Maybe one of the great unknown – unrecognized – truths of life is that light always dawns, eventually; that there is no such thing as a perpetual darkness of soul. I know that in my own case the darkness only existed because I refused the light. I simply did not want the light. I had been in the cocoon of darkness for so long I thought that it was light. – Joan Chittester, Called to Question Science has shown that the old “boiling frog” story is incorrect. The canard goes
Love made visible
Of God’s love we can say two things: it is poured out universally for everyone from the Pope to the loneliest wino on the planet; and secondly, God’s love doesn’t seek value, it creates value. It is not because we have value that we are loved, but because we are loved that we have value. Our value is a gift, not an achievement. – William Sloane Coffin in Credo A number of years ago I used to have office space at a church in San Francisco that had been built in the early
December 7th, 2012, Pearl Harbor Day This morning while riding MUNI I met a WWII vet who joined two days after Pearl Harbor. He was a jovial guy in really terrific shape for his late 80’s. Everyone on the 37 Corbett thanked him for his service and he beamed. Just beamed from ear to ear. I asked him what his job was when he was in the Navy and he said he worked on amphibious assaults delivering tanks and troops onto islands throughout the Pacific. When I mentioned that our
What gift shall we bring?
Christmas gift suggestions: To your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect.” – Oren Arnold (1900-1980), journalist, essayist, and writer As Christmas draws near, there are so many emotions and memories that begin to pop up. I remember loved ones who have died (especially those who passed during the holidays like my father, my uncle, and my great -and
Hear the songs the angels sing
I love to sing, but it also makes me bat crap crazy. In fact, every time I try to take my voice seriously, I usually wind-up flat on my back with some kind of illness. When I was a kid, it was completely predictable. If there was an all-state choir audition or a solo that was any sort of challenge for me, I developed an instant sore throat. It is a wonder that I was ever asked to sing in public, given that I was always singing over some kind of respiratory infection. Someho
From our fears and sins
Come o long expected Jesus. Born to set thy people free. From our fears and sins release us . . . This well-sung Advent hymn, text written by Charles Wesley, is a favorite during this season. With many choirs over the years, I have had them sing it to “Divinum Mysterium” a 16th century hymn derived from early medieval plainsong. I then like to bump up the mystery quotient by having the choir sing it accompanied by a set of tuned wind chimes that I bought in the late 80’s fo
Practice, practice, practice
Today is the first Sunday of Advent. For those who aren’t Christian liturgy geeks, it means we’ve got four weeks until Christmas to sing mysterious minor hymns, dwell in darkness, and wait. The theme of this Sunday is often centered on hope. In my life, hope is a slippery thing. It is very easy for me to slip into despair. I like to tell myself that this predilection for hopelessness is because I have a strong grasp of reality. I mean, if YOU knew what is REALLY happeni
What does your Jesus look like?
The small-town Presbyterian church I grew up in didn’t have any images of Jesus anywhere in the building and Jesus was rarely the subject of our hymns. All those “Jesus as friend” hymns belonged to the Baptists across town and weren’t our standard fare. I was raised with an emphasis on Matthew 25 that the face of Jesus is the face of your neighbor in need. Over the years, as I’ve buried over 250 people to HIV/AIDS and labored in inner city vineyards, I’ve seen Jesus in the fa