Spirit of my exploring heart, help me walk where deep-rooted questions rise through the firm hard ground, the pathway that has led to war and injustice for centuries. Bare-footed and trembling, let me feel the pain that inhumanity has tramped into the earth. Let me face the unknown, assured that all my questions are natural and blameless. Help me learn how to live peacefully when war and anger rage, how to do justice while greed consumes resources that could sustain us. Bruised and battered, let my feet feel holiness rise through the ground of my being. Let that holiness fill me with confidence, that I might find alternatives to the well-trod roads to destruction. Grant me the wisdom to do as Moses did on that sacred mountain, when he was told “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.”
Shick, Stephen (2009). Be the Change: Poems, Prayers and Meditations
for Peacemakers and Justice Seekers
(Kindle Locations 388-394). Skinner House Books. Kindle Edition.
My heart is so full today. I cannot begin to express what this day means for me. So much of Tyler’s life is a struggle… for him as well as for his mama. To see this young man I grew from my own body coming into his own… to have members of my beloved community come to me and tell me they were honored to have been on the review panel when he had his interview…
Those of you on my Facebook know I’m reading Gregory Boyle’s book, Tattoos on the Heart. With as many excerpts as I’ve copied from my kindle, I don’t know how you could miss that tidbit. So in keeping with that theme, here’s another gem.
Unitarian Universalists believe that all religions should and can be accepted. A Unitarian Universalist believes in equality for all religions and every race. Unitarian Universalists often believe that religion is a search for meaning. It is more of an openness to new experiences rather than a set of beliefs. Religions help us to realize that every piece of our lives is related to the others.
Some Unitarian Universalists often think of religion as a time consumer for Sunday. Some Unitarian Universalists think of religion as a way of life, a sacred search for meaning and understanding. Some Unitarian Universalists believe in God, some don’t. Some believe that the theory of God is used to bully other religions and some think that God is a force, a feeling that flows through us and connects us to one another. To seek God would be to seek yourself and your surroundings.
Ho Mitakuye Oyasin. This means, I am related to all things and all things are related to me. I don’t believe in God I believe in love and faith. No matter what the situation is I will stand on the side of love, which means I care for the equality of all living things.
Many times I have expressed my belief that God is so much bigger than we think… that our ideas of god are like comfortable and familiar masks that we put on a concept that is so much bigger than our comprehension. This passage brought me to tears.
God, I guess, is more expansive than every image we think rhymes with God. How much greater is the God we have than the one we think we have. More than anything else, the truth of God seems to be about a joy that is a foreigner to disappointment and disapproval. This joy just doesn’t know what we’re talking about when we focus on the restriction of not measuring up. This joy, God’s joy, is like a bunch of women lined up in the parish hall on your birthday, wanting only to dance with you—cheek to cheek. “First things, recognizably first,” as Daniel Berrigan says. The God, who is greater than God, has only one thing on Her mind, and that is to drop, endlessly, rose petals on our heads. Behold the One who can’t take His eyes off of you.
Marinate in the vastness of that.
Boyle, Gregory (2010). Tattoos on the Heart (Kindle Locations 622-627). Free Press. Kindle Edition.
- Jesuit Priest, Gang Members Have No. 1 Chips & Salsa (friendseat.com)
A powerful story that illustrates the difference of being for the right cause, and being in right relations.
Pema Chödrön, an ordained Buddhist nun, writes of compassion and suggests that its truest measure lies not in our service of those on the margins, but in our willingness to see ourselves in kinship with them. In 1987 Dolores Mission Church declared itself a sanctuary church for the undocumented, after passage of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. Soon, recently arrived undocumented men from Mexico and Central America would sleep each night in the church (Guadalupe Homeless Project), and women and children, in the convent (Casa Miguel Pro).
Attention followed and lots of it. The media swarmed the place in these earliest days. As almost always happens, attention begets opposition. I used to dread clearing the parish’s answering machine during this period. It always had a handful of hate messages and vague (and not so vague) death threats.
Once, while I turn the corner in front of the church, heading to a CEB meeting in the projects, I am startled by letters spray-painted crudely across the front steps:
The chill of it momentarily stops me. In an instant, you begin to doubt and question the price of things. Read more…
Jesus, in Matthew’s gospel, says, “How narrow is the gate that leads to life.” Mistakenly, I think, we’ve come to believe that this is about restriction. The way is narrow. But it really wants us to see that narrowness is the way.
St. Hedwig writes, “All is narrow for me, I feel so vast.” It’s about funneling ourselves into a central place. Our choice is not to focus on the narrow, but to narrow our focus. The gate that leads to life is not about restriction at all. It is about an entry into the expansive. There is a vastness in knowing you’re a son/daughter worth having. We see our plentitude in God’s own expansive view of us, and we marinate in this.
Boyle, Gregory (2010). Tattoos on the Heart (Kindle Locations 519-524). Free Press. Kindle Edition.