GRACE, a Name we can all Adopt

A store clerk looked at my credit card last week and asked, "What does your name mean, Anita? It is so beautiful". I responded that I once knew, but had forgotten… that I would google it.Apparently, my name means GRACE and I couldn't have been happier to learn or re-learn this little fact. I have always loved that word.While I was preparing for yoga with the ladies of the Phila. Federal Detention Center (FDC), I decided to research the meaning of many of their names:Donna- l … [Read more...]

Now – A poem and painting reminding us to be present

This year I have been thinking about how to get the most out of life. What I landed upon was to be more present in each moment. But that is hard to do. I consider it a skill that is learned and practiced. So this year I have been meditating on what it means to experience the presence, to feel it, and to pay attention to it. I want to realize that "power of now" that so many spiritual masters speak of. This squares with my Christian spiritual practices because I believe we can be more open to … [Read more...]

Fast of Embodied Solidarity

The Lenten season begins by people asking what they need to do or give up to live into their faith. This year I've spent a considerable amount of time questioning what it means to not only call myself a Christian but how I can live in a way that honors the teachings and example of Jesus. I'm drawn to the words of Micah 6:8 that remind me that part of this is lived through standing for justice, embracing mercy, and walking humbly before God and others.What does that even mean?Well...I'm … [Read more...]

“Doing” Lent

Lent arrives this week with its themes of fasting, reflection, and penance. As I prepare, I am aware that this season requires countercultural ways of being – of living – that don’t come easily to most of us. We’ve become accustomed to our routines and privileges and feel comforted and entitled to having them in our lives.Fasting is the opposite of the communal gluttony that football fans just enjoyed on Super Bowl Sunday. Reflection is difficult in the midst of the siren calls of email, Face … [Read more...]

Slave to Love

When did this happen?  She felt like an overcooked porkchop...Where was her essence, flavor or juiciness for life?  Curiosity dried up;  just a slave to lists, responsibilities and have to's.  When had she last danced a samba naked, wild  pulsating heart matching a sultry bassline?  Her heart restless and  bones dry, she desired passion and tenderness whether in the forest alone or beneath the covers with her lover. She had read in 1 corinthians 12:21 The eye cannot say to the hand, I don't … [Read more...]

What does emergent mean to a parish church?

I’ve read enough about the Emergent Church to ask the question, “What does emergent mean” in the context of a parish church?A dictionary defines emergent as something that is either coming into being or coming into prominence. Another dictionary defines emergent as newly formed and arising unexpectedly. A business dictionary defines emergent as only being knowable when the whole system is seen and understood. This Emerging Voices blog describes itself as a voice of Emerging Christianity, “rid … [Read more...]

She was a friend of God

She was a friend of GODI’m just getting in from my friend of 33 years mother’s funeral. She’s being buried on her 91st birthday!! What a glorious and full life!! I wouldn't have missed the service for anything. Rita Law was a woman I always gravitated toward at family/friend gatherings. Her light was so bright, I was like a moth to her vibrant flame. Her last few years were marred by worsening dementia and yet one could always sense her inner radiance.Rita raised seven children— all pilla … [Read more...]

Why Busy Christians Need to Learn from Thomas Merton

The Catholic mystic Thomas Merton’s witness and wisdom can help those of us seeking to integrate contemplation and action today. Who would have thought that a cloistered monk, writing from behind the gated boundaries of the austere Cistercian order, would become a counter-culture hero, the “conscience of the peace movement,” as Daniel Berrigan called him, and a spiritual teacher to millions?Merton first published a spiritual autobiography narrating his conversion to Catholicism and the monas … [Read more...]

Eye Gazing in Prison on Holy Saturday

I spent Holy Saturday at the Philadelphia FDC 3South floor with 12 incarcerated women attending a 2-day Heart to Heart retreat. I was there to share the gift of yoga and meditation. The women really appreciate our visits and openly express their desire to learn.Our last exercise was an eye-gazing and I was partnered with Smoke, an African American woman of about 35. Smoke smiled a lot and agreed that she was willing to try it but admitted it made her nervous to stare into a stranger’s eyes f … [Read more...]

No Guru, No Method, No Teacher

Returning to the place where my very first poem formed in my Spirit. I gaze at the trees' reflection and the words return: Look up stretching, never touching, the spindly treetops reach for the clouds Glance down In the rippling water, the treetops dive below the surface brushing the clouds and in the movement of the river, the branches sway slightly Look up tranquil, majestic, at peace in their stillness Penned over 7 years ago, the message of the cross has slowly revealed itself. The … [Read more...]