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Showing posts from September, 2011


Since I no longer have a "home church", I find myself going to a different church each week and lovin' it. As I 'shalom' from coast to coast, I hop around from church to church seeking to have an experience.  I know I should go to church because its the right thing to do, or because I'm committed, or because I'm a churchman...but I go somewhere each week simply to have an experience of God in worship.  And I mostly do.

Today, I went to my "default" church  in Morristown, NJ. --the place I go when I'm not church hopping.
One of their tag lines is "Not your mama's church"  liquid is a place where worship band members have tattoos to let you know they have a past.  Where the music is played at very high decibels on stage, under theater the lights, in a large ballroom at the Hyatt Hotel.  Where the pastor is known as "big hair preacher."  Its a very cool, theologically conservative, socially active, media…

Remembering Henri Nouwen

Today--September 21--is Henri's day.  As I remember my teacher Henri Nouwen on this 15th Anniversary of his death and transition, I am reminded not only of his incredibly significant contribution to the theory and practice of spiritual direction and spiritual formation, but of his conviction that if we befriend our death before we die, our spirit remains accessible to those we leave behind. I reached out today to others who knew Henri in life and remember him in death.  They too recognize September 21 as an auspicious day for many.   In honor of Henri, I offer this quoteabout “befriending death” in Chapter 7 ofSpiritual Formation: Following the Movements of the Spirit "It seems indeed important that we face death before we are in any real danger of dying and reflect on our mortality before all our conscious and unconscious energy is directed to the struggle to survive… I think, then, that our task is to befriend death."
Looking ahead, Drew University will honor t…

Five Bells, Five Sites Pilgrimage in New York on 9/11

New York, Sunday, September 11, 2011. 

How to observe the 10th Anniversary of 9/11?  Since I'm only an hour from Manhattan, I decided to take a train into the city and join my friend of 40 years, Rev. David Best, former pastor of the Lamb's and now Director of Towel and Basin ministries, to spent the the day together.  We met for a memorial service at his church--St. Mark's United Methodist Church--an historically significant,140 year old church in Harlem.  After lunch, we began our tour of Ground Zero (where we met facinating people from conspiracy wackadoodles to European vistors who felt deeply moved to visit NYC on this auspicious day.   We enjoyed the incredibly positive and spiritual energy in St. Paul's Chapel--spared by the destruction all around, and became a refuge for rescue works and sanctuary for many in the chaos. We stood outside St. Peter's Church where the famous 9/11 Cross  stood for ten years before being transferred to the 9/11 Memorial Museum …

Not Afraid of Death by Julia Esquivel

In reading your blog, Michael, I immediately think of these two poems is poem by Julia Esquivel, from Guatemala, whom I had the pleasure of meeting years ago.  Un abrazo, Ada Maria


I am no longer afraid of death
I know well
Its dark and cold corridors
Leading to life.
I am afraid rather of that life
Which does not come out of death,
Which cramps our hands
And slows our march.
I am afraid of my fear
And even more of the fear of others,
Who do not know where they are going,
Who continue clinging
To what they think is life
Which we know to be death!
I live each day to kill death;
I die each day to give birth to life,
And in this death of death,
I die a thousand times
And am reborn another thousand
Through that love
From my People
Which nourishes hope!

They have threatened us with Resurrection
There is something here within us
which doesn’t let us sleep, which doesn’t let us rest,
which doesn’t stop the pounding deep inside.
It is the silent, warm weeping of women w…

Re-imagining 9/ 11 and Befriending Death

Mindful of the tenth anniversary of the September 11th Terrorist Attack on the US, I offer this ‘guided conversation’ on "Re-imagining September 11th and Befriending Death."  I shared it first with ministers of shalom gathered at Drew University yesterday for a one-day “report back” session after they had completed their 6-10 week shalom zone assignment this summer.

A Guided Conversation, as employed in Shalom Training, is a tool for reflection and a way to invite deeper dialogue. It is a progression of questions that takes each individual in a group on a journey.  The method has four levels: Objective Subjective Interpretative Decisional
The theory behind this progression of questions is that it’s easier for people to climb slowly down a difficult cliff than to jump straight down in remembering what may be quite painful to share. 

To prepare for the questions, I showed the trailer to the documentary “The Cross and the Towers” about how metal cross beams in the form of crosses were…