Baby Jesus under our Christmas tree.

Saving Baby Jesus from the Trash Man. (A Christmas Story.)

I am a runner and four or five days a week, in the dim early hours of morning, I jog around town. My path is usually the same, I hug the nearby river as closely as possible, and pass the same houses and landmarks. There’s something comforting about the familiarity the route offers, it’s part of my get-ready-for-the-day-ahead routine.One morning, about ten years ago, I noticed something odd during my run. It was early-December, a garbage day, and one house had several miscellaneous items out a … [Read More...]

ManBench

Musings on God and Life from an 85-Year Old Expat Living in France.

His name is Johnny and in his daydreams we meet regularly in Washington Square Park, not far from where I work in New York City. He spent a few months in the city in 1968 and has fond memories of his visit. But, this being 2014, we actually meet online. Johnny commented on one of my Wake Up Call columns several months ago and we took the conversation offline. Since then, we have been communicating almost daily  via e-mail.Johnny is an ex-Angeleno; he lived there for the first three decades of … [Read More...]

Finding Meaning in the Silence of God.

Some books and authors try to define the nature of God and Lord knows I have tried this futile exercise myself. But in reality I believe God is undefinable, beyond our ability to be adequately explained. Albert Einstein may have described this best when he was asked to provide “the ultimate e … [Read More...]

Giving thanks this Thanksgiving—with a little help from Dear Abby.

I wrote here last year about a Thanksgiving prayer you can say all-year round. And I was recently reminded again of the importance of giving daily thanks for the good in our lives, via my favorite spiritual primer, The Worldwide Laws of Life by John Templeton.Templeton has written much about … [Read More...]

Can you be a spiritual person and still have a wild streak?

I consider myself a spiritual guy. Though I’m a lapsed Catholic, I believe in God. I meditate and pray daily. I like nothing better than to spend an hour or two reading a good spirituality book. Oh, and I write the Wake Up Call column here at Patheos.Yet, there is a side to me that craves more t … [Read More...]

Life Lessons from the Reverend who was visited by ETs.

What do you do if you’re a man of the cloth and have a UFO-related experience? I’m not talking about a run-of-the-mill flying saucer sighting, but a middle-of-the-night visitation by a gray alien—an incident that’s repeated over and over again, with a changing cast of extraterrestrial visitor … [Read More...]

It’s time to take Mark Twain back from the Atheists.

Mark Twain, famed humorist and writer of the classics The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, is perhaps the most celebrated American author of all time. He is also a favorite of atheists and atheist Web sites, who claim Twain as one of their own. But is their faith in … [Read More...]

Reshad Feild and the “7-1-7″ breathing exercise that can help change your life.

I once read a story about a singer who was asked what the best advice she ever received was. Her response: “Breathe”. She had been given this life tip from her father who had correctly pointed out that when we’re stressed or feeling a little tense, we tend to shorten our breath. And at those moments … [Read More...]

You’re spiritual, your job is not. So how do you cope?

Are you a fellow participant in the rat race? If you’re like me, and regularly work 40-plus hour weeks in a high-stress environment, you know how hard it can be to keep your spiritual bearings intact. It can often seem like the working world and the spiritual world are at opposite ends of the life s … [Read More...]

Three prayers that can help you daily, starting today.

How often do you pray? I’ve always been fascinated by the Muslim religion and its adherents who pray five times a day, an act that serves as a constant reminder of the role God plays in their lives. Equally compelling are the devout Christians who take a particular Bible passage (1 Thessalonians 5: … [Read More...]

Angels, aliens and fairies: have our myths come to life?

At any moment, I usually have seven or eight books in various states of completion—but recently the books that have surfaced to the top of my pile are about aliens and UFOs, angels and fairies.I find these stories strangely fascinating. There’s a parallel between those who claim to have wit … [Read More...]

City Monks vs. Country Monks. Can you really find inner peace anywhere?

Is a city environment detrimental to a rich spiritual life? As someone who commutes to and works in New York City, it is easy to see how the distractions of the city could easily extinguish your spiritual light. But I found a group that is totally committed to following the spiritual path—and they n … [Read More...]

Moving away from formal religion—toward a one-to-one relationship with God.

The problem is that we have lost religion—in the deep meaning of the word. We have formal religions that contain the seeds of genuine religiousness, but they are weakened by…fundamentalism, moralism, empty ritual, misunderstood teachings and general irrelevancy. ~Thomas MooreAre you one of the mi … [Read More...]

Everyone has a spiritual story to tell. What’s yours?

Are you familiar with StoryCorps? It’s a nonprofit group that records people telling stories about a key moment in their lives. Over the years, they’ve collected almost 50,000 stories that can be accessed online and at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. You may have heard one of … [Read More...]


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