free

                     Jesus (John 8)



the truth is not optional


you cannot have love without truth

you cannot have justice without truth

you cannot have peace (true peace) without truth

you cannot have joy without truth


Jesus talked a lot about truth

“I am the way, the truth, and the life”


mostly he talked about truth to those

who had their own version of the truth

and had a stubborn inability to see the real truth


mostly he talked about truth to those

who were the religious leaders of his time

to those who had the power and the wealth


for they could not see the truth

or at least could not accept and speak the Truth

when it stood in front of them in human form


Jesus: “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Pharisees:  “Here you are, appearing as your own witness; your testimony is not valid.”


Truth is not optional


Without truth there is no life

Without truth there is no love

Without truth there is no unity


Without truth there is no nation

Without truth there is no church


When we exchanged the truth for a lie

When we start to make power and wealth

When we start to make an ideology

When we start to make a person


More important than Truth (God)

and more important than the truth


everything falls apart…. (use romans

and we do what not ought to be done


instead of being filled with Truth

with the energy of God

we abandon truth, destroy truth

and we become empty


and empty

grasping, and gasping

desperate souls

who never have “enough”

but must always seek more

more wealth, more power

no matter what the cost to ourselves

to those around us

to our nation


it is time for a “fearless moral inventory”

not an inventory of others

but an inventory of ourselves


“am I willing to accept the truth”

not the convenient

not the comfortable

not that “truth” that fits my ideology, my agenda

but the truth?


“am I willing to speak the truth”

even if it is hard

and may cause people to reject me?


“am I willing to live the truth”

in who I support

how I love

who I welcome?


it is possible to come together in love

love does win


but love is always accompanied by truth

Saturday, February 20, 2021


Thoughts on Ephesians 4


“forgive one another” we cry

“as Christ has forgiven you!” (v. 32)


Alleluia, Amen!


They are noble thoughts,

the ideas of love and unity

forgiveness and reconciliation


so too the idea of being grace full

and lifting each other up! (v. 29)


I am in!!


I want to live that life

of humility and kindness


I want to be a person of love

recognizing the Sacred in each person I meet

seeing them as precious souls

Sacred children


I want to live in a community

a nation

a world



I want to drive through the wasteland (although probably not in a Jeep)

and find the center

the place we all can meet

the peaceable kingdom


but the journey to unity is tricky and complex

and costly


it requires transformation

it requires openness

it requires honesty (vv. 20-25)

it requires doing whatever is necessary

to “put off our old self” (v22)

so that we might “put on the new self” (v23)


and be recreated


there are no shortcuts

this is not something we can do “partially”


we have to be “all in”

totally honest about that old self

totally open to the new self

which is not really new

but really a restoration of our original, divine blessing


we know what happens if the “devil” is left a foothold (v. 27)

if those little pieces of anger remain (v. 26)

if those little deceits linger (v. 25)

if those old patterns of greed, and domination persist  (v. 28)


we want to simply make those three happy hops to grace

without the honesty

without the accountability

without true change


it doesn’t work

those things in ourselves that are most deeply rooted

those fears, those patterns

those desires   (vv. 17-19)


that are not touched by the holy

that are left hidden and unresolved

will ultimately resurface, and take us over


I have seen this in my own life!

How about you?


And we have seen this in our divided nation

where old sins and old deceits

hidden, denied and ignored have emerged again to divide and harm


we have seen where racism

and white supremacy

arrogance, exceptionalism



never acknowledged

never dealt with

have seeped out of the deep dark places

to create hate and chaos, and death


we want cheap grace

faux unity

we want a body of Christ (and a nation too)

held together with bailing twine and duct tape


we want to gloss over our personal (and national) sin

we want to “leave it all behind”

and move forward




but leaving the past behind and moving forward

means leaving the past behind, and not

through neglect or dishonesty

carrying it with us into the future


this is hard work

it is hard work for us as individuals

for “letting go” is not easy

accepting those things in us that need to be changed

is difficult indeed


and it is even harder as a nation


but this hard work must be done

if we would not “grieve” Love (v. 30)


this day, as I examine myself

this day, as our national looks at itself


may we be brutally honest, and open (think step 4 of the 12 steps)

and may we let the energy of God

move in us, cleaning, restoring,

doing the hard work of transforming us into new creations


so that we may indeed

live lives worthy of the calling we have received (v. 1)



Thursday, February 18, 2021

Choose joy

When you arise in the morning think of what a privilege it is to be alive, to think, to enjoy, to love ...”

                     Marcus Aurelius, Meditations



each morning comes with a choice


how am I going to embrace this day!


as we emerge out of our sleep

out of that space

where dreams, perhaps come true

or perhaps terrorize


out of that time where real and imagined

past and future

good and bad

mix and match and explode inside our heads


before our feet ever hit the floor


we have a choice


how will we embrace this day?

how will we frame it!?

what will we carry into it?


will we enter the day angry, or joyful?

full of love, or full of hate?

anxious, or peace filled?


this morning I awoke, less than eager for the day

they sky was still dark

the room was cold (it is only 17 outside)

and though my calendar is full


my soul felt empty


I am feeling my age these day

And struggling to stay attached to purpose

struggling to feel relevant


and I did not want to embrace the day

I did not want to enter the day


I could not sense the imperative to rise

why bother?


as I often say

“everything hurts, and what doesn’t hurt doesn’t work!”


And so I lay there, staring into the darkness


Thinking of an anthropomorphic “god” did not help


but then I started to breath God!

Richard Rohr (2/6 Meditation) reminds us that

perhaps the name of that reality we call God

the Sacred Tetragrammaton YWHH,

should not be spoken, but breathed


YH on the captured in-breath, and WH on the offered out-breath


so I started to breathe God

I started to breathe the mystery

in and out

receiving and sharing


finding God my “ breath itself—the thing [I] have done since the moment [I was] born and will one day cease to do in this body”  (Rohr)





“God is as available and accessible as our breath itself.

Jesus breathes the Spirit into us as the very air of life”  (Rohr)


I breathe in

I breathe out

the empty spaces are filled

accepting, letting go

receiving, giving


healing in, healing out

life in, life out

love in, love out


Ah, yes!

That is why I am here!


to breathe in the sunrise

and breathe out joy


to breathe in horse snuggles

and breathe out compassion


to touch every life

I encounter this day


with the sweet breath of God’s love


Wednesday, February 17, 2021

The soul awakens

Once the soul awakens, the search begins and you can never go back.

                               John O'Donohue, Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom


“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few”

                               Shunryu Suzuki, Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind:

                               Informal Talks on Zen Meditation and Practice



Life's a bitch!

In our fragility we often get broken.

and, like bottles tossed carelessly to the side of the road.

we lie shattered, in pieces,

jagged fragments glistening in the sun

raw edges, sharp and tortured.


There are pieces of us scattered

along the roads we have traveled


In our brokeness we are empty.

Joy comes

but cannot be contained.

It seeps through the cracks to disappear.

Love comes

only to go,

and hope  --  there is no hope

for one so broken.


And yet,

and yet hope comes


for from our stumbling

and our mistakes

out of the awkward parts of our pasts


come gifts


humility (for sure)




some of the most difficult times in our lives

contain within them a subversive joy


for when we move on

and we must always move on


we leave some things behind

and we carry a few precious things with us


knowing that down the road

perhaps only a few steps

perhaps further


we will once again

and again and again


stumble, perhaps fall


but will also

be born again and again


each rough place, each struggle

being an occasion for newness


the Sacred gathering us

Piece by piece

And re-creating

Until out of the jagged jumble

the first faint glimmerings of wholeness grow.

a thing of beauty....


until for all the seams and cracks,

the wonder of what one was, and is, and still might be,

shines through.

and deep in the murky depths love comes

and stays

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

knowing, and unknowing

“I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing.”


It’s a good quote!

As to where it came from?


It is variously attributed to Plato (in the Republic)

and to Socrates


I’ll vote for Socrates, but it has been close to 50 years

since I read Plato and Socrates in college


what I do know is that I do not know

not for sure

where the quote came from


and I am sure as well

that this is one of many things I do not know


indeed I spend most of my times these days

in my dotage, wandering around in the valley of unknowing


I love knowing

I want to have the facts and have the knowledge

for I have always believed that knowledge is power


although in this post factual world that belief has lost some of its luster!

I may know “for a fact” that something is true

but if others are passionately convinced that the truth is not true,

the power of the truth is functionally diminished


perhaps this is why I have always been a student

working my way through two full majors in my undergraduate years

(English literature and Philosophy)

then through an M.Div, and then a Doctor of Ministry (D.Min)

and then, finally, through a Masters in Mental Health Counseling


I want to know how things work

I want to know how to do things

I want certainty

I want to be able to wrap my head around things

and be able to control and accomplish!


anyone with me?


and then, as I pursue knowledge of Sacred

as I try to get to know God

I am led into the valley of unknowing


into a hazy darkness

where I cannot see

but must cautiously feel my way


creeping, uncertain


its wonderful!


because in that valley

I am forced to let go of control

let go of my preconceptions

my knowledge, my arrogance,



and experience

something I cannot explain

cannot wrap my head around

but can receive


and feel

and experience


and paradoxically



ah, how often does Sacred / God

call us out of our places of comfort

out of those well-defined places

we create for ourselves


ah, how often are we called to leave

the confines of what we can understand

into the desert

like Abram

like Moses

like Ruth


into that bigger space

that scarier place

into the unknown


which is the only place

where we can truly





Friday, February 12, 2021

beyond understanding

If you understand it, it is not God. —St. Augustine, Sermon 117 on John 1:1


…there’s a difference between doubting God and doubting my understanding of God, just as there’s a difference between trusting God and trusting my understanding of God…

                     Brian D. McLaren, Faith After Doubt: Why Your Beliefs Stopped Working                        and What to Do About It (St. Martin’s Essentials: 2021), 92.



I admit it

I don’t understand


I don’t understand why bad things happen to good people

I don’t understand why horrible people flourish


I don’t understand politicians who lie

And those who are willing to put profit above people


I don’t understand why children get sick and die

I don’t understand the obsession with guns


I don’t get all that stuff in the Bible that doesn’t line up


How on one page we read that God is love,

and on another page we find a God of retribution and torment


on one page there is grace and redemption

and on another weeping and the gnashing of teeth




I don’t get why those who talk mostly loudly about God

seem to reflect God the least

I don’t understand how a faith build around a person of compassion

One who was willing to sacrifice all to be hope and peace to the earth


has become a faith system build around domination, greed,

retribution and coercion


I hear all the shallow platitudes

God will never give you more than you can handle!

Everything is for a reason!

God has a plan for your life!

The Bible says it; I believe it; that settles it!


Tell those things to the Psalmists

Or perhaps to Job

Or Kohelet


Or even Jesus,

who sweated blood in Gethsemane

and cried out from the cross,  “Why!”


let’s face it

there is a lot we don’t understand

there is a lot we will never understand

there are things that don’t seem fair

there are things that aren’t fair


and that reality we call God?

that divine energy that lurks in our souls?


That too is beyond our understanding


and that is OK


we cannot wrap out limited minds

around the infinite


we will grab bits and pieces

and find (and use) images that partly explain


and there are the self revelations…

the creation


own selves, little incarnations


but we won’t get it

and doubt is part of faith


but a lack of understanding does not mean we have

to abandon faith


our time in the valley of unknowing

often leaves us with experiences of Sacred

we cannot express but only know


I doubt that I will ever understand the Sacred

and how the divine energy works in this world

and in my life


but still it remains

that power, that love that is beyond understanding

and that I will cling to

like a vine to the branch







Wednesday, February 10, 2021

look for the magic

The universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.

                     Eden Phillpotts, A Shadow Passes, p. 19, Cecil Palmer & Hayward, London.




I have often said

we hear what we want to hear

see what we want to see

and believe what we want to believe


make no mistake about it

confirmation bias is a real thing

so is perception bias


if I want to see evil

I will

If I want to see good

I will


it is not, of course

that this world is bad or good

dark or light

hate or love


this is a messy world

where everything is mixed together


the wheat and the chaff


a person is both beautiful and terrible

there is such a thing as joyful solemnity


with rare exceptions (and there are, I believe, exceptions)

people are not saints or sinners

people are saints and sinners


so the great challenge of faith

the great challenge of love

is to try and see it all


to see the best in the worst of us

and to see the worst in the best of us


can I see the spark of divinity in that person

whose ideology offends and behaviors harm?

can I see the flaws in that person with whom I align so passionately?


I suspect Jesus is our model in more ways than one

wholly human, wholly sacred

blended together until the distinction became meaningless!


we too are blended

with sacred and secular striving to dominate


but both are there

if can but just see it


Someone once said that until we see people the way God sees them

We cannot see God in each person


so let us look for the magical things

those sparks of light

those hints of divinity


the gross and unsavory will show up easily enough

they do not need our help

to become visible


but the magical

love, kindness, compassion



we need to seek those treasures

lest we miss them


so let our wits

and souls grow sharper


that we might see God’s magic

in each person we meet




Tuesday, February 9, 2021

the value of lament

It seems so easy to deep dive into lament

As the world driven by a “frenzy of greed”

“indulges in an orgy of envy” (EF Schumacher)


and there is a place for lament

and repentance too



while it is tempting to

sit outside the city gates

in our noble distress


and utter our prophetic anathemas


this place of sackcloth and ashes

can never be our resting place


there is a time for lament

and there is a time

for standing up, brushing ourselves off


and marching back into the fray

not as those

who dominate and coerce


not as the (self) righteous who “stamp out sin”

but as those

who wield love


it is tempting to see our selves

as those entrusted with “the truth”


but in fact we are entrusted with love

which is our message

and is our means

and is our end


if we linger in lament (and judgement)

we may well create

“less light, love and wholeness in the world” (Roger Wolsey)


instead of lifting up

we may oppress


if Jesus had anything to say

(and he did)

it is that we cannot stay in the tomb

but must rise


death leads to life

lament leads to hope

repentance leads to love


on this morning’s morning

as the storm clouds roiled across the sky

and the rains fell

and the wind blew


I wanted to beat my breast

and rend my garments (metaphorically)

I wanted to illuminate the ills of the world

and set those “sinners” straight


but instead I was reminded


that people do better when lifted up than when beaten down

that praise and encouragement

often create more change that criticism


and that love

works better than anger

at created more love


so this day of days

let us remember who we are

Sacred Childen

loved and empowered


we can sort the truth from fiction

we can lay aside anger

we can be generous

we can lead with love


the world needs more light

more love

more wholeness


we can do this!


Monday, February 8, 2021

Covered with Grace

Today is the Feast of Saint Brigid and in Celtic culture the festival or Imbolc, or the beginning of spring.  Saint Brigid is said to have visited Uist, or the Islands of the Outer Hebrides.  There while being pursued by villains, and collapsing, exhausted down and expecting death, she was saved when “oystercathchers” covered her with seaweed, hiding her from those with evil intent.


Christine Valters Painter writes a poem about this event in her book The Wisdom of Wild Grace.  She ends the poem this way


Sometimes we have to yield

Our bodies fully to earth’s embrace

to taste the end so near

to feel hope slip away like a boat

across sea’s foam surface,

before we can feel the truth again

of how things hidden can become a revelation

and heaven is there in the cries

of birds, among waves and sand


how often in this life

we have those moments when

we sink to the earth


exhausted perhaps

or hopeless


for all our striving

and for all our pleas to

whatever is greater than ourselves


our path has lead us to that place

that dark night of the soul

when we can go no further


but can only sink into the darkness

and lie there still and exposed

as one dead


but then grace comes

on healing wings

and covers us softly


and we can rest to rise

from our little deaths come little resurrections


our moments of desolation

of letting go

throwing our hands up to heaven


transforming into something

deeper and greater

something new


descent leading to ascent

unknowing to knowing

death to life




Sunday, February 7, 2021

finding the miraculous

we look to the Beloved One for miracles

we hope for grand gestures

for signs and wonders unmistakable


we stumble into our days unsteady

and look bewildered around


and see only the ordinary

common people plod around us

in this ordinary time


but sacred comes from common

and miracles of love are birth

from the ordinary


Jesus made wine out of water

and healed the eyes of the blind man

with spit and dust


Jesus look around him and saw the kingdom of God

in a pasture

and in a touch of yeast, mixed into dough

and in the seed of a weed


Jesus took what was not enough

some bits of old bread

and a few somewhat smelly fish

and created a banquet for many


common men and common women gathered about

this carpenter from Nazareth

tax collectors


the poor and hungry

fishermen and farmers


and out of this common clay

Jesus made Sacred children


and so too in this time

the energy of God

turns the mundane into the miraculous


turns the graspers into givers

the fearful into the hopeful

the empty into those exploding with hope

the haters into lovers


turns sinners into saints


the miracles of grace are all around us

hidden in the usual

hidden in us


may our hearts burn

and may our eyes see


everywhere, everywhere


Friday, February 5, 2021


my darling

let’s you and I

ramble on this life awhile –

our hands in hands

our hearts in hearts

our shadows forever one

                     Atticus, The Truth About Magic, p. 104




have you ever been in love?

obsessively, crazy in love?


where every thought, every action

is touched by the beloved?


where you are so captivated that

you cannot imagine any place you would rather be

than by her (his) side?


where your entire self is permeated

mind, body, heart and soul

by the presence of the other?


in such moments all of life

is determined by that love

how we feel,

how we see others

how we see ourselves


how we see the events unfolding around us

how we see the sunrise and the sunset


and that is how I want it to be

with Sacred and I

I want to be in love with the Sacred One

with that power that formed all

and forms me

and lurks within


and I want the grasp

that profound understanding that

my Beloved loves me


and I want the reality that that connection

that love

to define everything


how I think

how I feel

how I see

how I behave


I ramble on this life awhile – with Sacred

our hands in hands

our hearts in hearts

our shadows forever one

Thursday, February 4, 2021


where does true power come from?


or perhaps we should ask,


where does the power for good come from?


for there is power, and then there is power


it is pretty easy to wield malignant power

to charge through life like a hit and run driver

leaving brokenness in one’s path


it only takes apathy

“I just don’t care!  Do you?”


this is the principle of “least love”

the less you love, the greater your ability

to use power on other people


to manipulate, to coerce, to use and abuse


if I care less about you than you do about me

I have power over you

if my only concern is my wants and needs

I have power over you


we must respect the power we have to do harm


but there is another kind of power

the power of love


that power that heals and restores

gives and forgives

while at the same time


leaving the one wielding that power



Jesus gave us the secret to this power where he said

Love all that is Sacred with all your heart

and while you are at it

love the people around you, all of them

and while you are at it

love your self


the secret of course (as Paul so aptly puts it)

is the Energy of God in us

(all the persons of the Trinity whirling in our souls)


it is that connection with have with Love

that permeates us with love

so that we can love


so that we can love ourselves

but love beyond ourselves

love beyond our group or tribe


the power to harm is truly present

we all at times use this power

as we detach ourselves, separate ourselves

as we wander into a toxic individualism

that doesn’t care about the other


it is a power that has a great impact

but ultimately is a false power

for it destroys not only those around us

but it destroys us


the power to heal is also present

and most of us, at times, use this power

working as best we can to “overcome evil with good”


the difference between the two is simple

one is the power of least love

the other is the power of love


this day, I will do my best

to choose love