About Cat Chapin-Bishop

A Love Letter


This is my love letter to the servant-leaders of the world. Being a leader, a real, true, leader, whose commitment is to the Beloved Community, often means being the one who sets the limits and holds the boundaries. The ache of leading does not mean you are failing; it means that you accept that your work is service, and you are trying very hard to do it right. [Read more...]

Yeah, It Really Is About Race

ferguson protesters

This story isn’t about Ferguson, Missouri alone. It’s about every city and every town in the United States. It’s about the way white Americans have never really cared to see the forest for the trees, have always preferred to hunt for some specific detail that will allow us to turn away, to deny, to pretend we don’t know. We need to reach out, center down, and begin. [Read more...]

What Do You Mean, “God,” Cat?

Sunlit Tree

As a Pagan, I learned to listen to the spirit within the parts, and of relationships among them. As a Quaker, I learned to listen to the Spirit within the whole. [Read more...]

On Privilege

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Schoodic Lake is beautiful. But too often, beauty seems either reserved for the very rich, or to come with a price tag of grinding poverty for the rural poor. Fewer and fewer people in my culture seem to have beauty in their daily lives. Yes, my grandfather worked hard for everything he got, and so did his four children. And I honor and respect that hard work. How could I not? But how many men and women have worked just as hard over the decades, and not been rewarded for that work? [Read more...]

Hands-On Worship

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What does it mean to worship a god or goddess of smiths, but never to have worked with iron or bronze? What does it mean to worship a goddess of the hearth, but never to learn to bank a fire to last through a winter’s night? How can we understand gods of brewing or hunting or grain if we never make our own beer, clean our own game, bake our own bread or grow our own food? [Read more...]

My Polytheistic, Mystic, Monist Heart

cilantro flowers

Setting aside thoughts on how lots of people seem to substitute a blind adherence to a creed, and wave allegiance to it like a flag of loyalty, I think there are real differences in how humans are drawn to religious experience or not–and, among those who are drawn to the spiritual encounter, how we perceive it. With the exception of those who would turn Mystery into an excuse for a tribal loyalty test, I don’t think these differences are moral in nature. It seems as though they simply are. [Read more...]

A Pagan Isaiah

homeless woman

I want a Pagan Isaiah. I want us to know, to be absolutely and utterly convicted of the thought, that our gods hate our indifference to the poor. That turning away refugees from violence is odious; that refusing the feed the hungry is selfish and ugly; that justifying it in the name of a spiritual libertarianism masking itself as religion is unacceptable.

I want us to bring it into being together, my friends, and I want us to do it now. [Read more...]

A Perfect Day


Every year, I get to ask myself, what is the right way to live? In particular, what is the right way to live a spiritually-centered life? What would my spiritual life be like on a perfect day? I am running an experiment in perfection, and yesterday, I had a perfect day. [Read more...]

Here I Am, Wasn’t I


There’s an experience known to many meditators, sometimes known as the Here I Am Wasn’t I? experience. The idea is this: you are meditating away, and just for a moment, you experience a flash of that simple, actual conscious presence that is the goal of your meditation. Then BAM! almost immediately, your awareness shifts to noticing how present and aware you are and just like that, you’re no longer meditating, you’re meta-tating, and you’ve lost exactly that present awareness you are now celebrating. [Read more...]

The Work in the Middle

Ardagh chalice

I feel a tiny bit shy, sharing this with you today. Will you think I am boasting about my talents? Will you think I am puffing up an experience because it was mine? I do hope not. What I need you to know is that this kind of grace is not a product or a performance, and it is not the property of the one who brought it to the door, any more than the UPS man deserves credit for a package he delivers. [Read more...]