MORE THAN A ROUTINE

August 9, 2018

I generally tell those I journey with that I can tell a lot about their lives by the state of their apartment. Esther de Waal said something similar in her book The Way of Simplicity. She wrote, “An old monastic saying goes that you can tell how a man prays by the way in which he sweeps the cloister.” It made me realize that it is not just how cluttered or uncluttered your living space is, but the ways in which you go about the routine practices in your life like sweeping the floor.

If someone were to watch the way you perform a routine act in your home or office, what would they learn about you. It has made me wonder what others think of or learn about me by the way I do things. I would like to think people would think I was mindful and intentional, but I also know there are routines I am not as mindful and focused as others.

It is easier for me to be mindful and focused when I am cooking because I am constantly thinking, especially now, about what I am eating, where it has come from, what I am doing with it. I treat each of my ingredients with a sense of reverence. However, in all honesty, I have come to realize that I do not bring that same sense of reverence to everything I do, especially chores I have not enjoyed.

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So it has been a complete week now of vegan eating and unlike my previous times of eating vegetarian, we have found ourselves going through some changes I was not anticipating. Yes, menu planning is taking more time as I realize how much of our previous meal plan was meat, cheese and egg dependent. I have also come to realize how, with my hectic schedule, I had become dependent on 30 or less minute meals. This week I have learned to slow down, breathe, and take time to think things through.

Interestingly, one day this week I was reminded to take time to do nothing. It was during that “do nothing” time that I began to gain insights into how this change was going to affect every aspect of my life. Zoe who is normally minimally engaged in meal prep and planning, has begun helping me, which is an awesome surprise. The other day she helped me grate potatoes for potato pancakes and realized just how much time I sometimes put into meal preparation.

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THE BLIND AND THE ELEPHANT

August 28, 2017

There is a Buddhist story I love and would like to share with you this week. It is, as the title suggests, about a group of six blind men and an elephant. Whenever I think about practicing vision, this story reminds me how our vision is shaped by the perspective we are. It limits and shapes what we see and what we do not. I know I have shared this story before in the past, but some stories are worth sharing again.

Long ago six old men lived in a village in India. Each was born blind. The other villagers loved the old men and kept them away from harm. Since the blind men could not see the world for themselves, they had to imagine many of its wonders. They listened carefully to the stories told by travelers to learn what they could about life outside the village.

The men were curious about many of the stories they heard, but they were most curious about elephants. They were told that elephants could trample forests, carry huge burdens, and frighten young and old with their loud trumpet calls. But they also knew that the Rajah’s daughter rode an elephant when she traveled in her father’s kingdom. Would the Rajah let his daughter get near such a dangerous creature?

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THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

June 6, 2015

What form does devotion take in your life?

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

May 26, 2015

May we remember that peace begets peace and war begets war.  so as the song says let their be peace on earth and let it begin with each of us.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

April 15, 2015

IT’S PAY ATTENTION TIME!

January 8, 2015

When I was pastoring, one of the least listened to parts of the service was the announcements. One of the young girls in the congregation came to talk to me about how disrespectful the adults were being. I asked her if she had any ideas on how to get the adults to pay attention and she said yes. The next Sunday, this powerful 7 year old got up in front of the congregation and loudly proclaimed, “It’s pay attention time!” The adults immediately paid attention and then she explained that announcements were not a time to talk to their neighbors, but a time to pay attention to the announcements. It has been years since she taught this lesson and took over that part of worship, but I still remember her telling everyone, “it’s pay attention time!”

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LET’S DANCE!

August 26, 2014

Faith, for some, is about the relationship they have with their Higher Power. Faith is about one’s level of awareness and attunement to the presence of the Higher Power in our everyday lives. So deepening one’s faith is like developing any relationship. That deep knowledge of what the Divine can do in and through our lives develops over time. It is about our constant interaction with our spiritual partner. Through our interactions we

Practicing faith, then, is like developing any relationship. You have to give it time and attention. We have opportunities to interact with the Divine in every aspect of our lives and with all of our senses. 

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A few months ago, we became aware of a new restaurant in our area that delivers. We became excited when we saw they had fried chicken. We decided to try it. I ordered the fried chicken dinner, which came with salad and French fries. After having waited patiently for over an hour for the food to arrive, I learned an important lesson. If it does not taste good, do not eat it. Those who know me understand I am one to look for something positive in every situation. In particular case it was a challenge to do; the delivery was amazingly slow, the soda we ordered for Zoe came with a puncture hole in the bottle and was spraying soda at us. They made no effort to even go back around the corner (1/4 of a mile away) to bring us a new one. Then we opened the food. What can I say, the salad was made with lettuce that was limp and brown, the tomatoes smelled bad, and the onions still had peel on them. It neither looked nor smelled good enough to want to eat it, so it went in the trash. The fries were still partially frozen and unseasoned. The chicken, well, the first bite told me that I did not even need to swallow it. Not only was it overcooked and under seasoned, but also it tasted as if the chicken might not have even been healthy to eat, it tasted that bad. It did not taste good, so I did not eat it.

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Recently, I shared with someone that every step I take is in faith. They did not fully understand what I meant. Sometimes we hear people talk about walking in faith. For me, it is not just a spiritual faith walk, but also a physical faith walk. On October 15 2007, as I was opening my office door at the church I was pastoring at, I felt a pain shoot down my right leg, followed almost immediately by numbness and a sense of shock. I also found myself going why now God as within minutes, a special guest and his entourage arrived and I was bracing myself to figure out what was going on, how I was going to lead worship, and how I was going to manage to look like a calm, cool, collected leader in the midst of this storm that was suddenly and unexpectedly raging in my life. The words which kept floating through my spirit were peace, be still. Peace, be still. Through the grace of God and the support of my wife and good friends, my car and I got home safely. 

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