A fistful of dirt

Here's a wonderful story recounted by John Shea in Daybreak: Daily Reflections for Lent and Easter: There was an old Celt who loved his wife, his children, his friends, and his jar. But most of all he loved the land he trod and fought for food. So when his time came, his sons carried him from the stone cottage and laid him on the stone earth. He clenched a fistful of Ireland and was gone.When he arrived at the gates that only swing in, God appeared in the long robes of judgment. He noticed the … [Read more...]

Holy Eros, or, “Only God can sleep with everyone”…

Other folks in the Christian blogosphere are worked up over a Michigan Assembly of God pastor's decision to post a lengthy quote on his blog from Ronald Rolheiser, a Catholic theologian who ponders the erotic dimension of life in Christ (not in a salacious or profligate manner, but certainly in an honest and candid way). One of these days, I hope that the average Christian will stop being afraid of the power of our God-given sexuality. I suppose it should not surprise me that this day has not … [Read more...]

Random Saturday afternoon thoughts about the existence of angels

When William Blake was a little boy, he saw an angel in a tree. On his deathbed, he sang songs with all the angels that were surrounding him.Like most people, I don't have angel-vision anywhere near what Blake enjoyed. I'm the kind of person who occasionally sees someone or something out of the corner of my eye, and then I turn and whatever it was is gone. If it was ever there at all.This most vividly happened a few years back when I visited a holy well near Clonmel in Ireland. I saw a woman … [Read more...]

The Stake and the Soil

This thought occurred to me this morning:So often, we approach religion as if it were a stake being used to hold up a plant in the garden. You and I and everyone else are the poor unruly plants, in need of the strong sturdy stake to provide firm, unyielding, inflexible (and completely external) "support." This support helps the plant grow, but it also restricts the plant movement. "Conservatives" are those who think the loss of freedom is worth the chance to grow straight and tall, while … [Read more...]

Quote for the Day

Our discontent with the church is the very reason that we engage rather than pull out. Within the brokenness of the church is our own brokenness. —Shane Claiborne, quoted in The New Atheist Crusaders and Their Unholy Grail by Becky Garrison … [Read more...]

Quote for the Day

Paul never conceives Christ Jesus in us in a material manner, a concrete, physical way of existing within us. He, in so many ways, leads us into the indwelling presence of Christ Jesus by maintaining always the "mystery" of God's perfect love for us and our return of that love to God in and through Christ and the Holy Spirit. If we wish to enter into Paul's mystical vision of our unity in love with the risen Lord, we must strenuously avoid any "objectification" of Christ's union within us. — G … [Read more...]

Teach pobail

No, the title of this post has nothing to do with instructing indigents on how to get out of jail. It's an Irish word that means "church." The correct pronunciation for American English speakers would be approximately chack PO-bwil (it would more or less sound like "Jack Pobble").What's neat about this word, though, is to dissect its meaning by looking at each word individually. "Teach" means "house." "Pobail" means community (it's a cognate of people). In other words, this Irish word for … [Read more...]