• Praying for the President, (and what it means for how well I can love).

    I have to tell you, right now, I am happy to be part of a tradition that has already been praying for the president consistently during his term and will continue to do so, especially in light of the news of his illness. There really isn’t much for me to have to decide or fret over in times like these. We just keep doing what we do. We hand it over to God. It has largely kept me out of the fray about just how much empathy or well-wishing I owe to whom in order to satisfy which version of what it means to be a good person in times…

  • Hard work can be really good news.

    Don’t be discouraged by how much work there is to do these days… It is encouraging to be a part of a group of 50 white people working through Resmaa Menaken’s “My Grandmother’s Hands”. It is encouraging because it is good news that work can be done, healing can happen, and we can create new spaces for recovering from the awful sickness of racism. It feels like really good news that my Sunday morning church group has so much work to do. We don’t just read the Bible and get static information or instruction, we pour over these ancient words, chew them up, recover them from bad imaginations, and are…

  • Words for white people from a penitent racist.

    Racism is not a problem for black people to solve. Its a disease white people have and it is necrotic and debilitating for every 👏🏿 single 👏🏻 human 👏🏽. The work of justice, of ending oppression is just the first of many steps We need need to take… I need to take… for our own healing and recovery. I want my full humanity back. I want to live as God made me. I want to begin to heal the ties between all my brothers and sisters. I want forgiveness where I can get it, demonstrated and worked out over time, I want restoration and most of all I want my…

  • Why I Am Giving Up Empathy for Lent

    Have you noticed the uptick in the broad use of the words empath, empathy, empathetic over the past several years? Honestly, in a lot of ways, it feels as if the recent rediscovery of the word allows one to hint at being psychic …ish… without sounding all too irrational, metaphysical, or pseudo-sciencey. Calling one’s self empathic evokes something much closer to a Myers-Briggs personality type than a super-power, but still carries with it an extra air of authority. Does it not? It certainly seems like a more interesting, if not a more powerful claim than merely being a sympathetic person. I am not sure how I would begin to count…

  • Higher Definition, Higher (new year’s) Resolution(s)

    I have to admit to you, somewhat reluctantly, that I have a rebellious streak in me.   I am slow to admit it because everyone in my family that watched me insist on never matching my socks for 25 years will say “duh,” and others of you will know that when I see a sign that says keep of the grass, I ardently and deliberatively… ….comply and keep walking without trampling the grass even a little.   I am a “good kid,” but the kind of good kid who likes to break very specific sorts of things.  One of the effects of the rebellious streak, however, is that whatever behavior…

  • Advent 2018 – Welcome to Our World

    Advent: Introduction- Hospitality of the Heart. This year in Austin, our group – Austin Parable- has been meeting regularly in the hope of starting a community in the spirit of L’Arche, Jean Vanier, Sue Mosteller, and Henri Nouwen. So much has emerged and grown this year and we are taking some leaps of faith in the near future to set some concrete things in motion. As it happens, one of the biggest challenges in front of us is not fundraising, legal loopholes, non-profit status, “recruiting” members and assistants, CPR training, nor even securing real estate. The greatest task in front of us as a group is to develop the character and the…

  • The “Thoughts and Prayers” of the Outpatient Monk

    I  am happily reintroducing the Outpatient Monk blog after a long period of consideration. We have redesigned a few things, and even more importantly, I have taken some time to cultivate a heart and voice capable of speaking clearly in a time of awful and intentional muddiness. We can do better. I am thrilled if you are willing to read any of the upcoming posts, but I am honestly much more drawn than ever to developing a conversation with you. I am convinced that listening and thinking matters and is one of the acts of rebellion of our day. So if you have a thought or topic you would like…

  • Reflections on My 30 Years of World AIDS Day

    Almost exactly 30 years ago, in the fall of 1988, I was attending high school in a suburb of Los Angeles when I caught the acting bug.  In that part of the world, wanting to be an actor was more of a rite of passage than a particular vocation.  A lot of us went through some kind of acting phase. Nevertheless, I took myself quite seriously at the time, so I dropped out of high school, took an acting class, and landed my first paying gig saying two lines in a sex education movie for high schoolers and youth groups.  While my performance was… ahem… not Oscar worthy, the crew…

  • Album Review: We Sing Together by Rigel Thurston

    Review: We Sing Together, by Rigel Thurston December 1st Release Date   I promise you this, Rigel Thurston’s new recording, We Sing Together, is your new favorite Christmas album. Thurston has crafted something scarce here merely by having faith in the music he is playing and his ability to play it. Because of that faith, his songs are generous and endearing without any of the sentimentality and cheap manipulation that plagues almost every other Christmas recording of the last few years. If you aren’t already sold, keep reading. I am willing to make my case.

  • Unreading the Gospel of Mark

    The year during lent I have been making 1 hour videos walking through the Gospel of Mark in a way the recovers some of the shock and awe of how it would have originally landed on people’s ears.  If you were going to watch just one, this would be the one to watch. Mark chapter 8 remains one of the most influential pieces of literature on my life.   Buckle up, and sorry I get all emotional at the end. Unreading, Mark Chapter 8