Thursday, April 28, 2011

out with the old...

well. hey there. long time no blog.

in the interim, i've got a lovely new nest at

still some settling in to be done over there and i'm still learning the ropes, but as of today, i've moved in and more content will start appearing over the coming days. plus, there's lots to catch up on. offline life has been busy. the all kinds of good kind of busy.

the new site will still have a blog but there's room for a lot more.

feel free to drop by for a cuppa.

for the last time, signing off on here as...


Friday, February 04, 2011

the call to live as an embodied prayer

In the absence of time to write, I thought I'd share something I posted this morning as a response to an inspiring recent entry by Trent Gilliss over on the Being Blog... it's what I'd wanted to blog about anyway... I recommend reading Trent's entry and looking at the photographs from Cairo by Nevine Zaki.

Photo credit: Nevine Zaki.  (No copyright infringement intended.)


When I think of my childhood growing up in the church, I find a hymn coming to mind which had the refrain - "they will know we are Christians by our love, by our love"... All too often that line seems like an indictment of my own failure to love rather than something I could sing with celebration...

Like so many others I've been moved, inspired and humbled by Nevine's photographs, just as i was no less inspired to hear that Egyptian Muslims held vigils and protected Coptic Christians going to church to celebrate Christmas eve on January 6th (in the wake of the bombing of the al-Qiddissin church in Alexandria on New Year's day).

I was inspired too when, last summer, churches here in Nashville, TN gathered to show their solidarity with the local Muslim community after Islamic community centers and mosques in Nashville and Murfreesboro, TN were vandalized and the subject of aggressive Islamophobic protests. I am painfully mindful that much of the anti-Islamic protest in this state has been led by people claiming to speak for Christianity. (They will know we are Christians by our love...?)

Working for love, justice & solidarity are by no means the exclusive claim of Christians, but I hope that in many churches this coming Sunday Christians, across the US and around the world, will hold up these stories & images coming from Egypt as a sign of hope & a call to prayer for the courageous multi-faith democratic movement there. But I also see that first image as a deeply serious reminder of what I firmly believe those of us who do identify as Christians are called to live out in our faith: non-violent peacemaking, deep love of our fellow human, active commitment to solidarity and working for justice when others are suffering. For myself, that is what I feel called to by these images.

As I contemplate Nevine's photograph of those young men protecting those in prayer I am personally reminded that as a part of Christian community I am not instructed in the way of Jesus to only pray for peace & justice... I am called to be an active, living embodiment of those hopes. Just as peace is not the mere absence of violence but the presence of justice, it is not enough for me (if I claim to be Christian) to passively 'not hate' but instead I am meant to commit to a life of actively loving others -- in each moment of every day I have to make a choice to step out with courage and embody my hope for the future right here in the present.

2010 was marred by intense public debate and maligning of Muslim Americans centering around the community center in Manhattan. I hope 2011 will be taken by Christians across the US as an opportunity to commit as individuals and communities to put our faith in action -- with humility to serve, defend & protect our neighbors of every creed, in the US and beyond, so they may be able to freely live in peace.

I can't look at these iconic images and not think that while the defiantly raised fist is an embodied symbol of revolution, so too is the hand opened to clasp the hand of another. And I hope I find within me an ounce of the courage being shown by so many in Egypt.


(for Nevine Zaki's often beautiful tweets follow @NevineZaki)

Peace be with you...


Sunday, January 09, 2011

The Disposables

Am stopping off very briefly to point you in the direction of Mark Tucker's downright gorgeous photographs of the benefit night for The Contributor held at DPC last night.

It was a fantastic evening, with an art show of photographs of Nashville taken by homeless and formerly homeless photographers, Cajun food from Bro's, an awards show for top vendors of 2010, and a concert featuring some incredibly talented musicians and songwriters.

In a day overshadowed by the shootings in Tucson, AZ i am grateful to have gotten to be a part of it and to have witnessed it (that's me in the red beanie with a roll of tape glamorously grasped in my teeth stringing up lights). In a packed fellowship hall filled with cheering vendors and supporters, Joel whispered in stunned delight during the awards giving, "In all my years in this church, I've never seen the hall like this..." it was such a witness to both The Contributor and DPC's vision of even ground, where there is no us (the homeful) and them (the homeless). The transformation that has occurred in the lives of some of the vendors is remarkable.  

Julie Lee (performing in the red cardigan) brought together an amazing group of musicians. it was a stellar line up. when Anita Smith (bottom row, far left) rehearsed at sound check everyone stopped in their tracks - the kind of gospel voice that puts chills up & down your spine. and the harmonies Julie, Sarah (Masen) Dark and Elizabeth Foster provided on Odessa Jorgensen's (second row, far left) exquisite song writing were exceptional.

As for Arizona, after a DPC member raised a prayer during this morning's "joys and concerns" at DPC for those in Tucson and beyond who are grieved and affected by yesterday's violence, i jotted in my notebook, 

place the words of peace on our lips
place the action of peace in our hands
place the spirit of peace in our hearts
i'm not sure what to say that hasn't already been said... but i was struck by a line shared by a commenter over at Bruce Reyes-Chow's page... it's from Madeleine L'Engle,

"Like it or not, we either add to the darkness of indifference and out-and-out evil which surrounds us or we light a candle to see by."
Peace be with you,


Monday, January 03, 2011


The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not understood it.
- The Gospel of John 1: 5

On every world world, wherever people are, in the deepest part of the winter, at the exact midpoint, everybody stops and turns and hugs. As if to say, 'Well done. Well done everyone! We're halfway out of the dark..." 
- Karzan Sardick in Dr Who: A Christmas Carol, by Steven Moffat (2010) 

A flagrantly inadequate round-up of what happened between November 5th and today...

packed up life in Dublin
said farewell to friends, family, & hometown
emigrated to America
hugged family & friends
ate some donuts
celebrated Thanksgiving
painted walls, moved some furniture
got married, surrounded by our family
caught a head-cold
went to church
celebrated Christmas in West TN
painted more walls, moved more furniture 
welcomed dear friends to stay 
made a resolution
celebrated New Year's eve
watched Dr Who Christmas Special. it was. (see above)
borrowed some books from the public library

New Year's resolution:
to live life at a pace considerably slower than i lived through most of the above 
an all too brief run down of things that the coming weeks will bring:

filling out more immigration forms
plan for community gathering to celebrate aforementioned marriage
receive delivery of belongings currently crossing the Atlantic in a ship
giving some time and energy to The Contributor street newspaper
making art with friends
more painting of walls, refinishing some furniture


a for-now adequate summary of very short term plans:

sit by fire & read books
enjoy hanging out with Joel on his last 3 days of holiday vacation (see resolution)

Happy New Year, friends. hold on. to each other.


:: happy ::

photo credit: Lisa Connor