a New Year

Friends-I hope your holiday was as enjoyable as mine. It was wonderful to spend time with friends and family, as well as having some time off work. Even better, there were no books I had to read or papers to write. I even got to worship rather than lead for the last Sunday of the year. Truly a good holiday.

However, today marks a return to my routine. In my morning meditation I was greeted by this poem:
Things to Think
Robert Bly
Think in ways you’ve never thought before
If the phone rings, think of it as carrying a message
Larger than anything you’ve ever heard,
Vaster than a hundred lines of Yeats.  Think that someone may bring a bear to your door,
Maybe wounded and deranged: or think that a moose
Has risen out of the lake, and he’s carrying on his antlers
A child of your own whom you’ve never seen.

          When someone knocks on the door, think that he’s about
           To give you something large: tell you you’re forgiven,
           Or that it’s not necessary to work all the time…

From a place of abundance

Friends-I am sitting at our kitchen table in the house in Niles. Ross is at school and Fran is away at a retreat so I'm alone with the dogs and cat. Looking out of the window, I'm presented with a beautiful snowy day and I can watch the birds in their winter skirmish for food while my neighbor, Lou, works to shovel the path around his house.

I'm doing all of this from a nice warm house with a well stocked refrigerator and no fears that I'm going to lose all this tomorrow. This is a place of abundance that most of us inhabit. A lot of us have not had to worry about making ends meet or where we were going to get food. Unfortunately, this is not the case for a lot of people in DeKalb County. There is a number of people who struggle to get by financially every day. In our county there is a poverty rate of between 9 and 13% with a rate of food insecurity (people who don't know where their next meal is coming from) estimated at 12%. There is not a lot of data about worki…

On the Beam

My friend Brenda always talks about being on the beam or off the beam. This phrase brings to my mind lasers or beams of light, but it really refers to a path. Brenda talks about being on the beam when she makes good decisions and senses that she is following some sort of guide. She's off the beam when life is messy and she does those things she knows are not good or healthy.
 Keeping our balance is hard. Some days it seems like so much effort to even get up on the beam to start. Other days I just can't keep balanced at all no matter what I do. The truth of the matter is that life can be hard, terribly hard, and staying on any sort of beam is the last thing on our mind. This is what makes our faith a challenge.

I was just reading how in our modern frame we conceptualize ourselves as "thinking our way into right living". Centuries ago it was the opposite. In the ancient church one "lived into right thinking", you worked at staying on the beam and changing you…


I have been thinking that I needed to make a blog post for the last couple weeks. I started this with such good intentions. I was going to make this a discipline and write something weekly. I thought it would fit my schedule and I could easily adopt this practice. Well, umm, maybe not.

Spiritual practices or spiritual disciplines are things that we do that promote spiritual growth. We can do them as a group or by ourselves, but, ultimately, they make us more aware of God's presence and activity in our lives. Spiritual practices range from something as simple as prayer to something as involved as Communion. And writing blog posts

I get together regularly with a group of folks and together we work on developing spiritual practices. This group was at my house last night. We began our conversation talking about the challenges of entering into a spiritual practice. For example, we had been working on praying a prayer at noon every day. For several in the group it was hard to remember …

Worship and Sacrifice

Brothers and Sisters-This week the church office is being redone. Actually, there are some workers who are resurfacing our walls. What this means is that right now most everything is moved out of my office and the same with the secretary's office. There is paper all over the floor to keep it covered and just about every flat surface is covered with a fine layer of dust (they're sanding drywall mud). My routine is disrupted! I struggle to get my work done! My patience is nearly at end!

...And then I read the words of Tertullian (third century theologian) that patience is the "highest virtue". The way Tertullian sees this, patience is born out of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, which roots our lives in hope and promise. This is a perspective that sees all of life as a journey and we are assured of that journey's end. This patient response to the trials and tribulations of life is very faithful perspective. Practicing the discipline of patience is much more easily…


I am starting a new blog today and it occurred to me last night that a good name for this is breadcrumbs. I think that is a good name for the blog in total-don't know about this one I'm writing. Breadcrumbs because I am following a trail left by the Holy Spirit. There a little nuggets that I find on the journey that guide me, sustain me, and let me know I'm on the right path. I thought of this arising out of the Hansel and Gretel fairy tail, but it's also a phrase used in web design to the same end.

As we journey together and follow the breadcrumbs I hope we can enjoy the journey. I'm not sure where it will take us or who we will meet along the way, but I know it will be a great experience.