Archive for September, 2014

Hollow Places


My current “spiritual director “works with me through his blog – along with thousands of others, I’m sure. The Rt. Rev. Steven Charleston is a former Minnesotan, and served as Bishop of Alaska and dean of General Seminary in New York City (when Kate was there!). He is a member of the Choctaw Nation and has been a passionate spokesperson for Native Americans, for the environment, and for justice for all people. He currently resides in Oklahoma.

I read his meditations nightly and they sustain my spirit and give me hope. This is one:

Here is a prayer for the hollow places, for the hollow people, for the emptiness inside. How often our lives are determined by the need to fill something within us, something stolen away when we were small, something that has long gone missing. So tender is this space we rarely speak of it in public but shelter down in our souls to hold it hidden. It can make us brittle. It can make us rage or cry out of fear. We can seek to fill it with power or pills, drink or drama, but wake more empty than before. Come good Spirit and give us the love that heals the hollow we know but never name.

And another:

We live in an uneasy age, when doubt urges greed to claim what it can, and confidence fades as the old temples go unattended, Public leaders walk backwards, showing us what was as though the past is what we should become. Distraction is big business. Information outsells wisdom. Technology the magic on which we rely. You and I were born to this time though we feel no part of it. We are here to witness to the quiet prophecy of reason, the healing of sharing, the hope that does not fear the future. We are stewards of a faith that is not anxious, peace when peace is hard to fine.

See what I mean?

You can find more of Charleston’s meditations on Facebook or in two published collections available from Red Moon publications. They are superb.

See you in church.


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A Place to Stand





I just read the morning newspaper and my head hurts.

Since I read it on real paper and not online, it’s harder to just “scroll” past the bad stuff:

A man is charged with murder for leaving his child to die in a hot car because, apparently,

he “had tired of family life and wanted to escape its burdens.”

“Al-Quaida open for business in Asia.”

“White privilege prevents understanding of racial tensions.”

Ebola continues to rage in Africa.

And it’s only 9:30.

And yet, there are stirring moments of wonder such as these:

Scientists are “in awe” (words not usually associated with scientists!) at finding the skeleton of an 86- foot long, 30-foot tall, 130,000-pound dinosaur in the Patagonia region of Argentina, the remnants of the biggest land animal ever discovered.

The Mankato football player who fought his way back from a brutal beating a year ago walked onto the field, supported by his teammates and a whole stadium full of people.

Forget about making sense of all of it. The problem is just taking it all in and then going on with the day.

The scientist Archimedes, who discovered the lever, said, “Give me a lever and a firm place to stand and I will move the earth.”

We need that, too: a firm place to stand. The earth has been a mess many times before and the past 100 years doesn’t have a corner on suffering. Yet this is the first time in human history that, on an hourly, basis, we learn about suffering in every corner of the world. It is, literally, in our face every time we connect with the news.

We need a firm place to stand. Religious faith has often served this purpose, giving us not only moral principles but a connection to a power bigger than the largest dinosaur and stronger than selfishness and hate.

How in the world can we navigate all of this without “a firm place to stand”?

This coming Sunday’s lesson from Romans says this: “Now is the moment for you to wake from sleep…. Let us then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armor of light, let us live honorably…”

A tall order, but the Gospel from Matthew gives us a suggestion about how to do it, and create a place to stand that does not topple when the fiercest winds blow.

We certainly need it.

See you in church.




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