Archive for September, 2016

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!


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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!


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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!



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