Proclaiming the ‘E Word’ on the Z App — walking the talk as the SARS-CoV-2 variants shape an uneasy new normal

Debi and I recently finished co-facilitating a six-week book study on evangelism for our parish church -- over Zoom no less -- and it was a pleasant surprise. The book, Reclaiming the 'E' Word: Waking Up to Our Evangelical Identity, is by Kelly Fryer, an ordained minister in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America who … Continue reading Proclaiming the ‘E Word’ on the Z App — walking the talk as the SARS-CoV-2 variants shape an uneasy new normal

Caring for creation in a time of environmental crisis: Stewardship, sacrament and Laudato Si’

Jubilee Farm, Center for Ecology and Spirituality, Springfield, Illinois, April 2022 In my inbox today, by coincidence when I've been doing keyword searches for ecumenical resources on Pope Francis' encyclical Laudato Si', a copy of Richard Rohr's summary of this week's daily meditations on the theme "A Sacramental Reality." One of those coincidences we're reminded … Continue reading Caring for creation in a time of environmental crisis: Stewardship, sacrament and Laudato Si’

A spiritual mutt discovers a common thread in the 10 Commandments and a Buddhist lovingkindness meditation

God's covenant with Noah, Augustana Synod primer, 1919 (Wikimedia Commons). Since Debi and I are co-facilitating a congregational book study group on the Ten Commandments, a recent article on America magazine's website jumped off the screen at me. By associate editor Jim McDermott, it's headlined "Is it time for an 11th commandment?" His answer is … Continue reading A spiritual mutt discovers a common thread in the 10 Commandments and a Buddhist lovingkindness meditation

A ‘Zen Lutheran’ morning prayer

Luther and family, by Gustav Spangenberg, ca. 1875 (Wikimedia Commons). 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 … Continue reading A ‘Zen Lutheran’ morning prayer

Rethinking grief, detachment, the Book of Job and the engravings of William Blake (!) in a time of pandemic

William Blake, Illustrations of the Book of Job, Plate 21 William Blake has never been exactly my cup of tea. When it comes to English Romantic poets, I'm more of a Byron and Wordsworth guy, and I like cats too much to get much pleasure out of thinking about Blake's tiger "burning bright, / In the … Continue reading Rethinking grief, detachment, the Book of Job and the engravings of William Blake (!) in a time of pandemic

Spiritual direction — seeking a ‘new normal’ during a global pandemic

Since I started spiritual direction a couple of years ago, I've emailed my spiritual director ahead of our monthly sessions ... summing up what I've been journaling about since our last meeting and, more to the point, getting a little focus on themes I've been working on and, more to the point, new directions that … Continue reading Spiritual direction — seeking a ‘new normal’ during a global pandemic

Jack Kornfield on gratitude, mindfulness, adversity (outtakes, links and quotes)

Outtakes from a post on daily practice I finished today. The final draft took a slightly different direction, but I'm copying this part of the draft here because I want to hang onto the links to Jack Kornfield here ... what he says about gratitude is so similar to the examen of St. Ignatius of … Continue reading Jack Kornfield on gratitude, mindfulness, adversity (outtakes, links and quotes)

Brother Richard’s “Lockdown,” a Zen moment in this time of coronavirus

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9x25DwatvjA&t=51s MBPPC Backyard Preacher | Mt. Baker Park Presbyterian Church, Seattle | March 17, 2020 Anderson Cooper closed the CNN News town hall he co-hosted tonight with Dr. Sanjay Gupta by reading a poem by Brother Richard Hendrick, OSF (Capuchin), of County Donegal in Ireland. It's titled "Lockdown"; it has been widely circulated on the … Continue reading Brother Richard’s “Lockdown,” a Zen moment in this time of coronavirus

Haiku from our campus literary magazine at SCI-Benedictine a month after 9/11

When I taught English and journalism at Springfield College in Illinois (before our merger with Benedictine), I workshopped poems along with my creative writing students. One of the forms we experimented with was "found poetry." The Academy of American Poets explains, "Found poems take existing texts and refashion them, reorder them, and present them as … Continue reading Haiku from our campus literary magazine at SCI-Benedictine a month after 9/11

Zen COPD: A harmonica on the nightstand and a promise to turn over a new leaf

Here's something that got my attention! (I'll copy-and-paste excerpts below.) But, first, what's it doing on a spiritual direction blog? It's an article about a guy who "has used the harmonica to help breathing patterns in adults with problems such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder." Interesting, eh? Especially if you’ve got COPD. But whatever else … Continue reading Zen COPD: A harmonica on the nightstand and a promise to turn over a new leaf