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Remember Who You Are

{Sermon delivered at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, Woodburn, Oregon, 1.10.21; Lectionary text: Genesis 1:1-5 (below).} From the short few verses of Genesis 1 we read this morning, the passage or chapter goes on to poetically, vividly narrate a tale of creation that culminates in a day of rest. All along the way, we are told—as [...]

God as a Circle Dance

{Sermon delivered at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, Woodburn, Oregon, 12.27.20; Lectionary text: John 1:1-18 (text below).} The Prologue of John is a fitting scripture to read just after Christmas because it encapsulates so much of what we celebrate at the holiday: God coming among us; God enfleshed; God represented in the life of this baby [...]

We Go Together

In the intriguing book Sapiens, Yuval Harari makes the case that homo sapiens dominated all other species and left behind other early-humanoids because—of all things—we were able to pass on shared sacred stories. Basically, we prevailed because we can spin a good yarn. And a good yarn builds group cohesion. Prior to the ability to build [...]

We were Made for Balance

Listening to a talk by JD Crossan, I was recently reminded that in the origin story opening the book of Genesis, Sabbath—not humanity—is creation’s mounting crescendo, creation’s pinnacle. I thought: I must remember this every day—everyday as I struggle against the capitalistic pressures, the personality pressures to push and produce in excess. Often, even as [...]

I dislike online church, but that’s a good thing.

Much as I appreciate the intentions of those replacing covid-cancelled gatherings with online substitutions, I find myself unmoved by screen-time stand-ins. So many things have gone online: college courses, pub trivia nights, family reunions, dates, happy hours, book clubs, visits with grandparents, and of course, church. I honestly hope these replacements work for many people—that [...]

Fragile

In quarantine, I’m of normal mood most days; other days I tear up a lot. Part of my Plan For Wellness involves feeling my feelings. Yet some days the feelings are so knotted and complex and all-inclusive that I need help teasing them out. Music helps. At times of past sadness, I avoided music. It [...]

The Other Part of the Miracle

{First appeared in Northwest Coast Magazine, Spring 2009} The Other Part of the Miracle is the red-wingeds’ return, black birds with a revel of crimson on their shoulders, a call that sags like a drawl, like the short-long-short of their flight. March has finally come. Mind you the birds perch on cattails sprung and faded, [...]

God is in the Obstacle

There is something archaeological about moving—the artifacts of past lives and forgotten experiences we unearth, the evidence of emotional layers long since covered over. When I recently moved, I came across a 4x6” piece of paper on which I’d written in large letters, “God is in the obstacle.” The words were likely written four to [...]

The Mercy

{Excerpted from Season of Wonder by Tricia Gates Brown, 2016} “…The mystery of life in its totality is incomprehensible, and what can be understood often speaks in a language so slow that we seldom stick around long enough to hear it.” —Mark Nepo As Mark Nepo states so beautifully, what can be understood of life’s [...]

Everyday Mysticism

{The following long piece is from a book-in-progress on the subject of 'everyday mysticism.'} When I set out to attend a PhD program in Scotland—in the captivating town of St. Andrews, the stirrings of my imagination went wild. Every fantasy I’d conjured watching Jane Austen movies, or PBS’s Masterpiece, of living in a stone cottage [...]