Stray thoughts on original sin, Franciscan spirituality and a painting of the Garden of Eden by Jan Brueghel the Elder

When God closes a door, as an old saying down South has it, God leaves a window cracked open somewhere. We may have to exercise a little creativity to find it, but there’s always another opening. Another old saying, one I learned in 12-step groups after I moved up north, goes like this: A coincidence … Continue reading Stray thoughts on original sin, Franciscan spirituality and a painting of the Garden of Eden by Jan Brueghel the Elder

A spiritual mutt discovers Franciscan spirituality in a time of apocalypse, learns he knew at least some of it all along

Last week I signed up for Richard Rohr’s daily meditations. I figured a brief daily exercise might lend a little discipline to my spiritual routine (or lack thereof) in these days of lingering pandemic, self-quarantine and isolation. I’ve read his stuff before, and it liked it. So I haven’t been disappointed. Fr. Richard Rohr OFM, … Continue reading A spiritual mutt discovers Franciscan spirituality in a time of apocalypse, learns he knew at least some of it all along

Buffalo massacre shows how widespread and dangerous white Christian nationalist conspiracy theories are becoming

Two articles by scholars published in the wake of the mass murder at the Tops Friendly Markets store in Buffalo struck me like Thomas Jefferson’s fire bell in the night. The scholars are Samuel Perry, of the University of Oklahoma, and Philip Gorski, of Yale; they have written extensively about white Christian nationalism — the … Continue reading Buffalo massacre shows how widespread and dangerous white Christian nationalist conspiracy theories are becoming

Salmon chowder recipes bring back memories of Alaska, as I try to come up with a ‘healthy eating plan’

It may lack the spiritual depth of the quest for the historical Jesus, but here’s an interim report on my quest for a recipe for Alaska-style salmon chowder that’s easy on the lactose and won’t send my cholesterol count skyrocketing. It follows up on a chat with my new cardiologist, who delicately suggested it’s time … Continue reading Salmon chowder recipes bring back memories of Alaska, as I try to come up with a ‘healthy eating plan’

Thoughts, prayers, wisdom from the Talmud and acting against ‘the enormity of the world’s grief’ in wartime

For several months I’ve been wanting to jumpstart my prayer life, but until last week I never would have thought it would involve the heartache of praying for peace in Ukraine in the face of a failed World War II-style blitzkrieg that may yet turn into another Stalingrad; atrocities that appear to involve the deliberate … Continue reading Thoughts, prayers, wisdom from the Talmud and acting against ‘the enormity of the world’s grief’ in wartime

‘Just a little talk with Jesus’: Getting up to speed on a Jesuit prayer exercise — with an assist from the Oak Ridge Boys

Welp, I guess I talked myself into a new assignment … trying a brand-new Jesuit prayer exercise (new for me at least, as a mainline Protestant who never had much use for organized religion until fairly recently). It’s called an Ignatian “Colloquy.” It started when I told my spiritual director I’ve always had a hard … Continue reading ‘Just a little talk with Jesus’: Getting up to speed on a Jesuit prayer exercise — with an assist from the Oak Ridge Boys

Laudato Si’, climate change and intersectionality: Not really somebody else’s problem

An ongoing discussion of Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’ is changing the way I think about intersectionality. It first came up several weeks ago in a Zoom dialog on the Laudato Si’ Action Platform. The dialog, conducted by the Springfield Dominican Sisters’ action program committee, would have been held at the motherhouse. it was held … Continue reading Laudato Si’, climate change and intersectionality: Not really somebody else’s problem

A ‘Zen Lutheran’ morning prayer

Prayer and meditation have never been my long suit — I don’t have the patience for either. But thanks to a recent bout of pneumonia, I may have found a practice that works for me. It combines two of my interests, Western Buddhist spirituality and Martin Luther’s Small Catechism. And, best of all perhaps, it … Continue reading A ‘Zen Lutheran’ morning prayer

Paraphrase of Talmudic scholar who fled the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE hits home in another time of apocalypse

Here’s something that’s been on my mind for quite a while now. I started writing something on it when the this meme popped up in my Facebook “memories.” It’s a paraphrase of a saying in the Talmud by a second-century Jewish sage whom I’d never heard of until I looked him up in Wikipedia, felt … Continue reading Paraphrase of Talmudic scholar who fled the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE hits home in another time of apocalypse

‘How Firm a Foundation’: Calling on a shape-note folk hymn in the hospital … and later by my fireside at home

Cross-posted to my trad music blog Hogfiddle. This is the story of how I came to be singing an old Baptist folk hymn from the Sacred Harp under my breath as the anesthesia was taking hold last week in the cath lab at Springfield’s Prairie Heart Institute. The procedure was a fairly routine cardiac ablation, … Continue reading ‘How Firm a Foundation’: Calling on a shape-note folk hymn in the hospital … and later by my fireside at home