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 LectionaryThe 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 casual walk in t … [Read more...]

Loving Those People

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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 being a southern Epi … [Read more...]

Why Christ Still Has His Wounds

A Sermon on John 20:19-31In 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 enter th … [Read more...]

Pray for Me

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“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 you,” because I have a close connect … [Read more...]

Gluttony: My Mix of Laziness and Ambition

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I’ve been realizing that I’m a glutton.  At least that’s the name for it that my Spiritual Director and I came to recently as I described how my ambitions toward discipline and self-control fall short, how I can’t let my wife buy graham crackers because some dark night I’ll eat them all.  I’m a hungry person whatever it is.  I am someone who wants more—more time, more books, more talent, more speed.  But when the time comes, when I get the books I want, when I have a chance to exercise my talent, … [Read more...]

Confessing My Fear of Trayvon Martin

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Yesterday marked the one year anniversary of Trayvon Martin’s murder.  It doesn’t seem that long ago and that is partly because it took months for the media to actually catch on to the story and call attention to the atrocity it was.  In remembering Trayvon Martin’s death as I move through Lent, this season of confession and penance, I have to admit that I am a part of the reality that resulted in the murder of an innocent teen.  I say this because as I think this week about what addictions are h … [Read more...]

Don’t Ruin Your Appetite: Fasting Through Lent

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On Wednesdays and Fridays I am hungry, but it is on those days that I am closest to being satisfied.  On the Wednesdays and Fridays of Lent I fast, following the ancient Christian tradition of abstaining from all caloric foods and drinks twice weekly.  This was a tradition regained by the early Methodists with their efforts to reinvigorate Christianity as a practice—in choosing this twice weekly fast I am in good company.There are of course a number of things I could have taken on to train to … [Read more...]


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