Category Archives: christian spirituality

New Song for Sunday Morning

Quaking Bog, Wirth Park in Minneapolis, MN

Leaving the car parked as the sun tops the autumn trees

We walk into what was the very first Sanctuary:

A quaking bog with

Towering tamaracks

Birches, oak, maple, and even buckthorn

Cattails, lady slipper, and moss as old as my family tree

We walk on water, carefully and tenderly

One foot in front of the other

In a slow march for a

Slower life

A gentler way

In our minds we hum a tune

And our steps find each other’s match

Silent prayers hover above our heads and we suddenly find ourselves

At least for a moment

With the One we came looking for.

As if a deer had flagged its white tail

Everyone pauses

Knowing glances are exchanged as some linger longer than others

Again, each finding their careful stride

Paying even closer attention

Nothing happens by accident on a Sunday morning

In a quaking bog.

How to Keep the Faith

How to keep the faith

after fundamentalism was revealed a power structure designed to subjugate,

raise money

raise structures

raise men

All in the name of Jesus

In the spirit of greed, shame, and tyranny.

To this day, it is no longer natural to say, “I believe in God” without wondering if that means I believe in

Systems of exclusion

Prayer for the purpose of imperialism

Worship of drawn boundaries

Spirituality of capitalism

Politicking pastors and priests

But faith must be deeper than the skin of religion or propositional truths of the West

II.

Do I believe in God?

Ask me while my wife is in labor, at the first breath of a new life

Ask me when my grandfather lay dying, pleading the words “I love you”

Ask me as I put a wooden paddle into the quiet waters of Cedar Lake

Ask me at the twilight call of a loon

Ask me when the homeless man tells me he prays every day, and he’ll pray for me

III.

I believe in the spark that lit this soul

In the very first seed

In whatever it is that binds me to you

In the mystery of prayer

In systems of inclusion

In a spirituality of wholeness, nourishment, and equality

In worship as action on behalf of the oppressed and suffering

which welcomes my own story of oppression and suffering

which will beat every gun into a garden shovel

which will turn every corporation into a co-operative

which will transform every church into a neighborhood pub

which will make fellow Pilgrims out of politicians and corporate executives, religious radicals and heretics, rich and poor,

you and me.

This is the place where I can quietly, contentedly say that, yes

I believe in God.

My Romantic, Idealistic and Ridiculous Prayer

I usually hesitate to “give up” something for Lent. See, my life is nuts. I’ve got two kids and they’re young. One is in diapers and the other makes me want to wear diapers, in a nursing home. So yeah, I’m not going to “give up” coffee for 40 days. Are you crazy? Do you think I’m crazy? I’m already in the desert.

I digress. It’s amazing how I can get so caught up in the supposed difficulties of my life that I forget what I’m capable of. I forget that I have the power to make choices. I loose my sense of self and when it comes right down to it, I forget who I am.

I don’t think that the main purpose of the Season of Lent is to suffer. Suffering may be a means to an end, but it should not be the focus, as it often is. Rather, we should think of it as entering a season where Christ reminds us of our true identity. Lent can be a rare opportunity to change some well-worn ruts in our thought pattern.

God reminds us of who we were before we started drinking coffee, bingeing on chocolate, or bowing to technological media. Lent is a call to wholeness.

So by now you’ve started your Lenten fast and you’ve begun to assert your God-given choice-making power to say “no” to something. This a good start and no doubt, there will be a little suffering involved.

Now what are you saying “yes” to?

What gift does God have for you during this season? What will fill the void of the caffeine, alcohol, sugar or Facebooking? If we fill it with more shame and lies we will be no further from hell than when this season began. Heaven, on the other hand, comes that much closer when we realize our uniqueness, gifts, and secure identity in the Love of Christ.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.   James 1:17

This season I’m saying “yes” to Creativity and here is my romantic, idealistic and ridiculous prayer: that in the midst of my suffering, and the suffering those around me I would practice creativity.

Inwardly I hope this will practically look like writing, painting, and taking my camera for a walk in the woods and snapping some photos. These are the places where I experience wholeness and it gives me the energy I need for outward expression.

Outwardly I hope to be aware of creative responses to oppression. Whether I find oppression in family or friend, neighbor or news headline. I’m not sure exactly what it will look like, and that’s part of being creative.

As we follow Christ into the Wilderness of Lent, may we be open to the hidden gifts and the promise of real life resurrection.

Flyer’s Thoughts on Christian Spirituality

Check out the Rain and the Rhinoceros blog for Ry Flyer’s insightful post, ‘Questing After God?’.