Sunday, May 7, 2017

In the Midst - Psalm 23

A couple of years ago, I was helping to teach a class about prayer. We were teaching lectio divina, which means “sacred reading.” In lectio divina, a short selection of scripture is read several times. Each time the scripture is read, those who are praying dive deeper into prayer. They choose a word or a phrase and chew on it, slowly turning it over in their hearts and minds. Sometimes, lectio divina leads into what is known as Imaginative Prayer. In imaginative prayer, the participants imagine themselves having a conversation with Jesus. They imagine not only what they would say to Jesus, which is what we often do in prayer, but also how Jesus would reply.

That day, as I was praying, I imagined that I was on a boat. I realized that I was imagining Matthew chapter 8, when Jesus and the disciples are out on the water and Jesus is asleep in the bottom of the boat. Suddenly, a terrible storm arises. The disciples are doing everything in their power to keep the boat from sinking. And Jesus keeps sleeping. There is a terrible storm, and Jesus is sleeping! The waves are crashing, the thunder is rolling, and Jesus is sleeping! The disciples wake Jesus up and ask him to help. Jesus gets up and says to his disciples, “Why are you afraid, you of little faith?” Then, he calms the storm.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

The Way of Love

1500 years ago, Christians began to celebrate the life of a priest. This priest had died as a martyr, that is, a witness to Christ. He had died sometime in the 300s CE.

Many stories were told about this saint. Some said he married Christian women and men in secret, in the days when it wasn't popular to follow Christ. Others claimed that he healed a blind girl, with whom he later exchanged letters. Still others recount that his martyrdom came about because he tried to convince Emperor Claudius II to follow Christ. Claudius, furious over what he considered an exploitation of their burgeoning friendship, had this priest beaten with clubs and stoned outside of Rome. 

Friday, February 12, 2016


This post is part of a Lenten series on bell hooks' TEACHING COMMUNITY. You can find an index of posts here.


The first thing to love about bell hooks is her passion for education. It bleeds through every page, trickles out of every word. It is her passion for pedagogy that leads her to write:

"There are certainly moments in the classroom where I do not excel in the art of teaching. However, it is crucial that we challenge any feeling of shame or embarrassment that teachers who do their job well might be tempted to indulge when praising ourselves or being praised by others for excellent teaching. For when we hide our light we collude in the overall cultural devaluation of our teaching vocation." (xi)

I know that, all too often, I am tempted to undercut the love and passion that I have for teaching and to undervalue what I do well in service to an idol of false humility and a (normally generative but sometimes destructive) self-critique.


I've been wanting to blog read a book during Lent, like I did last year with James Cone's CROSS AND THE LYNCHING TREE. Here's this year's choice:


Here's the reading schedule:

Friday, Feb. 12 - Preface

Tuesday, Feb. 16 – Teach 1 and 2

Friday, Feb. 19 – Teach 3

Tuesday, Feb. 23 – Teach 4

Friday, Feb. 26 – Teach 5

Tuesday, Mar. 1 – Teach 6

Friday, Mar. 4 – Teach 7 and 8

Tuesday, Mar. 8 – Teach 9

Friday, Mar. 11 – Teach 10 and 11

Tuesday, Mar. 15 – Teach 12

Friday, Mar. 18 – Teach 13 and 14

Tuesday, Mar. 22 – Teach 15

Friday, Mar. 25 – Teach 16

I've read select chapters from this book before and I am going to be engaging with some of hooks' writing for my dissertation. I have a feeling that this book is vital not just for me, but for our time. hooks is very readable, but that does not mean the reading will be easy. She continually challenges me. This is a good thing.

Join me!

Friday, February 5, 2016

A Week in the Hospital Part 8: Tuesday – Psalm 84

Last week (January 26-February 2, 2016), I ended up in the hospital. Something simple spiraled out of control. While in the hospital, I kept up with the daily reading of psalms that I’ve been practicing since the first of the year. The psalms I read were chosen by the Presbyterian Daily Prayer Lectionary. The psalms are sent to my e-mail every morning and I often read them on my phone, then again in my bible. These psalms helped to frame my experience. The following is an account of my hospital stay for friends and family who want to know what happened. [NOTE: This contains some graphic depictions of medical problems. No pictures, just words.]

To see the previous post, click here.


(By a “programming fluke,” this psalm was sent to my e-mail instead of the scheduled Psalm 12)

How lovely is your dwelling place,
    O Lord of hosts!
My soul longs, indeed it faints
    for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and my flesh sing for joy
    to the living God.
Even the sparrow finds a home,
    and the swallow a nest for herself,
    where she may lay her young,
at your altars, O Lord of hosts,
    my King and my God.
Happy are those who live in your house,
    ever singing your praise. (84:1-4)

Another round of doctor check-ins in the morning. All of them said I should go home.