Chess bishop 1000.jpg (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
A few years ago I found myself protesting a certain national politician’s photo-op tour of a shelter for people who had been displaced to my city by hurricane Katrina. This particular visit seemed a little more self-serving and crass than usual, so much so that it had folks from all-kinds of political persuasions hrumphing a bit. I was certainly hrumphing. In fact, not that this was the first time, but I made have made a weeeee bit of a scene. Well, actually I am quite sure I did as I received a pretty direct smack down from the Bishop in the very next diocese-wide newsletter. Continue reading
I am almost never disappointed by a ride on the bus in Austin. To try to explain why is as hard as to try to explain what is amazing at Burning Man or Burning Flipside. There are too many un-photographable moments and too many unrealistic stories you have to experience to make you a believer. But this particular story has bugged me for days, and keeps changing the way I see relationships. Now to be fair, I was already cranky. I spent one and a half hours each way on the bus for an errand that should have taken a half hour and took three. Even so, this seemingly insignificant moment was heartbreaking. It was kindness turned against itself. It was a moment turned against grace. And it was executed with two quarters and a pack of Big Red gum. Continue reading
Posted in The Burner life, Tohu-Bohu
Tagged big red, burning man, bus, gift economy, giftedness, gifts, grace, gum, Hollywood, Narrative, thank you, Walgreens, welcome
“Well,” Fr. Francis said, “That is a relationship and relationships go through transitions.” Of all of the things I have been mulling over in trying to make sense of a painful friendship, this one made the difference. It was so simple, and apparently truthful because it made my gut ache. Continue reading
Posted in Tohu-Bohu
Tagged Arche, Benedict, burning flipside, children, Christian, Christianity, Community, death, disability, Doug, friendship, gifts, God, grace, hope, L'Arche, love, Religion and Spirituality, welcome, wheelchair
This is a guest post of mine on an otherwise lovley and insightful blog, “Knitting Benedict: The Rule…by hand.” This is one of my favorite blogs to regular. There is hardly a better way, than I can imgaine, to glean wisdom an ancient book of instruction than by taking small bites of it and chewing slowly while working with your hands on small stuff. ”Work and pray,” says saint Benedict.
I am in the middle of forging a batch of sock puppets. As I do I cannot help but see the contrasts between the kinds of toys I am fashioning and a stern bit of advice from Benedict’s rule: don’t speak unless spoken to. Continue reading
Posted in Tohu-Bohu
Tagged Arts, Arts and Entertainment, Benedict, benedict. Saint benedict, Benedictine, gifts, God, good impressions, impression, impressions, listening, love, mouths, prayer, Puppet, Puppetry, silence, Sock puppet, tongues
Lent is pulling into the station and Holy week is just about to begin. I think there are lessons and moments of clarity I have discovered this year just by slowing some things down and cutting some things out. Part of what I have learned about the careful dance between God’s grace and our participation is the difference between trying to make things happen and making room for God and others to do things in us. I offer these in hope you can learn from my mistakes. These are some of my lenten attempts that, surprisingly, have proven to be enemies of grace. Continue reading
Dishes (Photo credit: Martin Cathrae)
Until this year I have not been good at keeping New Year’s resolutions. I think I always swear to things which are a little out of reach in order to exempt myself from success. The voices in my head say, “Let it slide. After all, no one keeps New Year’s resolutions anyway…I guess I’ll just keep these 10 extra pounds for now.”
To my great surprise this year has been different. In fact it has actually caused a shift in my spirituality that I have been longing for. I think it is good news for all of us. My resolution is this: rinse and repeat.
It is a habit in some parts of the world, to celebrate the feast of Saint Joseph with an elaborate feast, some theatrics, and a lot of charity. Some dear friends of mine decided that last night would be a good night to throw our own feast with our friends from Burning Flipside. One doesn’t have to know the burner community very long before one realizes that there are a good portion of the community, thought not all of it, with total indifference or heated antipathy toward religion and specifically the Christian Church. Having heard some of their stories, I don’t blame them, not a bit. So while most people didn’t really even notice or care about the religious significance of the event, I did, and one more piece of this particular outpatient was welcomed home. Continue reading
This year's first.
When I moved into this place its outside looked very much like my inside did. The branches of the tall trees drooped to the ground as if to hide the house everyone knew was there. The house kept dark. The yard looked very much like a bad case of male patterned baldness, only growing around the edges. The backyard was in no better shape. It was waist high in un-welcomed greenery and while I am not absolutely positive I think some of that greenery was, how shall I say, questionably legal leftovers from the previous tenants. Toward the south was a fairly ominous twisting of dead limbs that once was a tree and now became a kind of outdoor dandruff, flaking down little by little when provoked by even the smallest breeze. Yeah. My heart looked like this house. Things were growing where they shouldn’t and things refused to grow where they were needed. So when I started purging the untamed overgrowth, I became nervous I would never get the good stuff to live where I wanted it to. Continue reading
Saint Patrick (Photo credit: elycefeliz)
The story is not so ironic as just surprising because it has been so long forgotten. St Patrick’s particular story of redemption, the reason he is considered a saint, is so mashed up with corned beef and green beer that when we finally do hear it does seem a little surprising. In fact just like the story of St. Valentine it can actually sound surprisingly subversive. The big reveal that makes the story so interesting is simply this: St. Patrick wasn’t Irish. In fact, he had good reason to hate them. Continue reading
John’s body was less like mine than anyone else’s in the room. In that room full of people with some very unique bodies and abilities, that was saying a lot. It was the end of a weekend I spent on retreat with L’Arche, which is a set of communities of people with disabilities and the people who choose to build a life with them.
A picture of another celebration at L'Arche Antigonish, Canada
L’Arche retreats are celebrations that, in some ways, put Burning Man to shame in creating an environment where everyone can unapologetically be themselves. I knew the people in room were experts in living with unique limitations and gifts, but I still could not imagine how the evening would unfold in a way that John could fully play along. Continue reading
Posted in Tohu-Bohu
Tagged burning man, Community, Dance, disability, disciples, foot washing, grace, hands, jesus, Joy, L'Arche, lent, Serve, Service, wheelchair, withered