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Showing posts from September, 2017

Does the world see Christ in us?

The summer I was 19 years old was they first time I visited my father in Puerto Rico where he had just moved to work for Goya foods. My dad lived in Puerto Rico for about 20 years and I visited him several times. Puerto Rico is a beautiful island and distinctively different from one side to the other. San Juan is a large metropolitan city with an historic district known as Old San Juan. El Morro, an old stone fort built in the late 1500’s guards one end of the city. The fort is high on the cliffs and looks out across the Atlantic Ocean toward Spain. The rest of the city is a mix of gorgeous white sand beaches and ritzy hotels intermingled with extreme poverty. Driving across the island one encounters industry, like the canning factory of Goya foods, mountains with thick rain forests and waterfalls, and the Arecibo Observatory on the western end. From its construction in the 1960s until 2011, the observatory was managed by Cornell University. The observatory's 1,000-foot (305-meter…

Imperfect....Listening

When I was a new mom I read every book and magazine article I could find on parenting. I felt a need to be the perfect parent raising perfectly healthy children. I’ve shared enough stories about my childhood that you can probably understand why I was worried about my ability to be a good parent.
Likewise when I became a priest and a Rector I had a similar drive to be the perfect priest. I have read countless books on church leadership, church growth, stewardship, conflict, vision and mission, pastoral care, you name it, if it applies to church leadership I have read it, gone to a conference on it, and applied it in my ministry. Not to mention that I am a licensed social worker trained in family systems, group facilitation and group dynamics, and individual and couple therapy. And, I am a trained Spiritual Director, educated in the ways of listening for God and helping others listen for God. 
But the one thing I have learned through thirty years of parenting and twenty years of church le…

Holy Rage, Holy Action

When I was in 7th grade the middle school band, in which I was second chair clarinet, played a concert at the high school. After the concert I walked the hallways looking for my family, expecting them to be there cheering me on and, of course, take me home. But my family was no where to be found. Eventually I faced the obvious, and walked home. Arriving home I found the lights on, and my brothers,  quietly playing in their bedroom. My father was not home and my mother was in the basement, in a rage, recklessly throwing and breaking dishes and yelling. I remember thinking that my mother was furious because my father had not come home to take them to my concert. It was the 1960’s and we were a one car family. No doubt both of my parents could have made different choices that day, although afterward we always had two cars. Today, everywhere I turn, there are people who are struggling with anger, with how to express their rage, their worry, their fear, their concerns. Some people insist on…

Can't "Normalize" the Call of the Spirit...

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It always cracks me up when I tell people where I work, at a church on the corner of Military and Cherry Hill and they have to pause, before they remember that there is a church on this corner. Humans have a tendency of adjusting to people, places, and circumstances, not really noticing what’s around us.
Who knows why the burning bush in our reading from Exodus burned all the time and was never consumed? It’s one of those questions that religious people have pondered for ages. 
One midrash, suggests that the burning bush always burned and was never consumed because it was waiting for Moses to notice it. Perhaps Moses had  walked past the burning bush for years. But Moses, being preoccupied with his work, his day, wasn’t looking, wasn’t paying attention, and simply missed it. Until one da,y when, for whatever reason, he saw it. 
It reminds me of Gerald May’s description of the spiritual path in his book, “Awakened Heart.”
He describes the spiritual journey as a process of:   pausing,  noticin…