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

Monday, November 28, 2022




The Destiny of Man is to unite, not to divide. If you keep on dividing you end up as a collection of monkeys throwing nuts at each other out of separate trees.

T.H. White, The Once and Future King


… through the Trinity [Sacred] we transcend us-them, in-out thinking.  Imprisoned in our old familiar dualistic thinking, we were always dividing the world into mine and yours, one and other, same and different, better and worse.  In the Trinity, we move beyond that dualism so that mine and yours are reconciled into ours. One and other are transformed into one another.

          Brian McLaren, We Make the Road by Walking


My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.

          Jesus, Upper Room Discourses



we wander cautiously into the world of Advent,

onto that long and winding road

through the land of already and not yet


it is bewildering

our insistence that unto us a child is born

a Prince of Peace


while we watch the world burn

and people strive

and wait

praying “thy kingdom come”


thy kingdom come on earth


it seems so very dark

this place we dwell

this path we walk, stumbling


and we are afraid of the dark

and in fear we lash out


we bite and devour one another,

we consume each other like predators


we have let the world squeeze us into its mold

we have been programmed

to the world in terms of us and them

in and out

mine and yours


we are the children of Babel

screeching incoherently at each other

while we clutch our guns

our Smart TVs

our fear and hate


but this is not the original design

and our journey, though perilous and frightening

is toward a dawning of a new day

a return to Eden


for Advent is a journey toward reconciliation

of human creatures to Love

of human creature to human creature


back to original blessing

where “mine and yours are reconciled into ours,”

and “one and other are transformed into one another.”


one thing is clear

as we embark upon this trek

this long night’s journey into day


at the end

we must all get there



Sunday, November 27, 2022


Today I am adventing

I want to be Christmasing


And I am not

I am not immersed in Christmas

Where miracles happen

And love wins


It matters not how many Christmas movies are seen

Or carols sung


We are not to Christmas yet

The days are short, the nights so long

Gray clouds press to the grounds

And the air is heavy with the frozen tears of God


Covid still rages

Malignant powers still oppress

Liars still lie

The wealthy still grasp and hoard


No, I am not Christmasing

I am adventing

I am walking in that dark impatient time

Where resolution is yet to come


My soul resonates with Longfellow

Who, beloved wife burned to death,

Beloved son wounded by war,

Country divided,


Bowed his head in momentary despair.


And I too cry

"There is no peace on earth,

For hate is strong,

And mocks the song

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!"


Not I am not Christmasing

I am Adventing

I am plodding toward Bethlehem in the darkness

and the cold


And yet

I do believe Christmas will come

I do believe that love will prevail


For Sacred comes, and comes, and comes again

God is always incarnating into this world


We do not have a God who is scarce

But a God who is present


A scarce God demands exclusion

A scarce God stays aloof, judging

And handing out retribution

And mercy when it comes, is portioned out meagerly to the worthy


But a present God, one who incarnates

in all creation

in all people

in all hearts

in us


Ah!  that is the point of Christmas


But incarnation (Christmas) demands that we show up!

“Who among us will celebrate Christmas correctly? Whoever finally lays down all power, all honor, all reputation, all vanity, all arrogance, all individualism beside the manger; whoever remains lowly and lets God alone be high; whoever looks at the child in the manger and sees the glory of God precisely in his lowliness”


If we want Christmas

We will have to show up, not in the halls of power

Not in the mansions of the wealthy


But in the streets

With the homeless, and the desperate immigrant at the border,

in the hospital, with the COVID or cancer patient

in the nursing home, with the lonely woman or man

whose children cannot or will not come


If we want Christmas

We will have to fight for it


Not with the weapons of hate

But with the weapons of love


We fight for Christmas

When we feed the poor

When we fight for housing, first

When we welcome the homeless to sleep in our pews

When we insist on the truth

When we think of the common good, and not just ourselves


We fight for Christmas when we seek unity and peace

And refuse to demonize, refuse to hate, refuse to exclude


Call me a fool (many do)

Call me naïve


But even while I am adventing, and stumbling my way through the dark


I believe the light will come

And with Longfellow I affirm


God is not dead, nor doth he sleep!

The Wrong shall fail,

the Right prevail,

With peace on earth, good-will to men!”




Wednesday, November 23, 2022

faith for the road

I had never thought of it before

But if you read between the lines

Jesus taught sitting


And those who listened were standing


I like to think of them as eager

Standing on tip-toe

Leaning forward, engaged, ready to learn


But more, ready to hit the road

ready to walk into the world and carry with them

the gifts of the teacher


ready to talk the talk

but more, to walk the walk


ah, that standing crowd

I wonder if Jesus ever said

“you had better sit down for this”


As he taught the radicality of Sacred love


Blessed are the poor

Those who mourn

Blessed are the servants

And the truth-tellers


Blessed are those who expend themselves for others

Who put it all out there

All that they have, all that they are

For the cause of love


Blessed are those who feed the hunger

Give water to the thirsty

Welcome the stranger

And visit those excluded and shunned


Blessed are you

When following my way

Does not get you to the corner office

Does NOT get you elected

Does not make you wealthy, or powerful, or comfortable


But causes you trouble

The trouble of seeing the pain around you


I wonder if their knees sagged a little

as those words sank into their souls


I wonder if they walked away confused?

Or excited!

Or Sad.


I do know this

They did not sit there


Listening to words that barely registered


Jesus did not speak down to them,

He spoke up to them


And whether they got it or not

Whether they understood deeply, or in part

Whether they were willing to embrace the way

Or whether they rejected it


they carried a little bit of Jesus with them

when they left that place


Perhaps we have it all wrong

With our preachers in pulpits and the people in the pews

It seems this is not a sitting faith

But a standing faith

A walking faith


a faith we take with us

on the road

Monday, November 21, 2022

wishful thinking

Wishing is a way to figure out what our heart wants

It is us, picking our way through the deep forest,

Seeking that path to our destination.


There is something special (as Frederick Buechner understood)

And something spiritual about wishful thinking

And about whistling in the dark


Metta phrases are like wishing

Wishing one’s self well

Wishing other’s well

Wishing even one’s antagonists well


An aspiration for wellness

For whomever we direct the wish


May I be safe

May she be well

May he/she (that person who torments me) be happy


And prayer too!

I often wander through my day muttering at God

Hey God, are you there?

Seriously, God?

A little help!

Thank you!



When I pray I am not telling God what to do

(Some like to do that, but not me)

I am sending my heart wishes to whatever it is

That I participate in

That participates in me       


Whomever it is that dwells in my deepest places


I am seeking connection and

Stating my deepest hopes


Prayer is the cry of my heart

For hope, or healing

For peace and joy

For love


Not just for myself

But for our poor planet

For the beautiful creatures who inhabit it

And for human creatures too


We poor, afflicted, wounded, misguided

Fearful, confused





Prayers that we will come to our senses

Prayers that we will find healing

And generosity

And welcome

Without our own frail bodies


And then offer those same gifts

To others


Wishful thinking indeed


Today I share the wishes of my heart

May I be free from enmity.

May I be free from hurtfulness.

May I be free of troubles of mind and body.

May I be able to protect my own happiness.


May you be free from enmity.

May you be free from hurtfulness.

May you be free of troubles of mind and body.

May you be able to protect your happiness.


May all beings be free from enmity.

May all beings be free from hurtfulness.

May all beings be free of troubles of mind and body.

May all beings be able to protect their happiness.


Today I will wish us all well

May all our wishes, hopes, and prayers

Come true


Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Do we believe

It seems we are wandering into the darkness

The days keep getting shorter (for a little while)

The weather keeps getting more extreme

And yes, our systems keep getting messier


Toxic people keep winning elections

The poor keep getting poorer and the rich richer


And yet


The voice still calls in the wilderness

Prepare ye the way


Prepare ye the way for what?

An authoritarian leader who will control and coerce?

Divine retribution?


A time when the “righteous” gloat

And the “unrighteous” burn?


Prepare ye the way


Who showed up after John the Baptist made that appeal

Love showed up

Incarnated in a person


A person who showed us the true nature of the Sacred

(we should have had a clue from nature, but no!)

A person who showed us what love looks like

A person who showed us how to face hate and fear

A person who showed us how to live


A person who lived a life so amazing

And died so lovingly

That, as Brian McLaren suggests

Our worst failures were swallowed up in his save!


And we have been told that a some point

The way of this person, this Jesus, will be The Way

The way the world works

That the way he lived will be the way we live

All of us!


That the earth, which we have ravaged

Will be made new

And we will too


And here is the question

Do we believe that?

Do we have faith that this is true?


We celebrate the possibility every year

As Christians wander through the ambiguity of Advent

And the rest of the world celebrates Christmas

(starting right after Halloween, or so it seems)


But do we believe it?

Do we believe that eventually, love will win


Do we have faith?

Do we have enough faith to make what is possible, real?


Jesus said it doesn’t take much faith

Only faith the size of a mustard seed


What does faith do?

I think it opens us to the possibilities

I think it opens us to Love

And to Sacred


Perhaps faith is Leonard Cohen’s

Chink of hope


Perhaps faith is the crack

Perhaps that is how the light gets in


and we all know what a little light

does to the darkness


It is difficult to have faith in times like this

But the alternative

For me

Is unbearable


So I will declare

I believe



Monday, November 14, 2022

Time for a Revolution

Jesus began a movement, fueled by his Spirit, a movement whose purpose was and is to change the face of the earth from the nightmare it often is into the dream that God intends. . . .

          Michael Curry



Jesus didn’t come to establish an institution

Jesus came to start a movement

More than a movement


A revolution

A Maundy Thursday Revolution


A revolution marked by servanthood

By radical inclusion and equity

And fueled by the Sacred


This movement was all about Jesus

not so much believing in Jesus

saying the right things about Jesus

but listening to Jesus (we have to accept Jesus as our teacher)

being washed by Jesus (accepting the power to become fresh and new)

following Jesus (the way of Jesus needs to be our way)

welcoming Jesus (in the Spirit, which permeates us into we look a little bit like Jesus)


This movement was all about community

Gathering around a table

Breaking bread, raising a cup

but more

not just chewing on bread and sipping out of a cup

but chewing on the presence

taking the holy into our being

assimilating love




love takes over

and we do life a different way

and live in such a way that we abolish poverty and hunger in our

little outposts of the Kingdom


and then work to abolish poverty and hunger in the world


and don’t stop with poverty and hunger

but work to abolish fear, and hate and the subsequent violence

and overwhelm greed by insisting on the common good



this is a movement, a revolution

this is those who have chosen to open their minds and hearts and souls to the Spirit

letting the Spirit blow them into service

and set them on fire with love for all


This is a movement of equality and equity

a movement where the last are first, and the first last

and the rulers wash feet

and justice rolls like a river

and there is no Jew or Gentile (or any other religion) or white, or BIPOC, or LGBGTQI+,

or Republican, or Democrat,


just people who love God

love themselves

and love each other


and insist

that love wins


as the old children’s song wisely insists

the church is not a building

the church is not a steeple

the church is not a resting place


the church is a people

empowered by the Spirit

going forth

to change the world



Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Today we Vote

Today we vote

Today we reveal to the world who and what we are as a nation


In our world, in our country

We throw out a lot of words

That apparently signify nothing


In America, we have a “pledge”

We proudly say it, hands (some of us) over our hearts



One nation (really?)

Indivisible (not really!)

Under God (you have to be kidding me, besides it’s not original)

With Liberty and justice for all (well, if all does not mean all)


I belong to a Rotary Club

We have a 4-way test of the things “we think say and do”

Is it the truth?

Is it fair to all concerned?

Will it build goodwill and better friendships?

Will it be beneficial to all concerned?



How many people in the room saying that pledge

Are voting for people who lie or are embracing a lie?

How many really care if it is fair to all?

How many have embraced the politics of division?

How many have abandoned the common good?


I am struggling right now with the gap between what we say

And how we live

When this gap exists, we call it hypocrisy


And let’s face it

We are all hypocrites to one degree or another


Do I live out what I preach on Sunday?

What I write in my blog?

I try

I also fail, all too often


Yet it is clear we are called to be truth-tellers

And people who are true to the original blessing that makes us children of God


·       Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are his delight.

·       (Proverbs)

·       Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another (Paul in Ephesians)

·       Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, (also Ephesians

·       And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (Jesus)

·       If we say we have fellowship with [Jesus/God/Sacred] while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth (whoever wrote the letters of John)


It is clear, we are to be people who not only tell the truth

But live the truth


Why do we have so much trouble?

Why do we vote for people whose words, actions, and policies are not compatible

with Jesus, with love, with truth?


What the ^&#@ is our problem!?


When I ask this question, I often think of polarity

Of opposite values

There are the values of hate and love

Greed and generosity

Dominance and service


Today as I watch Americans stream to the polls

And vote for power and money

And not for people (yet another polarity)


The two words that come in mind are exclusive and instrumental (Thanks Brian McLaren)


Think about it this way

Are we called, as the children of God

Are we called as followers of Jesus

Are we called as a nation


To be blessed, or to be a blessing


Do we think the love of God comes to us

That abundance and power come to us

For our own benefit? 

Are we preoccupied with being blessed (having wealth and power)


Or do we believe we called to be a blessing?

That we to be “instrumental”

People who use what we have to create peace




That we are to use what we have for the common good


Am I here to hug blessing to myself, or pass it on?

Is the church here to be an exclusive club of the blessed, or to be a movement that passes the love and abundance of God on to others

Are we as a nation intended to hug the blessing of power, and wealth, and natural resources we have been given to ourselves, or are we asked to use our resources, our power, our wealth to benefit others nations, especially those that are poor and torn apart by war?


Today we make a choice

About who and what we are

Today we make a choice

About what our calling is, and who and what we will serve


What will we choose?

I breathe

“Waking up this morning, I smile. Twenty-four brand new hours are before me. I vow to live fully in each moment and to look at all beings with eyes of compassion.”

Thich Nhat Hanh



waking up this morning I am struggling to smile

like Martha, struggling to make things right

I am troubled by many things


I struggle with all the lies

I struggle with the pervasive fear, floating among us

and the way that this fear

drives people to embrace the way of oppression

and makes them cruel


I struggle with the not-so-slow destruction of the planet


I too want to rail

I want to protest loudly

I want to make things different, better


I want somehow to wake people up

to the way they are pursuing their own destruction


but all is vanity

my lament is scattered by the winds of hate and fear

and my words disappear



and so I go through the day


I am no longer in the moment

feeling the earth beneath my feet

noticing the beauty of creation


I am distracted and anxious

and I no longer see

I do not see the “other”

I do not connect with them, and grasp their joy, or their pain


I am numbed

and compassion is lost


Jesus understood this

as the masses, anxious, trampled one another

and were changed (for the worst) by the hypocrisy of tainted leaders

and lived in fear (Luke 12)


he told them to stop

and breathe

and look around them

and to trust in the love of the Power that created the universe

and to set their hearts on the Kingdom of Love

rather than on power and wealth


Waking up this morning

facing an election that may have dire consequences

for the way of Love


I breathe

I look at the fresh snow

I breathe

I remember that God is love

I breathe

And vow to live fully in each moment

and to look at all beings with eyes of compassion



Saturday, November 5, 2022

new Hearts

" O Lord, give me a heart I can pour out in thanksgiving.

Give me Life So I can spend it Working for the salvation

of the World. "

Khwaja Abdullah Ansari



what drives me?

what are the desires, deep within my heart that move me into action

and shape the way I live?


it matters

it matters a lot


sometimes there is a foul jumble of feelings and thoughts

there at the center of who I am



patterned, perhaps even practiced thoughts

causing patterned, and often destructive actions

until like poor Paul

I am controlled by things that are not good


and my lament rises

I do not understand my own actions.

For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate (Romans 7)


greed bubbles up and I am no longer generous

fear oozes out of my soul and I become hateful and protective

anxiety rises and I withdraw

and desire to dominate and control lingers and I become controlling and manipulative


ah the sins

that emerge out of a sick heart

even though I believe in love

even though I understand that eventually, love will win

I become less


and I spend my energy working for my own salvation

it becomes all about me



this is not abundance

this is not even true power


this is a sickness unto death

and I look around me and see this sickness



and my heart grieves

for those pushing this sickness like a foul drug

for those addicted to it

for those whose minds and hearts are altered by it


my heart grieves for the people

and for the beloved country


and so I lift my voice to the heavens

in lament and supplication

reaching as best I can for hope


“Create in me a clean heart, O God,

and put a new and right[b] spirit within me.

Do not cast me away from your presence,

and do not take your holy spirit from me.

Restore to me the joy of your salvation,

and sustain in me a willing spirit.”  (Psalm 51)


Wednesday, November 2, 2022

how long

If any part of your heart is closed toward humanity, then your heart cannot be fully open to the creator

          Sufi Wisdom



I have a complaint


I am tired


I am tired of the chaos

Tired of watching the planet suffer

Tired of watching liars flourish

Tired of the fear and the hate


I am with Habbakuk

How long, Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen?

Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not save?

Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrongdoing?

Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds.

Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails.

The wicked hem in the righteous, so that justice is perverted.



Where is God in all of this?


Sometimes I am forced back to the fundamentals

and must think again about that reality some call God

and about this world

and the people in it

and about how it all works


Some think that power that created

Simply put the whole thing together, and then let it go

Leaving us to our own devices


Some think God set everything in motion

and then, once in a while intervenes

interrupting the natural, mechanistic system of cause and effect


we call those interruptions miracles 

and they are a lovely idea,

but leave us with a view of a God who is wildly arbitrary

(acting at whim)

or nothing more than a cosmic bellhop, there at our beck and call

(ask and it shall be given)


But I think for those who wrote the Bible, most of them at least

God is not, never was, simply cannot be, an entity that is separate or outside

this world and its happenings.


God is not absent

God is not outside

Nor is God simply, creation


God is connected to the universe

Present with it and intimately involved in it



As Brian McLaren puts it,

“the universe was less like a machine and more like a family,

less like a mechanism and more like a community…

a complex organic community with both limits and freedom, accountability and responsibility”


think about the image of a kingdom

in a kingdom, the king relates to the kingdom

there is a relationship

the ruler is not uninvolved, but he/she does not have absolute control

there is real power and authority

but that power and authority exist among creatures

who have wills of their own


problems arise when we creatures abuse our freedom

we lie, oppress, and horde

we harm the people around us

we neglect the poor and the vulnerable


and we fail to honor the community

and when we fail to honor the community, the common good

we fail to honor the power that created the community


which brings us back to the question

where is the Sacred


and the answer is always the same


with us




not just with us, in us

and when we tap into the Spirit

when we wake up to the presence

things change


we are touched by grace

healed by the sacred

it happens


I have seen it

I have experienced it


things happen that can only be called miraculous

hearts warm

arms open to embrace

and sometimes, even at a cellular level (I believe) healing happens


this is why Jesus suggested that with God “all things are possible”


but remember, this is all relational

this is all about the kingdom, or better the community


we will never see this world change

until we become a community of people

who not only love the Sacred

love Love

but love one another


and, as people open to love

filled with love

allow that love to flow between us

so that we

feed the hungry

clothe the naked

house those without homes

provide medical care to the ill


so that we make sure that everyone has enough (equity)

and everyone is treated justly


“how long Lord?” we cry

the answer comes

until you open your hearts


Tuesday, November 1, 2022

You make a difference

Jesus, in his parables

often suggests that each of us has an impact

an impact, often, far beyond what we understand


we are salt

we are light

we are yeast

we are seeds,

that blossom into a bountiful harvest,

or perhaps into weeds


sometimes Jesus seems to be talking about us as individuals

sometimes he is clearly talking about us as a “movement”

always he is talking about us

as those permeated with the Sacred (the Spirit)


but the implication is there that who we are

how we are

makes a difference


it matters, how we act

it matters, what we say

it matters, what kind of energy we put into the world, into the space around us


truth begets peace and peace begets more peace

truth begets love and love begets more love

generosity begets help and help begets more help

compassion begets healing and healing begets more healing


and don’t forget joy


on the other hand

lies beget violence and violence begets more violence.

hate begets division and division begets more division

greed begets inequity, and inequity begets more inequity (poverty)


our world is in chaos

chaos born out of lies, hate, and greed

chaos marked by violence, division, injustice, and poverty


chaos fed by people who are choosing to lie

spread hate and fear

enable injustice and inequity


Because they want power


those who lead must truly understand

how powerful they are

how dangerous their silence or embracing of lies and violence truly are,

how helpful their efforts to promote truth, and justice, and generosity really are


Jesus was aware of the power of leaders for good or ill

“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit….  by their fruit you will recognize them.” (Matthew 7)


Jesus demanded accountability from the leaders of this world

Religious or otherwise


and he asked for those who follow to be alert

to truly be aware of what kind of leader a person happens to be

we should see, by what they produce, whether a leader is worth following


what are they producing, love or hate?

what are they drawing out of us, violence or peace?

what do their policies engender, equity or inequity?


is their leadership good for the poor, or for the rich?

is their leadership based on truth, or lies?

are they servant leaders, or people who love to dominate, control, and use?


each of us has an impact

what kind of impact do our words (or our silence)

our actions

our votes have?


what kind of fruit are we, is our party, our nation