Thursday, June 30, 2016

"Everyone has experienced at some time in their life, when they were with the person they loved, or perhaps at a time of deep sorrow or pain that there is a peculiar power in silence. Silence comes naturally at times of great significance in our life because we feel we are coming into a direct contact with some truth of such meaning that words would distract us, and prevent us from fully entering into that meaning. The power that silence has is to allow this truth to emerge, to rise to the surface, to become visible. It happens naturally, in its own time and fashion. We know that we are not responsible for making it appear, but we know it has a personal meaning for us. We know it is greater than we are and we find a perhaps unexpected humility within ourselves that leads us to a real attentive silence. We let the truth be.

But there is also something in all of us that incites us to control others, to defuse the power we dimly apprehend in a moment of truth, to protect ourselves from its transforming power by neutralizing its otherness and imposing our own identity upon it. The crime of idolatry is precisely creating our own god in our own image and likeness. Rather than encounter God who is awesomely different from ourselves, we construct a toy model of God in our own psychic and emotional image. In doing this we do no harm to God, of course, as unreality has no power over God, but we do debase and scatter ourselves, surrendering the potential and divine glory of our humanity for the false glitter of the golden calf. The truth is so much more exciting, so much more wonderful. God is not a reflection of our consciousness but we are reflections of God..."

--John Main OSB, Word Into Silence

Sunday, June 26, 2016

The big news/rumor this week is that, according to James Dobson, Donald Trump recently experienced a conversion and has now become "a baby Christian." If true (rather than--perish the thought--a cynical ploy) it makes a Trump presidency even more dangerous in my view. I've been around enough "baby Christians" over the last 25 years to know how unstable they can be as they try to navigate and assimilate an entirely new worldview and make themselves beholden to a plethora of "authorities" telling them what they must now do and how they must now think in order to be a good Christian. 

Hillary may be viewed by conservative fundamentalist Evangelicals as a nominal/liberal Christian, but I would take as President a seasoned nominal/liberal Christian (who knows her Bible, is well-read in Christian theology and has a long track record of church involvement) over an erratic "baby Christian" any day. 

Almost immediately after Saul of Tarsus was converted on the road to Damascus and became Paul, he dropped everything and went away to Arabia, ostensibly for a lengthy period of contemplation, discipleship, reorientation and tempering his previously misguided zeal. If Donald Trump--a man seemingly as complicated and forceful in his own way as Saul of Tarsus--has indeed recently become a born-again Christian, then perhaps (for his own sake as well as for ours) he ought to take a queue from Paul and step away for a while to learn what it means to be a follower of Jesus. I suspect that on election day such an opportunity will be given to him by the voters.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

I remember when I realized that--despite what I had been taught--the Jewish people are not chosen by God above all other people, but rather are loved by God just like everyone else. 

And I remember when I realized that--despite what I had been taught--women are not subordinate to men in God's eyes, but rather ought to be able to do anything men do--in the church or in the world-at-large.

And I remember when I realized that--despite what I had been taught--people who are LGBTQ are not abominations living a "lifestyle" of sinful rebellion against God simply because of who they are and who they love, but rather are loved and accepted by God just like everyone else.

And I remember when I realized that I cannot in good conscience be part of organizations that elevate some people and denigrate other people based upon things like ethnicity or gender or sexuality.

Sunday, June 12, 2016


The worst mass shooting in U.S. history; this one targeting people who are LGBTQ. Shock. Sorrow. Outrage. Candles. Prayers. It occurred just a few miles away from where an aspiring 22 year-old singer was gunned down the night before. Shock. Sorrow. Outrage. Candles. Prayers. But will we do a damn thing about our gun epidemic? No. We will just continue to be shocked, sorrowful and outraged, to light candles and say prayers--again and again and again.

Thursday, June 09, 2016


I recently heard a fascinating radio program about the Voyager spacecraft. Voyager 1 and its sibling Voyager 2 were launched in 1977 for the purpose of gathering information about the outer planets of our solar system and the vast space beyond.

Several years ago the probes completed their primary missions and now continue to hurtle outward. Voyager 1, which is ahead of Voyager 2, has now reached the outer limits of the heliosphere; the bubble of plasma and magnetic fields released by our sun (also known as the solar wind). The edge of the heliosphere is called the heliosheath: a region of turbulence as the outward pressure of the solar wind collides with the inward pressure of interstellar forces. And then further out, at the edge of the edge, is the heliopause: a point where the outward and inward pressures are at calm equilibrium. Beyond that, outside of the sun's bubble of influence, is interstellar space. Scientists aren't quite sure if Voyager 1 is in the heliosheath or the heliopause, since these distinctions are somewhat theoretical. Eventually, however, it will pass through to become the first human-made object to escape the heliosphere and reach interstellar space.

It occurred to me that I feel an odd little sense of affinity--at least from a theological/philosophical perspective--with the Voyager craft; on a trajectory of exploration beyond what I know and understand, into a space where boundaries aren't clear and the familiar powers of centralized forces are diminishing.

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Not sure how I would feel about operating this machine...

Monday, June 06, 2016

"Letting go is the lesson. Letting go is always the lesson. Have you ever noticed how much of our agony is all tied up with craving and loss?"

— Susan Gordon Lydon

Sunday, June 05, 2016