Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Running and Prayer

Thanks for the following Jason! 

From an interview with the Presiding Bishop, the Episcopal Church, New York

How do you feel running helps with your work? Do you like to use the time to brainstorm or solve issues?

Absolutely. It's focusing for me. In my tradition we might talk about it as body prayer. It's a meditative experience at its best. It's a sort of emptying of the mind. That's probably why I prefer running in the wilds rather than in the middle of the city.

I like the thought of emptying of the mind. I have always sensed that the running really is a form of prayer for me. I may not have yet discovered all the words that I would like to put to it, but this is a good start. 

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Michael Monroe

Got to hear one of long time favorites Friday night. Check out his myspace here Michael Monroe. I first heard Michael in a living room at a Young Life club in Cedar Falls, IA.  In 1975. Now he lives in a cabin near Grand Marais, MN,

I recently listened to an interview with  Leo Kottke who talked about being “in concert.” I normally think of the term as referring to a show with a time and a place. Kottke described being in concert in deeper terms. The theosuaus lines up words for concert like; together, jointly, in combination, in collaboration, in cooperation, in league, side by side; in unison and in harmony. Leo spoke of an energy that he can feel coming right through the floor that flows between him and the audience. For him, that is when he knows he is in concert.

Listening to Michael’s music was indeed an in concert experience entwining the audience in a breathing spiritual life calming joy.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Christmas Dinner with Dad

Dad, Gizmo, a mystery Santa, and one wild elf!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Advent / Showing Up

I went to “Bud’s” funeral yesterday, the dad of long time friend. The funeral put words to a ministry that I have been trying to explain. Bud’s kids summarized their parents life with these words, “They show up.” When a fence needed to be put up, they showed up, when a baby was born, when someone was in the hospital, they showed up, if someone was in need, they showed up. What amazing words to hear at the beginning of advent, our time of waiting. In a world of need some where in a stable, some long time ago, Jesus shows up. 

Milestones ministry is often talked about from our institute as tending the baptismal journey. It is a way of recognizing the meaningful, memorable, moments in the lives of our kids, honoring these moments by naming God’s presence, blessing this time, gathering with in the midst of generations and often marking this with a gift for continuing faith. As milestones ministry is a significant way for passing on faith to our children and youth, I think it is also a way of caring for our neighbor.

The words “showing up” is also about milestones ministry. Showing up ministry requires an awareness of of needs and joys, observation and sensibility to know when to show up and intentionality that values showing up as vital ministry. Showing up requires putting aside cultures narcissistic, too busy,stressed out, tendencies and allows us to care for our neighbors. Showing up is an outreach ministry that needs not change the other. It simply reflects loving others because of God first loving us. Naming, blessing, gathering and gifting, the outline for tending the baptism milestones does not change for the showing up milestones.  

So, advent arrives. We wait for Christ to show up. It is very likely that Christ’s showing up will be recognized only when the Christ in us (me, if I listen to my own words) moves out into the midst of our neighborhoods, classmates, colleagues, communities, and into the world, showing up honoring the life’s joys and sorrows.

from weekend training... 
Maybe Peer Ministers understand even better than I the importance of showing up!

Nathan at the Varsity

Cold, Small turn out for a late Monday night... but he sounded great!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

San Francisco

Marvelous group... 

Wrote prayers on luminaries that then lined the labyrinth 

Kids "Wheated" on Pier 39 only to meet Santa (works for Macy's!)

Saturday, November 24, 2007

melancholy moon

The beaver moon as shot through John’s telescope.

Attributes of patience and process become a rather aching progression that I have not found time to prefect. This full moon shines bright in the sky but marks another melancholy night of waiting.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Silent Retreat

Friday evening till Sunday noon. No voices. (Thought it might be led be ex-librarians!)

Still got to run. I just got back from my silent retreat run and am sitting down at my room desk. I tired to run very silently! I seldom take an iPod. I certainly did not today. I like the silence, the solitude of the time. I admit that it has gotten harder. Life has gotten busier, and time fuller. I skip more days than I would like to. I suppose I need to appreciate the discipline of doing something I don’t always “feel” that I like to do. I like being admired as a “runner!” People have lots of questions when you tell them you run. “How far?” “Do you do marathons?” “What is your favorite place to run?” “Have you always run?” Reality is I run around my pond and come home. It is less than three miles, and I almost always walk some of it.

There is some spiritual connection for me though. Certainly I connect it with my own wellness and sanity. After Randi died is when I started. It seemed to be a better alternative than depression. The runs are almost always coupled with memories, with thoughts, and with prayers. But I also connect the observations. Many times the observation comes home in the form of a picture. The blog often becomes an outlet for some words.

I am now recognizing that even the photography is a form of prayer for me. Prayer seems to have less and less to do with words.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Hard Frost Morning

Geese were making decisions about swimming or standing on ice this early morning.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Happy Halloween

The terrifying walking picnic table, last seen almost 15 years ago, once again comes to life!

Trick or Treat!

Fall Run

Another fall evening run with geese flying in into the pond for the night, preparing for the trip south. My runs around the pond and through a stretch of woods has become my new wooded wonder for thoughts to flow. But, the real woods will always that place of my childhood.

It is in the woods, just a block from my house that I grew up. It is in the woods, I took many walks with my mom, where we hid behind trees playing hide and go seek with my dog Poppy, where I found my arrowhead, where friends and I explored, played, sledded, and pretended many adventures. It maybe shouldn’t be a surprise that when asked to imagine being in a favorite place from childhood that I would find myself standing silently in the midst of a visual wind in my woods.

This was a wind that I could see. It moved slowly almost like the ripples of water moving between rocks in a gentle moving stream. This spirit wind was a warm, messaging, comforting wind. I recognized this wind as sweet spirit breath, living, giving life, proclaiming presence, inviting the imagination to be free.

It was in this wooded spirit blown place that I was asked to visualize the meeting of Jesus. It was here I was asked to visualize the receiving of a gift. What came to mind was a large, maybe two feet long, paint brush. I understood right away, that this brush is designed to help me paint, not on canvas, as Randi did so often, but in the hearts and lives of people. My life, my vocation, my ministry may best be described as an art. I have been given the opportunity to paint, coloring lives, inviting people to see and recognize God in the midst of the everyday. Maybe as an artist my job is that is helping people to step out of the traffic, to see God, even in the midst of all the busy stuff at work, in relationships, in the world, in the church, all the stuff that does become political, manipulative and way to noisy. Again this verse, Psalm 46 vs. 10 out of "The Message,” pulls and tugs at my imagination. These words are becoming one of my best understanding of Spiritual Direction.

"Step out of the traffic!
Take a long, loving look at me, your High God,
above politics, above everything."

The Great Pumpkin Patch

The great pumpkin patch with Andrea, Renee, Aaron, Jamie and Sam.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Hunter Moon

Full moon setting Friday morning after a beautiful night on the deck.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

ND Capital Run

ND morning run, back to the capital grounds passing buffalo, a horse and a 57million year old tree.

Friday, October 19, 2007

LCMS Bismarck

There are those groups that simply surprise me... The group seemed to large with very few times to really connect. Then something happens that surprises me, and suddenly we go deep and I discovery the mystery of God once again.

Blessings to the High School youth gathered in Bismarck to help with the Jr. High gathering.


My airport pickup turned into my tour guides since the hotel room wasn't ready.

Thus... we visited the State Capital and the Historical Center...

After ND traditional Dome capital burned down they raised the only skyscraper. Since there is no bedrock in the area this was very unique undertaking.

The 3rd floor has a room decorated with Monkey wood, a rare wood from CA that represents a third of the wood that was ever used, shipped here by mistake, but to expensive to move back.

If N.D. ever succeeded the US would be in trouble because of the huge energy supplies, the amount of crops that could feed the whole US, and the military strength that includes many nuclear warheads.

The state has two guns per every person.

It is illegal to collect leaves from the capital grounds, which has a collection of every tree in the state.

It is also illegal to collect arrowheads, “But my uncle has a lot of them but you will never figure out which one because I have 32 uncles in the area.” Says the boy.

Almost everyone is either a Norwegian or a German in ND. (Wonder about the Native Americans?)

There is a huge snow angle making contest, competeing for the world’s most record going on between ND and MI. (I had to confirm this one. --- 8,900 reclaimed Guniss Book of World records. Associated Press Article and pic!)

And I really don’t know if any of the is true but it

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Step Out of the Traffic

"Step Out of the Traffic,
take a long loving look at me,
your High God."
-Ps 46:10 The Message

Traffic... I drive in it most everyday. It does fill ones mind with impatience, with judgment of other drivers, of thoughts for all the reasons I could already be doing the plethora of tasks that await me.

“Step out of the traffic.” --- As I set off on my Spiritual Director studies with the Christos Center, this seems to be words that keep coming back to my mind as an invitation, maybe a mantra, theme, or just plain common sense. We shall see. I cannot see much of anything with substance when impatient, judging, and full of imperative tasks. How can I see God without stepping out of the traffic?

  • What is the traffic for today?
  • How will I step out of it?
  • What do I fear if I do step out?
  • What will I find if I look towards God?

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Thousand Oaks

A retreat in Mountains of Malibu with CA kids...

This was the last of 12 groups since AUG. Several were just for a day, but others lasted three or four days. All wonderful, all worth doing, but a bit of a blur at this point. Top that all off with a bout a month long sneezy cold. --- and the last two weeks, of itchy poison ivy, and the blur gets even worse. I am finally starting to feel back to some kind of norm

Other updates... Started school at the Christos Center, put the house up for sale, thus all spare time going into sorting, cleaning, selling, and not much blogging... or much running. Time to get back to both.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

A Harvest Moon

Did you get up early enough to see the Harvest Moon setting in the west? It was worth the early morning!

And from a couple nights ago, moon in back, two inscrutably beautiful people.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

morning run

Crisp morning!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Leaving Gillette

John and Bo, a cowboy and a rodeo queen. (50 years before Bo's Grandmother was the first rodeo queen for the county!) Great people, wonderfully hospitable, and I know I am out of the big city for a while. We drove out to a coal mine view before going to the airport.

Gillette, WY

Gillette, WY --- Growing Groups

Gillette, a fast growing town, as the energy capital of the nation. Coal, oil and natural gas, makes this a boom town. Every store I passed has "help wanted signs." I was told several times that if you loose a job here you can be working somewhere else within a couple hours. A lot of scowboy spirit still remains. Going for a walk I felt an outsider for not driving a pickup with two dogs in the back. Supper on Friday was with Bo and John. There as "cowboy" as they come, and felt honored to be eating steak with them.

Running.... not yet... cold, still lingering on. Maybe tomorrow.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Cher and Gregg!

Triva for the day!
My brush with fame.
The dome house and the main bedroom I stayed in...
formerly owned by Cher, and Gregg Allman.

Yes, I showered in Cher's shower.
(A rather sad commentary on what excites me in life. Next thing you know I will be reading PEOPLE magazine too! Am I becoming a shallow person?)

Sunday, September 09, 2007

DaySpring Retreat Center

A great weekend with amazing kids just outside of Tampa Florida.

These kids "Rocked!"



If you want to smell the aroma of Christianity, you must copy the rose. The rose irresistibly draws people to itself, and the scent remains with them. Even so, the aroma of Christianity is subtler even than that of the rose and should, therefore, be imparted in an even quieter and more imperceptible manner, if possible. —Mahatma Gandhi

How interesting that Gandhi understood the quieter, subtler beauty of Christianity.

How sad that Christianity often is presented in argumentative, protective, forceful, louder, and louder ways.

Maybe Gandhi understood Christianity better than many of us Christians.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Cert 49

Not a very good Blogger lately. Morning, Afternoon and evenings have been full, full, full.

House is listed for sale tomorrow. I have been teaching at Cert school number 49 (another great group) with a full blown cold… (poor me, I am a wimp when it comes to colds) and fly out in the morning for Tampa. Busy, yes, but doing what I love!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Sugar Mountain N.C.

Camp Lutherock on the side of Sugar Mountain. A Cert School group. This morning... 5:30am up, and then up the Mountain. We were on top for sun rise... and the cracks in the Inukshuk we built caught the sun! It was two years ago this morning I got up and walked... how fun to be on top!