Skip to content

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.

Read more

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.
Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

Recent Articles


On discovering the same things


This is a Thomas Merton quote from The Intimate Merton, a collection of Merton’s journal entries. ‘Tis certainly true for me that a good deal of my learning and grown is merely deepening my insight into the same experiences and teachings that I’ve known for years. Yet so often I am still delighted to “learn” them, as though it were truly new and novel — and perhaps in a sense, it is!


Something to chew on


“All the suffering there is in this world arises from wishing our self to be happy. All the happiness there is in this world arises from wishing others to be happy.” – Shantideva

Foto note: recent flight seeing tour, about 10 miles or so from McCarthy AK.


Bernie Sanders Has a Secret – Politico


I’m expecting Bernie Sanders to either win the Democratic nomination or come damn close to doing so. Either way, I think he’s going to be a game changer who speaks to the concerns of the next generation…I ordered my Bernie 2016 t-shirt yesterday….This article in Politico tells you a bit about Bernie. Bernie Sanders Has a Secret – Michael Kruse – POLITICO Magazine.


Pope Francis: The Cry of the Earth


Bill McKibben has written a short response to the Pope’s encyclical on climate change, the environment, and economics. For most of us, what the Pope says is more or less obviously true, but as McKibben notes, few people in power are willing to truly take it on. Here are a few of McKibben’s thoughts on the Pope:

“…he’s [the Pope] brought the full weight of the spiritual order to bear on the global threat posed by climate change, and in so doing joined its power with the scientific order. Stephen Jay Gould had the idea that these two spheres were “non-overlapping magisteria,” but in this case he appears to have been wrong. Pope Francis draws heavily on science—sections of the encyclical are very nearly wonky, with accurate and sensible discussions of everything from genetic modification to aquifer depletion—but he goes beyond science as well. Science by itself has proven empirically impotent to force action on this greatest of crises; now, at last, someone with authority is explaining precisely why it matters that we’re overheating the planet.

“It matters in the first place, says Francis, because of its effect on the poorest among us, which is to say on most of the population of the earth. The encyclical is saturated with concern for the most vulnerable—those who, often in underdeveloped countries, are breathing carcinogenic air, or are being forced from their land by spreading deserts and rampant agribusiness. This comes as no surprise, for concern—rhetorical and practical—for those at the bottom of the heap has been the hallmark of his papacy from the start. “A true ecological approach,” he writes, “always becomes a social approach; it must integrate questions of justice in debates on the environment, so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.”…..

“But the heart of the encyclical is less an account of environmental or social destruction than a remarkable attack on the way our world runs: on the “rapidification” of modern life, on the way that economic growth and technology trump all other concerns, on a culture that can waste billions of people. These are neither liberal nor conservative themes, and they are not new for popes: what is new is that the ecological crisis makes them inescapable. Continual economic and technological development may have long been isolating, deadening, spiritually unfulfilling—but it has swept all before it anyway, despite theological protest, because it has delivered the goods. But now, the rapidly rising temperature (and new data also released Thursday showed we’ve just lived through the hottest May since record-keeping began) gives the criticism bite. Our way of life literally doesn’t work. It’s breaking the planet. Given the severity of the situation, Francis writes, we can finally leave behind the modern myth of unlimited material progress. A fragile world, entrusted by God to human care, challenges us to devise intelligent ways of directing, developing, and limiting our power.…..”


via Pope Francis: The Cry of the Earth by Bill McKibben | NYRblog | The New York Review of Books.


Summer heat


It’s a very sunny 70 degrees here in McCarthy. That’s about the time we all start talking about how it’s much too hot.


Don’t Underestimate Bernie Sanders – The Atlantic

Bernie   In the wake of a congressional banking scandal and a congressional pay hike, [Jerry] Brown vowed to “take back America from the confederacy of corruption, careerism, and campaign consulting in Washington.” In an era of escalating globalization, [Pat] Buchanan promised a “conservatism that looks out for the men and women of this country whose jobs have been sacrificed on the altars of trade deals done for the benefit of trans-national corporations who have no loyalty to our country.” In a Democratic Party whose activists felt betrayed by their leaders’ support for the Iraq War, Dean pledged “to represent the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party.”…. In today’s Democratic Party, the most powerful grievance is the one that brought thousands into Zuccotti Park in 2011, powered Bill De Blasio’s upset victory in New York, and has made Elizabeth Warren a progressive folk hero. It’s the belief that the super-rich have distorted America’s economy and bought its government. It’s a grievance so powerful that it’s seeped not only into Hillary’s rhetoric, but also into Ted Cruz’s. And from the Clinton Foundation scandals to the Republican candidates’ shameless pandering to billionaires, the presidential campaign itself seems poised to inflame that grievance even more….” From Bernie Sanders and the 2016 Presidential Race – The Atlantic.


to go after it



Baltimore’s violent protesters are right: Smashing police cars is a legitimate political strategy –

 A Baltimore Metropolitan Police transport vehicle burns during clashes in Baltimore“When the free market, real estate, the elected government, the legal system have all shown you they are not going to protect you—in fact, that they are the sources of the greatest violence you face—then political action becomes about stopping the machine that is trying to kill you, even if only for a moment, getting the boot off your neck, even if it only allows you a second of air. This is exactly what blocking off streets, disrupting white consumerism, and destroying state property are designed to do…..

“And while I don’t believe that every protester involved in attacking police cars and corporate storefronts had the same philosophy, or did what they did for the same reasons, it cannot be discounted that when there is a larger national outcry in defense of plate-glass windows and car doors than for Black young people, a point is being made. When there is more concern for white sports fans in the vicinity of a riot than the Black people facing off with police, there is mounting justification for the rage and pain of Black communities in this country…..”

Very reasonable and concise thoughts on the strategic use of violence in the struggle for equality and freedom:

Baltimore’s violent protesters are right: Smashing police cars is a legitimate political strategy –


10 Reasons People Get Married, Even If They Know Better

“….Bystanders often ask the obvious question: If they knew they shouldn’t, and they wished they hadn’t, then why did they? Every situation is slightly different, but there are a few popular reasons…..”


Interview: Jon Krakauer. NPR

“I mean, there’s this mythology out there that women lie about being raped. In fact, some women do lie about being raped — between 2 and 10 percent is the best research. Many studies show this. So it’s really a small amount. It’s not too different from other crimes. The difference is in other crimes the victim isn’t assumed to be lying…”

“….the best statistics show that about 97 percent of rapes, you know, the rapist walks away, is never held accountable. That is, to me, really disturbing…”

Jon Krakauer, Author of Missoula: Rape And The Justice System In A College Town. NPR


A mighty good question


“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


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


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.”

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


Winter melt


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


Come Together


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.




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.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 960 other followers

%d bloggers like this: