Wednesday, December 02, 2009

The Sout Project

This is a first for this blog.

I am not a prolific blogger (I prefer the more interactive environment of Facebook and Twitter) and I am not good at putting my thoughts "on paper". I am more of a relational person - I enjoy one-on-one or small group interactive discussion. But, one thing I am definitely not is a reviewer - Oh, I love to discuss stuff but, again, it's a case of "let's chat over coffee".

In this case though, I felt I had to make an exception. That's because I was asked to review something that I believed in the moment I first heard about it. I believed in it because it holds to some of the values that I hold most dear: Collaboration, Diversity, Spirituality, Inclusiveness. The project I'm talking about is "The Sout Project":

From the website:

sout : salt (rhymes with “note”, Afrikaans)

1. A preservative and flavourant.

2. From the Sout(h).

The Sout Project is ready for launch, with its debut album, “Story”.

This fresh expression of "world emergent" music has been conceived and recorded in Cape Town, South Africa.

While deeply engaged in diverse musical traditions, and oozing creative musicality, "Story" is more than just an album: it represents a vision, woven into song. Eclectic and ecumenical, the music emerges from a spiritual journey which is being shared by many others across the world.

Featuring the American writer and visionary Brian McLaren, the dazzling African choir Siyaya, the haunting Xhosa traditional musician Madosini, the poignant voice of "tribal elder" Annemie Bosch, and a dizzying array of exotic instruments & organic electronica, the Sout Project is a broad collective of creative people, singers, instrumentalists, writers, and prophets, curated and cajoled by composer/producer Nic Paton.

“Story” will appeal to spiritual seekers and seasoned worshippers alike, as it frames the concerns of today’s world as well as some ancient responses to perennial questions, in an inclusive, open ended invitation to take part in the Divine drama, this Story in which we find ourselves.

The album is truly diverse and eclectic and, it is deeply spiritual. It seems to draw on the ancient traditions of contemplative spirituality (like Taizé) while blending traditional African sounds with a hint of Eastern and even modern electronica and house beats.

To be quite honest I am not a huge fan of electronica and house music but I found that the unique blend grew on me. It reminded me very much of the "Spirits: Music for the Soul" series of CD's (which are amongst my favourite CD's).

It is extremely diverse and will not appeal to all. Some may find it a bit repetitive at times (especially lyrically) but when one understands the contemplative disciplines (e.g. Meditation) one will be familiar with the place of repetition. Some (traditionalists) may not like all the "imagery" like, "You are our network and we are the nodes" (in the song "Story" based on the ancient Celtic prayer, "Be thou my vision"). But, "everything can change if we learn and live a new story beginning today, beginning now, beginning with you and me" (same song).

And that may be the lesson of this project; we need to learn to live a new story that breaks the pattern of "fear, revenge and greed" that we have been living and that what's this project attempts to do.

I applaud Nic Paton (grandson of the author Alan Paton) for this effort. Nic has always been slightly (OK, maybe not so slightly) subversive but his passion for Inclusiveness and for the Love of God (prevalent from his first collaboration with "Friends First") will continue to force us to think outside of the box and to embrace the Other (the neighbour that Jesus refers to in the parable of the Good Samaritan) and will help lead us to the Peace his grandfather fought for.

It is this that is captured in the CD for me and the more I listen to it, the more I find myself challenged to think beyond my own story - to take the traditional and find new ways of expressing it (or giving expression to it). It is a testament to the work of David Bosch (whose wife Annemie makes and appearance on the CD) who spearheaded a Post-Colonial understanding of God's mission in the world.

Listen to it. Give it a chance. But, above all, be willing to embrace that which is Other in order that we might all grow. I could have been more critical of this project but, I believe in it's spirit and I believe we all have something to learn from that spirit.

Thanks Nic for challenging us. Keep going!!!

Monday, November 09, 2009

There’s a wideness in God's mercy

There’s a wideness in God's mercy
Like the wideness of the sea;
There's a kindness in God's justice
Which is more than liberty.

There is grace enough for thousands
Of new worlds as great as this;
There is room for fresh creations
In that upper home of bliss.

For the love of God is broader
Than the measures of our mind;
And the heart of the Eternal
Is most wonderfully kind.

But we make God's love to narrow
By false limits of our own;
And we magnify God's strictness
With a zeal God will not own.

If our love were but more simple
We should take God at God's word;
And our lives would be illumined
By the presence of our Lord.

From: Frederick William Faber (1814-63) alt.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

Once there was a tree and she loved a little boy. And every day the boy would come and he would gather her leaves and make them into crowns and play king of the forest. He would climb up her trunk and swing from her branches and eat apples. And they would play hide and go seek. And when he was tired, he would sleep in her shade.
And the boy loved the tree…
Very much…
And the tree was happy…

But time went by, and the boy grew older. And the tree was often alone. Then one day the boy came to the tree and the tree said: “Come, Boy, come and climb up my trunk and swing from my branches and eat apples and play in my shade and be happy.”
“I am too big to climb and play,” said the boy. “I want to buy things and have fun. I want some money. Can you give me some money?”
“I’m sorry” said the tree,” but I have no money. I have only leaves and apples. But, take my apples, Boy, and sell them in city. Then you will have money and you’ll be happy”
And so the boy climb up the tree and gathered her apples and carried them away. And the tree was happy…

But the boy stayed away for a long time…and the tree was sad. And then one day the boy came back and the tree shook with joy, and she said: “Come, Boy, come and climb up my trunk and swing from my branches and be happy.”
“I am too busy to climb trees,” said the boy. “I want a house to keep me warm,” he said. “I want a wife and I want children, and so I need a house. Can you give me a house?”
“I have no house” said the tree. The forest is my house. but you may cut off my branches and build a house. Then you will be happy”
And so the boy cut off her branches and carried them away to build his house.
And the tree was happy…

But the boy stayed away for a long time. And when he came back, the tree was so happy she could hardly speak. “Come, Boy” she whispered, “Come and play”
“I am too old and sad to play,” said the boy. “I want a boat that will take me far away from here. Can you give me a boat?”
“Cut down my trunk and make a boat,” said the tree. “Then you can sail away…and be happy.”
And so the boy cut down her trunk and made a boat and sailed away.
And the tree was happy…
But not really.

And after a long time the boy came back again. “I am sorry, Boy,” said the tree, “but I have nothing left to give you — my apples are gone.”
“My teeth are too weak for apples,” said the boy.
“My branches are gone,” said the tree. “You cannot swing on them.”
“I am too old to swing on branches” said the boy.
“My trunk is gone,” said the tree. “You cannot climb”
“I am too tired to climb,” said the boy.
“I am sorry” sighed the tree. “I wish that I could give you something…but I have nothing left. I am just an old stump. I am sorry…”
“I don’t need very much now,” said the boy, “just a quiet place to sit and rest. I am very tired”
“Well,” said the tree, straightening herself up as much as she could, “well, an old stump is good for sitting and resting. Come, Boy, sit down, sit down and rest.”
And the boy did…
And the tree was happy…

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Furious Longing of God

"The apostle Paul may have understood the mind of Jesus better than anyone else who ever lived. He sums up his whole understanding of the message of Jesus in Gal. 5:6 when he writes, 'The only thing that matters is the faith that expresses itself in love' . . .

. . . Back in the late ‘70s, I was living in a monastery in Philadelphia. Some millionaire friends from New York City called and asked if I’d like to come up to the city for the week, go to a play on Broadway, eat at Sardi’s. This, dear reader, was not a hard decision to make.

One evening we went to a play and, after the first act, we went out in the street for intermission. The tuxedoed husbands got into a dense discussion with their bejeweled, evening-gowned wives on the influence of the German philosopher Schopenhauer on Samuel Beckett’s “Theatre of the Absurd.” Obviously they asked me what I thought.

I was about to deliver an observation so profound that it would render the discussion moot for eternity, when she walked by. She was not one of the beautiful people. She wore a cab driver’s cap, double-breasted man’s suit with the pockets ripped out, holes in her nylons, and tennis shoes.

As she approached, I noticed she was peddling “Variety” newspapers, the show biz paper. In those days it cost 75 cents. So, in a gesture of great generosity, I reached in my pocket, handed her a dollar, and waved her away, then returned to my wealthy friends awaiting my next astute observation on the absurd.

And then she said, “Father?” In those days, I knew I couldn’t distinguish myself by my virtues, so I distinguished myself by my clothing; I always wore the collar. “Father, could I talk to you a minute?”

I snapped, “What? Can’t you see I’m busy? Do you make a habit of interrupting people in the middle of a conversation? Wait over there and I’ll speak to you when I’m done.” She whispered, “Jesus wouldn’t talk to Mary Magdalene like that.” And then she was gone.

I’d treated the woman as though she were a thing, like a vending machine you put your money into, and out comes your choice. I’d shown no appreciation at all for the little service that she was performing. No interest whatsoever in the little drama of her daily things. Not one ounce of cordial love impregnated with respect for the sacred dimension of her personality.

Frankly, I was so caught up in trying to impress my millionaire friends with how aesthetically brilliant I was that I missed her. If she had even a sliver of a negative self-image when she approached me, I had made a mountain out of a molehill.

Now let’s suppose, just suppose, that this woman came to church on Sunday and there was Brennan Manning, in the pulpit, exhorting her to believe that God loves her unconditionally as she is and not as she should be. My hypocrisy outside the Shepherd Theatre that night made the theatre of the absurd look inviting.

How could she believe in the love of a God she can’t see, when she couldn’t find even a trace of love in the eyes of a brother wearing a clerical collar whom she could see? A shriveled humanity has a shrunken capacity for receiving the rays of God’s love.

And they’ll know we are Christian by our love, by our love, yes they’ll know we are Christians by our love. Or not. "

From Brennan Manning’s latest book, The Furious Longing of God.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Based on Psalm 84

Bombs overseas and murders in our streets;
families with homes one day are homeless the next.
O, Lord, our souls yearn, even faint to worship you.

Blessed are those who dwell in your house;
we are forever praising you!

Demonic displacements in our cities
and unrighteous gentrification in our towns!
O Lord, our souls yearn, even faint, to worship you today.

Blessed are those who dwell in your house;
we are forever praising you!

We search for your peace and cry out for your presence,
looking for a city whose builder and maker is God.
Thank you, for even the sparrow has a home with you; and so do we.

Blessed are those who dwell in your house;
we are forever praising you!

(from Africana Resources, United Methodist Church USA, )

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

On Prayer

You ask me how to pray to someone who is not.
All I know is that prayer constructs a velvet bridge
And walking it we are aloft, as on a springboard,
Above landscapes the color of ripe gold
Transformed by a magic stopping of the sun.
That bridge leads to the shore of Reversal
Where everything is just the opposite and the word 'is'
Unveils a meaning we hardly envisioned.
Notice: I say we; there, every one, separately,
Feels compassion for others entangled in the flesh
And knows that if there is no other shore
We will walk that aerial bridge all the same.

by Poet, Czeslaw Milosz

Monday, July 27, 2009

Prayer and Life

There is a way of ordering our mental life on more than one level at once. On one level we may be thinking, discussing, seeing, calculating, meeting all the demands of external affairs. But deep within, behind the scenes, at a profounder level, we may also be in prayer and adoration, song and worship, and a gentle receptiveness to divine breathings.
--Thomas Kelly

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Thomas Merton

MY LORD GOD, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

- Thomas Merton, "Thoughts in Solitude," Abbey of Gethsemani

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Mysterium tremendum

In the Celtic triple spiral, there is a space where the three spirals connect. It is both a place of meeting and of sheer mystery. Its vast, vibrant emptiness reminds me that, in this life, we will never know all the names of God. Even as the Trinity evokes, it conceals. We will never exhaust the images we use to describe the One who holds us and sends us, who enfolds us and impels us in our eternal turning.


Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Christian Spirituality

Christian spirituality is not a life-project for becoming a better person. It is not about developing a so-called deeper life. We are in on it, to be sure, but we are not the subject. Nor are we the action. We get included by means of a few prepositions: God with us (Matt. 1:23), Christ in me (Gal. 2:20), God for us (Rom. 8:31). With, in, for: They are powerful, connecting, relation-forming words, but none of them makes us either the subject or the predicate. We are the tag-end of a prepositional phrase.

Sooner or later in this life we get invited or commanded to do something. But in that doing, we never become the subject of the Christian life nor do we perform the action of the Christian life. We are invited or commanded into what I call prepositional participation. The prepositions that join us to God and God's action in us within the world—the with, the in, the for—are very important, but they are essentially a matter of the ways and means of being in on and participating in what God is doing.

From: Transparent lives by Eugene Peterson

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Touch me and see

you say,
touch me and see.

I touched you today
when I saw the dogwoods in bloom.

I touched you
on the path by the river
in the greetings of the joggers.

I clung to you
in sorrow
grieving the loss of a friend.

I touched you
this morning at Mass
in the Eucharist.

I touch you
a hundred ways


(from the Centre for Liturgy, University of St. Louis)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Following the Christ

Jesus is the microcosm; Christ is the macrocosm. There is a movement from Jesus to the Christ that you and I have to imitate and walk. A lot of us have so fallen in love with the historical Jesus that we worship him as such and stop there. We never really followed the same journey which he made, which is the death and resurrection journey. We don't become the "Body of Christ.”

Unless we make the same movement that Jesus did—from his one single life to his risen and transformed state, we probably don’t really understand what we mean by the Christ—and how we are part of the deal! That is why he said "follow me.” The Jesus that you and I participate in, are graced by, and redeemed by, is the RISEN Jesus who has become the Christ, which is an inclusive statement about creation. Stay with this in the days ahead, and it will all become very simple and clear. But central enough to change the way you see everything!

Adapted from Fr. Richard Rohr, The Cosmic Christ

Monday, March 30, 2009

It was on the Sunday

It was on the Sunday that he took on the city.

Religious freaks usually appear in the desert urging folk to come into
the open air and find God through getting back to nature.
God, you see, doesn't live in the city.
He prefers the smell of a garden to that of a gutter.
He likes to see children jumping creeks, not raking through garbage bins.
And far better in his eyes are lovers lounging in the long grass than
cramped up in a single bed.

The city is for sin. God doesn't go there.

The Lord is my Shepherd,
not my social worker.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures,
not shrinks' couches.
He leads me beside still waters,
not trickles of urine from a drunk's bladder.
And on the mountains are the peace messenger's feet beautiful,
not in the middle of the road.

It was on the Sunday that he took on the city.

From: Stages on the Way

Just a note: this is not meant to be read literally - it is irony reflecting how Jesus entered the city of Jerusalem and how he turns our religiosity on it's head.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Pushing against the rock

I've posted this story before, but today I was reminded of it in the context of prayer:

There was a man who was asleep one night in his cabin when suddenly his room filled with light and the Saviour appeared. The Lord told the man He had work for him to do, and showed him a large rock in front of his cabin. The Lord explained that the man was to push against the rock with all his might. This the man did, day after day. For many years he toiled from sun up to sun down, his shoulders set squarely against the cold, massive surface of the unmoving rock pushing with all his might. Each night the man returned to his cabin sore and worn out, feeling that his whole day had been spent in vain.

Seeing that the man was showing signs of discouragement, Satan decided to enter the picture placing thoughts into the man's mind such as; "You have been pushing against that rock for a long time and it hasn't budged. Why kill yourself over this? You are never going to move it? Etc." Thus, giving the man the impression that the task was impossible and that he was a failure. These thoughts discouraged and disheartened the man even more. "Why kill myself over this?" he thought. "I'll just put in my time, giving just the minimum of effort and that will be good enough."

And that he planned to do until one day he decided to make it a matter of prayer and take his troubled thoughts to the Lord. "Lord" he said, "I have laboured long and hard in your service, putting all my strength to do that which you have asked. Yet, after all this time, I have not even budged that rock a half a millimetre. What is wrong? Why am I failing?"

To this the Lord responded compassionately, "My friend, when long ago I asked you to serve me and you accepted, I told you that your task was to push against the rock with all your strength, which you have done. Never once did I mention to you that I expected you to move it. Your task was to push. And now you come to me, your strength spent, thinking that you have failed. But, is that really so? Look at yourself. Your arms are strong and muscled; your hands are callused from constant pressure; your legs have become massive and hard. Through opposition you have grown much and your abilities now surpass that which you used to have. Yet you haven't moved the rock. But your calling was to be obedient and to push and to exercise your faith and trust in my wisdom. This you have done. I, my friend, will now move the rock."

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Bad news? Good news? Who knows?

There once was a simple farmer who lived and struggled alongside his neighbours and friends, trying to exist and fulfil a peaceful life. One day news arrived from far away, that his old loving father had died. His neighbours gathered to grieve, but the farmer simply said, "Bad news? Good news? Who knows?"

In time relatives brought a very fine horse of great cost and fine breeding, left to the farmer by his father. All the villagers and neighbours gathered in delight with him to celebrate his good fortune, but he just said, "Bad news? Good news? Who knows?"

One day the horse escaped into the hills and when all the farmer's neighbours sympathized with the old man over his bad news, the farmer replied, "Bad news? Good news? Who knows?"

A week later the horse returned with a herd of wild horses from the hills and this time the neighbours congratulated the farmer on his good news. His reply was, "Good news? Bad news? Who knows?"

Then, when the farmer's son was attempting to tame one of the wild horses, he fell off its back and broke his leg. Everyone thought this very bad news. Not the farmer, whose only reaction was, "Bad news? Good news? Who knows?"

Some weeks later the army marched into the village and conscripted every able-bodied youth they found there. When they saw the farmer's son with his broken leg they let him off. Now was that good news? Bad news? Who knows?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Listening to Life

Within the Christian tradition life is lived as though human beings are continually being addressed or called to in one way or another. The process of nature, the flux of history, all that happens to each individual every twenty-four hours is a ‘mighty sum of things forever speaking’.
J. Neville Ward, Five for Sorrow, Ten for Joy, p. 3

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Prayer, Fasting and Mercy

Today is Ash Wednesday the start of Lent. It is traditionally a time of fasting (or giving something up). Rituals are an important part of our Spirituality but we must remember why we do them and not just do them or they lose their power to transform:

There are three things, my brethren, by which faith stands firm, devotion remains constant, and virtue endures. They are prayer, fasting and mercy. Prayer knocks at the door, fasting obtains, mercy receives. Prayer, mercy and fasting: these three are one, and they give life to each other. Fasting is the soul of prayer, mercy is the lifeblood of fasting. Let no one try to separate them; they cannot be separated. If you have only one of them or not all together, you have nothing. So if you pray, fast; if you fast, show mercy; if you want your petition to be heard, hear the petition of others. If you do not close your ear to others you open God’s ear to yourself. Saint Peter Chrysologus

This year consider adding works of compassion (mercy) during Lent rather than (or in addition to) giving something up. It needn't be something big - just a small gesture of love to someone in need.

The LORD says, "Shout as loud as you can! Tell my people Israel about their sins! They worship me every day, claiming that they are eager to know my ways and obey my laws. They say they want me to give them just laws and that they take pleasure in worshiping me." The people ask, "Why should we fast if the LORD never notices? Why should we go without food if he pays no attention?" The LORD says to them, "The truth is that at the same time you fast, you pursue your own interests and oppress your workers. Your fasting makes you violent, and you quarrel and fight. Do you think this kind of fasting will make me listen to your prayers? When you fast, you make yourselves suffer; you bow your heads low like a blade of grass and spread out sackcloth and ashes to lie on. Is that what you call fasting? Do you think I will be pleased with that? "The kind of fasting I want is this: Remove the chains of oppression and the yoke of injustice, and let the oppressed go free. Share your food with the hungry and open your homes to the homeless poor. Give clothes to those who have nothing to wear, and do not refuse to help your own relatives. "Then my favor will shine on you like the morning sun, and your wounds will be quickly healed. I will always be with you to save you; my presence will protect you on every side. When you pray, I will answer you. When you call to me, I will respond. "If you put an end to oppression, to every gesture of contempt, and to every evil word; if you give food to the hungry and satisfy those who are in need, then the darkness around you will turn to the brightness of noon. And I will always guide you and satisfy you with good things. I will keep you strong and well. You will be like a garden that has plenty of water, like a spring of water that never goes dry. Your people will rebuild what has long been in ruins, building again on the old foundations. You will be known as the people who rebuilt the walls, who restored the ruined houses."
(Isa 58:1-12 TEV)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

All I really needed to know I learned in Kindergarten

All I Really need to Know about how to live and what to do and how to be I learned in kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate-school mountain, but there in the sandpile at Sunday School. These are the things I learned:

• Share everything.
• Play fair.
• Don't hit people.
• Put things back where you found them.
• Clean up your own mess.
• Don't take things that aren’t yours.
• Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody.
• Wash your hands before you eat.
• Flush.
• Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
• Live a balanced life-learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.
• Take a nap every afternoon.
• When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together.
• Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.
• Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup-they all die. So do we.
• And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned-the biggest word of all- LOOK.

Everything you need to know is in there somewhere. The Golden Rule and love and basic sanitation. Ecology and politics and equality and sane living.

Take any one of those items and extrapolate it into sophisticated adult terms and apply it to your family life or your work or your government or your world and it holds true and clear and firm. Think what a better world it would be if we all-the whole world- had cookies and milk abut three o' clock every afternoon and then lay down with our blankies for a nap. Or if an governments had as a basic policy to always put things back where they found them and to clean up their own mess.

And it is still true-, no matter how old you are - when you go out into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.

From: All I really needed to know I learned in Kindergarten by Robert Fulghum.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Religion and Relationship

Humans do not want a God of love, because a lover always makes demands. That is the very nature of love and humanity doesn't want it. We seek to hide from it and destroy it. So people sought to destroy Jesus, brother to creation. The people did not want relationship; they wanted religion.

Should that seem so unreal to us? It is the same for us today. It is the same for the Church for the last two thousand years. Humans do not want love relationships; we want religion and all its trappings because that is much more comfortable.

A love relationship continues to challenge and make demands. It also offers a joy that we cannot tolerate: too near, too lavish, too spacious. What might we do with such freedom?

from The Great Themes of Scripture, p.113

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Spirituality of Service

Each activity of daily life in which we stretch ourselves on behalf of others is a prayer of action - the times when we scrimp and save in order to get the children something special; the times when we share our car with others on rainy mornings, leaving early to get them to work on time; the times when we keep up correspondence with friends or answer one last telephone call when we are dead tired at night. These times and many more like them are lived prayer.

-RICHARD J. FOSTER in Prayer: Finding the Heart's True Home

Monday, January 12, 2009


One day, through the primeval wood,
A calf walked home, as good calves should;
But made a trail all bent askew,
A crooked trail as all calves do.

Since then three hundred years have fled,
And, I infer, the calf is dead.
But still he left behind his trail,
And thereby hangs my moral tale.

The trail was taken up next day
By a lone dog that passed that way;
And then a wise bell-wether sheep
Pursued the trail o’er vale and steep,

And drew the flock behind him, too,
As good bell-wethers always do.
And from that day, o’er hill and glade,
Through those old woods a path was made.

And many men wound in and out,
And dodged, and turned, and bent about
And uttered words of righteous wrath
Because ’twas such a crooked path.1

But still they followed—do not laugh—
The first migrations of that calf,
And through this winding wood-way stalked,
Because he wobbled when he walked.

This forest path became a lane,
That bent, and turned, and turned again;
This crooked lane became a road,
Where many a poor horse with his load

Toiled on beneath the burning sun,
And traveled some three miles in one.
And thus a century and a half
They trod the footsteps of that calf.

The years passed on in swiftness fleet,
The road became a village street;
And this, before men were aware,
A city’s crowded thoroughfare;

And soon the central street was this
Of a renowned metropolis;
And men two centuries and a half
Trod in the footsteps of that calf.

Each day a hundred thousand rout
Followed the zigzag calf about;
And o’er his crooked journey went
The traffic of a continent.

A hundred thousand men were led
By one calf near three centuries dead.
They followed still his crooked way,
And lost one hundred years a day;

For thus such reverence is lent
To well-established precedent.
A moral lesson this might teach,
Were I ordained and called to preach;

For men are prone to go it blind
Along the calf-paths of the mind,
And work away from sun to sun
To do what other men have done.

They follow in the beaten track,
And out and in, and forth and back,
And still their devious course pursue,
To keep the path that others do.

They keep the path a sacred groove,
Along which all their lives they move.
But how the wise old wood-gods laugh,
Who saw the first primeval calf!

Ah! Many things this tale might teach—
But I am not ordained to preach.


Thursday, January 08, 2009

When I die

One of my great spiritual heroes is Mattie Stepanek. One of his poems, "When I Die (Part II)", written when he was 9 years old contains these words:

"When I die,
I want to be,
Just like I want to be
Here on earth."

I wish more people would get this. Mattie was (is) a Peacemaker. So many people focus on the afterlife as an escape Mattie saw it as a continuation. Eternal life begins now. Why wait?

Spirituality is about experiencing the eternal here and now. It's about realising and making the eternal a reality here and now.

When I Die (Part II)

When I die, I want to be
A child in Heaven.
I want to be
A ten-year-old cherub.
I want to be
A hero in Heaven,
And a peacemaker,
Just like my goal on earth.
I will ask God if I can
Help the people in purgatory.
I will help them think,
About their life,
About their spirits,
About their future.
I will help them
Hear their own Heartsongs again,
So they can finally
See the face of God,
So soon.
When I die,
I want to be,
Just like I want to be
Here on earth.

--Mattie Stepanek

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

A new vision for 2009

Almost a month without an update so I have added this from one of my daily devotions

Question of the day:
How has Jesus taught us to see for ourselves?

In the Gospel of Matthew we are told “The lamp of the body is the eye. It follows that if your eye is sound, your whole body will be filled with light. But if your eye is diseased, your whole body will be all darkness. If then, the light inside you is darkness, what darkness that will be” (Mat. 6:22-23).

Here Jesus tells us that it is all a matter of seeing. It is possible to have “light” inside of us that is not really light, answers that are not really wisdom. And Jesus comes not so much to fill our minds with the right answers as to open our minds so that we can see for ourselves.

from A New Way of Seeing/ A New Way of Being; Jesus and Paul

Current mantra:
Taste and SEE the goodness of our God