When our minds feel caught in a negative spiral, and stress seems ready to overwhelm us, there's a spiritual practice, with scientific backing, that can help us head in the other direction.Read More
I heard a man say something at a funeral a couple weeks back that's been on loop in my head since. Standing at the podium, that tearful man looked his deceased friend's kids right in their eye and said it.Read More
God, we’re told…is willing to brutally avenge the Divine Name for our having dragged it through the mud with our naughty deeds. You and I only get that God is Love stuff after God has attended to his wrath. That is, God wants to be Love, but first God must be Even. To stay with this faith for a lifetime is to learn to live with anxiety and call it peace, or to stop thinking about it entirely so you don’t go mad.Read More
The story of the primordial humans in the Garden isn’t just about doing that which was forbidden. It’s about all of us, from the beginning, sewing together our own Hell, our own system of hiding and suppressing and pretending, to see if we can pass as lovable since we’re sure we’re not…Once it gets in your head that you may not be lovable, your entire internal budget is spent on compensating for that. And there’s not much left over for loving others when you decide your own value is a variable.Read More
Rebecca sat down in my office and began complaining about her husband. Then her mother. Then her kids. A coworker. It seemed everyone, in concentric circles, was a jerk, a moron, or in the very least not all Rebecca required them to be…Read More
I came around a corner and was confronted with a long hill that gave no indication of ever leveling off. A sort of despair set in, as I assumed by the incline that I'd see snow up there, perhaps a sherpa, or the ionosphere…Read More
with guest contributor John Blase
Instead of straining to stay unspotted from this
world, why not say I do to flesh and blood, and
commit yourself to a people and a place, and vow to
love and be loved in return?
I was hearing every other word, but it was clear that Karen and the woman now yelling at her had some history. The woman felt owed something from the previous night, screaming things into Karen's face about being paid back or else. Jessica cowered behind her mother’s leg. I tried not to stare until I heard the last bit clearly.Read More
GOD is a terrible PERSON
A Halloween Short
"Person" is a funny thing to call someone. It comes from the Latin for "mask,"
a thing put on the face so that the wearer can be misunderstood.
Built right into our language about each other is the assumption that we can do little more than pretend,
that the surface of another is the best we can manage.
That the less known, the better. But we forget
we know less, and go on acting as though we knew it all.
Moses once asked to see God's face.
He was denied. For his own good, as he understood it.
"No one sees my face and lives," came a voice, present, disembodied.
Moses was troubled. "God, why would I die?"
"I didn't say die.
"I said you won't be able to live,
To see my expression is to become obsessed with it.
If you see me smile you'll wonder if I'm paying attention to all that ails the world.
Or worse, you'll think you uniquely cracked the code on making me happy. Which means if you see me scowl, or frown, you'll assume you were the cause of that too. That'd wreck you, as you can't even handle a dirty look from the neighbor kid.
And if you think I'm scowling because your enemies are my enemies, that'll get people killed.
And what if my face looks surprised to you? You'll think circumstances have caught me off guard. You'll panic. Nothing good comes from panic.
How about a wrinkled nose? You'll think I, like you, rank sins based on what makes me gag. Moses, I don't gag. Don't even have the reflex.
And if you see me expressionless, you'll think I stopped caring at all. Sometimes I wish I could. Alas, I am Love.
If I seem old, you'll think young people have nothing good to contribute.
If I look young, you'll think human worth expires before it dies.
Moses, no one sees my face and lives."
But Moses persisted, "God, it would be worth it. Let me see your face. Please."
God replied, "Frankly, Moses, I don't even have a face. Make no image of it so the news about this can remain good."
Moses made pouty lips, then ducked his eyebrows in frustration. He even rolled his eyes. But God didn't notice, because God was focused on the unseen beauty of Moses' heart.
...But what goes wrong in church is what goes wrong in all human endeavors. Whatever people involve themselves in and multiply ends up magnifying both our best and our worst. Write Rumi's poetry and xenophobic hate speech on the same deflated balloon, and then inflate it. The expanding magnifies it all.Read More