Thursday, February 28, 2008

Whom do you hate?

"Aspects of Humanity"

My favorite quote by Anne Lamott of all time:

You can safely assume that you've created God in your own image, when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The most radical teaching

The Good Samaritan

Love your enemies is probably the most radical thing Jesus ever said. Unless, of course, one considers the parable of the Samaritan. There the admonition is to let your enemies love you.

--Robert Funk

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

What God is not

God is not what you imagine or what you think you understand. If you understand you have failed.

~Saint Augustine

Monday, February 25, 2008

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Living Water

Time erased
By life-giving water,
Offered by a man who had no bucket,
Who knew me not, yet knew me well.
My past washed clean In
the spring that I became —
Flowing, flowing through me,
God's instrument.
Never again shall I thirst.

-- Judy Ritter

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Here's the Spirituality and Practice site's "Spiritual Practice of the Day":
Whenever I am checking bags at an airport, I recall St. Teresa of Avila's wonderful prayer of praise, "Thank God for the things I do not own."

— Kathleen Norris in
The Quotidian Mysteries

To Practice This Thought: The next time you are in a store, repeat St. Teresa's prayer.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Partners in creation

I no longer ask the young man's question: How far will I go? My questions are now those of the mature person: When it is over, what will my life have been about? First as Martin Buber taught, life is meeting. We come alive only when we relate to others. Secondly, we are here to change the world with small acts of thoughtfulness done daily rather than with one great dramatic leap in results. Finally, we are here to finish god's labors. One of the sages of the Talmud taught nearly two thousand years ago that God could have created a plant that would grow loaves of bread. Instead He created wheat for us to mill and bake into bread. Why? So that we could be His partners in completing the work of creation.

-- Rabbi Harold Kushner

Thursday, February 21, 2008


Oh, my! I really like this:
At the end of his spiritual talks, Gurdjieff said "Amen." When asked to translate "Amen," one of Gurdjieff's closet pupils answered, "Give it a try!"

— Michel Legris quoted in Gurdjieff: Essays and Reflections on the Man and His Teaching edited by Jacob Needleman and George Baker

To Practice This Thought: The next time "Amen" crosses your lips, remember it means you are agreeing to give whatever preceded it a try.
I found it on the Spirituality and Practice site.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Something to think about

Spiritual reading is a regular, essential part of the life of prayer, and particularly is it the support of adoring prayer. It is important to increase our sense of God's richness and wonder by reading what his great lovers have said about him.

Evelyn Underhill

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


For some time now I have really valued the website called Spirituality and Practice that is maintained by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat. Today I found an article of theirs on the subject of mystery. Here's how it gets started:
Mystery. It's not much in favor these days. Modern consciousness has little respect for the unseen and the unknown. We're much more comfortable with sound bytes from the experts and tidy philosophical or psychological systems that have an explanation for every situation. Television programs us to think that every problem has a solution that can be found in an hour or two, minus the time for commercials.

Politicians, educators, scientists, writers, self-help psychologists, and even many preachers seem to have everything all figured out. If we need answers, they're more than willing to give them.

There is another way to be in our world: we can embrace mystery. Christian novelist and essayist Madeleine L'Engle said, "There are no answers to the wonder of creation." There is only a deep and abiding respect for the awesomeness and unfathomability of the miracles of life. To try to explain them in detail, to reduce them to a simple answer for someone, is to limit their majesty.
The rest of the article is quite wonderful. You might like to click through and read it.

Monday, February 18, 2008

The world's grief


Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world's grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.

-- The Talmud

Friday, February 15, 2008

Break in blogging

Hello, friends. I'll be away for the next couple of days. Blogging will resume on Sunday evening!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

A new perspective

My friend has a kaleidoscope she sometimes uses in her counseling practice. She invites her client to look through the kaleidoscope to catch a new perspective. God's Spirit within us is like this kaleidoscope; we need to be attentive to it so we can be transformed with new eyes.

Celeste Snowber Schroeder

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


"Beneath the Unseen Silence"

Silence will illuminate you in God. . . and deliver you from phantoms of ignorance. Silence will unite you to God. . . . In the beginning we have to force ourselves to be silent. But then from our very silence is born something that draws us into deeper silence.

Isaac of Nineveh, seventh century Syrian monk

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Monday, February 11, 2008

Jesus is our home

Christ in a Red Robe
When you practice the bell of mindfulness, you breathe in, and you listen deeply to the sound of the bell, and you say, “Listen, Listen.” Then you breathe out and say, “This wonderful sound brings me back to my true home” . . . If you are a Christian, you feel that Jesus Christ is your home. It’s very comfortable to think of Jesus as your home. . . He is ever present. Your practice is how to touch him; he is your home.

(Many thanks to Fr. Clyde Glandon for sending me this quote.)

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Lent 1

From a sermon for Lent 1 by Dr. Robert Crouse:
A certain wilderness is necessary for the clarifying of the Spirit. Turn off the noise for a bit, and shun the continual distractions for awhile. There is a powerful modern prejudice in favour of busyness; even the Church seems determined to keep us busy. Even when we have retreats, which used to betimes of quietness, the inclination now is to turn them into conferences with discussion groups.

The ancient Christian hermits, the "Desert Fathers," as they are called, had a point when they claimed that the real battles of the spirit, the real confrontations with our devils, take place in quiet and isolation. Lent calls us to participate, at least in some small way, in that flight to the desert, to try to see ourselves clearly in the undistracted light of God's word, to identify our illusions so as to be free of them.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Remember this about prayer

"Pray as you can, not as you can't."

-- Ted King (Former Dean of St. George's Cathedral, Cape Town)

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Shrove Tuesday

Over 1000 years ago a monk wrote in the Anglo-Saxon Ecclesiastical Institutes:

In the week immediately before Lent everyone shall go to his confessor and confess his deeds and the confessor shall so shrive him.

Monday, February 4, 2008

with ah! bright wings

God’s Grandeur

The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs—
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

Sunday, February 3, 2008


Today, the last Sunday of Epiphany, is a day we observe the Transfiguration of Jesus. Here is an excerpt from a sermon for this day:

God is love. That's one of the first verses of Scripture that we each learned and that we teach our children and grandchildren. We say it with ease, but do we know what it looks like?

We do know that love does shine. We've all seen it. We've all seen someone in love, perhaps it was your own face in the mirror.

The eyes are bright with a new sparkle, the smile is radiant, the cheeks aglow. The same is true of a woman pregnant with child. Her love for the new creation growing in her womb shines through her face.

That's how God wants to be seen by us, as love making radiant all of God's creation. All of it, mind you--especially you and me. God wants us to shine with the light of that love, just like Moses and Jesus and Elijah. Because each one of us, as we walk through our lives, is a moment of Transfiguration for the people we meet. It is through us that God's love shines to fill the world with light.

-- The Rev. William S. Bennett

Saturday, February 2, 2008


Today is the Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord Jesus Christ in The Temple (Candlemas). Traditionally, candles are blessed on this day.

Here's a Robert Herrick poem for the day:

Kindle the Christmas brand, and then
Till sunset let it burn;
Which quench'd, then lay it up again,
Till Christmas next return.

Part must be kept, wherewith to teend
The Christmas log next year;
And where 'tis safely kept, the fiend
Can do no mischief there.
In some traditions it's fine to keep Christmas decorations up until Candlemas. I did that one year and enjoyed it very much!

Friday, February 1, 2008

St. Brigid's Day

Marilyn Bedford sent me the following tribute to St. Brigid:
Brigid, you were a woman of peace.
You brought harmony where there was conflict.
You brought light to the darkness.
You brought hope to the downcast.

May the mantle of your peace cover those who are troubled and anxious,
And may peace be firmly rooted in our hearts and in our world.
Inspire us to act justly and to reverence all God has made.

Brigid, you were a voice of the wounded and weary.
Strengthen what is weak within us.
Calm us into a quietness that heals and listens.
May we grow each day into greater wholeness in mind, body, and spirit.