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

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Free to Be

God leaves us free to be whatever we like.  We can be ourselves or not, as we please.  We are at liberty to be real, or to be unreal. We may be true or false, the choice is ours. We may wear now one mask and now another, and never, if we so desire, appear with our own true face.

                     Thomas Merton, “New Seeds of Contemplation”



I have an indigenous friend

who suggests we are all born with “original medicine”


we are all good medicine

in her opinion

blessed with a unique combination of gifts, talents and resources


and our goal in life

is to use this medicine to heal

to transform, using our unique alchemy

the people, the world around us


to change it for the good


but along the way we often lose touch

with our original medicine, our true self


others tell us who we are

parents, sibling, friends

teachers, pastors, employers


and we reach a point where we are no longer

true to ourselves


but this true self

is always with us

we carry it in our bones


and this self

is what we find when we find the Sacred within

when we go deep, into that place where Sacred dwells

our false self dies

it is buried


and our true self is resurrected



we rediscover our original medicine

our original blessingto


and become new

and it is this new self, that God uses

to transform the world


having died (at least to some degree) to the false things

having thrown out the things that keep us from being

a balm to the world


we are freed

for peace and joy

and freed to bring peace and joy to others


this day

may we take a moment

perhaps as we watch the sun rise

perhaps as we pray, or meditate

to allow our souls to catch up with our bodies


may we take a moment to breathe

and go deep

may we touch our original medicine

and then

walk into the day, consecrated

and ready to be

a blessing

Monday, June 28, 2021

All Good Gifts

It is God’s will that we do all in our power to keep ourselves strong, for happiness is everlasting and pain is passing and will end.

                     Julian of Norwich


For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure,

                     Paul (2 Corinthians 4:17)



they come to me at night

they sneak, unbidden, into my mind during the day


those ruminations

about what has been

what is

and what might be


it is so easy to dwell on the bad news

on the traumas of life


on that moment when you made a decision that would alter

the trajectory of your life


that moment when planes crashed into the twin towers


that moment when hate won an election


it is important to face such moments

for while “not everything faced can be changed,

nothing can be changed until it is faced” (James Baldwin)


we must face systematic racism

we must face a looming nationalism

we must face the pandemic

we must face our own flaws and failures


but to make the bad news the focus of our lives

will wound us

cripple us


there are lessons to be learned from “the bad”

lessons about God

lessons about ourselves


but to ruminate on ill

to turn it over and over in our heads

until it dominates and controls


is to let it define us


we must face the bad

we must pick it up, examine it, prod it

and then we must lay it down


and find what is good

and pick it up, examine it, prod it

embrace it


ah there is it

that fawn, teetering across the pasture

those two calves, cavorting and flirting with Finn the dog


the sun, peeking out above the Seven Devils

the smell of lilacs

the intrusive affection of a cat


it is the good that gives us strength

God in creation

God in us

all the good gifts of heaven


Saturday, June 26, 2021

Summer solstice


on this day when light eclipses dark

on this longest day of the year


I think of the dark night of the soul

of that deep ponderous place

where if feels as if all the life has been

sucked out of one’s soul


where all meaning has collapsed

leaving the rubble of uncertainty and unknowing


there seems no way forward

and the meaning you had before

seems invalid


it is bad enough

that we experience ourselves

these moments of collapse


but it is terrifying when it seems

as if we are in the dark night of society (Rabbi Heschel)

where community crumbles


and even, perhaps,

the dark night of the species (Matthew Fox)

as we face a failing planet

failing compassion

failing democracies


as we see QAnon flourish

and lies canonized

and deficit human beings idolized


and watch the world collapse and burn

around us


even if we find our own small Edens

even if we manage to find our way to some small

island of meaning,


still the darkness looms

devouring the light


acedia sets in

and instead of carrying the weight of glory

we are ground down by the weight of our mortal flesh


in this moment we are driven to the essential questions


Why am I here?

Whom or what will I serve?


I remember the plea of Joshua

Choose this day

Choose this day whom you will serve


That I can do

I will serve the Lord

which is the same as saying “I will serve Love”


and if I serve Love

then I know why I am here

to love


I am here to “do good works” (Paul)

I am here to “do justice, love kindness, walk humbly” (Micah)

I am here to “love God and love my neighbor as myself” (Jesus)


I am here to reflect my divine DNA

and show forth the imago Dei


today is a new day

it is the longest day of the year

and this day I will choose whom I will serve

and this day I will remember why I am here


this day, I will walk in the light

today I will try to be light

a light in the darkness

that cannot be put out

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Can we not see it?

In the Christ story we move through dizzying and disorienting chaos

from the delusional exultation of Palm Sunday

to the profound conflicts with the status quo

to the table tossing act of rebellion


into the quiet of the upper room

and the gentle, painful discourses

as one who was leaving comforted those who would remain


to the agonizing stillness of Gethsemane

that last prayer, that tortured plea

the arrest





the tomb


days of quiet despair


and then

the tomb empty

questions and confusion

appearances, conversations

walks on the road, times at he table

bread broken


Jesus is risen, present, here



but then, still

fear and hiding

more questions, more confusion

disciples huddled in a secluded room


and then finally

the Gift


which came as the sound of roaring wind

blowing them out of their liminal space

which came as fire

lighting them up with love and hope

and hospitality


words spoken, words heard

community created

people united

drawn together, infused with

drunk with love


and so a new norm

a new reality


God is doing a new thing!


God is always doing a new thing!

Can we not see it? (Isaiah 43)


Often, No!


think of the disciples

after the new of Mary!

“He is risen”


going back to what had always been

going fishing

back to the lake

back to their nets

back to emptiness


but then Jesus showed up!

the nets were filled

and then left behind for newness

a new kind of “fishing”


think of Peter, wanting so badly to hang on

to all that had been

seeing the blanket filled with “unclean things”


and then hearing the voice of God

“do not call unclean with I have made clean”


ordinary time is not ordinary

it is not a time to take a deep breath

after profound times of crisis


it is not a time to say

“I’m glad that is over”


it is the doorway into the extraordinary

the new


it is water in the desert

roads in the wilderness


it is the beginning of a new, always new journey


we do not get to “go back”

we never get to go back

we are always moving, always growing

always pressing forward

to the goal that is ours


to which God has called us (Phil 3)


this is the new ordinary

this almost post-Covid time

this retirement time

this aging time


it is a time for newness

a time to let go of what has not worked

what has never worked





and grab hold of



and community


it is time to try new things

as a nation

as a church

as Sacred children


because doing that

moving toward what is always new

is God’s



Monday, June 21, 2021

Version 70.0

Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world

Today I am wise, so I am changing myself




is there within reach

so close I can almost smell it


another ending

another dying


after close to 20 years

it is time to leave an organization that I led




it is time to walk away from a role

an identity


70 looms around the corner, only weeks away

and now

life impels me to move on


to defuse, to leave behind

a little death


anytime we near a death

we ponder

we look back, and we wonder


was it worth it?

did I accomplish anything?

did the good outweigh the bad?

do people remember me with admiration,

or think of me with disdain?


“Oh, that guy!  Let me tell you about HIM!”


did I make a difference?


which of course

may be the wrong question (although not entirely wrong)


perhaps the real question

is did I change?

did I learn

did I discover, or perhaps rediscover the Imago Dei

within myself?


or rather

did I learn to die and be reborn

did I learn to accept that kind of death and kind of resurrection

that occurs not just once, but over and over again

as we are created and recreated by Love

in order to be Love


did I allow myself to change,

or rather, to be changed?


I suspect it would be a sad thing

to look in the mirror and see the same person

who graduated from high school in 1969

who became a minister in 1977

who became a hot mess in 1990


the fact is there have been many recreations along the way

I have died and been reborn more times than I can count

and I believe I will be eternally changing



dying and rising again


it appears I have a choice

I can see such moments as this as an ending

or merely as  another moment

when Sacred takes me apart

cleans me up

and puts me back together again


version 70.0


I am risen, I am risen indeed

Sunday, June 20, 2021

little old people

Where did that boy go

who with the crew cut and goofy glasses

looked out on the world so long ago?


where did that person go

who dreamed big dreams

and thought he could be anything he wanted


and that life would be easy


who thought that the good people won

and that evil was defeated



where did that one go who

so easily accepted the version of God

so blithely presented by his church?


how did it all get so complicated

and tortured?


it has not been a bad life

it has not been an easy life either (although to some it may look to be so)

I have my issues, my flaws


at times it feels as if my weaknesses cancel out my strengths

my mistakes invalidate my accomplishments


I am not who I thought I was

looking out so long ago

the world is not what I thought it was

God is not who I thought God was


and it is OK


I was thinking about the church year

Advent and Christmas, and those high holy days

of white


baby Jesus, the manger, magicians and stars


of Lent with is purple solemnity,

and Eastertide

with those huge pivotal moments

Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday

the vigil

Easter (white again)


And of Pentecost

our bright day of fiery red


those moments capture the imagination

and fire up our hearts

but now we are in “ordinary” time

almost half a year of unrelenting green

with no moments of high celebration


just the ordinary

the plodding along

tending the garden, pulling weeds

doing the mundane



and I realize this is where life is

in the ordinary

this is where faith lives

in the ordinary

this is where Sacred dwells

in the ordinary


in the flawed and cracked adult

who no longer bright visage

and with eyes no longer quite as bright

who plods through each day


living out the Imago Dei

as best he can

knowing that even in this

messy, ordinary, daily existence


God is


and that there is a reason

even if I do not know what it is

for getting up in the morning

and welcoming another day

another week


it does no good to look back

at the good or the bad


no one who puts his or her hand to the plow

and looks back get anywhere


and so this morning

it is time to be again

that young soul

looking expectantly at the world

eager for what life will bring


Jesus once said, the kingdom belongs to the children

I suspect God wants us to be like children

those in whom the image has not been dulled


God want us to be eternal children

twisted, battered, grey, aching young ones

perhaps those with a long road behind

and a short road ahead


but still children

in whom, when God looks at them

God can still recognize God’s self in them




Alleluia, Alleluia!  Open, all of you little old people!

It is I your God, eternal, risen from the dead, coming to

Bring back to life the child in you.

                     Michel Quoist (Prayers)

Thursday, June 17, 2021

A matter of heart

If your heart is a volcano

How shall you expect flowers to bloom in your hands?

                     Kahlil Gibran, Sand and Foam



what is going on

down there

in our deepest self

in that place that defines who we are?


call it your soul

your heart


it does not matter


we all have that deep place

that is our true self


and it is this self

that gets revealed at the most inopportune times

it is this self that suddenly emerges when we are stressed

when life is difficult

when we are tired

or hangry


no matter how skilled we are at creating masks

and creating a dissembling narrative

no matter how adept we are at avoiding the truth


whatever it is that is going on in that deep place

will out


as Jesus warned us

by our fruits we shall be known


if we want to know what is really going on


down deep

all we have to do is look at what our lives produce


because eventually, the truth will out


it matter not if we are talking about nations

or political parties

or Presidents

or just individual people


eventually the “heart” will reveal itself


when we look at our own “fruits”

what do we see?








do we see people built up

or people torn down?


do we see generosity

or a tendency to amass?


do we see kindness

or do we see cruelty?


are we surrounded by joy

or by despair?


as I walk into this new day

the early morning lit by God’s glory

my prayer must be this


“create in me a clean heart O Lord”

for it is from the heart that I live

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Help him

Help him

that’s what faith is

he can’t bring it about

his kingdom

couldn’t then couldn’t later can’t now

not at any rate without you

and that is his irresistible appeal

                     Dorothee Soelle



what’s the end of the Jesus story?

him hanging there on the cross, dead?

him lying in a tomb?

him resurrected?


descending ascending


it has been a lot of years

where is that kingdom?


it seems we are no closer now than we were then

to the City of God


perhaps God made a mistake

to choose the work the God did

by sending One who asked us to follow

not merely idolize


perhaps God miscalculated

by being a God within us rather than a God from above

by making us the hands and feet of justice

the voice of compassion and love


at the end of the story

Jesus left

and left us behind

filled with fire and wind


to carry on his revolution


at the end of the story

Jesus “rises again and again in our lives” (DS)


as Christ lives in us and through us

empowering us to feed the hungry

create equity

fight for justice

create peace

love without condition


it is up to us

how this story ends

what this world becomes


the City of God

or Gehenna

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

newly minted

I am weary but at least now, I know I am becoming

newly minted

amidst the fire


                     Jyl Anais Ion



I cannot watch the news any more

it is too painful

to watch the foolishness of those

who would catch the wind


by grabbing hold of power

by amassing the wealth


I cannot read even the well written

words of legitimate reports

rare among the garbage and flotsam of extremism


for the insanity of our time

is oppressive


who ever said

“the one thing we learn from history

 is that we do not learn from history”

was right


some mornings it is all one can do

to drag an aging body out of bed

when everything hurts

and what doesn’t hurt doesn’t work


it is the year of the cicadas

it feels more like a plague of locusts has come

as malignant souls

seek to dominate and control and

leave us with a world plucked clean of kindness and compassion

justice and equity


I sit, looking out at the beauty of a place

not yet pillaged

and hear the words of Micah echo is my heart


“Woe to those who scheme iniquity, who work out evil on their beds!

when morning comes, they do it, for it is in the power of their hands”


and I become weary


and yet

and yet

and yet


like the Psalmist who laments

only to rejoice

who despairs only to hope


the stirrings of the Spirit remind me

that the Power that created all

and sustains it with love


is a Power that makes all things new

that in every ending is a beginning

in every death a new birth


in the end every tyrant falls

the way of domination fails

and love wins


for I am (and so are you) a Sacred Children

I have Sacred DNA

I have the powerful presence of Love within


And even if I am weary

I know, that I am becoming

newly minted

amidst the fire




Saturday, June 12, 2021

Bridging the Gap

Incarnation is the overcoming of the gap between God and everything visible and concrete. It is the synthesis of matter and spirit. Without incarnation, God remains separate from us and from creation. Because of incarnation, we can say, “God is with us!” In fact, God is in us, and in everything else that God created. We all have the divine DNA.

                     Richard Rohr, Daily Meditations, 6/6/2021



I can’t help it

It is a reality that I cannot escape


Even though it is difficult to define it

label it

capture it


there is something that permeates everything

something creative


and yes, loving


a power that brings into being

that sustains



and comforts


this very real power

this presence

is something I want to be connected to

it is something I want to participate in


because whatever it is that is “out there”

is also “in me”

I am irresistibly drawn


But while it is so real

as real as the sunrise, or the sunset

as real as Mount Joseph, looming over my home

as real as my heart beating

and my breath, moving in, moving out


it is also so vague


hooray for incarnation

for that is what this power does

call it God, call it whatever you will


it is the nature of this reality to incarnate

to put on flesh

the universe, this planet

the wind, the sun, the moon and the stars


all incarnations


so too Jesus

so too you and me


and here is the thing

whatever you call this power, we know its nature



all the incarnations make this perfectly clear


which teaches us something

the incarnation is always love

love is always incarnational


I love the story of Jesus

not just the story of the mewling baby, pink and raw lying in a manger

not just the story of Jesus

who instead of watching the sinners get dunked from the safety of the shore

jumped into the dirty waters of the Jordan and joined in,

but the story of Jesus, refusing to answer hate with hate

violence with violence

and saying




on the cross

(you can’t get anymore “all in” than that)


Love is incarnational

if we would be people of love

continuing the incarnation of love


we have to dive in

get wet

go in over our heads


we have to get out there

and get our hands dirty

helping those who need help

feeding the hungry, clothing the naked

housing the homeless, protecting the vulnerable

welcoming the stranger

fighting for justice


giving all we have

time, energy, money, all


If we want to understand God, if we want others to catch

a glimpse of who God is, what God is really all about

we have to be the incarnation



get it?


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 to me)

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

through the cracks of the old

God is doing new things, Jesus proclaimed, but only those with new minds and hearts can see a new world breaking through the cracks of the old.

                     Ilia Delio, The Hours of the Universe



here I am

dangling over the precipice of the new

hanging on for dear life


oh Lord

you are calling me to let go

to open my mind, my heart, my soul

you are calling me to let go


and to plummet

into that fearful newness

to die as it were


so that I might be born again


I am a creature of habit Lord

I like what is familiar and comfortable

I cling to old thoughts

old habits

old systems


I cannot see

I do not want to see

Where things are broken


I do not want to examine closely the foundations

of my society

my life

and see where things are rotten


instead I cling

I patch over the cracks

I ignore the rot


And I cling

Perpetuating not just that which is good and noble

but that which is destructive and life-denying


I ignore my privilege

my bias

my greed

my anger


I ignore systematic racism

and injustice


I celebrate inequity


Still I cling to the old

Still I pretend that it is “not that bad”

That with a little effort I can, we can, patch things up

Hold things together


But you know better

You know how desperately we need to let go

To die to the old

To fall into your grace


So that we might rise

And begin again


You know how radical the change


Needs to be

You know that a minor facelift simply won’t do


So help me to let go


and to plummet

into your fearful newness

to die as it were


so that I might be born again

so that I might rise


help me accept (as Richard Rohr puts it)

the unraveling, breaking, and cracking


that I might be the part of a movement

that helps the whole world rise up

and ushers in

the Kingdom of Love (God)

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

nurture my unbelief

Doubt need not be the death of faith. It can be, instead, the birth of a new kind of faith, a faith beyond beliefs, a faith that expresses itself in love, a deepening and expanding faith that can save your life and save the world.


          Brian D. McLaren, Faith after Doubt: Why Your Beliefs Stopped Working

          and What to Do about It (St. Martins: 2021), 212 (As quoted by R Rohr)



I believe

Help my unbelief


Nurture my unbelief!


It suddenly struck me today that certainty can be the enemy of faith

If I have to know everything

If I have to possess all the little details

If I have to understand how it all works,


before I will believe in a product,

I wouldn’t buy much


If I had to have perfect knowledge in a person,

if I had to know them inside and out, and reach the point

where there was nothing new to be learned

no surprises to be had

before I would accept that person as a friend


I wouldn’t have many friends


If I have to know everything about God

How God thinks

Who, exactly, God is

All of the ins and outs of the Sacred

The way God works


If I have to have God all wrapped up in a

nicely wrapped ideological or theological box


If I have to be certain

And know that I know (and perhaps that you do not)




As if I can ever know God!

So if I try to contain God (which is somewhat like trying to catch the wind)

I of necessity make God small

at least small enough for my feeble mind to contain


If I try to define God

I limit God to the limits of my own imagination


That is bad enough


But what is really problematic

Is that my need to have total understanding,

Is also a need to have total control

Is also, fundamentally, a lack of trust


It violates the fact that we don’t know God (the devil is in the details)

As much as we experience God


We don’t believe in a set of theological constructs

As much as we commune with a powerful presence

That touches us and changes us


Knowing God is, to a great degree, about learning to be comfortable

About our unknowing


We know God, at an experiential level

While still failing to understand so much ABOUT God


But it works

Because we while we may not know

And there may be times we do know believe some of what we thought we knew

And times when we run across things we just can’t believe


we trust this reality

this Love

this One

we call God


and our ability

to have faith in this one

in the midst of doubts

in the midst of things that don’t make sense

in the midst of massive confusion

in the midst of all the pain and chaos of the world


that is what frees us

that is what opens our hearts


the less we have to hold on tightly

to deeply held beliefs

the more open we are to the infinite nature of God

to new lessons and new truths

to other people

to the immensity of God’s love


I do believe

but sometimes it is good and wonderful

the way God comes to me in my unbelief

Monday, June 7, 2021

Time to show up

Ken Wilbur (as quoted by Richard Rohr), talks about four stages of spiritual and moral development.


Cleaning up is mostly about the need for early impulse control and creating necessary ego boundaries—so you can actually show up in the real and much bigger world.


Growing up refers to the process of psychological and emotional maturity that persons commonly undergo, both personally and culturally


Waking Up refers to any spiritual experience which overcomes our experience of the self as separate from Being in general… The purpose of waking up is not personal or private perfection, but surrender, love, and union with God. This is the Christian meaning of salvation or enlightenment.


Showing Up means bringing our heart and mind into the actual suffering and problems of the world


As I reflect on this it occurs to me that most of American Christianity is stuck in the cleaning up stage of development, meaning it is stuck in spiritual infancy.


Faith is primarily a matter of “behaving”.  Of believing the right things, saying the right things, and doing the right things.  Sadly in too many cases the “right things” are more a matter of right-wing social and cultural norms, than they are about the Bible.  Even the grim and cruel concept of retributive justice emerges more out of a culture of domination than out of the Gospel itself.



Turn or Burn


And so faith is not an encounter with something bigger than one’s self, not an experience of being loved, not a matter of union with Love, but a matter of following rules, voting for the right person, earning safety from God’s wrath.  And it should be no wonder that those whose lives are all about living under the authority of a malevolent God choose an authoritarian ideology.  Where might makes right, and obedience and loyalty to the “great leader” or to “the party” are everything.  Where reality is shaped and controlled by those who speak for “god” or “the party” or by a totalitarian leader.  Questions are not allowed.  Truth does not matter.  Only the approved narrative, the alternative reality


This kind of faith is powerful, in its own way, and persistent.  It is a faith that makes us dependent in an unhealthy manner.  It is a faith that controls with promises of power and affluence, or abandonment and destruction.


Leave and perish

Question and perish


There is of course a element of this necessary in faith.  We do in fact need to “come to our senses”, like the prodigal child, and realize that perhaps the mess we are in is not the only option.  That hate, and racism, abusive power, guns, violence are not things we have wallow in.


But this is a starting point!  It is a matter of getting up, out of the mud and corn cobs, and offal, dusting ourselves off, straightening our clothes, and starting the long journey home.


This is how we start growing up.  Developing a faith that is our own.  Developing relationships that are built on love, trust, and truth.  Knowing that we are an individual within a community.  Developing the capacity to think, and question, and seek the truth.  Moving out of the “bubble” created by others into the world as it is.


And then we wake up.  We wake up to Sacred, to love.  We encounter, we experience the Sacred.  Not as a concept, not as a book, not as a set of rules, not as a religion, but as a powerful reality that comes as wind and fire.  That overwhelms us, and shakes us, and leaves us utterly transformed.  And utterly in Love.  Once we were blind but now we see.


And then we show up.  We live love.  We don’t pretend the world is different than it is.  We don’t create our own reality.  We don’t try to force the world into our mold.  We don’t let the world force us into its mold.  We show up, seeing the world as it really is, with all its beauty and ugliness, with all is hate and love, with all its despair and hope, and we live lives of love, and generosity, and compassion, and forgiveness and truth.


We heal the sick (and fight for healthcare)

We clothe the naked

We feed the hungry

We house the homeless

We welcome the stranger

We fight for justice

We insist on truth

We embody, as best we can



Today it is my prayer that I “show up” for love

I hope you will join me

Sunday, June 6, 2021

see love

Sometimes, in this troubled world of ours, we forget that love is all around us. We imagine the worst of other people and withdraw into our own shells. But try this simple test: Stand still in any crowded place and watch the people around you. Within a very short time, you will begin to see love, and you will see it over and over and over. A young mother talking to her child, a couple laughing together as they walk by, an older man holding the door for a stranger—small signs of love are everywhere. The more you look, the more you will see. Love is literally everywhere. We are surrounded by love.


Steven Charleston, Ladder to the Light:

An Indigenous Elder’s Meditations on Hope and Courage (Broadleaf: 2021), 60–61, 67.



Sometimes it is hard to believe in the arc of love

Sometimes it is difficult to say


and mean it


All around us we see people doing awful things

Believing lies

Doubling down on guns and violence

Choosing the way of abusive power and domination

Marginalizing and minimizing other

Destroying justice

Enriching the rich, abandoning the poor


All around us we see anger, and despair

We see angry people with guns kill without reason

We see people, despairing, take their own lives

We see wars and hear rumors of wars


This wounds our souls

we are pierced through by the hate, the racism, the greed


and we cannot heal from these wounds

we cannot keep going in love

we cannot keep the flickering light of the Spirit burning


unless we believe that in the end

God get’s God’s way

In the end

Love wins


As I look at my country

And watch it unravel and spin

into authoritarianism and nationalism


when it feels so much

as if evil is winning


the only way I can keep going

keep preaching the good news

keep giving

keep serving

keep forgiving

keep loving


is if I believe that Love will win

that it WILL win

even if not in my life time


if I believe Love wins,

even if the path to the ascendance of love

is through the valley of destruction and death


Jesus is my model

that one who entered Jerusalem

knowing that from a short view

he was going to fail


knowing that his flash of popularity

would disappear,

and he would be rejected, even reviled,

knowing that he would be betrayed,

knowing the torturous path to the cross


but still stayed the course of love

because he also knew that in end

love would win

even if that win would come on the other side of death


so this day, l remember

good people and good works

I remember sacrifices made


this day I chose to look around me

and see love

in all the small places


and I will have hope

and I will keep loving

and I will keep moving toward the kingdom


left foot

right foot

left foot



Thursday, June 3, 2021

hungry ghosts

only this

that I may never hunger

for that

which is not

your bread

                     Jan Richardson, In Wisdom’s Path (Wanton Gospeller Press)



I live in dread

Oh one who came as love

to remove all fear


I live in dread of the hungry

ghosts who would gnaw at the bones of freedom

and rip and tear the flesh of unity


hungry, brutal people

intent only on satisfying their lust for power


why can they not see?

why do they no understand?

that in their machinations lie not victory

but ultimate defeat?


perhaps it is as simple as this

they hunger for that which is not bread


ah Jesus

you knew the power of those things that do not satisfy

you were tempted by them too

there in the wilderness


tempted to grab for power

and domination

tempted to hug to yourself

all the riches of the world


but you chose the true bread

of sacrifice and service

of compassion and generosity

of Love


so you implored us

to join you at the table

to gather, united, to eat of the bread that fills

to drink from the cup that satisfies


to be people who see not domination, power and control

but to be people who seek to serve, to lift up, to heal, to welcome


you told us how to be blessed (Matthew 5)

“hunger and thirst for righteousness,” you said

For then you will be filled.


you asked the hard question

“what good will it be for someone to gain the whole world,

yet forfeit their soul?”


but here we are

tearing apart the fabric of our world, our nation

our communities

for just a little more power

a little more wealth


never satisfied



in the midst of it all

even as we strive and strive and strive

for more

even as we suppress and oppress

marginalize and minimize

and dehumanize


the voice of God sounds clear


“Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters;

and you that have no money, come, buy and eat!

Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.

Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,

and your labor for that which does not satisfy?

Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food.

Incline your ear, and come to me; listen, so that you may live.”


Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Time to be radical

In the Bible we see a “…clash between a radical and normal vision for the future of human life on earth.  The radicality of nonviolent resistance versus of normalcy of violent oppression, and the radicality of peace through distributive justice versus the normalcy of peace through victorious force…”


… the challenge to our species is clear.  Governed not by chemical instinct but my moral conscience, , can we control escalatory violence before it destroys us?  Can we abandon violence as civilization’s drug of choice?

                     John Dominic Crossan (How to read the Bible and Still Be a Christian)



ah Jesus,

humble and gentle one


ah Jesus

who, while capable of domination and violence

chose the way of service and peace


you gave us one commandment


Love the Lord your God

Love, with all your heart, soul and strength


and you suggested that this one love

should lead to other love


that we should love ourselves

as children of Love

and love others as ourselves


this is the radicality of your Gospel Lord

this love


this is the one thing

you ask us to do

think love

breathe love

live love


there is no complexity here

no need to parse this command


it is simply there

clear and uncompromising 

as stark and powerful

as you, kneeling in the dust, washing feet

as clear as you hanging from a tree


how do we miss it Jesus?


how do we skip right over those teachings

that call us to feed the hungry

clothe the naked

house the homeless

heal the sick

welcome the stranger


how do we miss those teachings that tell us

to be generous and take care of the poor


that tell us to turn the other cheek

walk the second mile


how has your gospel of humility and sacrifice

become a gospel of power and accumulation?


how have we allowed the radicality of the Gospel

to be blunted, even muted

by the normalcy of the world?


so that we have replaced plowshares with swords (or guns)

and become people who dominate rather than serve

control rather than set free

exclude rather than include

judge rather than forgive

hate rather than love

violence rather than nonviolence


ah Jesus

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Gotta Believe

Sometimes it feels

as if the world has a “sickness unto death”


as if not only we individuals humans are terminal

but as if humanity as a whole

is toxic

and headed toward destruction


I am right there with Kierkegaard

for whom (as I understand it)

the sickness unto death was despair

an inability to be believe in love’s power


we do not, I think, really believe in love

we believe in a lot of things

but not love


we believe in guns

we believe that the more guns in the hands of more people

in more places will make the world safer


it won’t, of course

it will merely mean more shootings

more fear

more death


we believe in political power

we believe that might makes right

we believe in money

and that the person who dies with the most toys wins


but what we don’t believe in is love

somehow we don’t believe in valuing all people

we don’t believe in equity

we don’t believe in forgiveness

we don’t believe in generosity, or compassion, or kindness


we say we do

we blithely repeat in litany like fashion, “love wins’


but do we really believe it is true?


Sometimes it feels as we have a sickness unto death


but enter Jesus

who says to us, as he always says

“this is not a sickness unto death” (John 11:4)


but enter Jesus

who touches our despair

who gives us back our self

who reminds that death is merely a stop on the way to eternity

who grounds us in love


enter Jesus

who says, “believe”

believe in me

believe in love

believe that God will make all things new


enter Jesus who says faith is the antidote for despair

just a little faith

faith the size of a mustard seed


maybe it is time

to really believe in love