Saturday, March 30, 2013

Luke 24:1-12 - “Holy Week” Sunday Vigil

“Holy Week” Sunday Vigil - Year C 

A life of Spirit/Religion is one of looking for the living. This is true even when we are not aware that we are looking for the living. 

So often we are looking for the dead, going through our rituals of expectation, and yet carry an unspoken hope that we might find the living instead.

It is in remembering that we return from unsuccessful searches for either the living or the dead. All of a sudden new synapses awaken us to significance that was right under our nose all along. Our remembrance is a helpful motivator but does not suggest an equally helpful apology for our remembrance — that is, we can carry good news but it can be easily dismissed as an idle tale.

Note that Peter went home after his experience of emptiness confirmed. Resurrection changes nothing and everything at the same time. Keep vigiling, for anniversaries of grand events are only anniversaries. Don’t expect Easter to be an Easter for you, G*D is too sly to make your next step forward so ritualistic. Do, though, expect clarity to come with keeping watch. Then go home, consolidate, and move on.

Matthew 27:57-66 - “Holy Week” Saturday

“Holy Week” Saturday - Year C 

No matter how we seek security, there is none.

A rich grave is no more secure than a poor one. Neither can capture a life.

Vigilance is not a source of security. Lives cannot be put on hold to watch.

Suspicion gives no sense of security. No matter how many contingencies are prepared for the future cares not a whit for the limits of our imagination and keeps coming around every defense we plan for.

Security attempts to get us back from they mystery of emptiness where “nothing” can become not only “something” but “anything”. Security is our attempt to control outcomes. Security needs so much propping up that it, itself, becomes insecure.

Blessings to Arimathea Joe and Magdala Mary and Perplexing Pilate. [Note: In the Eastern Church Pilate was canonize for his proclamation of Jesus’ innocence (Feast Day, June 25); in the Western Church Pilate is seen as the enemy of Christ and delight taken in devising ingenious and gruesome ends for him.] Blessings to you still standing without any guarantees, just a sense of belovedness.


Easter - Year C 


so late in time
what seemed like evening
was finally remembered
as beginning
and there was evening
and morning

darkness before dawn
is the longest dark
we lose track of one another
and no night-vision goggle
can see ahead in time
or move a stone

the lost are lost
and gone gone gone
there is no understanding
mystery is mystery
emptiness means theft
emptiness brings weeping

emptiness precedes hearing
no matter how focused our eye
it is the echo of our name
that calls us back
to see what is
in front of us anew

from emptiness
we let go
with emptiness
we go
in emptiness
we meet

John 18:1 - 19:42 - “Holy Week” Friday

“Holy Week” Friday - Year C 

The longest pericope of the year!

There are so many places to get distracted in this passage. Its beginning may be all we need. After Jesus said, “I’ve made your name known to them and will continue to make it known so that your love for me will be in them, and I myself will be in them” — we are in a garden.

Creation may not be admissible evidence in a court of law, but it touches our heart with an assurance of being of value. Creation shows love. Creativity continues to show love. 

And we find betrayal in a Garden called Eden and a Garden called Gethsemane. Gardens are places of weeds and fruits. Gardens are not controllable and eventually we need to move on. From one Garden comes the death of Abel from another comes the death of Jesus and Cain morphs into Pilate.

This is not about violence and death. This is simply business-as-usual—love revealed and internalized. 

Remember the liturgy of Ash Wednesday— this year we used: From Dust you have come; to Dust you shall return; what do you have to lose. During our Lent exploration of Christmas and Easter, this shifted to: You have come from Blessing; you shall go to Blessing; Bless now.

Be not surprised. What did Jesus have to lose? And you? What wouldn’t Jesus bless? And you?

Thursday, March 28, 2013

1 Corinthians 15:9-28

Easter - Year C 

After you get done scratching your head and diagramming sentences, it may suffice to say, “Grace and I are dancing to a wonderful tune, All-In-All.”

John 13:21-32 - “Holy Week” Thursday

“Holy Week” Thursday - Year C 

Yesterday we heard that Satan entered Judas with an offering of Jesus Bread. Here we hear that the devil had already gotten to Judas before the meal. Tricky business honoring ancient recordings of experience. In typical fashion even a single eye-witness can have multiple perceptions of the same incident.

While betrayal is a constant background possibility, being prepared to not be controlled by what others do or are not doing is critical to moving ahead. This preparation is enhanced through our intention to love one another, anyway.

To those who have held true with me in my betrayals, thank you.
To those I have been true with in their betrayals, you're welcome.

Now how do we move on to increase the folks we will identify as within a community of “one another”? There is an abundance of love to go around when we can see beyond our own nose to someone else’s nose (whether cute as a button or a humongous honker it is their nose and therefore beautiful).

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24

Easter - Year C 

Starting from the end and working backward sometimes helps. In this case we have verses 24, 23, 22, 21, 1 to trigger our latest engagement with the sliver of life we have before us.

be glad in this day
it’s here
what else is there 
deal with it

like a song from West Side Story
I can feel it coming
a castaway
charts a new course

in this hope 
for wholeness
even unasked questions
are responded to

forever endures
love steadfast

John 13:21-32 -“Holy Week” Wednesday

“Holy Week” Wednesday - Year C 

Betrayal is troubling. Announcing an accomplished act before its time is troubling. There is much that is troubling.

We have heard tell of a marvelous product, Powdermilk Biscuits, that give one the strength to get up and do what needs to be done. Is it not also troubling that Jesus Bread is reported to be a trigger for a Last Temptation (read your Kazantzakis)?

How do you square innocent Jesus with instigator Jesus?

In specific, how does triggering a betrayal become identified as “glorification”? Humpty Dumpty seems to be working overtime in redefining words. It would seem that the crucifixion and resurrection are bonuses, while the real reason for the season is this moment of betrayal. Yes, there are the reports of Matthew, Mark, and Luke to contend with, but is this the decisive play of the game and if so, what might it mean in the life of the Church or an individual such as me, you, in contemplation of this scene?

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Acts 10:34-43

Easter - Year C 

Look, it’s taken awhile. Granted, I’m as slow as a rock, but if I can finally get it, so can anyone. Remember this rock trying to walk on water? Plop. Remember my trying to tell Jesus to get the devil off his back and he tells me, I’m just seeing myself?  Remember my running away afraid? Yeah, I got a couple of things confused earlier but they were set-ups, nothing I really thought through or felt on my own.

Now, if I can finally get it, anyone can. All it takes is to finally hear our religious and cultural tradition say, “that was then, this is now.”

We used to think G*D was allergic to shellfish and pork, rather OCD about combining fabrics, and too high-borne to appreciate chipped beef on toast. Turns out we had a partial view of G*D. When you can take a longer look, G*D’s rather impartial.

It seems it sets Jesus spinning in his grave when we start divvying things up. What sets him loose is an appreciation for zero-degrees of separation. Turns out he likes being a judge of that which doesn’t need judging - a pretty good gig if you can get it and you can get it if you try. Hey, somebody should turn this into a song - An Impartial Rag!

John 12:20-36 - “Holy Week” Tuesday

“Holy Week” Tuesday - Year C 

There’s a lot of “troubled soul” going around. Unfortunately much of it is really troubled convenience or troubled desire. These are pretty direct routes to suffering. 

When it gets to soul we have this wonderful poem by W.B. Yeats

We also have this sequence:
  1. Festival scene
  2. One of those Greeks ask for Jesus
  3. Jesus hears of it and responds “Glory be!”
  4. Jesus has second thoughts about getting to glory
  5. And a voice
  6. “Hey, glory has already happened and will again.”
  7. Well, that’s a comfort
  8. What’s left to lose?
  9. Take your next step to set things right
See what some Greeks got us into? Now we have to be about justice. That seems to keep happening. Every time we turn around there is a seemingly innocent incident that ends up asking us to be kind ourselves and to see that kindness is done unto others.

That light shining into dark places points to one place after another in need of justice. That’s soul-troubling. That’s a set-up for justice-fatigue. Yet, that’s what will lift us out of one remorseful ditch after another — working with the light given us.

And the wonderful pre-grave line: “Then Jesus hid from them.”

Use what light you have. Play hide and seek. Seems you’ll find Jesus hiding with the invisible people waiting for you come join in justice joy — an untroubling of souls.

Monday, March 25, 2013

John 20:1-18

Easter - Year C 

Expectations are usually traps, set-ups for disappointment. In this case a broken expectation becomes a release, a source of mystery upon mystery that joyfully engages our sense of meaning.

Having gone out with weeping, we return with a song on our lips.

It was bad enough to visit the tomb, but to find it empty meant an insult of thievery is added to the injury of loss by death. Mary sequentially trudges in sadness, runs in dismay, stands distraught, and went announcing what shepherds and magi before her reported - “I have seen creation at work.”

An Easter of remembrance and familiarity is not an Easter. An Easter of turning resurrection over to G*D is not an Easter. Easter is only Easter insofar as we have an experience of holding and being held and then being released and releasing to be able to move on with an assurance and an announcement.

Interested in measuring Easter, whenever it should come this year? Relate your experience of turning from lost to found. If you actually tell that story, then Easter arrived. If you have no story to tell, it didn’t. A resurrection in a garden without a story being told is like unto a tree falling unheard in a forest - it is still a reality, but a lonely one.

May you and all be blessed through your catch-and-release story.

John 12:1-11 - "Holy Week" Monday

“Holy Week” Monday - Year C 

Generosity of others brings out the worst in us. It affronts our myth of never-ending progress for us in a zero-sum world. When someone else is generous, we can’t help but wonder what that will cost us. We could have been the recipient of that generous gift and we would certainly value it more highly that the ne’er-do-well who received it. We would have been able to turn a pound of nard into an even better return than a pound of heroin. In our imagination we can see all the good we would do with that resource. Of course there would have to be just a little taken out for administrative costs. Then, certainly, there will be a consideration given for management of this fund,. A laborer is due their due, so a little more may have to come out. Obviously there are a few palms to grease to efficiently and effectively oversee the movement of these monies to the poor souls so in need of a hand-out. Yes, someone would certainly receive something if only we had the nard.

Here in this week called “Holy” we may need to question the capitalist model of charity. It does seem we have poor folk all around us. It is hard to make a maximal profit with them having so many needs. Surely we should be able to market Jesus Nard or Lazarus Wrappings. with some of the proceeds going to the poor. We wouldn’t expect to do worse than the American Tract Society’s administrative expenses of 68% of their take as reported by Charity Navigators. Well, we might, but we would not expect to.

As a first reflection on life this week we see that we don’t see clearly. The way we measure importance and identify key values gets pretty messed up pretty quickly. Generous women have to go. People miraculously alive have to go. This is not to mention all the unmentionable folks we already dismiss as a matter of course by rendering them invisible. When honor comes up against profit, honor loses. When new life comes up against institutional survival, new life loses.

What is the half-life of generosity in your life? What is the distance between a reason to be generous and generosity itself?

Friday, March 22, 2013

A Glorious Mess

Lent 6 - Year C 

a glorious mess

control please
a little control
a line has been crossed
the volume is now
0.5 decibels above
the legal limit
you’ve been warned before
next time
we will control

ya sure you bettcha
control is sure
what this is about
got it in one
smart cookies y’all
just one teensy dif
creation echoes where it will
gonna fight the stones
you stand upon

Philippians 2:5-11

Lent 6 - Year C 

How does intentional humility work? Is it humility or practice toward humility? Is it humility or the appearance of humility? Is it humility a taking advantage of humility? Is it simply humility?

To humble oneself in anticipation of a later benefit, seems just a touch proud.

These same questions come about the privilege to not claim one’s privilege.

Perhaps what is being driven at here is some transparency of motive.

Just before this text we hear of Paul’s joy in loving accord through a mechanism of looking out for other’s interests. This will probably have a helpful effect on oneself, but there is certainly no guarantee that those other interests will reciprocate and have our interest in mind.

Just after this text we hear the injunction to work out our communal health together—always a dicey matter. Look at the comments on nearly any blog and you won't have to scroll far to find flamers whose good pleasure seems to be in displeasing others.

Somehow humility here is not just a personal virtue, but a communal one. Living in a culture of humility would be transformative. So far our track record has been poor. It is difficult to be humble when you are a "city on a hill". We have caused more fear and trembling than actual healing.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29

Lent 6 - Year C 

Give thanks for it clarifies the long-haul. A stance of gratitude encourages seeing all the little fiddly-bits so needed for dealing with a glacial shift in institutions, cultures, and self. [Note to self: given the speed of “glacial” retreat, it is no longer a descriptor for slow.]

Thanks connects us with the depths of creation from which a next-needed is called forth. In this case our old friend “steadfast love” is a definition of “Lord”. Lazy folks that we are we think that we have said “steadfast love” when we say “Lord”, but, of course, we haven’t. This universal all too quickly become “my God” and “steadfast love” turns into self-preservation at all costs and a position of privilege and prestige.

So, if this is a day of steadfast love, it is not a 24 hour day that is spoken of. This is a long-lasting experience that is longer than the “7-day” descriptor of creation. This day of steadfast love is seven times eternity long. This is a deep, deep thanks.

Again, this story cannot be confined to easy particulars or justified on the basis of how it has come to be known. But, if we daily open gates of kindness, we will find all the response we have looked for — participation in calling forth the new satisfies like nothing else. So, claim a shard of light and pry open a closed door with all the compassion you can muster. Such a moment will last and last.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Isaiah 50:4-9a

Lent 6 - Year C 

I have the ear of a learner and the tongue of a teacher!

This combination increases the little gray cells and their white matter connections. All in all, a most blessed combination.

It is unclear why it is then felt to be necessary to go on and drag G*D in as a big brother who will watch out for us. Can a relationship with G*D be a partnership or is it always paternalistic?

The implication is that if we learn to the test, all will turn out grand. Unfortunately tests are always behind on the facts. This leads to being stuck in the past. I only know what the test was able to affirm. There is no room for a new approach. With only fingers to deal with we are unlikely to arrive at the mysteries of zero and limits.

Rejoice in verse 4 as it is antidote for inappropriate guilt.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Luke 19:28-40

Lent 6 - Year C 

If the text says, “After this . . . .” it is wise to listen to what went before to set a context for where we now are located.

When reading what went before (a parable about kings or commanders-in-chief, a la Samuel’s warning that they will put the people in bondage) we will be able to hear a persistent fanfare for fairness under all expressions of privilege.

The The New Interpreter’s Bible says this about the parable and justice: 
“...the parable . . . is opposed to the quests of earthly kings for vengeance and profit at the expense of the poor.
     ”What should we say, for example, when those who have access to medical care protest the expense of providing medical care for those who have none? “Lord, they already have. . . .”? What should we say when municipalities channel funds for road repair, police protection, or school equipment to well-to-do neighborhoods while neglecting the needs in other areas? “Lord, they already have. . . .”? What should we say when regressive taxes are proposed that protect the assets of the wealthy at the expense of the poor? “Lord . . .”?
Now envision this Palm Sunday scene through the eyes of a public demonstration with huge puppets. Hear the sarcasm in “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” as they dance around one who has just taken a donkey because of his “need”.

Demonstrating goodness in teachings and healings had not reminded the powers that be of creation’s grace. This demonstration also has no effect on those interested in order and power for the benefits they derive from them.

Teachers do not accede to a demand to self-censor. Teachers know that wisdom is always latent and will eventually come out. Wisdom here is that a cry for justice is called for, particularly when it cannot be voiced. Even a dark, stone-sealed tomb is a cry for justice.

Don’t get caught thinking this story is just a procession ceremony. It is a last attempt to be seen by the invisible people of the day. When overt and covert rebellion failed, when modeled goodness failed, when public theatre failed, Jesus wept that the justice needed for peace to build upon it could not be brought about by any particular technique. This cleansing of tears leads to a cleansing of a symbol of economic injustice as strong in its day as reference to 9-11 is in ours.

Palm Sunday is not a feel-good children’s parade with palm branches, but a call to enter the stage of life, to experience catharsis, and to go forth to cleanse that which attempts to silence a creation-deep call for communal wholeness.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

what the priest missed

Lent 5 - Year C

what the priest missed

one life
is not enough

69 years, 5 months, 22 days
has layers of lives

evening and morning
an arc is approximated

so many Lazarus cycles
like starry sand

come and gone
gone and come

near as breath
far as blue yonder

another is ready
to be collaged

each one
a challenge

easier internally
for puzzlers

for privileged
threatened danger

enough lives
show poverty

so few lives
in an eternity

Lazarus is a means test
revealing the poor among us

choose beauty
choose thanks

these bring life
in their wake

awakening anew
a next birth

Friday, March 15, 2013

Philippians 3:4a-14

Lent 5 - Year C 

Distinguishing between a bark and a bite is important data. Knowing the situation raises our confidence of being able to respond appropriately. When these basics are confused or are intermittently so we find ourselves in Kafkaesque scenes.

It is, of course, important to know about ourselves as well as others. Sometimes we confuse our intentions with our behaviors. Since “I” know “Christ” and “Christ” can be counted on, you can count on me to let “you” know what “Christ” wants you to do. Our personal assurance too often leads to our privileged arrogance toward others.

Rather than looking at Christ or our striving (having put so much effort into faith beyond my experience, I need to have it be truer than true for me and you) it is probably worth spending a little more time with our “not having reached the goal of resurrection”. Without careful analysis of our situation, we are likely to strive overmuch, over-function, and miss a subtle call or beckoning to a next step.

Our temptation is to achieve spiritual, resurrectional, success right now. It’s the right thing. Pressing on without reflecting on what leads us to press on, quite quickly gets to be counter-productive.

During Lent we may need to move more slowly in order to move more at all toward what yet lies ahead.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Psalm 119:9-16

Lent 5 - Year C 

Why learn laws? Well, they track our errors and make it possible to learn from them. Laws can be a source of pleasure as we remember and don't repeat a mistake.

For the same reason a next law will be in order — a new lesson is already being learned.

Just as importantly, we can learn that we learned the wrong lesson when we made a previous law. This makes it possible to modify or repeal a mis-learned law.

So let’s not get all rote about law. While legalists have a tendency to teach to the law and to make new laws to expand prior law qua law, life experience will eventually win through. Even as laws are still expanding, we live toward the turning of the law when law is delightfully deconstructed back to the basics of Love (creation and all neighbors) – against which there is no law.

Isaiah 43:16-21

Lent 5 - Year C 

Here we are on the cusp of the remembered-of-old and the soon-to-be-upon-us.

This is the most difficult spot from which to evaluate whether we need a mirage of comfort and ease or a bucket of bracing water.

Were we not caught between paradigms we would affirm our heritage as our future or accept the present as prelude to its eternity.

As it is, we can neither accept all that has been handed on nor affirm that tomorrow will be more or less than today. There is all too much reality of tradition lingering past its welcome and too much fantasy of a never-to-arrive immature hope.

Remember a parted sea somewhere in our DNA. Anticipate dragons in uncharted waters. This is somewhat like rubbing your stomach and patting your head (or moving your right foot in a clock-wise direction, then drawing a 6 with your right hand in the air, and finding your foot unconsciously reversed direction). It is the essential tremor of humanity.

Tell you what, let’s keep breathing anyway. Here we will find conspiring to be inspiring.

John 12:1-11

Lent 5 - Year C 

We are behind on our postings. The snow pack, rain, and warm temperature conspired this past Sunday to find a weak spot in a basement window and the flood waters rose. All in all not the worst flood, but it does bring opportunity to reconfigure the basement and finally toss some things that have simply been carried along. If we take advantage of this, we will lead a less cluttered life. If we don’t, we will be plotting against Lazarus who scares us with his witness to the uncertainty of our certainties and the possibility of a next chance to evaluate and modify.

- - - - - - -

Have you had a resurrectional experience? One that shifted your ground of being toward receiving the gifts of people as they are able to share their gifts? One that re-evaluates our usual responses in light of the preciousness of time and energy?

If so, you are on someone’s “hit list”.

Your covert or acknowledged adversary might be a supposed comrade or some level of competitor. All you can be certain about is that someone thinks they have a better response to life or a particular occasion than you do.

Given that generalized reality, the poor have remarkable gifts to give that no one would expect. When given wholeheartedly they are highly valued. If we lived only in an economic world, we would say they were costly or expensive. We would also know that you don’t give gifts away as that would lessen the total assets we have without an in-hand quid pro quo.

When we get caught up with the details of this story it is mostly to excuse ourselves from generosity similar to Mary’s. Our details would be different, but not the desire to give the best we have to the creative process in order to encourage it onward.

So, why are gifts from the poor to the poor denigrated? They confront the rich with the reality that they won’t even share with the rich, much less the poor. We so don’t like our certainties to be questioned.

Friday, March 08, 2013

3 Stories

Lent 4 - Year C 

this week
no fragments
not quite
grumbled out

Try three stories by Christy Thomas.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

2 Corinthians 5:16-21

Lent 4 - Year C 

Grumbling turns one into a growling animal, not distinctly human. It takes a method of reconciliation to see this otherwise and thus to respond without a mirroring growl. Paul is positing such a reconciliation comes from a specific indwelling of G*D into Jesus.

So long as an uniqueness of Jesus is required, there won’t be any evidence of other similar results through other means. When beginning to learn mathematics, students are asked to show their process under a rubric of one process leads to one result. It is like learning to color within the lines. So it is with these sorts of doctrinaire muttering. Once whispered, it yells at us about perspective and boundary.

While there are some who find the demarcation of one moment to be critical to understanding everything else, we more usually understand there is a progression of development by stages. A particular stage can be summarized, but not contained, in a key person in a timeline. You may want to play around with a timeline of mathematics

It is difficult to come up with a timeline of prophets. There are several out there, but they are all within a single tradition [if you know of an interfaith timeline of prophets, please reply]. Anyone want to try to develop a reconciled presentation of the prophetic tradition? After all, reconciliation is ours as well. Is this to be limited to “reconciling” folks to G*D only through Christ, or anyone to G*D through any avenue?

Things get real convoluted and contradictory when we get into parsing what might be behind how moments of inspiration come along. It seems that Paul might have been saying more than he knew when he gets into G*D making Jesus “to be sin”. This seems to raise more questions than it responds to. You might want to delete verse 21 from this text.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Psalm 32

Lent 4 - Year C 

Grumbling comes easily when we don’t get to take anything we want, when we want. Once begun it is difficult to end. This may be the earliest of temptations - shiny things.

When addressed at its root, dissatisfaction is a blessing as it stimulates our creativity into bringing forth a gift to meet a need and a curse when it gets us into a taking mode.

A basic antidote for grumbling is experienced forgiveness that cuts through a desire for and shifts our desire to. Occasions for forgiveness reveal the nakedness we felt as shame and covers it with belovedness that revels in being revealed as choosers of significance. Those who have been injured and those who have harmed have different choices to make to become one again, but they are equally difficult.

This forgiveness is most easily done eye-to-eye and heart-to-heart. It is harder to do at a distance as we have more excuses not to forgive or be forgiven. Just as participatory democracy is a difficult governing style, forgiveness is a difficult spirit to participate in. Forgiving and a being forgiven call both to be new creations. The intersection of these dynamics is joy—the impetus of creation of new life out of chaotic dysfunction is revealed as forgiven and forgiver stand naked together, unashamed, joyful.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Joshua 5:9-12

Lent 4 - Year C 

Prior to manna there was grumbling. There will be subsequent grumblings after the manna served its purpose and ordinary life sets in again. Apparently, there will be grumbling. Even Jesus grumbled in Gethsemane and on a cross.

The Israelites had the equivalent of a 40-year fast. That is now broken. With a variety of food now at their disposal [stolen, mind you, from the Canaanites (Palestinians) whose land they took] they began to settle in to fight with others and among themselves. The disgrace of Egypt may be behind them, but there are future disgraces in the wings, waiting for their cue. Sustained injustice: enter Disgrace and one prophet or another.

For Lenten reflection: what is our relationship with ordinary life and with miracle? Are these participants in a zero-sum game? As long as ordinary life is manageable it is on and miracles are off? When miracles are present, ordinary life is absent? What would connect these to see the miracle of ordinary life and honor it with on-going justice?

It is relatively easy to see what temptations brought us to another moment of Disgrace. It is not so easy to see a needed miracle/grace before its time. Currently, where are you on the seemingly unending journey from ordinary life to miracle and back to ordinary life and around again? What justice matter do you need to attend to in order for ordinary life to move forward without another round of Disgrace?

Monday, March 04, 2013

Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32

Lent 4 - Year C 

Grumbling is an opportunity for teaching. Not direct instruction, mind you, but a story or three. Grumbling indicates there is some unresolved matter at hand. Conscience or some other cognitive dissonance is at work wondering how to resolve a current unsolvable paradigm or misunderstood proposition.

How can a good guy associate with not good guys and still remain a good guy?

This disrupts our easy categorization of who is for us and who is against us.

Notice how all three of the stories respond to grumbling by ending with “Rejoice with me, there is found joy on earth and reflected joy in heaven!” This enters under the grumbling level to plant a new vision seed that would be automatically rejected had the grumblers been instructed to “Get a life” or “Snap out of it” or “Don’t go there” or “Don’t worry; be happy”.

So, in the next 24 hours you are likely to meet a grumbler. You probably already know what they are going to grumble about since we are such creatures of habit and cultural memes. Try preparing a story now, so you can use it later.

This is good practice for next Lent when we could participate in a discipline of daily developing and sharing stories to counter the common grumbles of our time and location.

Friday, March 01, 2013


Lent 3 - Year C 


a fundamentalist’s saint
fit everyone
to a misfitting bed

brings out latter-day
judging suffering

leads originalist
demanding return

a meeting between
and Narcissus
sons of water gods
never satisfied
forever satisfied

on your desire
for others
to be you
eternal change
eternal stasis