dangerous preachers


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How’s that as a test for one’s true orthodoxy?
Not your letters.
Not your grasp of languages.
Not your mastery of classic works of systematic theology.
Not your memorization and recitation of vast tracts of Biblical text.

But your appreciation of beauty.
Your ability to say with Christ, “Behold the lilies of the field” or “Consider the ravens.”

Rohr observes this about St. Francis in his most recent book Eager to Love:

Those who have analyzed the writings of Francis have noted that…

…he uses the word doing rather than understanding at a ratio of 175 times to five;
heart is used 42 times to one use of mind;
love is used 23 times as opposed to 12 uses of truth;
Mercy is used 26 times while intellect is used only one time.

This is a very new perspective that is clearly different from (and an antidote to) the verbally argumentative Christianity of his time, and from the highly academic theology that would hold sway for the next thousand years. He took prayer on the road and into the activity of life itself.

May we all be such dangerous preachers with our path as our pulpit, the wide world our sanctuary, and our Sacred Text writ large across heaven and earth…






Posted by on August 19, 2014 in haverings, Pastoring, Quotations, Religion


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smell bound

Taken by my friend Abby in Portlandia @ Powells.

Yes. Just yes.

And I love the fact that the person in the lower right hand corner has their hand raised in the adoration position.
Or is that the questioning hand, “What the…???”



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Posted by on August 15, 2014 in Books


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let me go

She comes to me with dragging feet, a mom’s heart in tow. In two?
No. More pieces than that.
“I don’t want to do this anymore.”
Too much pain.
Too much road.
Too much.

Quiet convulsions.
Grief leakage.

She wishes.

Let me go.
Let me go.
What can you do with such exhaustion but hold it, whisper over it?


And now it’s a boy in my arms.
Chubby legs eager to touch the ground,
eager to dance,
but not ready to hold his own
weight (wait?).

Legs in constant motion
driven by energy that would
drive a city.

And just what will these legs dance into?
He knows not nor cares.
Let me go.
Let me go.


Both are held.
Both are carried.
How different

And the same.

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Posted by on August 10, 2014 in Poetry



score one for the madman with a box

For Whovians…particularly Vineyardite Whovians…Time And Relative Dimension in Space

Talked to a couple after our 101 “welcome to the family” class tonight about baptizing their eleven-year-old daughter at the river this month. They moved here in June. Their first Sunday here was when I was teaching. And that convinced them to stay.


Something profound I said?
Some prophetic word from the Lord?
A deep spiritual look in my eyes?


I was wearing a Tardis on my tee.
They have yet to invest time in watching Doctor Who - I think they’re afraid to get started, knowing how much is there – and I don’t think they know where to start.

But they know about the Tardis.
And if the guy teaching up there is wearing a tee with a Tardis, then this is a place they can let their hair down and perhaps find a home. They saw a place filled with possibilities.

But no, I couldn’t bait them to say “A place that’s bigger on the inside.”


Score one for the madman with a box…


Posted by on August 6, 2014 in haverings


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third law of theology


Yes. It’s a rule.

And it reminds me of my favorite statement ever by a theologian about theologians.

Theology – an enterprise that, despite the oftentimes homicidal urgency Christians attach to it, has yet to save anybody. What saves us is Jesus, and the way we lay hold of that salvation is by faith. And faith is something that, throughout this book, I shall resolutely refuse to let mean anything other than trusting Jesus. It is simply saying yes to him rather than no. It is, at its root, a mere “uh-huh” to him personally.
It does not necessarily involve any particular theological structure or formulation; it does not entail any particular degree of emotional fervor; and above all, it does not depend on any specific repertoire of good works – physical, mental, or moral. It’s Just “Yes, Jesus,” till we die – just letting the power of his resurrection do, in our deaths, what it has already done in his.

My purpose in saying this so strongly, however, is not simply to alert you to some little band of intellectuals called theologians who may try to talk you into thinking otherwise. Such types exist, of course, but they are usually such bores that all they do is talk you out of wanting even to breathe. No, the reason for my vehemence is that all of us are theologians. Every one of us would rather choose the right-handed logicalities of theology over the left-handed mystery of faith. Any day of the week – and twice on Sundays, often enough – we will labor with might and main to take the only thing that can save anyone and reduce it to a set of theological club rules designed to exclude almost everyone.

Christian theology, however, never is and never can be anything more than the thoughts that Christians have (alone or with others) after they have said yes to Jesus. Sure, it can be a thrilling subject. Of course, it is something you can do well or badly – or even get right or wrong. And naturally, it is one of the great fun things to do on weekends when your kidney stones aren’t acting up. Actually, it is almost exactly like another important human subject that meets all the same criteria: wind-surfing. Everybody admires it, and plenty of people try it. But the number of people who can do it well is even smaller than the number who can do it without making fools of themselves. Trust Jesus, then. After that, theologize all you want.

Just don’t lose your sense of humor if your theological surfboard deposits you unceremoniously in the drink.

Robert Farrar Capon. Kingdom, Grace, Judgment: Paradox, Outrage, and Vindication in the Parables of Jesus

a watershed read for me

a watershed read for me


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Posted by on August 2, 2014 in Quotations, Religion


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Richard Rohr.

Just started reading his latest offering from which this is adapted -
Eager to Love: The Alternative Way of Francis of Assisi

Yes, Richard. Just, yes.


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Posted by on August 1, 2014 in Quotations, Suffering


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no silence in the library

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It’s said to be one of those onomatopoetic words in the HebrewCarl_Spitzweg_021-detail
imitating the sound of a beast or bird crying out.
I can’t help but think of the “caw-caw” of the crow.

Which tells me that reading is supposed to raise a racket.
Only modern libraries in Western culture would ever post
“Shhhhhhh!” warnings.
There was no silence in the library.
Reading is a noisy business.

But even more instructive than that was the note
that this Hebrew word is a primitive root
signifying the “accosting of a person met.”

To read is to accost.
To read is to be accosted.
Accosted by

Reading as wrestling
much like
that pile of boisterous brothers I recently witnessed

How tame our reading can be by contrast.
If we read at all.
Glancing blows over words
A perennial search for smooth reading fare that leaves
our core beliefs unstretched
our hair unmussed
our heart unperturbed.

Writer, prophet, poet,
O muse,
accost me.



Posted by on July 31, 2014 in haverings, word studies


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