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Patience is an act of compassion

When we sit in silent prayer or meditation, patience is the essence of the activity. It requires patience to sit, and the more we sit, the more patient we become. Whatever is your spiritual practice, whatever keeps you centered and grounded on a daily basis, patience is the key.

We learn patience. This learning of patience, though, is also growth in compassion and love.

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The Disposable Ones

It’s going on seven years now, since I visited the Nazi concentration camps. I’m still processing, as you can imagine. What surprised me in my visit was how viscerally the physical visit to the actual place affected me. Reading about genocide is something of a traumatic experience. (It is possible that one can suffer from what is called “secondary post-traumatic stress syndrome.”) Visiting the concentration camp sites, though, even 70 some odd years after the Holocaust is traumatic in a way that I’ve not quite been able to understand. There’s something about being there, in that place, that resonates in a deep way, in a way that you don’t get when you read about it in a book.
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Hand to the plow

“No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” – Jesus in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 9

And perhaps that’s why the kingdom of God is, in a very important sense, not yet upon us. There aren’t many of us who have truly put the hand to the plow and not looked back. But, of course we look back! In this sense, are there any of us who are truly fit for the kingdom of God? Probably not. Still, if you are like me, then you have some sense of what it is like to be captured by the beauty of a vision of a better world, of a more free and peaceful culture.

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On taking the direct approach of Jesus

Recently I’ve been studying quite a bit on that Jesus dude. A prophet, Jesus was. Yet, interestingly, he didn’t use the typical ‘Thus says the Lord,’ or ‘Hear the word of the Lord’ rhetoric that characterizes many prophets in the Jewish tradition. Jesus didn’t appeal to his hearers on the basis of having a direct line to God. He didn’t say, “Yo. Listen to what God told me.” His prophetic approach was to overturn tables or to speak directly to the powerful.

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Recent Articles

19
Apr

A mighty good question

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“If you cannot find the truth right where you are, where else do you expect to find it?” From Teachings of the Buddha ed. Jack Kornfield and Gil Fronsdal

17
Apr

Five Things Christianity Can Learn From Buddhism – Christian Piatt | Sojourners

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Interesting article written by a Christian whose encounter with Buddhism actually softened him to religion, leading him back to Christianity. That’s a similar story  to my own.

Quote: “The notion of dominionism falsely teaches within some Christian circles that the planet is ours to use as we please. And some even go so far as to suggest that anything we can do to help hasten the end-times gets us that much closer to heralding God’s kingdom on earth.

Buddhism, however, teaches simplicity, humility and intentional care for all of creation. Practices of mindfulness and humility help us loosen our grasp on personal desire and avail ourselves to the excesses and insensitivity of our habits. When we regain a healthier sense of our own places within a much larger, very delicate ecosystem, we not only treat our surroundings with more care; we treat ourselves with greater care as well.”

http://sojo.net/blogs/2015/04/16/five-things-christianity-can-learn-buddhism

Photo is mine, from my recent trip to the Nizina River, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park.

12
Apr

Winter melt

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The Nizina River runs wild again. Wrangell-St. Elias National Park.

9
Apr

Come Together

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I’m not quite sure what it is – if it is the fact that a “Martha” came to McCarthy or that we now have a new employee from Liverpool – but a Beatles fevor seems to be taking me over.

8
Apr

Effortless

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Hearing a story should feel effortless.  This is my writing tip of the day,  to myself from myself, as someone who tends to get sidetracked by his own mental constructs.

7
Apr

Out for an evening walk

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Enjoying the serenity.

5
Apr

Liberty and Justice for All

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“A Wall Street bank accused of laundering money for drug cartels only had to pay a fine. Meanwhile, a man caught with a joint in his pocket had to spend 47 days in jail.” This kind of failure has a long history, though it seems to be getting much worse. The bank was fined – there are always fines – but because the crimes of the wealthy are just a matter of dollars and cents, then they can quantify their risks rather than having to fear any personal repercussions.

4
Apr

The Numinous

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“Suppose you were told there was a tiger in the next room: you would know that you were in danger and would probably feel fear. But if you were told ‘There is a ghost in the next room’, and believed it, you would feel, indeed, what is often called fear, but of a different kind. It would not be based on the knowledge of danger, for no one is primarily afraid of what a ghost may do to him, but of the mere fact that it is a ghost. It is ‘uncanny’ rather than dangerous, and the special kind of fear it excites may be called Dread. With the Uncanny one has reached the fringes of the Numinous. Now suppose that you were told simply ‘There is a mighty spirit in the room’, and believed it. Your feelings would then be even less like the mere fear of danger: but the disturbance would be profound. You would feel wonder and a certain shrinking–a sense of inadequacy to cope with such a visitant of prostration before it–an emotion which might be expressed in Shakespeare’s words ‘Under it my genius is rebuked’. This feeling may be described as awe, and the object which excites it as the Numinous….” — C. S. Lewis

3
Apr

American Nations by Colin Woodards

”AmericanAmerican Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America by Colin Woodard
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It can be baffling and debilitating to try to understand American culture — but perhaps this is because we should be thinking in the plural: cultures. The current political polarization is especially frustrating, and Colin Woodard’s thesis went a long way toward helping me get a better sense of where we are as a culture. There’s more to the story, I think, but tracing the ethno-regional history of big swaths of North America is invaluable. Different cultures within America inherited specific core values, ethics, and ways-of-being that set them against each other in ways that continue to perpetuate conflict. Of particular concern are the “Yankee” culture and the “Deep South.” Many of us are familiar with these differing values, but there are more subtle shades that Woodard explores, as in the “Far West” or “The Left Coast.”….This is one of those Aha! books that sticks with me, that I continue to digest.

View all my reviews

24
Mar

Ice Caves

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After navigating the snow machines around and through tricky turns and hellacious hills, it was worth it. Got to see a few great ice caves out in the glacier this morning.

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To give you a sense of proportion to how big one of the caves was:

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11
Mar

Fair Trade?

Africans say, “When the Europeans came, they had the Bible and we had the land. Now we have the Bible and they have our land.”
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I am preparing to start writing on my time in Africa and have started reading notes, journals, and looking at pictures. The above quote and picture was taken from the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg.
5
Mar

Wild and Woolly, It’s a Great Place…McCarthy!

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I came across this today while doing a little spring cleaning in the office. Love this quote from former Lodge owner, talking about governmental requirements for water “purification”: I take some of the purist drinking water in the world and ruin it with chlorine!

20
Feb

A sentence from my journal

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A sentence from my daily journal (which is usually only a few sentences anyway): “The same fear, anger, frustration, and pride that is in you is also in me.”

For all of us, there are gaps between our values and our actions. If you are serious about inhabiting these spaces, to understand the lack of integration in your life as one of the central aims of your life, then I call you a fellow contemplative.

17
Feb

Snow Makes Mountain

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All my life false and real, right and wrong tangled.
Playing with the moon, ridiculing the wind, listening to birds….
Many years wasted seeing the mountain covered with snow.
This winter I suddenly realize snow makes mountain.

— Dogen

13
Feb

The Trauma Story

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“A little child can’t give herself the experience of her own prciousness. She has to see it mirrored in her mother’s eyes. But what if the child looks into the mother’s eyes and no one looks back?..This is the trauma story.”

– James Finley, Ph.D, spiritual teacher and psychotherapist for trauma victims, from Transforming Trauma.

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