Throw Like a Girl: The Power of Enacted Contradictions

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In a world fraught with an increasing number of bitter debates over what is theoretically possible, the best antidote to prejudice may still be the enacted contradiction.  That, at least, is one of the lessons to be learned from the Little League career of pitcher Mo’ne Davis who pitches at 70 mph and just threw history’s first shut out for Philadelphia’s Taney Dragons. She shatters sexist assumptions about what it means to “throw like a girl” and she does it all with composure that most adults f … [Read more...]

A prayer and benediction for Robin, child of God, and for us all…

CarpeDiem

We are saddened and rendered fearful by the loss of one with so much energy. We watch the news that tens of thousands --- hundreds of thousands --- have died and hardly register the loss. But, then, someone who has lived so publicly, so fearlessly, so vulnerably, and joyfully dies and the dimensions of human loss are crystalized, brought to bear on a single life, a single loss, an individual tragedy. In response, we rehearse his gifts. We scour his life for an explanation. The most fearful among … [Read more...]

Sobriety: “Guardian of the spirit”

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Dictionaries capture the impoverished meaning of the word “sobriety” in modern, American parlance.  One on-line dictionary, for example, offers three possible meanings:The state or quality of being sober. Temperance or moderation, especially in the use of alcoholic beverages. Seriousness, gravity, or solemnityBroadly speaking, however, the popular understanding of sobriety often amounts to little more than freedom from the influence of addictive substances (though some AA sites d … [Read more...]

Burning Snow

Snow

Saint John Climacus, a seventh century monk at the monastery on Mt. Sinai was admired for his spiritual depth. As a result, a neighboring monastery asked him to serve as their spiritual director.  We don’t know much about Climacus, but it is reasonably certain that the one book he wrote, The Ladder of Divine Ascent was written in response to that request.Consisting of thirty chapters that allude to the life of Jesus and the Old Testament story of Jacob’s ladder, the book consists of three sec … [Read more...]

When a Fast is not Fast

arrest

I realize that I risk appearing to be a "traditionalist" --- gasp! --- i.e., someone who believes that Lenten fasting has a specific purpose, defined by the history of its observance. But it does. Kallistos Ware puts it succinctly and accurately: "The primary aim of fasting is to make us conscious of our dependence upon God. If practiced seriously...The purpose of this [fasting from food] is to lead us in turn to a sense of inward brokenness and contrition; to bring us, that is, to the point … [Read more...]

Lent: It’s more fun and alleluias than you think

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If you spend any time with social media, you probably noticed the number of Facebook postings that featured Puritan Valentine’s Day Cards.  The artwork wasn’t very elaborate, as should be the case with Puritan cards.  But I loved the sentiments.  One card read:“You’ve bewitched me.  There’s no other explanation for the gophers in my garden.”Another announced:“I thought to write you a love poem.  For that thought I have beaten myself with a rough branch each night hence.”And anothe … [Read more...]

Nothing to Celebrate: Question Ten of Ten

   Taking The Dave Test during the Holiday Question Ten: “Can I be a friend?”Introduction to the seriesMuch of the last year was thread through with considerable loss.  My brother, Dave, battled a fatal brain cancer for nearly eight years and he died this last January as the result of a fall that was due in large part to his disease.  He would have been 58 years old in October.In reaction to Dave’s quest to find a durable faith and supportive friends, I wrote a book called The Da … [Read more...]

Nothing to Celebrate: Question Nine of Ten

   Taking The Dave Test during the Holiday Question Eight: “Can I walk wounded?”Introduction to the seriesMuch of the last year was thread through with considerable loss.  My brother, Dave, battled a fatal brain cancer for nearly eight years and he died this last January as the result of a fall that was due in large part to his disease.  He would have been 58 years old in October.In reaction to Dave’s quest to find a durable faith and supportive friends, I wrote a book called The … [Read more...]

Question Eight of Ten: “Can I grieve with others?”

   Taking The Dave Test during the Holiday Question Eight: “Can I grieve with others?”Introduction to the seriesMuch of the last year was thread through with considerable loss.  My brother, Dave, battled a fatal brain cancer for nearly eight years and he died this last January as the result of a fall that was due in large part to his disease.  He would have been 58 years old in October.In reaction to Dave’s quest to find a durable faith and supportive friends, I wrote a book call … [Read more...]

No Cause for Celebration: Question Seven of Ten

   Taking The Dave Test during the Holiday Question Seven: “Can I say something that helps?”Introduction to the seriesMuch of the last year was thread through with considerable loss.  My brother, Dave, battled a fatal brain cancer for nearly eight years and he died this last January as the result of a fall that was due in large part to his disease.  He would have been 58 years old in October.In reaction to Dave’s quest to find a durable faith and supportive friends, I wrote a boo … [Read more...]


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