Thursday, December 6, 2012
Thursday, November 29, 2012
Friday, November 23, 2012
Sunday, November 18, 2012
Thursday, November 15, 2012
Friday, November 9, 2012
Friday, November 2, 2012
Compassion. It's a beautiful things to watch someone care so deeply about someone or something else to the point of wanting to do all that is in their power to help. Often these people feel great sorrow for others who suffer in some way. Sometimes when others suffer I don't feel much, maybe because I feel so detached from their situation or caught up in my own life and needs and pursuits. We all have to take care of ourselves, and we're certainly not going to weep for someone we've never met in the same way which we'd weep for, say, our spouse if she/he was suffering. But people that genuinely enter into the pain of others and can so deeply identify with them to the point of being moved to act...these people inspire me to care more, to do more.
Friday, October 26, 2012
Trees learning how to dig deep roots. Animals learning how to find food. Humans learning that nine times nine is eighty-one and how to make wine and how to create wind energy and how to kiss each other and how to build web pages.
If Clara can bring me this much joy, how much more joy does God, who knows Clara better than I do, experience? And think of how many “Claras” God knows?
Monday, October 22, 2012
If believing in an intelligent, creative, and purposeful God awakens you to the creativity, complexity, and beauty in even the most basic material things, animate or inanimate.
Friday, October 19, 2012
I read this prayer because sometimes when I pray out loud it just kind of goes on and on, or includes too many “ums” and “justs”, or sounds like I’m creating a mini-sermon for my hearers, or sounds like I’m trying to impress people with the depth and craft of my prayer.
Friday, October 12, 2012
Tuesday, October 9, 2012
I share here a passage from one of my class readings this week which I found thought-provoking. It explores the sacramentality of parenting. By "sacrament" I mean something visible and tangible that is a means or sign of God's "invisible" presence and grace. I thought other parents might appreciate this as they journey through the riches and challenges of parenthood (or reflect back on them).
"If we see children as gifts to the human community and not simply to their genetic or "social" parents, parenting arguably brings human beings close to a sense of divine grace and generosity...
...For every human person should receive at their most helpless the long-term nurture and protection they need not merely to enable them to survive, but, most promisingly, to flourish, and they should receive it from all adults, both male and female, in equitable relationships sharing the demands made by the young. They arouse in their parents the affections central to human well-being, and learn receptivity and intradependence as in the divine-human inter-relationships we explore via the notion of sacramentality...
...This has nothing to do with being unrealistic about the young, or about the traumas of relationship with their parents that may occur. The young can be insatiably demanding, smelly, spotty, runny-nosed, crying, cross and sleepless, willful and argumentative and impossible to please...
...However exasperating children are at times, however, if healthy they may be spontaneous, eager and curious, enjoying play of all kinds, imitating, singing, dancing, making things for sheer pleasure--the sort of habits that may develop into...many kinds of creativity...
...They are capable of eliciting the best from those around them, not least by way of time and attention, and sometimes their very presence can help relieve conflict, for it is in care for them that adults learn to soothe distress and anger, ask for help, help the helpless and show kindness, as well as to develop the patience which results in genuine respect for and tolerance of others...
...What we know of the attitude of Christ to the young indicates his willingness to be identified with them in their "littleness", given the way in which they and their interests are so readily overlooked...
...They continuously represent before us vitally important characteristics of adult life and of life in engagement with God. For the care of the young requires those most fundamental acts of washing and feeding without which no child can survive, transformed as they are into the specific sacraments of baptism and Eucharist; and the constant "letting go" of mistakes that makes it possible to continue life with one another and to open up the human future, which the young bear with them as they edge toward maturity...
...So much is shared with them before either we or they quite know what we are doing, which says much too for our relationship with God."
Ann Loades, "Sacramentality," in The Blackwell Companion to Christian Spirituality, ed. Author Holder (West Sussex, UK: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011), 259-60.
Saturday, October 6, 2012
It reminded me of a piece I read a few months ago by Chuang Tzu, a Taoist sage, which I share below. This is a translation by my "friend and teacher" Thomas Merton.
I love the ending and lack of resolution of this piece. Speaking about and naming God can at times be important and helpful: for clarity, understanding, direction. We need definitions...definitely. But there is a place for the mystery and indefinability of God too.
As church history has taught me, definitions can be limiting, stifling, excluding. But lack of definition and mystery seem to open up possibilities for where God can be experienced, maybe push us to seek God out more fervently rather than slide into complacency.
I read this and am reminded to not simply look up with eyes open, nor look down with eyes closed, but to look around...attentive, ready, eager to discover with all the senses the Unfathomable Other, who is not simply big and distant but small and near.
"The Breath of Nature"
When great Nature sighs, we hear the winds
Which, noiseless in themselves,
Awaken voices from other beings,
Blowing on them.
From every opening
Loud voices sound. Have you not heard
The rush of tones?
There stands the overhanging wood
On the steep mountain:
Old trees with holes and cracks
Like snouts, maws, and ears,
Like beam-sockets, like goblets,
Grooves in the wood, hollows full of water:
You hear mooing and roaring, whistling,
Shouts of command, grumblings,
Deep drones, sad flutes.
One call awakens another in dialogue.
Gentle winds sing timidly,
Strong ones blast on without restraint.
Then the wind dies down. The openings
Empty out their last sound.
Have you not observed how all then trembles and subsides?
Yu replied: I understand:
The music of earth sings through a thousand holes.
The music of man is made on flutes and instruments.
What makes the music of heaven?
Master Ki said:
Something is blowing on a thousand different holes.
Some power stands behind all this and makes the sound die down.
What is this power?
Thomas Merton, The Way of Chuang Tzu (New York: New Directions Publishing, 2010), 38-39.
Sunday, September 30, 2012
So I'd forgotten that she existed, but remembered her birthday. She was baffled, I think. Rightly so.
Thursday, September 27, 2012
- CS Lewis (18)
- Bill Watterson (12)
- Henri Nouwen (9)
- JRR Tolkien (8)
- Lesslie Newbigin (7)
- Frederick Buechner (7)
- Stanley Hauerwas (7)
- Thomas Merton (7)
- Brian McLaren (7)
- John Eldridge (5)
- Donald Miller (5)
- Miroslav Volf (5)
- Dietrich Bonhoeffer (4)
- NT Wright (4)
- Jurgen Moltmann (3)
Monday, September 24, 2012
Me: Clara, can I talk to you for a while? I want to talk to you about eudaimonia.
Me: Hey, come on, are you looking at Mama to "rescue" you from me?
Me: Man, Clara, I am SO done with Augustine for a while. And the thing is, I'm not done.
Me: So someone suggested that the gathering of loaves and fishes is allegorical of what God does with the scattered particles of our long-dead bodies at the final resurrection.
Me: Speaking of fish, maybe Jonah reveals to us our aversion to diversity and our discomfort with the fact that God loves those "others."
Me: I cheated on my margins yesterday. I made them 0.8 inches instead of 1.0.
Me: Hey, look Clara, my finger.
Me: And another thing, what's the deal with St Jerome? Am I right?
Clara is the best conversation partner.
Friday, September 21, 2012
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
I believe a lot of people who claim to know God's will are on to something and should act with a certain confidence on such intuitions; I also believe a lot of people who claim to know God's will are deceiving themselves (or others). "God's will" can too easily be used as a weapon rather than a source of peace.