Friday, February 24, 2017
So, let's go dancing,
let's go out for Chinese,
let's buy a new car.
" Let's Lent,"
not so sure,
in fact, I really don't want to!
Lent just is not at all sexy!
But, for sure, I will "Lent" anyway.
It's sort of like a work out -
tough to get started,
but really invigorating.
Years ago Coke had a great commercial:
"The Pause That Refreshes."
Well, that's what we do in Lent.
To keep changing the metaphor,
we pause and hit the refresh button.
We pause to
ever more fully the
Deep Down Goodness
all creation and existence
that we nickname God.
That pause refreshes us into renewed living.
The word "Lent" tells us a lot about the forty day Work Out that it is.
"Lent" comes from "lengthen," and refers to the "lengthening" of the days this time of year.
That "lengthening" means more and more light and less and less darkness.
At the deepest level it means our Work Out allows us to be freed from darkness,
and to be drawn into the free flow of lightsomeness.
In Lent we face the darkness in us and around us and embrace the illumination Jesus offers.
Jesus once again addressed them:
"I am the world's Light.
No one who follows me stumbles around in the darkness.
I provide plenty of light to live in."
Lent begins with something literally on our minds - ASHES !
We acknowledge the death and decay within and about.
Lent ends with LILLIES !,
fresh, beautiful aliveness that pushed free from the tomb of dark dirt.
Two Lenten Symbols: Death and Resurrection.
It's relatively easy to do a few "churchy" things and call it Lent.
NO WAY !
Lent really is a Work Out, as in "work" "out."
We get worked out of the dark, deadly stuff in us and around us.
We get worked free and worked into the intensity of the world's Light.
It takes resolve to go through the Work Out that is Lent,
to see the deadly dark and be pulled free, to be en - LIGHTED, en - LIVENED.
So, how does all this come down?
Well, there are all sorts of exercises possible for this Work Out.
Here is just one of them.
We spend at least fifteen minutes each day alone in a quiet place and way.
We close our eyes, and gently breath slower and deeper.
Then we calmly ponder one of the leit motifs, the Light Motifs, included below.
What light does it offer?
How can that light play out in our heads, our attitudes, our behaviors, our life styles,
our care of creation, our care of each other as we bask in the world's Light?
Here's an example based on Romans 13:12.
Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness
and put on the armor of light.
Being very specific and nakedly honest:
- What "deeds of darkness" get into my head and behavior?
- What "deeds of darkness" cloud our culture and society?
- What will it take for me to break free from all that?
- How will I do it?
What does the "armor of light" mean in terms of
- how I face and embrace my true self?
- how I earn and spend my money?
- how I sculpt an authentic life style?
- How I let myself be enfolded into
the Love Who Is God?
- how I do all I can for the poor and marginalized ?
- how I embrace and support life in community ?
- how I pour myself into a creative flow
for the common good ?
Most people get the best bang for their buck by writing their awarenesses
relative to the above in a journal.
Be sure to keep it in a secure place, where no one else can get at it and make a million dollars
selling it to The National Inquirer!!!!!!!
Here are a few leit motifs with which to Work Out:
- "You are all children of the light and children of the day.
. "We do not belong to the night or to the darkness." 1 Thessalonians 5:5
- "...but if we walk in the Light as he himself is in the Light,
we have fellowship with one another..." 1 John 1:7
- "But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested
as having been wrought in God." John 3:21
- " ...for you were formerly darkness, but now you are light in the Lord, walk as children of
the Light ( for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth."
Ephesians 5: 8-9
- " I have placed you as a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation
to the ends of the earth." Acts 13:47
LENT IS A WORK OUT
LIGHTEN UP !
Let's pray for each other every one of the forty Days our Lenten Work Out.
It's so good to be with you!1
Holding you in
God's Dear Love,
It's turning out that a new posting goes up toward the end of the week.
Please scroll down for past postings.
at 12:34 PM
Thursday, February 16, 2017
Well, Valentine's Day has come and gone,
but happily not the love,
which is what we want to be all about,
not just on Valentine's Day,
but on every one of the three hundred sixty five days
of our living.
" There remains faith, hope, and love,
and the greatest of these is love."
( 1 Corinthians 13: 13 )
So, to keep ourselves centered on love,
how about we have our own little
to brighten and warm things up
in dreary, dark, cold February?
After all, not only does
" Love makes the world go round,"
its Absolutely Divine!
" God is Love."
( 1 John 4:8 )
Here are two beautiful and uniquely different sharings on
The Love Who Is God.
In the nakedness of our Love Spa,
let's bask in their
Nothing is more practical than finding God,
than falling in love in a quite absolute, final way.
What you are in love with,
what seizes your imagination,
will effect everything.
It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning,
what you will do with your evening,
how you will spend your weekends,
what you will read.
whom you know,
what breaks your heart,
and what amazes you
with joy and gratitude.
Fall in love,
stay in love,
and it will decide everything.
For this second piece,
Viewer Discretion Is Advised.
It's ever so Real
and its really free,
as its author, a medieval mystic.
Using a powerful metaphor,
we are reminded,
hopefully " re-hearted," that
is a crazy, wild
C.S. Lewis referring to God said,
" He's wild you know!"
So come on,
we're going to get wonderfully, wildly tossed around a bit.
When you walked through the city
So beautiful and naked,
You left a thousand women crazy
And impossible to live with.
You left married men
Confused about their gender.
Children ran from their classrooms,
And teachers were glad you came.
And the sun tried to breakout
Of its royal cage in the sky
And at last, and at last,
Lay its Ancient Love at your feet.
To mix the metaphor,
its pretty cool out here in the bright warmth of our
Love Spa !!
Let's not be in a hurry to cover up and leave!!
Thanks for you good company!
Holding you in
God's Dear Love,
at 12:02 PM
Thursday, February 9, 2017
Thanks for stopping by.
Glad you're here.
If frankly speaking is new to you,
please take the time to check out two pieces
that will orient things a bit:
- What's Going On Here
It is on the right side of this page.
It can be found by scrolling way down
to one of the OLDER POSTS.
The way things are going, new items are posted about once a week.
Your observations/suggestions are welcome.
Email address is at the top right of this page.
Good to be with you!
at 1:10 PM
Florists count on us
Restaurateurs count on us.
Florists count on us.
Hallmark counts on us.
If we are part of the 1%, Cartier counts on us.
If we are not part of the 1%, the folks at Kolh's Jewelry Department count on us.
They all count on us to show our love on Valentine's Day by purchasing their goods and services.
Now, with all due respect to the business establishment, just how close do a card, candy or a carrot
come to for real love?
That question is rooted in a much more fundamental one:
How so I actually and for real love on Valentine's Day, any day, and every day?
Does it require money, romance, sex?
Maybe - hopefully the last two for sure!!
Does it mean affection, generosity, sacrifice?
What does it mean to for real love someone whether I feel like it or not?
Well, let's check out Valentine himself on the question, as well as Bernard of Clairvaux, then Jesus
and Paul and their "takes" and "gives" on for real love.
There are fascinating varieties and versions of the Valentine story.
I learned this particular one in a course with Johannes Quasten back in graduate
theology days, and that's "back"!!
This is not to say there are "alternate facts" (couldn't resist it!!) about Valentine.
All the accounts about him agree in fundamentals and have the same emphasis.
For that matter, back in his day it was the occurrence and its meaning, not the details, that made for
the telling of history.
In any and every case, Valentine was the pastor of the underground Christian Community during the
horrors of brutal persecution in ancient Rome.
Being a Christian back then didn't mean going to church on Sunday, dropping a few bills in the plate,
showing up for a cover dish supper once in a while, and keeping your hands off
your neighbor's spouse.
Being a Christian was a way of life, having a real relationship with Jesus Christ, and being
thoroughly counter cultural.
It could cost you your job, indeed your life, and often did.
You see, the Roman Empire was built on worship of Caesar.
That allegiance was an absolute that cemented all sorts of diversities into a rock solid system
What got the Christian minority in trouble, or boiling oil, or being served up to lions for dinner,
They were good, cooperative , loyal citizens for sure, but they had a life and center in Jesus,
The Romans pledged their allegiance to the divine emperor by chanting " Caesar is Lord."
The Christians changed that to " Jesus is Lord."
That's how " Jesus is Lord" got into Christian prayer and the New Testament ( Romans 10:9).
Its also how the early Christians got into conflict with the state.
Well, Valentine was a born, caring and effective pastor.
The Romans wanted to take him out, but they couldn't catch him
( pastors can be nimble and even a bit foxy, you know!).
To entrap him, the Romans arrested a young Christian couple, very much in love,
and engaged to be married.
A proclamation was issued, something of an "executive order" in those days,
to the effect that if Valentine didn"t turn himself in, the young coupe would be desert for the loins.
Valentine did, of course, turn himself in.
He was publically and painfully tortured and then executed.
The Romans kept their word, though.
The young lovers were freed and did marry.
Valentine's love for them made their love and marriage possible.
He was a champion of for real love because of his for real love.
It wasn't a feel good love.
No chocolate or flowers involved.
Valentine's love was a participation in the very Love Who is God ( 1John4:8).
That Love was humanized and personalized in Jesus, who said
" I have come that you might have life, and have it to the full" ( John 10:10).
Valentine bet his life on a Love that means I will do all I can so that you will flourish in life and love.
The red of Valentine's blood became the color of our Valentine's Day,
as his gift of self became the prompt for our gift giving on February fourteenth,
the day of his life giving death.
Centuries later in medieval France the Christian mystic, Bernard of Clairvaux,
offered a help on how to for real love someone.
He didn't define love.
If he could have, it wouldn't be love.
Love is way too vast for the containment of definition.
Rather, Bernard offered a telling comment on for real love.
HE said that for real love means desiring the good of the beloved.
That "desiring" isn't just a wish in the heart, or a thought in the head.
That "desiring" is a love that kicks into action.
It means I love you for real when I do all I can for your good.
Some practical examples of desiring the good of the beloved are:
- Staying up all night with a sick child
- Offering unwelcome advice sometimes
- Sometimes keeping my big, fat mouth shut
- Going out for Italian because that's what my beloved wants,
even though I crave Chinese
- Moving out of state for the sake of my beloved's career
- Weathering a winter in our relationship
- Working a second job so my child can go to college
- Not making a fuss when my beloved isn't up for sex
- Asking certain sorts how they are,
and paying real attention for the next half hour
while they tell the tale in excruciating detail
Jesus, Man of Love, showed and said how to for real love someone:
" Do unto others as you would have them do to you" ( Luke 6:31).
That invites a radicalized reaction to our beloved as well as every person we meet!!
That's for real love.
Put variously, Jesus invites us to " Love your neighbor as yourself" (Mark 12:31).
Just think, better FEEL, what that hat means about the noisy neighbor next door,
the starving child in Somalia, and the refugee seeking a welcome, the person
with diametrically opposed political views.
Now we're talking REAL, as in JESUS REAL!
Jesus spoke and lived for real love:
"Greater love than this no one has than to lay down your life for your friend" ( John 15: 13).
For real love means spending who I am and what I have for the other.
Jesus did it.
We are invited to do it in the right now of our time and place.
Paul got it and gave it.
He put it so simply in 1 Corinthians 13; 4-8.
Here is how the scripture scholar Eugene Peterson translates that
into contemporary American real talk:
Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn't want what it doesn't have.
Love doesn't strut,
Doesn't have a swelled head,
Doesn't force itself on others,
Isn't always "Me first,"
Doesn't fly off the handle,
Doesn't keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn't revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
A helpful exercise for our spiritual lives out here on the street of everyday, right now living is
to compose our very own version of 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8.
How can for real love happen in sweaty or sweet relationships out here where I live
on this street of actuality?
Here's the beginnings of mine, for what it's worth.
Love is tolerant and civil.
Love holds a preferential option for the poor, no matter the poverty.
Love respects unto delight in " otherness."
Love never plays head games.
Love gets excited about another's excellence.
Love slows down to catch up with others.
Love is comfortable in its own skin.
Love welcomes surprise loves.
Love will never give up in the stretch for social justice.
Love rejoices in nature and adjusts its life style to harmonizing with it.
Hey, may everyday in every way be a Valentine's Day, a sharing for real of
Please know that whether we know each other personally or not, I choose to daily hold all of you in
The Love Who Is God,
at 11:27 AM
Monday, February 6, 2017
" Hey ! Get real ! "
" Them is fight'n words."
They can, however, be wonderfully invitational.
Richard Rohr's email today is just that.
He invites us to be contemplatives,
people who grow past
( and feeling , and living )
to meeting what "is" underneath it all in life, aka
It's an invitation to filter free aliveness.
Contemplation opens the door,
turns on the lights,
so we can shake hands with actual
In confusing and conflicted times like these
that's a peach of a prize!!
Excerpt from Richard Rohr's daily email, 6 February 2017:
Contemplation is meeting as much reality as you can handle in its most simple and immediate form-without filters, judgements, or commentaries. The ego doesn't trust this way of seeing, which is why it is so rare, "a narrow gate and a hard road that leads to life, and only a few find it (Matthew 7:14, NJB). The only way you can contemplate is by recognizing and relativizing your own compulsive mental grids-your practiced ways of judging, critiquing, blocking, and computing everything.
When your judgmental mind and all its commentaries are placed aside, God finally has a chance to get through to you, because your pettiness and self-protective filters are at last out of the way. Then Truth stands revealed on its own.
Richard Rohr's daily email is free.
I highly recommend it.
Center for Action and Contemplation
So, " Hey ! Get real ! "
It'll be "really" good.
Happy we could share.
Holding you in
God's Dear Love,
at 12:41 PM
Saturday, February 4, 2017
Love people even in their sin,
for that is the semblance of Divine Love
and is the highest love on earth.
Love all of God's creation,
the whole and every grain of sand of it.
Love every leaf,
every ray of God's light.
Love the animals,
love the plants,
If you love everything,
you will perceive the divine mystery in things.
Once you perceive it,
you will begin to comprehend it better every day.
And you will come at last
to love the whole world with an
The Brothers Karamazov
at 3:30 PM