What About the Bread?

Since this week’s gospel reading is the Road to Emmaus and all about the breaking of bread revealing Christ, I’m sharing my poem, “Eucharist” from Barefoot Theology, pg. 35-36. Eucharist sacramental gratitude ritual remembrance inviting grace an old ski cabin full of retreating adolescents a weekend of fellowship and sleep deprivation closing worship on couches around a … Read More

The One Who Missed It

First the women and then the others boldly proclaim “I have seen the Lord!” except for the one who missed it You stepped into their locked-up grief and spoke Peace to those gathered in pain, hidden in fear until You gifted them with Your breath making them agents of forgiveness, disciples in the way of … Read More

When in Doubt, Pray… or be poetic… or both

This week I read the lectionary texts and my first thought was, “You’ve got to be kidding!” These are not passages I have the energy to deal with this week and I’ve yet to figure out how I’m going to preach them to patients involuntarily admitted to a psych hospital. But that is a challenge for another day. Today, my response is to share a poem that is also a prayer. The title is “Justice” and it’s from my book, Barefoot TheologyWipf & Stock, 2013, pg. 67-69.

A Chinese friend frequently hears “Go back where you came from!”
She is hurt more than she lets on but pretends to be numb.
How can hatred be based only on what we see?
Lord, have mercy.

An African neighbor has hateful words sprayed on his house
just because he wants to live in peace with his spouse.
When ugliness and fear step in where grace ought to be,
Christ, have mercy.

Young ones kill themselves when the bullies go unchecked
because no one can see the life that hateful words have wrecked.
How can we not learn this lesson when it’s shown so painfully?
Lord, have mercy.

Homeless women, men, and children hide in the shadows
we walk in a hurry—compassion is something fear overshadows.
For all the times we cannot tolerate, “This could be me,”
Christ, have mercy.

Muslims are suspect even when they are life-long citizens
of a country founded on religious freedom and welcome of others.
Is it impossible for us to accept someone who worships differently?
Lord, have mercy.

Black men and women crowd our jails with frustrated rage
as our laws uphold racism and so few recognize this outrage,
while others spew such hatred and violence freely and publicly.
Christ, have mercy.

Women are paid less and targeted more for perceived weakness
and, for some, abuse is still inflicted when there is a lack of meekness.
Why are laws so slow in changing what should not be?
Lord, have mercy.

The elderly are victimized by scammers who readily take what is not theirs
and it’s a shame when this happens with no one around who cares
enough to help and protect ones so vulnerable who deserve safety.
Christ, have mercy.

Gay men are beaten on the streets of cities known for their acceptance—
headlines and news stories report witnesses and their helpless tolerance.
For all the moments of learned helplessness and studious apathy,
Lord, have mercy.

Bigger walls and more border protections to keep illegals out
when all they want is a chance at a better life and, without a doubt,
they would find it here if there were such a thing as legal hospitality.
Christ, have mercy.

Surely the day is coming when fear, violence, hatred, and greed
will cease and loving kindness is the response to all human need.
Are we not called by God to rejoice and live peaceably?
Lord, let us be your mercy.

2014-01-26 10.50.30RCL – Year A – Sixth Sunday after Epiphany
Deuteronomy 30:15-20
Psalm 119:1-8
1 Corinthians 3:1-9
Matthew 5:21-37

A Holy Way

This poem is based on the Isaiah text and is on pg. 81 of my book, A Circle in the Dark: Daily Meditations for Advent, Wipf & Stock, 2011. A Holy Way When will we be still and listen? We busy ourselves with so little that matters, sowing more discord than peace. You make no distinction among … Read More

A Sneak Peek

This week I am taking a break from my more usual prayers or musings and sharing  an excerpt from my new book, Barefoot Theology:  A Dictionary for Pilgrims, Priests and Poets (in press).



Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Amos, Hosea and
many others whose names we recognize
risked everything to relay a message
to the wandering people of God
who did not welcome the call
to repent or the predictions of devastation
resulting from sin piled on sin
in the captivity of lesser gods
who made them all forget the God
whose breath fills their lungs
and will gather them all
and call them by name once more

These were the men of old who responded
to God’s claim on their lives with a sometimes
reluctant “here am I” going where
God sent them to deliver news of
destruction or restoration depending
on the circumstances
What of today?

Surely there are no prophets running around
credibly predicting the end of the world
or the ruination of God’s people
all the while claiming to quote God
word for word?

We are still a wandering people
those of us who make up the body of Christ
easily losing the path of grace
when confronted with other ways less
demanding than the church

There may not be a voice calling in the wilderness
though I’ve heard more than one prediction
of the church dying out while clinging to ways
that no longer glorify God or
bring salvation to the people

Prophets walk among us today
hidden in the many who cry out
their messages are the ones that unsettle
us and make our pews less comfortable
with a call to change our ways
to the point of replacing our pews
with couches and chairs
or worshiping outside of our buildings
altogether speaking a language
of change and transformation
that hits too close to home

Unlike those biblical days of yore
most who hear prophetic words
don’t believe the church will cease to be
or that the price for our arrogance could be
a scattering of God’s people
Of course, the others with prophetic
wisdom promise a time when we
will all be gathered in
to share in the harvest
if we would only listen
and change our ways

God will build up the Body of Christ
into a new and unexpected shape

Let us pay heed to those disquieting voices
and listen attentively to those who speak
the Word even when no one wants to hear

RCL- Year C – Twenty-second Sunday after Pentecost – October 20, 2013
Jeremiah 31:27-34 with Psalm 119:97-104 or
Genesis 32:22-31 with Psalm 121 and
2 Timothy 3:14-4:5 and
Luke 18:1-8

Reflections on Wisdom

Proverbs tells us that Wisdom was God’s first creation and that she was present and active during every other act of creation. She was God’s delight and delighted in humanity. I can’t help but wonder if this is still true.

The Psalm raises the question of why God would be mindful of human beings. Is it because Wisdom rejoices and delights in us?

Both of these touch something deep within me. Carl Jung suggested that Christianity would be better represented by a quaternity rather than a trinity. He suggested Satan be included in the Godhead, given the power of evil in the world. If we’re going to commit such heresy as messing with the Trinity, I’m not inclined to give Satan any more power. But I’d be all for a quaternity that included Sophia – the Wisdom of God. Maybe we would pay a little more attention to her…

So this week is a poem in her honor:


By way of warning I must say
that I’ve been known to sit at Sophia’s feet -­
the Goddess within the God -­
the still, small voice in the dark of night
brings light to my path and
melody to my dance.

Hovering over creation waters
Wisdom gave birth to dry land.
Later she spoke the Word become flesh.
In between

She held Eve’s hand at the gates of Eden
Taught Sarah to laugh
and Miriam to dance.
She gave comfort to Hagar
and courage to Esther.

And one night she sat with Mary
who pondered a request
Sophia held her hand in those moments
between her yes and possible no.
Then they walked together for
nine months that spread beyond thirty years.

She danced with others, too -­
a woman at a well who yearned
for living water
had the Wisdom to ask for a drink.

Another who poured out oil and tears
in search of life
found Wisdom on her knees
before the Word spoken aloud.

And let us not forget the other Mary –
the one of questionable means –­
She danced with grace that only Sophia could grant -­
demons cast out and
sins forgiven -­
Compassion rooted in her soul; she found
hope in Wisdom’s child as her
eyes were opened.

There are others more numerous than those in the Book -­
Daughters of Sophia — I am one, perhaps you as well…

Eyes wide with wonder I see her:
forgotten Goddess swallowed in
memory of the God.

Lest we forget,
She holds the world in her hands
By her light we see
By her guidance we live -­
at least we try…

You need not agree;
just remember I sit at Sophia’s feet
and listen for a voice seldom heard…

2013-05-22 20.55.58

Sophia on Star Island – Oil on Canvas

RCL – Trinity Sunday – First Sunday after Pentecost – May 26, 2013

Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-3
Psalm 8
Romans 5:1-5
John 16:12-15

A Poetic Interlude


Partial Paralysis

Desert surrounds me
Sun, heat, sand – all unrelenting,
as far as I can see.

Between what was and what will be
I remain
unable to take the next step.
I came to this wilderness time
with intent
to seek You out in the emptiness,
longing to hear the sound of You in the stillness.
Yet here I stand
without moving
bound by shades of yesterday.

A man on a mat for thirty-eight years lay
waiting for a miracle in waters stirred up.
He could not move far enough, fast enough
to find wholeness
before the waters quieted and he was left to wait

How long have I lived like him,
lying in brokenness?
I remain unmoved, confined in fear ,
immobilized by doubts,
while those with power
walk all over me.

You showed up and saw him there –
restricted by  his body, limited to his mat,
unable to move beyond.
You assumed nothing of him
and asked if he wanted to be made well.
He explained his predicament but did not answer

You watch me limit myself
each day a repetition of routine –
wanting wholeness and never quite
getting there.
You ask if I, too, want to be made well.
My answer is no more direct.

You healed him anyway
with a direction to walk.
Did You see in him more than a
body broken?
What did his words hold out to you?

If I were to take up this mat of mine –
woven by others who would keep me still –
where would I go?
Did that man ever miss
knowing the limits of his life?
How did he bear sudden wholeness?
I’m not sure I’m strong enough
to walk away with You.

The man was paralyzed, at least in part,
yet he heard Your call to life quite clearly.
Was there a hesitation
between the Word and re-action?

New life surged through his being
as he believed
he could take up his mat and walk
toward all things possible.

Most days, I wait for the miracle
and long for the stillness of knowing
I can make my way to the waters
if I so choose.
But I cannot quite believe
Your call is enough to set me free from all that binds.

Forgive me
I want to be made well,
to take those first trembling steps
and bear the weight of my doubt
here in the midst of my imperfect life
bound to a mat woven
with so little justice.

I wait in this shaded spot.
Give me direction.

This poem is from my book,  Negotiating the Shadows: Daily Meditations for Lent. Eugene, OR: WIPF and Stock, 2010.

RCL – Year C – Sixth Sunday of Easter – May 5, 2013

Acts 16:9-15
Psalm 67
Revelation 21:10, 22-22:5
John 14:23-29 or John 5:1-9

Opening Prayer

This week has been very hectic so I am sharing a poem from my book, Negotiating the Shadows: Daily Meditations for Lent. Eugene, OR: WIPF and Stock, 2010, pg. 17-18. This week’s Gospel reading is of Mary anointing Jesus. This poem reflects primarily on the Mark and Luke version of the story but is relevant this week. Opening … Read More

Something a little different…

I wrote this for the Multifaith service of Hope and Remembrance for Sandy Hook that is taking place Sunday at 2:30 in Concord, NH. Truth Rediscovered I watch the sun rise on cold ocean shore. Brilliant scarlet streaks across the horizon as if light has been cut away from darkness. Waves, winds, and the cries … Read More

Lulu! Get Out of The Tree! (Really, it’s a post on Advent, but the cat was in the tree)

Twenty years ago when I preached my first Advent sermon, I began by confessing just how much I did not like Advent at all. Thankfully, this is no longer the case. I love this season of waiting for the Light. Christmas lights all over the place and carols playing in stores and on the radio are just plain fun. I still don’t like the crowded stores or the increase in entries on my calendar and to-do lists, but they serve as a reminder of the choices I get to make about how I prepare for Christmas. It’s not all crazy consumerism nor is it all serious spirituality. For me Advent is an opportunity to regain a little balance in my life through both a little extra frivolity and a renewed effort to choose hope, peace, joy, and love in Christ over despair, anxiety, complacency, and apathy often in the world. Advent is a time of waiting. Sometimes waiting on tiptoe with joyful anticipation  and sometimes waiting with agonizing impatience for the One who is, who was, and who is to come.

The theme of the first Sunday of Advent is traditionally hope. In honor of this and in an effort to maintain the balance between work and relaxing in my life, I’m sharing a poem from my book, A Circle in the Dark: Daily Meditations for Advent, 2011. (To find the book, Click Here)

The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah.  In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David; and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. And this is the name by which it will be called: “The Lord is our righteousness.” Jeremiah 33:14-16

Broken Hope


darkness creeps closer than expected
pressing cold fingers on window panes
slipping through glass
touching restless dreams

disquiet in the night


warring images deter sleep
violence witnessed in battles
familiar and foreign
wound long after a body heals

unrest wakens in the dark


tears of grief flow unheard
for the child lost
despair grips harder
in the absence of light

hope breaks in silence


days are surely coming
when light will burst through
with justice in hand
to fulfill a promise

Let us not walk in darkness too long

RCL – Year C – Frist Sunday of Advent – December 2, 2012

Jeremiah 33:14-16
Psalm 25:1-10
1 Thessalonians 3:9-13
Luke 21:25-36