Transforming Pain

This week, once again, we experienced a horrific act of violence on innocent victims enjoying companionship and music.  Drawing from a stock pile of guns, many that were modified to function as an automatic weapon, the shooter intended to harm as many people as possible in the shortest period of time. Perhaps you know someone who was there or who might have been there. Perhaps you, too, are sick and tired of these rampages, of the layers upon layers of violence in our world on both the individual and global levels.

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Just yesterday I shared a prolonged time of laughter with some others, and it felt so wonderful to let the laughter come from deep in the belly as we allowed ourselves to become caught up in the delight.  While it is true that there is a lot going on in the wider world that is deeply troubling, it is also true that laughter is a rich and necessary part of our lives.  Laughter signals our participation beyond words in the mysterious wonder of the moment.

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The Master’s Path

Well, I’m stuck. I cannot seem to get out what I want to say. In my head echoes the promise that God’s strength is made perfect in my weakness. Right now the only thing made perfect is my perfect weakness. Sometimes reflections just flow easily. Other days are, well, more like hardened molasses. This is one of those days.

So, I’m going to get out of the way and share some of Jim Finley’s teaching on Thomas Merton that helps me begin to see,

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Seeking Balance

Several of us were brainstorming not long ago about ways to weave music into the fabric of our children and youth ministries when suddenly I burst into song:  “Jesu, Jesu, fill us with your love, show us how to serve, the neighbors we have from you. Kneels at the feet of his friends, silently washing their feet, Master who acts as a slave to them…” And I didn’t stop there, I kept right on singing the verses because it is a song I learned as a child and remains very much alive in me to this day.

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Choosing the Kingdom

Have you ever wondered what God has to do with it all? Wondered why, for example, doesn’t God heal this hurting world or answer the prayer of our hearts?  Every time we pray the prayer Jesus gave us, we pray ‘thy kingdom come.’  Have you wondered why didn’t Jesus simply come as a powerful political leader?   God is both apolitical and at the same time entirely political.  Many of us have been raised to think of the Kingdom of Heaven as a place we go when we die,

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As images of Hurricane Harvey’s destructive path have flowed before our eyes, floodwaters of incredible magnitude have flowed through an estimated 30-40,000 homes and impacted the lives of 13 million people.  56,000 calls to Houston 911 came within the first 15 hours, with additional Good Samaritan rescues too numerous to count.  Having taken a mission trip to a flood zone years ago, I have a tiny sense of the miserable and heart wrenching devastation floodwaters cause,

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Deepest Truest Self

We saw the movie Wonder Woman recently and like many people found it to be a story full of beauty and meaning—far more than I expected. It’s a story of good and evil, of violence and love, but most of all it is about defining moments and the clarity and wisdom that emerges from them. Diana believes human beings are simply under the influence of Aries, the god of war, and when he is vanquished all shall be at peace. 

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What We Do for Love

A long, loving look at the real. That’s how theologian Walter Burghardt described contemplation. And it is more essential than ever that we who call ourselves Christians—and all who call themselves Americans—have the courage to engage in contemplation in a way we’ve not been able or willing to do. It’s time. No, it’s way past time. It begins with a question. What kind of world do we want to live in? What do we want our community,

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Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

I practice yoga…well, sort of.  In truth, I move through the various poses I’ve picked up along the way at lightning speed, eager to move on to the next one so as to get on with my day.  I’ve gone to yoga classes before, but not with any regularity. 

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Pilgrim Ponderings

Many have asked me to share the spiritual insights that emerged from our recent travels so below you’ll find a few of my pilgrim ponderings on the journey of life.  While I’ve selected a few photos to include here, you’ll find a larger collection—taken by several members of the group—shared in this video. I hope you’ll enjoy them.

Beginnings and Endings

  • We cannot force extraordinary things to happen to us,
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