Easter, waking up and the “Harrowing of Hades”

icon-jesus-harrowing-of-hades

Each year Easter reminds me that renewal is for all of us all of the time. One of my treasured possessions is an icon given to me by my spiritual director before my own baptism which depicts what is commonly called the “Harrowing of Hades,” where Jesus, between his death and resurrection, visits Hades, wakes Adam and Eve (symbolizing all of us) from their sleep and pulls them away from the control of death. We can wake up, be revived, and reconnect to divine love — at our baptism, with all the Church at Easter, or at any time. Have a blessed Easter. [Read more...]

The not-so-Christian roots of hot cross buns — with a recipe

My homemade batch of hot cross buns (with too-runny icing -- see recipe below)© 2012 Phil Fox Rose

Food traditions establish sense memories, which are the strongest kind. Marking annual events with specific foods is powerfully grounding. With Holy Week comes one of my favorites: hot cross buns. Read a little about the buns’ pre-Christian roots, and use my recipe to make your own this year! [Read more...]

Starting Anew

© 2010 Phil Fox Rose Snowdrops in Central Park -- the first wildflower to appear around here each year

The vernal equinox and the Persian/Iranian New Year Nowrooz are today (March 20) and, where I live in the American Northeast, the annual cycle of natural rebirth is starting to Spring into high gear. This is the time of Easter and Passover too. Christianity offers us the opportunity to start anew — demands it of us! Whether it’s a full blown conversion, an annual renewal along with the rest of the church community at Easter, or an individual act of confession and rededication at any time, Christians have many ways to turn around (con-vert) and get back on the path at any time. My own life has been shaped by several conversions… [Read more...]

Lincoln, a review — and a reflection on dead history and dull worship

lincoln-daniel-day-lewis-spielberg

Lincoln’s core premise seems to be this: presentations of history should be slow and dull, like a Ken Burns documentary. I knew a handful of minutes in, a few lines of dialogue past the gratuitously brutal and out-of-place war scene, that I would not love this movie. What I did not expect was how uninteresting I would find it throughout. I love history. I revere Lincoln. But at 1:15, almost exactly the half way point, I was distracted by an email and put the screener copy on hold, got caught up in a few things and darned near forgot all about it.

Many have commented before on the odd coincidence of two blockbusters on the same subject, slavery, by two of modern filmmaking’s most beloved directors coming out at the same time: Spielberg’s Lincoln and Tarantino’s Django Unchained. I saw Django back in December. Last month, I also watched the PBS documentary series, The Abolitionists. I found The Abolitionists — all three+ hours — engaging, informative and moving . I found Django emotionally powerful, morally powerful and absolutely entertaining. Lincoln… is dull as drying paint. [Read more...]

Just give — my Lenten practice of giving to every beggar

panhandler

About five years ago, I got the idea to fast from judging whether or not beggars are worthy — instead of deciding if each is truly needy, a slacker or con artist, a good street musician or bad, I just give a dollar to anyone asking. It’s sort of a combination of fasting and almsgiving and it has broken my heart open — changed my attitude permanently towards those who beg. [Read more...]

Slow of speech and tongue — reflections on being an introvert and the book Quiet

quiet-susan-cain

As an introvert, I am restored and recharged by time alone, and depleted, often in an acceptable way, by time with others. I will hold back if I have nothing to contribute, while an extrovert will push forward just to be in the mix. Susan Cain’s remarkable book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking looks at how introverts have been short-changed in the social politics of the industrial and information ages, but how their distinct qualities are needed in the society emerging in the 21st century. I look at her book and reflect on my own spiritual journey as an introvert. [Read more...]

Valentine’s Day is not for me — Is it for anyone?

black-heart

Valentine’s Day is for those courting, maybe. It’s probably not for people already in relationships. It’s definitely not National Friendship Day for friends, family, coworkers and random people you meet. And it’s not for me. At least not this year. Also, I take a look at the holiday’s religious roots embellished by the myth-weaving advocates of courtly love in the Middle Ages. [Read more...]

Mardi Gras, pancakes and a new tradition

okonomiyaki

I consider turning a one-time thing into a new Mardi Gras tradition… [Read more...]

A few thoughts on Benedict and the next pope

The current frontrunners (l to r): Cardinal Turkson of Ghana, Cardinal Ouellet of Canada, Cardinal Arinze of Nigeria

It’s fun to speculate about who will be the next pope. But normally there’s a bit of a taboo about that because you are talking about the current pope dying. Not this time. By resigning Pope Benedict is taking the naughtiness out of that game. Here are my first thoughts about on Pope Benedict and what’s next. [Read more...]

What Are You Giving Up for Lent?

alcohol-free-zone

Here’s my Lenten challenge to you: Make a commitment to abstain from something you may have a compulsive relationship with starting Ash Wednesday and continuing for the duration of Lent until Easter. Not the rest of your life. Just about six weeks. You might discover you like your life better without it. [Read more...]


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