Author Archives: Rich Neal

Whitman at 200, no. 2

The mystical presence of God was celebrated by the earliest Christians. Saint Paul knew God as the One in whom “we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28), there being nothing that is not of God. Jesus said the kingdom of God is spread upon the earth and we don’t see it (Gosp. […]

In the time between

The folks at Paul Masson wineries used to say, “We will sell no wine before it’s time.” It was their assurance that they were offering the real deal: a high-quality wine, not a cheap imitation pretending to be wine. It takes time to create a fine wine or anything else of value, especially good ministry […]

Walt Whitman at 200

Today, 31 May 2019, is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Walt Whitman. Since there’s hardly anything I might add to what has already been written or spoken about him that would be an improvement, I’ll show my appreciation for his mind and spirit, his vision of life, by letting him speak for himself […]

Three simple rules

We are hungry, and we live among hungry people in a hungry world. Most people in the world are hungry for food in ways I have never known, though one day I may, but that’s not the kind of hunger I’m thinking of. I’m thinking of a deeper hunger, the hunger of the heart for […]

Hope on a Friday morning

There’s plenty of reason to think the social-political landscape that I wake up to every morning and go to sleep in every night is bleak and empty of promise. (My home state of Missouri has joined the list of those with antiabortion laws more restrictive than I thought we’d ever see again in this country, […]

Are you the one?

It’s a simple question, and you will spend your whole life answering it: Who are you? Are you the person others expect you to be, or are you an authentically original expression of God? Will you live in such a way that you leave others no choice but to decide: Will they live as their […]

Aging toward saging

“For everything there is a season,” the Teacher said, “and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted. [God] has made everything suitable for its time” (Eccles. 3:1-2, 11a). Now that I’ve come […]

This latent mine

National Poetry Month, Day 30  //  At the end of National Poetry Month, I return to where I began, to Walt Whitman, and to a fresh beginning. My first career began with a love of books, and it was natural, I suppose, that I would find my way into, first commercial printing, then book design […]

Awake for the first time

National Poetry Month, Day 29  //  At the beginning of this series celebrating National Poetry Month, I quoted Wallace Stevens, who described the poet as “the priest of the invisible,” and I set out to share each day a favorite poem of mine that mediates between me and the unseen Mystery in which we live […]

Finding my place in the family of things

National Poetry Month, Day 28  //  In my twenties, newly out of college and on my own, starting a new career, finding my way in the world, I had learned that I had to be good, very good, if I were to amount to anything in life. My parents, particularly my father, had taught me […]