Friday, November 23


Identity (noun) : Condition or character as to who a person or what a thing is.

You are a child of God, created in Her image and His likeness.

Respect Identity.

(image by Chris at Misfile as part of the Transgender Day of Remembrance Webcomic Project)

Wednesday, November 14

Do unto others.....

Meet Savita Halappanavar, a 31 year old dentist.  Originally from India, Mrs. Halappanavar lived in Ireland with her husband, was a Hindu and expecting their first child. Then, one evening, she started to have symptoms which suggested that she was having a miscarriage.  They went to the University hospital in Galway where...
He [her husband] said she continued to experience pain and asked a consultant if she could be induced. They said unfortunately she can't "because it's a Catholic country," Mr Halappanavar said.

"Savita said to her she is not Catholic, she is Hindu, and why impose the law on her. But she said 'I'm sorry, unfortunately it's a Catholic country' and it's the law that they can't abort when the foetus is live." (source: BBC)
A few days later, the foetus' heart stopped, Ms. Halappanavar went into septic shock and was pronounced dead a week after she walked into the hospital under her own power.

I mention this tale is not to mourn a young woman or the unborn child (which is right, fitting and proper, certainly). Rather, I would wish to consider what it says about the understandings we have about the Master's teachings and how we apply them.  I want to continue, but I fear that is gilding the lily.

Wednesday, November 7

Post election inspiration

After months and months of spin, lies and ad buys, here's a little detox for you.

The earth is the creation of God.  To feel it, experience it in a visceral and primal way is one of the deeper ways of connecting with the Divine.

Feel it turn.

Tuesday, November 6

Quotational physics

The first quote is about how one arrives at the truth.  He is speaking about the Scientific Method, but I find that it applies far more broadly.

"First you guess. Don't laugh, this is the most important step. Then you compute the consequences. Compare the consequences to experience. If it disagrees with experience, the guess is wrong. In that simple statement is the key to science. It doesn't matter how beautiful your guess is or how smart you are or what your name is. If it disagrees with experience, it's wrong. That's all there is to it." - Richard Feynman

This quote seems to follow on from my earlier post and provides a rather concrete answer to my question.  Whether it is pundit, pontiff or politician, if it disagrees with experience, then it should be (at the least) called into question.  The second quote relates to the first and has great resonance with me as of late.

"The Truth may be puzzling.  It may be counter intuitive.  It may contradict deeply held prejudices.  It may not be consistent with what we desperately want to be true.  But our preferences do not determine what is true." - Carl Sagan

Apply to religion, politics or personal life with equanimity.

Tuesday, October 30


Confused and befuddled?  Just where we want you.
Try as I might, it appears that I cannot avoid being sucked into the confluence of modern-day politics and religious 'thought'.  That said, I want to comment on the large issues, not the specifics.

The world we live in has become so large, varied and technical that we generally rely upon outside experts to inform our opinions on things rather than attempting to become subject matter experts ourselves.  In a word, we outsource.  In itself, this is not entirely a bad thing as it gives us access to expertise in short order and permits us to become subject matter experts in our own fields.

The trouble is when said subject matter experts give advice and counsel which flies in the face of our own experience.  If an IT guru advises you against virus protection on your computer or an English professor tells you that War and Peace is a light and quick read, you would really question them. So....

When those who are purported to be religious authorities exhort views which plainly contradict what is in the Scripture and the Tradition they hold as valid....

When people who are recognized as religious/spiritual leaders lay out a description of 'Gods Vision' which they 'know' that is fundamentally at odds with your own, personal experience of the Divine.....

When 'liberal' political leaders are advocating status-quo to slow, incremental adjustments so 'we can move forward' while 'conservative' political leaders are demanding radical change in order to 'restore the past'.... calls into question the rationality of their reason and the cost of their counsel.

No matter that, some would say, for the prelates have proclaimed their promulgations beyond proof and their declarations debar discussion or debate (church doctors be damned).  Likewise, the vote-chasers are adverse to even the verisimilitude of veracity and appear unremorseful in their unabashed unheeding of the unwashed masses.

If these are the leaders, why should we follow?
If they represent, control and govern the organization, what value is in being a part of it?
Why engage in an exchange when their ends are egregious and empty?

In short, why feed the troll?

My question would be who do you believe?  Them or your lying eyes?

Thursday, October 18

Speaking of ships coming in

A quick update:

The boy I was trying to help is no longer on the streets, but is back home with his parents.


My friend whose partner should have died from liver failure is now at home.


My very good friend who was in a coma is now awake and at home.


My love is requited in the most incredible person in the world.


My son is hale, healthy and wonderfully abnormal.


Prayers are listened to and answered.


"Keep the faith and your ship will come in.  It's all right!"

"Faith is not belief without proof, but trust without boundaries."

"Trust in God with all your heart and lean not on your own understandings.  In all your ways acknowledge Him and She will make your paths straight."

Amen, Amen, Amen.

Inspiration from song

"I've got a smile on my face, I've got four walls around me;
The sun in the sky, the water surrounds me;
I'll win now but sometimes I'll lose;
I've been battered, but I'll never bruise;
it's not so bad....

And I say way-hey-hey, it's just an ordinary day;
and it's all your state of mind;
At the end of the day, you've just got to say;
it's all right.

In this beautiful life, but there's always some sorrow;
It's a double-edged knife, but there's always tomorrow;
It's up to you now if you sink or swim;
Keep the faith and your ship will come in;
It's not so bad"  - Great Big Sea, Ordinary Day

Perspective....that's what we should maintain.  It is so easy to be drawn into negative patterns, to see the darkness and forget that there are no shadows without light and what we see as 'bad' or 'good' is entirely a subjective opinion based upon a horribly incomplete understanding of the situation.

Be grateful for what  you have been given.  The here and now is a gift, which is why it's called the present.

It's all right.

Thanks be to God.

Sunday, October 7

Reflections about Co-creation

So, there is this idea called co-creation, wherein the Universe and our lives are not unilaterally set in place by the Divine nor is it by our will alone that our fates are chosen, but rather it is our interactions with that which She has made which forms what is and what will be.  In short, it is our own Free Will, combined with His hands, which charts the course of the Universe.  Of course, our individual will, no matter how free, is not usually a huge factor in this process but it IS a factor nonetheless.  When we act in a collective manner using our combined Free Will to choose a particular path, we work in concert with Her power to change the world.  This comes about most poignantly in the celebration of Eucharist and, more specifically, the physical elements involved.

Wheat and grapes, created by the Divine, raised and collected by humans, are transformed by us into bread and wine which we then offer up and ask for the Divine to transform into the Bread of Life and Salvic Cup.  Without humanity, the wheat would wither and the grapes die on the vine.  Without the Divine, they would never have been.  Without the work of human hands, there is no bread or wine to bless and without the touch of God, they would be but empty symbols.

Looking in a larger sense, the entire story of Christianity is this interplay.  The crux of the Gospel is that God (fully divine) became flesh (fully human), dwelt amoung us and, by word and deed, showed that fully human and fully Divine is not only possible, it is how we are supposed to be.  As St. Athanasius (amoung others) put so long ago, "God became man so that man may become God."

Wednesday, October 3

Hard words on reconstruction

A few bits of synchronicity which have come together and inspired me to pen this post. I warn you now that it is not an easy pill to swallow, nor am I pleased to administer it, but medicine is often efficacious in inverse proportion to its palatability.

The first comes this op-ed piece in the Boston Globe by James Carroll.  Carroll recalls the Vatican II council and upon the 50th anniversary of Pope John XXIII calling for the council, his op-ed describes in lurid detail how much promise and change which the Council promised whilst expounding upon its failings.  The upshot of his lengthy memoir is that the revolution which was signaled 50 years ago is dead, ostensibly struck down by a few prelates who felt threatened by the changes which they themselves had instituted.  He states, "Alas, the age of miracles passed."  Clergy and laity both left the Roman Church in droves.

Some of those people came to places like my own Catholic-not-Roman church, which leads me directly into the next bit.  Our Presiding Bishop was in town to ordain a priest and was kind enough to spend an evening in dialogue with the laity of our parish.  When asked what his biggest fear is, the bishop replied that the Church (our break-away V2-style church) would die with 'our' (his, read Boomer) generation.   It is my belief that his fears are not only well-founded, but it is quite likely.

The Boomer/V2 church will die with them just like the Roman model which the prelates are so keen to promote will, realistically, die with them.  Both will die because there is no need for the church as they know it. The US society is, by and large, no longer interested in 'pray, pay, obey' and the 'social justice revolution' of Vatican II is almost quaint and backwards compared to where mainstream secular society is today. Furthermore, there is a more fundamental question of relevance - why any church at all?  People of faith and good will can and do meet in non-church places, perform the Good Work outside of church walls and have formed community beyond the bounds of the bishop.This leads me to what I realized last night as I looked out on a sea of greying hair and balding pates.

St. Dominic once said,
It is not by the display of power and pomp, cavalcades of retainers, and richly-houseled palfreys, or by gorgeous apparel, that the heretics win proselytes; it is by zealous preaching, by apostolic humility, by austerity, by seeming, it is true, but by seeming holiness. Zeal must be met by zeal, humility by humility, false sanctity by real sanctity, preaching falsehood by preaching truth.
This applies to heretics within the organization as well as without. During the 1970's, when the Vatican II pushback happened, where was the zeal? the preaching truth? the real sanctity? Their days of revolution are past and, as is so clearly outlined in Carroll's piece, when it came time to take up pitchforks and torches and force the issue, the faithful did so very little.

IF the Good Work is to continue, it will not be done by the Boomers or the Church.  No, it must be done by those of us who have been left behind by the Boomers, by the prelates, by the Church.  On this, the vigil of the feast of St. Francis, I would echo the words he heard, "Rebuild My Church".

IF we are willing to hear and answer the voice of the Divine, it is for us, those left behind, to pick up those stones and rebuild the church so that it relates to OUR concerns, OUR times and OUR world, not for us or ourselves, but for His Glory and Her Will be done.

Monday, October 1

Thoughts on buildings, community and liturgy

This past weekend, the people of our region had the joyous opportunity of observing the ordination of a long standing member of our sister parish to the priesthood.  A (much too small) image of the beautiful sanctuary is at right, but suffice to say that the century-plus episcopal sanctuary was constructed to evoke the feel of a Hooker-era English country parish church.  Our sister parish is colocated with the Anglo-Catholics here and they are a good fit, as both are quite conservative and the ordination which we watched was reflective both of the sacred space and the community who uses it.  The bishop, vicar and pastor of the parish sat in front of the altar, bedecked in their finery, facing the pews and performed for us, whilst we took in the spectacle of an old-skool, espicopal-led Catholic mass and ordination.

This would be in stark contrast to the mass I participated in on Sunday.  Our stark-white, modernist sanctuary (well, it belongs to the Lutherans, but they let us borrow it) has little of the beauty which I saw on Saturday, but the differences don't stop there.  Sunday service is normally small (50-60 people) and we all come up and stand around the altar in a big circle while the rite of Eucharist is performed.  All are welcome and all participate in the flesh and spirit.

As I consider my own path, the question sits with me - what best represents the type of place I wish to be in, that I wish to build?  Where do I find the Divine and where/when do I experience Her moving in myself and others?  I'm afraid my answers would not be pleasing to some, but St. Dominic calls to me "Follow the Truth, no matter where it may lead."

Monday, September 24


I don't ask with frequency, but I would ask for prayers for...

Kit and his family, that sickness would leave him and his liver be healed.

Michelle and her family, that her passing brings closure to long suffering and healing to all.

Will and for Roger, that both them come to terms with who they are and shed the sickness which afflicts them.

Tim, that he grasp the lessons being taught.

Thursday, September 20

Reflections on being reborn

It is not uncommon for me to talk through some of my thoughts on subjects in private, trying to work out kinks and derive greater understanding about things which my gut says is true.  This means that the dog has a much better understanding of ecclesiology than the cat (for she normally wanders off), though the cat would argue that she has a better grasp of theology as she is certain that there is a god (and she is Her).

During one of these pacing/muttering episodes, I was reminded of Nicodemus' conversation with Christ in John 3.  Recall that Nicodemus was a rabbi, a Pharisee and a member of the Sandhedrin - the jewish equivalent of a first century cardinal.  In short, Christ is not talking to a simple farmer or fisherman, but to a learned member of the clergy.

Christ talks about being born again and Nicodemus asks how this works in physical terms.  No no, replies Jesus, I'm talking figuratively, that ones being is reborn through water and the Spirit (It is likely that Christ is referring to the Mikveh, the ritual purification rite involving immersion in water, which is what John the Baptist was doing).  Physical is physical and Spirit is Spirit, so don't be all surprised when I say that you need to be reborn in the Spirit.

Then Christ says that the Spirit blows where it wills, we can see the effects, but we have no idea where it comes from or goes and that's how it works for everyone born in the Spirit.  This is where the train takes a turn.  I make this break because it really appears that the conversation is shifting.  Nicodemus asks "how is this possible?" Christ then goes into some depth of the Universality of God

This rebirth is not a matter of ashes and fire, but of paradigm shift.  The world isn't as you saw it before, but much bigger, greater, more complex and wonderful than you previously imagined.  It's not about rules and regulations, ancient pacts and dusty tomes.  It is about the living world in the here and now, immediate and direct in a way which can't be rationalized or ignored.

It is about encountering God in Her creation.

Lessons from the saints : Januarius

Yesterday was the feast of Januarius (Gennaros), a fourth century bishop and martyr.  Like so many of the 'persecution-era' martyrs, little is known about the person's life and we only have scant information about his death ('s the only way to be sure).  What brings Januarius to my attention (and why I wish to mention him here) is his relics.  Yes, you read that, his relics.

In Naples, there is a reliquary bust of Januarius which purportedly contains his head.  There are also bones (fingers, I think) stored in a vault, but there are also two ampoules of his solidified blood which are kept in a specially made monstrance-like vessel.  And this is where things get....exciting.  Thrice a year for the past 600+ years, the vessel is brought forward and placed next to the altar (and the bust).  Every year, the blood liquifies....sometimes for hours, sometimes for days....and then resolidifies.  It has not happened five times in over six hundred years, and every time there has been a significant natural catastrophe which has befallen the city or direct environs (plague, earthquake, etc).  Scientists have done spectral analysis and concluded that it is, in fact, blood, but have no working theories as to how, let alone why, it occurs.

I mention this for two reasons.  The first is that witnessing this miracle first hand is on my rather short 'bucket list' of places/things to see.  I have been to the Temple of the Holy Sepulchre, visited the Upper Room and knelt in the Garden of Gethsemane (Join the Navy, see the world).  I have walked in places where the presence of God was tangible, where the Divine was present, and I have stood in halls called hallowed and knew that there was nothing special here.  I wish to see this with mine own eyes and, through direct experience, know the truth of things.

The second reason I mention this miracle is to highlight the importance of icons and miracles of this nature.  The key is that it actually isn't important.  They are corporeal pointings to the incorporeal being.  These icons and mystical things are fingers which point to the Divine moon.  They can also be considered to be comfort and solace, something tangible which links us to the intangible.  Of course, that is a falsehood...not because they are not temporal things which link us to the Divine, but rather because the Divine is within us all already.

Tuesday, September 18

Dispatch from the Wilderness : two quotes, two thoughts

"A gem cannot be polished without friction, nor a man perfected without trials." - Confucius (attrib.)

A number of factors have been working together to dissuade me from posting.  I have no stomach for the current events or politics as of late and my studies have left me....unsatisfied.  That said, Dad's idea of OJT has been most 'illuminating' and has done much to stretch me mentally, emotionally and psychologically.  Also, my beloved has been most helpful in tempering and testing my beliefs and I feel rather indebted to her for this.  Polishing the stone, indeed.

"Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good." (I Cor. 2 : 4-7)

The more I look at this, where Dad is calling me and what needs doing, the more I realize that I can't reasonably be like most other priests and that my 'people' don't fit in a parish.  Maybe it's  all of the days and nights in the Wilderness, but the folks who I am called to serve don't sit in pews, sing V2 hymns off-key and talk about their grandchildren.  They don't care about ad orientem, by-mouth reception, bishops or any of that stuff.  They need to see, to know that both the Divine which suffuses all and people here on Earth love and care about them and wish to help them.

There is a lot of uncertainty and questioning which comes of this, being so far beyond the comfortable walls of 'church as usual'.  What I know for certain is that I do not walk alone.  There are others, both visible and invisible, who wander the wastelands with me.

Tuesday, August 28

Don't feed the sheep brains

This week, work has sent me to two co-located conferences which are, ostensibly, about increasing workforce diversity.  I say ostensibly because there is a great deal which has been covered in the first conference that I do no see applying directly to my public sector position, yet I am finding the information to be of value in thinking about the Church and the Good Work which I see myself being called to.  A comment which the first presenter made stuck with me enough to go into my personal notebook.

"We are all zombies - we mindlessly go through the same motions, day after day, with our behaviour, emotions and decisions based solely upon past patterns and external influences."

As soon as I heard this, I thought about my own church. They are good enough people, mind you (no overt brain-eating), but it resonates with his statement.  Week after week, month after month, the same V2 liturgy, the same problems within and outside of the congregation and the same approaches to solutions.  "The Church is greying - let's have Peter, Paul and Mary give a concert to connect with the 'kids'." "We need more education and spiritual growth - We'll hold a one-time Thursday morning study of X, or maybe we could have a few weeknights watching one of those edgy 'Emerging Church' videos."

Even those within the online 'radical reform' community (some of which are kind enough to grace these pages with their thoughts), it seems that the polemic has a 'call and response' feel to it.  Every time I read a story in the news about Cardinal so-and-so or Archbishop this-and-that saying or doing something horrible, I can lay $5 I don't have that my blog reader will be filled with witty and sharp expositions of exactly how unchristian these leaders of the Church are being. 

Now, understand that I am not saying that there isn't some value to these things (if nothing else, it prevents some of my online friends from wearing orange).  What I am saying is that we have all done these things for some time without any altering of the status quo.  If one expects things in our churches to change, if we wish to see our world to change, we must change.

We must have a radical re-envisioning of what church is, what it means and how the faithful celebrate it.  Yes, open table and communion before baptism are small steps.  Changing liturgy times, days and places are others.  At the root of the matter is to see what does and does not address the needs of the 'unchurched' and applying the basic teachings of Christ to these needs.  Do we need to have Eucharist every week? Do we need to have a dedicated service at all?  Do we need to have a dedicated sanctuary?  We don't need to think outside the box - we must throw the box away.  Can we get our respective Leadership to buy into these ideas?  Honestly, I don't know and don't care.  The Boss (not Mr. Springsteen) has told us we are to do so.

Feed my sheep.

...and I'm pretty sure He didn't mean brains.

Tuesday, August 21

Words of wisdom from Bl. Mother Teresa of Calcutta

“Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat.”

"If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one."

“We cannot do great things on this Earth, only small things with great love.”

"I know God will never give me more than I can handle. I just wish He didn't trust me so much."

"God doesn't require us to succeed; he only requires that you try."

May Holy Wisdom whisper into his ear,
May our brother Christ guide his path,
May our loving Mother hold him in Her arms.

Monday, August 20

Reading of the Day

Yet the Most High does not dwell in houses made with human hands; as the prophet says, 'Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house will you build for me, says the Lord, or what is the place of my rest? Did not my hand make all these things?' (Acts 7:48-50)

In his defense before the high priest, Stephen (in the book of Acts) quotes the prophet Isaiah (Is. 66:1).

When I was a boy, I attended a great (as in large) church with a huge sanctuary.  In it, we always spoke in hushed tones and a joke I make about that is that this is God's house and we need to be quiet because He is sleeping (being very old and all, you know).  Amusing as that may be, it highlights an error.  Oh, sure, God lives in that sanctuary, but She lives in my house, too.  And yours.  And in the fields and forests and ocean depths, too.

As I have wandered down this path, there have certainly been times when I have felt the presence of the Divine in the service, in the building of church.  Much more frequently, however, I have discerned the Divine in a basilica of beech trees and a cathedral of pines.   Like so much of this exploration journey I am on, things which I know to be true by my own experience are later revealed as having been commented on long ago.

"Believe me, you will find more lessons in the woods than in books. Trees and stones will teach you what you cannot learn from masters." - St. Bernard of Clairvaux

Lessons from the saints : St. Bernard of Clairvaux

"Believe me, you will find more lessons in the woods than in books. Trees and stones will teach you what you cannot learn from masters."

"It is no great thing to be humble when you are brought low; but to be humble when you are praised is a great and rare attainment."

"I know by myself how incomprehensible God is, seeing I cannot comprehend the parts of my own being."

"A pretext is never lacking to him who would break with a friend."

“If you concentrate hard on the state you are in, it would be suprising if you have time for anything else.”

“Neither fear nor self-interest can convert the soul. They may change the appearance, perhaps even the conduct, but never the object of supreme desire... Fear is the motive which constrains the slave; greed binds the selfish man, by which he is tempted when he is drawn away by his own lust and enticed (James 1:14). But neither fear nor self-interest is undefiled, nor can they convert the soul. Only charity can convert the soul, freeing it from unworthy motives.”

"We find rest in those we love, and we provide a resting place for those who love us."

“What we love we shall grow to resemble.”

Words from the Mellifluous Doctor upon the occasion of his saint day.

Friday, August 17

Today's Reading and an extra special message

Mother Church, Bride of Christ
So, reading today's daily office has an interesting quote from Ezekiel 16, wherein G-d outlines how He has raised and treated Israel with great love and deference, "'I also swore to you and entered into a covenant with you so that you became Mine,' declares the Lord GOD." (Ex16:4)  Then, He showers her with attention and great gifts, as a groom would a bride.

It is at this point, I get hammered by the cosmological clue-by-four.  The Roman church has called itself the Bride of Christ.  What is the bride's response to G-d?  What follows are His words and the message given to me to pass on.

Decked out in harlot finery
“But you trusted in your beauty and played the harlot because of your fame, and you poured out your harlotries on every passer-by who might be willing. You took some of your clothes, made for yourself high places of various colors and played the harlot on them, which should never come about nor happen.

The idol of gold and silver
You also took your beautiful jewels made of My gold and of My silver, which I had given you, and made for yourself male images that you might play the harlot with them.Then you took your embroidered cloth and covered them, and offered My oil and My incense before them. Also My bread which I gave you, fine flour, oil and honey with which I fed you, you would offer before them for a soothing aroma; so it happened,” declares the Lord GOD."

Moreover, you took your sons and daughters whom you had borne to Me and sacrificed them to idols to be devoured. Were your harlotries so small a matter? You slaughtered My children and offered them up to idols by causing them to pass through the fire." (Ez:16:15-21)

Only a few of the Children of God who have been sacrificed to the idol

The postscript to this is important and telling. G-d describes how this erstwhile bride is worse than Sodom, whom the Lord destroyed for their iniquity, and Samaria, whom the Lord laid low because of their wickedness. It ends as such:

"'You have borne the penalty of your lewdness and abominations,' the LORD declares. For thus says the Lord GOD, 'I will also do with you as you have done, you who have despised the oath by breaking the covenant.'" (Ez. 16:58-59)

Tuesday, August 14

An update.- Failure to Thrive

There are times that, despite the best watering, fertilizing and care, a plant dies on you anyways.  Perhaps the shock of transplantation was too much. Perhaps there was too much care given or the hardening off process was done too quickly.  Perhaps there was an unforseen weakness in the plant material which, despite the best of care, stressed it to the point where it could not cope.

It is easy to replace a plant with another which is nigh identical to the original.  But plants aren't people, each one being unique and special, and when a person fails to thrive, there is a great desperation felt to do anything and everything to save them.

There is a fine line between enablement and empowerment.In one, you provide the tools and the opportunity for someone who may not believe that they have them to make positive changes in their own lives.  In the other, you take those same-said tools to try and fix their lives.  The first is healthy, good and fully in line with Christian charity.  The second is a slow poison which will cripple both people.

That doesn't make this lesson any easier.

Kyrie Eleison
Christe Eleison
Sophia Eleison

For him, for me, for us all

Thursday, July 26

reflections on plants, people and sanctuary

A potted plant is one which is trained, groomed, doted over and requires great attention for it to grow at all.   As it sits, it becomes dependent on outside sources for water and food.   With its roots bound and all the tender care pored over it, the plant can never grow to its full potential.

To grow, thrive and succeed, a tree must be planted outside in the ground where wind, water, fire, insects, disease and drought threaten to kill it.  It must be tested and tried, forced to become independent and find creative ways to survive.

It is easy and right to wish to provide a safe haven for those who we see as troubled, but there is a danger in this.  Temporary refuge to hold people over is like watering the trees in the ground, giving them emotional water and spiritual food so that they may have respite. If that sanctuary becomes more than an emergency measure, then each day the people run the risk of sacrificing their independence, limiting their potential and even causing developmental dieback as they surrender parts of themselves for the illusion of security.

Better, then, to meet people in the field...water, feed and tend to them there and allow them to flourish in their own way and in their own time. That is where compassion is.

Wednesday, July 25


I should say at the first that I am a rather meticulous person when it comes to handling money.  From the cash in the collection (presidents front and upright, stacked in ascending denomination) to my own personal funds, things are ALWAYS handled in a very specific, organized and accountable manner.  With that as a backdrop....

I went out last night to do some personal counseling and work with a young man who is in some straits and figured I would get petrol on my way there to him.  Lo and behold, I had left my wallet in my other pants (no, really), so I gave a ring to a buddy who lent me $10.

After picking up the young man, we swung by my place to retrieve my wallet, partly for legal reasons but mostly because he's flat broke and I offered to pick up dinner.  Over the course of the evening, it became obvious that this fellow is trying to make it and, given proper support and help, very well may succeed.. On the way back to his place, we were talking about the use of subtlety and implied vs.explicit in social situations. when I stopped by another petrol station to top off the tank and get the $10 to pay back my buddy.

Coming back to the car, I shoved my hands in my pockets only to find a $20 bill, folded neat as you please into a small square.  You I NEVER handle money.  I just looked up and thought, 'Really, Dad?' because this sort of thing is seeming to happen with increased frequency.

So, of course, I got in the car and handed him the little square.  "Here, Coyote said this is yours."
Subtle, you old Dog.

Friday, July 20

Quote of the day

"Never let anyone make you feel inferior for being who you are. When you live the life you were meant to live, in freedom and dignity". - Desmond Tutu

Preach it, brother!

Wednesday, July 18

That word.

I don't normally do politically based posts, but today there appears to be an intersection of politics and religion.

Mitt Romney, criticizing the HHS birth control requirement, said: “I know we are not all Catholic in this room, but I feel like we are all Catholic today” in our effort to preserve religious liberty. (H/T to TPM)


The HHS 'requirement' is to offer the option of contraception as part of a broader package of health care coverage for women's health.

98% of catholic women have used contraception and, generally, the laity (you know, the folks who ARE the Catholic Church) are overwhelmingly in support of Free Will and a woman's right to choose.

This same freedom is being actively thwarted by a vast minority of old, (purportedly) celibate men.

Religious Liberty.  I do not think it means what you think it means.

Thursday, July 12

plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose

From Trent....
I have recently started my doctoral work, which is at least partly why I have not been blogging much as of late.  There was some church history in a section I was reading lately and, through various machinations and some good ol' fashioned wiki-creep, I ended up reading the 12 Conclusions of the Lollards. Some of their conclusions don't hold as much truck today as they did some 100 years before Luther....but I find the following four of real interest.
To Vatican II

  • The Church, once it began to deal in secular, temporal matters, drove out Faith, Hope and Charity.
  • Celibacy in the clergy leads to prejudice against women and 'induces sodomy within the Holy Church'.
  • The clergy 'feigned of a power higher than angels, is not the priesthood the which Christ ordained to his Apostles'.
  • Clergy should stay out of secular offices and should be accountable to civil laws.

These are reasons Wycliffe, who influenced Hus and, by extension, all of the Reformationists, wanted to break with Rome.

 Aren't these recurring themes?

The more things change, the more they remain the same.

Tuesday, July 3

Synergy and Harmony and Wisdom will come....

So, I am in the middle of writing a response to a comment when it happened again.  That point when all the parts fit into place and, for an instant, things make sense.  So, lets see if I can capture entlightenment in a bottle, ya?

Taking the following as premises:

1. That we all carry within us the spark of the Divine, created in Her image and His likeness, who created all that was and is and shall be.

2. We all have the capability to discern the presence and workings of the Divine in Creation.

3.As children of the Divine, we have the capability to affect creation (both mundanely and esoterically) and, more importantly, to work with the Divine to manifest in Creation that which we put as intention.

This co-creation is an expansion of the theological Synergism I talked about some time ago, though at that point I had no idea of the formal concept. Springboarding off of that idea, I wish to explicitly state that we, as humans, cannot do this without working with the Divine.  It is through the interplay of Creator and created that creation is manifested.

Here is the rub, though.  Our understanding of the Universe and the Divine is limited and the more constrained it is by pre-conceptions, misperceptions and internal traps, the less capable we are of engaging in that interplay.  Further, those who have spent the most time studying, writing, lecturing and explaining matters of religion and spirituality are, generally speaking, the most constrained by the aforementioned conceptions.  That is the basis of Taoist tzu-jan, (self-such).  By losing inculcated 'explanations' and returning to direct experience, one gains wisdom and understanding.

The more we put down the books and walk in the brook, the more we understand that creation, created and Creator are braided strands, the more we see the Christ within, the Christ in all...the more we know that we, each and every one of us, has the power to change the world if we dare to imagine large enough and trust deeply enough in God.

Monday, July 2

A reply, a reading and a story

Synchronicity strikes.  I was going to reply in the comments to this post, then I read the gospel for today and saw that this is looking for it's own post.

How do people not see?
I would put it that many do not see the miracles which happen around them because they are too focused on watching their own feet to look up and around them. 

People are looking for 'magic', not miracles and miracles don't always work.
I agree with you about the "magic" thing, especially combined with the idea that the ways of the Divine (by whatever name you wish) are quite often different than what we would like and just because things don't manifest exactly as you would like, doesn't mean that something marvelous and miraculous isn't happening right in front of you.  Thus, I would say that miracles DO happen and they DO work, but if we're only looking for a specific manner of response to a specific input (i.e. - I want my prayer answered in X way in Y timescale), then you are correct.
Jesus answered them, "Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only will you do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, 'Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,' it will be done. Whatever you ask for in prayer with faith, you will receive"  (Mt. 21:21-22)
Note, Christ never said WHAT you will receive, nor in what timescale, nor how that would manifest itself.

This all reminds me of a story:

A flood threatens a town, forcing everyone to evacuate, But Joe thinks, "I'm a devout man, God will save me," and stays put. As the waters rise, Joe's neighbor comes by and says, "Joe come with me, we've got to go." Joe declines, "I'm a devout man, God will save me."

The waters keep rising, Joe scrambles to his second floor. A firefighter in a rowboat comes by. "Get in the boat or you'll drown," he says. Joe again declines, saying, "God will save me. So this flood story goes."

Finally, the flood waters force Joe to his roof. A police helicopter comes by and throws down a rope. "Climb up or you'll drown," the policeman yells. "No, I'm a devout man, God will save me," Joe replies.

Soon, Joe drowns.

He arrives in heaven and challenges God. "Why didn't you help me?"

"What do you mean?" God says. "I did help. I sent a neighbor, a firefighter and a helicopter."

It's about being open to the Divine, attentive to how the universe is manifesting itself and fluid enough in how we think and are willing to act that we can intera

Thursday, June 28

Today's Reading

"Jesus said to his disciples:
"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,'
will enter the Kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. Many will say to me on that day,

'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name?  Did we not drive out demons in your name?
Did we not do mighty deeds in your name?'

Then I will declare to them solemnly,
'I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers.'"

It's not about how the displays of piety or following the rules of any church.  It's about doing the will of God.

Just sayin

Wednesday, June 27

all together now

Over the course of the past two weeks, there have been a number of discussions which my partner and I have had that consistently underline that the 'real world' (in comparison to the theoretical world as written in books and taught in schools) is far more complex and organically diversified in operation.

It isn't just a matter of a rainbow vs. black/white...but that the rainbow itself doesn't have a set of a half-dozen or so discrete colours.  To expand a phrase I have used for years, "Nature doesn't read textbooks, so it does things which the textbooks say it can't."

We, as humans, are part of nature.  Whether it is discussions of relationships, sexuality, or even as basic as how we perceive the universe around us, no two people are identical and divisions created to group folks are arbitrary.  Indeed, all of the divisions we make about nearly everything are imaginary and arbitrary.

We are all connected, all together, all one.  That which separates us is not without but within.  It is our misperceptions, misconceptions and lack of understanding that keeps us apart.

Tuesday, June 26

Once you see it, you will sh....

Everyone is home now. My son is safe and recuperating nicely.  I'm back at work and everything is just like it always is.

....except it's not.

It's not at all.

I keep looking around in shocked disbelief, as if I'm in some surreal world where nobody sees what is obvious to me.  The Divine working around us all, in us all.  Being connected to that Divine, feeling it coursing through everything and the affects of that Divinity....healing in days what takes weeks, months or never.

Day after day, I want to stand on a soap-box or at the top of a peak and shout "Behold what She has wrought!"  The more I am aware, the more frequently I see them, which makes me more aware yet. Every day this spiral continues and I am more grateful, thankful and astounded.

And yet...the people in this world muddle along, apparently oblivious to the awesome and incredible things which are going on right under their noses. That miracles happen around us is ignored.  That they happen with frequency and are unseen borders on willful blindness.

But once you see it, you cannot unsee it.  Once you know, you cannot turn back to how you used to be.

Thank you, Dad....for her, for him, for all of this.  

Friday, June 22


So, no, I haven't been posting much lately.  Things have been....surreal.

Last Spring, the Divine answered the prayers I had sent and brought someone into my life - someone who is wonderful and brilliant in a thousand different ways.  As the Spring progressed, so has our love blossomed and matured into something incredibly special - a partner and soulmate.  Something for which I give thanks and praise to Dad daily (if not more frequently).

But to love someone is to love their progeny as well, and my partner has a 12YO son.  We have bonded well and seem to be developing a good and healthy relationship.

In the past 2 weeks, he has undergone two serious surgeries to remove a tumor in his brain.  That fortnight has brought many sleepless nights, stressful days and more learning about medical technology than I ever wished to. Those days and nights have truly cemented the bonds between my partner and myself, showing how well we work together and how truly compatible we are.

Throughout these weeks, my faith has been resolute that Dad, in Her most Coyote of ways, would be true to His word and that She had things in hand.  The tumor is now out and we will see in the next few days how we are to proceed from here.

But that isn't what has been surreal, for that (incredible as it is) is not the real gift.   These past few weeks have brought me something beyond price or imagining - a son.  His choice...our choice.

Words cannot express nor song convey my gratitude and thanksgiving.

And, at least this once, I can chuckle with my Dad about the joke.
"Trust me," He said.  "I got this handled" She said, "This will be AWESOME".

No, Dad, it's not just's full of awe.

Wednesday, June 13

Thanks be to God

So quickly.  Some clouds seem dark while others are swirling with light and silver linings mix with rays of Divine light to the point that I see naught but the beauty that is the Creator reflected in the creation.

I don't even have words to describe how things have changed since the last post other than to say "Thank you, Dad"

....and thank you, son.

Thursday, June 7

Addendum to 'real scotsmen' and a notice

A real Scotsman
One of the things which I may have forgotten to mention in my previous post is that I was hoping that those of a catholic bent (that would include all of my Anglican communion brothers and sisters) would critique and comment as to the veracity of the statements and suggest additions and/or corrections.

In other, unrelated news, the next week shall probably be sparse as I am away on family business. May the Divine shine upon you all this and every day.

Thanks be to God.

Tuesday, June 5

Real Scotsmen wear dresses

Last week, our regional council had their formal decision-making meeting in regards to the question of calling a diocesan bishop.  I MAY post the process and results in another post, but the entire process has had the undercurrent of the discussion of the definition of Catholicity.

It seems that most folks feel that Catholicity is determined by external factors.  Whether it's smells & bells, old men in funny clothes, mea culpas or mumbling the same prayers in a foreign tongue that were done a thousand years ago in another country.

Others seem to think that it includes or is defined by obesiance to a primate or prelate and the hierarchical organization they represent.  Talk all you wish about 'authentic Catholic' or 'purity of Church', the mantra of 'pray, pay, obey' seems to be a hum in the background.

At the risk of sounding arrogant, that seems like a pretty poor definition of a faith system and is very much not where I am at.  For me (and I could very well be wrong) the definition of a faith system of any kind, let alone a set of faith systems (catholic vs. protestant, for instance), begins with belief. It is my contention that those who were raised in a catholic faith system are largely ignorant of the differences and distinctives of catholicity.

Catholicity embraces the doctrine of Free Will, and thus rejects Predestination (Persistance of Saints), Irresistible Grace, Limited Atonement and Total Depravity.

Catholicity embraces synergistic salvation, wherein God offers Grace and man freely accepts it, thus rejecting Unconditional Election and other monogistic soteriologies.

Catholicity embraces the validity of the Sacred Deposit, formed of both Tradition and Scripture, as the source of Inspiration and Revelation, thus rejecting sola scriptura.

Catholicity embraces the twin pillars of Justification which are Faith and Works, thus rejecting sola fide.

Catholicity embraces a Sacramental life.

I am sure that I am probably missing some and I know that doctoral theses could and have been written about each and every one I have mentioned.

One final thing to mention is that MANY of the 'distinctives' mentioned by various catholic Churches are not hallmarks of Catholicity, but core tenets of Christianity.  Belief in a Triune deity does not make you catholic, nor does affirming the Nicene Creed or a myriad of other things which make you Christian but not catholic. 

Monday, June 4

Just a quick question

Sr. Margaret Farley, Ph.D., Heretic
If a theologian propounds a viewpoint which is supported by the Deposit of Faith (which is to say, Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture) and the prelates discern, in good faith, that it is at variance with current Magisterial teaching, who is the heretic?

The theologian who pronounces the Truth as revealed to them within Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition?

The bishops and prelates who see this revelation as being at odds with their teaching?

I seem to recall that the prelates in Jerusalem voiced the very same complaints against some ill-educated Nazarene.

Just sayin.

I hear the music ringing...

As things progress from Spring to Summer, dark clouds roil on the horizon, promising more than just rain. 

In the Roman Church, cracks continue to show in the facade of unity and power as the servants of Christ work to undermine His message.

In our own Communion, the rumbles and arguments about authority and leadership are cause for despair as some attempt to make us in Rome's image.

In my own life, my beloved and I must sit powerless as her son is going through a pair of brain surgeries, not knowing how much of him will be left. 

And then there are the thousand storms of man's inhumanity to man which I cannot unsee and feel helpless to counter.

All of this...and yet.

Thanks, Dad.


Wednesday, May 30

Lessons from the saints - Jeanne d'Arc

Today is the feast of Jeanne d'Arc.  Two years ago (wow, has it been two years?) I wrote about her here, but I wish to point out a different and somewhat unrecognized aspect to the tale.

This revolves around who Jeanne was.  Not what she did or saw/heard or any of that, but who she was.  She was a peasant and a female who was martyred before her 20th birthday.  In short, she was a nobody, noone of importance, a nothing who may not even have been worthy of a gravestone.

Yet it is precisely this nobody who God chose to have visited. 

It is precisely this noone who was chosen to do the impossible for God and country.

It is precisely this nothing who listened, followed and changed the course of history.

It is something I noticed when searching for images about the Maid of Orleans.  Apart from the 'burning' images, she is almost always wearing armour, often with a sword in hand.  The latter is at variance with the accounts, as she stated specifically that she did not wish to harm anyone.  It is hard to find an image of her as the 12 year old shepherdess.  But that is who she, at her core, was. 

The point I see is to reiterate St. Francis: "If God can work through me, He can work through anybody",  whether it be a merchant's son or a teenaged girl. What made them is not where they came from or who they were born, but that they listened when the Voice called and answered it.

May we do the same.

Tuesday, May 29

Indra, Sa'adi and pandas

Last night, I had the chance to talk with a certain young man.  He recently was rescued (the only term which fits) from Nowhere, Midwest, where his strict Christian family was literally kicking him to the curb because he is (yes, you guessed it) gay. 

He is adjusting to life in BigGayCity, Colorado, but is having some identity issues *feigns shock* and the new friends may not be the most conducive to his finding that.  I mean, moving out of the house is hard enough for anyone.  Being evicted by your parents, driven to another state and dumped into a house-commune of a half-dozen gay men is....challenging.  Toss in a touch of Asperger's, a mind which tends to question and a truly gentle soul and one can imagine how uncertain things are for him right now.

We spoke at length about some spiritual things without being specific.  One of the outcomes of the conversation (other than a pointed need for more conversation) was talking about Indra's Net and that, as we are all part of nature created by the Divine, and that nature (as it was originally designed) is complex, interconnected and perfect, we are all created in the same way.

This afternoon, I ran across a poem which captures so much of what I am feeling and seeing.
The children of Adam are limbs of one body
Having been created of one essence.
When the calamity of time afflicts one limb
The other limbs cannot remain at rest.
If you have no sympathy for the troubles of others
You are not worthy to be called by the name of "man."
                               - Bani Adam, Sa'adi

For this uncertain and well-intentioned soul, I would ask for prayers of loving reassurance and guidance as he navigates in uncharted waters.

Also?  For that young man I mentioned at the first.