Lent: Removing barriers

From the time I was 11 until I was 16, my family lived in a house that had a small creek that ran along the back of the yard. It was just a tiny little creek that in most places you could just step over it. During the East Texas spring we had plenty of […]

Lent: New possibilities

When I was very young, I was terrified of getting a shot. I don’t know where that came from. It might have been as simple as hearing one of my parents say, “I hope this won’t hurt much.” All I know is that whenever I was to get a shot, I threw a screaming, thrashing […]

Lent: Subtle judgments everywhere

I felt restless yesterday. I paced around, my mind jumped around, I expended a lot of energy being busy but not being focused. It was not until this morning that I sat still long enough to pay attention. I had judged those thoughts and feelings yesterday as “bad.” I paced around thinking I should do […]

Lent: Careful with those labels

We label things out of necessity. How difficult daily life would be without labels for things and experiences. “I’m going to pick up this object that has a substance for cleaning my teeth and I’m going to squeeze it onto this other object with bristles…” We need labels to make our lives manageable. But labels […]

Lent: Suspend judgment

When Jesus admonished his followers to not judge, lest you also be judged, I always assumed that was just about not judging people. The short version is, “Don’t call someone an idiot. That’s a judgment.” Of course, I would often then mutter to myself, “No, it’s just telling the truth. “ OK, maybe it was […]

Lent: The Beginner’s Mind

Stillness is difficult, still. Mental chatter still takes most of my attention. For the next few days I want to identify the chatter of judgments, labels, and explaining things away rather than listening carefully and seeing clearly. Richard Rohr is one of my current favorite thinkers and writers. He is currently experiencing the 40 days […]

Lent: Letting go of the outcome, Part 3

Nothing tangled me up or stopped me dead in my tracks faster than mixing God up in an important decision. Let me explain with some personal history. Growing up in the home of a Southern Baptist minister, I heard from the pulpit and around the dinner table the importance of seeking God’s will and following […]

Lent: The Descent

I clearly remember climbing the hill at Lakeview Baptist Encampment that evening of our last day of the church youth retreat. I was 16; it was the summer after my sophomore year. I had spent a long weekend at camp with 30 or so high school kids from our church, my best friends. We gathered […]

Last times

Patsy talked about her last real meal.  The evening before going to the hospital with abdominal pain and vomiting, she enjoyed a home-cooked meal at her niece’s, complete with vegetables picked from the garden that day.  After that evening, and for the 10 weeks until her death, she never had another home-cooked meal, or another […]

Ode to my truck

A basic tenet of Buddhism is nonattachment.  In fact, if you cut through lots of the church doctrine that’s been added over the centuries to Christianity, if you get back to the basic teachings of Jesus, he too taught nonattachment.  Jesus and Buddha knew that life’s meaning and true joy were not to be found […]