Fellowship of Saints and Sinners

Fellowship of Saints and Sinners

Mental Health Break — “On Melancholy Hill” and What’s Up Next Here

Single motherhood for the next nine months — with my hubby traveling back and forth to Washington, D.C., thanks to a National Endowment of Humanities (NEH) research fellowship there — may reduce my presence here at this intersection. But I’m hoping to show up at least once a week. I hope you will, too. Here’s what to look for in the next several days at this intersection between life and God for all sinners and saints, converted, unconverted or under conversion:

  • Depression, Suicide and What Every Family Affected by The Leading Cause of Disability Worldwide Needs to Know Inspired by the recent suicide of a young man in a faith community I was once intimately part of, this was a hard piece to write; but September is “National Suicide Prevention Month,” and this local tragedy hit too close to home for me not to say anything, even if it required some vulnerability.
  • Is Your Gospel Too Small? Some insightful meditations from Bruce Strom of Gospel Justice Initiative, an organization whose board I recently joined and that is doing God’s work serving the spiritual and legal needs of America’s poor.

Another big “thank you” to saint and sinner Br. Mark for sharing his reflections with us. Coincidentally, the latest cover story of the Atlantic features some challenging reflections on the prison system as it pertains to racism and black America. (If you subscribe to that magazine, his reflections are worth a read.)


Here’s a catchy tune I heard this morning from the eccentric British virtual band Gorillaz. It’s an oldie by some musical standards, having been around for five years, but it’s nice company this morning as I write away. And I’m digging the uniforms in this video of their live performance on Letterman four years ago.

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A Monk, A Man Behind Bars for Murder, and Their Life-Changing Correspondence

The U.S. locks up more people every year than any other country, including China, with a population roughly five times greater than that of the U.S.. 5% of the world's population resides in the U.S. 25% of the world's prisoners do, too. (Photo and citation are from the Center for Research on Globalization.)

The U.S. locks up more people every year than any other country, including China, with a population roughly five times greater than that of the U.S.. 5% of the world’s population resides in the U.S. 25% of the world’s prisoners do, too. (Photo and citation are from the Center for Research on Globalization.)


Yesterday the news broke of Oklahoma death row inmate Richard Glossip’s last-minute reprieve of execution within only hours of death by lethal injection. The reprieve grants Glossip a two-week delay of execution, during which time the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals can consider a last-minute petition by Glossip’s lawyers. (Glossip has been on death row since 1998, reportedly on the basis of another convicted murderer’s testimony alone and little forensic evidence. Yesterday marked the third time Glossip’s execution was delayed.)

And maybe it’s fitting that these latest headlines happen to coincide with the below reflections from friend and fellow saint and sinner Brother Mark. For 44 years, Br. Mark has lived, worked and worshiped in intentional spiritual community at the Roman Catholic Monastery of the Holy Spirit, in Conyers, Georgia, where I met him last week while on a personal retreat. Before serving as the guest/retreat master there, Br. Mark worked in the infirmary for 30 years.


When I invited Br. Mark to guest post here at this intersection, he graciously took me up on the offer. Below are his reflections on what those behind bars might have to teach us and the life-changing power of a simple but increasingly extinct form of correspondence — letter writing:

Brother Mark has been a monk at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit for 44 years.

Brother Mark is a Cistercian monk at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit.


“..I was in prison and you visited me.” — Jesus to his disciples (Matthew 25:36)

I am not much of a letter writer; in fact I hated corresponding by letter.  Even after I started dabbling in writing 17 years ago, letter writing for me was very rare.

A couple of years ago, all of this changed.  I’m not sure how I got started, but now I’m writing to six prisoners: three on a very regular basis; the others more infrequently.

And I always let them lead.  (If they write I respond, and if they don’t, I figure they don’t need to write me anymore.)

Simple Words of Encouragement

The prisoner archetype is usually a dark one.  I have been told that “they will only use you for money,” or “try to get you involved in some scam.”  I am sure that is true in some cases. (I have encountered this only once in my personal correspondence with prisoners, when one prisoner wrote asking for money for various items.) Most prisoners just want someone to write them with words of encouragement.


The ones I am writing to are seeking a deeper relationship with God, and since I am a monk that is why they write me.  They tell me about their inner struggles, their failures and their getting up and starting over again.  They don’t need a lot — just to be listened to and some sort of response.  None of the men I am writing to live up to the dark stereotype that keeps many people from writing to them.  |

I’ve been writing to one man who is in for second-degree murder.  He admits to the act and knows he needs to be where he is, but the sentence was severe — thirty years.  He was highly trained in martial arts and self-defense. That along with some anger issues probably got him a stiffer penalty.  The judge told this man that with his training and title he did not need to kill the other man. This man’s wife, the love of his life, died a few years ago.  They had stayed married and close throughout his imprisonment.


And perhaps because this man agrees with the judge, he has not become bitter. Instead he is trying to have a deep personal relationship with God, and prays his way through days that are filled with noise, abusive prisoners, theft, and at times intimidation.

All I can do is encourage him.

Forgiveness From Behind Bars — and the Life-Changing Power of Letter Writing

One situation that was painful for him was when his mother’s rosary was stolen out of his locker.  It was the only item he had that connected him with her and he was very angry about it.  In the past, he would have been filled with rage.  This time he decided to do something else, to seek the road that the Lord wants him to tread.  Below is something that I wrote to him about that:


“I am glad you are praying for the men who have ‘hurt’ you and stole from you.  You do have a hard road my friend, yet to give in to anger would be a harder one I believe.  The love of God heals. The acting out of our inner rage only leads to deeper trouble and more rage and more fierce fighting; it can be unending.  By praying, by keeping your ‘peace,’ you are stopping the cycle of violence in your life…easy?…..of course not, but you have the grace of God supporting you, even if you do not feel it at times.  God is always the same, our perceptions of His presence go from hot to cold, yet the Lord is always ‘Yes.'”

Writing simple letters to prisoners does not take much time.  Being locked up apart from family and friends only to face frequent rejection can be unbearable.  Faith seems to give many prisoners the inner strength to step back and not get involved in gangs, drugs and sexual domination.  In prison the situation can be very black and white; the choices become simple, yet in making them a deep inner struggle can happen.  Writing can help them stay on the road of inner healing that flows from being open to the Holy Spirit.

And life can be funny: a man who never liked writing letters, now writing and perhaps getting more out of it than what I put in.



This Old House: A Poem

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Our house after demolition last month

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The dramatic transformation that our old house continues to undergo, as of Week 6 of renovation, inspired the following reflections — about faith, surrender and resurrection, and about what it means to call a residence “home.”

This Old House: A Poem

Before we tore down your walls like sixth graders at a dissection, only more affectionately, you had stood at attention. And the “Open House” sign had let us in.

You had potential, we thought when we drove away, our first-born strapped in his car seat, oblivious.

Something left unspoken which could come to be — was it the creaky wood floors or the ancient fuse box or the wood-paneled attic? — convinced us we could live here: that we could call you “home.”


And through the years, many friends have passed through your doors.

One died too young and unexpectedly, but I think I catch a flutter of her spirit every so often here — like a throb of arthritic pain on a rainy day, reminding me I’m alive. She lived next-door and loved to rock our children.

Those same children have cut teeth here and run mud tracks across that old linoleum floor and with their friends played under your eves. And within these walls you’ve been privy to all the little human dramas that, when added together, make our lives so uniquely our own.

One hundred famous last words later, about how one day we’ll move to some exotic land and raise our children there, your embrace still keeps us here.

(Even the bats in the attic last fall couldn’t drive us away, after we abandoned you to face their exorcism alone — those pock-marked eves the only reminder.)


One year later, we tore down those rotting beams and ripped open your intestines: an act of loyalty and affection, if not true love.

Unsurprisingly, you’ve borne it all with no complaints.

Still I can’t help but wonder, while standing among these solemn ruins tonight, if nearly a century is finally long enough to learn the art of being broken in order to be remade: To endure coming undone with the quiet assurance that the suffering is not in vain.

Then again, to stand cut down and exposed to the universe, and still, to raise your broken limbs to the sky: is that humble faith or proud rebellion? A final surrender or a last hurrah?

Maybe it is both … or does the fact that you’re inanimate make them something else?

This old house dares me to wonder.




2 Ways I’m Like Mr. Bean When On Retreat at the Monastery


Rowan Atkinson on marriage and the presence of “The Holy Goat”

It’s been a while since my last “retreat” at the monastery. The last time I was here, I was on deadline to finish the manuscript for my first book Grace Sticks. So I holed myself up in one of these rooms with a cheap bottle of red wine I had snuck in, and over the course of several days furiously wrote and re-wrote more “shitty first drafts,” (one of Anne Lamott’s many helpful prescriptions to wannabe writers), in a last-ditch effort to spare myself the anticipated shame of my editor’s first reaction.


That was more than two years ago now, which apparently is long enough to forget the lingo of this place …

Relearning the Meaning of Things …

“Are you going to the office?,” the bearded Cistercian brother who checked me in asked in a gravelly voice.

After discovering my room key was not in the small pile of keys for late-arriving guests, and nervously double-checking my iCalendar to confirm I had the right day of arrival, I had called him a bit sheepishly at the “emergency number” on the door to the now-boarded-up room that housed more of those awkward, clunky keys. He had appeared within minutes, offering words of reassurance that Patty, the woman who answered phones and had taken down my reservation during daytime hours, had told him I was coming.


His question had taken me by surprise.

“Uh, is there an office here?,” I asked, imagining some little room with fluorescent lights, computers and a fax machine, overseen by a librarian-like monk in shy, gruff tones.

“Oh, no, it’s just that some retreatants like to attend the services in the chapel,” the monk said, kindly overlooking my Amelia Bedelia moment. (One saving grace at this juncture was that he had been prepared for some cluelessness about how things work around here by the admission that I was once a Presbyterian pastor.)

We exchanged a few more words — about the pope, about “weird Presbyterian theology” like “double predestination,” and about AA, recovery and the writing life.

Still, I left that exchange with the realization that when I’m here I often become a female version of Mr. Bean, one reason being how easy it is to forget the appropriate religious lingo. (Just think Mr. Bean as nervous wedding officiant in “Four Weddings and a Funeral.”)


… And the Promise and Peril of Silence and Solitude

The other reason is the self-imposed silence here, which takes some getting used to.

It’s not that I don’t love the silence or seek it out and find restoration from its embrace — I do — but something about it also makes me feel a bit silly and uncomfortable, like an eighth grader who just got braces and who knows those new metal laces across her teeth are good for her but isn’t so sure about wearing them just yet.

For example, in the absence of a “hello” or “good morning,” acknowledging the presence of another visitor here seems to call for some form of additional compensation. In the form of a bigger smile maybe, or the more exaggerated nod of a head.


And during mealtimes in the silent company of others, I’m careful to avoid squirting honey on my bread. Some poor guy made that mistake at breakfast this morning and sounded like he was passing gas.

The geese on the pond last night sounded better as they honked their goodbyes and made off in formation: one big “V” that broke off into two smaller “v’s,” and eventually a dotted line on the horizon. I was almost alone then, excepting one lone duck and a stray cat on an adjacent picnic table, and something about this fragile enclosure of solitude and the delicate beauty of a stillness I had grown so unaccustomed to — had almost forgotten existed, in the relentless movement of life’s many distractions, as noisy as they are meaningless —made the tears rush to my eyes.


Last night, as I lay in bed drifting off to sleep, my demons momentarily came out (as they are inclined to do when there are no sounds or distractions). They scampered about mischievously, throwing spitballs, but this time only briefly, before I managed to stuff them in some drawer.

By then I was drifting off to sleep, having read these words from Psalm 130:7: “Put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love and him is full redemption.”

This morning I’m savoring some final moments of silence before I make the drive home. This time though, when I put my key in the ignition, I won’t immediately turn the radio to NPR or 94.1. I’ll want to prolong the silence, and I’ll be thinking about how to spend more time at “the office.”


A 1:6 Women-to-Men Ratio on Ashley Madison — Why?

deadhorse_cartoonAt the risk of beating a dead horse — can anyone help me understand where that awful expression comes from, by the way? — this piece takes a new angle on the whole Ashley Madison scandal. What does an eye-opening dearth of female users on the marital infidelity website reveal about married women who cheat?, I wanted to know in my capacity as a full-time writer with Elements Behavioral Health (EBH). (EBH oversees a family of addiction recovery programs nationwide, including one at The Right Step, for women with co-occurring intimacy and substance use disorders — hence this piece.) Enjoy — and have a great Labor Day!







Life Is Short. Seek Faithfulness.

ashley-madisonWithin a few hours of its appearance here at this intersection between God and life, my last post on the Ashley Madison scandal had a total of one share.

“It must’ve been something I said,” I told my husband later that night, as we were getting into bed.

When I checked in yesterday, reader shares had gone from one to 1,000.


It must’ve been something I said.

“Your post did sound like an apology for Ashley Madison,” my husband had remarked — at which point he launched into an argument about why signing up for an account on Ashley Madison was intrinsically more morally problematic than a more accidental case of falling in love with someone else. Wasn’t there a clear difference between intentionally seeking out an affair and falling into one?

He has a point. “Life is short. Have an affair,” reads the tagline on the Ashley Madison website after all. If that doesn’t play as much to someone’s intentions as to their inner teenaged child, I’m not sure what does.

That said, drawing such distinctions is at best marginally helpful. At the end of the day, adultery is adultery, whether it’s falling in love accidentally or signing up to do so (or to avoid doing so) online. Either way, you’re still making choices that have deeply painful, even tragic consequences.

But what do you think? Is there utility in drawing such a distinction?




3 Quasi-Spiritual Lessons from the Ashley Madison Scandal

ashmadFor those of us saints and sinners who even remotely have been following last week’s Ashley Madison scandal, I can think of at least three lessons it offers (and you may have more, in which case feel free to leave them below):

1. Chances are you will be found out. 37 million Americans with personal accounts on Ashley Madison seem to believe otherwise — or did before last week. But if you’re trolling Craigslist ads looking for anonymous, kinky sex without all the inconveniences of love, there is always that possibility that so-and-so knows your mother’s best friend from college whose daughter is in your spouse’s pilates class.


And they just had coffee last week.

And if you’re building your kamasutra playbook online, without the fall-out of the next morning when your spouse gives you that look that says “I’d rather organize my sock drawer than try that move again,” you might want to think again before signing up to try out your trick on nice strangers. Someone will eventually catch you with your— ahem— “hand” in the cookie jar: something along the lines of “What’s in the dark will be brought to light,” maybe…

2. Shame kills. The fall-out from last week’s hacking has been lethal: some people have allegedly committed suicide after learning that intimate details of their private lives have now become the exotic and titillating digestive material of a national (and international) conversation. And when embarrassing details about your messy private life have reached a whole chirping chorus that includes members of the national news media bent on nothing other than boosting their ratings, crowds of recreational gossipers on jittery chat rooms, and, maybe worse yet, your church’s public prayer chain (like that scene in the movie Saved), who can blame you really? That would probably be enough to encourage even the thickest-skinned among us to get lost hiking somewhere on the Appalachian Trail.


High-decibel shame of this sort can kill. (And a note to self: explore this concept further in next book on shame.)

On the other hand, lower-decibel shame — of the kind that drives addictions like sex and intimacy disorders and an impulse to court sure disaster in the form of extramarital entanglements — kills, too. The difference is that this kind of shame will do you in over the longer haul, sucking the life right out of you, damaging your closest and most significant relationships and ultimately, destroying your soul (if not also your body).

3. Love covers a multitude of sins; it doesn’t expose them. There was nothing kind or loving about what hackers did last week in exposing the private indiscretions of millions of people.


In the sense that true love entails justice, I can summon an exception to this general impression when those who loudly trumpet their high moral and religious values, while indulging in the very opposite of what they profess, get their day in the court of public opinion. (In this case, Josh Duggar, a spokesman for conservative Christian family values already under scrutiny for child molestation charges when last week’s news broke, is the most obvious example.)

But I suspect that the great majority of people whose dalliances on Ashley Madison are now scintillating public knowledge are probably not the Josh Duggars of this world. They are more likely pretty ordinary, somewhat complicated people like you and me, who are capable of doing great good but also make plenty of dumb mistakes and are prone to lead messy, confusing lives, people who, when honest with themselves, are thankful only God and their very best friend or maybe their therapist know the asinine thing they did last year or this morning. Most of them probably aren’t looking to excoriate publicly those who fall prey to the same regrettable impulses, weaknesses and moral mishaps (“sins”) they themselves experience. They may even be trying to do their best, and dream of a day when they might be healed once and for all of their “multitude of sins.”


That makes the very dramatic and salacious public exposure of the far too particular ways in which 37 million Americans fall short, (and implicitly, “shorter” than the rest of us saints and sinners), nothing less than destructive and mean-spirited.

Yes, it’s possible that for Duggar and his publicly shamed compatriots, last week’s hacking signified a much-needed corrective — a redemptive day of reckoning, if you will. But to those who seek to publicly shame others on the basis of their sexual misbehavior, Jesus appears to dish out a taste of their own medicine. When the religious leaders of Jesus’ day drag an adulterous woman caught in flagrante delicto to Jesus, demanding a word of condemnation, Jesus makes no effort to appease them by casting stones at the wrongdoer. Instead, in response to their finger pointing, Jesus bends down and silently begins to writes something on the ground. Whatever Jesus writes is enough to cause them to walk away one by one, leaving only the adulterous woman to contend with Jesus. Some commentators believe Jesus is writing down all of these accusers’ most secret sins.

If that interpretation is right, I’m guessing last week’s hackers have something more to learn about their own blind spots — and maybe even about love itself.



John Oliver vs. Televangelists and Their “Big Seed” Prosperity Gospel

If you’ve not seen it, you must: John Oliver on “Last Week Tonight” offered the most brilliantly funny rebuke of televangelists and the prosperity gospel I’ve seen to date. Oliver doesn’t mince words, including the four-letter ones, in blasting the moral obscenities of those who specialize in selling the gospel for their own enrichment. Here is Oliver so satisfyingly condemning spiritual abuse when he sees it among those who should know better:

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How the Latest Revelations Re: ISIS’ Systemized Sexual Violence Against Girls Remind Me I Am Not a Pacifist

As if ISIS had not already convinced us enough of its total depravity … the latest revelations by The New York Times —(be forewarned, they are disturbing to read) — remind me why I am not a pacifist. As if turning small boys into child soldiers is not enough to raise the ire of the international community, the article details how ISIS is now instituting a whole system of religiously justified, theologically rationalized sexual violence against non-Muslim girls, and is using this system to lure new recruits to its ranks with the promise of young girls whom they can rape at their convenience in the name of Allah.


“A theology of rape,” the article terms it, and if evil has a face, it looks like this. We’ve seen that face far too many times in recent history alone: in Rwanda; in Bosnia; in Nazi Germany. We human beings have a despair-inducing ability to let what John Calvin called “total depravity” rob us of the “kingdom of heaven on earth” that Jesus instructs His followers to pray for.

So much so that these latest revelations can feed our compassion fatigue…

…Or, sophisticated-sounding strategies of “containment,” as one commentator recently opined should be the U.S. approach toward ISIS. Recognizing the foreign policy considerations are breathtakingly complex, I still can’t help but wonder if “containment” in this case is more of a convenient euphemism for delaying our moral imperative as Christians in the West and as human beings to take a stand against such plain-faced evil.


Jesus Himself says there is a special place in hell — or at least at the very bottom of the sea — for those who undertake the kind of evil that ISIS now proclaims is the will of God Himself. “It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble,” Jesus says (Luke 17:2).

Does Praying for God’s Kingdom to Come and for God’s Deliverance From Evil Mean Standing Against Unadulterated Evil When We See It?

I suspect that when we Christians pray for God’s deliverance from evil, and ask that God’s kingdom come, “on earth as in heaven,” our prayers require something of us. After all, if C.S. Lewis is right — that prayer is as important because of what it does for those who pray — then the prayer that God’s will be done and God’s kingdom come must entail more than worries about our own job security or personal health or safety. To pray “deliver us from evil,” is to acknowledge at least implicitly that our own deliverance is inextricably linked to the deliverance of those around us, our “neighbors.”


Is it not possible, then, that when we pray that God deliver us from evil, in the context of asking for God’s kingdom to come, we are making a request that could very well demand more of us than our prayer? More action — and in some cases, where unadulterated evil threatens our neighbor(s), a call to take up arms? I think so.

What moral strength required a young German pastor, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, to grapple with great fear and trembling about his role in that struggle against evil, in the form of a Nazi ideology that sought to eradicate a whole ethnic group? What reserves of courage did Bonhoeffer’s part in an assassination attempt that could very well fail (and did) call forth? What great faith, or assurance of God’s ultimate and final triumph over evil, did such bravery finally demand of Bonhoeffer? I can only begin to wonder.


We, most of us, will not be asked to undertake such feats of heroism. But we can do more than nothing in the face of evil. We can choose not to give in to compassion fatigue. We can question claims that containment is the very best we can do in the face of pure evil that seeks to destroy the most vulnerable members of our society. We can do something rather than nothing.

What Christians Can Do To Stand Against ISIS’ Evil

If you’re wondering what, in particular, we can do, here are some preliminary ideas…will you please send along yours, so I can add them to this list?

1. Pray. Pray daily and unceasingly on behalf of all victims of ISIS — that God would deliver them from evil. And read this New York Times article as you pray — for healing, restoration and protection for those most vulnerable to the threat of ISIS.


2. Reconsider our policy priorities, and re-evaluate what we should be standing for and against. How, for example, loud opposition to the now legal marriage of two gay men in the state of Kentucky deserves as much time, attention and priority as it is receiving from Christians in public service, when horrors like ISIS’ war on innocent children continue unabated, is beyond me.

3. Advocate for more aggressive intervention to take down ISIS. In particular, Christians can push for greater military intervention to stop ISIS (on the part of the U.S. and an international coalition of forces). And we can lobby for more proactive U.S. support of those on the ground actually fighting ISIS (namely, Iran and the Kurds). Support for these allies in a fight against evil can also mean speaking out in favor of the recent Iran deal, rather than letting a particularly loud and vociferous faction of religious conservatives in this country claim to speak for all Christians (in their denunciation of the recent Iran nuclear deal).


4. Find ways to support our brothers and sisters most physically vulnerable to ISIS’ evil rampage.
The Muslim and Christian families who live directly in ISIS’ line of fire, and who every day risk losing their sons and daughters to the kind of unfathomable evil most of us will never thankfully have to see, deserve any and all shows of support from Christians in the West.

Got more ideas about what Christians can do to stand up to these evils? Please send them my way. 






Mustard Seed Faith and a Mustard Seed Kingdom of God, Via Mary Oliver

American poet Mary Oliver is a winner of the National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize. The New York Times described her as "far and away, America's best-selling poet."

American poet Mary Oliver is a winner of the National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize. The New York Times described her as “far and away, America’s best-selling poet.”

Last week school started, demo began on our long overdue home renovation, and we moved into temporary housing in the form of a kind neighbor couple’s guesthouse. Thankfully, through the now endlessly mind-numbing conversations about new kitchen back splash, bathroom fixtures and carpet colors, several volumes of Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Mary Oliver’s work on our neighbors’ book shelves have been breaths of fresh air.


This morning I stumbled upon Oliver’s poem, “Little Summer Poem Touching the Subject of Faith,” in her book of poetry, West Wind. Rather wonderfully, Oliver’s poem arrived in the context of some devotional reflections on Jesus’ comparison of the kingdom of heaven to a mustard seed (Matthew 13). Why, I’ve wondered, does Jesus use the same image of a mustard seed to describe both the kingdom of heaven and the faintest glimmers of faith? What of the correspondence? Oliver’s poem may shed some light:

Every summer

            I listen and look

                        under the sun’s brass and even

                                    in the moonlight, but I can’t hear



anything, I can’t see anything —

            not the pale roots digging down, not the green stalks muscling up

                        nor the leaves

                                    deepening their damp pleats,


nor the tassels making,

            nor the shucks, nor the cobs.

                        And still,

                                    Every day,


the leafy fields

            grow taller and thicker —


                   green gowns lofting up in the night,

                            showered with silk.


And so, every summer,

            I fail as a witness, seeing nothing —

                        I am deaf too

                                    to the tick of the leaves,


the tapping of downwardness from the banyan feet —

            all of it


                                    beyond all seeable proof, or hearable hum



And, therefore, let the immeasurable come.

            Let the unknowable touch the buckle of my spine.

                        Let the wind turn in the trees,

                                    And the mystery hidden in dirt


swing through the air.

            How could I look at anything in this world

                        and tremble, and grip my hands over my heart?

                                    What should I fear?



One morning

            In the leafy green ocean

                        the honeycomb of the corn’s beautiful body

                                    is sure to be there.


But why do you think Jesus uses the same metaphor of the mustard seed to describe both His kingdom and our nascent glimmers of faith?


Previous Posts

Mental Health Break — "On Melancholy Hill" and What's Up Next Here
Single motherhood for the next nine months — with my hubby traveling back and forth to Washington, D.C., thanks to a National Endowment of Humanities (NEH) research fellowship there — may reduce my presence here at this intersection. But I'm ...

posted 3:34:48pm Sep. 24, 2015 | read full post »

A Monk, A Man Behind Bars for Murder, and Their Life-Changing Correspondence
[caption id="attachment_5740" align="alignleft" width="400"] The U.S. locks up more people every year than any other country, including China, with a population roughly five times greater than that of the U.S.. 5% of the world's population ...

posted 8:37:11pm Sep. 16, 2015 | read full post »

This Old House: A Poem
              The dramatic transformation that our old house continues to ...

posted 9:19:25pm Sep. 11, 2015 | read full post »

2 Ways I'm Like Mr. Bean When On Retreat at the Monastery
It’s been a while since my last “retreat” at the monastery. The last time I was here, I was on ...

posted 4:25:13pm Sep. 09, 2015 | read full post »

A 1:6 Women-to-Men Ratio on Ashley Madison — Why?
At the risk of beating a dead horse — can anyone help me understand where that awful expression comes from, by the way? — this piece takes a new angle on the whole Ashley Madison scandal. What does an eye-opening dearth of female users on ...

posted 2:37:06pm Sep. 07, 2015 | read full post »


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