• still listening

    by  • January 14, 2018 • 8 Comments

    I preached at my church today. The person who was supposed to be our speaker for MLK Sunday was ill and Ginger and Sarah asked me to fill in. I am sorry she got sick and I am grateful for and humbled by the opportunity to preach today. Here is the manuscript of the...

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    dress code

    by  • January 3, 2018 • 3 Comments

    I offer an out-of-season weather poem, based on a first line I found in notes for an older version of this poem. Stay warm and dry, friends. dress code I dress myself with rain, shape a hat out of clouds, make a scarf of the wind, wrap myself in a coat of many shadows—...

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    advent journal: tell me a story

    by  • December 24, 2017 • 3 Comments

    Many years ago, Ginger asked me to write a story for the Christmas Eve service at North Community Church in Marshfield, Massachusetts. What came out was “A Faraway Christmas,” which I have posted here on several other Christmas Eves since. When we lived in Durham, I made a recording, along with harmonica accompaniment by...

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    advent journal: moving on to love

    by  • December 23, 2017 • 1 Comment

    When we mark time by the liturgical calendar, we only count and number the four Sundays before Christmas, which means the fourth Sunday—tomorrow—doesn’t have a week to go with it. We have had days to stretch out with hope, peace, and joy, but love get the short shrift, as far as Advent goes. So...

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    advent journal: ellipses

    by  • December 22, 2017 • 8 Comments

    ellipses I am fighting hard to hope . . . Well—now I’m staring at the page hoping to find a different verb. I’m not looking for a fight. why let my word choice turn to violence over things that matter? I am fighting hard to hope . . . maybe the problem has more...

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    advent journal: highway song

    by  • December 21, 2017 • 2 Comments

    highway song here is a well-traveled metaphor: life is a highway but not an interstate more of a two-lane blacktop that hits all the lights in every small town an intentional inconvenience that makes you decide to stop at one of those roadside cafés a filling station of the heart where whoever comes up...

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    advent journal: passive resistance

    by  • December 20, 2017 • 3 Comments

    passive resistance more mornings than not I find myself wishing there was no passive voice. I lose patience with a world where things are said, bills are passed, mistakes are made, women are harassed, damage is done, and lives are lost, as though the mistakes make themselves, the violence happens without perpetrators, and the...

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    advent journal: give me ten

    by  • December 19, 2017 • 6 Comments

    I am happy to admit that one of the traditions around our house this time of year is to watch a whole bunch of Hallmark Channel Christmas movies. This year, between my depression, the state of the world, and the fact that pitchers and catchers don’t report for another two months, they have been...

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    advent journal: food for thought

    by  • December 18, 2017 • 5 Comments

    food for thought the bible says we are made of dust . . . our bones, perhaps, but our spirits are made of the savor of sautéed garlic, the hope of rising dough, the laughter of bacon frying,the simmer of friendship— every morsel of our mortality a reminder to remember that we came from...

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    advent journal: the courage of joy

    by  • December 17, 2017 • 2 Comments

    On the cusp of the passing of an unfair and unjust tax bill, and a couple of days after the fifth anniversary of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary school, and on the morning that a suicide bomber killed twelve other people at a church in Pakistan, and in the light of what feels...

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    advent journal: affirmation

    by  • December 16, 2017 • 4 Comments

    affirmation let yes be our response to most any of life’s questions . . . not an answer as much as a declaration: yes to the chance, the hope, the opportunity, the near-miss, the adventure, the small gesture, the long shot, the promise, the possibility, the unexplainable, the failure, and even the grief: yes...

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    advent journal: far afield

    by  • December 14, 2017 • 8 Comments

    far afield I wonder what the shepherds did the year after the angels came, or how the Magi went about their business when they got back home. Do you think the innkeeper woke in the night sometimes and opened the door, hoping for strangers, or sat out in the barn for no reason? How...

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