Saturday, March 26, 2016

Good Friday Service: Witness to the Resurrection

I don't usually post funeral sermons, but yesterday's, given that it was on Good Friday, was an unusual one for me.  As it turns out, Good Friday is a good day for a Christian funeral.  Names have been changed, but not the significance of the narrative.


Here we are, our sanctuary bare except for the black draping hung on the cross and the black paraments on communion table and pulpit, all to remind us that it is Good Friday, the first day of the Triduum, the week-end on which we mark the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  The most solemn day of all days of the Christian year.  The day on which, 2,000 years ago, Jesus’ followers believed that their hopes had been destroyed, and that the Christ in whom they had placed their confidence was gone forever.
But here we are, with that hope and confidence restored, and with the sure knowledge that , although it is black and bleak today, Dan has gone ahead of us.  We, on Good Friday, are consumed by the sorrow of the crucifixion, and by the grief that accompanies the loss of a husband and father, a son and brother, a friend and colleague.  But Dan – Dan has already reached our Easter Sunday destination, that place of resurrection, that place of healing and wholeness, that place in which he lives in the fullness of the presence of God.

I got to know Dan a little over the past several weeks of his life.  I hope his family will bear with me as I recount again how I searched for common ground for conversation.  It was difficult for Dan  to communicate, and the first time I met him, no one was present to offer me any help.  But the next time, his helper Susan showed me a photograph hanging on his wall, a photograph of a moose in the north woods, and I discovered that he and I shared a love of canoeing in the backcountry of Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario.  That led to a discovery of our mutual love of animals, both in the wild and at home, and gradually his story began to unfold.  His family life, his and Joan’s household filled with the activity of children and pets; his love of sports – one day I arrived to find him watching a hockey game and learned that he had played hockey and wrestled in high school; his education; and his career in computer systems analysis.
And then, there was the most recent and most devastating turn in his life – illness.  An illness which imposes such profound limitations on a person filled with physical strength and mental acuity.  A boy who once skated exuberantly across a hockey rink becomes trapped in a small room; a young man who shone in the workplace becomes dependent upon others for every aspect of his care.  There is nothing about this disease that seems right or fair, nothing about it that makes it in any way an acceptable fate – not for anyone, and especially not for anyone with Dan’s gifts.

And yet, in the Christian life, we know, as this Easter week-end so profoundly reminds us, that we are always accompanied by the God in Christ who extends a loving and healing embrace to us. That there is no boundary which God cannot cross. That nothing – neither hardship nor distress, not death, nor life – however we live it --  and not “things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” 
I wonder whether Dan, from the depth of a life in which he gradually took on primarily the role of observer, saw, perhaps more clearly than the rest of us do, that love of God that is so persistently present: in those who faithfully cared for him; in Joan’s gifts for music and ministry; in the beauty and energy of their daughter, so engaged in her college life; in the creativity and stories of their son, and his adventures in Japan; and in the world of God’s creation, so evident in his pets and his final trip to the zoo.

Perhaps, even here in this world, Dan saw the edge of both old and new creation, that place where hurt becomes transformed, where healing becomes visible and begins.

We Christians believe that our lives on this earth come to fullness in something we call “salvation,” in a final journey into the heart of the God who loves us, and a reunification with all the saints who have gone before us and those who are yet to come.  Did you know that the English word “salvation” comes from a Latin root which means “healthy” or “safe” or whole?  Think of the related word, “salve,” which means a healing, soothing, ointment.
For those here, for you, Dan’s beloved and loving family and friends, this is a time of loss and grief, a time of mourning someone no longer present as he was only a few days ago.  The loss of a life partner, and all of the sharing and hopes with which a life together began on a wedding day filled with joyous anticipation and no hint of the shadows lying ahead.   The loss of a father to children just becoming adults, young people who will miss his loyalty and guidance and humor as they embark upon their careers and build their own families.  The loss of a cherished son, and the complete alteration of a mother’s life. The loss of a brother with whom memories are shared, memories that only brothers know. For all of you, this means being shaken to your core by the reality of death as we know it here. But for Paul, this is the time of salvation, of healing and wholeness, of the soothing ointment of God’s love poured out for him, God’s child. Paul is now fully the person he was created to be, and he sees the love and the eternal presence of God with a clarity which we cannot.

God never gives up on God’s creation.  God is out to heal creation – these bodies, this world.  God is utterly concerned with both our bodies and our hearts, even our most broken bodies and most broken hearts.  We know this because of Jesus’ arrival among us – Jesus, God in the bodily form of a human being, with a human heart that ached and sorrowed and felt compassion.  And with Jesus’ arrival came the beginning, the inauguration, of God’s reign on earth, of a restored creation, of superabundant life for all.  Superabundant life for Dan.  A healed and whole life with God.
Today is Good Friday, a day on which we are soaked in the horror of the separation which death imposes upon us.  But Sunday is Easter, and on Sunday we will remember, perhaps more powerfully this year than ever before, that with Easter comes resurrection – the old passes away, the broken is healed and the new is born.  When you wake up on Sunday morning, you will know: the victory over death which Jesus accomplished for us all is already reality for Dan – for a healed and whole Dan.

May the Lord bless you and keep you, Dan.  May the face of God shine upon you and grant you peace. Amen.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Busy Week, Busy Season

This week has been packed beyond reason, and as a consequence we are spending a quiet evening at home instead of heading out to a gathering of friends. I realized a couple of days ago that the extra Lenten services and planning have added the equivalent of a full work day to each week, so I have good reason to feel a bit stressed.  My consistent response to almost every question or suggestion for the past two weeks has been, "Talk to me after Easter."

This one has been a regular week, filled with small meetings and conversations, a stack of telephone calls, classes to teach, people to visit, and services and sermons to plan.  And then there were the extras:

On Monday night, a friend and I presented an evening retreat on Ignatian spirituality for an ecumenical group.  We had a small (fewer than 20) but enthusiastic audience, with several people from various arenas of our lives showing up.  It's been ten years since I made the Spiritual Exercises, and at least a year since I've given them to someone else.  For me, the evening turned into a much-needed reminder of that powerful experience of prayer.

Tuesday night, our church council gathered for what should have been a short monthly meeting but, due to one prickly issue, wasn't. Another item for the "after Easter" list of matters requiring my attention as an interim pastor.

Wednesday we held our final mid-week Lenten service, this one focused on healing. I had little to do with that one ~ it's an annual tradition and one of our members, a nurse by profession, did the preaching.  We anointed and folks lit candles for a gentle, relaxing time of worship.

I'm not sure that I remember much of Thursday. Last night my daughter and I went out to see Hello, My Name Is Doris.  There are two other films I really wanted to see, but I did not have it in me to spend a Friday evening on either heartbreak or serious political matters, so we steered clear of those. 

This morning was devoted to a First Communion class for three lovely ten-year-olds, and then my daughter and I went for a walk together and began to plan a North Carolina backpacking trip for September.  I came home and looked up trail information and checked out backpacking gear, and felt much cheered by the prospect of a week in the woods. 

"After Easter" I am going to spend some concentrated time re-thinking all of these demands on my life.  I love everything that I am called to do, but I don't want to be this busy ever again. 

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Extravagant Love ~ A Sermon for Lent V

I’ve been watching the television series on the O.J. Simpson trial.  Many of us probably remember that chapter in American history, albeit vaguely – it happened 20 years ago.  But the tv series quickly brings much of it back to the surface: the terrible murders; the famous running back; the white bronco; the female prosecutor, Marcia Clark; and the theatrical African-American defense lawyer, Johnny Cochran.  It’s as if they are right back in our living rooms, on the evening news night after night.
On last Tuesday night’s episode, prosecutor Marcia Clark, pushing open the doors to the courtroom one morning, filled with the confidence that comes from exacting preparation, says, “I can tell you every single thing that is going to happen in this courtroom today, and I am ready for all of it.”   Famous last words.
The early readers of the Gospel of John could be forgiven – we can be forgiven -- for perhaps having had a similar thought upon first reading,  or hearing, today’s gospel story.  We know this place and these people.  We know Jesus, of course, and that he is on the road to Jerusalem.  Since we, 2000 years after the events depicted, know that Holy Week is nigh, we also know that he must be getting close to his destination.
We know the little family with whom he is having dinner: sisters Mary and Martha and their brother Lazarus.  Some of us today may recall them from the Gospel of Luke, which John may or may not have known – we may remember another dinner party, an evening when Mary sat at the feet of the Lord, transfixed by his presence and teaching, and her sister Martha, bustling about the house with the meal preparations, complains to Jesus that her sister is no help at all.  If we remember that story, then we know that Jesus complimented Mary for her quiet attentiveness, but we also know that most of us are a blend of both of the sisters, sometimes focused on Jesus and his presence in our lives, sometimes distracted by the demands of the day. 
Whether or not we recall that story, however, if we are following the Gospel of John, then we know another one.  Only a few days earlier, Jesus was summoned to this home, where Lazarus had died and Mary and Martha were beside themselves with grief.  Jesus himself was heartbroken, and wept openly.  But then – then he ordered that that the stone blocking Lazarus’ tomb be pushed away.  In an interesting connection to today’s story – and hold this thought! – Martha warns him away, for Lazarus has been dead in there for four days, and the stench is likely to be overpowering.  But Jesus disregards her, and in an act of love, and power, and authority, demands that Lazarus come out – which Lazarus does.
So we know that this little family of siblings have not merely been witnesses, but been participants, in a powerful act of Jesus’ – an act not merely of healing, but of restoring the dead to life.  And we know that Jesus, in doing something so unexpected and outrageous, has both found new followers and created new enemies.
We also know Judas, and if we don’t know him well, we learn a bit more about him quickly – keeper of the community purse, and embezzler of community funds.  Not an attractive character, Judas.  And  we know the other disciples, who seem to be there as well, since Judas is mentioned is his role as one of them, and we know them to be a motley crew – sometimes utterly devoted to Jesus, sometimes bickering among themselves, sometimes impulsive and quickly overwhelmed. 
We also know the time – it’s only six days before Passover, a major feast in the Jewish calendar, and reason enough on its own for Jesus to be headed for Jerusalem.  Most Jews would try to make it to Jerusalem for major feasts and festivals.  Jesus himself is headed toward his destiny -- but his friends, unclear about what exactly the future holds, but aware that there are rumblings among the powers that be about his behavior, might be wishing that he would skip the public celebrations this year.
Perhaps a quiet dinner, Jesus with his disciples in the household of friends, is just the thing.  Perhaps everyone present thinks, like Marcia Clark, that they know exactly what will happen, at least for the next couple of hours, and that they are prepared for it.  A meal, some conversation, universal rejoicing in Lazarus’ restoration to them.  Talk about Passover, and about whether to go to Jerusalem or whether to stay home.
And then – and then the unthinkable happens.  It sound so simple – Mary anoints Jesus’ feet with fragrant oil, and then wipes his feet with her hair.
Let’s imagine how unthinkable this act of hers is.  A woman touching a man not her husband or family member – doesn’t happen.  A woman shaking out her hair, perhaps usually hidden from sight, and definitely not permitted to tumble down in a sensuous, intimate manner – doesn’t happen.  A woman with a bottle of perfume worth a year’s income – doesn’t happen.
This woman is reckless. Heedless.  Maybe she has taken a cue from Jesus, who so recklessly brought her brother back to life, heedless of the possible consequences for his own life.  
Let’s imagine how complex this act of Mary’s is.  In Old Testament times, prophets anointed other men – as kings.  Is Mary a prophet here, speaking truth to power? -- this man, not the Roman emperor, is king.  Oil is used to anoint people as part of a healing ritual – something we ourselves will do here this Wednesday night.  Does Mary, with her deeply reverent attentiveness and devotion to Jesus, offer a healing balm to him as he begins to anticipate, perhaps with anxiety and agitation, the days ahead?   Oil rubbed into the feet is used for burial anointing[1] – is Mary, remembering the stench of death, preparing Jesus with sweet perfume for, as he himself explains, the burial which lies before him?
This woman is a prophet, a healer, a priest.  Again, perhaps she takes her cues from Jesus, who has been all of those things to those who know him and love him -- and to those who do not.
Let’s imagine how generous this act of Mary’s is.  It isn’t just the money – the sum that could have gone to the poor, as the surly and devious Judas remarks.  It isn’t just the whole situation – so unexpected, so unconventional, so unpredictable.
This woman is wildly extravagant.  She throws her whole self: her money, her reputation, her body, her love – into this expansive act.  Has she indeed taken her cue from Jesus, from the Jesus she knows and the Jesus she is about to know, the one who will throw his entire self into the obliteration of death and the salvation of humankind? 
The other people at the table – they’re doing what’s expected.  Martha is taking care of the meal, organizing and serving and offering a bit more, here and there.  Jesus and the disciples are talking; Judas is probably grumbling.  No reason for this dinner to go down in history –
Except for Mary – with her confidence and her generosity and her oil and her hair, mirroring the words and actions of the man she has come to call Lord:
Extravagant.  Passionate.   Lavish.   Wild.
I think that Jesus makes Mary want to be more than who she has been, better than she has been.  Jesus is always about love where there might be indifference, always about generosity where there might be greed, always about abundance where there might be scarcity.  Mary is now all about those things as well: love, and generosity, and abundance.
How are we doing, my friends?  We are moving ever closer to the cross.  We are treading ever further down the path into the shadow of death that will seem to overtake us on Good Friday.  Are we, a tomb about to be slammed closed in front id us, are we like Mary, willing to throw caution to the wind and anoint the world with the love of Christ?

[1] Rev. Eugene Nelson, “Questions for Jesus: What Matters Most?”

Saturday, March 12, 2016


I have been noticing my home lately.  A lot.  The little things that I find beautiful, the reasons that brought us here.  The molding and arches in the living and dining room, for instance.

Thirty-two years ago, that's when we came, in the dead of winter.  At the time, much of the house had been recently re-done.  A new kitchen, new paper and paint everywhere, a new heating system (which was to prove a costly nightmare, but: whatever).  The French doors gleamed, the glass sparkled, and the brass hinges shone.

I was newly pregnant with our boys and desperately ill on the sixteen-degree day on which we moved in.  My husband set up the bed and I crawled in;  perhaps, I thought, never to be heard from again.

Bu the house eventually filled with light and laughter: three children and their friends, and a succession of dogs, cats, birds, and one guinea pig.  Woodwork and linoleum took a beating, floors got scuffed, rugs got peed on.  Family life.  A lot of things broke ~ the house is now nearly 100 years old ~ and some of them got fixed. 

After our son died, no one cared about home maintenance anymore. We were focused on survival, and the house became pretty dilapidated. We did some work on the outside, but the inside continued to crumble.

We are beginning, finally, to develop plans and estimates for an overhaul of the third floor.  It has been well-occupied by teenagers and young adults for the past 35 years, meaning that it needs . . .  everything.  I suppose that's why I'm more alert to my surroundings in general, what with trying to re-imagine bedrooms and bath.  That and the knowledge that we will most certainly move sometime in the next decade. 

So, I'm paying attention.  It really is a beautiful home.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Neuroscience and Prayer

Tonight our congregation held our fourth Wednesday night Lenten service ~ one of a series of short, reflective evenings following a simple soup supper.  I've been preaching on practices of prayer, and tonight, running a little low on energy, I was grateful for the gratitude expressed by two women for the homilies.

One of them, a local college president whose field is neuroscience, offered something particularly fascinating.  She showed me the copious notes she had taken on the practice of daily examen and said that she is eager to think about the idea of a regular review of the day in the context of how our brains work.

She has already shared a bit of information on brain responses to change with our adult Sunday School class ~ a helpful contribution for a church in transition.  (I am the interim pastor, there for the express purpose of helping them make the move from their recently retired pastor of nearly forty years to the leadership of the next installed pastor.)

I can hardly wait to hear what she has to say about the examen and neuroscience!

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

It's a Beautiful Morning

It's been weeks and weeks since I've been out for a long morning walk ~ winter cold and winter flu and a resolve to build back up slowly ~ but this morning's darkness bespoke a clear sky and warm, still air.


The red-winged blackbirds are calling, and a solitary grebe plowed across the lake.  Sure signs of the spring to come.

Image: Lower Lake, Cleveland Heights and Shaker Heights OH

Monday, March 7, 2016

Downton Withdrawal

It seemed to have everything:
The intriguing stratification of classes, with the lavish lifestyle and every whim of those upstairs tended to by the devotion to detail and long hours of toil expended by those downstairs;

The sweep of history, from the Titanic through World War I and deep into the Roaring Twenties, but almost entirely reflected in the minutiae of one household’s life rather than by the grand panoramas of battlefield and Parliament;
The arcane structure of the British aristocracy, with its titles and fox-hunts and connections to both court and agriculture;

The dazzling fashions, with appropriate attire always a matter of some urgency and its modifications indicative of changes ~ in the lives of women, in particular; and
The drama necessitated to sustain an audience: deaths of young characters, arrivals and departures of mysterious strangers, births – both upstairs and down – out of wedlock (and, finally and joyfully, a downstairs birth accomplished upstairs!), criminal violence, fractured relationships, jilted lovers and all of it, of course, captured by the acerbic wit of the Dowager Countess.

As I awoke this morning, however, with a bit of Lady Mary-like leisure available to me, my thoughts were that perhaps the great appeal of Downton lies in the tension it portrays ~ between the rigidly formal and restrained lifestyle of its inhabitants and the passionate feelings not always contained by the precision of table settings, the cold grandeur of libraries, and the stares of ancestral portraits.   In our own era of ultra-casual dress, fast food, messy homes, and politicians who shout near-obscenities at one another on national television, we might long for a bit of Downton glamour and control to rub off on us  ~ and yet perhaps we are a bit relieved to see that neither spatkling crystal nor luxury cars prevent its characters from outward explosions of emotion, wild and inappropriate passions, and deep friendship and love.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Grace Is Infuriating! ~ A Luke 15 Sermon for Lent 4

On the face of it, today's gospel parable looks simple.  There’s a father, and he has two sons. The younger of the sons insults the father by asking for his share of the family inheritance; he might as well have said, “Dad, I wish you were dead, because I want my money now!”  Upon receiving the money, the younger son vanishes, and might never have been heard from again, but for his wasteful tendencies.  When the money’s all gone and he finds himself miserably working on a pig farm – and pigs, we recall, are animals Jews are not permitted to touch or eat, so he has reached a new low in being required to feed pigs – he makes up his mind to go home, where he is welcomed by his father with open, loving arms, and a grand feast.
“He was lost and now he is found!”  The theme of the story is bolstered by the two very short parables which precede it. We did not read those today, but let me remind you quickly: A shepherd with 100 sheep is entirely focused on the one lost sheep, and rejoices when he finally finds that little lost one.  A woman with ten coins tears her house apart looking for the one she has lost, and exults when she discovers it.  One animal, or item, or child goes missing, and we search, or we wait, and when it, or he or she, is restored to us, we are wild with delight.  In today’s story, the father is SO wild with joy that when he sees his son, far off in the distance, he goes running down the road to meet him.  We might not think much of that – wouldn’t we do the same? – but in those days, for an older man, a landowner and family patriarch, to run, would have been undignified and unseemly, not something he would do at all.  That little verb “ran” – “he ran” – offers us a world of information about the father’s anxiety, relief, love, and joy.  He doesn’t even wait to see what the son has to say, or even if he has anything to say at all; the father runs – and embraces and kisses. 
So, there you have it.  A father and a son.  The lost and the found.  The sinner and the merciful. 
Except . . .  except, there’s another brother.  The elder brother.  The brother who makes no unreasonable requests, who stays home and does his share of the work, who remains faithful to the father and to all that he is called to do.  Plenty of ink has been spilled in the last century over family relationships and the motives behind them, so we can easily recognize this fellow: the firstborn, the responsible one, the one who does everything right.  I would hazard a guess that many of us here ARE the firstborn, in personality traits and behavior if not in literal birth order. 
And we know about this life of the firstborn, right?  He gets good grades, his younger brother goofs off and even has to repeat a course or two – but their parents love them both.  Huh?  He gets a job every summer while his younger brother gets arrested and has to go to juvenile court – and their mom gives the younger one even more attention – what’s that about?  He gets a good adult job and even sends money home, while his younger brother can’t seem to stick with any work at all and even moves back in with their parents, who seem fine with that arrangement.  He drops everything to help their parents with their finances and their move to assisted living when their situation changes, while his younger sibling is still receiving a monthly allowance from them.  We all know these stories.  Maybe we ARE these stories. 
And so we understand the elder brother in the parable.  We understand him so well that we gloss right over him.  We know that the real problem boy in this story is the younger son, the one who has squandered all his money, has been reduced to feeing pigs, and has come in shame, with a speech of repentance on his lips.  So much drama there – most of the paintings and sculptures depicting this parable focus on the re-uniting of father and younger son.   That’s the big moment, right?
Do we then miss the other son’s story?  Do we miss the reminder that there are others ways in which to separate ourselves from God?  Other ways in which to sin? 
Let’s look at that older brother.  He approaches the house, hears the music and dancing, and hesitates.  Instead of rushing in to find out what all the celebration is about, he first asks one of the slaves.  And then, when he has his answer, he refuses to go inside.  He speaks angrily to his father when his father begs him to come in.  “I’ve worked like a slave for you!  I’ve followed all the rules!  You’ve never offered me even a small party, and here this . . .  this reprobate . . . this son of yours (imagine the disdain in his tone of voice) . . .  he makes a complete mess of his life and you welcome him back with the fatted calf!” 
We can imagine the rest, can’t we?  “Where is the justice in this situation?”  That’s what the elder son wants to know.  Researches tell us that children develop a sense of fairness – a sense of justice – early on, at home with brothers and sisters, on the playground with friends and schoolmates, on the sports field, in the classroom – and they expect conflicts to be resolved fairly, and protest when they are not.  Our elder son today is still protesting: “It’s not fair!  You’re not fair! 
And at this point, the story becomes the father’s story.  For what does he say?  “You are always with me, and all that I have is yours.” The father cannot give the elder son anything more, because he has already given him everything: all of his presence, and all that he possesses.  What more is there, beyond all?
Well . . . maybe one more thing, and that is what the father is trying to give the elder son at the end.  The one more thing that the father has to convey is the knowledge, the certainty,  that his gifts, extravagant and complete as they are, are for both sons.  No matter how alienated, or why – whether by intentional, physical separation; by wasteful disdain and disregard; by rigid, angry self-righteousness – the father’s gifts and love, like those of God, are never exhausted, never limited by human concepts of fairness, never allocated according to some sort of human concept of scarcity.   It CAN be infuriating, can’t it? – this wild, sweeping, expansive range of God’s grace, which seems to know no boundaries nor be fenced in by any concept of justice that we understand.  And yet, there it is – there GOD is, running down the road toward us, arms flung open, coat flapping in the wind, or standing next to us, hands of compassion for our oh-so-limited understanding of abundant love grasping our clenched fists – there God is with God’s infuriating, outrageous, all-encompassing love.  Amen.

*Most of the ideas in this sermon are well-known, but they are also beautifully summarized in two Working Preacher essays, one by Professor Alan Hultgren (3/10/13) and the other by Professor Matt Skinner (3/14/10).  I am also indebted to my former professor The Rev. Dr. M. Craig Barnes for his introduction to an emphasis on the elder brother, one version of which can be found in his sermon,“The Problem with Being Good,” (04/03/11).  For the title, I think my friend and colleague, The Rev. Tricia Dykers-Koenig.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Contemplative Walking

               Red-tailed Hunter.

Cleveland Contemplative Walkers ~ the mutual brainchild of two friends, both of us spiritual directors, both of us people who like to get outside and walk.  I’m not sure how we came up with the idea, other than it having emerged from a more general conversation one day, morphing into a Facebook page and group, and becoming a real live walk this morning.
Four of us showed up, all with a variety of church connections and relationships (although neither was a requirement!).  It was cold, around 30 degrees, and cloudy, with a few slow-falling snowflakes, but we had a lovely time.  I’m not sure how contemplative we were ~ we kept breaking into pairs to talk ~ but our surroundings were utterly still and gray and peace-filled.
We ~ or at least I ~ tried to infuse the walk with a bit of “program,” inviting people to discuss what they remember of past great walks.  One woman talked about the astonishing beauty of Zion National Park.  Another, who is British, talked about a college geology walk ‘round the canals of Birmingham, England, which are longer in mileage than the canals of Venice.  And I mentioned a hunger walk made during my senior year of high school.  Seventeen-year-olds can hop out of bed in the morning and decide to walk 20 miles! ~ although the immediate consequence was that my big toenails turned black and fell off.
Augustine offered that “it is solved by walking.”  We did not solve any world or national problems this morning.  But we did make some inroads into friendship, which might be the most effective solution of all.

A New Place!

As of this month, I've been blogging for twelve years!  It's time for something new, something unabashedly public, and so I am moving over here.  I'd like to use a template a bit snazzier than my past versions, so my first task is to figure that out.  Look for sermons, meditations, and reflections about the usual (nature, spirituality, religion, family, suicide prevention, loss, books, movies, and life in general).  I'm also going to try to post pretty much every day as a basic writing discipline: short pieces of around 500 words (another writing discipline).    I am an alternately highly focused and wildly random person, so we'll see how that goes.