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Showing posts from March, 2009

Sounds of Silence

I am spending two days at a contemplative retreat center in northern Tucson called Desert House of Prayer. It's a simple place, but comfortable, nestled into the mountain hills called Picture Rocks. From what I can tell it gets its name, not from the colors - which are shades of green and brown. Brown mountain dirt and rocks, varying shades from almost red to light gray, but still really brown. Green from the cacti - prickly pear, ocatillo, saguaro, and Palo Verdi trees. Here and there the monotone landscape is shattered by a burst of color from a flowering cacti - brilliant fuchsia, yellow, orange, red.

I think the name comes from the shape of the mountains. Odd, uneven, jagged, blips of mountains - the rising height of one is broken from the rising height of another - the result of ancient lava spills that burst through the earth and left piles of mountains here and there. Picture Rocks.

Along with the landscape, which is peaceful in spite of its prickliness, is a quietness that …

Lent 5B

Br. Bede Thomas Mudge, OHC, Prior of the Benedictine Anglican Monastery called Holy Cross in West Park, NY shared this on his blog

I had a period of sabbatical and I went to live for half a year or so with the Sisters of the Love of God, who are an enclosed contemplative Order of nuns in England...

I lived in one of their smaller houses in a village called Hemel Hempstead, near St Alban's - north of London. The convent was called St Mary and the Angels and it housed a community of 5 or 6 nuns. It was an ordinary largish house in an ordinary suburban neighborhood, and it had a large yard ("garden" the English would say) that gave us some space to wander in…

One of the features of the life of that community was that the Office of Vigils each day was said at 2:00 a.m., and it was largely for that reason that I went to be with them. It seemed like one of the nicest things I could imagine - to have that night prayer be a part of my regular schedule.

I know - many of you think thi…

Lent 4B

A reflection on Numbers 21:4-9

In my first quarter at seminary we were required to take a course in Early Church History. This class was taught by a renowned professor who was very erudite, whether preaching or teaching he always looked up toward the sky. He never looked you in the eye. The very first day of class, using slides and a slide projector, he took us, in one hour, through 50,000 years of religious history that occurred before the birth of Christ. Then he assigned our text book and told us that we would read it all and that our quizzes, which would be weekly, would include questions from the footnotes of the text book.

One of my tools for studying for that class was too make flash cards. I remember one night flipping through the cards trying to memorize the various early church theologians, who they were and what they did, and how they died. I did this out loud and Dan, sitting near me could hear, and when I got stuck on someone like St. Ignatius of Antioch, he’d provide th…

She asks, "When Did You Learn to Fly?"

In the movie, Out of Africa Robert Redford's character arrives one day in an airplane to take Meryl Streep's character for a ride in an airplane. She, delighted, asks him, "When did you learn to fly?" And he says, "Yesterday." And then, off they go, one day of flying lessons propel them into the air, through some amazing and beautiful sky and above the most spectacular terrain.

A movie of adventure and risk, of life lived fully, and the struggle to live with integrity. But mostly its a human story of hope in the midst of tremendous challenge. We could talk about colonialism and its impact on Africa, for that is some of the story line of Out of Africa. But mostly it is a movie about the pursuit of love and the attempt to make a living growing coffee.The themes of this movie, taking place in the early 20th century, echo some of the same themes being played out in the early 21st century, right here in my own backyard.

Recently I was taking a walk through the ne…