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Wednesday, May 29, 2013


For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.
Paul, 1 Corinthians 12:12-13

In the movie "The Wizard of Oz" just after the Winged Monkeys have attacked Dorothy and her three friends, Scarecrow lies torn apart by the Winged Monkeys while Tin Man and Lion try to put him back together.


Help! Help! Help! Help! Help!
Oh! Well, what happened to you?
They tore my legs off, and they threw them
over there! Then they took my chest out,
and they threw it over there!
Well, that's you all over.
They sure knocked the stuffings out of you, didn't they?
Don't stand there talking! Put me together!
We've got to find Dorothy!
Now, let' s see -- this goes -- Oh, I wish
I were better at puzzles.
Wait a minute. This is the left one. He
walks bad enough already.
Oh, poor Dorothy. We may never see her
Who do you suppose they were? And where did
they take her? A fine thing - to go to
pieces at a time like this!
Now, now, don't fret.
Oh, dear, dear.
We'll get you together!

Sometimes I wonder if perhaps we do to God what the Winged Monkeys did to Scarecrow. I wonder if God doesn't lie strewn about with Jews over there, Hindus over here, Muslims in between, and Christians all over the place as Catholics, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Methodists, Pentecostals, etc., infinitum. 

I wonder if perhaps in our various religions we keep confusing remembering God with recalling our particular understanding and experience of God as if it were the only, or best, understanding. In doing so we leave all others strewn about. Instead of re-membering God we dis-member God.

It appears to me this is exactly what Paul was telling the people of Corinth in his letter to them, and to us, as that letter is passed down as scripture.  It appears to me the re-membering of God is also an underlying, if not central, part of most spiritual traditions once religious and sectarian trappings are taken away.  

To use another "...Oz" analogy, when the curtain of religion is pulled away we may very well see our particular "great and powerful" God as an illusion.  But in doing so we discover and begin to re-member the multiplicity of God as the very fabric of Creation - Whole, Complete and One.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


As the weather warms in the Earth's northern hemisphere its people emerge as well.  We come out from our  houses, apartment buildings, factories and office buildings seeking, looking, and longing.  We are drawn to patios, lawns, forests, parks, sidewalk tables, rivers, lakes, mountains, deserts, oceans, the sun, and night skies.  Many people spend time and money to travel to places where we feel more connected to creation, to ourselves, and to others.

What is it that draws us?  Could it be that wherever it may be, simply being outside reminds us deep in our consciousness that we too are part of creation, that the air we breath, the water we drink, the food we eat, all come from these places to which we are drawn?  Could it be that the still lake, the mountain trail, the lapping waves, and the stars remind us from where we come and to where one day we will return?  Could it be that even though the places we call "home" where we eat, sleep, work, and spend so much time are not really home at all?

Is "home" really a place?  Perhaps not.  Maybe home is not so much, as the old adage says "..where the heart is," but rather a longing of not just the heart, but of body, mind, and soul to re-connect and re-belong to the wonder of creation.

The real beauty of it all is that to go home, to find, feel, and perhaps momentarily satisfy this longing all we need do is step outside.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


"We had pancakes for breakfast!"  I heard this exuberant proclamation from a child's voice as I walked down the sidewalk yesterday morning.   I immediately recognized the source of the joyous news as a kindergarten aged boy standing in the front doorway of a house grinning from ear to ear while several little friends and their mom giggled with glee at his announcement.  This reminded me of last Sunday morning during the "quiet" time just before our worship service when a little girl bounded into the the sanctuary swinging one of our children activity bags while saying in a loud voice to her father who was sitting across the sanctuary, "Daddy, I got the last one!"  And then there was the time when our own daughter was in her first Christmas Pageant at church and upon her entrance spied her mother and me in the balcony and shouted while beaming, "Papa, look at me.  I'm an angel!"

Oh, if only we could all see, experience, and appreciate life with the wonder and exuberance of a child.  One thing is certain -  there would definitely be a lot more grinning, giggling, bounding, beaming, and joy in our lives and in the world.   Of course there would be tears too.  But a child's tears rarely last very long.

So, why not see, smell, hear, touch, and taste the world as a four year old today and see what joy comes into your life.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013


For the past nine years plus I have either jogged or walked at least 2 or 3 mornings a week on the National Mall here in Washington DC.  During this time I've seen a lot of changes take place: festival and concert venues go up and down, presidential inauguration stands constructed and taken down, capitol Christmas trees appear and disappear, and seasons come and go.   One common occurrence is for temporary fences to be periodically placed around grassy areas to restore the turf.   There is one particular place between the Capitol reflecting pool and The Mall that people use as a shortcut path.  Annually, usually in early Spring, fences go up to prevent people from taking this shortcut.  However, as soon as the fences come down, people reestablish the dirt, and often muddy, path.

This year a surprising thing happened.  The fences did not go up around this particular path.  Instead the path was groomed with fresh wood chips.   The persistence of the people finally prevailed.

I'm reminded by this of recent studies in neuroscience of the characteristic of the human brain called neuroplasticity.  Simply put, the brain is maleable and is literally changed by repetitive activity.  Of course anyone who ever memorized a multiplication table or the Gettysburg Address knows this.

In a recent interview with Krista Tippett, neuropsychologist Rex Jung says:

The important thing is they're doing a very new thing in a concerted way. And their brain says, hey, if we're going to be doing this thing in the environment over and over and over, I'm going to build tissue to do that so that we can do it easier and more efficiently. So if you're going to be creative, pick one thing, get a lot of experience in that one thing, and do it over and over and over.

Just as our bodies become what we eat, our minds become what we think and do.  So, if the things we do and think literally shape our brains, which in turn determines our perspective on the world, wouldn't we be wise to pay more attention to what we are doing and thinking?