“God loves those moments….”

“I believe God loves those moments when we do without him.  He thinks, ‘At last, they’re going to stop walking around with their nose up in the air awaiting some supernatural magic; they’re going to watch the snow and the trees and start to think a bit.  They’re doing the job without me, inventing utopias that don’t have me as their essence; they are finding within themselves there reason for all things.  In fact, without realizing it, they are understanding

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The Canaanite woman: Recognizing kinship

Samaritans

In 2015, writing about “Christian Universalisms,” I explained that Jesus

was from Galilee in northern Palestine, child of Aramaic-speaking peasants, not of the “proper” Hebrew-speaking Jews from Judea in the south. His [initial] concern was that his own Galilean people not feel excluded from God’s blessing because of their not being part of the Jerusalem-centered Temple cult.

As we find in teaching stories like “the woman at the well” (

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The alabaster jar

Many of us are chronically distressed by the suffering we see around us. It confronts us in the 24/7 news cycle, in social media, in what we pass on the street every day. We live with a longing to be rid of the pain and guilt that we experience in witnessing all of this suffering.

That longing drives us to cast about for things to do that would “fix the problem.” We try and we urge others to try political

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Wake up!

You don’t know what will happen if you go down that road.  That’s why you should go there.

Why do what you have already done?

The world never changes, and it is never the same.  Each step opens a new door to the same old life.  Infinite variations on the same thing.

Bill Murray as Phil Connors in Groundhog Day

Remember Bill Murray’s movie Groundhog Day?  Only weatherman Phil Connors knows that each day

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The Profane Gardener

Waiting for Quaker meeting
with a fence of white jasmine
behind me
and the
sun
a bit too warm

I hear from across
another wooden fence
opposite
the shout of the
morning-sobered plumber
stumbling from his
trailer:

“Alright! The first lily
has bloomed!
Fuckin’ yes!”

"Easter yellow," by Mike Shell (2012)

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Self-care

Nothing new.

Except perhaps that the the circumstances are more extreme than they have been since I lost my counseling career.

There is this.

The fixed idea that we have about ourselves as solid and separate from each other is painfully limiting. (35)

Bodhichitta is our heart—our wounded, softened heart…. The more you look, the more you find just a feeling of tenderness tinged with some kind of sadness. This sadness is not about somebody mistreating us. This is inherent

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A comment on “Seeing beyond Identities”

Originally published on Quaker Universalist Conversations on on 10/19/2015.

Friend Jim Wilson has a helpful comment on the QuakerQuaker republishing of my post, “Seeing beyond Identities”:

Mike, I wonder if your statement, “identities are figments of human conceptualization, not real boundary markers”, makes sense. It sounds to me like postmodernist sloganeering.

For example, if I am hungry I want to distinguish, that is to say, ‘identify’, a pizza and distinguish it from a

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Seeing beyond Identities

Originally published on 10/4/2015 on Quaker Universalist Conversations

In “Seeing beyond the Projections” (9/7/2015), I voiced my concern that modern Friends across the spectrum tend to perceive liberal or universalist Quakerism as representing anything but Christianity. As Wendy Geiger has put it so gracefully in her comment, I wanted to suggest an alternative view, a way “to keep one’s heart-mind supple and expandable and inclusive.”1

To give the discussion historical

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Seeing beyond the Projections

Originally published on 9/7/2015 on Quaker Universalist Conversations

Some recent conversations with Friends revealed that they considered Quaker Universalism to represent anything but Christianity. This is not surprising either psychologically or historically, yet it misses the core premise of universalism: inclusion.

Psychologically, our pattern-seeking brains prefer boundaries and distinctions, and their cognitive shortcut is to divide things into either/or categories. Historically, if I came to Quakerism from outside of the Christian community, or

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