October 11, 2016 4 comments

My brothers, my sisters, God has called me to walk in the way of humility, and showed me the way of simplicity. . . . The Lord has shown me that he wants me to be a new kind of fool in the world, and God does not want to lead us by any other knowledge than that.  —Francis of Assisi

Franciscan prophecy is at its core “soft prophecy”—which is often the hardest of all! Rather than criticize and shame the evils of his time, St. Francis simply lived differently and let his lifestyle be his sermon. This way of life is counter to the ways of the world, a kind of “holy foolishness” that doesn’t make logical sense to our consumer, quid-pro-quo economy

When you agree to live simply, you put yourself outside of others’ ability to buy you off, reward you falsely, or control you by money, status, salary, punishment, and loss or gain. This is the most radical level of freedom, but, of course, it is not easy to come by. Francis and Clare had little to lose, no desire for gain, no loans or debts to pay off, and no luxuries that they needed or wanted. Most of us can only envy them.

 When you agree to live simply, you do not consider the immigrant, the refugee, the homeless person, or the foreigner as a threat to you or as competition with you. You have chosen their marginal state for yourself—freely and consciously becoming “visitors and pilgrims” in this world, as Francis puts it (quoting 1 Peter 2:11). A simple lifestyle is quite simply an act of solidarity with the way most people have lived since the beginnings of humanity. It is thus restorative justice instead of the very limited notion of retributive justice.

 When you voluntarily agree to live simply, you do not need to get into the frenzy of work for the sake of salary or the ability to buy non-essentials or raise your social standing. You enjoy the freedom of not climbing. You might climb for others, but not only for yourself. —Richard Rohr O.F.M.



Buy things for their usefulness rather than their status or prestige.

Learn the difference between a real need and an addiction. Then find support and accountability to regain “sobriety,” freedom from addiction.

Develop a habit of giving things away.

Avoid unnecessary and short-lived technological gadgets that promise to “save time.”

Enjoy things without owning them. For example, take advantage of public libraries and parks.

Nurture awe and appreciation for nature. Spend more time outdoors!

Get out—and stay out—of debt.

Use plain, honest speech. Say what you mean and keep your commitments.

Reject anything that oppresses others. For example, buy Fair Trade products

Seek God’s kingdom of love and justice foremost. If anything distracts you from that purpose, let it go.

—Richard J. Foster,“The Discipline of Simplicity,” The Celebration of Discipline (Harper & Row: 1978), 78-83


Categories: Uncategorized

cosmic dance

October 4, 2016 4 comments



Love is just like prayer; it is not so much an action that we do, but a dialogue that already flows through us. We don’t decide to “be loving”; rather, to love is to allow our deepest and truest nature to show itself. The “Father” doesn’t decide to love the “Son.” Fatherhood is the flow from Father to Son, one hundred percent. The Son does not choose now and then to release some love to the Father, or to the Spirit. Love is the full modus operandi between all three of them! (Remember these classic names are just placeholders. You can replace them with any form of endearment that works for you, but make sure something works!)

The love in you—which is the Spirit in you—always somehow says yes (2 Corinthians 1:19-20). Love is not something you do; love is Someone you are. It is your True Self. Love is where you came from and love is where you’re going. It’s not something you can attain. It’s not something you can work up to, as much as something you allow yourself to fall into! It is the living presence of God within you, often called the Holy Spirit, or what some theologians name uncreated grace.

You can’t manufacture this by any right conduct. You can’t make God love you one ounce more than God already loves you right now. You can go to church every day for the rest of your life, but God isn’t going to love you any more than God already loves you right now.

You cannot make God love you any less, either—not an ounce less. You could do the most terrible thing and God wouldn’t love you any less. (You would probably love yourself much less, however.)

You cannot change the Divine mind about you! The flow is constant and total toward your life. God is for you!

You can’t diminish God’s love for you. What you can do, however, is learn how to believe it, receive it, trust it, allow it, and celebrate it, accepting Trinity’s whirling invitation to join in the cosmic dance.  —Richard Rohr O.F.M.

The evidence that these truths have touched us deeply has more to do with how we treat people (regardless of our circumstances) rather than our genre of religious branding.

“We love, because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:19

That’s our center.  That is what helps people connect the dots concerning who we really are.  Anything less brings only confusion, wounding, and a stiff arm. Consider His love. Ultimately, that is what defines us.

Live every day inside this magnificent truth: GOD LOVES US ALL!


Categories: Uncategorized

the river

September 27, 2016 5 comments

I got up at 4:00 a.m. this morning. So many things swirling in my mind. The hand to hand combat I witnessed last nite made me tense. I did sleep, but it was condensed. So, I got up. I thought I needed to study. I do need to study, but that isn’t why I got up that early.  This is why I got up. This is why I needed to be awake…

This, then, seems to be the work of the Spirit: to keep you vulnerable to life and love itself and to resist all that destroys the Life Flow. Notice that the major metaphors for the Spirit are always dynamic, energetic, and moving: elusive wind, descending dove, falling fire, and flowing water. Spirit-led people never stop growing and changing and recognizing the new moment of opportunity. How strange to think that so much of religion became worship of the status quo and a neurotic fear of failure. It does make sense, though, when we consider that the ego hates and fears change and failure.

Rohr continues,

What, then, is the path to holiness? It’s the same as the path to wholeness. And we are never “there” yet. We are always just in the river. Don’t try to push the river or make the river happen; it is already happening, and you cannot stop it. All you can do is recognize it, enjoy it, and ever more fully allow it to carry you. —Richard Rohr

I forget about the river sometimes. I seem to be able to critique constantly how we dam up the river, forge, harness or pollute the river… but rarely do I just admire and refresh myself in those mysteriously majestic waters. You catch my drift?

Our refusal to be vulnerable thwarts the ever-so naked plunge into the river’s life flow. Our fists are too curled. Our breathing too rapid. Exposure is so dangerously scandalous to our protection mechanisms.

The river doesn’t require us to change… to get it right… attain perfection. We only have to muster the courage to enter. The river does the rest.

Live every day inside this magnificent truth: GOD LOVES US ALL!


Categories: Uncategorized

among us

September 20, 2016 4 comments

I don’t remember the last time I talked about the encounter I’m about to pour onto the table. I wish I could explain the “why” with some sort of insight or rationale, but that’s just not going to happen. In fact, none of my “why” questions have answers in this particular scenario.

The few times I have talked about it, I’ve gotten mixed reviews, which is totally fine. The questions are good with me, but I can’t undo what happened. It is what it is.

Patti and I had been married a little over a year. I was in my last year at Arkansas. Despite some of the positive changes that happened due to my spiritual awakening in 1978, I could be pretty damn narcissistic, full of “me monster” energy, and not very attentive to the needs of anyone other than myself. That’s kind of expected if you’re 12 years old. Unfortunately, those are horrible traits of a 20-year-old married man. I’m pretty sure that every conflict we had in those early years were pretty much due to my love affair with my own needs. It’s a miracle she’s still in the game with yours truly. I’m totally serious when I say that.

laundromatWe had bickered about something one morning. I’m sure I had stepped in “it” somehow. Regardless of what ever it was, she went to work hurt and I went to class pissed. Later that morning, I decided to take the clothes to the Laundromat by myself. I still had a lot of attitude from our earlier rumble, so I rounded up a handful of quarters to do the job, threw the clothes in the car, and went to complete the task by myself. It was something we usually did together, so my thoughts were more along the line of, I’ll teach her. I know… childish.

She and I had previously spent a lot of time together in that Laundromat discussing our days, making plans for the future, and generally sharing our lives together. Washing and folding clothes wasn’t work when we were together. I was 20. She was 19. Anything together was frikk’n awesome. But there I was, in my foul mood, mumbling my curses, and doing my chores under the cloud of self-righteous pity. I was pathetic.

About the time I was taking the clothes out of the dryer, an old man limped into the area where I was about to fold clothes. He introduced himself and started chatting me up about much of nothing. Suddenly, I realized he was talking to me about my marriage. He talked about love and respect for your mate. He reminded me that my “pretty girl” was a gift. He even asked me if I had ever considered such a thing. I loved the fact that this old man was “dialed in,” yet loving at the same time. He said words that hit my heart. I heard him very clearly and I was very appreciative.

There wasn’t anything spooky about this old man, but I do remember the khakis, white socks, and black work shoes he wore. He smelled like Old Spice and snuff. Those things definitely tracked with my memories of my deceased grandfather. We probably visited for a good 20 minutes.

I must add here that it was eerily strange that the place was empty. There was always about half a dozen people in that Laundromat. On that day, the place was vacant except for the old man and myself.

Once I had my stuff stacked in our laundry basket, I told him I needed to get to my next class. So I picked up the basket and walked out the front door. As I opened the door to the car, I could see through the storefront windows that he was still standing by the table where I had folded our clothes. I put the basket in the backseat, I closed the door, headed back inside to shake hands with the old man… and he was GONE! I hadn’t walked more than 15 feet to my car! I had seen him just five seconds earlier!

I checked the restroom… empty. I opened the door to the back of the building… nada. Nothing. Zilch. Zero. The old man simply wasn’t to be found anywhere! I was slightly freaked out, but still deeply taken with the words he had spoken.

I wanted to hug his neck. The hairs were standing up all over my body. But it wasn’t to be. The brotha was gone!

By the time I got home, I was convinced I had been sent a visitor to adjust my mind about a lot of things. Trust me, I needed the adjustment. Patti immediately drew the same conclusion when I told her about the encounter. I still see it in my mind’s eye like it was yesterday. Crystal clear and weird.

But, maybe not so much:

Stay on good terms with each other, held together by love. Be ready with a meal or a bed when it’s needed. Why, some have extended hospitality to angels without ever knowing it!  (Hebrews 13:1-2, MSG)

Angel? Probably. Maybe. I’m not totally certain. But, I can’t explain what happened. All I know is that I needed a serious check on how I was treating my girl. Maybe it took all that to get my attention. Regardless, I got the message.

So… what about you? How are you treating the people around you? Do you need an “old man” visit or do you already know you need to adjust your dials? I do suspect they are among us, rooting, praying, and believing for our growth and positive character. I think we may need these encounters more than we realize.

Thanks, Nate and Di. You forced a great memory to resurface.

Live every day inside this magnificent truth: GOD LOVES US ALL!


Categories: Uncategorized


September 13, 2016 Leave a comment

Here is another blog I put out during the Kickstarter Campaign.  -MDP-

I want to make a book recommendation. Find a way to get a copy of Krista Tippett’s book, Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living. I love the entire book, but the fourth chapter in particular, entitled Love, has inspired me to read and reread it multiple times.

One of the more fascinating dialogues in that chapter is from Georgia Representative John Lewis. Let me say that his comments are absolutely remarkable. Notice that I didn’t say political. I’m fairly grossed out right now with the political situation in America, so don’t think for a moment that what has stirred me was political in nature. Don’t soil his ideas by rinsing these beautiful thoughts through some political paradigm. The context was about love in the midst of what is unlovely.

civil-rightsA much younger Lewis and other Civil Rights leaders of the 1960s worked diligently to impress upon the minds and hearts of African Americans to hold the vision of what an equal and loving society could look like. It needed to be more than a whimsical dream. It had to have substance. The people had to be taught how to have faith, how to love, how to look beyond what they were experiencing. The teaching was to see and claim the Promised Land of equality while enduring far less than the integration they saw in their spirits.

The real battle was to avoid the temptation to retaliate with rhetoric and deeds that were combative and ultimately dangerous. That temptation and the dangers were a daily enemy. The leaders held the people to the default notion that whatever was done in return must be out of love. You have to believe that the DNA of God, which resides in every human being (regardless of color, creed or status), will eventually respond to love. That was the plan that eventually helped win the day. I suspect we ALL have to return there at some deeper level.

I’ve been fairly frank in my estimation that the applause we so readily give to dreamers is pretty much overcooked. Does the dream really benefit us all, or is it tied to personal ambition and agendas? I can always be happy for anyone being successful at what he or she does, but you can keep the chill bumps. I’ve reserved my chill bumps for the dreams that tangibly touch all of us with acceptance, tolerance, and yes, the word we’ve murdered for millennia, love. Dreaming for a culture of love isn’t too much to ask, is it?

Dreaming for it is easy. Living it as a “now” reality, when not everyone is on board, is the real challenge. That’s the mountain we’ve got to climb.

Do we remember when Jesus kicked over the tables of the money changers in the Temple? What do you think that was about? Do you think he was that offended about keeping ritualistic order in the Temple? He did other things that weren’t kosher in the Temple. I know it’s difficult for some to imagine this, but a close reading of the New Testament seems to indicate that Jesus countered the Mosaic Law much more than he obliged it. The scribes were on Him constantly about his lack of interest in satisfying the demands of the old Law.

He kicked over those tables to send a message:

Whatever is common and customary in your ideology about God is probably the exact opposite of reality! Follow Me around and you’ll begin to understand that you don’t understand how this works. What you won’t touch, I will touch. Where you retaliate with hate, I extend love. When you are convinced you are disqualified, I use you regardless! It’s people over principle every time. Save your energy to be like Me instead of just talking about Me. Be like Me, and I’ll turn your world upside down.

That’s what that disruption was about. Counterflow. He was all about bringing a different kind of energy to the party. Faith, love, and hope were directed towards people. It’s not sort of the point. It is the point.

How do we do that? Really, with all the crap that is stirred around us, how do we live the love energy? That’s a massive question. Granted, it won’t be easy whatever the direction we go, but I think we must take a cue from what John Lewis unveiled for us. We hold a transformed culture in our heads and in our hearts, and live everyday as you would if it were a “now” reality. You live now as if it’s already here.

But, what if it’s not appreciated? Everyone won’t appreciate it, but you’ll know deep inside that this is the true DNA of Jesus. This was His path. Loving people over principle will eventually win the day.

Make it your mantra, your juice for living. Sow it everywhere.

Live every day inside this magnificent truth: GOD LOVES US ALL!



Categories: Uncategorized


August 30, 2016 9 comments


While reading some devotional material earlier this week, I was pretty much captured by a single thought. It wasn’t necessarily a new idea to me, but it was posed in such a fashion that it really caught my attention. Here is that thought:

“God is not found in the soul by adding anything, but by a process of subtraction.” —Meister Eckhart

What a challenge for our culture, including religious life in America! Richard Rohr’s commentary to the point is even more thought-provoking:

In our consumer culture, religion and spirituality have very often become a matter of addition: earning points with God, attaining enlightenment, producing moral behavior. Yet authentic spirituality is not about getting, attaining, achieving, performing, or succeeding—all of which tend to pander to the ego. It is much more about letting go—letting go of what we don’t need anyway, although we don’t know that ahead of time. On the mental level, it is more “the shedding of thoughts,” as the Desert Fathers called it, than piling on more thoughts. –Richard Rohr, O. F. M.

I, too, have ridden downstream in these rapids. We run from one event to the next. The pile of unread books on my nightstand is testimony that I’m not keeping up, there is revelation I’m missing out on, and there is so much more to do in order to be in the flow with God. I honestly believe that most Christians are simply exhausted from chasing the proverbial carrot that is always just out of reach. The whole mantra of “I’ve got to do more for God” is a pressure that doesn’t come from Him. We do it to ourselves.  I think…

We’re addicted to working for God’s approval.

Jesus said something about His way being easy? Where? When do we allow it to be easy?

Peterson’s translation puts it this way:

“Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly” (Matthew 11:29-30, MSG).

Lightly and freely? We probably need to check our math. Addition and piling on activity doesn’t seem to be doing it for us.

The next time you feel under pressure or left out because you’re not going to make it to that “oh so necessary” religious gathering, or you’re going to miss pulling every single drop of revelation from some prima donna preacher or another prophetic diva, just do yourself a favor: whisper the word, “no.” Don’t scream it, but whisper. It’s for you only. You find God by what you subtract from your religious clutter. Some of what your soul needs requires you to let go of what the masses deem as urgent. It’s not. Let it go. That’s good math.

Live every day inside this magnificent truth: GOD LOVES US ALL!


Categories: Uncategorized

it is up to us

August 23, 2016 Leave a comment

With our focus on the Kickstarter last month, I was unable to post with variety.  This is from a couple weeks ago. -MDP-

In my personal opinion, the most needed light from Paul’s personal glow of revelation occurs in the thirteenth chapter of his first letter to the Corinthian people. Today, we still need that message just as much, if not more, as they did back then. It’s hard to imagine that any culture at any time has ever really taken that download very seriously.

I used to think the revelation of humanity’s tussle with the spirit of rejection could be the single most important component for our healing towards unity. Although I’m still a believer, I genuinely feel that a download of the Father’s love might actually hold THE hope of society’s ultimate healing.

Don’t think for a second that I’m talking about a religious agenda here.  I’m not.  I’m talking about what would happen if people truly bought into the notion that God loves us?  He’s always loved us. And the best, the most accurately pure expression of our loving God, is manifest by our loving those we share space with on this planet. Our neighbors. Can you image what would happen if we really loved at that level?

There is a line in that ancient text that pushes us to the brink of the unbelievable. It’s hard for us because we know how far we are from that kind of love. We want to be this way, but we all have our limits. Emptying ourselves of our egos, our agendas and our pride in order to be filled with the power of love is daunting, to say the least.

Paul says this about love:

 It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  1 Cor. 13:7, NASB

Getting to this in a great marriage is a serious challenge.  Getting to this is any marriage is more than work.  But, getting to this with people who differ politically or racially or in their worldviews?  Holy smokes!

I recently read a quote by Martin Luther King Jr. that absolutely stopped me in my tracks. I was alive when he said it, and was aware of the tensions in America at the time, but I was too young to even consider the weight of Dr. King’s words.  In light of how things were then, he still held to the power of love. The very words of Paul’s great challenge manifesting in a single songbird’s voice—standing strong in the midst of hate’s greatest storms.

It was in 1963 when dynamite was used to blow up the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama.  The KKK was involved.  Four little girls were killed in that act of racial terrorism.  When Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke publicly about the bombing, there was opportunity to hit back with a torrent of rage that would have been more than justified.

He did not.

 At times life is hard, as hard as a crucible of steel. In spite of the darkness of this hour, we must not lose faith in our white brothers. MLK

I can barely get my head around that response.  This was a chosen position of grace in powerlessness. It was powerful, but mostly power-under. A bold counter to the expected. The same way Jesus operated. If only all of us could exercise this kind of spirit in our dealings with each other.

It was the ultimate bearing, believing, hoping and enduring for love to break through. Dr. King had plenty of reason not to go there.  He could have just as easily said, “Game on. Release hell on these people who evidently hate us.”

He did not.

He chose in that pivotal moment to side with love.

Some things have changed.  Some things have not.  If you’re prone to pray, ask for yourself the capacity to love in spite of what you see with your eyes.  Believe for, hope for, and endure for the love of others.  Don’t get sucked into division and polarization. Don’t allow yourself to be bewitched with dualistic thinking and offended bitterness.  Let some of what Paul was trying to convey get inside you.

Today demands that we stop waiting on someone else to change.  We have to be the change.  Today, we need to be the love that we so easily proclaim.  Honestly, if it’s up to us, love has to be our agenda.  Our infatuation with building our little personal kingdoms is part of the problem. Tap into the big K: Kingdom. It begins with love. That has always been the plan whether we’ve realized it or not.

Love breaks the yokes.

Live every day inside this magnificent truth: GOD LOVES US ALL!



Wrecks me everytime I watch it – MDP

Categories: Uncategorized