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

Friday, April 28, 2023

Listen up!

“Listen, you leaders of Jacob, you rulers of Israel.

Should you not embrace justice, you who hate good and love evil;

who tear the skin from my people and the flesh from their bones…

who eat my people’s flesh, strip off their skin and break their bones in pieces;

who chop them up like meat for the pan, like flesh for the pot?”


“As for the prophets who lead my people astray,

they proclaim ‘peace’ if they have something to eat,

but prepare to wage war against anyone who refuses to feed them.

Therefore night will come over you, without visions, and darkness, without divination.

The sun will set for the prophets, and the day will go dark for them“


Hear this, you leaders of Jacob, you rulers of Israel,

who despise justice and distort all that is right;

who build Zion with bloodshed, and Jerusalem with wickedness.

Her leaders judge for a bribe, her priests teach for a price,

and her prophets tell fortunes for money.

Yet they look for the Lord’s support and say, “Is not the Lord among us?

No disaster will come upon us.”

Therefore because of you, Zion will be plowed like a field,

Jerusalem will become a heap of rubble,

the temple hill a mound overgrown with thickets.

          Selections from Micah 3



Prophets do not foretell an unalterable future

They simply tell it like it is


And suggest, rightly

What the outcome will be if a person, a party, a nation

Keep doing what they are doing


And it is clear

There are consequences

Specifically, there are consequences when leaders behave poorly


We have seen it throughout history

Those mighty ones who have lost their way

Who have abused power

Who have dominated and controlled

Who have hated those different from them

Who have in fear sought to control, minimize, and even eradicate

Those they do not like or understand


Mao Zedong




The Khmer Rouge (Pol Pot)


For brief moments in history, they flourished

They controlled

They destroyed


And then they were destroyed

And became a foul footnote in history


In every case the leaders despised justice

and distorted all that is right; calling good evil and evil good

they build their power wickedness, with hate, fear, and lies

Those responsible for justice abandoned justice for power

and the imposition of injustice on those considered “less”

And the prophets (preachers) said what the leaders wanted them to say

and what many of the people wanted them to say

to keep the money coming in

to keep the pews full

to keep the illusion of influence


All while insisting they are on God’s side

That their agenda is righteous


“Is not the Lord among us!”


No.  They/He/She is not

The end of this path is destruction

Not God-caused destruction, human-caused destruction


It is not that after destruction God will not work with those who are willing

To resurrect and rebuild

But this path leads to nowhere good


We can change

We can repent

We can stop grabbing power

We can stop lying

We can stop dispensing injustice in exchange for political power

We can stop oppressing

We can stop pretending we love God by putting the 10 commandments in school

And replacing qualified mental health professionals with unqualified “chaplains”

We can stop insisting that “In God We Trust”

When it is clear we trust human strongmen (or women), guns, and political power

Not God


We can stop abandoning the poor

And enriching the rich

Stop throwing away our children to gun violence

Stop seeking to eradicate people who are LGBTQI+


We can stop

Will we?

Or will we be like Israel, which ended up in exile

Like Nazi Germany

Stalinist Russia?


It is our choice

We can choose justice or political power

We can choose generosity or accumulation

We can choose to welcome and affirm

Or we can choose to deny and exclude

We can choose the truth or the lie

We can choose to love or to hate

We can choose to dominate or choose to serve


Our choice

How will we choose


Whatever we choose

Let us not pretend that this foul game now being played out

By people we need to name, in places we need not name

(although we could)

Has anything to do with God



Thursday, April 27, 2023

junky souls

“I must grow smaller so he can grow greater”

          John the Baptist (John 3:30)


God is already present. God’s Spirit is dwelling within us. We cannot search for what we already have. We cannot talk God into coming “to” us by longer and more urgent prayers. All we can do is become quieter, smaller, and less filled with our own self and our constant flurry of ideas and feelings. Then God will be obvious in the very now of things, and in the simplicity of things. To sum it all up, we can never get there, we can only be there.

          Richard Rohr



I am an anxious soul

I was so anxious as a child that I had to take anti-acids

In grade school!


It is easy for me to get wrapped up in worry

And these are worrisome times


We have a man with no shame,

A man who cannot tell the truth

A man who has (mostly) likely assaulted women

Running for President

And supported by an intense and cult-like following


We have a Supreme Court riddled with graft

And extreme ideology

Which refuses to look at its perfidy

And there for is illegitimate and unjust


We have looming economic collapse

Because one party has created a lose/lose scenario

Go into default or past a bill that harms the poor (while protecting the rich)


We have an epidemic of gun violence

And yet continue to worship guns


We have a party which has turned fundamentally fascist

And is living out that ideology of domination and retribution

At the state level


We have a movement to deny the existence

Of people who were created LGBTQI+

And not just deny their existence, but extinguish it


We have abused power






And much of this dysfunction is being done in the name of Jesus

Forgive us God,

For while some know not what they do

Some know exactly what they are doing, and they don’t care.


How did we get here?


We got here because we have attached to the wrong things

We have filled our souls with the wrong things

With spiritual garbage


In the Gospel of Matthew 5:3-10, Jesus proclaims nine Beatitudes:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit”,

“Blessed are those who mourn”,

“Blessed are the meek”,

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness”,

“Blessed are the merciful”,

“Blessed are the pure in heart”,

“Blessed are the peacemakers”,

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness”,

“Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of calumny

 against you falsely on my account.”


I would summarize it this way

Blessed are those who let go of the need for power

Blessed are those who let go of the need to always feel “happy”

Blessed are those who are able to let go of their ego

Blessed are those who insist on the truth

Blessed are those who see the pain of others

Blessed are those who are willing to seek the common good

Blessed are those who do what is right, even if it is not politically expedient

Blessed are those who are willing to be marginalized because they stand on the side of love.  Because they stand with those the world would marginalize (the poor, the mentally ill, the LGBTQI+ community, the immigrants, the aged)


Or more simply yet

Blessed are those who fall into Love


Who empty themselves

Who become quieter, smaller, and less filled with their own self

Less filled with a need for wealth

Less filled with a need for power

Less filled with the need to get retribution

Less filled with fear


So that there is room for Love

For Sacred

For the Holy Spirit


For to these belong the Kingdom of Heaven

These are the people who will ultimately prove that love wins


And God knows

It is not those loudly proclaiming Jesus

And proclaiming Jesus

And legislating their version of Jesus

Who are going to “win the world” for the Sacred (Love)


It is those who have emptied themselves, who have taken on the mindset of Jesus

Those who “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.

But in humility value others above themselves,

And look not to their own interests

but to the interests of others.


This is the only way we will ever pull the Kingdom of God into reality

This is the only way it will be “on earth as it is in heaven”


This is “the way” God will become present in the very “now of things”

In this very hurting world

Saturday, April 22, 2023

Fighting evil with evil

O Beloved One

What has happened to us?


We read the news and we are bewildered





It is not that there is evil in the world

There has always been evil in the world


It is that those forces that should be resisting evil

are instead aligning with evil


Those with power


Religious leaders


The righteous and the upright

have chosen NOT the way of justice



compassion and love


but the way of domination

the way of oppression and suppression

retribution and coercion

control and punishment


Instead of fighting for children, they fight for guns

Instead of fighting for true freedom, they fight for the ability to make others

Subservient and controlled


Instead of insisting on truth, they embrace falsehood  

Instead of forgiving they seek to “own” the other side

Instead of giving, they seek to accumulate

Instead of supporting the vulnerable, they abandon them

Instead of offering grace, they demand merit (you better work for SNAP)

Instead of valuing all lives, they seek to extinguish those they do not deem as valuable

And deny the right of LGBTQI+ people to exist (as if God made a mistake)


While piously holding their Bibles aloof

And posturing with prayer

While insisting they are pro-life

And the protectors of children

They ignore what Jesus teaches and fail

To “do justice and to love kindness and to walk humbly with God?”

Micah 6:8


While insisting that they are going to create a theocracy

They create a worldly empire that violates God

In every way conceivable.


We are called to overcome evil with good

With truth





Instead, all too often, when seeking to overcome evil

We use evil

And thus do not overcome evil but strengthen it

Perpetuating it


And evil in “holy” clothing

Is the most powerful evil of all


Jesus knew this, which is why his harshest words

His biggest challenges were directed toward

Those aligned with empire

With the political and religious power structure


Does it have to be this way?  Is this the way it will always be?


O beloved, we all fall short of the glory of God

Only Jesus ever lived out the divine potential

We are loved anyway


I personally have more than my fair share of issues

And can cry with Paul

“I do not understand my own actions.

 For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.”


But I do believe this

Even though we stumble and struggle

And sometimes fail


We can choose the path of Jesus

Instead of the path of domination


We can partner not with Empire and the forces of the world

But with the Spirit,




We can “ do nothing from selfish ambition or empty conceit, but in humility regard others as better than ourselves”

We can choose “not look to our own interests but to the interests of others”


We can seek the mind of Christ


who, though he existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God

as something to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave,

assuming human likeness. and being found in appearance as a human, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death — even death on a cross (Phil. 2)


Beloved On

Be among us

Be in us


We need your help, now!

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

All about fear

It is all about fear




What is the fruit of fear?


When we are afraid we are separated from each other.

We cannot see each other as friends, collaborators, brothers and sisters.

We see them as threats


And when others are threats

We must dominate them

Control them

Intimidate them


The ideology of domination comes from fear, not strength

Fear, not a sense of “rightness”

Fear, not God


God says “Perfect love (my love) casts out all fear”


It is fear that causes right-wing politicians to use their power

To oppress and suppress

To punish

To minimize

To control


Authoritarian governments are born out of fear


It is fear that drives the gun-rights movement

Fear of those uppity people who should know their place

Fear of those who are different

Fear of progress



It was fear that caused an old man to shoot through the glass at an innocent teenager

It was fear, and the need to feel powerful, that caused a man to fire bullets

Into a car, killing a young person who just happened to be lost

It is fear that drives the American right to the polls to vote for a toxic narcissist

It is fear that causes many a preacher to push dominance and hate


It is a theology of fear that insists that if you don’t turn you will burn

And be in conscious eternal torment for eternity


It is fear of this same malign God of domination that lies behind

The rigidity and ideological myopia of the pro-life movement

(God will get you if you don’t watch out)


It is fear that drives racism and greed

That robs people of insight and compassion

That keeps them from being welcoming, generous, and kind


How many times do the angels show up

Saying “Do not be afraid”

Jesus tells the people, do not be afraid

God has the sparrows, God has you


Fear not, God is giving you the kingdom


And his last intimate conversation with his disciples begins

Do not let your hearts be troubled


It is interesting that those who live in fear

Want the rest of us to fear


And it works, doesn’t it?!


How many of us, watching the creep of fear-driven authoritarianism

Are afraid.


But still, the message comes

Be not afraid

Be not afraid

Be not afraid


"...for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control." (2 Tim)


God is

God is with us

God loves us

God has given us the power of love


Be not afraid

But use the power of love

Get up, Get going, Get doing,

And overcome evil with good

Monday, April 17, 2023

Time for Lament


“We have become a place of long weeping

A house of scattered feathers

There is no home for us between earth and sky.

                     From Collected Lamentations from the Night of Knives” 

                     Rebecca Roanhorse


How deserted lies the city, once so full of people!

How like a widow is she, who once was great among the nations!

                     Lamentations 1:1



my heart screams

“it is time for lament”


it is time to cover ourselves with ashes

and enter that place of “long-weeping”


we must lament

before we can repent

we must lament

before we can change

we must lament before we can move to praise and thanksgiving


without lament, hope cannot truly come


it is time to lament

our culture of guns and violence

where children are slaughtered in our schools

and young boys are shot in the head for ringing a doorbell


it is time to lament

the lies told so easily

poured forth by politicians who have no shame


it is time to lament

greed and graft

tolerated and even celebrated

graft seated in the highest court of the land


it is time to lament

the death of justice for political expediency

the embrace of authoritarianism

the oppression and suppression practiced with impunity

in the land of right-wing supermajorities


it is time to lament inequity

that the top 10% in America hold 76% of the wealth

and the bottom 50% hold 1% of our wealth


it is time to lament the peril faced by

people who are BIPOC

who are LGBTQI+

who are mentally ill

who are addicted

as they are demonized, marginalized, and minimized


time to cry, especially, for our trans youth

whose very existence is being denied


it is time to lament a political party

built on fear and hate, lies, ignorance, suppression, and oppression

to lament that the news is not news but propaganda


it is a time to lament a church

that has chosen to walk a path far different from that of Jesus

and has sided with the way of dominance rather than servanthood

the way of ascension rather than the way of kenosis


lament is painful

it is a cry of the heart


but unless our hearts weep for what is wrong

unless we are willing to see what is wrong

we cannot turn toward what is right

we cannot turn toward Sacred


unless we lament we will not change


it is time for lament

Thursday, April 13, 2023

Practice Resurrection

 Fear is the door in the heart that lets evil spirits in.

                    Lakota teacher Buck Ghosthorse


To be Resurrection for another I need to be Resurrection for myself. That means I cannot dwell in [despair] and death and anger and oppression and submission and resentment and pain forever. I need to wake up, get up, rise up, put on life even when days are dark and my soul is down and shadows surround me everywhere…. I have to listen to the voice that says:

“Be resurrection.”… “Be born again. And again. And again. Rise up and be counted. Rise up and imbibe the good news deeply—that death does not conquer, that life, not death, has the last word….”

                     Matthew Fox (as quoted by Richard Rohr, Daily Meditations 4/13/23


Plant sequoias, Practice resurrection

                     Wendell Berry



“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,

it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness,

it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity,

it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness,

it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”

(Charles Dickens, Tale of Two Cities)


and so it is


we are in epic times

and it is not the first time

human creatures have been here


perhaps we are always here

living in a paradox

living in a liminal world


between good and evil

between freedom and authoritarianism

between progress and regress


between death and tomb

and resurrection and life


I sometimes wonder what keeps us here

lurking in the empty tomb

moping around the garden

hiding in an upper room





I think that is it!


how is it that we fear life?

Fear true freedom?

Fear progress?

Fear one another?


I do not know, but we do

what causes Donald Trump to lie and bully?

what causes him to act in predatory ways?


what causes Ron DeSantis to seek total control?

and to lust for retribution?


what causes a white-dominated legislature to

try and silence, and push to the back of the room

(or even expel) young black leaders


what causes so many Americans to grasp the

gross lethality of an AR 15?


what causes those on the left to demonize those on the right

and fail to listen or respect?


what causes me to live my life haunted

that I will not ever be enough

that I am deficit and thus must compensate for that

and prove my value?




Fear that one is not loved

Not relevant                

Without power

Fear that one will be oppressed, suppressed, eradicated


And so in fear, we behave poorly

Embracing oppression, suppression, and even death

We putter around the graveyard

The place of death


And do not practice resurrection


It is time for us to embrace life

we need to “wake up, get up, rise up,”

we need to “put on life”

even when days are dark and souls are afflicted

and our hearts hurt

and shadows loom


We have to hear the call to come of out the tomb

To leave the graveyard

And say


I have seen Life


We have to choose to live

To be a presence in the world that is joy

That is hope

That is compassion

That is love


We have to rise up and be counted

Again and again


We have to practice resurrection


Tuesday, April 11, 2023


“Jesus's resurrection is the beginning of God's new project not to snatch people away from earth to heaven but to colonize earth with the life of heaven.”

― N.T. Wright



Easter is

the end of a path to a tomb

the beginning of a path

to the whole world


Easter is death

Becoming life


God’s yes


Easter is surprise


Easter is flowers in bloom

Hearts becoming open


Easter is hope





Easter is the death of hate

and fear

and violence

as solutions to anything


Easter is the birth of love

And acceptance

And compassion


The great surprise is that resurrection

Is not just for the rich and powerful

Not just for the saints

Not just for the learned


But for everyone

Rich and poor

Saint and sinner



There are no winners and losers on Easter

Just us

All of us

Being raised from the tombs we have dug for ourselves

Just us

Being loved to newness


Easter is unbelievable




And yet


Easter is

Friday, April 7, 2023

Good Friday

it was Friday

on Sunday desperate people had protested hopelessness

and dared believe in hope


shouting Hosanna

a cry of dissent they had asked to be rescued

from systems of oppression

from religious bigots

and political hacks

and the greedy rich


save us!  Now!


and there had been signs of hope.

a table tossed

the pious challenged


but the duplicitous were

not convinced


show us a sign!

show us a sign!


a sign?

you shall have a sign?

the sign of Jonah


the One you love

what you love

all you love


all you yearn for

pray for

hope for


will be swallowed up


swallowed by the monster

consumed, engulfed, hidden



gone for a while


until it comes again


and now it was Friday

and the monster had swallowed love

it was all gone!

hope, compassion, kindness, acceptance, welcome



devastated by every swing of the whip

every taunt

every blow of the hammer

every gasping breath


now it was Friday

and it was finished


empire had won!

the need to dominate and control had won!

hate and bigotry had won!

love had been murdered


swallowed up


but remember Jonah

who festered in the monster’s belly

but ended up where God wanted him to God

a reluctant savior



injustice and death



yet out of those hours

those days

of darkness


came life


perhaps it always works this way

when love confronts hate

when servanthood confronts domination


perhaps the monster

that is racism, authoritarianism, greed

will momentarily win


perhaps we will always spend time in the belly of the whale

in darkness


before we eventually find our way to the light


Gandhi was gunned down

Martin Luther King Jr. too

Mandela was imprisoned


what are we to think

as children are slaughtered so human creatures

can have their instruments of death?

what are we to think

as authoritarians suppress the vote

and take away freedom

for the LGBTQI+ community

and women

and minorities


what do we do as love

and justice,

and equity are swallowed up

in Florida, and Tennessee


what are we to do

as the systems of the world are

controlled by people so in love with power

that they will lie, and cheat to keep that power

and will, once they have it, abuse that power?


the monster lives

and we are in the belly


remember Jonah who, out of the belly of the monster

ended up where God needed him to go


remember Jesus

who left the tomb behind


maybe like Jonah, reluctantly

like Jesus, willingly

we must go through moments in the belly

moments when all is darkness


moments when we let go

of everything


our plans, agendas,


above all our power


in order to find our way to where

we are meant to be

in order to embrace the divine plan

which is love and life


in Jesus’s time, the empire did its best

to crush, destroy and control

in our time the same foul powers are at work

we see them expelling black legislators

denying the existence of trans people


we see them grasping their money

their guns

their political power

their control


but it is only Friday

and Love has plans

Thursday, April 6, 2023

Maundy Thursday

Jesus breaks boundaries in his own life and causes a lot of shock, and he tells other people that anything he can do they can do also.  Follow me, be the light of the world, all of you.  You can do it.  The kingdom is at hand: you don’t have to wait, you can do it now.  The power of God is vested in you – hidden in you, perhaps, but it’s there.  Believe in it, let it shine.

                                                                                                                   Beatrice Bruteau



Ah Jesus

Those poor disciples, they hardly knew you

But alas, we hardly know you


or so it seems


you went around turning everything upside down

taking all the nice neat categories and boundaries

and blowing them apart


taking our entire philosophy of life

where some win, and some lose

where some are in, and some are out

where some dominate, and get the riches

and some are dominated;

put down, despised, used, and manipulated


and rejecting that way



they didn’t get it, not fully

those fishermen



nor do we

not even our technology

can help us here


we still see others as the other

as those who can help us or hurt us

as those who are to be used or driven away

as those to be dominated          


the “potentiality of hurt” separates us

and we walk through life

“separated selves” (Bruteau)


a revolution is called for

a holy Thursday revolution (Bruteau)


O Jesus

the boundaries must be stretched and shattered

in our lives

as they were in yours


the boundaries between those who are in

and those who are out

between the rich and poor

diseased and healthy


us and them

needs to fade




and we need to move from a world

built on domination

to one built on communion


where we eat from one loaf

drink from one cup

and wash each other’s feet


to a world where

just as YOU fed us with your very self

we feed each other


where, as in the meal

you, O Beloved, become us

so too in the meal

we become each other



dwell in each other

and lay down our lives

for each other


in communion comes

the Kingdom of God