Quotations Uncategorized

Nouwen and The Discipline of Gratitude

I really like what Henry Nouwen writes about the discipline of gratitude:

Gratitude … goes beyond the “mine” and “thine” and claims the truth that all of life is a pure gift. In the past I always thought of gratitude as a spontaneous response to the awareness of gifts received, but now I realize that gratitude can also be lived as a discipline. The discipline of gratitude is the explicit effort to acknowledge that all I am and have is given to me as a gift of love, a gift to be celebrated with joy.

Gratitude as a discipline involves a conscious choice. I can choose to be grateful even when my emotions and feelings are still steeped in hurt and resentment. It is amazing how many occasions present themselves in which I can choose gratitude instead of a complaint…The choice for gratitude rarely comes without some real effort. But each time I make it, the next choice is a little easier, a little freer, a little less self-conscious.

Blog Entries

Prayer for Occupy

Here are two images that have gone ‘viral’ from the US Occupy protests that have made their rounds since Tuesday:

Probably like many folks, these images have been sitting heavy with me. The images are just the capstone of a long couple of weeks of interactions and conversations concerning occupy and a number of things peripheral to that movement. We’ve had increasing amounts of people calling the meetinghouse and needing help at, asking about adopt-a-families for Christmas time, wondering about assistance for rent. A couple of single moms struggling to survive are in need of help have recently been in contact, the have back rent due, utilities due, and face seeing welfare and unemployment benefits being cut. This Tuesday some of us are going to go to our Southwest Wa, Congresswoman’s office and pray that she votes on extending unemployment benefits, but that doesn’t feel like enough. Something needs to shift.

Quotations Uncategorized

Fox On Black Friday

I came across this in my reading the other day and it made me think of some of the stuff I’ve seen from Rev. Billy Talen, especially in the documentary on Christmas, and then I wondered what Fox would be doing on Black Friday:

I was moved to open my mouth and lift up my voice aloud
in the mighty power of the Lord, and to tell them the mighty
day of the Lord was coming upon all deceitful merchandise
and ways, and to call them all to repentance and a turning
to the Lord God, and his spirit within them, for it to teach
them, and tremble before the mighty God of Heaven and earth,
for his mighty day was coming; and so passed through the
streets. And many people took my part and several were
convinced. And when I came to the town’s end, I got upon a
stump and spoke to the people, and so the people began to
fight, some for me and some against me….

Seems a fitting message for next week.


No Shrine Required: The Denial of Death and the Legacy of Moses (Deut 34)

This is the message I gave during meeting for worship at Camas Friends Church Sunday 11.6.2011.

Terrified by death_

In his book “the denial of death” Earnest Becker opens with this line, “The prospect of death wonderfully concentrates the mind.” And that “The idea of death, the fear of it, haunts the human animal like nothing else; it is a mainspring of human activity – activity designed largely to avoid the fatality of death, to overcome it by denying in some way that it is the final destiny for [humanity]” (Becker xvii).

Featured Practices The Theological

Which Direction Are We Headed?

wemily I love traveling, I always have. One thing I have learned is that the type of journey and its destination determine what you’ll pack in your bags. If I am going on a backpacking trip in the Alleghenies (PA) and I’ll be out for 10 days, I will have to pack much differently than I would (and did) pack for a 3-day backpacking trip in Death Valley (NV).

I remember my parents throwing me and four of my siblings into our Oldsmobile station-wagon and heading south. We were on the road headed from Ohio to Alabama to visit our cousins. My parents were, at the time, considering whether or not to move down to Montgomery. As a kid this was an incredible adventure, we packed little, and didn’t really know what we’d find when we got there. And while even as a third-grader there wasn’t a whole lot about Alabama I found attractive, the road trip was fun. Looking back on it now, I am convinced, more than ever, my parents were insane. But, I have to assume, the destination and the purpose of the journey was what helped them stay focused and kept them on track. We never did end up moving to Alabama, but the trip was well worth it, at least if the goal was discerning whether or not to move there. Within a short period of time we knew the answer.

Quaker Sermons

Quakers, Tradition and the Resurrection Community (Acts 13:13-33)

This is the message I gave a few weeks back at George Fox Chapel. I’ve been meaning to post the manuscript but haven’t had a chance.

_Tradition is Dead, Tradition is Alive

I think I am an unlikely candidate for Quaker week. I am like the majority of you; I did not grow up a Quaker, I didn’t grow up in a Quaker-mecca like Newberg and didn’t become a “Friend” until my 20s. I had no idea who George Fox was, wasn’t he that guy in the recent Wes Anderson film (fantastic mr. fox)? I didn’t know anything about the awesome Quaker history of being involved in Native American rights, the underground railroad and movements like women’s suffrage.

I grew up a nominal Catholic. I went to parochial schools (or as I usually say, I did my time there…) and visited mass only irregularly. Growing up I wasn’t even really sure I knew what it meant to Catholic. Then through a complicated set mostly tragic events my family began attending a small, fairly conservative and charismatic, non-denominational church. This is where I began to learn to read the bible, and took part in more church-based activities. If at the Catholic church I was an observer, this new church is where I became more of an active participant. But the church was also one of those non-denominational churches that are fairly anti-denominational, but they do it in a kind of “denominational” way if you know what I mean? In other words, I had a major suspicions about words like “denomination” and “tradition” by the time I left home for college.

And isn’t it the case that in an America influenced by creatives such as Steve Jobs we prize above everything innovation, newness, and individual expression? The thought that one of us might be seen with a Myspace page, let alone an first generation iPhone would be almost to much to bear (professors?!). In this ideology, old equals obsolete and tradition equals a liability.

Blog Entries Quaker

Why I’m a Quaker…

This is a video I did awhile back at the request of my yearly meeting (NWYM). In it I tell a little of my own story and why I am a Quaker today. I would love it if we could get our Quaker communities doing something like this and posting it online. Letting everyone have a chance to tell their stories!