November 16, 2019

“Absolute attention is prayer.” -Simone Weil “This is the first, wildest, and wisest thing I know: that the soul exists and that it is built entirely out of attentiveness.” -Mary Oliver The Issue of Time Catherine McNeal, with a baby on the way, managed to get some time away from her other 2 children to attend a Christian conference.  She describes listening to a speaker passionately drive home his point about prayer, insisting that at least an hour in solitude... Read more

November 1, 2019

James Baldwin is a prophet for troubled times. Baldwin was a black, gay, renowned novelist and essayist, the writer of such classics as Go Tell it on the Mountain, Notes of a Native Son, The Fire Next Time, and many more. He was a public intellectual known for his searing analysis of race, religion, sexuality, and what it means to be an American. A Baldwin revival is ascendant recent years: Ta-Nehisi Coates’s bestselling Between the World and Me takes its inspiration... Read more

October 25, 2019

God is creativity. There’s something intrinsic to how God is conceived in the Bible that pulses with creativity. In the beginning God created… In the Hebrew imagination, the creative act of this God takes place first through speech. God, in Genesis 1 is a poet generating worlds. “God says, “Let there be light,” and there is light. In Genesis 2, we see God crossing artistic genres. In the creation story of Genesis 2, God is not a poet, but a sculptor... Read more

October 18, 2019

Joy and justice, on the surface, do not seem to go together. Sometimes we might even associate social justice with joylessness. We may have met someone who was an activist for this or that cause, and they didn’t seem happy. Or maybe we were, or are, that person. Despite our best intentions to do our part to create a better world, we are not happy. We tell ourselves, usually unconsciously, that all it takes is a fierce commitment, mixed with... Read more

October 11, 2019

In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth, God said, “Let there be light” (Genesis 1:2). And there was. We learn in the epic poem of Genesis 1 about the power of speech, especially for those who have a voice. Speech, we are shown, contains creative, universe-building power. God says—and there it is. God in Genesis is a complex character: on the one hand, God is a king who speaks a command and whose wishes are fulfilled.... Read more

October 4, 2019

“It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner.” So out of the ground the Lord God formed every animal of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called every living creature was its name.” -Genesis 2:18-19 “But ask the animals and they will teach you; the birds of the air, and they will... Read more

September 27, 2019

I love the moniker “ordinary mystic.” It resonates with me. In contrast, the word “mystic,” standing alone, tends to generate the names of the great wisdom teachers – extraordinary, not ordinary, individuals. Meister Eckhart, Teresa of Avila, and Thomas Merton, for example. All of these teachers would embrace the conclusion that everyone is, or has the capability of being, a mystic, of having an experiential communion at some level with the Divine. So, “ordinary mystic” creates for me a grounding,... Read more

September 19, 2019

The universe is strange.  Here are a few paraphrased facts from an article I stumbled across: If you unraveled all of the DNA in your body, it would span 34 billion miles, reaching to Pluto and back (2.66 billion miles away)…six times. Almost all of ordinary matter is empty space. If you took out all of the space in our atoms, the entire human race (all 7 billion of us) would fit inside a sugar cube. Many of the atoms you’re made of,... Read more

September 11, 2019

I cannot imagine a better start to each day than a silent sit. When I practice centering prayer, I respond to God’s question, “Will you sit with me (Matthew 11:28)?” When we center like Jesus, we say, “Not what I want, but what you want” (Mark 14:35). I sit in silence to be loved and healed by God. Silence creates a space for us to heal. The space created by silence and stillness helps us find our equilibrium, our center... Read more

September 2, 2019

The recent book Bless this Mess, the fruit of a team-up between pastor Molly Baskette and developmental psychologist Ellen O’Donnell, is a gold mine of spiritual wisdom, digestible psychological insights and practical tips for progressive parenting. I cannot recommend it enough. It has stirred and gently poked family spirituality stuck-spots for me personally, and will do so for many. There’s been a glaring hole of accessible and spiritually wise books on parenting from a progressive Christian perspective. This book fills... Read more

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