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“Adam and Eve”-Peter Paul Rubens, 1629, courtesy Museo Nacional de Prado A new Bible Study has led me to start at the beginning, with Genesis. In addition to telling us about the “beginning” and “creation”, the early chapters also tell us about the character of God as told by Moses. Creation is “very good” but then we learn of The Fall in Chapter 3…
 
Proverbs 6 (ESV) 16 There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: 17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, 18 a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, 19 a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers. Blessings, my friend, A…
 
Catedral de Santiago de Compostela, Spain I’m welcoming 2021 with great enthusiasm. It’s time to turn the page on 2020 and get a fresh start. A lot changed in 2020 and it’s time to keep the new that is good, and discard the bad. There’s another reason that 2021 is special: It is a Holy Year in Santiago, Spain. Tonight, on December 31, the Holy Door…
 
Photo courtesy of Mission San José, San Antonio For decades my holiday tradition has been to attend a Christmas Eve church service that ends after midnight. I would rush home with the glow of Christmas carols sung in community and then open Christmas presents, since it was actually Christmas morning! I’d sleep late and then take a hike (or at least…
 
Puente de San Xoan de Furelos: Palas de Rei to Arzua on the Camino de Santiago, Spain Due to the pandemic and my retirement in August, I’ve had more time on my hands than ever before. One thing I’ve engaged in is to take virtual Spanish lessons through the University of Tennessee. I started the third and last course in the series this week and it a…
 
As this election season comes to a close, I am thankful for the extra time I will have when the winners is declared. Between, emails, texts, television ads and social media, it has been impossible to escape the barrage of truths, half-truths, and no-truths to which we have been subjected. Hopefully we can get back to a civil running of the country …
 
Novenas are ancient public or private prayers that are repeated for nine days or weeks. In this election season, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry of the Episcopal Church has called on everyone to gather and together pray for our nation and the election. The Rev. Jay Sidebotham speaks on the initiative: “In this election season, we carry out an import…
 
“The Calling of the Apostles Peter and Andrew”, 1308-1311, Duccio di Buoninsegna, image courtesy of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC For the past 6 months, I’ve seen a lot written around a basic question, “What is Church?” When I was growing up, church was a building I went to out of obligation. Strong Roman Catholic roots and post-colle…
 
NYT Magazine, September 20, 2020 “Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” (James 2:15-17 (NIV)) In retirement, I’ve …
 
It’s time to drop the labels. Rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, Socialist or even Christian. The labels don’t mean anything any longer. Not only is “rich” and “poor” not well defined, it is a stereotype to apply to someone that I don’t know. Just because I live in a certain part of town or zip code doesn’t automatically mean I’m “rich” or tha…
 
Since I started in the working world in 1977, I’ve always had employer-sponsored health insurance. Because my employer has been the negotiator, I’ve had little direct interaction with the insurance companies with the exception of two denials: a denial for long-term disability insurance since I had breast cancer in 2006, and a denial for an open-sid…
 
Today starts a new chapter as I retired from my full-time job with HCA Healthcare yesterday. I’ve served in San Antonio and Nashville, and it has been the bulk of my pharmacy career; 23 years of the 43 I’ve been in practice. It has been a time the past few months during the pandemic of looking back over my adult years and since I’ve worked full-tim…
 
Brothers of SSJE at Br. Luke’s Ordination to the Diaconate, June 2020 I had the pleasure of seeing (yes, seeing via Zoom), two of the Brothers of The Society of Saint John the Evangelist this week as they facilitated a session for members of the Fellowship of Saint John. I have been unable to make my customary bi-annual visits to the Episcopal Mona…
 
A New Zealand Prayer Book Our Father save us from the time of trial, and deliver us from evil. Giver of the present, hope for the future: save us from the time of trial. When prophets warn us of doom, of catastrophe and of suffering beyond belief, then, God, free us from our helplessness, and deliver us from evil. Save us from our arrogance and fol…
 
Dr. Chester A. Robinson Jackson State University I’m spending a lot of time at home like the rest of us. I’ve found that my garden has never looked better and I’ve started weeding out some things I’ve had in the attic for awhile. Photos bring back memories of fun days with family and friends. I found a letter. It was tucked in the wrong place in a …
 
It is a confusing world now. With countries shut down and citizens relegated to our houses, our “normal” world has been turned upside down. In hearing the news, it appears our democracy is in danger when every person, regardless of race is regarded with dignity and honor. Our scientists caution us about the virus, “It isn’t over yet.” I’ve always b…
 
A friend just introduced me to a short service in the Book of Common Prayer, An Order of Worship for the Evening which contains the hymn: “O Gracious Light “ or Phos hilaron. The hymn was the appointed hymn at Evening Prayer last night at The Society of Saint John the Evangelist, an Episcopal Monastery in Cambridge, MA. It was first recorded in the…
 
I was always too busy playing, golfing, or schoolwork Dashing off to the next event Lots of time in the car singing along to the latest song Now, each morning the sun rises first And delights with a hot orange or dusty pink The birds awakening beginning their chatter The first rays of sunshine appear I take my hanging baskets of begonias and set th…
 
As a scientist and a member of the healing arts, I’ve been distressed about the “fake news” for a number of years, but even more distressed recently since lives are at stake. As of this morning there have been 172,120 deaths worldwide that were contributed to by the COVID-19 virus and 40,316 in the United States. It is presumed that there was commu…
 
Israel, 2011 We live in a great time of mystery. We have not seen a time that is less explained by science since we dove headlong into the Enlightenment. Although we can identify the scourge as the COVID-19 virus, we can neither describe its boldness nor determine its weakness. We are at present powerless to contain its spread. The early church fou…
 
Antigua, Guatemala As we shelter at home, I have time to think more clearly about my life and purpose and to gain meaning from the past. I’ve been “running on empty” (a great Jackson Browne song) for years. I’m not sure when it started, or maybe it has always been there. Striving for good grades in high school and college, to make an impact in my c…
 
Santiago, my 7-1/2 month old golden retriever Although I normally work from home one or two days per week, my 7-1/2 month old Golden Retriever, Santiago, is not used to having me around 24/7. Not unlike my puppy, I have energy to spare right now. Although I’m occupied with work, my favorite distraction is to take Santiago for a walk. It used to be …
 
The Deluge, J.M.W. Turner, Exhibited 1805, courtesy Tate Britain This week’s meditation from The Society of St. John the Evangelist Monastery in Cambridge, MA is on WATER. The video has interesting reflections from many of the Brothers and the Rev. Becky Zartman. You can watch the 15:06 video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ed-fP3huw30. Refle…
 
I’m facilitating a new Coffee & Discussion Group on Saturday mornings: The WAY OF LOVE: WHAT WE BELIEVE. We meet at 8th and Roast Coffee House at 42nd and Charlotte in West Nashville from 8AM-9AM. ALL ARE WELCOME!!! During Lent, we’ll meet to discuss the SIGNS OF LIFE: WHY CHURCH MATTERS series from the Brothers of The Society of Saint John the Eva…
 
I check social media at least a few times a day as my blog posts appear there and I like to reply promptly to comments or questions. There are posts from a few friends (past and present) that I always stop to read. They are usually uplifting, inspiring or ask thoughtful questions without judgment or condemnation. I enjoy photos of adorable children…
 
U.S. Supreme Court, February 2, 2020 What does it feel like to be falsely accused? I know my first reaction is defensiveness. How do I correct the wrong? How do I explain away a misunderstanding of words? And what if the accusation is intentionally false to create chaos and cast doubt? My “human” reaction never seems to defuse the situation, but in…
 
Tornado, photo from National Geographic I’ve known narcissists in my life so it is easy for me to recognize the signs. They create a general state of disorder, spreading drama that they love to start. And then they take command as “savior” to solve the issue they just created. They engage in behaviors to satisfy their need to feel superior and a de…
 
Catedral de Santiago de Compostela I learned a lot about myself as I walked the Camino de Santiago in Spain last month. Ten-hour hikes, often alone, gave me plenty of time to think, sort things out and do some analysis of my life. I tried not to scrutinize past occurrences. It doesn’t do any good to replay negative events over and over, hoping that…
 
How does it feel to be looking for something for a long time, and then to see your first glimpse? I’d been wanting to make a pilgrimage to walk the Camino de Santiago for decades. My favorite Gospel is John’s and I’ve often wondered what it would have been like for the two brothers, John and James to have followed Jesus and to have been counted amo…
 
Capila de San Marcos, Monte de Gozo, Spain It is the last day for our hike. Twelve miles to go from Pedrouzo to reach Santiago. It seems like we have just started on this journey with friends I’ve known all my life. I know that neither is true: this is the fifth and last day of our hike and I have just met these amazing people a little over a week …
 
Botana Estate Chapel, Arzúa, Spain Our fourth day on the Camino was only 11 miles from Arzùa to Pedrouzo and a more gentle route through meadows, oak and eucalyptus trees with small villages. It was farther than I’d ever walked in any day before the Camino but after 18 miles the day before, it seemed manageable. I taped my big toes again and determ…
 
Melide, Galicia, Spain We had already walked 29 miles on the previous two days. I was stiff and sore when I woke up, but didn’t find any blisters. I was determined to at least try the most demanding day of our Camino. Today we would walk for 18 miles. After stretching the stiffness out and bandaging the hot spots on my big toes, I developed a plan.…
 
Crucerio, Palas de Rei, Spain More miles than yesterday. I’d never walked 14 miles before and on the second day our walk was 15 miles. The good news is that my hip didn’t hurt at all after the first day (miracles), I only had two hot spots (no blisters), and after getting stretched out at breakfast my shins only hurt a little. This stage is from Po…
 
111 km I was filled with apprehension the morning of our first day. Would I be able to walk 14 miles over uneven terrain from Sorria to Portomarín ten months after a hip replacement? But you never are sure until you try. I was with a group of 20 from all over the United States whom I had just met two days before. Each person was interesting as we s…
 
The busyness of life seems to be constantly nipping at my heels. With my contemplative orientation, I crave periods of rest and time to think without worldly distractions. But I’ve come to appreciate that my faith has really blossomed during times of community, particularly when I travel with groups of Christians to faraway places. The shared bond …
 
Credencial del Peregrino This week my Camino preparation is to read “Pilgrimage: a journey within” by Br. Geoffrey Tristram of The Society of St. John the Evangelist (SSJE), an Episcopal Monastery in Cambridge, MA. You can read the entire reflection as an on-line magazine or as a PDF copy. Although I am making a physical journey to Spain, it is not…
 
The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola (1491-1556) are a compilation of meditations, prayers, and contemplative practices developed by St. Ignatius to help people deepen their relationship with God. The Prayer of Examen is a daily spiritual exercise in remembering and is often practiced twice per day at noon and at the end of the day. PRESE…
 
This week I am preparing for my Camino Walk in October by contemplating my dream job. I hope to retire within the next few years and this will be important as I may not have a “full-time job”, but I will still have 24 hours in each day that need to be spent wisely. I looked over my list of 20 Favorite Things To Do to narrow down the activities that…
 
Only five weeks left until I start my pilgrimage to walk the Camino de Santiago. In preparation, this week, I’m practicing an ancient tradition of praying with prayer beads. The subject of my praying this week is each of the twenty-two Pilgrims, by name, who will be on the walk with me, as well as the twelve pilgrims who will be traveling in a seco…
 
How often do I moan that I don’t have enough time? This week as I prepare for my Camino walk, I’m reviewing a workshop I attended at The Society of St. John the Evangelist, an Episcopal Monastery in Cambridge, MA. It's time to... Stop, Pray, Work, Play & Love “So much of our stress and anxiety derives from our pollution of Time. God has given us th…
 
I’ve spent time this week contemplating my list of 20 things I like to do from Monday’s blog post. David Brooks in The Second Mountain says that “happiness is good, but joy is better. Just as the second mountain is a fuller and richer phase of life after the first mountain, joy is a fuller and richer state beyond happiness…The more you are living a…
 
For my spiritual preparation this week for my October Camino Walk, I’m borrowing two questions from discernment processes: 1) which person in the Bible do I relate to the most, and 2) twenty things I like to do. Will you join me in writing about your Bible Hero/Heroine and your 20 things you like to do? The person I most relate to in the Bible is A…
 
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