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

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

A State of Mourning

While most of us are not yet prophets, we also know the presence of a great love, a love that includes the entire world. Awakened by that love, we too are aggrieved in the face of human oppression. A voice within us calls out, “This is wrong and cannot stand.” We yearn for a world in which all can flourish

          Nahum Ward-Lev, The Liberating Path of the Hebrew Prophets: Then and Now

          (Orbis Books: 2019), 4–5, 11.


Our mourning invites us beyond our own heart’s desires into the heart of a world that is both as fragile as glass and brimming with the promise of healing

          Jan Richardson  Wisdom’s Path



seven days in Lent

seven days marked by violence

as bodies were torn and lives ended


seven mass shootings in seven days









for reasons known, for reasons unknown

someone picked up a gun

and turned it on others

shattering bodies

violently ending the life of a precious soul


many of us mourn

our hearts joining with other hearts

our hearts joining with the heart of the world


our hearts crying

that a precious child of God

that someone sacred


should be treated with such disdain

and so carelessly destroyed

while working, playing, eating, learning



what does it take to turn a child of God

into one who uses power in such a way?


it is not just those who caress their guns

and use them to cover their deficits

it is also those who raise a hand and strike

a lover

a child

it is those who wave the symbols of hate and oppression

in the face of the oppressed


it is those who use their color, their wealth, their position,

to marginalize and minimalize others


how have we gotten here

to this place where we see an enemy rather than a friend

where we see a faceless stereotype

someone dehumanized



why does it happen over and over and over and over again

this random soul wandering through the aisles of a story

seeing a person casually ending their life

their hopes

their dreams

and changing forever the lives of those who loved them?


Why do we as a nation simply shrug?

Why does our congress send thoughts and prayers and refuse to act?

Why do right wing people in congress not only fail to act, but actively participate in this culture of hate and death?

Why does the NRA insist that the right of that person, who just killed innocents,

to carry a gun is more important than the right of those who were killed, to live?


This is a time for mourning

A time for our hearts to cry out at this violence

This abuse of power

This loss of life

This violation of love


It is also a time for prophets

For people who are so aggrieved at this momentous sin

To stand up, and speak out


“This is wrong and cannot stand!”


This love of guns is wrong!

Allowing people to carry highly deadly weapons at almost any time, into almost any place, is wrong!


Racism is wrong

Hate mongering is wrong

Lying is wrong

Telling the “big lie” is wrong

Misogyny is wrong

Greed is wrong


The way of thinking and thus doing

That oozes out of our national mindset

Is wrong


And it cannot stand


This toxic individualism

This worship of power and violence

This lust for domination and wealth




We need to see that it is wrong

Feel that it is wrong

Say that it is wrong


And do something about it

Something more than thoughts and prayers


The Old Testament prophets often lived their prophecies

They often paid a price

They often failed to bring change


But they stood, and the spoke

And they put their lives on the line


And so must we

With our hearts hurting

And our souls afire


We must stand and say

This is wrong

And it cannot stand

Monday, March 29, 2021

It's all about union

Moments of prayer are moments of union… the first prayer is the sigh of the soul.

                     Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee Prayer of the Heart



they seem so inadequate

the words, the images we use for

that something beyond ourselves


for that reality that gives life

forms life

for that loving presence that is woven into everything



impelled by my sense of separation

I seek to somehow define and capture

that which like the wind

or the mist of the morning

cannot be contained


the words tumble from my heart and mouth







and yet the moment the sighs of my heart

are formed into words

this Other is diminished


made smaller

made into something, someone I can grasp


and perhaps that is the problem

that which is woven into the very fabric of everything

into infinity and beyond

that which is present in every living creatures

even those creatures we call human


becomes separate, localized

even, perhaps


something, someone we claim as belonging to us (but not to them)

something, someone that divides

as we use our different names, our different images


then we no longer see this reality

that perhaps can best be called Love

in the sunrise and sunset

it the mountains and valley

rivers and streams

the animals and birds


the earth becomes merely clay

merely something to be used and abused

not the self-expression of Love


then we no longer see Sacred in each person we meet

no matter their color

no matter their language or culture

no matter their creed


we cannot see Sacred in the short person

the tall person

the left-handed person

the LGBTQI person


not even, sometimes, if they speak the same words as us


if we would know that in which we live

and breathe, and have our being


we must move to union

we must move, somehow beyond words

into that place where everything melts and merges

and we move beyond duality


to that place where we understand that Sacred participates in us

and we participate in the Sacred

and we are one


with everything


perhaps then we will learn to care for the earth

perhaps then we will learn to love Love

and love those other creatures who participate with us

in this oneness


and even love ourselves



Saturday, March 27, 2021

Being Jesus

Christian life is a commitment to love, to give birth to God in one’s own life and to become midwives of divinity in this evolving cosmos. We are to be wholemakers of love in a world of change

                     Ilia Delio as quoted by Richard Rohr (Daily Meditation 3/19/21


This is why I say we need to switch our thinking from “Jesus came to fulfill us” to “we have come to fulfill Christ.” We are a part of this ever-growing cosmic Christ that is coming to be in this one great big act of giving birth described in Romans 8:22

                     Richard Rohr (Daily Meditation 3/19/21


We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now

                     Paul (Roman 8:22)



Turn to Jesus the (we) preachers say

Turn to Jesus for joy

Turn to Jesus for peace, and hope, and love


Turn to Jesus and he will make you whole

Turn to Jesus and he will make life brighter and lighter


Turn to Jesus


But perhaps we have it wrong

Perhaps, just perhaps

We should be saying “turn into Jesus”


Not that we will ever attain this, ever arrive in that place (Phil. 3)

but still


this is what faith is all about

participating in Christ

coming together as the people of Jesus

to make him real

to be the “body”

the eyes, the voice, the hands the feet

of Jesus in this world


to be communally

as we join together, a Sacred presence in this world

being “Jesus” (the body of Christ)


I have no doubt that my connection to all that is Sacred

my relationship to the divine (call it what you will)

my healthy attachment to the one who embodied Love (Jesus)


makes my life better


but I believe that my spiritual compass point cannot be

what God can do for me

but what I can do for God (thank you JFK)


how can I be the ongoing incarnation of Love?

how can I be the creative power of the Sacred in this world?

how can I be one who brings peace, hope, joy, and love?

into the lives of the people I meet?


how can I in my small way be a part of the body of Christ

and help fulfill the ongoing ministry of the beloved

here and now?


Lord, help me this day, to look beyond myself

and understand that it is not “all about me”,

Help me to be a person who, filled with Sacred presence,

gives birth to what is Sacred in my life

and touches the world with love





Friday, March 26, 2021

Child of God

When we deny that the person in front of us is a child of God

no matter what their color, sexual orientation, language, creed,

wealth (or lack thereof),

mental health status,

education level,

or addiction -


When we cannot see them as a precious soul who is part of all that is Sacred,

and shares that in common with us


When we cannot see that we are all bound together

by the Sacred DNA that is in all of us

and in which we all participate


Then we start to objectify and dehumanize


In that moment we choose to deny them

their inheritance


As they wander into our lives

Asian massage parlor worker

Brown skinned immigrant fleeing abuse and death

Black person who stirs our fear


That person with a scattered mind, muttering to themselves on the street corner

Or that one whose gender identify or sexual orientation confuses and disturbs


That one who calls God by another name

Or speaks another language

Or dresses differently

Or is dirty, or smells


That one with the rainbow flag

That one with the Confederate flag


We see them coming

And we refuse to do what Sacred does


see them as a beloved child

wanted and welcome


and we become the “elder child”

muttering under our breath

sulking in the field

refusing to welcome, refusing to welcome them to the family table

(Luke 15)


And the moment we do that we can deny them the right to vote. 

We can choose to let them go hungry. 

We can ignore that they have no place to live. 

We can refuse to welcome them into our country, our community, our church. 


In that moment we take away their faces

and we rob them of their voice


and they become objects


less than human


In that moment we can abuse them and use them.

And we can even kill them.


Oh God Lord, let the faces of those we would reject haunt us,

even as they frighten us, anger us, condemn us


for that face is the face of our brother, our sister

your child


let us never forget that this one we see

is a member of your family

a Sacred child

a person with a face

your face



It is true that God stands with God’s people through every trial, but not so that they will sit comfortably with the privilege of apparent divine favor. Now they have to stand in solidarity with, graciously receive and welcome the vulnerable ones within their community and beyond it whom they might find it most difficult to accept: the orphan, the widow, the stranger, The Other. God has done it for them. Now they are called to respond in kind, literally imitating the God who graciously welcomed them. . . . Stephanie Spellers, Radical Welcome: Embracing God, the Other, and the Spirit of         Transformation (Church Publishing, Inc.: 2006), 36–38.

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Image of God

There is a Jewish proverb, “Before every person there marches an angel proclaiming, ‘Behold, the image of God.’” Unselfish, sacrificial living isn’t about ignoring or denying or destroying yourself. It’s about discovering your true self—the self that looks like God—and living life from that grounding…  God’s love is everywhere, in all things, and that includes you.

                     Bishop Michael Curry with Sara Grace, Love Is the Way:

                     Holding on to Hope in Troubling Times (Avery: 2020), 95–97, 23, 49          


Only once have I been made mute.  It was when a man asked me “Who are you?”

                     Kahilil Gibran, Sand and Foam



Who am I?

Who are you?


It is a profound question

Am I my color?  Or my gender?


Am I defined by my sexual preference

my body shape

my height


Am I defined by how I look?

handsome or beautiful, or not so


by my age?

The color of my hair


Am I defined by my genetics, the results of my DNA swab?


Is it my education that makes me who I am?

Or my life experiences?


Is it what I do?

By my job, my role in society?


There are certainly days when

we define and are defined by all of those things


I am a pasty white, northern European (with a touch of Celt)

who, caught between a 5’ (maybe) mother and at 6’3” father

ended up “average” 


totally average at 5”11


with my shock of white hair

and somewhat wrinkly skin I show my (almost) 70 years


I am a person of quick mind

who thinks quickly, responds quickly and writes quickly

and sometimes regrets it


I am educated with two masters and a doctorate

I am somewhat musical

Somewhat creative

With an eye for beauty


I am a work-a-holic

I am somewhat addictive by nature

There is no such thing as a single serving of potato chips

So the things I do not what to drink or eat I simply cannot have around


I am a worrier

A thinker

A ruminator


I have been an EMT, and a fundraising executive

A disaster relief worker

A pastor

An executive director of a non-profit (mental health)

And a therapist


I am


but none of that really explains who I am

either to myself or others


I am a part of the great I am

I am someone who participates in Someone

I am something who is part of Something (really big)

I am one woven into the fabric of the universe

I am part of creation, a sibling to animals and trees

I am earth, rooted and grounded in the mountains


But above all I am incarnation

I am an expression of the Sacred

I am God’s self revelation


I am created in the image

I am a reflection of Love


I am God’s workmanship

created in love

created to be love

created to do works of love


precious, and unique

a pearl of great price


and so are you

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

never alone

I am”, she insists, “dirty!  And God hates me”.

“It does not matter how hard I try”, he laments, “I cannot change”

“This has been a lost year” she whispers, “and what I have lost I will never get back”


the air is filled with the mist of despair

lost lives, lost days, lost jobs, lost relationships,

lost dreams


haunt us


voices whisper in our ears

words of fear

words of resentment


and we stand in the rubble

gazing around at the destruction

created by our toxic individualism,

our disregard for others,

our anger

our greed


we have created a wasteland

it is not so much that we have wandered into the desert

as we have created the desert


but as we stand, and tremble

as our stomachs churn and our hearts ache

and our heads are filled with the noise of desolation


a still small voice whispers

“I love you”

“I am here”

“I care”

“I will never leave you alone”


and we are reminded of the one who took

common clay, and spit, and restored sight


ah, what the Beloved can do with the remnants



ah what the Beloved can do

with the scraps that are left over

after we have done the worst we can do


and pause in our heedless devastation

for just a moment

covered with the dust of destruction


with Love nothing is wasted

no one is thrown out


we can do our worst

we can call for violent suppression

we can systematically oppress


we can minimize and disenfranchise and exclude others

we can wound ourselves


but still Love whispers

“I am here”

“I love you”

“I care”

“I will never leave you”


and with openness, with faith, with willingness

the size of a mustard seed

we will be restored


Blessed are you, O God,

in whom nothing is wasted.

You salvage the remnant,

the scrap, the shred.

                     Jan Richardson, The Path of Wisdom p. 65


On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wines, of rich food filled with marrow, of well-aged wines strained clear.

And God will destroy on this mountain the shroud that is cast over all peoples, the sheet that is spread over all nations; God will swallow up death forever. Then the Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces, and the disgrace of the people God will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken.

                     Isaiah 26

Monday, March 22, 2021


Thinking about "power" this morning.


Oh how we love it!

I think perhaps the sin of the garden

in that wonderful symbolic tale from Genesis


was the sin of power


“you will be like God”

(or at least king and queen of the world)

knowing good and evil


it was a clever twist on the truth

of course

but then there are those skilled at twisting the truth

who constantly fill our ears

with half-truths, twisted truths


there was a truth here, for knowledge is power

the power to do good or do ill


in this case humankind knew all about good

and knew God

what they gained, by knowing “good and evil”

was evil alone!




I don’t know, for sure what that story means

other than somehow human kind was introduced

to its dark side


and has never looked back

alienated from the sacred and

walking out of paradise into

a world of dirt and toil, envy and violence

a world of pain


and it all revolves

around power


the power to control and use God

(please God, respond to MY sacrifice, not his, or hers)

the power to build a stairway to heaven


it is not that power is inherently evil (I think)

as it is a matter of how we choose to use power


will we use power on other people

or will we use power for other people?


will we use power to amass great wealth

or will we use power to help the poor?


will we use our power to welcome and include

or will we use power to reject  and exclude?


will we use power to control

or will we use power to free?


will we use power to coerce

or will we use power to motivate?


will we use our power for ourselves

or will we use our power for others?


Sacred power is always used sacrificially

if Jesus taught us nothing else, he taught us that

if the cross taught us nothing else, it taught us that!


it is not easy, the path of transformed power

the lure of abusive power is strong

and we, like Adam and Eve, are seduced into think

that sacrificial power is no power


and so we hug political power

and scream about “TAKING” (not winning) our country back

more than happy to impose our will on others


so we drive big cars, and live in big houses

and carry big guns

and make rules to make sure

that “they” don’t get in

and “they” can’t vote

and “they” have to believe in our exact version of “god”


we use power to “own” the other


that is power, but it is not a power that moves us forward

it is momentary in nature,

and always, in the end, crumbles beneath

the weight of selfishness, hate, and excess


sacrificial power is real power

it is the power of compassion, and generosity

it is the power of kindness

and welcome


the power of forgiveness


it is the power of God for the reconciliation of the world


so we have a choice

what kind of power are we going to embrace?

the power of domination?

or the power of service?


it is an important choice

for there is only one path back to the garden

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Sometimes there are no words

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes[a] with sighs too deep for words.

          Romans 8:26



sometimes there are no words

the pain is so great we cannot adequately express

what can only be told through tears

and sometimes through acts of desperation


the love is so great

no gesture is grand enough to express

the fullness of what is in our heart


the need is so great that though we long

to ask for help

the words do not come


what do we do with these cries of the heart?

these silent screams

these unspoken longings and joy?


these, some would say are times for prayer


but how do we pray?

what is prayer?


is it carefully crafted phrases

penned with eloquence

words that lift and inspire?




I am right with there with those who want to

“write prayers like pomegranates, fat and seedy, the color of blood,

tangy and sweet, replete with mystery”  (Jan Richardson, The Way of Wisdom, p.63)


but too often my fingers falter,

and the words do not come

only tired phrases that seem dead and dry as dust


is prayer words spoken

uttered with fervency,

our deepest hurt and joy offered

from our lips to God?




and yet too often it feels as if the words

disappear into thin air

never to return



perhaps the best prayers come

when we are wordless

when everything, the pain, the joy

are beyond words.


when I am in that place,

when silenced,

the Word comes and speaks to chaos and void

a form comes

and light too


and the words

the very sighs of the sacred

become my prayers

and the answers too


Friday, March 19, 2021

living with our pain

In Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, Shunryu Suzuki talks about Japanese phrase that means “to succeed wrong with wrong”.  Seeing this not as a weakness, but, if seen correctly as a place of promise.  I am reminded of Paul’s lament in Romans, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do”.  Most of us, perhaps all of us at some level, if we are at all in touch with our humanity, live with a sense of our own futility and failure.  This is not a comfortable place.  But it is our learning place.


We must learn to sit with this pain.  Not to wallow in it, or become it (all it to define us), but so that we might face it and transform it.


As has often been said, we either transform our pain, or we transmit it.  We turn our pain on ourselves, we act in, or we turn our pain on others, we act out.  We see the tragic results of deferred pain, denied pain, all around us.  We see what happens when people become their pain.  Beautiful people leave us, tragically.  Other people stay, but become twisted, cruel and destructive, lashing out like cornered animals.


But if we can with what is wrong, if we can see what is wrong within us, and in the context of our union with all that is Sacred (God, for some).  If we can tap into the reality that we have sacred within in, that we carry divine DNA.  If we can realize that there is “good” within us, and strive to be who we were created to be, with all our hearts?  Then I think that even as we move from wrong to wrong we will grow, and learn, and become.


It is a journey. It is never over (not even when from our perspective it is over).  We stumble, we fall, we pick ourselves up, and we keep moving, left foot, right foot, left foot, breathe.  We keep moving toward what we value.  Toward whom we value. 


As we sit in the middle of our own problems we cannot let our problem become more real to us than our self.  We are not our problem, our failure, our illness.  We are bigger.  Not as we stand alone, but as we stand in union with the Sacred, and with all others, who are also in union with the Sacred.


Paul ends his lament with the question, “Who can rescue me?!”  He answers his own question.  “Thanks be to God who delivers”.  Our union with the Sacred has that power.  To keep us walking.  Moving.  To keep us trying.  Our union, our connection (as branches to a vine) with Love allows us to accept what is wrong within us, and accept our inevitable failure, and move forward, wounded and humble, but also hopeful, and ready to love, all that is Sacred, including those around us and, yes, even ourselves.

Thursday, March 18, 2021

No Fear

Religion:  I messed up, my Mom/Dad is going to kill me!

Childhood:  I messed up, I want my Mom/Dad!

                     FB Meme, adapted


See what love God has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are.

                     I John 3:1



we are called

as those who would live our divine image

to walk a challenging path


a path of sacrifice and service


a path walked not so much for ourselves,

so that we might win or overcome,

but so that we might contribute to the common good.


we are ask to give extravagantly

forgive persistently

welcome openly


we are asked to feel the pain of others

to open our eyes to inequity

to fight for justice


who in their right mind would choose to live this way

in world where

the one with the most toys wins

and winning is everything

and obscene wealth is worshipped


who would choose service and generosity

in world of domination and accumulation?


only those who are loved, can thus love


this is not a path that can be sustained through fear

fear of punishment

fear of disapproval

fear of eternal torment


this is not the path of

“if you were to die today, where would you spend eternity”


“that hurricane happened because God was angry at your sin”


this is the path that can only be taken by those

who know they are loved

loved unreservedly,

loved unequivocally

loved unconditionally


it is within the safety of love

that we ourselves can love

(we love because God first loved us – Also 1 John)


love is the “how” of the path to the cross

love is the “why” of the path to the cross

love the way to the cross


and love is also the way to newness of life

and radical living


no fear

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

home again

I am constantly on a journey home

seeking to find my way back to original blessing

longing to fall further and further

into the circle dance of love


becoming lost in love

losing myself in something I cannot define

nor adequately describe


I rely upon image and symbols

which are inadequate to express

what cannot be captured


sometimes they help

sometimes they do not


they give me words

but words fail


for my attempts to contain that which cannot be contained

will often diminish that which is infinite

and I will be left struggling

with all that does not neatly fit into any description I can devise


when words fail there is silence

where I simply sit within the mystery of Love

and there is union


I am [   ] whom I love, and [  ] whom I love is I  (Mansur Al Hallaj)


I cannot stay in this place

but when I return

back into my ego


when my false-self reclaims me

I am never the same

I am altered, re-created, reborn


this path is not linear

but is a circle

I move from communion to union

and back again

and sometimes, yes


I get lost in my ego

and even communion is strained


but I am constantly called back

and back

and back again


to that place where I lose myself

in Love


to that place where words fail

and all creation calls out

within my soul




Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes[a] with sighs too deep for words.

          Romans 8:26

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

patching the soul

It feels at times as if the world is full of predators

humans eager to devour others

for the sake of their own appetites


seeking, as animals do to

satisfy the pangs of hunger

that comes from an emptiness within


and so they prowl

these predators

sexual predators

economic predators

power predators


they lurk waiting to tear pieces

off of others in order to

patch their souls*


perhaps it is true that at some level

we all are predators

we walking wounded with our tattered souls


we all believe that we can be filled

by consuming

grasping, accumulating, achieving


and yet there is another way

there is the way


where instead of grasping we give


I cannot help but think of Jesus on the cross

assailing hate and oppression

conquering the worst humankind could offer


by offering pieces of himself

lamb of God

paschal lamb


it is not so much that we lay down

and allow the hungry beasts to consume us

for then we have nothing left to give

(note: boundaries and self-care are a good thing and

it is true we have to know when to say “no”)


it is more that we offer pieces of ourselves

our hearts

our hope

our compassion



we give them

knowing that the beloved

will refresh, and recreate us

over and over and over again


this only works if it is truly given freely

this only works if it is motivated by love

this only works if we are connected to the One

who resurrects us, over and over again


but I believe it does work, this path to wholeness


I believe that the one who feeds us with body and blood

who fills us with spirit


has shown us

the way



*His was a selfish love


his soul

with all

of her pieces

                     Atticus The Truth About Magic  p. 164


Monday, March 15, 2021

waiting to be born

every seed is a longing

                     Kahlil Gibran, Sand and Foam




the snow still covers the ground

the earth is still frozen, impenetrable


yet nestled deep are seeds

longing to be born

ready to awake and stretch toward the sunlight


and when the sun comes

and warms the ground

they will stir

and sprout

and blossom


somewhere in the fertile earth of our souls

there are seeds

planted there by the Beloved


they are nestled deep

longing to be born


hope, compassion

generosity, kindness,




good seeds

they need only the water of the Spirit

and the warmth of Sacred Love

to awaken and blossom

and produce fruit

a 100 fold


how do we become penetrable earth?

how do we let love seep into our souls

to stir

that which is good, which is love

which is Sacred?


we descend

we let go of our ego, our arrogance, our power

we descend from our mind into our hearts

from our hearts into that absolute center


we breathe in Sacred


our breath the bridge, the link of love


we soften

or if we cannot soften

in repentance we crack


and Sacred trickles

into the good earth,

the hard earth

the rocky earth


to touch that sacred child

waiting to be born


Sunday, March 14, 2021


…. there is no entry fee,

but it will cost you plenty

to make this journey.


Pack a lunch.  Lose your map.

Travel lightly. The weather

is unpredictable.

                     Jan Richardson, In Wisdom’s Path, p.57


See Luke 14:25-33



this is not an easy way

this way of Jesus


it starts in grace

and ends in grace

but ah, in between


it is a twisted path


the instructions are simple

love God

love yourself

love others


but as we wander we forget the instructions

there is so much noise

so many voices clamoring in our ears

and our vision is clouded as we walk in the smog

of our biases


Striving, we grow hungry

for power and wealth

stopping perhaps to eat spiritual junk food

that hinders us on our way


we carry with us way too much baggage,

forgetting that we were told to travel light


we still carry all those things we

were told to lay down, there at the portal of grace

our fear, our hate

our failures,


and so we pledge allegiance to other gods

we forget to love ourselves

and we fail to love others


but there was grace at the beginning

and there is grace at the end


and the way remains

and from time to time,

as we puzzle along other paths

we find it again


and we turn

onto that narrow way

which demands our all


which, if we will travel it

asks us for clear eyes

and open hearts

and open hands


and asks to lay down our egos

and empty our pockets

and cede power


and be ordinary radicals (Claibourne)

who lift others up

and help them along the way


grace enables us to start

grace sustains us along the way

and grace greets us at the end

Saturday, March 13, 2021

Watch out for your bully brain

The mind thinks us, rather than the other way around

                     Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, Prayer of the Heart



“I think therefore I am”


Cogito, ergo sum


declared Descarte


or rather he said, “I doubt, therefore I think, therefore I am”

je pense, donc je suis


explaining that the fact that we can doubt our existence

proves that there must be an “I” that does the doubting


sometimes I think it might rather be

I am therefore I think


the mind is a wonderful thing

quick, creative, powerful, beautiful


it can also be a bully

it can also be a liar


our minds get us into all kind of trouble!

and our “bully brain” says all kinds of kinds


“I am not enough”

“I can’t do this”

“I must do that”


those troublesome thoughts

become patterned thoughts

become beliefs

become life commandments


and they take us to troublesome places


into addiction,

into immobility

into patterned behavior

that keep us from being who we want to be

and hinder our doing what we want to do


and so our souls scream in frustration (along with Paul)

I do not understand my own actions.

For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.  (Romans 17)


all our life energy

follows our thoughts


and our scattered and fragmented thoughts

become scattered and fragmented lives


it is not that we want to become narrow

(or boring)

but to have a compass point

to know our values, and to resolutely

move through life toward those values


to work at being who we really want to be!

and to have who we want to be reflect love and nobility?




That takes focus

that takes a mind “stayed on” the Sacred


the life defined by the spiritual

is a life where one tries as best one can

to be one-pointed

focusing our mind, and thus our energy


toward Love

toward thinking love

experiencing love (received)

offering love

living love


which is why we need to start each day

with our minds focused on Sacred

and return each moment

as best we can

to Sacred


breathing in

breathing out

thinking thoughts of the beloved


creating grooves

in the record that plays in our mind

conditioning our minds, focusing our energy

toward the One


that we might think

and therefor live

the way of love

Friday, March 12, 2021

Confronting bias (our own)

People can't see what they can’t see. Their biases get in the way, surrounding them like a high wall, trapping them in ignorance, deception, and illusion. No amount of reasoning and argument will get through to them, unless we first learn how to break down the walls of bias. . . .

                     Brian McLaren, as quoted by Richard Rohr, Daily Meditations, 3/1/21


… there are three levels of prayer: “prayer of the lips (oral prayer) prayer of the nous, the mind or intellect (mental prayer); prayer of the heart”…”it is required of us to enter into this ‘absolute center’ that is, to descend from the intellect into the heart”

                     Kalistos Ware, The Power of the Name,

                     Quoted by Llewelyn Vauaghan-Lee,  Prayer of the Heart



I am biased

I must painfully admit it


I have been shaped by many things,

forged into the person that I am in this moment


the town, the state, the country I grew up in

my parents

the church that shaped my early faith


professors in college and seminary


I have been shaped by what I have read,

and more, by what I have experienced


I have been shaped by my gender, my color,

my social and economic level

my life experiences


my successes and my failures


and now I have a “world view”

I see the world through my own particular set of lenses,

Which means I am biased


What I see, what I hear,

how I interpret those things going on in the world

how I see other human beings

how I react to what happens to me

are all shaped by my bias


which means it is really difficult to connect with

“what is”

with truth


there is the old saying

“truth is in the eye of the beholder”




But I really do want to know the truth

and it occurs to me today

as I wonder at the blind adherence of some souls to “truths”

that seem so much like “untruth”


as I am astonished how some of us see a person as deplorable

and others see that same person as almost godly


that we must find a way to minimize

(I doubt we will ever eradicate)

our biases


It is clearly not a matter of going “out there” and gathering information,

although that can be part of it.

But even what information we choose to gather is tainted by our bias

We see what we want to see, hear what we want to hear.


I am coming to believe

that the only way to get close to the truth, is to get close to Truth

(the Sacred)


The only way to be able to see the world out there, clearly and truly

is to start with the inner presence of the Sacred

call it what you will


Many wise and unique people have known the power of the inner journey

the importance of taking time, constantly (pray without ceasing?)

to “remember”, to connect with Sacred

every moment

with each and every breath


this is not something we do with the mind

it is a remembrance of the heart

it is touching our inner union with all that is Sacred

all that is Love

all that is Truth


it is our hearts abiding in the One we love


I have come to the conclusion

That it is only this inner journey that can save me from myself

Save me from the alternative realities that I create or embrace


It is only this inner union that can break down

the walls of bias, and help me see clearly

through the eyes of Love


this day, every day

may we begin with a deep dive into our souls, our hearts

to that place where Sacred dwells, and may we from that place

begin to deconstruct the realities we have created

so we can see

the Truth


Thursday, March 11, 2021

tended by angels

O God, you are my God, I seek you, my soul thirsts for you;

my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.

                     Psalm 63


And immediately the Spirit *brought [Jesus} out into the wilderness. And He was in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by Satan; and He was with the wild animals, and the angels were serving Him.

                     Mark 1



I remember standing in the high desert

in the desolation of rocks and sage

stretching on

forever, forever

a juniper or two, twisted and gnarled

but mostly, nothing


I remember the Sinai

looking across the tortured rocks

at the acacia tree

living but so close it seems to

a dried out death


and I remember the Wilderness of Judea

that place where Jesus wrestled with

“not sacred” and dealt with hungry beasts

and hunger


there is something about a wasteland

wherever it is located

even if it is the wasteland of our souls


when we stand in desolation

we are exposed and threatened

we are laid bare

and assailed by the emptiness that surrounds us

and penetrates

finding its way into our very flesh


it is a hard place

this dry and weary land where there is no water


this is our thirsty place

our crumbling place

our place of deconstruction


this is where we wither

where so much of what we have clung to

slips from our shriveled hands

this is perhaps where we die


this too is the place of blossoming and rejoicing

this is where our hands are strengthened

and our hearts lifted

and our quivering legs made strong (Isaiah 35)


for this is where we cling to Sacred

and rely not on our own devices

but are tended by angels


this is where we are transformed by grace

and love


this is where gifts are given

and received


this is where blessing finds us

and we lose our life, only to receive it again


we struggle with our time in the desert

those times of pandemic, and isolation

of storm and crisis

violence and deceit

poverty and deprivation


yet in such times

in this tortured year

as we linger in the desolation

hands and hearts empty


blessing finds us


the Sacred wind blows through us

giving us breath

giving us new life

animating our dry bones


enlivening us

awaking us to the gift of Sacred Presence

and to the tender nurture of the angels


waking us up to the beauty of the earth

and the beauty of each other


waking us to Love