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Wednesday, June 27, 2018

A Parable For Our Time

Two days ago while on my early morning walk I came upon an amazing event. As I approached a street intersection I saw and heard on the perpendicular street ahead a group of small birds flying in a straight path as if on a mission. Right behind them were two large crows. At first I thought the crows were chasing the birds, but then realized the smaller birds appeared to be leading them somewhere.

When I turned the corner, I heard what sounded like hundreds of birds chirping frantically, some were perched on utility lines, most were unseen in the trees. The crows then led my eyes to the source of all of this commotion. They were diving at an enormous hawk that was sitting stoically atop a utility pole. A predator was in the neighborhood.

At least four crows that took turns, two at a time, diving down at the hawk. Occasionally one flew away as another took its place. The chorus of alarm from the other birds continued. Some even joined in the diving process. The hawk appeared annoyed but not threatened.

After watching for a few minutes, I walked on, but about fifty yards down the sidewalk I turned back to watch again. The hawk was gone and nowhere to be seen. One crow circled the area. The cacophony of fear subsided into the beauty of normal morning birdsong. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2018


Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life... can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today. ~Jesus~

I don't know about you, but I'm feeling kind of trapped in a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" Catch 22 of wanting to be informed and relevant, but also needing to disconnect from the day to day information frenzy that is consuming us. To turn away from the worries of the world seems irresponsible, but staying engaged is exhausting.

So right now I'm going to step away from this keyboard and screen and take a walk. I suggest you do the the same. Whenever and wherever you are reading this, in whatever manner you can, pause for a few minutes. Step away from the screen. Go outside if you can. Look up at the sky. Take a deep breath. Tend to your soul.

Do it now!

It will all be here when you get back.

Thursday, June 14, 2018


"Unless you see signs and wonders, you will not believe." ~ Jesus

In order to be "newsworthy" in today's world something or somebody has to be spectacular or outrageous. Then as soon as the lights fade and glitter settles we anxiously await the next spectacle or outrage. As we become more and more accustomed to this vicious cycle the outrageous becomes common and the common becomes boring. All the while, things that really matter, go unnoticed and unattended.

The same can be said about much of religion. Many people approach religion and spirituality seeking the supernatural or un-worldly. We go to churches, temples and mosques wanting miracles.  And why not? Our scriptures are filled with such stories. Unfortunately, these stories often times leave us feeling lacking and unfulfilled because we are not seeing burning bushes, walking through parting seas, and jumping up from deathbeds.

Jesus experiences this as the crowds that come to him are there mostly because of his "signs and wonders."  At one point he even says in exasperation "Unless you see signs and wonders, you will not believe." All the while, he is teaching and caring for people in need, loving others as he is loved, and teaching people to know the Presence of God.

The Good News, the Gospel, of Jesus is at it's core a way of life that knows the Presence of God in everybody and everything, and especially the unnoticed and unattended people around us - the non-newsworthy.


Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Push? or Pull?

Last week we took a few days of rest and recreation in Key West, FL the classically funky town where one motto is "Key West - where weird goes pro," and every other car or bike displays a sticker proclaiming "One Human Family." It is truly a unique place in various ways.

The inn where we stayed was typical Key West - an arrangement of two story frame structures that were probably all single homes once, but were now sub-divided into rooms and connected by decks, walkways, and common lounging areas. It was located on a short, narrow cross-street in the old town area with a European village feel. Upon arrival we pulled on the street entrance gate to no avail. It had an electronic lock that our room key would eventually open "after 10 pm" - the sign said. But it was mid-day so we called the number on the sign.

While waiting on the phone (and pulling on the gate a few more times) a woman's voice shouted out from behind us, "It's open!" On the other side of the street was an open second story window with two arms on the sill and no face visible. "It's open. Push it open! Push hard!" Then the two arms closed the window. 

How many times in our lives do we pull when we need to be pushing, or push when we should be pulling? How many times do we assume a door of opportunity is locked when in fact it simply needs to be opened in a specific way?  Maybe the key is a kind word or a smile, or encouragement instead of reprimand. Perhaps anger, expressed healthily, is the ticket. Sometimes we do hear a voice of a friend, or our own inner voice. But do we listen?  Or we can keep pushing or pulling to no avail except to increase our frustration.   

Sure enough, we pushed the gate. It opened. We looked at each other, laughed and said, "We must be in Key West."

Weird? You bet! One member of the human family helping out others? Absolutely!