looking back


    don’t eat alone is one year old today.

    Corndogmatic mentioned a meme that’s going around where you post the first line of the first post of each month as a way of reviewing your blog for the year. I’ve altered the idea a bit, going back to pull out some quotes along the way that point to some of things that matter most to me.


    “A crazy guest eats and leaves right away.” (Arabic proverb)
    12/28/2005 – “staying at the table”

    In the midst of all the tossing about, I feel these are very pregnant days, if I might change metaphors. We’ve been busy before. We’ve had weeks with more on our plates than we know how to eat; this is not that. As Bill said to Ted (or the other way round), “Strange things are afoot at the Circle K.” Something is happening. Something is growing. Something is about to be born.
    1/27/2006 – “building a mystery”

    Every trip to the supermarket, it seems, is a test of faith. Globalization means that my picking up grapes from Chile in the dead of winter means some poor farmer is taking it in the face. I have more fresh produce available to me in the dead of a New England winter than the people who live in the countries that grow the stuff ever get to see themselves. So I’ve joined the growing band of folks who are working hard to figure out how to eat more locally and challenge the big corporations.
    2/05/2006 – “we are what we eat”

    Faith, however, is not about civil rights; it’s more than that. We are called to love the world — everyone not because it’s the legal thing, or even the moral thing, but because it is the truest thing we can do. There is a wideness in God’s mercy like the wideness of the sea, says the hymn. From the beach at the end of my street, the sea is endless.
    2/25/2006 – “open and affirming”

    But to ride the monster — to come to terms with the depression being part of me, rather than an unbeatable foe and let it take me down, to submerge me until I could learn how to breathe and see and hear in the dark — offers a ray of hope. At the deepest, darkest places I find I do bump into both grace and danger, healing and wounding, life and death, not as polarities, but as creative tensions that offer me the chance to grow and learn and thrive: to begin to feel whole.
    3/05/2006 – “riding the monsters”

    Jesus was saying live the kind of life that will get you in trouble with the authorities. Love so emphatically, so prophetically, so audaciously that you could be construed as criminally subversive. When we talk about the “crosses we bear” as the hardships we live with, or the difficulties we face we are missing the power of the image. The call is to be holy terrors, to make nuisances of ourselves and wreak havoc in Jesus’ name.
    3/12/2006 – “wreaking holy havoc”

    Life is not an equation. Whatever my body is doing chemically is not the story of my life, even for today. As the snow falls, the animals huddle close, calling me to hear the strange harmonies that unlock walls, redeem destruction, and echo deep into the darkness.
    4/05/2006 – “things to think”

    Centering may be a better word. I’m a little over six months away marking my first half a century on the planet and walked today where Paul walked forty of my lifetimes ago, as he walked over ruins of those who had been there six or eight lifetimes before that. Two thousand years feels like a close connection when I think of it as forty lifetimes. We have accumulated more than two thousand years of living just by adding up the ages of the people riding on our bus. Stretched out over centuries it is a long time; imagined as a connected web of human existence it is not so far away.
    4/25/2006 – “what history looks like”

    We walked home under the moon, below the old city walls, and surrounded by the crowds and the beautiful sights, sounds, and smells of the abandon that flourishes within a celebrating community. We have walked today in the footsteps of our faith, in the heritage of our history, in the delight of discovery, all the time wading in the deep, deep river that is our common humanity. Faith, says Frederick Buechner, is a journey without maps. Ah, but with all these traveling companions, it’s not so hard to find our way.
    5/06/2006 – “out for a walk”

    I don’t want to forget what’s important, or be a slave to the immediate, and I have to come to terms with my limitations. As much as I would love to champion most every cause I come across, I can’t do it. There are too many important things for me to keep track of them all. That’s a hard truth for me to face.
    6/05/2006 – “keeping up”

    Love gets lived out in daily tasks and responsibilities, helped along by washers and dryers and mixers and grinders. Getting a new one reminds me why it was there in the first place: we decided to live our lives together.
    6/22/2006 – “appliance time”

    Ken Lay dropped dead in his vacation home in Colorado. One news account said it might have been caused by the stress of the trial and the verdict. Evidently, he felt little stress in committing the crimes, which leads me to my second thought. His death demonstrates the uselessness of the death penalty: Ken Lay is dead; nothing had been made better.
    7/06/2006 – “life sentence”

    Sometimes I’m caught by surprise by the sacredness of simple things.

    Caught the way a child is caught when he jumps off the side of the pool into his waiting mother’s arms, gleefully giggling the whole time. Caught the way an expression is caught in a photograph, a two-dimensional picture holding layer upon layer of memory. Caught the way a fly ball is caught when the outfielder lays himself out in a desperate dive and comes up with the ball in his glove.
    8/03/2006 – “caught by surprise”

    We’re created in the image of a go-for-broke-swing-for-the-fences-what -can-I-do-next-man-that-was-fun-do-you-know-how-much-I-love-you-you-ain-t-seen-nothing- yet-I-saw-this-and-knew-you’d-like-it-what-do-you-say-we-skip-school-and-go-to-the-beach- drive-with-the-windows-down-singing-at-the-top-of-your-lungs kind of God who does miracles and other things with an extravagance we can’t explain and we live much of our lives in fear. How can that be?
    8/21/2006 – “bartender jesus”

    A rabbi, a priest, a physicist, a yoga instructor, an auto mechanic, a bag piper, a farmer, a ballet dancer, a soccer player, and an economist all go into a bar. I’m not sure where that story goes, but it will be better than one that begins, “Six teachers (or accountants, or artists) locked themselves in a room together and said, ‘Good. Now we’re safe.’”
    9/19/2006 – “einstein’s ipod”

    There’s an ad campaign for something called Tag cologne that makes it seem as though any teenage girl who smells it on a boy will immediately disrobe. There’s something in the attitude towards the girls in those commercials that is kin to the shootings. Everything from Hooters to hip hop is telling our girls they are expendable. They are the targets caught in our cultural crosshairs.
    10/03/2006 – “missing the point”

    There is an ongoing lamentation to our humanity: we, like the leaves, will only hang on so long before we fall. Hopefully, we, too, can go out blazing. But there is a melody more enduring than the sounds of grief and pain, a song that permeates life at every level, one that we were given from birth.
    10/22/2006 – “how can I keep from singing?”

    And when I feel overwhelmed, I let my world get smaller. I can’t find the answers to my life, so I quit listening to all the questions. But there aren’t answers, only a call which requires that I listen and look up to hear and see more than me.
    11/14/2006 – “it’s a small world”

    Memory is essential to purpose and compassion. Let us look beyond the slight of hand that tricks us into thinking the immediate is all that matters. Look up. Look in. Look out. I can only see what I can see; the same is true for you. Together we can assemble a perspective of purposefulness with eyes open wide to let all the light in.
    11/30/2006 – “the vision thing”

    We grow like Jesus grew. I’ve walked the earth now almost twenty years longer than Jesus did in his lifetime; my grandmother just tripled Jesus’ age when she turned 99 a couple of weeks ago. For all of us, the years happen a day, a moment at a time, in both significant and insignificant increments.

    Christmas is coming incrementally for us this year, just as life and faith come day after day. And I still have time to hang the lights.
    12/18/2006 – “an incremental christmas”


    Thanks for reading.



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