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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Life, Death and Love

"Thus you shall say to the Israelites, "I am has sent me to you.' "
Exodus 3:14

"I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end."
Revelation 22:13

In the fresh and turbulent wake of last Friday's terrible events, there is a cry and hue, as well as a rush to "do something."   It seems to always be this way in the aftermath of tragedy and especially human caused tragedy.  Too often our "doing" consist of saturating ourselves in what seems to be an unquenchable thirst for information as consumers of a media frenzy.  Hearing and seeing the same things repeatedly and melodramatically in some way creates an illusionary substitution of knowledge for action.  Once we know all the facts and are satiated with the details, express our horror, disgust, anger, and grief then we are ready to move on.  Another scenario is to immediately identify what caused the tragedy and to go about fixing a problem by closing the barn door after all the cows are already out, and adding to the layers of fear and insecurity to which we have grown so accustomed.  The problem with both of these reactions of "knowing" and "doing" is that neither really does anything but take us through a familiar cycle until the next tragedy de jour.    

Of course, in the midst of lives directly affected by tragedy there is plenty to do as people, with the comfort and support of family, friends and neighbors, put lives back together and slowly begin to imagine how to continue living in a profoundly altered world.  But even our human caring, compassion, and resiliency for suffering are but coping mechanisms, unless there is an awakening of heart, spirit, and soul to our individual and collective fear of death and to the marvelously mysterious, interconnected reality of existence in which we participate.

When we can embrace birth and death, the worst and the best, exile and homecoming, manger and cross, the beginning and the end as all part of Divine experience, then as the poet Hafiz says,

…God has stopped playing child's games
With your mind
And dragged you backstage by
The hair,

Shown to you the only possible

For this bizarre and spectacular

Go running through the streets
Creating divine chaos,

Make everyone and yourself ecstatically mad
For the Friend's beautiful open arms.

Go running through this world
Giving love, giving love,...

When we truly know that Life, Death and Love are inextricably intermingled and interwoven within the wholeness of creation, then we will be prepared to act from compassion that not only heals, but also brings us into new ways of knowing, being, doing and living.

Go here for an excellent discussion/interview on Life, Death and Love.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Good News!

The angel replied [to Zechariah], "I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news.
- Luke 1:19

But the angel said to the shepherds, "Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people…  
- Luke 2:10

So, with many other exhortations, John [the Baptist] proclaimed the good news to the people.  
- Luke 3:18

"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free…"  
- Luke 4:18

There is a clear message at the very center of Advent and Christmas.   Some translations of scripture call it "glad tidings",  some "good news", some "preaching", and others "gospel".    The Greek word is "Euaggelizo" which comes from two words that mean "good" and "message".   The message part is also the root word for "angel."

The Advent and Christmas stories are of angels bringing good news of the birth of two babies, John and Jesus, who in turn as adults preach good news, and in effect become angels.   The message and the messenger are both good news.

But it's not just John and Jesus who become angels.  It's also the shepherds, Mary, the Magi, the people who come into John's wilderness, the disciples, the crowds who listen to Jesus, the sick who are healed, the writers of stories passed down through the ages, and eventually us.  We receive Good News from all of these angels in order to become Good News ourselves - We Are Each Other's Angels.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Practice As Preparation

"Prepare the way of the Lord."
Isaiah 40:3

There is a dynamic in life that says in times of difficulty or crisis we will usually default to that which we already know.  When we don’t know what to do we do what we know.  (Sometimes even when we consciously know what to do we still do the opposite because this is what is ingrained in our sub-conscious.)

Soldiers, athletes, artists and mystics have known this for centuries.  This is why their lives are described as lives of discipline because they continually practice that which they want to become the default response of their lives.

Could this be what Advent is all about?   

If we want a world of hope, joy, peace, and love then perhaps these need to become our disciplines, our preparation, our daily practice.

Then Advent becomes not waiting for Jesus to come, but preparing for Christ coming in our lives by actually living the way Jesus taught and showed us to live. 

This way Christ is born into the world through us. 

From the sermon "The Hope of Advent" on Dec. 2, 2012


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Winter - Friend or Foe?

It’s cold outside this morning, the first really cold morning in these waning days of fall.  The light of day is getting shorter and trees are bearing their limbs.  Soon the starkness of winter will be with us.

It’s about this time of year when I recall the first few lines of a poem I memorized in a high school French class.  Through the marvel of the internet I found the entire poem by Charles d’Orleans that was eventually set to music by Claude Debussy.

Yver, vous n'estes qu'un vilain;
Esté est plaisant et gentil
En témoing de may et d'avril 
Qui l'accompaignent soir et main.
Esté revet champs, bois et fleurs
De sa livrée de verdure
Et de maintes autres couleurs
Par l'ordonnance de nature.
Mais vous, Yver, trop estes plein 
De nège, vent, pluye et grézil.
On vous deust banir en éxil.
Sans point flater je parle plein,
Yver, vous n'estes qu'un vilain.

Winter, you're naught but a rouge.
Summer is pleasantness and kindness,
as we see from May and April
which accompany it evening and morning.
Summer, by nature's order, clothes
fields, woods and flowers
with its livery of green
and many other hues.
But you, Winter, are too full
of snow, wind, rain and sleet.
We must send you into exile.
I'm no flatterer and I speak my mind.
Winter, you're naught but a rouge.

The other side of this poem is that during these short days we also experience some of the most vibrant blue skies of the year, the long nights bring crystal clear heavens that are often obscured by the heat and haze of summer, and there is regenerative mystery in the barrenness and dormancy of nature where new growth is nurtured.

It is no wonder that at this time of year we also begin to decorate our houses and streets with light and celebrate the coming and Presence of Light in the world.

By the way, tonight is a full moon.  I hope the skies are clear where you are – enjoy!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Give Thanks!

If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.
- Meister Eckhart.

O give thanks to the Lord, for Lord is good, for God’s steadfast love endures forever
- Psalm 136

Giving thanks is a liberating and cleansing act. When we are thankful there is no room for lack or scarcity of anything.  When we are grateful our world is bigger and brighter.  Thanks and gratitude are thresholds into the fecundity of creation.

The expression of thanks and gratitude is perhaps the most important practice we can have in our lives, not just one day of the year, but every day.

As we sing every Sunday in our congregation while bringing our offerings:  “Give thanks with a grateful heart. Give thanks to the Holy One.”

Happy Thanksgiving! 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

"...And Beyond"

"Thin place" is how 20th century reviver of the Iona Abbey in Iona and founder of the Iona Community, George MacLeod described Iona, Scotland - a place where the temporal and eternal meet, the visible and invisible mingle.  - from One Eternal Presence, Sabbatical - Oban and Iona

Box Canyon at Ghost Ranch, New Mexico is a thin place. To get to Box Canyon you hike up a gently graded stream bed that is easily crisscrossed. The farther up stream you go the larger the rocks in the bed become as the mesa walls get closer and higher. After climbing over and through one final stand of bolders you are in Box Canyon.  

It is a natural cathedral with high concave walls that arch overhead framing a circular section of sky above.  Except for the sound of trickling water from several places in the wall, the silence encompasses you.  There is a large bolder with a flat top near the center of the canyon floor serving as a natural alter.  It is truly a place where the temporal and eternal meet, the visible and invisible mingle.  Once you get there you don't want to leave.

About half way up the trail to Box Canyon, before the mesa walls become steep and narrow there is another trail marked with a sign:  "To Upper Camp and Beyond."

This trail is winding and steep and goes to a natural "campsite" several hundred feet above Box Canyon.   "...And Beyond" goes even higher to the lower levels of Mesa Montosa, which on its top is close to two thousand feet above the trail head to Box Canyon.  From "...And Beyond" looking back down on Box Canyon (which by the way you can't really see) what you see is an ancient river bed winding down a valley until it comes to a drop off that was once a waterfall. It becomes evident that Box Canyon cathedral was once the plungepool for that waterfall.

My observation here is simple:  from "...And Beyond" what we had thought and experienced as eternal becomes more temporal and what was invisible to us before is now more visible.  From "...And Beyond" we discover a different "eternal" and "invisible" - another thin place.  That is until the next "...And Beyond." 

When was the last time you explored "...And Beyond?" 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Day(s) After

I’m writing this on Election Day not knowing the outcomes, while knowing you will read it the day, or days, after.  To some, whose candidates won, it is a time of relief, celebration, and anticipation. To others, whose candidates fell short, it is a time of melancholy and reflection, with retreating glimpses of what might have been.

Regardless of election outcomes, what really matters is our knowing who we are and how to live in the present moment, fully embracing our joy or sadness.

God speaks to each of us as he makes us,
then walks with us silently out of the night.

These are the words we dimly hear:

You, sent out beyond your recall,
go to the limits of your longing.
Embody me.

Flare up like flame
and make big shadows I can move in.

Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror.
Just keep going. No feeling is final.
Don't let yourself lose me.

Nearby is the country they call life.
You will know it by its seriousness.

Give me your hand.

- Rilke, Book of Hours, I,59.  Translation, Barrows and Macy

I heard this poem on the radio program / podcast “On Being with Krista Tippett” and strongly recommend you listen to or read the transcript of one of the most moving interviews I’ve heard there:  

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

After The Storm

A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, "Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?"He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, "Peace! Be still!" Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. He said to them, "Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?" And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, "Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?"   
-Mark 4

For most of the world it goes unnoticed.  But for those at its center it is the world.  That's the way it is with storms of all kinds whether they be wind and waves, snow and sleet, water and mud, or words and emotions.  Storms consume those caught in their paths, mostly for hours or days but sometimes forever.  
Storms change coastlines, landscapes, skylines, neighborhoods, and lives.  Storms come and storms go but not without leaving awe in their wakes.  

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Melody and Harmony

Sometimes people use this very old expression, “unity in diversity.” I very much like the way Japanese speak—not about unity in diversity, but “harmony in diversity.”   There is this great diversity at every level—and diversity is part of the superabundance of life. Diversity is an absolute necessity for something to emerge and come into being.    
 - Ursula King

Melody is the single strand of music that is usually recognizable, familiar, and comfortable to our ears and voices.  Melody can be sung by one person, or by several in unison.  Melody is the story of life as we may imagine or wish it to have happened: simple, straight forward, independent, and tidy.   

Harmony derives from melody as different but related tones add depth and texture to the melody.  Harmony brings in the mysterious, the nearly recognizable, the not so familiar, and perhaps even the discordant.  Harmony requires more than one voice.  Harmony is the story of life as it most likely is: rich, layered, interconnected, and often messy.   

What are the songs of our lives, and are they mostly melody or harmony?   

If we are to truly embrace the wonder of life and the majesty of creation perhaps a beginning is learning to harmonize. 

"O sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth."
- Psalm 96

Friday, October 19, 2012

More Holy Ground!

Since I've recently written about my time in New Mexico, I just had to share these photos with you.  They appear on Jeff Sockwell's blog, with whom, along with Bill Owens, I was together in NM.  


Photos of more holy ground!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God

But only he who sees, takes off his shoes
- Elizabeth Barrett Browning

"...the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of a bush; he looked, and the bush was blazing... and the Lord said, "Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground."
- Exodus 3

Recently when I was in New Mexico the high altitudes of the mountains were painted with the brilliant yellow of aspens in their glory, while far below lining stream beds was a different but equally beautiful yellow of the cottonwoods. Today when the first rays of morning sun touch the maple tree outside our front door it glows and shimmers in red hues.  This time of year, I have no trouble whatsoever believing in burning bushes. 

It's a good time of year to wear slippers.     

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

View From The Cheap Seats

How can I write about anything else today besides baseball?   Today, for the first time in forty-eleven years (Who knows how many? Every thing I read and see has a different number), a loooong time, there will be a post-season baseball game in Washington, DC.

Back in 2005 when the Montreal Expos became the Washington Nationals and season tickets went on sale I was among the first in line (my account # is in the low 400's).  I've been a baseball fan (and player in youth) my entire life then suddenly I lived close enough to the ballpark to walk to a major league game.  (As an aside, I attended the very first National League Championship Series game between the Braves and Mets in 1969, but that's another story).   How could I not have some kind of season ticket?  It was only a 20 game ticket for two seats in the "cheap seats", but it was baseball.   And as I learned to say in during some lean years as an Atlanta Braves fan, "Bad baseball is better than no baseball at all."

Then the Nats moved to the new ball park, and after one season there I upped my tickets to 40 games and split with a close friend who loves and enjoys the game as much as me.  Since then there have been times when neither of our wives could go so we ended up going to a lot of the games together.  So, suffice to say in the 8 seasons the Nationals have been playing, I've seen a lot of baseball, and been in the park for more then several crushing defeats as well as glorious walk off wins.

My friend and I will be in Nationals Park today.  It happens that both our wives are out of town with work.   And win or loose, we, along with thousands of others and the entire city of DC will be celebrating the long awaited fruit of the initial return of baseball to DC, of planning, persistence, patience, and above all hope.

We're still in the "cheap seats" but today every seat in the ballpark is a box seat!    GO NATS!

Thanks for indulging a little sentiment today.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Lessons From The Trail

OEP 10-3-12

When is the last time you learned something by getting it right? It happens occasionally but more often than not we learn from our mistakes, our failures.

Yesterday was a perfect example of this dynamic for two friends and me. The three of us were hiking at Ghost Ranch, New Mexico and had set out about 9:00 a.m. with plenty of food and water for the top of Mesa Montosa . My friends had made the hike before and had successfully come off the mesa down a dry stream bed, but didn't remember exactly where it was.

To make a long story (and long day) short, suffice to say we had numerous "learning experiences" as we searched for our way down, always keeping in mind to leave enough daylight to make our way back to the trail we had taken up.

At the end of the day even though we were tired and sore, and had not reached our intended destination, we considered the day a great success. We enjoyed the camarderie of the hike, saw spectacular vistas, re-discovered physical capabilities of younger days, and learned a great deal about Mesa Montosa that we hadn't know before. Most of all we learned that we're going to find the end of that elusive stream bed and make our way up it, so that next time we'll know our way down.

There is no such thing as failure as long as we are willing to learn from our mistakes.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

For and Against

" one who does a deed of power in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me. Whoever is not against you is for you..."      Jesus to his disciples in Mark 9

"Whoever is not against you is for you" is a lot different from the inverse of the statement which seems to be more commonly used: "If you are not for me you are against me."  The main difference is in pure numbers.  There are a whole lot of people, probably most people in the world, who are "not against you", while those who actually know you and are "for" you are probably few in number.  

Jesus' way of seeing "for and against" immediately assumes inclusion and acceptance of others.  The other way assumes exclusion and rejection.

The 8th Chapter of Romans eloquently articulates the world view available to us when we discover the Eternal Presence of God, the Spirit of Christ, in our lives and the lives of others, the summation of which is:  "If God is for us who can be against us?"   And even though it is a rhetorical question, the answer is provided: nothing can "separate us from the  love of God."

A juxtaposition of Mark and Romans gives us a pretty good way to see the world:
Whoever is not against you is for you.  If God is for you who can be against you?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


…those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it…Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed…
Mark 8:35,38

-today's message is from my sermon Playful, Powerful Words, September 16, 2012:

Jesus uses the words that he nearly always uses to describe himself:  “Son of Man.”  This is a title with which the disciples would be familiar. It appears in numerous places in the Hebrew Scriptures and has a wide range of meaning that encompasses the fullness of the human/divine relationship.

By calling himself Son of Man instead of Messiah, Jesus places himself among not above humanity.  He offers his own life as the example and says follow me. And in doing so he shows us how to be truly and fully human - which also means claiming the divine spark within ourselves.

This is the “life” we discover when we loose the “life” we perceive as separate from God, and thus separate from one another, and all of Creation.
In other words, how can we be fully human, how can we live as we were created in the Divine Image, if we are ashamed of being human?

The life we give up and the life we gain can be put this way: We can see ourselves as fallen creatures unworthy of Divine love, or we can claim life as God infused humanity by following Jesus and living his words.

Ultimately, I think Jesus ends up saying, whoever we say he is, whatever words we use to describe him, will determine who we say we are.

And the words we use to describe ourselves, determine the words we use with others, which ultimately determine the life we live.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

September 10 and 12

If we really knew it was "goodbye", would we leave?
- Unknown

The Good News of the Gospel is that the worst thing is never the last thing!    
- Rick Wilson

For eleven years people around the world and in the The United States especially have paused on and around September 11 to remember and reflect.

We remember the surprise, the shock, the horror, and the deep sorrow.  We remember the unfathomable and senseless loss of life.  We also remember how for a brief moment the majority of the world was united by all of these things and joined together in condemnation of violence perpetrated in the name of militant religion.

As I remember and reflect I can't help but think of the before and after of that day.  I reflect on how the problems and worries of September 10, 2001 suddenly became far less so, and how the routine yet final meals, conversations, and embraces of so many people suddenly had lasting significance.  And then the sun came up on September 12.   The world, changed as it was, carried on.  We carried on in healthy, loving, constructive ways, as well as dis-eased, fearful and destructive ways.   And the world we live in today is significantly so because of the choices we made then and continue to make today in response to those and other shocks, horrors, and sorrows.

It may sound simple and perhaps even glib, yet profoundly true:  we have choices and make decisions every moment of every day that contribute to and create what tomorrow will be and how we look back and remember the "last" opportunities of our lives.

Everyday of our life is another chance, another September 10 or 12.


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Meaningful Work?

"The opposite of vacation would be occupation, a word we commonly use to describe that which we do with most of our lives - our work."    -Sermon, Capitol Hill Presbyterian, Sept. 2, 2012.

“The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet."   Frederick Buechner on Vocation

As we leave the season of vacation and re-enter lives of occupation some people may again be entertaining questions like:  "Why am I doing what I do?", "Is my work meaningful?", or "Am I personally fulfilled by my work?"  And there are many people for whom the the question may be, "When will I work again?"   

Whatever our work may be or whatever work we may seek, answers to questions like those above are best found from within.  Work itself has no inherent value, meaning, or purpose.  Value, meaning, and purpose come from our own perspectives and can range all the way from "saving the world" to "paying the bills", "to meeting customers' or clients' needs", or simply because "we enjoy it."

Tradition has it that the Buddha said when someone asks, "Who am I?"  the answer is, "Who is asking the question?"

Is our work meaningful?  A lot depends on how we see it.  And then on how we go about doing it.

Here's a great "On Being" podcast on ", education, and civic imagination..." 


Wednesday, August 15, 2012


“Thus, when you wake up in the morning, called by God to be a self again, if you want to know who you are, watch your feet. Because where your feet take you, that is who you are.”
― Frederick Buechner, The Alphabet of Grace

I looked at my feet this morning to see where I am.

Then I looked up!

I'm enjoying a few days of vacation with my family and will be back to the blog in earnest next week.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to search things out
- Proverbs 25:2

But seek first for the kingdom of God and God’s righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well
- Matthew 6:33

At the center of two events in our collective lives this week are stories of two young men, both musicians in bands.  One young man looked into darkness, became lost in fear and ignorance, bought an automatic weapon and killed peaceful, innocent people.  The other young man looked into a dark sky and saw stars, became lost in curiosity, enrolled in a community college physic course and placed a dream on the surface of Mars.

We can either fear the unknown, or be curious of it.  The evidence of our choices surround us.   

The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity.
- Albert Einstein

the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls; on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.   
- Matthew 13: 45-46

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


"The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light; but if your eye is unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!”      - Jesus, Matt 6:22-23

You like potato and I like potahto,
You like tomato and I like tomahto;
Potato, potahto, tomato, tomahto!
Let's call the whole thing off!
But oh! If we call the whole thing off,
Then we must part.
And oh! If we ever part,
Then that might break my heart!
So, if you like pajamas and I like pajahmas,
I'll wear pajamas and give up pajahmas.
For we know we need each other,
So we better call the calling off off.
Let's call the whole thing off!

- George and Ira Gershwin

We each see the world differently.  It is truly amazing and often a confounding reality that of all the people who ever lived, are living and will live, no two people ever see the same thing in the same way.  The physical process of sight itself is one of perspective and perception as light is filtered, reflected, transformed into electrical impulses, and interpreted through individual experiences and past conditioning.   And even for people who do not have physical sight there is still the “mind’s eye” that perceives and interprets.

It really does matter how we “see” the world.  Our perspective can lead to separation and division (“calling the whole thing off”) or unity and cooperation (“calling the calling off off”) – light or darkness.

If you say “tomato”, try saying “tomahto” and see if the world is any different.   If the world seems dark, let in some light and experience it throughout your body and beyond, just as Jesus teaches us. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Another Perspective

(please follow the links)

When will we ever learn? 
- Pete Seager, "Where Have All The Flowers Gone"

Aurora:  morning's first light, Goddess of Dawn, Dance of the Spirits, charged particles illuminating the atmosphere, a city in north central Colorado.

It is a glorious destiny to be a member of the human race, though it is a race dedicated to many absurdities and one which makes many terrible mistakes: yet, with all that, God Himself gloried in becoming a member of the human race. A member of the human race! To think that such a commonplace realization should suddenly seem like news that one holds the winning ticket in a cosmic sweepstake.

I have the immense joy of being man, a member of a race in which God Himself became incarnate. As if the sorrows and stupidities of the human condition could overwhelm me, now that I realize what we all are. And if only everybody could realize this! But it cannot be explained. There is no way of telling people that they are all walking around shining like the sun.         
 -Thomas Merton,  "Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander"

When will we ever learn?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


…God created humankind in God’s imageGod saw everything that God had made, and indeed, it was very good.”     Genesis 1:27,31   

“Yes is the answer and you know that for sureYes is surrender you got to let it go.”     John Lennon, “Mind Games.” 

Our spiritual stories tell us humans are created in God’s image and proclaimed along with all of Creation as “very good.”  The discoveries and stories of science tell us we are literally connected to one another and interconnected with all creation in chemical and molecular ways.  Our imaginations lead us to dream, create, and accomplish wonderful and amazing things.   And human consciousness allows us to be aware of all this wonder, as well as the choice to embrace it or not.

Human experience shows us that when we embrace God’s goodness within us, recognize ourselves in the other, and nurture imagination and creativity the results are abundance, compassion, empathy, cooperation, provision and peace.  When we say “yes” to our true humanity one might even call it “heaven on earth” to use traditional religious language.

On the other hand when we say “no” to our created goodness, interconnectedness, and creativity the human story is one of scarcity, greed, isolation, protection, fear and violence.

I recently heard it said that because of human consciousness people are the only participants in Creation who have the ability to say “no” to our created purpose.  A dog can’t say no to it’s nature, nor can an elephant, or tree, or stone – only humans have this ability.

Each and every moment of every day we live with what we call free will, which basically comes down to a simple “yes” or “no” response to our created purpose as human beings.

Why not give it a try?   Say “yes!” to Life and see what happens.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

God Particle(S!)

“I will be what I will be.”     
       --God to Moses at the Burning Bush

The announcement recently that the Higgs Boson particle, the building block of reality, has been empirically verified seems to have come and gone with a giant “ho-hum”.   I wonder if not for some people labeling it the “God Particle” would we have even cared or noticed that much.

Instead of pursuing the wonder and awe that the entire universe is literally connected and interconnected by a common particle, and then exploring the implications and possibilities for reconciliation between people and nature, we choose to remain embroiled in our self-created illusions of division and strife.

Even the naming of the particle the “God Particle” seems to be just another human attempt to single out and define in religious terms what cannot be defined or explained.  Instead of engaging and listening to science as a means of experiencing the reality we call God, some folks are using science to say, “We told you so.”

Personally I can’t help but wonder if still again a major revelation is occurring from unexpected places opening up new understandings of our place, meaning, and purpose in Creation, and we immediately begin to put it into our various boxes.  In a way I even do so as I write these words. 

To resist defining further I ask a simple question, “Are not all particles “God Particles?” 

Friday, July 6, 2012

Divesting or Invest?

I went to sleep last night troubled and confused over the PCUSA General Assembly voting by the narrowest of margins to reject divesting from companies profiting from the oppression of the Palestinian people.  Instead a substitute motion to invest in Palestine was approved. It was difficult to take.  Upon awakening this morning I began to see some light in this decision and a glimmer of hope appeared as I remembered Jeremiah's purchase of the field at Anathoth. 

Of course, we should invest in Palestine.  How else, except by putting our money where our passion, compassion, hope and rhetoric are, will we truly know the pain and horror the Palestinian people experience?  When their stories become our stories, when we and our investments are kept under constant surveillance, when we are denied free passage to and from our investments, when our investments are bulldozed before our eyes, then and only then will we truly know the need for the roll and flow of justice and righteousness.

Invest in Palestine?   By all means!  And while we're at it we need to take a look at a few fields in Kabul, Mogadishu, Port a Prince, and Al-Fashir.

So, let's begin investing, and if we do so with peace and not profit as our goal the divesting will take care of itself.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


Time it was, and what a time it was, it was
A time of innocence, A time of confidences...

-Simon and Garfunkle

When I was a kid in small town Georgia the most anticipated day of the year (behind Christmas, of course) was the 4th of July. Our little town, Douglasville, pulled out all the stops with a parade on Broad Street, then barbeque, Brunswick stew and Little League baseball games all at the City Park. This was before the park was named "Hunter Park" in honor of the town's most famous Viet Nam War casuality. It was truly a time of innocence that I'm wondering was perhaps a genuine embodiment of the spirit of independence and freedom we celebrated. It was also a time of confidences as there was, at least in my memory, little if any patriotic posturing, but rather partriotic participation in a community celebration. There was confidence in freedom that need not be proclaimed and pronounced, but rather lived and shared.

Here in Washington, DC on Capitol Hill I experienced a similar innocence and confidence this morning as my wife, Peg, and I stood on the curb and watched friends and neighbors parade up 8th St. SE. Kids of all ages were everywhere both in and watching the parade which had way more bicycles, wagons, strollers, pickup trucks, and walking groups than floats. The parade was led by The Marine Corp Band, just another neighborhood group, because the 8th and I Street Barracks is where they live.

All over our country today similar activities are taking place, parades, picnics, ballgames, fireworks, concerts, boating...from mountains to beaches, from cities to villages we join together as families, communities, and nation not to proclaim liberty and freedom, but to confidently live them in community, interconnected, and interdependent.

Happy 4th of July!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


...then the Lord God formed humanity from the dust of the ground, and breathed into human nostrils the breath of life; and humans became living beings...out of the ground the Lord God formed every animal of the field and every bird of the air...
Genesis 2

The universe is a single multiform event. There is no such thing as a disconnected thing. Each thing emerged from the primeval fireball, and nothing can remove the primordial link this establishes with every other thing in the universe, no matter how distant. You and everything you do and become are further articulations of the primal fireball.
Brian Swimme, The Universe Is A Green Dragon

Pick an object, any object in your immediate sight and think about from where it comes. Trace its existence back as far as you can. Follow in reverse its process of being created, and if human-made make sure you remember all the different hands and imaginations involved in the process. Trace it all back to the earth, the earth to the stars, the stars to swirling gases and particles, and gases and particles to the eventual Mystery.

How does that tomato get to my table? How can I twitter the location of my favorite food truck, then go to the corner and have lunch?

Now start all over and do the same thing with yourself and the next person you see. From where do you come? What chemicals, minerals, processes, experiences and influences have made and continue to make you who you are?

Take a deep breath. Connected!