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, October 31, 2021

be kind

The Rev. John Watson, also known as Ian McLaren

one of those supposedly dour Scottish Presbyterians


once made a profound comment.


“Be kind. Everyone you meet is carrying a heavy burden.”


(No, Plato did not say this, nor did Philo of Alexandria)


Be kind!

Be kind!

Be kind!


Or, as Henry James once famously said.   ““Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.”


I think Jesus would agree.

It is not that Jesus wasn’t real.

It is not that he did not challenge and disrupt.


And most of us don’t like challenge and disruption very much.

Frankly, it doesn’t feel kind!


But even when turning the world upside down, I believe Jesus was kind.


Because he saw the other.

Truly saw them.

He looked past the adjectives of male and female,

Samaritan and Jew,

Tax-collector and Roman.


He looked past the color, even accepting those mythical humans

who were white (in the midst of sea of brown and black),


and saw instead the person within, that deep self, which truly defines.

He saw the pain, the fear, the anger,

the hope, the joy, the hate, the love.


He saw it all, felt it all.

He joined with each person in that place.

Opening them up.  Revealing.

Yes, at times disturbing.


But he wasn’t there, judging,

pontificating, condemning,



He was there loving.





I think that if we would follow Jesus we would be better off being kind than right.

(not that it is bad to be – we hope – on the right side of issues).


But with rightness come cruelty.



And the abuse of power.


We see it all the time.  Those thin lipped grim “Christians”

grinding the poor, the women, the dispossessed, the addicted, beneath their “rightness.”


Jesus entered into the space of those he met

He entered into their pain, their fear.

And in doing so he transformed them.


That is the only way to create change!


When we attack, marginalize, minimize, and judge,

we harden the other, creating resistance, and making it impossible for them to change.


So, “Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.”


One of my favorite books is Reaching Out by Henri Nouwen

In that amazing little book Nouwen makes this statement

“Hospitality means primarily the creation of free space where the stranger can enter and become a friend instead of an enemy. Hospitality is not to change people, but to offer them space where change can take place.”


That I think is what many of us, in this vague and difficult time, are trying to do. 

We are trying to create a free space, a space created by compassion and love, where people can be open, where people can struggle, and learn, where people can heal.


The more inhospitable the world is

The more estranged we are from one another

The more hostility we experience, from nature, from our bodies, our minds, and yes, each other


The more we need a free and friendly space

The more we need people who will be with us, offering love and acceptance, and kindness


And that, it occurs to me, is just what God does in Jesus

Friday, October 29, 2021

look deeply

Mary Oliver gives us three “lessons for living.”  They are 1) pay attention, 2) be astonished, 3) share your astonishment.

                     Matthew Fox, Hildegard of Bingen, A Saint for our Times


I don't know exactly what a prayer is.

I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down

into the grass, how to kneel in the grass,

how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields

which is what I have been doing all day.

Tell me, what else should I have done?

Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?

Tell me, what is it you plan to do

With your one wild and precious life?

                     Mary Oliver, from The Summer Day



We, yes we human creatures, are part of God’s joyous and loving self expression.

We, along with the mountain, frosted with fresh snow,

and the delicate fawn, leaping through the fall grass,

and the crisp wind of fall,


are God’s self portrait!


We dwell in the midst of the wonderfully sacred.

We are wondrously sacred.


This is a fierce truth we so often forget.


On most days our eyes are blurred as if by fog.

We do not see clearly, but instead find our selves stumbling through the mist of our own disappointment and limitations,

muttering to ourselves, cursing the darkness.


But we are surrounded by marvelous things, we are surrounded by marvelous people (yes, we are!), if we but pay attention and allow ourselves to be astonished.


What am I looking for, on this fine day that has not yet

emerged from the darkness?


What am I looking for in those people I will meet in Safeway,

or in those whom I will visit or call?


What I am looking for I will find.


If I am looking for enemies I will find them.

If I am looking for deplorables I will find them.

If I am looking for threats, they will be there too.


If I am looking for Sacred Children, they will emerge from the mist.

I suspect that Jesus saw only beloved Children of God.

Even hanging there from the cross.

Children of God.

Children of God.

Children of God.


“God forgive them”.

“God, how I love them.”


This day I want to look deeply.

I want to be astonished by Love.

For it is everywhere.


And most of all, I want to pass it on.


This love.

This praise.

This joy.

This hope…

that comes to those who see

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Is your sin original?

Adam and Eve grabbed for the chance to be like gods – judging others as good or evil, exploiting rather than persevering the Earth, competing with one another rather than loving and serving one another.  But Jesus didn’t grasp as godlike status.  He humbly poured himself out for others – in service, in suffering, even to the point of death.

                     Brian McLaren, The Road is Made by Walking



If there is an original sin,

and trust me it is not original,

it is the sin of power.


It is the desire to control others, to dominate,

to be at the center of one’s own universe.


That allegorical snake whispered smoothly,

“You can be like God,

you can have it all your way,

you can be free to do what you want,

you can dominate others.”


And human creatures fell for it, hook, line, and sinker,

and have been listening to that foul whisper ever since.

Whether the words come from politicians, ideologs,

or preachers, they insidiously draw us into a world of competition,

jealousy, resentment, and ultimately retribution and violence.


Be in control.

Seek power.

Use power.


We have even chosen to believe that this is how God works.

That God is all about domination, and coercion.


God is about power!

But it is a unique kind of power, the power of the cross.

The cross is not about God imposing justice.

The cross is not about control and power.

The cross is about emptying.


It is a revelation of the unique power of sacrifice.

Of giving up one’s self for others.


What would the negotiations in our Congress, no matter the issue;


debt ceilings,


taxes (especially taxes),

if the power of sacrifice were in play?


How would we be responding to the pandemic and the wearing of masks, and the acceptance of vaccinations,

If the power of emptying were in play?


How would the conversation about gun control play out if we were thinking about kenosis instead of domination and intimidation?


They way of emptying is a difficult way!

Everything in our culture pulls us away from that path.

Forget whispering snakes, our culture screams about domination.

About grasping.

About individual rights.


No wonder Jesus said, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”


Domination is the road that leads to destruction,

and many are actively, at many levels, leading us down that road.  Seeking power at all costs, plundering the earth, mistaking selfishness for freedom.


Sacrifice is the road that leads to life.  That giving up of self.  Letting go of rights. 

Being people for others, even if it means and erosion of earthly power.


We will not defeat this pandemic.

We will not rebuild our infrastructure.

We will not regain justice in the courts,

We will not establish economic equity,

We will not welcome the stranger,

We will not embrace and lift up the poor,

We will not stop shooting one another,

We will not keep our children safe,

We will not establish the Kingdom of God (Love)


unless we grab hold of God’s unique form of power,

the power of Love,

and use it.


Sacrificially and selflessly, walking down that narrow path with people like Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, Gandhi, Dag Hammarskjold, and so many others who have gone before, and changed the world for the better



Friday, October 22, 2021

On desire!

Now there is nothing wrong with desire.  The question is, whose desires are you imitating?  To be alive is to imitate God’s generous desires… to create, to bless, to help, to serve, to care for, to save, to enjoy.  To make the opposite choice—to imitated one another’s desires and become one another’s rivals – is to choose the path of death

                     Brian McLaren (We Make the Road by Walking)



In that infamous story of the garden,

where Adam and Eve allegorically wandered free,

even there a choice was offered.


Choose this day the tree of life, or choose the tree of death.

Choose the way of love and joy, or choose the way of rivalry, the way of judgement.


We know the choice that was made.

We know the result.

We live the result.


Each day we too get to choose.

We get to choose the way of true freedom, which is the way of love and acceptance, which is a matter of walking each other home,

Or we get to choose the way of competition, which is a matter of scratching out rewards from a dry and brittle earth.


Our choice does not have the cleanliness of the allegory.

There is no tree, no forbidden fruit.

Instead, there are advertisements, and cultural expectations, and influencers, and pundits and politicians.


Eat this!

Drink that!

Believe this!

Follow that!


And we are being asked to choose between the fruit of power and wealth, or the wondrous feast of community and compassion.


The choice matters.


If we choose competition, and the path of winning, if we choose the way of accumulation of money, we are changed.


We are drawn away from our original blessing, from the mutual enjoyment of Sacred bounty, into a world of strife and striving.


We begin to see others as competitors, not as brothers and sisters.

We become people who will do anything to win.

We hug things to ourselves, and become fearful hoarders.


We become “graspers, hiders, blamers, and shamers.” (McLaren)


We become people who willingly suppress, oppress and even destroy others, and in doing so, we destroy ourselves.


At least we erode and shrink our souls.


We will never be without desire.

It appears that very human trait was hardwired in.


But desire is not evil.

It just depends what we desire.


This day my desire is to mirror Love

And to do justly,

and to love mercy,

and to walk humbly with Love (Micah 6:8)


Wednesday, October 20, 2021

I desire love

I desire steadfast love [hesed] and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings”

(Hosea 6:6).



Ah compassion where did it go?

That divine energy source (Fox) that fuels the Kingdom of God.

Where did it go, that capacity to see “the other” with the eyes of Jesus, with eyes which embrace and love, rather exclude and hate?


Has it wandered away?

Or have we sent it into exile, choosing instead the way of conditional love, and meaningless gestures?


I was driving along the road the other day, on a day that should have brought me joy.

The sun was bright, the mountains were covered with fresh snow.

As I rounded a corner a bear gamboled by a stream.


And yet all I could see were a stream of mammoth motor homes, spewing exhausting into our tired air.

And those flags, everywhere, tacked on walls, flying from flag posts, flapping from poles in the back of pickup trucks.




All that filled my mind were the numbers of Covid-19 cases in our little community,

and the death notices,

and the unmasked faces in the Safeway store,

and the vitriolic calls for “freedom.”


And I lost it.

I simply lost the love.


For at least a moment I did not have a compassionate bone in my body.

Hesed had fled, not so steadfast after all.


And as I drove past an emblazoned house, my hand rose in a salute of disdain.


I was filled with so much anger!

And then, suddenly, remorse.


Love has a way of breaking through.


It suddenly hit me (perhaps it was the Spirit doing a little smiting)

Instead of cursing, I should be blessing

Instead of railing in anger, I should offering love (praying).




Praying for myself, certainly!

That I might understand, might think about the “back story.”

Might have compassion.

Praying that I might see with the eyes of love.


But praying too for the other.

Praying that God’s love might penetrate.

That Sacred Presence might break through and make them new,

in whatever way God wants to make them new (it is not up to me).


So this day, as I meet that motorhome, I plan to pray!

“Give them traveling mercies, Lord.”

As I pass that emblazoned house.

“God bless this house and all who live in it!”

As I see that person without a mask.

“Protect them Lord! (and all that they meet)”


Today is a day for hesed.

For God’s love is everlasting.





Monday, October 18, 2021

Not silent God

… I am the living and true witness of truth, and the speaking and not-being-silent God

                     Hildegard of Bingen



Once an old Jewish man,

who everyday would wander down to the “wailing wall” to pray

and leave a written plea in the cracks between the stones,

was asked what it was like to participate in that daily practice.


The man, who for decades had fervently gone to that sacred place

and prayer for peace answered simply,


“It is like talking to a wall.”


There are times when it feels as if God is silent.

We pray for peace.  Silence.

We pray for loved ones who are ill. Silence.

We pray for love. Silence.

We pray that people will engage their minds and emerge from a cult like mentality.



Wars still rage.

Loved ones still die.

Love remains elusive.

People still refuse to get vaccinated, and still cheer the abuse of power.


But we have a not-being-silent God.


The Sacred does speak!

Indeed the Sacred rejoices over us with singing (Zephaniah 3:17).


God is always speaking

God spoke and order came out of chaos.

God spoke and the light came.

God spoke and beauty was born. 


The fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the beasts of the field,

and you, and me.


God spoke and Love walked among us.

And God speaks still.


Sometimes it is with words of joy and peace,

as God speaks through the rising sun,

and the fresh fallen snow on the peaks,

and the lone eagle in flight.


Sometimes it is with words that pierce and trouble,

as God speaks through the poor,

the hungry, the homeless.

As God speaks through desperate immigrants,

through those assailed by war,

and stricken by disease.


God speaks.

Sometimes God shouts!


Take care of the planet!

Take care of one another!

Feed the poor.

Welcome the stranger.

Comfort the mourner.

Put down your guns.

Get vaccinated!


Love me (God)!

Love your neighbor!

And don’t forget to take care of yourself in the process.


God is never silent.

Its just that sometimes we stop listening!

(or we allow other voices to drown out the voice of love).


So let us listen!

Let us hear what love is telling us, and live accordingly.

Sunday, October 17, 2021

What if?

What if?

What if Jesus had listened to that inner voice, out there in the desert?

What if he had learned to justify the way he acted, thought, and felt, by telling himself that the end justified the means, and he was “pro-God” and “pro-life?”


What if, instead of wandering around the backroads of Galilee he had hung around Jerusalem?

What if, instead of wandering with a bunch of common folk,

he had cultivated relationships with the elite folk, with the members of the Sanhedrin, with the scribes and the pharisees?


What if he had aligned with Herod, assuring him he was great, and would make “Israel great again?”


What if he had turned the water into wine, and sold it for a tidy profit?

What he had charged admission to the Sermon on the Mount?

What if he had preached about individual rights instead of common good?

About retribution instead of turning the other cheek?

About accumulation rather than giving?

About resentment rather than forgiveness?

About winning and domination rather than sacrifice and service?


What if he had carefully picked those he helped, making sure they “deserved” his healing touch?


What if Jesus, the incarnate one, the one with us,

had become like us, in the sense that he reflected not the original blessing, not the “imago dei” but Adam and Eve, who chose poorly?


He would not have been Jesus.

Not Jesus the Christ.

Not the one who opened the stairway to heaven, and crashed the gates of hell

(emptying it).


Not the one who raises us up into newness!

Not the one who transforms!


It seems we have a choice.

We can remake Jesus into our image, and ignore who he was, what he taught, and how he lived (and died).  Or we can embrace the Jesus who walked out of the wilderness and said,


The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,

    because the Lord has anointed me.

He has sent me to preach good news to the poor,

    to proclaim release to the prisoners

    and recovery of sight to the blind,

    to liberate the oppressed,

    and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.  (Luke 4:18)

Friday, October 15, 2021

it is good

Genesis tells us that the universe is good – a truth so important it gets repeated like the theme of a song.  Rocks are good.  Clouds are good.  Sweet corn is good.  Every river or hill or valley or forest is good.  Skin? Good. Bone? Good. Mating and eating and breathing and giving birth and growing old?  Good, good, good.  All are good.  Life is good.

                     Brian D. McLaren



In the beginning God said, “It is good.”

Is it still good?


In the depths of a timorous heart there are questions.


I am surrounded by pain and loss.

This week I will do two funerals.

I will talk to a friend facing profoundly difficult things.

I will see obstinate people, immersed in an ideology of essential selfishness,

behave poorly.

I will hear hate.

I will struggle with my own personal doubts, and my own pain.

I will read about those sick and dying from COVID-19


Is it good?

Has the original blessing been overwhelmed by the transgressions of human kind?

Has our lust for power, our love of mammon slowly but surely

taken what is good, and twisted it into something dreadful?


This morning I look out my window, peering through the growing light.

I see the sun timidly peek above the horizon into a clear sky.

I see an early snow crowning the top of the mountains.

A doe and her child enjoy the last of my flowers,

and a light breeze ruffles the Aspens.


And I remember the words of the Psalmist

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


And something breaks loose inside me.

I am broken open by wonder.

For at least a moment I can breathe.

For a moment my heart sings!





It is good!

There is good!


It cannot be otherwise.

We can do our best, or worst.

We can assail this planet.

We can behave poorly, and blur the divine image, the original blessing that dwells within.


But this is miraculous!

This day!

This sun!

This mountain!

This air!

This breath!

This heart!

This love that burst from me toward others!

This mind that wonders!


This is the day that the Lord has made,

let us rejoice and be glad in it (Psalm 118)



Thursday, October 14, 2021

God is the more

God is always the more of our lives. We can’t contain God. If we try to control God, that’s not God; God always spills over our lives.

          Ilia Delio



Where, oh where, is love?

It’s a legitimate question!


As people struggle with hate.

As the outrage machines of the left and the right stir us up.

As toxic individualism rages as virulently as the pandemic.

As fear, legitimate and otherwise seizes our souls.


Where is love?


Where is the love that would up us open to love?

Where is the love that would calm us down and clear our heads?

Where is the love that would take us outside of ourselves, to care of others?

Where is the love that would release us from fear?


That love is not something we have to seek.

For it is always present!

Woven into everything, woven into us.


No matter where we go,

there love is, greeting us

filling us.


Reminding us


Everything that exists speaks of God,

Everything, every reflects that love energy that we call God.


And all will be well


We get in trouble with our striving

When we forget that Love (God) is everywhere, everywhere

When we try to control God, and put Love in the “box” of a religion

When we try to define God, and bind ourselves with dogma

When we limit God in any way,


There we are,

back into the mess,

back into all that is “not God.”


So where is love?

Stop, take a deep breath.

Listen to your heart.

There is love!


Look at the sunrise.

There is love


Pet your dog (or cat)

There is love


Smile at your children, or you beloved.

Think of them!

There is love


Think about that person you have just argued with about masks,

or vaccines, or politics,

Love is there too.


Love is everywhere.




Left foot, right foot,

Left foot, breathe!

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

home again


I have wandered home again,

for a few moments, to the place where I was born.


To the place where I grew and was shaped,

by alkali laden wind, and the smell of sage,

and roads that stretched on forever.


It is strange to see old places that are now new,

old places and old faces which are missing

new places and new face


people whose faces do not light-up with

recognition when they see you,

who do not exclaim, as some do

“you look just like you dad!”


For these moments times has slowed down,

creeping through the rabbit brush

and mountain mahogany

as the rich scents of the desert rise.


Some find this world unappealing,

empty and stark.


They praise the rivers and high mountains,

the rich lush places.


but this place too

can be Eden.


Eden is where one meets with God in the still of the morning

where prayers rise richly,

and prayers rise meekly and haltingly


Our meetings with God do not always have to

lush and profligate

Our prayers do not always have to rise of

rich soil


sometimes we find what we seek and need

in emptiness

sometimes our best prayers are a few halting words


sometimes we simply need to be

where we feel the wind

and stand alone

and naked


in a silent and open space

where Another Voice

can speak

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Our God reveals us

Your image of God creates you.

                     Richard Rohr



Are we created in God’s image?

Or do we create God in the image of a humanity no longer reflecting

our original blessing?


It seems clear,

beautifully clear,

if you read the words of Jesus

and even, much of the time, Paul.


that God is love.


We find this most clearly in the words of Jesus

that are the most difficulty.  In those teachings

we read, nod our heads at,

and find ways to ignore.


Love you neighbor as yourself.



Turn the other cheek!



The first shall be last and the last shall be first



The we embrace toxic individualism,

we jump to retributive action,

and we worship power!


What was not clear?


But then we go one step further

We make God tribal


A tyrant.


Or is it rather that we choose those aspect of God

which do in fact leak out of the scriptures,

and use them as an excuse

to behave poorly?


Perhaps the real question is why do some people

hear the words of Jesus, take them to heart, and

walk that road of love and forgiveness


while some read the Bible and come away

with a cruel God, an angry God,

a punitive God


I don’t know


Do we reveal our God

or does the God we choose reveal us?


and yet in the end

The Sacred, however you think of that amazing, indefinable reality and power

is reveal (I believe) in Jesus


Or at least the Sacred, when accessed at the ultimate level

by one inhabiting a human body

looks like Jesus







Patient (mostly)



If I can see that in Jesus, is that because I am awake to the Love in me?

If I do not see that, is that because I have not connected with the Love in me?


Could it be that the most harshly religious,

those using fear

to coerce and control


Those seeking to impose their religious will on others

are not those most loyal to Sacred,

but those who are the least open, connect, and loyal

to the holy?


Is it possible that because of our proclivity to hate,

our lust for control,

our addiction to wealth,

we have transformed a God of love into a petty tyrant


rather than allowing the God of love

to transform us from petty tyrants (think more than a few right-wing politicians in Texas)

into people of compassion and love?


Something to think about!


Monday, October 11, 2021

letting go of "god"

It is time to let go of God.


Not to let go of that Love that is woven into creation.

Not to let go of that Power that is present in everything.

Even us.


But to let go of the “god” we have created,

all to often in our own image.


That limited god.

That small god.

That god we can define.


This is a terrifying journey indeed,

Letting go of our ideas of who god is and

how god works in the world.


We love the idols we have created.

But they are much to small to contain the divine.

The moment we try to give this Reality a name we are in trouble

We have anthropomorphized, and squeezed in infinite into a human box


Even when Love tried to help us out,

and became incarnate again (as if creation were not enough)

we managed, with our love of control,

and our black and white thinking,

to make a mess of things!


We even created Jesus in our own image,

that milky-white Jesus with the blond, clean, flowing hair!

That Caucasian Jesus

(who would have been so out of place among a bunch of

dusky Semitics).


There is a place for seeing Jesus as one of “us”.

A place for a black Jesus, brown Jesus, a Jesus who looks

just like the person looking!


But we if we accept one we must accept them all,

and accept none.


The fact is we cannot really “get” this power, this love

which is in all

which gave form and substance to chaos

which does not just permeate but shapes


it has been said that we must talk about God only in terms of what God is not

that we must accept only that god is both unknowable and inexhaustible (Alan Jones).


I do know we can’t decide whom god loves

We can’t load god down with our cultural values and understandings

We can’t really understand how god works,


When we try we end up with idols


But if we must say god is unknowable

We must also say that God is experienceable

Unknowable does not mean unreal

Just beyond our understanding (ask Job)


What we can do is keep an altar in our heart for an unknown God (Henri-Frederic Amiel)

an open place for what shows up


for that combination of power and love

we call God (for lack of a better name)


we can move God from a concept to be understood

to a relationship to be encountered






and yes, submissively


we can be people carried along

by the stream of the divine

into new places

of hope and joy


it is time to let go of God

and time to embrace the Love and Power that show up

when our hands (and hearts, and minds)

are open




Sunday, October 10, 2021

Who Cares?

If we are angry with those who harm others . . . it is because those who are injured belong in some way to us; either by some kinship or by friendship, or at least because of the nature we share in common.

          Matthew Fox



Why does it matter?

Why do I care that people some where in America, are losing the right to vote?

That women are be minimized and marginalized, their bodies controlled by men of toxic piety?

That a black man is plunged into fear at the sight of a police car?

That the rich get richer and poor get poorer?


Why do I care?


I am a person or privilege!

There, I said it!

I am white, male, well-educated and affluent.


My right to vote is not at risk

I am not a female whose uterus is under surveillance

I am not fearful of the police.

I am not struggling to survive economically


Life has always been hard, because I am anxious,

and have my wounds and challenges,

but life has also been easy (relatively)


So why pick up so much pain?

Why get angry over abuses of power?

Why worry about those people lying in hospitals with Covid?




I am connected.

Like it or not, I am connected with all others.

The Sacred that is present in me, and in whom I am present,

is also in each other soul.


I am a child of God

“They” are a child of God.


I am loved by God.

“They” are loved by God.


We are bound together by the Spirit,

Woven together into the fabric of Love.


What happens to them, happens in a powerful way,

to me (and to us all).


We cannot compartmentalize.

We cannot separate ourselves into “tribes”, as much as we would like to.


This is not a Tower of Babel world where fragmentation is the name of the game

This is an Easter world, a Pentecost world, where union prevails.


We are drawn together, huddled, at the feet of Jesus

who says “blessed are”

all those the world would throw away

all those who are hurting

all those who are without resources

all those who struggle.


We are drawn together

I must feel the pain of others

I must be angry at the causes of that point


And I must seek, as best I can, to be part of the answer.




I am reminded as I write of these words from a poem by  Miriam Teichner


“God—let me be aware.

Stab my soul fiercely with others’ pain,

Let me walk seeing horror and stain.

Let my hands, groping, find other hands.

Give me the heart that divines, understands.

Give me the courage, wounded, to fight.

Flood me with knowledge, drench me in light.

Please—keep me eager just to do my share.

God—let me be aware.”



Friday, October 8, 2021

Grace bats last

Our nature is already endowed with grace, and thus our task is to be attentive to that which is within and that which is without—mind and heart—so that we may contribute to building up the world in love.


Our lives have meaning and purpose. . . We either help build this world up in love or tear it apart.

                     Ilia Delio


Grace bats last

                     Anne Lamott






Wild Fires






The list goes on, and on, and on, and on.

And where it stops?


We know.


It feels sometimes as if we do know where it will stop.

As if the world is whirling toward disintegration.

As if hate will win and we will be left staggering through the smoke of its destruction, hopeless and helpless.


We see the arrogance of those who would abuse power

We hear them boast

We see them pervert justice, because they can,


And then,


a still small voice

that comes not from up there, out there

but from our deepest place


that place that makes us who we are


the whisper of original blessing

of Sacred Presence


that reminds us that we participate in God

and God participates in us.


That inner presence that reminds us

That we are not writing the story by ourselves


That we are participating in the great story!

Written not just by ourselves,

but by all others, and by God.


We are in the story, we are part of the story

but we are not alone

it is not our story, it is the story


and as the divine image bubbles up from our soul

we are part of the great revolution

the great transformation

the new heaven and the new earth

the new creation

the peaceable kingdom

the kingdom of God


as we participate in God

and allow God to participate in us

we build the world up,


this story has an ending

grace bats last!

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

rooted in love

There are times when the world seems to be collapsing around us.

Justice is gone from the courts,

Compassion is missing from the church,

Kindness is simply missing.


It is as if Kali is dancing on the bones of the world,

as if those four grim horsemen are riding in our midst


and we

we stumble through each day

sometimes with acedia and despair

tired and without hope


we shut down and cower

hiding from the grim realities


we see injustice and inequity

we watch the planet burn,

we see the war on women

and we stagger to a halt, unsure, bewildered.


we close our eyes and ears

and seek the bliss of denial


or, sometimes, we obsess over the evils

watching the news for hours, pouring over articles on the internet,

drowning ourselves in the dysfunction.


And then there are the times when we snap

when it all becomes too much and anger roars through our souls

like an unholy fire


we react, we rage,

we throw thoughts and words at others

like grim weapons


becoming a part of the problem

seeking to overcome evil with violent resistance


Yesterday I danced with anger

My thoughts were clouded

and I reached that place where in my compassion I lost compassion

in my thirst for truth I could no longer see truth

in my hope for justice I became unjust


There is, as our world implodes

a need for action

a need for people to speak up


we cannot stand idly by


and yet

we cannot become what we disdain

we cannot overcome evil with evil

but must overcome evil with good


with true compassion

with understanding

and patience

with kindness


these are times that try our souls

but these are also times

when we must be rooted in Love


in communion with that power

that reality

in which we move and breathe and have our being


we must believe in Love

trust in Love

be transformed by Love

and then act in Love


for the power of Love is greater than all darkness


As for yesterday?

Mea culpa

Mea maxima culpa

Monday, October 4, 2021

Divine disruption

The divine is that power which disrupts everything; it is at heart a great mystery at work.  What if our pilgrimage courted holy disruption?  What if we welcomed in everything that challenges our perspectives on how the world works, which upsets all the plans we made for ourselves and turns them on their heads?  What if we embraced the unknow as sacred wisdom for the unfolding of our lives?

          Matthew Fox



The Sacred is about change

Always, always, doing a new thing!

Never leaving us where we are (thankfully) but always

moving us higher, higher.


We often struggle with change.

Change is risky, and thus scary.

Change requires us to be open and vulnerable.


When we have learned our whole lives that the one

who dies with the most toys wins,

it is difficult to face a world where that ideology is being challenged.


When we have learned that one must always win, must always dominate,

it is difficult to move into that place of humble servitude.


When we have embrace unrestrained consumerism, and believed

that if we want it we should have it, learning that there may be limits

to what the earth can provide is a struggle.


When we have bought into the superiority of our race, or our party,

it is painful to realize that maybe we are not a great as we thought we were.

That maybe, just maybe (for example) America is not exceptional, but merely

just another nation.  And one with some pretty outcome measures at that!


So we tend to hug the familiar to ourselves

We cling to old ideologies, and old ways of seeing God and seeing ourselves.


Then along comes Sacred

Along comes wind and fire (we understand those forces all too well)

create holy disruption.




Why are so many resisting vaccines?

Because it has been framed as a challenge to their old framework

of personal freedom.


But God comes to us, with our toxic attachment to freedom and says,

“be a servant”


Why are so many willing to do anything to maintain political power?

Because of a toxic ideology of domination.


But God comes to us and says “The one who would be first must be last.”


It happens over and over again.  The divine, coming and disrupting everything

Breaking us open and pouring us out, asking us to make space for all kinds of uncomfortable feelings, such as strangeness and loss.  Asking us to be vulnerable and risk.  Asking us to trust Sacred Presence


Asking us to change


and walk through the unexpected and unknown

into newness

Saturday, October 2, 2021

I Wish

I wish I loved the Human Race;

I wish I loved its silly face;

I wish I liked the way it walks;

I wish I liked the way it talks;

And when I'm introduced to one

I wish I thought What Jolly Fun!

Walter Raleigh (professor)

Wishes of an Elderly Gentleman, Wished at a Garden Party



I don’t know how God does it.

If calling that reality in which we live, and breathe and have our being

is best labeled “God”.


There are problems with giving the Sacred arms, and legs,

hands and feet

and all that human qualities that so plague us.


It makes it harder to understand just how BIG this power is.

It makes it impossible to understand just how BIG this love is.


But we cannot understand this essence any other way.

So we make God a father, a mother

for we understand the love of a father or a mother for his or her child


we understand how they can see beauty, and promise, when at times

no one else can.


God is always incarnating

Trying to help us understand

God is in the mountain majestic!

“Hey” God says, “this is me”

“I’m in the valley too, and in the trees, and the flowers, I am in it ALL”


God incarnated in Jesus.

God incarnates in us.


But this is why it is so hard to understand how God does it

How “God” can love unconditionally

How God can love so thoroughly


For by our attempts to define God we limit God

We make finite what is infinite

We make God something we can grasp and make ours.


And so there God is, nodding over humanity

or perhaps shaking a holy head, wondering how we can be such fools


Wondering how we do not get the idea that

We cannot love ourselves without loving others

How it is that we do not understand that freedom is not freedom if it does not include

(and protect) everyone.


The only way it makes sense to this feeble mind

is to understand God as un-anthropomorphically as possible

to think of the Sacred as pure Love

pure power

pure presence


Something that simple is, in everything

not inactively

but as the driving force that brings into being

and maintains being

a force, woven into our fabric that influences


A love which is more powerful and more influential

the more awake we are to its presence


A love which can be nothing other than love

And which is present as love

even in those who put others at risk in the name of freedom

even in those who listen to lies

even in those who hate

even in those who want to dominate and control

even in me



Friday, October 1, 2021

Made for love

We were made for love…  It amuses me that the Lord of Love overcomes the spirit of evil.

          Julian of Norwich



There is love and then there is love

There is love directed toward the good

The love of God, love of self, love of others


There is the love that embraces and restores,

That reconciles and heals.


And then there is “misdirected love” (Thomas Aquinas)

where we miss the mark and embrace those things

that do not satisfy, and leave us hungry and bitter.


Love defiled becomes something other,

something which stains our souls and twists us,

and defiles us,


emerging as anger and even hate.


Ah, how quickly we walk the way of negativity, and

wandering through the shadow land,

look for all the terrors lurking in the darkness.


Looking we find them.

All the horrors we want to see come

oozing out, leaving us outrage.


“Have your heard what Biden has done!”

“Did you see what McConnell is up to now!?”

“The governor is trying to take away our freedom.”

“The government is trying to control us!”


Our entire beings quiver with negativity

and we become sour, haunted by the hungry ghosts of anger and resentment


And we respond in a way that makes us more wretched and pained,

moving into evil, into the unnatural,

allowing ourselves to be overcome by the world.


But we are created for love

It is in our nature to reject evil.

and we know, we have seen it, that grace annihilates sin.


Original blessing calls us to walk the path of positivity,

to look for and seek the good,

to find the good in the world, and in others,

to embrace it,

and pass it on


the power of love is greater than all darkness


sin is an effort

so is love


this day as I stumble into another day

may I look for the via positiva

may I look for love,

and thirst for the good,


and my it be love and grace on which I feast

and love and grace which I impart

and may I leave love and laughter

behind me