Spiritual vs. Religious

Photography by Peter Lippmann

Reading Diana Butler Bass’ Christianity After Religion, I am confused why people are so interested in the question of ‘Spiritual’ vs. ‘Religious’. Anyone with at least half an open eye can see that God comes to meet people in myriad ways, each one beautiful even if obscured by partial blindness. Why mask the uniqueness and the miracle of each by classifying it into one or the other category? To be concerned with this debate is to squander the fruit of the spirit and put the human realm above or before God’s. Read More

Orogeny

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Photo: Joan Fontcuberta

The mind fragile; he crosses an ocean and all disintegrates into order.

Into her arms he goes; rip, decision, spill. Freeing the border.

The old line awakens into dance, A New One! The rhythm spins.

The beat of every blue shade.  Simple: A new wor(l)d begins. Read More

Love Thy Neighbor

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Form.  I can now respect it because I am at the point at which the slope of craft unfolds in a rolling wave – a lush Brisanchu knoll of light and deep shades.  But before reaching this unexplored scenery, I had to die.  And before that I had to know the God within and without were one. And yet, before even that struggle wrought by youthful temerity, desperate groping and inchoate spirituality in the seven-year crepuscular dome, all culminating in one terrifying moment in Hengyang; I had to love and trust a God I couldn’t even feel, but for the myriad wonders of the world, believed in.  Read More

Deliverance

Deliverance.  I was at a loss about what to write since it feels that these days the womb baby takes up all the space and pushes out anything he/she deems superfluous.  But fortunately God squeezed in one word for us to digest like our trusty folic acid.  Apt for us both, as my post from Pentecost Sunday, A Conversion, describes the pivotal hour of life in this body in which I was delivered from evil; and the baby will be, any day now, delivered into this world. Read More

A Conversion

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Dark day in Hengyang, small city in the middle of China. Five million small. Mao Zedong from a nearby city. The dishwater sky blending right into the slate-gray outline of the industrial city. Dismal to view from the little metal balcony, and even more disgusting to go forth into the leaden din. Last time I was in the country I swore I’d never teach English and least of all to middle-schoolers. But that’s what I was doing in this city where I saw a homeless man masturbate in front of an elementary school. Right outside the gate through which passed hundreds of pigtails and oversized backpacks on tiny bodies. Read More

When Shadows Melt

As long as there is but one suffering among you, do not go into the garden.  Lest you will know his agony as your own and it will have conquered you.  We are not an advanced civilization if we are still seeing school shootings and abandoned families, need I mention war and parades for war?  Even just one case of any of these atrocities indicates that we as a people have soul work to do.  Let’s come out of our self-designed tenebrae and see ‘economic development’ for what it really is: euphemism for ‘greed’.

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