The Food of Tears

This past year, I went through a period of silence. My normal unhurried times with God, usually the bread of His presence and the wine of His tenderness, had become a famine, a sort of Eucharist of dissolution. During many of those hours, God surprised me with tears. Not knowing fully why I cried, I…

Dry Swallow Christians

“As the deer pants for the water brooks… ”Psalm 42, Son’s of Korah Panting. The dry swallow of an animal in search of water, tongue lolling in the mouth, perhaps running as it catches a scent of moisture, bounding through thicket, urged on by a desperate longing. An untamed instinct, pushing itself to find what…

Young Leader, You Will Do No Better

Young Leader; I speak from an older seat now, perhaps wiser, but less vigorous. I speak to your heart of fire. You, whose legs have merely loosened before the race set before you! Listen, as I tell you a secret known to everyone. When I do a mental survey of the past 35 years with…

Cherokee Nation

Whenever it happens that God brings me close to a stranger, I ask Him to bring love between us, just in case, through their long journey, love has suffered. And so it happened, just a few days ago…. Setting: Driving west on Alternate Route 412, in the heart of Cherokee Nation, Oklahoma. Call me contrarian;…

Light to Dark Edges

I accepted Christ in the winter of 1979. That summer I worked for an Italian mason who swore a blue streak, and demanded relentless labor from his crew. The work didn’t bother me, but the environment of foul language and temptation had my new faith on the ropes. So, I called Mary Anne. A couple…

God Is Not An Answering Machine

One of Satan’s darkest schemes involves elevating prayer as the center beam of life, love and mission, but wrapping it in a veneer of duty. When prayer becomes less than love, it becomes just another discipline, or function, that gets in the way of our devotion, instead of enhancing it. Stop for a moment and…

Fresh Paint

‘Nothing a fresh coat of paint can’t solve.’ That’s my father talking, the homebuilder. His hands were ever creating. I think I inherited his artist heart, but instead of picking up a paintbrush, I picked up a pen. I use words to capture the world around me.  My mind takes pictures. It’s what happened when…

The Fire He Gives Me

On the beach, late afternoon, tide out, sand firm under foot. I’m not here to ogle at the pelicans, but to test my strength by running a mile as fast as my legs can carry me. When I lace up my old track spikes, memories flood my mind, and oddly, thoughts land on a long…

Walter,’Never at the Altar’

My partner for the ‘afternoon of outreach’ was Daniel, a high school student from Brooklyn. It was a first for him, this ‘going out and talking to perfect strangers.’ He was nervous, visibly. Later, he confided that for the past couple of years atheists, who challenged his every belief, had bullied him. The weekend retreat…

Mr Greengrass

During my growing up years, I called him Mr. Greengrass; wrinkles, wispy white hair, deep crow’s claws around penetrating eyes. He was the old man who came by often, and smelled like mothballs. Ironically, Leighton Greengrass lived up to his name, not a single blade of grass out of place in his manicured yard. One…

When God Breaks In…

He was a doctor of internal medicine, and his words were a jaded iceberg, admittedly desensitized by the dying he sees every day. “There are no miracles for someone in stage four cancer… at least I’ve never seen one,” he said. “My mom passed away about eight years ago. She was only 55, and at…

A Beggar, and the beauty of Advent

I was standing in line for coffee, when to my left appeared a homeless man. His stench overwhelmed a normally aromatic space. People fidgeted, and he went straight to the counter, leaned in and spoke with the manager. I overheard him ask for a cup of coffee. The manager shook her head, and the beggar…