The Peace of Wild Things – Wendell Berry


When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

— Wendell Berry

via The Peace of Wild Things – Poem by Wendell Berry.

Featured Practices The Technological

Escapism and Citizenship on the Web

The web has been a good place to me. I have formed many meaningful relationships over the web, I have maintained long distance ones, and I have had the opportunity to be a part of a variety of ministry, as well as academic, events because of it. Many of these things have come through my blog Gathering in Light. But as of late, my amiable feelings have been wearing off. Some of it is related to the things I’ve been reading elsewhere, such as things related to Wendell Berry’s book “Life is a Miracle” (read here for some comments on “Creatures are not Machines” and also see this poem). Some of it has come by way of Kester Brewin who has been on a roll lately (see here and here) speaking about social media as being action without action. And finally, folks like Rhett Smith continue to help reframe the impact that social media has on our lives, especially as it pertains to families (here’s a post I found illuminating today). And to be sure, I am not making some kind of universal statement about what everyone else should be doing, this is really just about where I am at personally. But it also moves beyond what I’m reading, to seeing the impact that technology has in my day to day life. I see technology not as neutral but as formative, it forms and re-forms us according to how it works rather than the other way around. In this way it seems that I have become more an accessory to my gadgets rather than my gadgets being an extension of who I am. Given this, I have moved from full embrace to a much more critical stance as I have seen how social media has had both positive and negative effects upon my life. And so I too have shifted my thinking.

Blog Entries Convergent Friends Quaker

More Detailed Information for Quaker Heritage Day

February 12-13 I will be in Berkeley (at Berkeley Friends Church) discussing some of my favorite topics with anyone who wants to join us. The series of talks is currently being called “Heralding The New Creation: Mission as Participation in the Quaker Tradition” and in it investigate the renewal of tradition through a Quaker theology and practice of mission (See Here for more info on that). Below are the main three sessions for Saturday and the title for Sunday morning’s message which ties into the Saturday stuff. I also included my bio, mostly because I think it’s funny! 😉

Blog Entries Quotations

A Silencing Witness

Came across this quote today and found it to be particularly good in relationship to the text I’m reflecting on this week: Psalm 46.

“In Witnessing, the role of talking is frequently overemphasized. Does that sound strange? It’s true. Silence and especially true listening are often the strongest testimony of our faith. A major problem for Christian evangelism is not getting people to talk, but to silence those who through their continuous chatter reveal a loveless heart devoid of confidence in God. As Miguel de Unamuno says, ‘We need to pay less attention to what people are trying to tell us, and more to what they tell us without trying.'”

(Dallas Willard, “The Spirit of the Disciplines,” 165)

Featured Sermons

Thanksgiving and Irony

Here’s the message I gave this past Sunday. I am not going to be posting my sermons online as much as I have been in the past but since our recording software for the podcast had a major breakdown this last week I thought I’d put this here for those interested.

Thanksgiving is generally celebrated by most of us as a time to stop and give thanks to God for what we have. It’s a chance to really take inventory of our lives and remember that God is for us. These are all good things to do. But I have to admit, typically my own focus is generally more on eating turkey and seeing family than it is on the reflective part of this. I am disappointed if I go to someone’s house and there is no turkey, or only scraps left. Maybe I was too late or they didn’t make enough. Hey, I want my fair dose of tryptophan just as much as the next person!

Featured Quaker Six Months Quaker Preacher The Pastorate

Being A “Released” Minister

I recently went through and changed most of my online profiles, email signatures, and even our bulletin for Sunday morning it from “pastor” to “released minister” as that language seems to fit where I am at better. So now, at least on paper, that’s the language I use to describe my work. But in day-to-day language I move between these two labels depending on who I am talking to and the context in which the discussion takes place. I have been getting a lot of questions about what it means so I thought I’d share it here. I am going to write more from a place of what it means to me, rather than here’s the history. If you are a person who knows some of the history or other details behind this I would love for you to leave a comment below.

Blog Entries Church in Mission

To The Church in North America by Kester Brewin

Came across this video today by Kester Brewin. I think it has a lot to say.

YouTube – To The Church in North America by Kester Brewin.

Blog Entries The Biblical

The Beatitudes: Bless This Mess

David Bazan, one of my favorite musicians, has a song that every time I hear it I can’t help but think of these words of Christ:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. (Matt 5:2–11 NRSV)

Blog Entries Quaker Quotations

A ‘Missional’ Church Statement

Here’s one of my favorite missional church statements of all time:

In the power of life and wisdom, and dread of the Lord God of life and heaven and earth, dwell;…and be a terror to all the adversaries of God, and a dread, answering that of God in them all, spreading the Truth abroad, awakening the witness, confounding deceit, gathering up out of transgression into the life, the covenant of light and peace with God. Let all nations hear the word by sound or writing. Spare no place, spare not tongue nor pen, but be obedient to the Lord God and go through all the world and be valiant for the Truth upon earth; tread and trample all that is contrary under.

Keep in the wisdom of God that spreads over all the earth, the wisdom of the creation, which is pure. Live in it…Bring all into the worship of God…people must be led out of captivity up to God,…and do service to him and have unity with him, with the Scriptures and with one another.

And this is the word of the Lord God to you all, and a charge to you all in the presence of the living God; be patterns, be examples in all countries, places, islands, nations, wherever you come, that your carriage and life may preach among all sorts of people and to them; then you will come to walk cheerfully over the world, answering that of God in every one.

-George Fox 1656 (Quaker Founder)