Wednesday, January 31, 2007

"Travelin' Thru"

God made me for a reason
and nothing is in vain
Redemption comes in many shapes
with many kinds of pain
Oh sweet Jesus if you're listening,
keep me ever close to you
As I'm stumblin', tumblin', wonderin',
as I'm travelin' thru

-- Dolly Parton


From its chamber comes the whirlwind, and cold from the scattering winds.
By the breath of God ice is given, and the broad waters are frozen fast.

Job 37:9-10

It was cold outside; and I've been inside
with a cold. So, if I cannot go to the birds, I'll have to let the birds come to me. This pheasant wandered by my window looking for shelter during a mini-blizzard we had this afternoon.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

last Sunday

Good quotes from Rev. Amy Thoren:
How many of us want blessings without making any changes?
God loves the outsider.
Jesus is rejected because he goes outside of boundaries and borders.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

God's art

It was God who made the great lights,
whose love endures forever;
the moon and stars in the night,
whose love endures forever.
Psalm 136:7-9

waiting for supper

Saturday, January 27, 2007

winter sunset

It was winter ...
John 10:22

Henri Nouwen

Yesterday I was introduced by a reader to a web site dedicated to one of my favorite writers and theologians, Henri Nouwen. Check it out by clicking here. I will be subscribing to some of the e-mail readings. The writing forwarded to me was:
Forgiveness, the Way to Freedom
To forgive another person from the heart is an act of liberation. We set that person free from the negative bonds that exist between us. We say, "I no longer hold your offense against you" But there is more. We also free ourselves from the burden of being the "offended one." As long as we do not forgive those who have wounded us, we carry them with us or, worse, pull them as a heavy load. The great temptation is to cling in anger to our enemies and then define ourselves as being offended and wounded by them. Forgiveness, therefore, liberates not only the other but also ourselves. It is the way to the freedom of the children of God.

Friday, January 26, 2007

God's art

My friend, Jim, and I spent part of the afternoon at Carlos Avery Wildlife Refuge. Just before sunset the Short-eared Owls came out to put on their show.

I was reminded of Ezekiel 1:11
Their wings were spread out above;
each creature had two wings,
each of which touched the wing of another.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

napsio divina*

Some thoughtful people say there is wisdom in introspection, but I think a good nap is more rewarding.
-- Christopher Jensen
*Benedictine pun

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Blue Cloud Abbey

I'm back from Blue Cloud Abbey after spending the better part of four days in prayer and fellowship with the monks and my friends, Jerry and Joel. Below are a few pictures that do not do justice to the Abbey; however, you can always go to Blue Cloud's site for an excellent overview of the place. It had been five months since my prayer life got a "tune-up" there -- much too long. I'll be returning soon!

on our way


Br. Chris
provides roses
for each

on my

one of the many stained glass windows --
this one is of St. Benedict

the view from the main door
of the chapel

a place
to pray

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

I have to read this

I enjoyed President Carter's last book very much, but now I certainly have to read his latest:
"Fourteen members of an advisory group to the Atlanta-based Carter Center have resigned in protest over former President Jimmy Carter's recent book and statements on the Israeli-Palestinian stalemate."

next Sunday

This coming Sunday, January 21, I'll be preaching at both services at
Beaver Lake Lutheran Church in Maplewood, MN. The somewhat unusual title of my message is
Annual Meeting, based on the Gospel text for the day from Luke 4:14-21. For service times and directions to the church, please check their web site. I'd love to see you!

Tomorrow morning I'll be leaving for Blue Cloud Abbey with my good friend, Rev. Jerry Holmaas and one of his seminary students. I'm not sure whether I'll be able to post to this blog from there, but I will certainly update you on my experiences upon return.

Monday, January 15, 2007

a new day

God grant that we will be participants in this newness and this magnificent development. If we will but do it, we will bring about a new day of justice and brotherhood and peace. And that day the morning stars will sing together and the sons of God will shout for joy.
-- Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Sunday, January 14, 2007


If a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts; but if he will be content to begin with doubts, he shall end in certainties.
-- Sir Francis Bacon

Saturday, January 13, 2007

trust in the Lord

Lord, take me where You want me to go;
Let me meet who You want me to meet;
Tell me what You want me to say, and
Keep me out of Your way.

-- Father Mychal Judge, who died in the World Trade Center, ministering to his flock.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

God's art

This morning my friend, Les, suggested we venture to Monticello where hundreds and hundreds of swans, geese, and ducks have found some comfort during our usually bitter winter. I had never been there, but intend to return soon. Thank you, Les, for the invitation and the good company.

time for a nap

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

our thoughts

Yes, very often this is how I feel about my thoughts.

The LORD knows our thoughts,
that they are but an empty breath.

Psalm 94:11

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Serenity Prayer

Sometimes we tend to overlook that portion of the Serenity Prayer beyond the first verse; it is reprinted below.

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.

--Reinhold Niebuhr

Sunday, January 07, 2007

OK -- here's more on New Years'

We spend January 1 walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives… not looking for flaws, but for potential.
-- Ellen Goodman


I haven't mentioned New Year's resolutions for a while (yes, I'm still trying to keep mine). Often we think that change by itself will bring positive results. NOT! I've observed this with my clients in the education field; I've seen it in churches; I've seen it in my own life. The following quote summarizes it all very well:
We trained hard...but it seemed that every time we were beginning to form up into teams we would be reorganized....I was to learn later in life that we tend to meet any new situation by reorganizing; and a wonderful method it can be for creating the illusion of progress while producing confusion, inefficiency and demoralization.

-- Petronius Arbiter, 210 B.C.


Friday, January 05, 2007

faith divided

They key divide in faith today is between fundamentalists and non-fundamentalists. The divide exists within most churches, including the lay Catholic population. As fundamentalism advances, the clash between the two may become so severe in the U.S. that more and more American churches will tilt to the developing world for leadership and clout. The orthodox Catholic hierarchy would have no future without reinforcements from Africa and Asia. And charismatic pentecostalists, with socially conservative politics, are going to find their worldview far better represented in Nairobi than New York.
-- Andrew Sullivan


God's art

can't get enough
of the

Thursday, January 04, 2007


We often have a kind of notion, as part of this highfalutin, noble picture of ourselves as pray-ers, that when we pray we need to be completely attentive and we need to be fully engaged and we need to be concentrating and we need to be focused. But the fact is, if prayer is our end of a relationship with God, that's not the way we are with the people we love a large portion of the time. We simply are in their presence. We're going about our lives at the same time in each other's presence, aware and sustained by each other, but not much more than that… However we are, however we think we ought to be in prayer, the fact is we just need to show up and do the best we can do. It's like being in a family.
—Roberta Bondi


Wednesday, January 03, 2007

next Sunday

Next Sunday I will be leading both services at Beaver Lake Lutheran Church; the traditional service is 8:30 a.m. & praise worship at 11:00 a.m. My message, Look Up To The Heavens, will be based on the Psalm for the day, #29, and the Gospel text, Luke 3:15-17, 21-22.
For directions to the church, please check their web site. I'd love to see you there!

God's art

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

something to think about

I'm a little incredulous about why anyone would care about what I'm going to swear on. In fact, if I swore on a book that wasn't of my tradition ... would you trust me?

Muslim Congressman-elect Keith Ellison, speaking about the controversy surrounding his decision to take the oath of office on a Quran.

Monday, January 01, 2007

New Year's resolutions

+ pray more
+ love more
+ serve more
+ read more
+ contemplate more
+ enjoy "God's art" (nature) more
+ live healthy more

These may seem a little vague; but, I am also developing subtopics of each of the above. Since to me they are all worthy activities, another way of looking at my resolutions is: invest increased time in each area by decreasing wasted time or time spent in less worthy pursuits.


snow on New Year's Day

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