May 28, 2019

This week, as I often do, I walked along my favorite trail in Pacific Spirit Park, near the University of British Columbia. There are no long views in the park. However, the shifting patterns of vertical trees lead the eye and the heart in many directions. The forest tends to close us in on ourselves. We look down. We look inward. Our minds wander. I think about work. I thumb a Rosary. I stop over a peculiar fungus. I worry… Read more

April 30, 2019

  The soft patter of cool drops, Christen forehead, neck and hands. The earthy incense of the desert’s thirsty breath As He opens his sandy mouth to drink.   Processions of Palo Verde and Mesquite still clad in their golden Easter vestments Shout Alleluia! from the valley’s hillsides And throw their spent petals into the Pentecostal winds.   Even the cacti are clad in their Sunday best. Like my own spiny succulent heart— Prickly and defensive most of the time… Read more

January 29, 2019

At the bottom of a steep flight Of stairs that lead into the ocean, Between a sandy cliff and the lapping tide, I caught a red eye among the logs and silent stones. Silent until the tide teaches them to speak.   I walked to the end of a small jetty and Looked back at the amphitheater of the eroding cliffs. The eye belonged to a small bird we call Grebe In drab plumage. He struggled out of the rising… Read more

January 3, 2019

Introduction What do Advent and the Dark Night of the Soul have in common? From the Latin Adventus, Advent refers to the arrival, the coming of the Incarnation as a child. During Advent, we also reflect on the coming of Christ at the end of time and in our hearts. Christians are an Advent people, but human beings are a now species. We want the light right away. Advent teaches us about the holiness of waiting. St. Augustine’s famous refrain… Read more

December 4, 2018

[Today I am preaching the Homily at worship at Vancouver School of Theology] Gospel Reading Luke 21:25-36 Homily In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, One God, Amen. There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves. A recent headline: “South Florida scientists say we must act now on sea level rise.”… Read more

November 2, 2018

“And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.” –Kahlil Gibran “When you see my corpse is being carried Don’t cry for my leaving I’m not leaving I’m arriving at eternal love.” –Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī.   Introduction I am always up for visiting a new church or religious service. So when I read the syllabus for a class I taking on liturgy at the Vancouver School of Theology, the assignment I was most excited about… Read more

October 30, 2018

I recently stumbled on an amazing network! Those of you interested in social science, humanities and spiritual ecology, take heed! These projects are all wonderful and there is so much potential in this line of inquiry and creative expression. The paradigm is rooted in the ecological sciences, and is called Long Term Ecological Reflection. In ecology, randomly selected plots are visited over a long period of time to capture changes in ecosystems. The idea with LTER is to do with… Read more

October 25, 2018

“No settled family or community has ever called its home place an “environment.” None has ever called its feeling for its home place “biocentric” or “anthropocentric.” None has ever thought of its connection to its home place as “ecological,” deep or shallow. The concepts and insights of the ecologists are of great usefulness in our predicament, and we can hardly escape the need to speak of “ecology” and “ecosystems.” But the terms themselves are culturally sterile. They come from the… Read more

October 23, 2018

This November, I will be on a panel at the American Anthropological Association’s annual conference. The panel is about silence and its various manifestations in the ethnographic context. As you may know, my dissertation research took place among four Catholic monastic communities for whom silence is a primary mode of worship, prayer and spiritual growth. In recent years, interest in silence as a mode of spirituality and increasingly as a topic for ecological quality has dramatically increased. Author George Prochnik’s book… Read more

September 30, 2018

Walking a daily prayer practice is an important part of my Christian prayer life. I am particularly drawn to the contemplative and monastic cycles of prayer. Over the last several years, I have tried many different practices. One common theme has been the Psalms. I love reading different translations of the Psalms, especially more liberal translations such as Stephen Mitchel’s A Book of Psalms. I currently am using the NRSV translation in my Psalmody, but have also used the Revised… Read more

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