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

Saturday, April 30, 2022

Fuel up

How many folk, low on self-love take to social media to post and say horrible things?  Are they making decisions about budgets and policies, policing cities and towns, while running empty on self-love?  Are they mean, selfish, or violent because there is a hole in their souls where more love could be?

          Jacqui Lewis



Love God

Love yourself

Love others


funny how the love of self is at the center


not love of self as selfishness, self-absorption, or conceit

not love of self as toxic individualism or even narcissism


because that is not really love

that is fear and desperation

that is a hungry soul seeking to be filled

with spiritual junk food


but love of self that involves

a healthy delight in who one is

in all the peculiarities that make one

a unique and beautiful and sacred child


love of self comes from God (or should)

but it also allows us to be open to God

it keeps us from grabbing hold of a version of God

that is rigid, controlling, coercive, and cruel


but is instead nurturing, compassionate, and kind


love of self sets us free

free to love God as a child loves a parent

as a chick loves the mother hen and nestles under her wings


love of self also allows us to be open to others

to be compassionate




and loving


think of all those across the globe, Putin for example

think of all those in our country, Trump, Greene, Hawley, the QAnons

think of all those in our own peculiar lives


who are running empty on self-love

who have holes in their soul

who are occupied by the hungry ghosts of fear

and hate, and greed


no wonder they lust for power

and wealth


no wonder the abuse of power

and hoard


they are starving

poor souls


this is why the rich are never rich enough

the powerful never have enough power (and cannot let it go)

the hateful can never let go of their hate


this is why people start wars

suppress the vote

drive big trucks (and then complain of gas prices)

carry guns

call people names

abuse their spouses and children


they are starving

they are eroding

they are being eaten up from the inside out


the answer is simple and yet elusive

connect with all that is sacred

let yourself be loved

accept that you are loved

believe that you are loveable


let the warmth of sacred compassion

light the fire of compassion within you

compassion first for yourself

and then


for those around you


you are immensely valuable and special

a unique and beautiful and sacred child

in whom God delights


so is that person in front of you


how sad it is that so many of us do not know that

and may not live that


this is a time to fuel up

to allow ourselves to be filled with Sacred

to allow love, compassion, and forgiveness

to rock and roll in our souls


for hurt people hurt people

empty people feed on other people

but loved people

love people


and God knows

we need more love in this world


Thursday, April 28, 2022

reduced to trust

I am slowly

day by day, night by night

being reduced to trust


I dream of peace, but there is no peace

Instead we live in the shadow of war

as across the sea, in a land where my ancestors

once raised wheat and baked bread


babies die

at the whim of a man who has been consumed by his humanity

and rejected his divinity

imago Deo lost


I dream of freedom

not a false and toxic freedom

that disregards the common good,


but that true freedom that comes

from hearts set free

that freedom that creates possibility,

that gives each person the opportunity to reach their full potential

as a child God


but we live in the shadow of authoritarianism

in land where an ideology and theology of dominance

is slowly eroding freedom


where a powerful minority

seeks to control everything and everyone

robbing some people of the right to vote

taking power away from women

marginalizing people who are LGBTQI+


slowly moving us toward a society of coercion and retribution

where might is the only right

where the values of Jesus are flaunted and ignored


I dream of equity

of a world where resources (the planet) are protected

and shared

where people work for the common good


but instead the rich get richer and the poor get poorer

and the earth is ravaged

and workers are exploited


and so I am reduced to trust

that whatever it is that is “beyond” logic

beyond my comprehension


that whatever it is,

whomever it is that I (for lack of a better term)

call God


is love

and is power


and, as power clothed with love

will somehow






and make all things new


I am reduced to trusting that

when God (Eternal Love) says


“I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?

I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” (Isaiah 43)


God means it!

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

small spaces, large spaces

this is a time that tries our souls


this is the via negativa

the dark and frozen time

this is winter


where we have been squeezed

(as friend lovingly put it)

into small spaces


by disease and hate


we linger

as bulbs nestled in black earth

waiting for the sun

to touch and warm us


bringing us to new life



tentatively we seek the light

lifting up our hearts with our hands

to the heavens (Lamentations 5)


to a God faintly visible

through the smoke of war

barely heard through the cacophony of hate


this is a time when theology is not enough

when ideology will not do


this is a time when only an experience

of divine

will lift us up


all spirituality is born out of experience

out of our being

touched by sacred warmth and joy


by our experience of God’s love


we will not burst out of our tombs

we will not break through the frozen earth

into the sunlight

like the crocus in the spring


until we know without a doubt

that God is love

and until we believe in our hearts

that we are God’s beloved children


until we can say

each of us in our own hearts

I am loved

this I not only know

but feel


it is not that our time in the darkness

is all bad

this time of grief and reflection

this time of silence and letting go


for we learn things in the darkness

in the darkness, the light shines fiercely

and out of the womb of struggle

joy and hope are born


“...new life starts in the dark. Whether it is a seed in the ground, a baby in the womb, or Jesus in the tomb, it starts in the dark.”  (Barbara Brown Taylor)


so come God of love

touch us with your warmth

bring us to life

help us lift our heads

and stretch toward the sun and bloom


for these are living and loving to be done

and a world that needs to see

the beauty of your love


Tuesday, April 26, 2022

A free and friendly space

… transitional space, a space for our development as a species [and individuals].  If the space is good enough, the likelihood of this happening for each human being increases.  If the space is filled with violence, danger, unfulfilled, needs, poverty, oppression, bias, racism, sexism, homophobia – that‘s not a good enough space for any of us to fully learn to love ourselves [or others].

                     Jacqui Lewis



we all need a safe place

a free and friendly space

where we can discoverer who we are


we all need a space in which we can become

fully human

imago Dei


Donald Winnicott (bless his soul)

calls the space in which we develop our true self

(versus the false self we present to the world)

a transitional space

a becoming space


the world can be a transitional space

so can a nation

a state

a community

a family


perhaps the most powerful space is our family of origin

where we learn that we are loved

and learn to love ourselves


or not


that space where affection, praise,

shame, fear, joy, peace, and violence

can all happen


but States too

and countries


they can be places where we learn

what is “me” and what is “not”

what I can accomplish and what I cannot

who I am and who I am not


out of these spaces we emerge

carrying with us, both good and ill

lessons learned


but mostly what emerges are people able to love

themselves and others

and people unable to love

themselves and others


my heart hurts over the transitional spaces

so many experience

those dysfunctional homes, yes

but more

those dysfunctional states (Texas, and others)

which are teaching hate, and racism

which are teaching people the way of domination and oppression


those leaders (Putin, Trump, Hawley, et. al)

who are teaching violence and brutality

greed and consumption

hate and bias


where does this path go?

what comes out of those spaces filled with

voter suppression

radical nationalism


a theology of domination and aggression

a disrespect for women’s rights




death and destruction?


what kind of people emerge?


I think Sacred looks at all that is happening

and weeps


weeps for the damage being done

to the planet

and to people

to precious souls


and I think that Sacred

like a mother hen

wants to gather us all under her wings

and give us a space


a free and friendly space

where we can be loved

accept love

and learn to love


that should be what the church is all about

not about ideologies and creeds

not about what we believe

but about how we live


about how we are loved

and love


Kyrie Eleison

Christe Eleison


let us nestle

but only for a while

then let us go forth

and change the world

Monday, April 25, 2022

Nothing but the Truth


Jesus said I am the way, the TRUTH, and the life

meaning not so much that he was a gatekeeper but an example


a person who spoke truth

and lived truth


who moved in a straight line from the Love of God

to what he said and did


that is part of what made Jesus so beautiful

he was true to God

true to himself

and he shared the truth with those he met


sometimes that truth was comforting

sometimes that truth was disturbing

but it was always the truth


whatever happened to truth?

when did we decided it was OK to lie?

when did we decided it was OK to live a lie?


in other words, when did it become OK to lie about ourselves

(to ourselves and others)

and OK to lie about others?


and when did it become OK to lie about God?


we all lie, to one degree or another

it is perhaps impossible to be totally true


sometimes it is a matter of understanding


we don’t see ourselves clearly, and so

we believe and say things about ourselves that are not true

we don’t really understand God clearly

and so we believe and say things about God that are not true


sometimes it is a matter of fear

“If people see me as I really am they will not value or love me!”


but something else is going on

something darker and more damaging


the lies of Trump, and Carlson,

the lies of those assailing Ketanji Brown Jackson on the floor of the Senate


those people who are walking, talking, pontificating falsehoods

false to themselves

false to God


using lies and misrepresentations

using incongruence and hypocrisy

as a way to power


using lies manipulatively to harm another

and help themselves


this kind of lying is a violation of love


and it destroys



it destroys the possibility of


and reconciliation

and progress


lies trap us


lies trap us as a society and a nation


the lie of American exceptionalism

traps us

the lie that might makes right

traps us


the lies we tell to ourselves and to others

trap us

in a dark and loveless place


“telling the truth is an act of love”  (Jacqui Lewis)

and it is the truth that sets us free


sets us free to love ourselves

sets us free to love others


there can be no love without truth

there can be no healing without truth


lies may have power

but that fleeting twisted power is nothing

compared to the power of truth

and love


the light shines in the darkness

and the darkness cannot overcome it


Talk away Senator Cruz, Mr. Hawley, Mr. Graham, Ms Blackburn

and all the rest

talk away

lie if you must


but truth will ultimately win



 Come senators, congressmen

Please heed the call

Don't stand in the doorway

Don't block up the hall

For he that gets hurt

Will be he who has stalled

The battle outside ragin'

Will soon shake your windows

And rattle your walls

For the times they are a-changin'

                               Bob Dylan

Sunday, April 24, 2022

Lament on the path of praise

"Walk your walk of lament on a path of praise."

          Rainer Maria Rilke


"we live with a wondrous mixture of well and woe"

          Julian of Norwich



it seems surreal at times

how this world is such a much

of beauty and ugliness

kindness and cruelty

well and woe


at home, I sit nestled in the snow-covered mountains

far from the maddening crowd



on this day I sit among palms

in a place where fantasy is celebrated

in vacation mode


and yet somewhere war is happening

tanks rolls

aggressors attack

a country is threatened


somewhere dark children starve

winds blow

fires rage


even under the surface

of our skins

this struggle exists

joy and pain intermingle

in our hearts, our souls

our minds are conflicted


and yet despite the struggle

we walk through each day

left foot, right foot, left foot, breathe


do we feel guilty about our safety

it is wrong that we simply go through the motions

each day?


we are asked to walk our lament

on the path of praise


to have lament

to be aware

not closed off to the pain of the world,


but also not unaware of blessing

not closed to joy


for our ability to lament

and act

to work for change

to stand and speak


must come out of praise

must come out of a profound connection with Sacred

and a fierce belief in Love

and a willingness to live love fiercely


most every day

mirth and mourning go together


this day I will enjoy the beauty around me

and I will all my heart to hurt at the war in Ukraine


this day I will celebrate my children’s and grandchildren’s safety

and mourn the threats to those children

caught in the midst of war

struggling in a world of drought and famine

trapped in abusive homes


I cannot close my eyes

but neither can I allow myself to

be overwhelmed by the grief

for grief and mourning by themselves

defeat us

we need to hear the promise

“you will not be overcome”


and know that we can trust Love

in well and woe

Saturday, April 23, 2022

Little vision, tiny hearts

In our zeal to become the landlords of our own being, we cling to each achievement as a kind of verification of our self-proclaimed reality. We become the center and God somehow recedes to an invisible fringe. Others become real to the extent they become significant others to the designs of our own ego. And in this process the ALL of God dies in us and the sterile nothingness of our desires becomes our God. . . .

          James Finley



if I can’t see past my own nose

if everything begins and ends with me

my world is very small


and I become very small

with little vision

a tiny heart

and a soul thirsting for living water


no matter how big I am

how important

no matter what I accomplish

no matter how much power I can wield


if someone looks into my eyes

they will know

that something is missing


we see it in the eyes of Putin

sitting in splendid isolation at the end of his


master of his universe

able to send a caravan of mass destruction against

a vulnerable nation


we see it in the eyes of Boebert and Greene

as they attempt to demean and dehumanize

but end up only demeaning and dehumanizing themselves


I too am tempted

to make myself everything

to get caught up in the trappings of ego

my body image,





house, car,

on and on it goes


and soon I am blind to others

to the world

and soon I have pushed not only others

but God

to the fringe

almost out of my life altogether


and my ego and its desire

become my center

I become addicted to self


but my body ages

retirement comes

there is always more to learn

and this self-focus

this individualism becomes toxic


to those around me

and to myself


it is contagious, and illness

that permeates

and destroys


but there is a true self

a self that is connected to and centered on


a self that is fed by bread and wine

a self whose thirst is quenched

by springs of living waters


a self that can see

as if from the top of a mountain



can see the Sacred

see others

and see where it is to go

and who it is called to be

Thursday, April 21, 2022

The first spiritual power

the first spiritual power is faith

faith in that which is beyond us

faith in that which is within us


call it God

call it Spirit

call it Love


but have faith, that there is something


some power


that we can trust

that will make us better (not bitter)

that will guide and empower

transform and heal


faith is what gives us hope

hope because we are loved

because there is “ever-present help in time of need” (Psalm 46)

because we are not doing life on our own

because we are forgiven

because we are, as we are, accepted and loved


faith is what gives us hope so that we do not need

to seek and demand

to hug all to ourselves

to “win”

to make ourselves the center of our universe

to stumble into the swamp of individualism

into the fires of dominion


faith and hope are what keep us from

hate and violence

from posturing

and lies


faith leads to hope

and hope leads to love


when we have faith and hope

we are transformed

we can breathe easier

and strive less


we can open our hearts and our minds

we can open our hands


we can see others

and listen well

we can seek understanding

and understanding

act with compassion, generosity, and kindness


we see, all too clearly what happens when people

do not have faith, true faith, in something beyond themselves

we see it in the desperation of Putin

in the endless grasping for attention and power of Trump

in the fearful hoarding of the very rich

in the empty gestures of those who must carry a gun, everywhere

in the bombastic, hateful, and dehumanizing words of those

who have nothing else to offer


the first spiritual power is faith

faith creates hope

and hope creates the capacity to love


Faith, hope, and love

And the greatest of these is love  (I Corinthians 13)


Wednesday, April 20, 2022

be yourself

People think that the true, the beautiful and the good exist somewhere else, in someone else.  They don’t know that they are true, beautiful, and good at their core…  Don’t go looking outside yourself anymore, because the thing you are looking for is already there within you… Don’t try to be someone else… To be beautiful means to be yourself…  If you crave acceptance and recognition and try to change yourself to fit what other people to be, you will suffer all your life.

                     Thich Nhat Hanh (The Art of Power)



I don’t know where it comes from,

the thought so many people have that they are “not enough”


but talk about a Pandemic!

so many in the people walk around convinced that they are deficit


perhaps the “church” has done its thing

with its grotesque theory of original sin

and its insistence that we are all broken


perhaps well-meaning parents

have laid a burden of inadequacy on us as children

wanting us to flourish

but motivating in a dysfunctional way


perhaps it was classmates

or the profoundly beautiful ones on the TV

telling us what we need to be seen as



of value


but the truth is

we are image-bearers

we carry the Sacred

it is woven into the fabric of how we are


we are things of beauty

all of us


it may be true that the image is blurred at times

but we are Sacred children


Jesus, more than anyone

knew that the secret lay within

it didn’t hurt that as he stood dripping in the Jordan

the message came


this is my child, and I am pleased

(how many of us need that message from both Sacred parent and Fleshly parents)


He was awake to

the love

the beauty

the goodness within him


and he touched the world powerfully

with healing, peace, hope, and love


I don’t know that demons plague Putin, or Trump

or all the rest of those people

who seem to need to prove themselves

but they suffer

and they make everyone around them suffer


hear the good news dear ones!

you are God’s beloved child

you don’t have to prove yourself

you simply have to accept yourself

a be yourself

and walk intimately with the One who loves you as you are


and you will find peace

and you will offer peace

in a world that so desperately needs


Tuesday, April 19, 2022

The Seeds of Peace

“We often think of peace as the absence of war, that if powerful countries would reduce their weapon arsenals, we could have peace. But if we look deeply into the weapons, we see our own minds- our own prejudices, fears and ignorance. Even if we transport all the bombs to the moon, the roots of war and the roots of bombs are still there, in our hearts and minds, and sooner or later we will make new bombs. To work for peace is to uproot war from ourselves and from the hearts of men and women. To prepare for war, to give millions of men and women the opportunity to practice killing day and night in their hearts, is to plant millions of seeds of violence, anger, frustration, and fear that will be passed on for generations to come. ”

Thich Nhat Hanh, Living Buddha, Living Christ



the seeds of war are within us

planted deeply in our souls

in that fertile earth that is our hearts


they lie there and wait to bloom

the anger, the greed

the lust for power

the hunger for wealth


the fear that must be satisfied

the fear of being less

of losing

of not having enough

of being irrelevant


the hate

camouflaged as envy




water the seeds and they bloom

sending roots deep in our soul

sending tendrils like morning glory

twining through our being


water the seeds with



and the toxic ideology of dominion


and soon the fruits ripen

into guns

and jets and bombs


into oppression

and injustice

and death


and more seeds are planted

into the hearts of men and women

into the hearts of children

whose lives are torn and shredded

by war


and so it goes

on and on and on and on

war after war after war

millions of seeds of violence, anger, frustration, and fear…

passed on for generations to come


millions of damaged people

in whom war has been planted


we must uproot war from our hearts

that need to win, to control

to have more

to feed those toxic hungers that lead to war


it is no easy task in a world filled with people like



Tucker Carlson


those who think they flourish on the food of hate and enmity

those who use the abuse of power to satisfy their hungry ghosts

much as addicts use drugs


what do we do in a world where power and war are a drug of choice?


we must nourish the seeds of peace

the seeds of peace within each one of us

we must nourish compassion and understanding

kindness, and forgiveness


yes, it seems weak

and yet,

was Jesus weak?


Martin Luther King Jr.?

Nelson Mandela

Desmond Tutu?


those people who refused to water the seeds of hate

but instead watered

through meditation and prayer

the seeds of love?


on the cross Jesus looked hate and violence in the face

and said “this stops here”

we are called to do the same


we are to let Love so control our hearts

our souls

our minds

that who we are is not seen in guns and jets

but in baskets of food and vials of medicine


Tay once noted that “Peace is present right here and now, in ourselves and in everything we do and see.


Every breath we take, every step we take, can be filled with peace, joy, and serenity. The question is whether or not we are in touch with it”


this day, as bombs fall and

tyrants posture and lie

and wounded souls rally around the God of War


may we walk for peace

may we breathe in love

may we breathe out peace

may we empty our hearts of hate

and fill them with understanding and compassion


and then may we stand

as are the students in Tbilisi and St. Peterburg

then may we kneel

as are the people of Ukraine

and strive for peace


and then may we love

Jesus said “love your enemies”

Love has redemptive power


so just keep loving

love accumulates, it builds up

perhaps, at first, it engenders more hate, even more violence

but we have to keep loving

until the power of love transforms

and wins


we have no other choice

Sunday, April 17, 2022


(the finale)


the bad things, don’t do them

the good things, try to do them

try to purify, to subdue your own mind…

          the Buddha (via Thich Nhat Hanh)



the bad things

don’t do them

don’t do things that create suffering

to yourself, to others, to the planet


war is a bad thing

there is no other way to put it


war, what is it good for?

absolutely nothing, say it again!


war equals suffering


to the good things

do them

try to walk the way of peace

(which is very difficult when a demented narcissist, egged on

 by another demented narcissist is bombing your country)


there is an old story that comes from the desert fathers

It seems as if two old men had lived together for many years and they had never fought with one another. The first said to the other, “Let us fight like other men.” The other replied, “I do not know how to fight.” The first said to him, “Look, I will put a brick between us and I will say: it is mine; and you will reply: no, it is mine; and so the fight will begin.” So they put a brick between them and the first said, “This brick is mine,” and the other said, “No, it is mine.” And the first replied, “If it is yours, take it and go.” So they gave it up without being able to find a cause for argument.


I don’t claim to know what goes on in the mind of Vladimir Putin

or the mind of Donald Trump

half the time I am not sure what is going on in mine

that causes me to do the things I do


but I do know that it is important to

try to purify, to subdue our minds…


the Buddha said it, Paul said it too

“Do not be conformed to this world,[c] but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.”  (Romans 12)


violence, hate,



voter suppression, and

toxic selfishness are not good, acceptable, and perfect


following, even worship

people who lie, manipulate, intimidate and punish

in order to have power

is not good acceptable and perfect


but here we are

with bombs falling on Kyiv

with violence creeping toward the farmlands

where once my great-great-grandparents farmed

and my great-grandparents were born


how do we purify our minds

so that we are not caught up in the whirlwind of hate and violence


our minds it seems are susceptible

to the poisons of craving, hate, and delusion (Thich Nhat Hanh)


when we crave power and domination, our mind is poisoned

when we hate people of other countries, creeds, colors, our mind is poisoned

when we are confused and do not see things clearly, but only see things

in the light of our individual self

our mind is poisoned

that poison makes us, and the world, ill


when our mind is not pure even if we want to refrain from bad things

and want to do good things we cannot


but when our minds are poisoned the sad truth is

we don’t want to refrain from the bad things

and the good things seem weak and powerless


and so, in our delusion, we call evil good and good evil


we can only purify our minds

when we have singleness of mind

when we mindfully look for and focus on

that which is sacred

that which is love


whatever our mind is full of

that is what manifests in our lives

when Sacred is manifest our lives are sacred

when love is manifest, we live love


it takes work

to walk the earth this way

ground and rooted in love

it is inconvenient


and it feels as if it won’t work


it won’t work we if don’t try

it is not that the way of Love (Christianity)

has been tried and found wanting

it has rarely if ever been tried


it begins with a breath

God’s breathing into us

our breathing out the good air of Sacred Presence


it continues as

our minds renewed

we walk the earth mindfully

focused on Love





Thursday, April 14, 2022

Bad things redux



the bad things, don’t do them

the good things, try to do them

try to purify, to subdue your own mind…

          the Buddha (via Thich Nhat Hanh)



do no harm

primum non nocere

is not exactly found in the original Hippocratic oath (425 AD)


but the principle is there

"I will abstain from all intentional wrong-doing and harm".


and such care is important


we do a lot of harm

as we stumble through life


we have all seen the damage done by those

soaked in the ideology of power and dominance

those who must win at every cost

those who want to control and enforce

and whose only response to those they don’t like or agree with

are intimidation and retribution


we have seen what happens when that kind of leader

supported by angry and wounded souls

is given power


but simply avoiding harm is not enough

we cannot simply tiptoe through life

hoping to avoid doing harm

hope to avoid being harmed


for there are real problems to be solved

real wounds that need to be healed

injustice and inequity don’t just go away on their own

being bored and apathetic is no way to go through life


we must be people who do good

who practice love




we must not just do good

we must persist in doing good

persist when it doesn’t seem to matter

persist when it doesn’t seem to work

persist when it seems hopeless

and we feel helpless


do not weary of doing good

Paul admonished

for we will reap at harvest time


which may be another way of saying

that love wins

in the end


if we persist


this day I will have many choices

so will you

life will happen


and we can choose how we respond

to that person full of anger and enmity

to that person whose head has been filled with lies

to those situations which seem hopeless


this day let us choose to ask

what does it mean to do good

right here, right now?

what is loving

what is kind

what is (above all) redemptive?


we may not always succeed

in doing good






(to be continued)

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

The bad things

the bad things, don’t do them

the good things, try to do them

try to purify, to subdue your own mind…

          the Buddha (via Thich Nhat Hanh)



the bad things, don’t do them

what makes for a bad thing?


what society deems as wrong?

what a holy scripture tells us not to do?

what cultural norms dictate?


perhaps it is really quite simple

a bad thing is something that creates suffering

for you

for other human creatures

for all other living creatures

for the planet


if it causes suffering

not inconvenience

not the measly little “suffering” of wearing a mask

or paying taxes


but true suffering

a ripping of the soul

and wounding of the heart


an insult

an act of dehumanization

predatory sex



the support of racism, or injustice

unresolved anger

all can be bad things


don’t do them!

As Paul admonishes

“Put away from you all bitterness

and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander,

together with all malice,

and be kind to one another, tenderhearted,

forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:31,32)


not doing bad things

put another way

is an of compassion

it is refusing to contribute to the suffering of another


and although it may be inconvenient for one’s own self

who wants to wear a mask?

who wants to give up their AR-15?

who wants to include people in their church who are “different”?

that cost is overwhelmed by the joy of helping another


we need more compassion in this world

compassion is seeing the other

compassion is understanding the battles and struggles they face

compassion is feeling with them

compassion is hurting with them

compassion is wanting the best for them

compassion is trying to avoid being part of the problem


compassion is being people for others

and by being people for others also caring for and loving ourselves

and also

oh yes

serving Love (God)


so this day, as you walk this world

which is messy

the bad things, don’t do them


(to be continued)

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Being and Doing

Your action, what you do, depends on who you are…

If you don’t succeed at being, you can’t succeed at doing.

          Thich Nhat Hanh (The Art of Power)



who am I?

who am I, really?

who am I when one moves beyond the form

and moves into those deep murky regions of the soul?



I am male

I am white

I am cis

I am educated

I am (reasonably) successful

I am comfortable economically

I have nice things and live in a beautiful place



I am gifted, with a plethora of talents

(which I have only partially cultivated)


I am of average height

and average in my comeliness


I am aging

with wrinkles, folds, and white hair



I am a good person (most of the time)

and a horrible person (some of the time)



I have done things I am proud of

and things that bring me shame

that pop-up in my mind at weird moments and ruin

a perfectly lovely day


but who am I?

once you get beyond the form?


I am

I am a human being

I am a creature in whom the sacred dwells

I am a temple

I am a Sacred child

I am inspired


in spirare

in spiritus

I am one into which life has been blown

I am one (hopefully)

in which the breath of the divine blows

influencing, moving, guiding, impelling


and so even though I cannot escape

my body or my history

all those stories, those narratives that so profoundly shape me


I am still, at my core

a person defined by love

by sacred, fiery, fierce, love

that is like “fuel in the tank” of my soul  (Jacqui Lewis)


when I am inspired,

then love comes to me

shapes me

and flows from me


that same love embodied in Jesus


that love is available 24 hours a day

365 days of the year

that love creates the Kingdom (which is within)


that love, when I remember it

when I believe it

when I receive it

when I allow it to permeate my soul

when I share it


allows me to be

at least for brief moments

a person who divulges the divine image


who reveals

(for lack of a better way of saying it)

the Christ in me

who becomes fleetingly

the hands, feet, voice, face, smile

of Jesus


that is who I am

when I cultivate the Presence within



this day may I take the time to cultivate the Presence

may I find the Kingdom which is there in my heart

may I touch the wonder of Sacred love

and find, in that wonder,

peace, compassion, and understanding


may I be my best self

this day

Thursday, April 7, 2022

On Craving (the wrong things)

I want what I want, how I want it when I want it


whether we admit it or not,

this is how many of us function


we have our desires

our cravings

our motivations



is powerful


what we desire, what we crave, matters

a good motivation can bring us wellbeing

and can bring peace and joy to others


a bad motivation can bring suffering

not just to ourselves

but to all those around us


the Buddha suggested there are four deadly cravings

wealth, power, sex, and fame

(not necessarily in that order)


if we look at the teachings of Jesus

we see much the same message

sell all that you have and give

the first shall be last

the great shall serve

don’t covet


it is not that these things are inherently bad

it is just that if they are our motivation

if they are why we do what we do

if they are the values toward which we live


they make us bad


the Buddha likened our volition

to two strong men dragging one to a fire

a fire that will consume and destroy


There is, it seems, one motivation

that does not lead toward suffering


the desire to help others

the desire to heal

to liberate

to comfort

to bring understanding and awakening

to bring joy


this motivation comes from only one play

our connection with the Sacred

our connection to what some call God

our connection to that power that wants

to heal

to liberate

to comfort

to bring understanding and awakening


that wants to bring joy to us


Love God with all your heart soul mind and strength

And love those around you, all those around you

As yourself


Love God, let God love you

take that love in

then pass it on!


we have seen

how destructive it is when wealth, power, sex, and fame

drive our lives


we have seen how beautiful it can be

when the desire to serve

is the energy that motivates


the fact is simple

there is only one way to get

what we really want

to love God

love ourselves (in a healthy way)

and then love others


Tuesday, April 5, 2022

justice for all

… we are each impacted by the circumstances that impact those around us.  What hurts you hurts me.  What heals you heals me.  What cause you joy causes me to rejoice, and what makes you sad also causes me to weep.        

          Jacqui Lewis



we are getting it wrong

conservatives and liberals

Democrats and Republicans

Christians and Jews, and Muslims, and everyone else too


we are getting it wrong

because quite simply, we have stopped seeing each other


Jacqui Lewis, in her book fierce love talks about the Zulu tribe in Africa


“When they greet each other” she writes, “they offer this greeting.  Sawubona, which means ‘I see you.’  And the response is Sikhona, which means ‘I exist.’


But we don’t see each other

We don’t see the person in front of us

We deny, in a real way that they,

With their thoughts and feelings

With their joy and pain



In the New York Times this week an article explored why,

in liberal strongholds, liberal candidates are doing poorly


to distill the article down to its heart

the problem is that liberals are focused on ideological purity

and, to quote the article “on projecting symbols of virtuousness while ignoring the needs of families. “


As one person, a woman who put together a recall of school board members in San Francisco noted, “Covid was akin to an earthquake that forced people to move into tents on the sidewalk… “Finally, your elected leaders show up and you’re like, ‘Thank God, here’s some help,’”…“And they say, ‘We are here to help. We’re going to change the street signs for you.’”


I get the fierce desire for justice, especially racial justice

that burns in the heart of the left,


as much, even more, than I understand the fear of change on the right.


but what seems like a truth

is that our ideology, perhaps sometimes our theology

blinds us


to people


to the point that we stumble along

left and right

doing ideologically driven things that hurt and harm, in some cases

or simply fail to help, in others


So on one end of the spectrum we see voter suppression, where the

Need of people to have a voice is ignored,


And on the other end we see schools renamed

while the pain of children and parents

are casually dismissed


we are all, in one way or another

ignoring the basic needs of people who are hurting


I am conflicted about all of this

Because I know symbols such as school names and statues are

in fact important


but I also know we have to hear and see and feel the pain

of ALL people


how do we do justice to the pain of all while

needing to do justice to the pain of some?


that is the question


and I have no answer

except to say

that as I hold, fiercely my beliefs

about God, and justice, and equity


I need to see those around me

all those around me

even those I might disagree with, fiercely


I need to see them so clearly that what hurts them hurts me. 

What heals them heals me. 

what makes them sad also causes me to weep


but do so in a way that does not cause me to

abandon my fight for justice


fierce love

is not for the faint of heart