I will do better. Listening across difference.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness WILL NOT overcome it. #tbtg #lovewins 

Whoever wins in November, we will all still be neighbors and coworkers. I hope we can build bridges across what divides us, and encounter the surprise of divine love hidden within and radiating from the face of the other.

Over the next 28 days (and beyond) I am recommitting myself to contribute to the goal of respect and understanding rooted in love of neighbor and even love of those we would label as enemy.

Let us show the candidates the kind of country we want (and who we want them to be) by how we treat each other, not by how the reality TV stars we watch treat each other.

My own tweeting and posting may have been cathartic (probably not really) but it was not helpful or edifying in the long run. (The one exception may be those posts which expressed concerns for people who experienced renewed trauma around the expressions of rape and abuse culture. “Lord, in your mercy…”)

In the wake of #debate debacle, I’m more convinced than ever that what is most important for people of faith to do, what is most important for me to do, is learn and practice the discipline of listening across difference. We do and will continue to disagree on so much that is fundamental. And yet we must learn to #coexist or we will devolve into some post apocalyptic vision from the literature of our childhood (Lord of the Flies, Animal Farm) or of our present cinema (Hunger Games, Maze Runner).

It may be that the candidates will devour each other, which we can’t stop. But we have to live together, which we can learn to do. We can stop demonizing the other simply because we don’t understand them. We can recognize that so much fear and pain hides behind all of our strong aversive reactions to the candidates, and have compassion for that in ourselves and others. 

This is my personal goal. If I fall short, I would appreciate having this brought to my attention in a respectful way. If I can help you through this season similarly, let me know. and if I’ve said or done something that exacerbates how difficult this journey is for you, I am sorry. Please let me know and help me understand how to avoid that in the future.

Let’s pray for and encourage each other, supporting each other through this dark and chaotic time. There is so much goodness in the world, and even in those who frustrate or disturb us. We must not white wash death and decay, but neither should we demonize people made in God’s image simply because we see and hear evil at work around them.

#trump #maga #hillary #bettertogether

Veterans can find meaning and purpose as they design a new life using existing skills

What if Veterans were helped to not only translate their skills to civilian careers, but to dig deeper into their hopes, dreams and passions? What if they were helped to articulate and pursue a sense of calling and vocation? A holistic life and career coaching process would allow them to flourish by integrating every aspect of their self – body and spirit, relationships and emotions, work and intellect. If we want veterans to find wholeness, we need to relate to them as whole persons, not fragmented and compartmentalized segments.

VeteransDay2014The various branches of the US Military do an excellent job of teaching and developing women and men in particular ways beyond making them warriors: physical fitness, discipline, teamwork, and leadership along with specific job related skills. Active duty and veterans are also able to acquire course of study certifications or undergraduate and graduate degrees. These competencies help equip them to make the transition to civilian life, if they are able to clear several other hurdles.

Upon discharge and return to civilian life many veterans suffer from a sense of hopelessness that is complex in its origins and scope. At its worst this despair leads to suicide, as David Wood reminds us in his 2014 Veterans Day post. Some of these background issues are categorized as medical or psychological (including but not limited to PTSD), and the VA is working to improve its ability to address those. There is a growing recognition that something else is at work which has recently been labeled “Moral Injury“. The Soul Repair Center under the direction of Rita Nakashima Brock at Brite Divinity School, TCU is one of the organizations leading the effort to address Moral Injury. They are developing creative and collaborative ways to build capacity within communities that will support veterans and their families.

While the label “moral injury” may be new, the concept is not. When I served for a year as a resident chaplain at the Dallas VA Medical Center I was privileged to work in a program for homeless vets. One of our primary tasks was to provide room for them to reflect on their experience from a spiritual perspective so that they could identify the spiritual and religious resources that may be at their disposal for addressing the struggles they face. These studies clearly indicated that a spiritual component was present in the difficulties veterans faced, as well as in their resolution.

I want to suggest that this may carry over into their transition to the civilian workforce. The spiritual nature of human labor as meaningful and productive and creative may go back to prehistoric times where religious rituals were connected to various trades and crafts as well as hunting and agriculture. People often associate identity with work, whether their tasks are creative, destructive, or neutral. One of the difficulties people have with their work is that it may not provide them any sense of meaning or purpose, and yet it occupies the bulk of their waking hours.

Daily Prayer Through Psalms and Proverbs


Daily Prayer through
Psalms and Proverbs
Date Psalms Proverbs
1 1, 31, 61, 91, 121 1
2 2, 32, 62, 92, 122 2
3 3, 33, 63, 93, 123 3
4 4, 34, 64, 94, 124 4
5 5, 35, 65, 95, 125 5
6 6, 36, 66, 96, 126 6
7 7, 37, 67, 97, 127 7
8 8, 38, 68, 98, 128 8
9 9, 39, 69, 99, 129 9
10 10, 40, 70, 100, 130 10
11 11, 41, 71, 101, 131 11
12 12, 42, 72, 102, 132 12
13 13, 43, 73, 103, 133 13
14 14, 44, 74, 104, 134 14
15 15, 45, 75, 105, 135 15
16 16, 46, 76, 106, 136 16
17 17, 47, 77, 107, 137 17
18 18, 48, 78, 108, 138 18
19 19, 49, 79, 109, 139 19
20 20, 50, 80, 110, 140 20
21 21, 51, 81, 111, 141 21
22 22, 52, 82, 112, 142 22
23 23, 53, 83, 123, 143 23
24 24, 54, 84, 114, 144 24
25 25, 55, 85, 115, 145 25
26 26, 56, 85, 116, 146 26
27 27, 57, 87, 117, 147 27
28 28, 58, 88, 118, 148 28
29 29, 59, 89, 119, 149 29
30 30, 60, 90, 120, 150 30
31 Readers choice 31


Prayer in the stream – dealing with distraction

Often while praying I become distracted by thoughts entering my mind. I want to focus on God, on an image, on a person or situation, but the cares of the day or my grocery list come pressing to the fore. Entering the stream is a way of receiving and letting go.

As you begin your prayer time, imagine that you are walking down into a clear and gently flowing stream. You find it refreshing and comforting. The temperature is perfect, your feet feel steady, and the water enfolds you in its embrace.

This stream is the continual flow of prayers being offered around the world. Conscious prayer is not something you stop or start, turn on and off. It is constantly there for you to enter and exit as you are ready and able.

Prayer Leaf FloatingOnce you find yourself in the middle of the stream, allow your prayers to join those moving toward and around you, surrounding and holding you. Any extraneous thought that comes will be like a large leaf floating on the water. Do not try to reject, ignore or hold it at bay. Simply take it up from the water in one hand. Notice briefly its size, color, texture, and anything else that stands out. Turn it over into your other hand, and place it gently back on the surface of the water, allowing it to ride slowly away. Return your attention to the water.

We cannot keep the thoughts away. Nor do we want to focus on and follow them. This visualization technique allows us to acknowledge, note, and then release these thoughts back into the stream. If they are important and worthy of our attention, they will come back to us when we have time to deal with them. For now, our goal is simply to be fully present to this moment of prayer. Enjoy the experience of standing in the stream for as long as you like. Then return to the bank and whatever awaits you in the day. Remember that the stream of prayer continues for you even when you can not be fully in it. And allow the water of prayer that has soaked into you to transform how you experience and engage your world until you return to this place again.