Skip to main content


Showing posts from October, 2011

Loving God, Loving Neighbors, Transforming Lives: but HOW, con't...

Last week, I began a series taking a stab at answering the question, “How?” It started out with, “How do we avail ourselves of the power that God wants to give us?” In light of last week’s Gospel, it moved to, “How do we love God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength, and love our neighbor as our self?” The answer is the same: follow Jesus. Jesus availed himself of God’s power, completely (or more accurately, we believe he WAS (and is) God’s power, enfleshed. And Jesus, as the “pioneer and perfecter” of our faith, modeled for us (and stands ready to make possible for us) the way to love God and love our neighbor as our self. But again, that only begs the question: HOW do we follow Jesus? As Episcopalians living in North America in 2011, how are we to follow Jesus, practically speaking?   Well, as I said last week, in answering that question, context is important: We live in an age where denominations -- and “religion” in general -- are less and less relevant to most people’s l

Loving God, Loving Neighbors, Transforming Lives: but HOW?

Today I’d like to begin answering a question someone asked me regarding something I said in a recent [post] entry and sermon. First, what I said: I was talking about the fact that too many of us “work too hard at life,” because we do not avail ourselves of the power that God offers to us. The question one of you had was simple, and important: How? How do we avail ourselves of the power that God offers to us? The short answer to the question is this: “Follow.” Follow Jesus. If we follow Jesus, we receive what he promises. The transformation of life he promises. The Joy and Peace and Power he promises. But that only begs the same question: How? How do we follow Jesus? How, as Episcopalians living in Northern Virginia in 2011, do we follow Jesus? The answer to that question is also simple, but -- like the moves of the chess pieces are simple but take a lifetime to master, if we ever do -- the answer takes a lifetime to accomplish, if we ever do. And so I’m going to do something I have

What the ancient spiritual gurus did when they were stressed or overtired

Today, I’d like to share a passage from a book I recently read. The book is Tattoos on the Heart by Gregory Boyle, S.J., which happens to be one of the most moving and powerful books I’ve ever read. Boyle is Jesuit priest working with gang members in Los Angeles, where, despite working in desperate conditions (he’s had to bury over 150 young people, for example), he works with a contagious joy, compassion, and light humor. At one point in the book, Boyle is reflecting on stress and over-tiredness largely brought on by chasing success -- or what most people believe success to be. When I read what Boyle wrote, something just kind of shifted, internally, for me, for the better. So, in the hope that it does the same for you, here’s what Boyle writes: “It’s an essential tenet of Buddhism that we can begin to change the world by first changing how we look at the world. … Thich Nhat Hahn writes that ‘our true home is the present moment; the miracle is not to walk on water, the

We work too hard

We work too hard. Spiritually speaking, I mean. Maybe we work too hard at specific things, too -- our jobs, being a good spouse, raising our kids, dieting, exercising, and so on, but that's symptomatic. Symptomatic of working too hard at life ... The reason we work too hard -- the reason we find life so damn difficult sometimes -- is that we are trying to do it on our own...through our own doubled, and redoubled, efforts. Too many of us are like people on those old mopeds, pedaling furiously through life using the pedals, sweating and churning and groaning at how hard things are, never realizing or taking advantage of the fact that the moped has enormous power ready to be unleashed -- power that would propel us at faster, better speeds with 1/100 th of the personal energy we'd been expending -- if we only avail ourselves of it. Believe it or not, that's not the way God intends us to live, or faith to be. One of the great Lies tol