Listen Now with Love

A man closed eyes around the sound that sungDownstairs to an untidy living room;And knew just then, with his heartstrings unstrung,That one day too soon he would need to exhumeThis memory. And one single-note thread,Sung by grief and joy, would surface this song:The chattering roar of going to bed;Two boys, giddy with sleep, playing strong.Continue reading “Listen Now with Love”

How I Met George MacDonald

I will forever remember 2019 as the year I fell in love with George MacDonald. I stumbled on a recording of The Elect Lady on my podcast app. I knew who George MacDonald was, but I did not really begin to know him until I met Andrew Ingram. This brilliant, rebellious, faithful, simple, obedient characterContinue reading “How I Met George MacDonald”

Moonrise on the Michigan Dune: A Friday Sonnet

Two weeks ago, on my last Sunday with Circle of Hope as pastor, the congregation organized some time for storytelling and blessing to send my family off with love. Thanks to Rob Lairmore, especially, for organizing. Dani Vazquez told a story about our time together at the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in July ofContinue reading “Moonrise on the Michigan Dune: A Friday Sonnet”

Light Comes Late: A Friday Poem

January is a great time for sunrise observation. Here’s a reflection after another beauty today. Light Comes Lateby Ben White Light comes lateThrough impossible branchesOf lake lining,Horizon heavingCanopy Naked in winter.Jagged shapesAnd unimaginable lines,Stranger than you could thinkTo design Scrawled against the sky.Back-lit byGray-blue brighteningToward orangeOr maybe pink – You never know by now.Dawn comesInContinue reading “Light Comes Late: A Friday Poem”

Seven Memories Rising to the Surface as I Finish Seven Years of Pastoring

It is the eve of the New Year and the eve’s eve of my last day of pastoring Circle of Hope in South Jersey. Tears fill my eyes as I write this sentence. I am sad, but trusting God in what is next. I wanted to offer a remembrance for me and for my congregation.Continue reading “Seven Memories Rising to the Surface as I Finish Seven Years of Pastoring”

For the Feast of Stephen — A Bible Story

For the Feast of Stephen Acts 7:51-8:2 “You stiff-necked people! Your hearts and ears are still uncircumcised. You are just like your ancestors: You always resist the Holy Spirit! Was there ever a prophet your ancestors did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you haveContinue reading “For the Feast of Stephen — A Bible Story”

To the End — A Christmas Story

I’m beginning my time at Nemours Children’s Hospital. Moving into chaplaincy again, this story came to mind. I wrote it about my first experience of death in the hospital one December many years ago. It’s almost all true, but none of the names are. May what needs to be unmade in you die this winter,Continue reading “To the End — A Christmas Story”

Mary Said “Yes!” — A Bible Story

Mary Said “Yes!” (This one is actually a play) ——– Luke 1:26-28 (New Living Translation) In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David. Gabriel appeared toContinue reading “Mary Said “Yes!” — A Bible Story”

Imaginative Prayer: Am I a cosmic dolphin?

“I was kind of like a cosmic dolphin,” I said to my friend as I described the waking dream I had while meditating. Angela Lam of Jesus Collective had led us in a time of imaginative prayer. She had painted us a scene in which Jesus was present in some way that I forget, butContinue reading “Imaginative Prayer: Am I a cosmic dolphin?”

Peacemakers Observing Veteran’s Day

My friend from the Jesus Collective, Keith Smith, shared this today on Facebook: “In war, there are no unwounded soldiers.” Praying for shalom in our veterans and in our world. That’s pretty much it, I think. How do Peacemakers who follow Jesus observe Veteran’s day? Praying for shalom in our veterans  and in our world.Continue reading “Peacemakers Observing Veteran’s Day”

With Days Getting Shorter Here Are Seven Ways To De-Funk

The sun sets today at 6:09 pm. In two months it will set at 4:39 pm. With the spookiest weekend of the year in a couple of days, the biggest ghost haunting me right now is the actual darkness.  For many of my friends and neighbors, with November and December in the Northern Hemisphere comeContinue reading “With Days Getting Shorter Here Are Seven Ways To De-Funk”

Fullfill All Righteousness: a meditation on Matthew 3

Jesus changes the direction of all our religious quests. We had convinced ourselves that by our careful observation we could be righteous, but we had only just begun. We hade barely gotten to the beginning when we thought we had arrived at the end. “John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism ofContinue reading “Fullfill All Righteousness: a meditation on Matthew 3”

Lost and Found Resurrection – A Sonnet

I was dumbstruck when I discovered the little resurrection pendant I had lost at least a year earlier in the parking lot of Circle of Hope’s building in South Jersey. I had lost it and looked everywhere in my house but never even began to look elsewhere. Yet, there it was right next to whereContinue reading “Lost and Found Resurrection – A Sonnet”

I refuse to know everything!

It seems that if I am going to care about anything, I have to care about everything. The message that has flooded the basement and whole house of my imagination is “all or nothing.” How did this happen? We (maybe humans; definitely North Americans) have a fascination with technique and expertise. Everyone could be anContinue reading “I refuse to know everything!”

The Resurrection is a Whole Vibe

Rachel Sensenig, another Circle of Hope pastor, recently posted one of those billboard type posts on facebook: “Do I have to believe in the resurrection in order to be a Christian?” It generated some facebook dialogue which might challenge the truth of our Circle of Hope proverb: “Dialogue keeps us connected and protects our gravity.”Continue reading “The Resurrection is a Whole Vibe”

An Old Sonnet: Facing the Eternal Word

I’m working on a few new poems that are just not quite ready. So here’s an older post that with a poem that came to mind this week. I thought I would share it again. My Co-Authors: The Mother Delaware, C.S. Lewis, Joy Davidman, and the Apostles John and Paul This morning I was sittingContinue reading “An Old Sonnet: Facing the Eternal Word”

Making a splash in my neighborhood (You can too!)

Putting Circle of Hope on the Map in OUR Neighborhoods This month, Circle of Hope sponsored the West Collingswood Extension Civic Association newsletter. That’s my neighborhood. It’s a wonderful, weird little slice of South Jersey. It is part of Haddon Township, but separated from the largest chunk of this patchwork township by Collingswood. AND myContinue reading “Making a splash in my neighborhood (You can too!)”

Loosestrife: A Sunday Sonnet

Loosestrife for Oliver (“peacemaker”), Theodore (“Gift of God”) and Lysimachus (Not the warrior of Third Century Thrace but the proto-botanist physician of minor Fifth Century renown and the first Western identifier of the lythrum salicaria plant commonly known in English as Loosestrife) An etymological blunder brought This blood beknighted flow’r upon my banks Lysimachus who foundContinue reading “Loosestrife: A Sunday Sonnet”

Are You Compromising for Love? :: A report From Getting to Know the Bible

Getting to Know the Bible In Circle of Hope we say in our proverbs “The Bible should be known and followed, and that is a group project” and one of the ways we are doing that is our “Getting to Know the Bible” dialogue series. The pastors and their friends are leading 90 minute zoomContinue reading “Are You Compromising for Love? :: A report From Getting to Know the Bible”