Primitive religion is not believed, it is danced!

Arthur Darby Nock

Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
And only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.

Elizabeth Browning

Sunday, February 27, 2022

Secret Agent of Love

the day is being born

slowly the deep darkness eases

and the shapeless world outside my window

takes shape


vague shapes emerge

and then take mor intricate form

tangled branches create a wild pattern

as gray light grows

and then becomes orange




the birth of a new day


I wish the of restoration were as sure

in my soul


these frigid days I find myself lingering in the dark

if feels as if all the sins of humanity

my own and others

cannot be dispelled


resentment clings to me

and poisons my heart


anger takes up disproportionate space


as toxic individualism

a lust for power

and greed


swirl around me like freezing fog


I would like to believe that

All will be well and all will be well and every kind of thing will be well

(Julian of Norwich)


I would like to look upon those whose

behaviors are (I believe) harmful

at those destroying the good

and creating so much pain


and say to them (in all piety)

“How can you be so stupid!”

“How can you believe those lies”

“How can you use freedom as an excuse to indulge your worse nature” (Galatians 5)


I want them to face the consequences


but I know better

I do


I know that my anger will not ease their anger

my hate will not dispel their hate

my resentment will not cause them to be less resentful


I know that even my passionate reasoning

my barrage of “facts” will probably only harden

(that should be obvious by now)


yet I cling to the idea that they must be “put right”

I cling to the idea that we who are

enlightened, woke, spiritual, ethical,

must win the day

we must conquer


and so we must

but how

how do we overcome?


if Jesus shows us anything

he shows us that we win with humility

and compassion

and forgiveness

and reconciliation


that is how we heal,

that is how we restore


we think that humility and compassion

are weak

we think forgiveness is ineffective

we believe the myth of power


but humility, compassion, forgiveness

are subversive

and powerful


so this day

as the light grows

and the world takes shape

and becomes broader and brighter


may the light also grow inside me

and create space

a free and friendly space


that allows me to walk through

all my pain and anger

all my hurt





until I am born again

and become an agent of reconciliation

a secret agent

of love

Thursday, February 24, 2022

sometimes only forgiveness works

Forgiving you was the best thing I ever did. Forgiving you sent the bird of my heart winging through the universe… Our vulnerability is our strength.  Our capacity to forgive is our superpower.

          mirabia starr


You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you

          Jesus (Matthew 5 NRSV)



what does real courage look like?

it looks like openness

like vulnerability


it looks like a willingness to let others in

to that deep place that is truly you


it looks like caring so much

you risk being rejected, disappointed, betrayed, hurt


and then, when all is said and done

being able to forgive the other for what they have done

or not done


there are people who have hurt me

not, perhaps as badly as I have hurt myself

but, still!


I have been lied about


I have had people reject me,

throw me away

I have had people believe the worst when I have tried


to give them my best


some people have angered and frustrated me

not because of what they have done to me

but because of what they have done and are doing to others


to the poor

the vulnerable

the different

the addicted

the aged


and I am called to love them

and pray for them

I am called in my heart, to wish them well


not success in their endeavors

but wellness, wholeness


I am called to understand that

their words, their behaviors, their attitudes

are a symptom

a cry for help


an expression of fear, anxiety


a cry for help

(whether they understand that or not)


I have of course hurt myself as well

that needs to be said

not all my affliction born outside my soul

I have my own demons which drive me

shape me


my own hurts and fears which

emerge as thoughts, feelings, words, behaviors


I hurt myself from the inside out

and contribute to the hurt that comes from others


and I must forgive myself as well

if ever I want my heart to sing


if ever I want to be a force for good in the world


and there it is

the inconvenient truth


I will not touch the world with love

I will not be a force for good

I will not be a helper and a healer


if I carry bitterness in my heart

and fail to forgive


Jesus forgave

even while agonizing on the cross

unfairly judged

brutally beaten

tortured unto death


but the words that came

forgive them

they don’t know what they are doing


can I do the same

as from my minor inconveniences

I look out at those who follow evil people

those who lust for power

those who abuse power

those who destroy the planet

those whose greed creates poverty for others


can I say

forgive them

they don’t know what they are doing?


can I

I retreat from those words so often

they do know what they are doing

they have hurt me (or others) so badly

they are bad!!!


ah, there it is


they are hurt

they are hurting

the are (to echo the words of Wendy in Peter Pan)

miserable souls who badly need their mother (or father, or God)


they are people who need to be loved

and I can’t get to love

without forgiveness


bitterness will always enslave my soul

only forgiveness will set it free

to soar



Tuesday, February 22, 2022

we must experience it

…the ultimate dimension of reality has nothing to do with concepts.” You cannot just describe what apple juice tastes like—you must drink it.

Thich Nhat Hanh


Taste and see that the Lord is good

          A Psalmist (34)


And every night I close my eyes

And ask the stars above

Oh where, oh where, oh where, oh where is love?

          Raymond Davies (the Kinks)



there is something

something beyond

something beyond you and me


there is something

that is (as Tillich put it) that is the “ground of being”

the answer to non-being


something transcendence

something intimate


we can ponder this deeply

we can ruminate about this night and day


and it will elude us


we can create constructs

we can fabricate dogmas and creeds


and it will elude us


somethings have to be experienced


like love!


we can talk about love, but we don’t understand love

until we have experienced it

the pounding of the heart

the soaring of the soul

the ecstasy unto death


we can talk about love but we can’t understand it

until we have lived it

with all the joy and pain

until we have engaged in it as a way of life


we can talk about the Sacred




the “ground of being”


but we cannot grab hold of this ultimate dimension

until we have experienced it


yes!  God! Love! Sacred!

whatever you want to call this reality, this power, this presence

must be experienced


we must taste the Sacred in the bread and wine

we must see the Sacred in the rising sun

we must touch the Sacred in a baby’s skin

we must smell the Sacred in the scent of the pines

we must feel the Sacred in the caress of a summer’s breeze


we must find God in all these things

and we must find Sacred in each other


where is Love (God)?



but most of all

in each one of us

not alone!  but gathered!

caring, listening, forgiving, giving, loving


that is where Love is

Monday, February 21, 2022

the gift of nurture

“When you plant lettuce, if it does not grow well, you don't blame the lettuce. You look for reasons it is not doing well. It may need fertilizer, or more water, or less sun. You never blame the lettuce. Yet if we have problems with our friends or family, we blame the other person. But if we know how to take care of them, they will grow well, like the lettuce. Blaming has no positive effect at all, nor does trying to persuade using reason

and argument. That is my experience. No blame, no reasoning, no argument, just understanding. If you understand, and you show that you understand, you can love, and the situation will change”

Thich Nhat Hanh



“When you plant lettuce, if it does not grow well, you don’t blame the lettuce”

Ah, dear Thay


I suspect I do


It is good that the power that is beyond

which is in us all and binds us all together

is the gardener


for I suspect I tend to give up in disgust

and pull that lettuce up

and throw in on the mulch pile


for restoration and change takes so much work

so much time

so much understanding

so much love


it is easier to weed than to nurture


my garden is full of plants I have deemed hopeless

and I have trouble separating the flowers from the weeds


there they are, all around me

flaunting me

the anti-vaxxers

the people in the store without masks (in a county where the virus has exploded)

those who worship destructive people

and believe the lies

and hide behind privilege

and misuse and abuse power


and I blame them

I label them

Ignorant, racist, hateful, retributive


I have many words

and little understanding


I understand that there are real weeds

clinging, climbing things that choke and destroy


but I would do well

to take my time

to listen

to care


Jesus too knew that when we weed

we may do harm


there are things I need to know

things I need to understand

what is the fear?

where did this come from?

what is missing?


my anger and blaming do little good

nor does my reasoning


those are not what is needed

what is needed is love





thank you, Thay

for reminding me

that those around me are mostly desirable plants

not weeds

they may need  a little nurture

to flower and bear fruit

but they are not weeds


thank you for reminding me that my job is to nurture not weed

(that is someone else’s job if it is anyone’s job)


my job is simply to help others

grow well






Wednesday, February 16, 2022

In whom the image is blurred

the Bible is full of questionable characters

it is a perfect plethora of imperfect people

not a one (Jesus aside)

is flawless


instead, they are deeply flawed, one an all


Adam and Eve who want to be like God”


Abraham with his limited faith

and messy attempts to fulfill the promise on his own


Jacob!  Ah, that little cheat!


Moses, with feet of clay.


Peter, the unstable

Paul, with his thorn in his side


and yet they are all loved

by that Love in which we move and live and have our being

they are loved when they triumph

and loved when they don’t


loved when they fall into place

and loved when they wrestle with God


they are just loved

just because

that is how Love (God) loves


Not because of the strength and the beauty

Not because of the flaws

Just because


“God did not love Jacob because he was a cheat, but because he was Jacob”


And God does not love me because I am impulsive, or anxious

nor because I am compassionate and articulate (I hope)

but because I am Stephen


Because I am

I am a Sacred Child

I am a carrier of the Spirit

I am one in whom God has made a home


And so it is with all of us






The worlds fly from my fingers

But my heart lingers


Am I really loved that way?


And what about those people who make me




what about those people who disgust me?


Can it really be true that they do not disgust God?

Trump, Manchin, Sinema, McConnell, McCarthy, Carlson

I have my list

I’m checking it twice!


Does God love Donald Trump not because he is power-hungry

but because he is Donald?




God loves all of us

Even when we wrestle

Even when we are cruel, and liars, and cheats, and unfaithful

Even when we drink too much or eat too much


It may be a painful love

But we know God is willing to carry pain

The pain of our failure

Out of love


And willing to dwell in our hearts



To transform


No wonder God asks us to pray for our enemies

And bless those who curse us


This is powerful stuff

This is difficult stuff


I am reluctant

I want to hang on to my anger and resentment

I want retribution

God help me, I do


But the message is clear.

God loves us all

All of us wounded creatures

In whom the image is blurred


And I am called to look for the divine image

To look at all people with attentive compassion

To see them

Their hurt.

Their tiredness

Their pain, fear, and anger.


I am to see them in all their stubbornness and frailty

to see the source of their woundedness

and to see not only the hurt they cause others

but also the hurt they cause themselves


and if I cannot feel love toward them

perhaps I can pray for them a little


just because

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Let's hear it for awe

Awe is the encounter of the human mind with creation

Awe is the encounter of the human soul with all that is Sacred

Awe is when the yearnings of our hearts find the Love

Woven into this planet

And in each other


It is easy to lose awe

as we slog through the ooze and slime and old decay (CS Lewis)

of this existence.


We look at the smug faces of the powerful

The hate filled faces of the resentful

The fearful faces of the oppressed

The pain filled faces of those who are ill


We look at the accelerating downward spiral of the plant

as the earth herself protests our abuse of her

as floods, and hurricanes, tornadoes and droughts afflict.


We hear the lies

We see the abuse of power

We live under the looming darkness of resentful authoritarianism


and we no longer feel wonder

our heads are bowed

our lips are silent


But we need awe

Awe is our connection with Sacred

Awe is the fuel of the soul


We need to feel our heart pound,

our soul soar

We need to feel tears of wonder spring to our eyes


Whether it be the joy we feel when the sun rises and sets

The sky on fire

Or the exhilaration we experience when our mind is blown at a concert

Or the amazement we experience when we hold a baby


We need awe

We need to seek it, nurture it, express it!


We need to walk through each day

Awake to the beauty

Awake to the splendor

Awake to the good

Awake to the Sacred


And the words need to be on our lips

Over and over and over again


“That’s awesome!”




THE WORLD is charged with the grandeur of God.      

  It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;…


…Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs—

Because the Holy Ghost over the bent   

World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

                                                   Gerard Manley Hopkins

Sunday, February 13, 2022

preach it Jesus


Once upon a time Jesus gave a sermon.  In that sermon he quoted the prophet Isaiah.


“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,

    because he has anointed me

    to proclaim good news to the poor.

He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners

    and recovery of sight for the blind,

to set the oppressed free,

     to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”


And then he said. "today this scripture is fulfilled"

And the people said "Preach it Jesus"


And then he said, this promise is for all,

And they tried to throw him over a cliff


The problem here was not that Jesus was excluding the people of Nazareth from the Blessings of God, from participation in the Good News.  No.  The problem was that he insisted that the blessing was for all, and that they, God’s people, were going to have to include, in functional, practical ways those whom they had always excluded.


They weren’t ready to do that, so they drove him to the cliff.


Are we ready to do that?


Are we ready to insist that the blessings of God are for all?

Are we ready to love our enemy?

Forgive those who persecute us?

Give radically, that the naked and hungry might be clothed and fed?

Are we ready to fight for justice for all?

To insist on the common good?


Every time we do those things, we effectively proclaim the good news

Every time we don’t, we carry Jesus to the cliff.


When we shame the poor

When we support people and policies that rob people of their right to vote.

When we accept convenient lies

When we limit our compassion to those who are like ourselves

When we engage in behaviors that threaten the health of others


We carry Jesus to the cliff.


If we think about the passage this way it can be kind of a downer.


But there actually is good news here.

We are post-Pentecost people.  We are people who carry the Spirit

We are people who, together, are the body of Christ

We are Christ’s ambassadors


We are those entrusted with the good news

“The Spirit of the Lord is on us,

    because he has anointed us to proclaim good news to the poor.

He has sent us to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”


I'm reminded of an apt bit of wisdom most often attributed to Saint Francis of Assisi:  "Preach the gospel at all times," he said, "and when necessary, use words."


We are called, collectively as the church to be the voice, and hands and feet of Jesus.


We are called to speak forgiveness.

We are call to touch people with compassion.

We are called to go into the dark places of society,

The deeply dark places of the world,

And work for justice, and equity


In more concrete terms?

We are called to do what we can to stop this virus

We are called to do what we can to make sure everyone gets to vote

We are called to make sure no one goes to sleep hungry

We are called to make sure people have a place to sleep

We are called to make sure all are treated equally under the law


It is our job

For the Spirit of the Lord is upon US

Friday, February 11, 2022

I am here

Clare, Clare, do not despair.

Between the bridge and the water,

I was there.”

                     “Ruth” in Louise Penny’s “A Better Man”




as we walk down this twisted and tortured path we call life,

we find ourselves on a precipice


one false step

and we are hurtling

if not into oblivion

if not literally into death


then into many “small deaths”

into fear

and pain

into loneliness

into dysfunction


for some the precipice literally is

a bridge above dark waters

as torn by life they cannot envision taking one more step


on that step




for others, the precipice might be a bottle

or a needle

or a pill


for others, it may be the chance

to abuse power, to hit a wife, or child, or husband


to steal

or hoard


to act with cruelty

to flaunt political power


some of our worst acts of destruction

involve our destroying others

while we unwittingly destroy ourselves


this is a grief that cannot be spoken

this is a pain that goes on and on (Les Misérables)


this apocalypse of the soul


each moment a battle rages

between hope and despair

between reconciliation and retribution

between service and domination


each moment we hover at the precipice

at risk of tumbling into the abyss


sometimes something pulls us back

call it God, call it Love

and we collapse, gasping, sweating, heart pounding

on the firm ground


at other times we fall

sometimes merely slipping, at other times



and yet even as we tumble into the darkness

Love is still there

Even then we can be caught by grace.


For this is the mystery

The one thing that can save we wretched souls (Romans 7)



Between the bridge and the water

In those moments when all seems lost

Love says

I am here


In you may not yet feel

May not yet understand

May never understand


I am here

to hold you

catch you

restore you

grieve you


I am here

Thursday, February 10, 2022

Walking together

It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. We are made to live together because of the interrelated structure of reality.

Martin Luther King, Jr., “A Christmas Sermon on Peace,”

in The Trumpet of Conscience (Boston: Beacon Press, 2010), 70, 71.



my mind awakens

and gropes its way

through a never-ending darkness

a never-ending sameness


the same small world

virus shaped

the same small study

the same desk

the same routine


life narrowed down

a world unraveling


that is it, really

the cause of my ennui




that loss of connection

with what is Sacred

with one another


we have chosen to believe that the way to find the self

is to separate ourselves from others

trapped in delusional and toxic individualism

we have come to believe that the way to benefit ourselves

is to focus on what we believe benefits us

to the exclusion of others


we have resolved to keep ourselves safe by intimidating

and threatening others


we are lying to ourselves


and we have lost the dream

the dream of common good

the dream of equality and equity

the dream of justice


we have instead small politicians

with small agendas blocking that dream (Manchin, Sinema, the GOP, more)

we have small people with guns

blocking that dream

we have racists

blocking that dream

we have a church

blocking that dream


The word religion, at its roots, means re, “again,” and ligios, “connection.

Our faith systems are meant to draw us together

To help connect that which has been separated

To draw us together

In love


Instead what we have is disligion (a term from Victoria Loorz)

we have an alliance with the forces of separation


and so fragmented

we struggle and we suffer

Christian, Jew, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, None

Republican, Democrat, White, POC

young, old, rich, poor,





and so in splendid isolation

free (or so we think)



armed with guns, or money, or power, or ideology

armed with certainty

we separate

and suffer


because we are meant to be together

like a body

“joined and knit together by every ligament with which it is equipped,

as each part is working properly,

promotes the body’s growth in building itself up

in love”  (Ephesians 4:16 NRSV)


common good



common sense


for what affects one, affects all

we are bound together

joined and knit


it all boils down to this

the only way we truly flourish

the only way we survive


is to walk together

work together

sacrifice together


“looking not just to our own interests

but to the interests of others” (Philippians 2 NRSV)


seeking safety, giving safety

seeking political power, giving political power

seeking wealth, sharing wealth

seeking freedom

but using our freedom not to “indulge in [selfishness]

but rather to serve one another humbly in love” (Galatians 5 NRSV)

Monday, February 7, 2022

Systematic Oppression is a "thing"

Our little systems have their day;

They have their day and cease to be:

They are but broken lights of Thee,

And Thou, O Lord, are more than they.

          Alfred, Lord Tennyson



They seem so powerful.

They believe in their own power.

They hug power to themselves.

They use it and abuse it.



Almost any person every who has been placed in a position of influence

It seems perhaps to be the great human sin.


The abuse of power.

The use of power on others instead of for others.

The use of power to clamber to the top of the fetid hierarchy of the world

Rather than the use of power to lift others up.


From Adam and Eve’s desire to “be like God”

To Cain’s painful and murderous desire that God love him best

To the arrogance of the people of Babel


On and on it goes.

A world in which the systems oppress rather than enable

Harm rather than heal

Promote injustice and inequity rather than justice and equity


And if the systems are not powerful and oppressive enough

Those in power work to make them more powerful and oppressive


And so we have voter suppression

And systematic racism (yes it does exist)

And the minimization of women

And the marginalization of people who happen to be LGBTQI


And so the rich get richer and the poor poorer

And wealth and power flow in every increase amounts into

The hands of a few.


It is, it would seem, a recipe for disaster.


We have seen it all before.

Those lusting for power.

Abusing power.

Unleashing the forces of evil on the world


We have seen the violence, the destruction, the death

That ensues


And yet

They have their day and cease to be

Those people who had it all

All the power, and are now mere footnotes in history

We know their names

We also know how their “kingdoms” crumbled and fell

As all kingdoms based on power and wealth eventually crumble and fall


The fact is that Love (God) is greater

then all our little systems

(bless our little hearts)


Love does win, eventually

Resurrection does follow death

A rising does follow the fall


But there is pain

And there is dying, and sacrifice

Along the way!


This at times is all we remember

And this is what we fear

This is why we cling to our systems so tightly


But always, even as the world unravels around us

And our system come crashing down

There is Love


This day I watch the unraveling of our world

I watch as justice is perverted

I watch the earth suffer and slowly die

I watch people filled with hate plot and plan

I watch as ignorance wins

And truth is abandoned


And I am tempted to despair




Our little systems have their day;

They have their day and cease to be:

They are but broken lights of Thee,

And Thou, O Love, are more than they.


Sunday, February 6, 2022

Where O Where is Love?

The primary analogy for God as Trinity offered [here] is Source of Love, Word of Love, and Spirit of Love. God the Father is the Unoriginate Source of Love, simply meaning the ultimate source, the source that has no origin itself because it is the origin of all love that exists. That Source of all love has been revealed in the Word of Love. The world was created in and through that Word of Love, and that Word of Love has been spoken into the world in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. The Source of Love is also continually enacted in the Spirit of Love, which is present in the world and active in the heart of all believers forming the Christian community into the body of Christ. As the body of Christ, this community is then called to be the ongoing presence of God as Love in the world. . . .

          Heidi Russell as quoted by Richard Rohr (Daily Meditations 1/13/2022



Where O where is Love

Not love, that troublesome and joyous emotion.

Not love, that weird feeling in the pit of my stomach

Not love, as a concept

Not even love as deep commitment or acts of kindness


But Love

That Power that creates and sustains

That Wind that moves

That Fire that burns


Love as that something I cannot explain

which I call God.


Love, which is the source of my being

Love, which walked the earth

in the one who was born, who lived, and who died singing love.

Love, which roars through my soul like wind and which sets my heart on fire.


Where is Love?

It is everywhere.

It is in the Sun that rises,

The dog who bounds

The deer who tiptoe through the trees, early in the morn

Love is in me, and in you


I can see Love, feel Love, and experience Love

Overwhelmed I give Love many names

Yahweh, Lord, Jesus, Spirit

Creator, redeemer, sustainer

It’s complicated!


Love is not vague and yet cannot be contained

It is not impersonal and yet it embraces all

It is in nature and yet outside of nature

It is in the created and yet is the creator

It is intimate and yet transcendent


Where is Love when you need it?

Where is God when you need them?

Right here!


That is the one thing I truly know!

Thursday, February 3, 2022

Domination is dangerous

It’s everywhere it seems

In fundamentalist churches, evangelical churches

Even I suspect in many progressive churches


A theology of domination


In my more cynical moments, I think that dominion theology is

as American as apple pie.


But it may be worse than that!

When did dominion become the primary theme in the church?


Much of the time Constantine gets the blame

With the Edict of Milan

Which opened the door for the Edict of Thessalonica

which is the actual document that linked the faith system called Christianity with the state.


It was also during this time that the Nicaean Creed was created

Followed a little later by the Apostles Creed,

A shorter statement of faith.


It seems to me that it was during this time that domination

Became the name of the game.


In the Nicaean Creed and Apostles Creed alike

The suffering of Jesus is mentioned

But the focus is on Jesus Ascension and rule

Jesus seated at the right hand



While there is certainly something to be said for Jesus the King

Christ victorious


It seems to me that from that moment on

The church functioned top-down rather than bottom-up.


Instead of being a religion of the riff-raff

Instead of being a faith system for the poor and vulnerable

A faith system that assumed servanthood and sacrifice


It became a system awash in both power and wealth

A faith imposed on people

A faith that sought to control people through edict and fear (and punishment)


It was no longer, in quite the same way

a faith of the heart

A connection with the Sacred that transformed from the inside out and changed the world from the bottom up.


Through service, and sacrificial giving,

Through humility, and justice, and love


A theology of domination emerged

That became dominant

And as country after country after country became “Christian”

Those countries adopted a subsequent ideology of domination

Supported by this theology of domination.


And thus conquest, colonization, even genocide

In the name of Jesus.


And this ideology of domination continued and supported

the theology of domination

coming full circle


Today in America we are caught in this vicious circle of domination

Not just the country, which has always had the belief it had the right to impose its will on the world,

But the church in America, which has aligned with oppressive power

With wealth

With lies

With abuse

With racism


Over and over and over again


There is a place, I suppose, for power and dominion

But I suspect such outcomes should catch us by surprise.

Just as the sheep in Matthew 25 are surprised at their blessing

so we too should be angels unaware

people who simply love God

accept our reality as Sacred Children

and then love and serve others, as sacrificially, generously, and humbly as we can


for those who are the servants of all are great

in the Kingdom

that is marked

by Love

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

the blessing of community

When we carry our small suffering in solidarity with the one universal longing of all humanity, it helps keep us from self-pity or self-preoccupation. We know that we are all in this together, and it is just as hard for everybody else.

Richard Rohr           






It seems to be “a thing”

No one is going to tell ME what to do!

Masks? No!

Vaccines? No!

Common Good?  No!


“I am a self-made person”

“I pulled myself up from my bootstraps” (as if that makes any sense today)




Kate Bowler has it right when she writes:

I am self-made. Didn’t anyone tell you? I brought myself into the world when I decided to be born on a bright Monday morning. Then I figured out how cells replicate to grow my own arms and legs and head to a reasonable height and size. Then I filled my own mind from kindergarten to graduation with the information I gleaned from the great works of literature. . . .


I’m joking, but sometimes it feels like the pressure we are under. An entire self-help and wellness industry made sure that we got the memo: we are supposed to articulate our lives as a solitary story of realization and progress. Work. Learn. Fix. Change. Every exciting action sounds like it is designed for an individual who needs to learn how to conquer a world of their own making.


If the various authors of the Bible agree on anything they agree on this:  We need each other.


The concept of the Trinity suggests even God needs a group hug.

The idea that God calls a people not a person

The fact that Jesus called a group of disciples.

The image of the “body of Christ”.


The Great Commandments:

Love God,

Love and respect yourself,


also, love your neighbor


We are in this together!

On this planet called Earth

In this reality called life


We are in this together

And we are called to be in relationship, in community.


This is painful at times, especially for those of us who are introverts

Communities can be a hot mess.

We can be wounded by them.

Frustrated by them.


But communities work.

There is a reason addiction work is best done in a group.

That is how one recovers, in a community of fellow strugglers


There is a reason we gather together as a church.

Gather together as people with cancer

Gather together as people with a common pain

Or a common cause.


In a community, we pick up other people’s pain.

But they also pick up our pain.


In a community, we learn we do not have to do this thing called life



Yes, there are dangers.

Tribalism, for example



But those toxic versions of community merely prove its power!


This week I have experienced community

I have met with a dear friend for coffee

I have visited people who are trapped by infirmity

I have shared my thoughts, and read the thoughts of others

I have worshipped in a little outpost of the Kingdom


I love my space!

But it is in community that I truly find out who I really am!

And remember

I am not in this alone