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 casual walk in t … [Read more...]

Knowing Names

This morning I began a bird list for 2013.  I went to a nearby park, listened and watched through the cold fog, and started to tick off the birds I saw: White-throated Sparrow, American Robin, Eastern Bluebird, Mourning Dove, American Crow, Dark-eyed Junco.  So far I've seen twenty species--by the end of the year I hope to have seen over two hundred.I didn't always birdwatch and so I didn't always know the names of the birds I saw.  There were blue birds, red birds, small birds, and big bi … [Read more...]


Tomorrow churches that use the Revised Common Lectionary will read Mark 12:38-44 and most likely hear a sermon on it.  Too often we don't have time to really reflect on the Gospel read on Sunday.  We hear it quickly and don't have time to process it.  Today, read the  Gospel reading for this Sunday and reflect on it.  Use as many different angles to get to the passage as possible.  Write a poem on the passage, paint a picture of it, try to write your own sermon--use whatever method helps you ente … [Read more...]

In the Dark

Go to a dark place tonight and look up at the stars.  Feel the vastness of the universe of which we are only a spark.  How do you feel?  Significant?  Insignificant?  We are both. … [Read more...]

Spend 20 Minutes in Silence

Quiet is a hard thing to find; not only because noise is hard to get away from but because we so often have noise in our hearts even when we get away from sound.  Today work toward the simple goal of finding 20 minutes to sit in complete silence, silence of heart, mind, and space.  Just as noise cancelling headphones create a "white noise" to create quiet in a world where its hard to find, you may have to create a white noise in your heart with a simple word or phrase that you can use to push o … [Read more...]

Blessed are the job creators

The Beatitudes of Jesus are a statement on who is well off in the kingdom of God, but his beatitudes are clearly not the only statements of blessedness.  All around us day in and day out we hear answers to the question of who is well off and those answers are more often than not at odds with the kingdom of God.Today spend some time in quiet reflection and write down the "Beatitudes according to America."  Who is blessed according to our society?  Posing that question in a recent discussion at … [Read more...]

Security Blanket

Spend 20 minutes contemplating your life.  What are the things in your life that help you feel secure?  Is it your job?  Insurance?  A growing retirement account?  A gun under the bed?After contemplating your sources of security, replace each one in your mind with the often repeated phrase in the scriptures, "Do not fear for I am with you."  The "I am," of course, is God.Consider getting rid of one of your security blankets, especially if you find it particularly hard to replace with God' … [Read more...]

Light a Candle

The Exercise:Spend the last thirty minutes of the day in prayer and meditation.Dim or turn off all lights and light enough candles that you can see clearly enough to read.Read from the Sermon on the Mount for 10 min.Then spend 20 min in silent meditation.The Why:Our society is chronically sleep deprived, running from one thing to the next, and then closing out our day in front of computer and television screens that keep us up past our natural limits.  In such a society … [Read more...]