Tag Archives: grace

Loaves, Fishes, and Brisket at Flipside: Fear doesn’t have to drive our friendships or our economics.

In the story of the loaves and fishes, Jesus takes the little bit of food offered to him from a small boy and breaks it, blesses it and gives it to those who had been following him for days who had become hungry.   That small gift ends up feeding several thousand people to the point where there are several baskets full after everyone has eaten.   It is  another one of the miracles a lot of people love to reference to show Jesus’ supernatural powers.   But I spent some time with some friends this weekend that reminded me of another reading of that story.   It is one with less magic but one that might actually be a bigger miracle. Continue reading

When the Bough Breaks: A fallen limb in a friendship is not a dead tree.

Its is the second worst storm I endured since I moved to Texas, making it the second worst storm of my life.  I had been praying, trying to center, and needing to be present.  The storm hit my house exactly within the first five minutes of sitting down with someone for spiritual direction.  The wind was rattling the windows and tossing bits of the back yard around.  The whole house chilled.    I considered ending our time together because I was able to give the moment only 99% of my attention.  I was being tugged away by one haunting thought.  Will the tree hold? Continue reading

How to Kill a Moment of Grace with Two Quarters and a Pack of Gum.

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

Welcome. Let us Work Toward a Hard Goodbye. — Living well in the discovery and the loss of friendships.

“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

Reasons for my Faith. …from someone who has nothing to prove

 

J. Douglas Harrison. The Patient

In the next few weeks  I will occasionally be posting some reflections on what it can mean to have faith in a time when the Christian faith may seem, at least to many people, quite unreasonable.

I won’t try to provide irrefutable evidence in favor of the Christian faith.  I will not be presenting argumentative ‘facts’ or try to show that Christianity is obviously intellectually superior to everything else as others may  have tried to do.  I have nothing here to prove.   I have nothing here to buy or sell.  Instead, I believe there are different genres by which we come to see what moves people to live as they do. Continue reading

“No Wonder the Door Won’t Open, Silly. I am Already Inside.” -Three things about being a misfit in communities of grace that I keep having to re-learn.

Clearly I write from a position of someone who sits near the exit.  I love church, but sometimes I find it exhausting. I love my weirdo burner friends, and sometimes they can be a little harsh on my faith.   I long to be in Christian community, yet, depending on the community, I find myself itching to get out. I am finding that there are hidden moments of grace ready for the taking in all kinds of communities. And when I am willing to exercise a little humility and receive it, I find that that grace goes further than the edges of my life, and often finds its way into the open wild. Continue reading

“How many hands does it take to wash two feet? All of ours”: One of the defining moments of my life.

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.   Everything in this particular prayer service was going to have a lot to do with what bodies can and cannot do, and how we live with that.  It was this night I found and answered a new question:, “How many bodies it take to wash two feet?”  Answer: All of ours. Continue reading

Manic Maundy: How you can prevent waging a personal war-on-Easter.

ora et labora

It is springtime and it seems the hectic demands I usually have around Christmas are beginning to over take Holy Week as well.  Besides my normal work obligations I have time sensitive art projects, volunteer work, some important events with my friends and of course, church services.  I feel like I am waging my own personal  war on Easter trying to figure out what the most Christian choices I can make are.  I suspect that I am not at all alone in this.  I find myself asking familiar questions about what Christianity is all, “about,” Continue reading

Five Things I Will Never Give Up for Lent.

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

What Withered Hands Can Heal: How John’s profoundly disabled body kept me in the game.

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