‘A Mild Touch of the Cancer’: In which I learn to use the ‘C-word’ from an ‘ex-comedian’ and blogger in New Zealand

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r2Wv_wwFH1I David Downs, TEDxAuckland, Auckland, New Zealand, April 11, 2019 Like so many people of my generation, I didn't even want to hear about cancer. Too upsetting. If I saw the word in a headline, I'd scroll down to the next story in the directory. But after I got my diagnosis, I went online to … Continue reading ‘A Mild Touch of the Cancer’: In which I learn to use the ‘C-word’ from an ‘ex-comedian’ and blogger in New Zealand

Luther and the indwelling ‘Christ present in faith’ — Finnish theologians, Irish Jesuit offer a way of coping with a scary diagnosis

Matthias Stom, St. Peter at Prayer, ca. 1633-40 (Wikimedia Commons) One thing about getting a cancer diagnosis -- it tends to focus your mind, especially if you've been working on your prayer life already. Increasingly since I was diagnosed toward the end of October, I've been falling back on what's sometimes called the Prayer of … Continue reading Luther and the indwelling ‘Christ present in faith’ — Finnish theologians, Irish Jesuit offer a way of coping with a scary diagnosis

Stray thoughts on centering prayer, a JAMA study on mindfulness meditation and a way to stop ‘catastrophizing’

Photo: RelaxingMusic/Creative Commons (Harvard Gazette). This Associated Press story jumped off the Yahoo! directory at me. Uh, let's rephrase that in the interest of accuracy -- it jumped off the computer screen. It's headlined "Mindfulness worked as well for anxiety as drug in study," and it's essentially a rewrite of research published today in the … Continue reading Stray thoughts on centering prayer, a JAMA study on mindfulness meditation and a way to stop ‘catastrophizing’

How a young adult novelist and a punk rocker-turned Orthodox rabbi guide my prayer life lately: ‘Are you there God, it’s me … (and help me get out of this foxhole)!’

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V7iqdBBYl40 Jim Martin, SJ, editor-in-chief, America, explains centering prayer. Editor's note. Short takes on the twists and turns in my spiritual life since I was diagnosed with bladder cancer Oct. 25. I had pretty much expected the diagnosis since the tumor was removed Oct. 17, but it still threw me for a loop. So in … Continue reading How a young adult novelist and a punk rocker-turned Orthodox rabbi guide my prayer life lately: ‘Are you there God, it’s me … (and help me get out of this foxhole)!’

Centering prayer: A ‘Zen Lutheran’ chatterbox meets a Trappist meditation when he needs to be still — and to trust

https://www.azquotes.com/quotes/topics/centering-prayer.html For a little more than a month now, I've been in one of those limbos we fall into when we're waiting for a biopsy. Now the surgery is scheduled -- finally! -- for next week. But it's had quite an effect on my prayer life, and I'm practicing something I call "emergency room spirituality" … Continue reading Centering prayer: A ‘Zen Lutheran’ chatterbox meets a Trappist meditation when he needs to be still — and to trust

Praying for trust, acceptance and other graces in the emergency room, ‘singing softly … like the south wind blows’

Longleaf pines, Weymouth Woods, N.C. (CC 2.0 license, Wikipedia Commons) Depend upon it, sir, when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully -- Samuel Johnson (Goodreads). Welp, I don't plan on being hanged in two weeks' time, but a worrisome CT scan and a midnight trip … Continue reading Praying for trust, acceptance and other graces in the emergency room, ‘singing softly … like the south wind blows’

Praying for good courage in a hospital emergency room … and quiet confidence while sweating out a scary diagnosis

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=phngTmv7IW4 From "Mountain Vespers" service for Holden Village by Dr. Kent Gustavson Many of us pray best in church, or in the resonant silence of an empty cathedral. Others pray at home, relying on candles, music or other aids to help ease them into a prayerful attitude. Me? It seems like I pray best in … Continue reading Praying for good courage in a hospital emergency room … and quiet confidence while sweating out a scary diagnosis

‘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. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UzUUkWwBZdI Recorded for online worship service on Sept. 6, 2020, Providence Church, Austin, Texas. 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 … Continue reading ‘How Firm a Foundation’: Calling on a shape-note folk hymn in the hospital … and later by my fireside at home

A viral cat video, the archbishop of Canterbury and the dean of the cathedral remind me of the imminence of God

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dy43J76bIwE Global News, the news and current affairs division of the Global Television Network of Vancouver, B.C.,  reported in 2020: "One of Canterbury Cathedral’s cats, Tiger, helped itself to some milk during a morning message from Dean Robert Willis on July 6." Brought together by serendipity -- a lovely, do-able brief explanation of my favorite Jesuit … Continue reading A viral cat video, the archbishop of Canterbury and the dean of the cathedral remind me of the imminence of God