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Showing posts from March, 2013

Runaway Humanity

W hen our children were lit tle, one of our favorite stories to read them was The Runaway Bunny .  At one level, the story is about a little bunny rabbit that keeps running away from its mother, and all the things his mother does to bring him back to her. But surely the story is about something else, too: i t’s not just a story about a rabbit and his mother.   Surely t his is a story about God, and all the different ways we human beings try to run away from God, and the things God does to bring us back to him.  Scripture teaches us that “God is love.” (1 John 4:8). It’s not just that God loves : God really is love… God is so much love that God just couldn’t keep it to himself. So that is at least part of the reason God created the world – not just any world, but this world, this beautiful world – the sky and the seas, fish and birds – and plants – God created those things as a way of expressing his love for us. But from the very beginning, we have t

What Pope Francis' Ignatian Spirituality Can Teach Us

Maybe it's because the new Pope is a Jesuit, but Jesuits and their spirituality - called "Ignatian Spirituality" after their founder, Ignatius of Loyola - have been on my mind a lot lately. I'm a big fan of Ignatian Spirituality, having practiced it since first being introduced to it shortly after college. By "pract iced" I mean I've had the good fortun e of mee ting w ith Jesuit spiritual directors for the past 30 years; the bedrock of my prayer life is Ignatius' Daily Examen, and I've completed many silent retreats called "the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius" -- many 3-day retreats and one 5-day retreat, and I choose to begin my 2005 sabbatical with a 14-day silent retreat at the Jesuit Retreat Center of Los Altos .   My purpose here is not to summarize the spiritual exercises in particular or Ignatian Spirituality in general - if you want a good resource for that, I highly recommend FindingGod in All Things and the n

An open letter to the Rev. Tory Baucum, Rector of Truro Anglican (updated January, 2014, with a p.s.)

An open letter to The Rev. Tory Baucum, Rector of Truro Anglican  ( Note to reader [added January 17, 2014] -- Seeing some rather heated blog traffic about The Rev. Baucum’s recent appointment by the Archbishop of Canterbury as one of Canterbury Cathedral's Six Preachers has reminded me to post a kind of "p.s./follow up" on this "Open Letter to Tory Baucum" blog post, a p.s. which I have included at the end of this letter. Please make a point to read it; it’s an important addition to what I say here.) “ The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth? That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you .” (Galatians 5:7-8) Dear Rev. Baucum, I’m writing in response to your  " Peacemaking for Now " letter of March 14, 2013. For some time, you’ve been reaching out in personal friendship with the Rt. Rev. Sha

Over-the-top Gestures of Love, vs Superficial Religiosity

In this upcoming Sunday's gospel, we hear the story of "the anointing at Bethany," when Jesus was at a dinner party with Lazarus, Martha and Mary. Mary opens a large jar of expensive perfume and pours it on Jesus' feet, then wipes his feet with her hair. What's striking about the story is how over-the-top each of those gestures are: It's a large jar, containing a pound or a pint of perfume: picture a pint of strawberries, or Guinness...that's a lot of perfume. It's "costly" or expensive perfume: later we'll hear that it was worth "300 denarii" and a denarius was a day's wage...so it's nearly a year's salary worth of perfume. It's exquisite perfume: having been "made from pure nard" doesn't have a modern equivalence, but it's definitely a rare, precious possession Mary pours it on - she doesn't just lightly drip a few drops.