St. John of the Cross, the Spanish mystical priest of the 16th century, drew a map of the soul’s journey, and entitled it The Ascent of Mt. Carmel.  The path up the mountain was marked with the words “nada nada nada nada”.  His was the “via negativa”, the way of negation that led to direct [Read More…]

Opening the Heart: an excerpt from my new Patheos Press novel, SOULJOURN

An excerpt from SOULJOURN, my new novel (Chapter 6): I went home, said goodnight to Dad, and went to bed. The moonlight bathed my bedroom. The silence seemed to beg to be filled. I opened the bedroom window and leaned out and looked up at Cobre Mountain, faintly glowing in the white light. I felt [Read More…]

Wild Goose Day Four: Ecosystems

My branch of mostly-white Protestant Christianity is obsessed with its own death. It frets about its demise constantly, asks itself how to prevent its decline, worries about its legacy, and, like a dying plant, apportions its resources in bare maintenance patterns, often in levels too low to really support life. But I think we sometimes miss the forest for the trees. [Read more…]

Wild Goose Day Three: Closer To Fine

I don’t know if I’ve ever had an ecstatic religious experience before. Certainly those experiences aren’t readily had in my branch of white Protestant Christianity. I could probably point to moments throughout my years at evangelical summer camps, youth group, college Bible studies, and church services where I have been transported, transfixed, and moved by [Read More…]

Wild Goose Day Two: Embodiment

Humidity is a kind of spiritual practice. I never thought about it that way until this very day, but I am now convinced that it is true. Humidity has never bothered me much before; I was raised in the South, and where other people wither when the air is damp, I thrive. Out West where [Read More…]

Wild Goose Day One: Notes on Pilgrimage

The day began at the airport, the great temple to modern travel. Eleventh Busiest Airport in the Country, a placard proudly proclaimed.  The masses of people shuffled towards their encounters with the TSA and surly gate agents. So often our pilgrimages begin this way. Our sacred spaces are mapped out on the tiny napkins where [Read More…]

Wonderbolts of Thunderment

(See the study guide for my new novel, SOULJOURN, here…. the novel invites readers to explore the religions of the world in their own “back yards”.) Updrafts from the Rio Grande Valley pounded a white anvil against the stratosphere as the jet moaned over New Mexico while I looked out the window. I’d just finished [Read More…]

Of Chestnut Saplings and Wild Geese

I can remember a particular hiking trip with my family. I was probably seven or eight years old, and my parents and my brother and I had been camping, and we decided to hike a trail through some of the lush forests that cover the southeastern United States. My mother, who is a daughter of [Read More…]

A Search for the Historically Angry Jesus: A Review of Reza Aslan’s “Zealot”

A Review of ZEALOT: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth by Reza Aslan (Random House, 2013) On the page before the table of contents of Reza Aslan’s new book, ZEALOT, there appears one line from the Gospels: “Do not think I have come to bring peace on earth. I have not come to bring [Read More…]

Seeds, Leaves, Roots: Health Care for All

(I’m working now on a project called SEEDS, LEAVES, ROOTS: Faithful Rhetoric and Reflection for Progressive Social Action. It’s an initiative of Progressive Christians Uniting – I serve on its board of directors. We are creating a “virtual library” of progressive Christian positions on critically important issues. “Seeds” are one or two line “sound bites” [Read More…]

Seeking God in the Wilderness: Joining a Sacred Quest

I do not know how to begin that process of awakening to my kinship with creation without many and repeated journeys into non-human nature, both local and wilderness, in order to listen in a way that shows me my true identity over and over. [Read more…]