On Giving up Guilt for Lent

hands clasped in prayerTwo weeks into Lent and I’m still wondering what to give up.
I’m feeling kind of bad about that.
Maybe, I should just give up guilt for Lent.

Not, of course, that I’ve never done wrong.
Not even that I’m free of wrong right now.
But that the focus on what is wrong with me
Is a bottomless bog. Continue reading

there be dragons

dragonAs long as my breath is in me and the spirit of God is in my nostrils, my lips will not speak falsehood, and my tongue will not utter deceit. – Job 27: 3-4

 

‘Honesty is the bare-bones expression of faith.’ – Jack Levison

Honesty.

I admire an honest struggle. Even if the truth you bring to the struggle seems, to me, to be somewhat askew. None of us have a corner on the whole, untattered truth, anyway. But, if we come to the encounter all dressed up in pretense and pretext, we have not really come at all. Continue reading

You have no right

you have no right

You have no right to speak my truth for me;
To choose the words or set the cadence.
It is mine … it is me.

You have no right to tell me who I am, who I should be,
Based upon your own determined ‘truth.’
‘I AM’ does not belong to you, either.

That said, I cannot presume to know your truth
Or deeply understand the place from which it springs.
It belongs to you, shapes you, as mine shapes me.

Given that we are in this together,
Would it be better to start from questions
Rather than presumptions?

I mean the kind of questions that are, themselves, true;
The gentle, inquisitive, persistent questions that actually want to know;
The ones that lead to true understanding.

I mean the kind of questions that acknowledge
That the bigger truth cannot be held within one small frame;
That my small truth is never big enough.

I mean the earnest search for truth that calls each of us
Into the deepest expression of our own true selves.
I mean the truth whose source is love.

I AM calls each I am into being.
I AM loves each I am along the way,
Fully, at every point, without precondition.

And I am learning, slowly, to relinquish my hold
Upon my small definition of truth, my small definition of me.
I am learning, instead, to be held, in truth.

[photo by Andy Hay per cc 2.0]

The Door into the Meadow

door ajar in a stone wallI push open the door, slowly.
It seems dark inside and quiet, and somehow holy.
I hope that it is holy – for it is You I seek.
My fingers tremble on the frame.

My eyes strain to see, my ears to hear.
All is quiet and dark.
But still … that faint sense of the holy keeps me here.

‘Please come,’ I whisper.
‘Please come.’ I hear in reply. Continue reading

dance of words

tumble of words

I love the gift of words.
They romp and cavort around reality, giving me a tool to see its form.
They light the crevices and illuminate the vastness of truth, stretching my mind to new horizons.
True words, words of life, bring me closer to the wonder of what is. Continue reading

Woe to you …

pointing a fingerWoe to you, lawmakers. You seek easy answers to hard problems and produce sound bites which trivialize our turmoil, placing blame and responsibility on anyone but yourselves.

Woe to you, self-righteous do-gooders, who give to charity but neglect your own children, who see money as the way to buy righteousness and avoid responsibility. Continue reading

buzzzz … buzzzz … slap … buzzzz

mosquito

Look at the variety of creatures on earth. That demonstrates the wonderful imagination of their creator.

– Hildegard of Bingen.

Just look at the baboon’s butt and the spindly-legged spider and the iridescent humming bird and the waterfall and the mosquito – the mosquito? Hmmm. Why would that buzz through my mind? What wonder is there in the mosquito? Continue reading

Stopping for Coffee … hoping for more

steaming cup of coffee

 

stopping at Starbucks
buying time with my coffee
a jolt of relief

Can I do this? Can I find a meditative space in the middle of a Starbucks halfway to Austin? Can I be honest when there are other people nearby?

Its hard enough to be honest when I am alone in my closet – hidden from all eyes but yours. Yet, it is the commitment to find the time, to come, to wait in your presence that somehow, slowly molds my soul to the contours of your truth. So, I will give it a try and hope for a bit of grace. Continue reading

Sin (again)

Jacob wrestles the Angel

I guess I reveal my Church of Christ roots (where the liturgical calendar was not part of my year) when I wait till after Lent to spend time struggling with sin. But, like Jacob-com-Israel, my wrestling is more often determined by encounters that don’t follow a calendar.

Here are the rules of the game for me right now: I have to be as honest as I can be. I have to speak the questions that haunt my soul, even if it seems totally wrong to ask them. Only an honest encounter invites the Spirit. The Spirit can take it and, until I am honest, I am not really in the encounter at all. Continue reading

Struggling with Sin

statue of martyr pierced by arrows

 

When I am honest with myself, I struggle with sin.

There are, of course, the daily slights and stumbles; the things I regret, or kick myself for at the end of the day; the first world sins of breaking my diet or going a few miles over the speed limit. Those pester me, but they are really not my struggle.

Continue reading