For my French readers – Pour mes lecteurs français

I hope you'll enjoy this summary of my book:
J'espère que vous apprécierez ce résumé de mon livre:

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Lent starts soon! Here are some resources …

Lent is the period between Ash Wednesday (a day for remembering our mortality) and Easter Sunday (a day for celebrating the risen Christ) that has traditionally been used in the Christian community to focus on sin, repentance, and self-denial.

In recent years, many Christians have been re-traditioning Lent (to use Diana Butler Bass's useful phrase) in a variety of ways.

I've helped create a resource for Lent, working with a wonderful team that includes my co-author of Cory and the Seventh Story, Gareth Higgins. You'll receive a daily email and a weekly video conversation.

You can sign up for this free resource here:


I've also contributed to a Lent resource called Be Still and Go, here:


My friends at the Plural Guild have created another worthwhile resource here:

Whether you choose one or a few - this is a great time to deepen your spiritual roots in the weeks leading up to Easter.

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What I Shared at Stony Point, NY

Thanks to the Presbytery for the warm welcome there. Keep up the great work!

Sorry I didn't have copies of Cory and the Seventh Story there. You can order one online here:

congregation past present future



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A Poem: Emptiness

The mystics said that God is emptiness.

I never understood.

I walked up to God, my hat held in my hands

Behind my back, my head bent low.

I had this feeling that God was too weary for

Eye contact.

“Are they right?” I asked.

“Are the mystics right?”

There was no answer, so I looked

Up, and there were God’s metaphorical eyes,

looking at me, and in an instant,

I saw.

Such emptiness. Such sadness

In those metaphorical eyes.

(Yet it was not exactly sadness.)

“I have given all away,” God seemed to say.

“I have held back nothing.”

And instantly I saw:

a river, not holding the delightful water, but

giving it away, all away, each moment,

as quickly as it comes, it goes,

it flows.

And instantly I saw it:

a tree, receiving water through its roots, then

pumping it upward, upward, in a million

tiny tubes, out into the leaves, and into the air.


given away.

And instantly I saw it:

an infant nursing at a generous breast,

full of play for so short a time,

then growing up so fast,

work, work,

giving birth, giving all,

growing old and then, in a sigh,

in a final exhalation,

all received, all given away.

“That is you, isn’t it?” I mused, or

prayed, or both.

“In all the giving, in all the flow,

that is you.”

And I did not fully understand

(I never do) but I saw,

God in the river,

God in the tree,

God in child,

Life, breath, flow, death.

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A Poem: Confession

the old priest was reminiscing:

nobody comes to confession any more, he said,

and that’s a relief. i always hated confession.

it was like getting stoned with marshmallows.

can you imagine it?

father, forgive me, for i have sinned.

it has been six weeks since my last confession.

i ate meat loaf last friday.

i ate a hot dog a few fridays before that.

i coveted my neighbor’s weight loss

every day.

oh, woman, i said that afternoon, when

i could stand no more:

you are boring me, you are boring yourself,

and you are boring Almighty God.

if you think this is what sin is, the church

has failed you.

your greatest mistake is playing along with our silly game

of meat loaf and hot dogs and self-hatred,

straining out Rhode Island and swallowing Texas whole.

here is your penance, i said:

do not say any hail mary’s. do not say a single our father.

never again, until you have the courage to

discover your sins that most need confessing.

she cried. she felt i was rude. I guess she was right.

i was having a bad day.

she complained about me to the bishop.

after his reprimand, i dropped into the safety

of conformity. and played the meat loaf and marshmallows

game myself, and

ah, there is a sin

worth confessing.




*inspired by a story from richard rohr


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