Thursday, December 15, 2016

Here's to the Misfits

You can listen to this post HERE

I love the prologue of Matthew for its rag-tag group of misfit women. These are, among the royal Davidic lineage, quite the opposite of the Founding Fathers (the Abrahams, Isaacs and Jacobs) and regal kings (David, Solomon, Hezekiah). These women, in this strange juxtaposition of the extremes of power, embody the unlikely, the disenfranchised, the helter-skelter kingdom of God.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Wheel of Fortune

Listen HERE to my short podcast on my new art, Wheel of Fortune, and follow along below.

In Gothic cathedrals and illuminated manuscripts, there is a common motif. A "Wheel of Fortune." I created a literal/modern artistic interpretation of this ancient theme, because its essential lesson - detachment, or what theologians call apostasis - is timeless.

And it especially speaks into my life in a season of change. Of seeking center.

The wheel is traditionally divided into four parts:
In Medieval representations of the Rota Fortunae, or Wheel of Fortune, a human clings to the rim of the wheel at the four cardinal points. Having a penchant for simple, literalistic interpretations of all things ancient (ha!), I opted instead for a fortune cookie as my agent. Let's see how that fortune cookie crumbles...

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Nomads for God

Dear Friends,

I was assigned to write a post on becoming "a nomad for God" for my church's GPS blog. It corresponded, by chance(?!), to the week I left my job, which led to the birth of this blog. Perhaps I wrote it for myself. And yet I hope that as I share my own musings and process theology along the way, it blesses you, too. The post is below, but first...

Speaking of "nomads for God," earlier this year in April, I encountered these two "brothers of the lamb" as I was touring a church building, St. Michael the Archangel in Leawood, KS, to learn about its sacred art and architecture. I introduced myself to them as we awaited the tour, and learned that they had hitchhiked about 40 minutes to see the church - they had no idea, as they waited there with me, that a tour was happening that day, at that moment. They described to me how moments of synchronicity like this happen to them all the time, as they rely on God's provision to meet all their needs - food, transportation... they beg for it all, and trust God.

I felt the nudge to take them to lunch, and we enjoyed a wonderful meal together after the tour at Spin Pizza, which they assured me was one of the best meals they'd ever had. I'll vouch for that, too!

When I took these "nomads for God" to the spot on the highway where they would wait for the next stranger they were meant to bless - the one who would stop to give them a ride back to their little monastery - they asked if they could bless me. Of course I agreed! And so we sat in my car, they gave me a little token of the Virgin Mary, and they sang in harmony a wonderful blessing upon me with their hands upon my shoulder, the energy of the Holy Spirit flowing palpably through their touch:

May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord cause his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you. May the Lord's countenance fall upon you, and bring you peace."

What a blessing!

GPS Insight 10.13.16:
In Greek, the word for nomad is νομάς (nomas), which means: one who roams about for pasture. What, then, does it mean to be a “nomad for God?”

Spiritual Discipline Challenge

As a seminarian, I'm no stranger to religion. I'm a friend of it, in as much as it lives up to its true origin: religare, to bind (Latin). And at the heart of every good religion, beyond divisive finger-wagging dogmatists and hair-splitting inquisitors, there are the mystics. The ones who religare the wounds of the world. Souls unified with a benevolent God--Ultimate Truth, Goodness, Beauty, the Source who creates, animates and sustains life. Bound to God, the mystic is bound to all of sister-creation.

Mystics are spiritual alchemists. They participate in a trysting together - religare - of humanity and divinity. What do all mystics have in common? How do they become conduits of the Divine Life, binding the world to a higher pitch of existence? 

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Stranger on a Plane

xenophobia (ξενοφοβία): fear of strangers

philoxenia (φιλοξενία): love of strangers (the biblical word for “hospitality”)

In October 2015, while traveling to Chicago, I accidentally took the wrong seat on the airplane: 12A. “Um, I think that’s my seat,” a man said to me, studying his ticket. I looked at mine and realized I’d sat a row ahead of my assignment.

“I’m sorry, I’m supposed to be in row 13,” I replied, getting up. “That’s okay,” said the man, amiably. “I’ll just take your seat.”

I had a mysterious sense, in that instant, that I was in the wrong row for a reason. My intuition, frequently beguiled by moments of synchronicity, said, “Pay attention. This is no accident.”

Next to me sat a man in his sixties who, upon take off, pulled out a small Qur’an and began reading. My inner voice said, “Talk to him.” I glanced over a few times, mustering up the courage to gently interrupt him.

“Is that a Qur’an?” I finally asked.

“Yes,” he said, smiling. And out of curiosity and a willingness to connect, the door opened to a riveting, effervescent conversation. Precisely because he, Mahmoud, was a well-learned man, and I had read and studied much of the Qu’ran in seminary, we immediately entered into one another’s worlds, sharing fascinating points of convergence between our Abrahamic faiths. By the time we had landed, even the woman catty-corner behind us–who, coincidentally, explained she was a member of COR–said she had listened in the entire flight with absorption. There was a palpable spirit of unity, respect and love.

Mahmoud said it was “no accident” I took the wrong seat. What a blessing it was for me, too.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

My Articles

Here are links to some of my published articles on faith in "The Kansas City Star" Newspaper:

"Faces of Faith: Monsignor William Blacet, KC's longest-serving priest, talks God, the Pope & hope"

"God's redemption shines through in aftermath of Jewish Community Center shootings"

"Why Christians need atheist friends"

"The benefits of devotion over dogma"

"A chance encounter proves an answer to her fervent prayers"

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

GPS: Joseph, Nicodemus & Repentance

Repentance. It’s a loaded word, conjuring images of doomsday prophets with picket signs and fiery billboards flanking the drive south on I-35. But the word itself, metanoia in the Greek, simply means to “think differently after” and, in Hebrew, to “turn around.” It is a change of consciousness, which manifests itself in a change of conduct. Repentance moves beyond mere spiritual confession; it physically repairs.

Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus had demonstrated a gross lack of integrity at the public trial of Jesus. They saw the forces of evil swirling through the damning crowd.

And they remained silent.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Prophetic Word from a Stranger

Friends, I want to share with you an encounter that changed the trajectory of my life. Here's what I wrote about it, near the time it happened. I keep the words on my nightstand, as you see in the photo. I hope it will inspire you, and serve as a reminder of the immanence of an intimate, benevolent God, always at work in our lives.


“Sometimes, God has a way of showing up unexpectedly,” said a stranger to me at the check-out lane at U.S. Toy two weeks ago.

Immediately when she said this, I thought of Peter, and responded with a knowing nod, “Yes, sometimes Jesus has a way of climbing into our boats, doesn’t he?”

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

On Light

Clutching my favorite, piping hot mug, I began to ponder this topic of light from today’s Scripture. As I tugged on the Yogi tea bag’s paper tab to infuse the water fizzy green, I was amused at the quote printed upon it:

Live light. Travel light./Spread the light. Be the light.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

GPS: CORE Values of Dialogue

James 1:19 tells us to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger. And St. Francis, in his famous prayer, asks for the disposition of heart that seeks not so much to be understood, as to understand. As campaign season ratchets up, this advice seems all-too-timely.

I co-teach a course about dialogue called “Live & Let Think,” which gives a nod to John Wesley’s line, “Where is our religion, if we cannot think and let think?” Over each six-week course, I have the delight of facilitating rich dialogue among diverse people over the most divisive topics of the Christian faith, including:

–What do we do with the violence in scripture, and what’s at stake for how we understand the Bible’s authority?
–If God is all-good, all-powerful and all-knowing, why do the innocent suffer?
–What do people think about faith as it relates to (science… assisted suicide… homosexuality… nationalism… politics—fill in the blank)?