Category Notes

Mary’s question

Mary Oliver’s question keeps returning. “Tell me, what is it you plan to do / with your one wild and precious life?” Like the question from Thomas Merton, “If you want to identify me, ask me not where I live or what I like to eat or how I comb my hair, but ask me […]

Before I die . . .

Forty-one of you responded to my challenge last week, to complete the sentence, “Before I die, I want to . . . .” Here are your responses. Related to personal life. (13 responses) Live a full, joyful life of happiness. I wish I had enjoyed each day more and have less worries. Focus on myself […]

A whisper is enough

At some place deeper than where I usually live, I’ve passed the proverbial tipping point or am very near it, it seems, with the unrelenting offense from Washington – and from elsewhere, to be sure, but especially from Washington. I wonder less about what shoe will drop next, expecting that all of them will drop […]

My Lenten discipline

I’m giving up Christianity for Lent this year. Well, not literally. I’ll maintain my role in the church. It pays my salary and expects me to show up, after all. But I’ll be doing in a more intentional and centered way something I’ve been doing peripherally for decades. I’ll be examining my faith – not […]

Faith on the brink

Especially since November I’ve returned regularly to one of my favorite hymns, one that was unfortunately dropped in the 1989 hymnal. Unfortunately, because it’s perfect for times like these when the faith of so many of us is strained and tested. Here are two of its stanzas: O for a faith that will not shrink, […]

Weeds, wheat, and Donald Trump

The parable of the weeds and wheat (Matt. 13:24-30), to which I referred in a reply to my previous post about Christianity under siege by Donald Trump and his minions, recognizes that life is populated by things we label “good” and “evil,” a condition we’re inclined to blame on an “enemy.” Jesus reminds us to […]

Christianity under siege?

“Less than two weeks into the presidency of Donald J. Trump, the center ground, to the extent it still existed, has collapsed. Trump’s presidency has done more than polarize the country; it has established terms of battle likely to persist indefinitely.” So wrote Dan Balz of the Washington Post in a story appearing in today’s Buffalo […]

Free from desire

A friend’s recent use of the Sanskrit word “apranihita” has kept me thinking for a couple of weeks now. (She translated it “aimlessness”; I’ve also seen “purposelessness,” “wishlessness,” or “free from desire.”) She described the idea as “living in the present moment without constantly searching for something that satisfies us.” It has some interesting resonance […]

Thoughts on my birthday

Artist Georgia O’Keeffe shares a birthday with me, though she preceded me into this world by sixty-one years. This morning’s Writer’s Almanac reports: “On a trip to Taos, New Mexico, O’Keeffe grew to love the desert, which she called ‘the faraway.’ She felt that the thin, dry air enabled her to see farther, and she was […]

The day after

So many words – too many, perhaps, though many of them are very good – about this day after the election. Among them, Parker Palmer wrote about our need now to “learn to listen beneath my own and other people’s political rhetoric for what Howard Thurman called ‘the sound of the genuine’ in each of […]