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
“I hate to say it, but I’m just burnt out on church. My husband and I have tried four or five over the last year, and they’re all….” she searched for words that would be both true and sensitive to my full time gig as a pastor.
“Awful?” I offered.
She smiled. “Awful.”Read More
As we laughed and splashed and yelled like oversized children, I heard a noise. Chris heard it too. Like someone clearing snot from their nose. We gave each other a glance as we rolled over the top of a swell. Then, just beyond us, two enormous black triangles broke the surface...Read More
I've written a book, Experiments in Honesty, and it will soon be on real shelves (and of course virtual ones) around the world.
It's a collection of stories and dot-connecting from my own experience, within the vocabulary, imagery and tradition of christian spirituality. Hopefully you'll agree that I've not written a church book though. I've written something for anyone who finds themselves drawn to love, compassion, self-awareness, who has a desire to be connected beyond the surface of things. I've written it for people who feel drawn to what they see in Christ, because of—or despite—Christianity's help. You know who I'm talking about. I could very well be describing you. I know I'm describing me. I've come to suspect I'm describing millions.
Here are some things for you to know:
- The book will officially release in March.
- Presale on the book will begin this fall. I'll obviously announce that date when it's established.
- Wanna help me make the book a success? Grab a copy when it's available, and perhaps also consider giving it for a Christmas present. Yes, yes, it's shameless for me to suggest that. But if you like how I frame faith and love and waking up to ourselves, then you'll like this book, and you'll like putting it in others' hands. Everybody wins.
- Another way to help: When I write blog posts or email meditations, etc, share them if they mean something to you. That eventually helps me connect and rub virtual elbows with more readers, which has the same effect as my previous point. More winning. (Guh, who am I?)
- I promise to really try to not overdo the pitching of this book, or make it annoying. With that, perhaps you could help me create a buzz in the next weeks and months. (I'll probably email out some excerpts so you can at least have a taste of what it is you're buzzing about.) No problem if this is not your thing, but you pointing others to it, sharing some of the ads I'll be putting out soon, helps the message reach people I've never met. No love lost if you don't wanna, but if you want to help give this book bigger wings, this is a way to do it.
So there you go. The next few months will be me doing my best to make my writing successful, to connect with readers, and continuing to tell the best stories I can about faith, hope and love. I hope you'll join me.
My first thought when I heard a knock at the door was that I hadn't yet brushed my teeth. I hoped it wouldn't be too offensive, but then also thought it could prove a formidable weapon if whoever it was attempted to overstay. I hushed my dog into submission and opened the door to two wide-eyed strangers...Read More
Dear St. Peter,
Can I borrow your ear for a minute?
Sorry, I didn’t mean anything by that. But I will say, when you swung that sword at that soldier’s head when he was arresting Jesus, I'm glad you only got his ear and not the whole enchilada. That could’ve gone much worse. But this brings me to what’s on my mind...Read More