Do not Forget To Wait

{Originally published in Friends Journal, March 2021} Sprawled on handmade quilts in a grassy orchard, sharing an outdoor, physically distanced visit with my friend Karen under purple pear and transparent apple trees, I am nowhere near a desert. My Willamette Valley farm home is more Edenic than it is barren, devoid, or austere. Yet when [...]

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 [...]

“Wade in the Water; God’s gonna Trouble the Water.”

{This essay, originally published in January 2017 right around the inauguration of Forty-Five, is among my most often read essays. It seems especially timely to re-share.} “Wade in the water. God’s gonna trouble the water.”  In the centuries-old spiritual, we’re told to wade into the healing water because God will “trouble” the water. In the [...]

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 [...]


{Though I wrote this essay in April 2020, it still resonates in 2021. Perhaps even more so.} 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 I [...]

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 [...]

Love is Good for the Brain

When I bumped into a friend at the local bakery, it was the week approaching June 30, 2018. I planned to participate in an ecumenical “liturgy of lament” in my small coastal community in solidarity with protests happening across the country over family separations at the border. I thought this friend, being a sociopolitically-active progressive [...]

What of Mercy?

Sunday’s lectionary reading from Luke, about Jesus healing on the Sabbath a woman afflicted with illness for eighteen years, illustrates that in the ‘Reign of God’ as Jesus taught it, mercy is to be valued over other concerns. To Jesus, the freedom of this woman ranked so far above any law, that Jesus abraded the [...]

All Done with This

Interesting what sends the past bubbling up and burning. We’re at a soaking pool one evening, my then-husband and I, steeping like leaves of jasmine. A woman enters with a baby, less than two months under his little elastic waistband. My eyes gravitate toward the infant the way my eyes gravitate to all the wrinkly [...]