Showing posts from May, 2007


Giving birth has always been a powerful metaphor for me. Not that I relate it to physical pregnancy, but since I started awakening, 20 years ago now, in my early thirties, I could feel the creative element in life moving within me, making me something new. I'm listening to Jennifer Berezan's CD, "Returning." She chants throughout: returning, returning, returning to the Mother of us all... This music is haunting, smoky, with rhythms that sink to the beginning of time itself. She recorded the music is a subterranean temple/tomb used by the Neolithic people of Malta. The 3-level labyrinth has 33 chambers, stairs, passageways, all carved out of the limestone with flint and antler tools. Some of the chambers, 5.25 meters beneath the surface, are egg shaped. Maybe now you can begin to imagine the haunting quality of this elegant sound. Our local public radio station aired an interview yesterday with a scientist who is using DNA markers to track human populations movements


A Harvard psychologist is claiming that humanity is becoming less and less violent. His article was in the New Republic, and , where I found it at Really interesting article. Toward the end he provides some possible reasons: 1. The decreasing sense that life is cheap. "As technology and economic efficiency lengthen and improve our lives, we place a higher value on life." 2. The more we realize that two people can come out ahead if they cooperate (trade, division of labor, sharing peace), the more we'll want the other person to stay alive. 3. Evolution bequeathed us a bit of empathy. Let me quote this part: "Through the centuries people's moral circles have expanded to encompass larger and larger polities: the clan, the tribe, the nation, both sexes, other races, and even animals. The circle may have been pushed outward by expanding networks of reciprocity,...but it might also be inflated by

Holy pauses

My dear friend A. was suppose to come over for lunch today, but I called her to say I didn't think I was quite up to it. Asthma's a bummer. Although I miss seeing her, it's probably just as well it didn't work out because it sounds like she needs a day at home without an agenda. A. is a business executive, and her job keeps her going at a frantic pace. I know she longs for a time of rest and renewal, and I wish that for her with all my heart. Our phone conversation, plus being cooped up here in the house all week, prompts me to wonder about my own pace. There are weeks when I work too many hours, but that's not really the problem. The problem is what I'm doing with the hours--I'm being productive and not taking the time to reflect. When I don't pause and think about the meaning of my work and relationships, it feels like life is passing me by. I clearly remember the moment when I understood the gift of my parents' lives to me.* I'd been r

A mirror not an expert

I was taught so WELL in my Ph.D. program. I'm thinking now especially of the emphasis that was always placed on the profound respect that we owe our clients. The postmodern emphasis on not-knowing, on allowing the human being sitting before us, trusting us, to teach us about who they are, and are becoming--it's just so right in so many ways. Although the temptation to play "expert" was and remains a temptation for me (arising mostly when I feel insecure), the program's postmodern emphasis on mutuality was a good fit for me overall. As a pastoral counselor, minister, and spiritual director, I'm reminded of this almost every week. I'm simply in partnership with people--a mirror for them--as God's Spirit does the work of nudging them toward health and abundant life. It's the most exciting thing to see that happening! And each time, I am changed for the better.

Gratitude for the years

As I write, D and Lovely Passionate Feminist stepdaughter are driving to Waco; they probably won't be home until 11 pm or so. But Young Man with Integrity stepson is here. As I write from my sick-bed, I can hear the low-rumblings from the television in the living room. I find it's not so bad being sick now that I no longer live alone. Getting married has brought so much joy to my life. The joy of feeling cared for when I'm sick. The joy of nearly-always having someone to go to dinner with. The joy of touch and intimacy. The joy of D's three children who are now in my life, enriching it beyond measure. The joy of being deeply known. The joy of working through who I am, and am becoming, as a married person. Yet I am also grateful for having been single for so long (until I was 48, three years ago now). It was time and space to begin to know myself, and to like and even love myself. Loneliness motivated me to seek out good friends--so many wonderful friends who have nouris

No death for what the heart has known...

Whispers Late at Night "Death is more than parting, but it can't annul a marriage, nor can it revise the terms of an impassioned covenant or teach you how with scalpel to excise your former self from you that still persists. Without your lover, you are emptied of yourself, it seems, and nothing true exists anywhere, and yet you keep your love. There is an end to kissing and an end to whispers late at night, but never shall there be an end to heartache lovers send across the greatest barrier of all. Though lovers into deepest night are blown, there is no death for what the heart has known." Robert Daseler Existentialist that I am, death is a subject/idea (sometimes even an experience, if only emotional) that is never far from my awareness.

Authenticity 2

"This is what connects you to who you are. What you love. What you caress. Whatever it is that leaves you and in its absence makes you lonelier than Loneliness itself. When it returns, it becomes holy. When it returns, you see the sacred in the profane. You do not fall prostrate before it. You hold it close. You let it go. You live with it. You live. " Parabola magazine We are indeed relational creatures. That probably accounts for how that sense of coming-to-myself increased so much when I married. And earlier, when I became a minister. And more on authenticity...from A. Come, a Kierkegaard scholar: "In the crisis-moment of confrontation, I must learn and accept the fact that God’s judgment is God’s love, because only by coming to see transparently that I dwell in untruth, in unrighteousness, in non-being can I be transformed into the authentic being of goodness and so become my authentic personhood." I just see that as so true. Self-deception is the danger.

Creative Transformation

"In each and every negative, life-diminishing situation in life, without fail—each situation of pain, injustice, terror, grief, abandonment, rejection, etc.—God is there. And in God’s presence is an invitation toward transformation of that fear and hurt into that which is good. This way of transformation is always available. The opportunity to accept God’s invitation toward wisdom, love, freedom, truth, compassion, joy, beauty, kindness, and justice never fails. " I wrote that a few years ago, and I have never been the same since. Wish I could remember it more quickly at times, though! I've been sick all week and instead of opening myself to the possibility of God's creative transformation for some kind of good in the midst of it, I've let guilt get in the way. That little voice (my father's) that nags: Your employer won't like must EARN what you're paid ! Buttressed no doubt by that old John Houseman ad for SmithBarney, remember?: " T

Abundancy Mentality, Trust and Fear

I've been writing about fear and trust for our church newsletter recently--I edited some, but this is basically what I said: Abundancy Mentality Once a month I lead an additional worship service, in the emerging-church style . Last time we created a diner atmosphere, complete with red checkered tablecloths, gum-smacking waitresses, and short-order cooks. The theme was the Community in Christ that we can create anywhere we are. The idea came from Carrie Newcomer's song, "Betty's Diner" (see ), one line in which is "eggs and toast like bread and wine." So, of course we served eggs and toast. I was in the kitchen when I heard that we had run out of scrambled eggs. Oh, no, I thought. Moments later one of our ‘waitresses’ came up to the ‘short-order window’ to return a plate of food because it wasn’t needed—everyone had been served. I felt relieved, obviously, but as the evening continued I realized I also felt joy. In a tiny way I had

The War

I wish I could see as clearly as so many others regarding this wretched war. My husband and stepchildren (23 y.o. Young Man with Integrity, 19 y.o. Lovely Passionate Feminist, and 16 y.o. Genuine and Beautiful Drummer Girl) all agree that we should pull out immediately. But the mess that Iraq is in is our one else's, and shouldn't we stay there until we see whether perhaps , miracle of miracles, the troop escalation does some good? I can't stand the thought that we invade a country that was NOT a threat to us, wreak havoc and unleash these ungodly forces of sectarian violence, and then we just say, "OK, you people have to fix this yourselves now." I know Pres. Bush and Sec. Rumsfeld should have -- oh, better not get started on THAT! Suffice it to say that when we started to lose control, they should have sent in 300,000 soldiers to regain order. My heart aches with what we, in our blind arrogance, have done. There are days when I simply cannot listen to


My husband D and I disagree about Monica's testimony yesterday. He thinks she's lying through her teeth, but I'm not so sure. From what I've read (TPM by Josh Marshall points to a story of her refusing to attend a baby shower for a fellow DOJ-employee because this employee was unwed), Monica is a true-believer. D points out that "true-believers" from the Falwell-Robertson-Dobson school can lie as well as anyone, which I don't doubt. But something tells me that Monica's fervent idealism would make that more difficult for her. Her body language indicated that she was uptight (who wouldn't be?), but I don't think that necessarily means she was lying. Of course, I could be wrong. Even intuition can be influenced by projections and cultural "truths." When she said, "I know I crossed the line, but I didn't mean to," I wish someone had set her straight right then and there. Her fervor for her religious beliefs makes her

Uncovering the Real

Woke up this morning thinking, Life is a series of uncovering what's real. (I've always been a Platonist at heart, I suppose.) *Now we see through a glass darkly. *When mourning and death shall be no more. --All of that. I've been down with bronchitis this week, but part of waking up this morning was also the sense that my lungs are clearer. Maybe there's a mind-body connection here: Uncover my lungs, so I can breathe again. Hmm, that's a stretch, perhaps, but it always feels significant to me when I'm thinking something powerful like this when I awake. (No doubt part of my ongoing awakening .)