January 16, 2015

As always, the story of the Wise Ones, the Magi, who usher us into the season of Epiphany, intrigues me with its layers of images, its spare detail and its promise of Light at the end of the journey. The detail that has caught my spirit this year is the very last line in the Matthew 2 account is this: and having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another... Read more

December 20, 2014

No matter how much I can learn and practice in the dark, I long for Light to shine. Many Advents ago I went to a gathering of other in ministries of spiritual formation in the bleak midwinter. I carried with me some of the dark Advent blues concerning the direction of my ministry and its future –what? where? how? On one evening after seminars all day I became swept up in joy as I listened to a concert of Appalachian... Read more

December 13, 2014

The Blueness of this Advent leaves us longing for some Joy. And Advent 3 is Gaudete or Rejoice Sunday! It is the week we are invited to savor the singing of Mary, following her ancestor Hannah: My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior! I cherish these songs of our foremothers, sung when still in the shadow of unknowing, facing a personal future that is fraught with questions, uncertainty and the possibilities of pain and... Read more

December 6, 2014

Hearts are breaking all over the world! I see them on the newscast daily, and hear them as I listen to conversations. My own heart breaks for parents, for children, for those who have been given many chances and choose to ignore them, and for those who have been given no chance at all. I grieve for those who have somehow found themselves in harm’s way through no act of their own doing. And I grieve for those who have... Read more

November 29, 2014

Some worshiping communities are using blue as the color for Advent to distinguish it from the traditional purple. The Rev. Eric J. Liles of St Paul’s Episcopal Church says this: Blue represents hope. expectation and heaven…a deep, dark blue is the color that covers us in the dark, cold hours before the dawn. Thus we use deep blue to shade the season of expectation of the dawn of Christ. (Church newsletter) I enter Advent feeling, in the vernacular, blue about... Read more

November 22, 2014

It is a gift to discover a companion on the spiritual journey from a tradition different from one’s own. Lisa Hendey is a Roman Catholic; I am a Presbyterian Protestant. Yet in reading her book called The Grace of Yes, I found that there were many places where our paths were similar, if not identical. We both grew up in homes where faith was practiced and taught. We both spent time as full-time caregivers to our children, and we both... Read more

November 20, 2014

I have been privileged to review two very worthy and helpful books for Advent for the Patheos Book Club. I hope you find them as provocative and charming as I have. An Invitation: Taste and See by Jan Johnson The sacred anticipation of Advent and the joy of Christmastide often seem dimmed and fraught for leaders in the Church because they can’t imagine a new way to come at those familiar stories and themes. Jan Johnson offers a fresh lens... Read more

November 16, 2014

Often on a journey, geographical or spiritual, I am tempted to say, “This is so beautiful; let’s just stay right here forever!” Santa Fe was one of those spots for me on this latest journey. At the top of a hill is the Museum Plaza, surrounded by striking Native American sculpture, encompassing a red and green brick labyrinth. Blue sky. warm air, a blending of divine and human beauty, good food, and friendly companionship, all made it seem like a... Read more

November 7, 2014

Growing up in my own tradition, I did not realize that Beauty was a spiritual quality. The verse in Scripture concerning beauty with which I was most familiar was in Proverbs 31, and it was interpreted negatively. Describing a capable wife, extended by my tradition to mean any woman, it concludes by saying, “Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” When one added to that interpretation a Protestant predilection... Read more

November 5, 2014

As a mother of an adult daughter who does not share my spiritual practices, I am deeply comforted and delighted to read a book, such as this, in which both mother and daughter seek to keep their love whole while diverging in their trust in and practice of the spiritual traditions in which each of them was raised. Together they have shared a snapshot of a family relationship in which each one is candid, each one acts with integrity, and... Read more

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