Nov 28, 2020

36/70: The oversquare life.




In 1984 I hit bottom.

One night just before Thanksgiving, while working in my studio/duplex, I saw myself dancing in a slow, descending circle with the Author of Death himself. I fell to my knees and reached up to the bookshelf in desperation. I took down my previously seldom opened Book of Common Prayer that my grandmother had given me. I opened it ‘blindly’ to the martyred Archbishop Thomas Cranmer's "Prayer of Humble Access" and prayed...

"We do not presume to come to this thy Table, O merciful Lord, trusting in our own righteousness, but in thy manifold and great mercies. We are not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under thy Table. But thou art the same Lord whose property is always to have mercy. Grant us therefore, gracious Lord, so to eat the flesh of thy dear Son Jesus Christ, and to drink his blood, that our sinful bodies may be made clean by his body, and our souls washed through his most precious blood, and that we may evermore dwell in him, and he in us. Amen."

The following Sunday, I went up to visit my parents and to make my semi-annual church visit, with them. I sat in the pew and fought back tears. Above the altar at St. Luke's, Denison, Texas, is a stained glass with the awkward quotation from the Gospel of Luke (18:16), "Suffer the little children to come unto me..." Right then and there I asked Jesus to help me. “I’m a child. I’m suffering. I can’t do this by myself, without you. If you’ll have me, I’m yours.” I gave myself to Him as I told Him that I was powerless to do otherwise.

 Waiting my turn, I went up to receive Holy Communion with my folks.

Kneeling, I received the Host ("This is the body of our Lord, Jesus Christ, given for you."), a small wafer of unleavened bread. Then I received the Chalice of wine to my lips ("This is the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, shed for you."). I felt a powerful surge of pure energy enter my body. Time appeared to stand still. The entire Sanctuary was filled with a white light that made the dark stained wood walls appear translucent and milky. What seemed to be several minutes was in reality a few seconds, as the chalice bearer moved on to the next communicate. I had come out of the water and breathed my first new breath.

Sep 7, 2020

I had a dream.


I had a dream the other night. A short, self-contained dream. Just a scene, a moment.

I was sitting on the ground in a ditch. I was holding a man about my age who was dying. A stranger.

We were both in our thirties. It was wet, if not actually raining. There was past and imminent danger in the air, but the moment seemed calm.

He had a story that had been entrusted to him alone. It was story that was more important than his life, than any of our lives. He was the story's carrier. He was the sole messenger. He told the story to me.

As he died, his story became my story. It was a story that was more important than my life, than any of our lives. I became the story's carrier. The guardian. I became the soul messenger. I became him.

Aug 30, 2020

55

55 Maxims of Christian Living 

by Father Thomas Hopko

A few years ago, I was asked: “Father Thomas, if you summarized, in the shortest form, what a practical life of a believing Christian, of a human being who believes in God and believes in Christ, what would it be like? What kind of maxims or rules would that include?” And in response to that request, I made up a list of what I called “55 Maxims,” 55 things that a believer, very simply, would do if they were really a believer and were really obedient to God and wanted to live the way God would have us live. 

1 Be always with Christ and trust God in everything.

2 Pray as you can, not as you think you must.

3 Have a keepable rule of prayer done by discipline.

4 Say the Lord’s Prayer several times each day.

5 Repeat a short prayer when your mind is not occupied.

6 Make some prostrations when you pray.

7 Eat good foods in moderation and fast on fasting days.

8 Practice silence, inner and outer.

9 Sit in silence 20 to 30 minutes each day.

10 Do acts of mercy in secret.

 11 Go to liturgical services regularly.

12 Go to confession and holy communion regularly.

13 Do not engage intrusive thoughts and feelings.

14 Reveal all your thoughts and feelings to a trusted person regularly.

15 Read the scriptures regularly.

16 Read good books, a little at a time.

17 Cultivate communion with the saints.

18 Be an ordinary person, one of the human race.

19 Be polite with everyone, first of all family members.

20 Maintain cleanliness and order in your home.

21 Have a healthy, wholesome hobby.

22 Exercise regularly.

23 Live a day, even a part of a day, at a time.

24 Be totally honest, first of all with yourself.

25 Be faithful in little things.

26 Do your work, then forget it.

27 Do the most difficult and painful things first.

28 Face reality.

29 Be grateful.

30 Be cheerful.

31 Be simple, hidden, quiet and small.

32 Never bring attention to yourself.

33 Listen when people talk to you.

34 Be awake and attentive, fully present where you are.

35 Think and talk about things no more than necessary.

36 Speak simply, clearly, firmly, directly.

37 Flee imagination, fantasy, analysis, figuring things out.

38 Flee carnal, sexual things at their first appearance.

39 Don’t complain, grumble, murmur or whine.

40 Don’t seek or expect pity or praise.

41 Don’t compare yourself with anyone.

42 Don’t judge anyone for anything.

43 Don’t try to convince anyone of anything.

44 Don’t defend or justify yourself.

45 Be defined and bound by God, not people.

46 Accept criticism gracefully and test it carefully.

47 Give advice only when asked or when it is your duty.

48 Do nothing for people that they can and should do for themselves.

49 Have a daily schedule of activities, avoiding whim and caprice.

50 Be merciful with yourself and others.

51 Have no expectations except to be fiercely tempted to your last breath.

52 Focus exclusively on God and light, and never on darkness, temptation and sin.

53 Endure the trial of yourself and your faults serenely, under God’s mercy.

54 When you fall, get up immediately and start over.

55 Get help when you need it, without fear or shame.

Aug 9, 2020

Trash talk

Junk food

Junk journalism

Junk science

Junk sex

Junk love


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sweet and Salty


“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet."

The Gospel According to Matthew 5:13, English Standard Version

This is an important point to remember.

"The Kingdom of Heaven is not for the well-meaning: it is
for the desperate."

--James Denney, D.D. (1856-1917), Scottish theologian and preacher.



Are you truly desperate (sinfully), or comfortably desperate (theologically)?


Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.

Out of the mouths of retired bishops

"The church that doesn't evangelize will be evangelized by the culture in which it finds itself."

-- William Frey

Two popular foreign phrases you won't find in the Bible.

Laissez-faire.


Status quo.

May 29, 2020

Till we have faces.


A few days ago, I helped an old rancher from San Angelo map a route home for himself that avoided Austin and its horrific traffic and road system. I showed him how to navigate the fractured web of RM and FM roads to get him on his way safely. He stuck out his hand, tentatively at first. I likewise. And then we shook.

It felt human and good.