Saturday, 30 December 2017

Joining God, Remaking Church, Changing the World


I’ve recently read Alan Roxburgh’s “Joining God, Remaking Church, Changing the World: The New Shape of the Church in our Time.” This is a small, readable book that reflects accurately where the diminishing church is today, is inspiring in how we need to discover being church in new and spiritually deeper ways, and is encouraging with practical ideas and pathways forward. Anyone reading this article knows that the church and society they once knew is no more. That realisation can be a good thing that will hopefully set you free to more deeply discern with the Spirit new ways forward as the people of God. Richard Rohr, in one of his recent daily meditations (that I would highly recommend subscribing to at www.cac.org), writes “The word change normally refers to new beginnings. But transformation more often happens not when something new begins but when something old falls apart. The pain of something old falling apart - disruption and chaos - invites the soul to listen at a deeper level. It invites and sometimes forces the soul to go to a new place because the old place is not working anymore.” He goes on to say “Change can either help people to find new meaning, or it can cause people to close down and turn bitter. The difference is determined by the quality of our inner life, or what we call “spirituality.” Something “old” is falling apart. We are living in a time of rapid change at every level of global civilisation. The church is going through a time of transition, some would even say “reformation.” Of this there is clearly no doubt. God is in God’s world doing what God does in ever emerging new life and the creating of new and loving connections. God’s life is in no way contained to or controlled by the “Church.” The church is a school of Love that is called to be a participant in the life of God. The Spirit is very much active and alive in our communities, but the church has fallen behind and has in many ways become disconnected to what Spirit is doing all around us. Roxburgh, Rohr, and many other modern day prophets, are calling the church, the people of God, in addition to what we are effectively and meaningfully doing in our church buildings, to connect to what the Spirit is doing “outside” of our church buildings. The remaking of the church has everything to do with deepening spiritual practice and spiritual listening, learning to discern more clearly what the Spirit is already doing outside of our church buildings in our communities, and becoming co-creators with the Spirit in the transformation of our world. The church that we once knew is dying. But God is always creating new ways forward. In Roxburgh’s words, let us “Join God in the remaking of the church and changing the world.”

Friday, 22 December 2017

Have you heard?


Have you heard
of the ancient story,
a pregnant girl
traveled to
Bethlehem
where there was
no room
in the inn?




There was no room

but

Love came
anyway!

In the darkness,
surrounded by the
simplicity
of animals and shepherds,

God came
anyway!

In a weak
and vulnerable
child,

Christ came
anyway!

Awaken
O peoples
to the birthing
of Love
in the simplicity
of your hearts,
in the complexities
of your lives,

for God is
already there

anyway!

22 December 2017

Monday, 30 October 2017

Eastern Diocese Clergy Conference 2017: Let Go, Let Be, and Receive the Spirit in All Things



In this season of change and transition for the Church in our society, Bishop Geoff, among others, has recognised the need for our clergy and people to listen more deeply to how the Spirit is forming a new and emerging church. Two years ago he invited The Rev’d Dr. Winston Charles and the Rev’d Carole Crumley (both Episcopal priests and both directors at Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation in Washington DC) to come to the diocese and to lead a clergy conference on the practice of deepening contemplative prayer - listening for Spirit not only with our thinking minds but also, and more importantly, with our deeper spiritual hearts. The encouragement and experience of deepening contemplative prayer at that conference resonated so well amongst the clergy, the Bishop invited Winston and Carole to return to the diocese and lead another conference this October past. In addition to encouraging deepening contemplative prayer practice, this second conference was also about intentional listening from our deeper spiritual hearts as to what the Spirit is doing in the emerging church during this time of institutional transition and change. In the context and practice of contemplative prayer, the invitation in the movement and flow of the conference was: i) to let go of that in the church’s life that is no longer relevant or meaningful to our mission; ii) to recognise and name that which still has value and meaning and can be carried forward with the emerging church; and iii) the church is the Spirit’s work, not ours, so how can we listen more deeply for what Spirit is doing, to co-operate and “receive the Spirit in all things.” Whatever it is that is unfolding in the church and in our society, God is in it - “Christ is all and is in all” (Colossians 3:11). The Spirit’s call on the church, the people of God, is to listen more deeply to what Spirit is doing, to trust deeply, and to lean into the mystery of what is emerging. This is to admit that we don’t know exactly what we are doing, but that we recognise the invitation to surrender our thinking mind’s need to control and manipulate, and, through deepening contemplative prayer, to open up to our spiritual hearts - the very Mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16) - and surrender to the moment by moment flow of Love’s Life amongst us and as us. I don’t know what tomorrow’s church will look like, but I am ready to Love my way into it. That much I do know.

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Who Am I?

“Who am I?”
Jesus asks.
“Who are you?”
is the same question.

I am not
my aging and failing 
body.

I am not
my fearful and judging
ego.

I am not
my fragmented and dualistic
mind.

I am
who you are.
You are
who I am.

Can you imagine that?

We share
the same
Deep Mind
of Christ,
our deepest
and truest Self,

Love made flesh
in me,
in you.


21 August 2017

Thursday, 24 August 2017

The Wedding of a Fairy Princess

The wind blew,
the rain fell,
nature’s rawness
was felt,
the wildness
of creation.

For a moment
the sky opened,
the sun shone
as the fairy princess
emerged
from her forest.

Her beauty
stunned us,
as her presence
warmed us.

Her love
affected all,
raw as nature,
wild as creation.

She drew him
out of his element,
she drew us
into her heart.

They said
yes
to each other,
yes
in the storm.

Wild and alive,
like fairies
we played,
like divinity
we danced.

20 August 2017

A Fairy Marsh Wedding

The fairies danced
blessing the ground,
inviting celebration,
encouraging feast.

Assurance was given,
a daughter’s
wedding vows
would be exchanged
in this place,
on this ground,
in any weather,
through any storm.

Made sacred
with family,
made holy
by Love’s
play.

20 August 2017

Sunday, 6 August 2017

A Whale of a Tale: Kayaking in Witless Bay

Image result for humpback whale
Big water
full
of mystery.

Turbulent and unsteady
at the surface,
darkness and uncertainty
in the depths.

Launching
into uncertainty,
journeying
into the depths,

to face
fear,
to encounter
the unknown,

the humpback,
the commander
of the sea.

Magnificent
from a distance,
terrifying
up close.

The magnitude,
the power,
twice surfacing
from the depths.

Too close
for comfort,
diminishing
my vessel,
racing
my heart,
numbing
my senses

as a third
emerges
from nowhere,
unaware
of my place,

Pats
my bow
with his tail,

sits
my boat
on his back.

A whale of a tale.
He is wild.
I am free.

5 August 2017


What a beautiful summer it was for weather wearied islanders. Many of those who live on the island portion of Newfoundland and Labrador are blessed with what I call “short term bad weather memory loss.” Apparently we had a miserable spring (which I can no longer remember), but our summer days were sunny, warm and beautiful (which I can still remember). Regardless of the weather, it is important for the health of the soul to be outside in nature, experiencing the elements and delighting in God’s creation. Being an outdoor enthusiast, kayaking is one of the activities I enjoy to do. So, in the midst of this years busy whale season, with a relative who is an experienced kayaker, we launched our kayaks from Long Beach in Witless Bay and headed to the bird sanctuary at Gull Island. Having read something about Jonah the week before, I remember saying to my partner as we paddled toward Gull Island, with humpback whales surfacing at a safe distance, “into the belly of the beast we go.” Nearing Gull Island, we were literally paddling through Puffins with their bellies so fat with capelin, they could hardly take off from the surface of the ocean. Paddling south on the lee side of the island, which was absolutely full of bird life, all of my senses were awake to the smells, sights and sounds of the wildness, power and unpredictability of God’s creation around us. Passing the south end of the island, we encountered larger swells. The kayaks handled very well, and I got a little over confident. On our return leg near Beaches Path, as we headed back to Long Beach, I suggested to my partner that we get a little closer to the humpbacks for one last look. Before we knew it, we were overwhelmed with humpback whales. With my partner on my right, two humpbacks passed on my left so close that I could have touched one with my hand. With them so close to my kayak, what I didn’t see was a third coming directly toward me. My partner saw a collision about to happen, and instinctively said “tap your boat, it doesn’t know you are there.” With that, I began tapping my paddle against the kayak and braced for a collision. At the last second, the whale’s tail turned just enough to avoid colliding with the bow of my boat, but went directly under the kayak. The force of the whale and the water under the kayak pushed it upwards. After the collision was narrowly avoided, my partner next thought I was going to be capsized. Getting wet up past the elbows as the kayak rocked back and forth, I somehow managed to stay upright. Paddling to save our lives to get out of there, I asked what just happened. The answer: “you just sat on the back of a whale!” Not quite the belly of Jonah’s whale, but the back of a humpback is more than close enough!