Sunday, October 31, 2010

trick or treat

Remember trick or treating as a kid? Candy apples and those little paper baggies that kind neighbors filled with rice krispie treats and other homemade goodies? Ah yes, the good old days, and then there was that scare of razor blades in the apples and poison in the candies, so out went all the homemade treats and in came Emergency Rooms offering to x-ray our children's candy....

And it turns out that there actually wasn't a widespread threat from our neighbors, but the FEAR remained and so we continue to safeguard our children from the scary bad guys and gals who are out there...somewhere.

I read in a blog today that Halloween is a wonderful opportunity to practice hospitality to our neighbors - by opening our doors to the unknown - kind of along the lines of  that "love your neighbor" idea that Jesus was always talking about.  Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

leaving church?

A man had been stranded on the proverbial deserted island for years.
Finally a boat comes into view, and the man frantically waves to draw its attention.
The rescuers turn toward shore and arrive on the island.
After greeting the stranded man, one looks around and asks,
"What are those three huts you have here?"
"Well, that's my house there."
"What's that next hut?" asks the sailor.
"I built that hut to be my church."
"What about the other hut?"
"Oh, that's where I used to go to church."

So which one of these
Top 10 Reasons People Leave Church
do you think applies to this stranded man?
1. The church was not helping me to develop spiritually.
2. I did not feel engaged or involved in meaningful church work.
3. Church members were judgmental of others
4. Pastor was not a good preacher
5. Too many changes
6. Members seemed hypocritical
7. Church didn’t seem to be a place where God was at work
8. Church was run by a clique that discouraged involvement
9. Pastor was judgmental of others
10. Pastor seemed hypocritical 

Saturday, October 23, 2010

convinced & despised

Tomorrow's Gospel reading is from Luke 18 -
The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector -
Here is the first verse (NAB):

"Jesus addressed this parable to those
who were convinced of their own righteousness
and despised everyone else."

Being convinced of being right,
can lead to setting myself above others,
which can lead to despising others?
I can't even begin to count the areas in which
I'm convinced I'm right!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Harvest Time

"There is nothing--
no thing,
no person,
no experience,
no thought,
no joy or pain--
that cannot be harvested
and used for nourishment
on our journey to God."
--Macrina Wiederkehr, OSB

as my spiritual director is fond of saying,
'nothing is wasted in God's economy'

Port Townsend Farmer's Market, 2010
photographer - Chris Cooper

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

be a story teller

"If stories come to you, care for them.
And learn to give them away where they are needed.
Sometimes a person needs a story more than food to stay alive."
- Barry Lopez

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Trippy Shoes

"It's easier to put on a pair of shoes
than to wrap the earth in leather."
Chögyam Trungpa

Ok, the quote doesn't say anything
about walking in the shoes,
just putting them on!
But still,
change does begin within.

the trippy photo is from here

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Brawling for a Blessing

Today's Old Testament reading was from Genesis 32 - the story of Jacob wrestling with the Angel.
Do you recall this wild story of Jacob's spending an entire night brawling for a blessing?

"In overcoming God you are overcome.
God enjoys a good fight as much as an Irish publican.
From hearts that struggle there is the hope of honest love.
A lover does not want gratitude or compliance;
soggy affection is no more appealing than cold porridge.
Nothing short of a free and equal passion will suffice.
If such love must be won from long and painful wrestling,
better that than an insipid pretence which does not stir the gut.
It is possible to keep running for a long time.
But once you join battle with the Stranger, you are at risk.
- Michael Riddell from Godzone: A Traveller's Guide, 1992
quote from here

i would also say that cold affection is no more appealing than soggy porridge!
Art: Jacob Wrestling with the Angel, by Ben-Zion, 1935

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

building bridges

Jesus' prayer was, 'Father, forgive them;
they know not what they do.'
A prayer born in death, writhing with pain.
A prayer risking faith, facing the sorrow.
A prayer living in hope, seeing the future.

My prayer was, 'God, how can I forgive them?
They do know what they did.'
A prayer saying, 'It still hurts.'
A prayer wanting vengeance.
A prayer seeking direction.

My prayer became, 'God, help me forgive them;
they know what they did.'
A prayer saying, 'They were wrong.'
A prayer wanting reconciliation.
A prayer seeking courage.

My prayer became, 'God, forgive them;
they know what they did.'
A prayer that wrestled with injustice.
A prayer that acknowledges weakness.
A prayer that found hope in God's love.

My prayer remains, "God, forgive them;
they know what they did.'
Because forgiving recreates life from death.
Because forgiving cleanses the healing wound.
Because forgiving builds the bridge of freedom.

-Jared Pingleton, The Role and Function of Forgiveness

Monday, October 11, 2010


"Have you seen a symphony orchestra?...
There is a chap at the back carrying a triangle.
Now and again the conductor will point at him and he will play "ting."
That might seem so insignificant, but in the conception of the composer,
something irreplaceable would be lost to the total beauty of the symphony
if that "ting" did not happen."

- Desmond Tutu
extract from a sermon, 8/81

blessings be upon all the "tingers" of the world.
we are irreplaceable in our composer's eyes.
and without our contribution the symphony of life
just wouldn't sound right.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

the grateful leper

Jesus healed 10 lepers in today's Gospel story.
Only one came back to give thanks. The Samaritan.
Even after being healed he would still be considered an Outcast.
And yet, there he was - Grateful as could be.
Rumi says it best:

brings you to the place
where the Beloved lives."

I would love to have a reference
for where this artwork came from?

Saturday, October 9, 2010

what lasts through the ages

"...can you pick one (beautiful thing) that will last longer than an unselfish act of service.
A rose or a violet is beautiful but how long will it keep its perfect form and color.
A tree is beautiful but eventually its heart will decay and it will fall to the ground.
A large well-proportioned building made of marble and granite is beautiful
but at last it will become a ruin.
A simple act of kindness will outlast them all;
will live on through the ages."

These are the opening lines of the graduation speech of Wynona Whitcomb,
first high school graduate of Forks, WA school system
granddaughter of pioneer Martha Maybury,
founder of Congregation Church in Forks, WA
source: 'Women to Reckon With: Untamed Women of the Olympic Peninsula'
by G. Peterson & G. Schaad

(the school is being demolished to make way for a new high school)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

return to sender


(I have no clue who said this.
Perhaps it was Elvis:)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


"Frisbeetarianism is the belief
that when you die,
your soul goes up on the roof
and gets stuck."
- George Carlin

Monday, October 4, 2010

Hints and Glimpses

"All we have
are hints and glimpses,
something seen fleetingly
as in peripheral vision,
a shadowy shape
beyond the drape,
the voice that whispers
behind the grill,
the merest murmur
of Elysian melody,
a prickling of the skin
which might be
but a draft
from an open window.
But it is the window
opening on eternity,
seen now darkly,
but then
face to face."

Bonnie Thurston
A Corner of the Artist’s Room in Paris (with Open Window), Gwen John.

Life is filled with such moments of almost seeing something, almost touching something,
not knowing with certainty, but comforted by the experience.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Blessing of the Animals

"Dear St. Francis,
The animals here today are doing good and have good homes.
The birds are fine too but our oceans are filled with oil.
Help the animals that are hurting and please make them better.
Lydia, Age 8

photo: this is the cover of the most amazing 2011 calendar.
they sold like hotcakes at our animal blessing today!

Saturday, October 2, 2010


"In the world to come,
each of us will be called to account
for all the good things
God put on earth
which we refused to enjoy."

The Talmud, cited in Kushner, p.82

Friday, October 1, 2010


"When they discover
the center of the universe,
a lot of people will be disappointed
to discover
they are not it."

-Bernard Bailey

yep, sometimes the truth hurts.

church as pilgrimage

"If the Church really sees itself as the people of God,
it is obvious that it can never be a static and supra-historical phenomenon,
which exists undisturbed by earthly space and historical time.
The Church is always and everywhere a living people,
gathered together from the peoples of this world
and journeying through the midst of time.
The Church is essentially en route, on a journey, a pilgrimage.
A Church which pitches its tents without looking out constantly for new horizons,
which does not continually strike camp, is being untrue to its calling."

-Hans Kung