Incomplete Thoughts on Secrecy and Silence (Mostly Reminders for Myself)

We don’t have many secrets these days nor do we keep them, our own or others.  We should. Secrecy is a spiritual discipline, a key companion to humility and truth telling and prayer.  Jesus kept secrets and taught his disciples to do the same.  Matthew 6:1-21 concerns the keeping of secrets, the doing of things in secret.  Prayer, fasting, alms should all be secret more often than not.  The kind of wealth we accumulate should be the kind that can be kept secret (there is no room for … [Read More...]

Putting Your Money Where Your Heart Is: Mark Scandrette’s Free

This post is a part of the ongoing Patheos Book Club discussion on Mark Scandrette's Free: Spending Your Time and Money on What Matters Most. I like Mark Scandrette.  Just his term “Jesus dojo” has animated my imagination for years and that’s not to speak of the practices and experiments in Christianity he brings to what can be a stayed and stale religion.  Scandrette is always able to write books that offer a serious answer to Jesus’ calls and yet also show how live in the light and … [Read More...]

You Don’t Need an i_____ and Other Spiritual Truths

We’ve been downsizing, trying as much as we can to live with less.  In a month I start seminary which has meant that we’ve left our house, packed up our belongings and are moving into a small apartment in an expensive city.  I won’t be able to earn income like I have in the past.  This means that my family will have to live with more frugality than we’ve had to in a while.  We’ve always tried to live simply, but that’s always easier said than done, especially in a society that … [Read More...]

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The Spiritual Formation of George Zimmerman

There’s a popular question that’s been circulating around the internet since George Zimmerman’s acquittal that goes like this: What if George Zimmerman had offered Trayvon Martin a ride to get out of the rain?  Its a warm sentiment against the tragic reality, but we must follow the nice thought with a more important question: What would have made Zimmerman the kind of person who would have offered Trayvon Martin a ride rather than shooting him?  The fact is that what happened that night … [Read More...]

Becoming God Adapted

I like long races--ultramarathons, half-Ironman and Ironman triathlons, hundred mile bike rides.  Endurance, more than speed, is my game.  As any endurance athlete knows nutrition is key to a good race.  I once heard an ultramarathoner describe racing 26.2 mile plus distances as an eating contest with some running thrown in.  Too much, too little, the wrong mix can cause an endurance athlete to fall short of the goal and perhaps even fail to finish the race.  Its for that reason that many … [Read More...]

Meditation on the Dandelion

What follows is a mediation sparked by the lectionary reading from Revelation 21:10,22-22:5 for this Sunday, Easter 6, Year C in the Revised Common Lectionary The dandelion has a tap root that goes three feet down, white and milky and strong--tear off the top and it will come back. It looks something like a lion's fang and that is where the name comes from, lion-tooth in French: dent-de-lion. Some call it a weed but why would you? A dandelion in the yard is a sign of health, that the acid … [Read More...]

Birding as Labyrinth

The trees shimmer in an early evening wind that makes it difficult to see the small bird flitting to and fro, branch to branch.  “There!  That open twig,” I say. “I see it!” Emily exclaims, quickly taking the binoculars from me and adding blue-gray gnatcatcher to her beginners life list.  This walk is a meditation. Emily and I have taken up birding, me again after a long break from the hobby that dominated my teens, her fresh--a blank life list that can be filled in even after a … [Read More...]

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Loving Those People

This Lectionary Reflection is cross-posted at the Ekklesia Project  Easter 5, Year C John 13:31-35 She stood outside of the meeting room, a cigarette in hand–crying.  This was a weekend spiritual retreat, a time of renewal, but for this woman it was clearly painful, even degrading.  My wife approached the woman and asked what was wrong.  “I’m Baptist,” she said, “and everyone is just saying such bad things about us.”  The retreat was put on by the Episcopal Church and this … [Read More...]

Why Christ Still Has His Wounds

A Sermon on John 20:19-31 In Dante's Divine Comedy, after he's followed Virgil through hell, after he's climbed the seven story mountain of purgatory, watching penitents shed the remnants of each of the seven deadly sins as they climb, he arrives at the edge the garden of Eden on the top of the mountain.  It's a journey back to square one.  He will go into Eden and then from there into heaven where the beautiful Beatrice will great him.  There's only one thing he must do before he can … [Read More...]

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Pray for Me

“I’ll pray for you.”  That can be a sentence of honest intent and care, but it can just easily be a power play, a kind of spiritual violence.  I had a friend who was once struggling with faith, asking deep questions of it.  Many who did not know him well, earnest evangelicals who hadn’t been gifted with such questions, would sometimes come to him and say, “I’ll pray for you.”  “I’ll pray for you,” because I’ve got God figured out and you don’t.  “I’ll pray for … [Read More...]