Uncategorized

Psalm 120

I am grieving. I am afraid. I am sorry.

In my distress I cry to the Lord,
   that he may answer me:
 ‘Deliver me, O Lord,
   from lying lips,
   from a deceitful tongue.’


 What shall be given to you?
   And what more shall be done to you,
   you deceitful tongue?
 A warrior’s sharp arrows,
   with glowing coals of the broom tree!


 Woe is me, that I am an alien in Meshech,
   that I must live among the tents of Kedar.
Too long have I had my dwelling
   among those who hate peace.
 I am for peace;
   but when I speak,
   they are for war. read more

Uncategorized

Political Idolatry

So, it’s Election Day and I couldn’t be any more exhausted by the spectacle of the last two years. I’ve already heard folks on the news discussing their relief that this day has finally come. That finally the nation will put to rest this campaign rhetoric, stump speeches, and stupid CNN countdowns. I think I can understand this feeling, though if I’m honest I am feeling a little differently. At this moment, as the polls are opening, and lines are forming, I’m feeling a twinge of fear, and a healthy mix of shame and disappointment. I do not feel very good about the state of our politics, our religious institutions, our national media, or even with the fundamentals of how we as citizens interact with each other. Mostly, the last two years have left me feeling pretty gross. read more

Spirituality

Spiritual Junk Food

We are seven days away from an election that has dominated the national consciousness for over a year. An election mired in sexual assault allegations, email security, racism and xenophobia, and even some violence. Not only that, but last week water protectors in North Dakota were violently removed from sacred land facing destruction by the Dakota Access Pipeline. We have continued to witness police brutality against African Americans, the steady stream of Syrian refugees fleeing their homes, and the assault on Mosul. This is just a handful of the messages and stories we are consuming daily, and if I’m being honest, I’m starting to get spiritual gut-rot. read more

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The Jesus Movement

I was lucky enough this morning to attend an event sponsored by the Kaleo Center called “Examining This Moment Through Movement Eyes”. Beth Zemsky and Dave Mann facilitated the conversation, and focused on the ways in which we understand social movements, and how we might determine where we find our current movement in context. It was a fascinating conversation that beautifully illustrated the movement of movements. That’s right, movements move. Often these movements transition in quantifiable cycles, and it is possible to track movements as they cross various thresholds that seems to be common in all social movements. Beth asked us to envision the movement of movements as a wave. There is energy even before the wave begins to break, it rises from the ocean and peaks before descending back towards the surface, then begins to rumble again. Much of our exercise this morning was to attempt to discern our location on this wave. In Beth’s example the wave of social movements begins by framing and clarifying a worldview, then as movements rise they begin to develop infrastructure and transformation goals. The peak of the wave is mass mobilization. As the movements begin to descend the wave they often begin to professionalize roles that once were happening in the streets, this then transitions into reactive organizing, and finally movement maintenance. Using this metaphor, I think many of us can see ways in which the movements we have encountered or been a part of track neatly along this trajectory. I began to think about efforts for racial justice, economic equity, environmental stewardship, and the fight for LGBTQ rights. But my mind quickly went to another movement. The Jesus movement. read more

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Belonging

I’ve been reflecting lately on the importance of community in the health of the individual. Finding myself in a time of transition between a number of communities I have been confronted with the loss of community, or at least the perceived loss of community, and with the uncomfortable task of trying to establish new connections in new communities. At the same time, I have tried to remind myself of the vitally important connections that remain even when the structure of community as I have experienced it fades away. It’s exhausting. I long for that community structure that offered so much reprieve from all the other stressors in my life. The comfortable one that I knew and loved. I can feel its absence like a lost loved one. I suppose in essence I am mourning. It was this sense of mourning that really got me thinking about community as an aspect of spiritual health. read more

Uncategorized

Caring for the Sick, Including Ourselves

I woke up this morning to a congested head, a headache, and the chills. I don’t often get sick, but when I do I always feel compelled to just push through it. I don’t have time to get sick. There is simply way too much to accomplish in twenty-four hours, and I am not about to neglect those duties. Of course, I often pay the price for this later, but I never seem to learn well enough to do it differently the next time around.

So, this morning, I forced myself out of bed for Lauds. I could barely keep my head up, but I was determined to start my day the way I wanted to start my day, illness be damned. I made it to the Benedictus before I couldn’t keep my head up any longer. I popped a couple Dayquil and crawled back into bed. As I drifted off into sick sleep, I thought about what being sick in the monastery looks like. What would Benedict have to say about my inability to make it through prayer? read more

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Practicing Silence

It happens like clockwork. Thursday rolls around and that checklist in my head starts to flash red. So many tasks to be completed, so many things to write, and read. So many people to visit and call. Class to attend, work to be done. Each week, right about now, I start to breathe a little quicker, my eyes begin to dart and my heart rate kicks up a notch. For some people it’s the start of the week that causes the most stress, for me it’s the end. On Monday, I usually feel organized and prepared. By Thursday, the wheels have come off and I’m playing a dangerous game of organizational triage. It’s so dang predictable. read more

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On Being Ordinary

A while back I came across a blog called “Glory to God for All Things”, written by Fr. Stephen Freeman. One particular post stood out to me, titled Simply Living. In it Fr Freeman reflects on 55 Maxims written by a Fr Thomas Hopko. These 55 maxims or rules seemed to me to be so simple, so practical, and so wise that I printed them out and hung them on the wall above my desk. I look at them each day and try to really focus on one or two during my morning prayers. Some of my favorites; (1) Live a day, and part of a day at a time, (2) Pray as you can, not as you want, (3) Be merciful with yourself, and with others. But, there is one maxim that continues to catch my attention over and over again. Be an ordinary person. read more

Black Lives Matter, Uncategorized

Renewing our Minds

This call to live differently is not a call to the individual Christian alone, but to the Church as a whole, and it is leadership in the Church, especially predominately white church bodies, that we need most right now. As a white member of this church body I need help. I don’t know how to support this movement, or how to talk with family and friends about such an important issue.