31 January 2015

super Sunday

Tomorrow we arrive in Tennessee.  It has been since 1992 that I called this state “home.”  Now it’s home to both myself and Banu.  I (and we) have visited numerous times, and noticed gradual changes in both family and the geographical area, but now we want to set down some actual roots.

Oh yes, the other reason it is “super Sunday” is due to a little game called the Super Bowl.  (One that I hope will end with a Seattle victory.)  I say that, not because of any particular antipathy toward the Patriots
—although I do possess such—but because the Seahawks are my fourth favorite NFL team.  They’re behind Dallas, Miami (an extremely close second place), and Tennessee, which brings us full circle.

I’ll be Tennesseeing you.

23 January 2015


How often I (and we) fill the world with noise.  I do it with my unwanted and unnecessary proclamations.  I too often do it with words spoken, with blog posts, and Facebook comments(!)

But more fundamentally, I do violence to silence by attacking and disrespecting it within.  From out of the heart comes a riot of vanity and futility.  As Thomas Merton says in his book, No Man is an Island:

“Those who love their own noise are impatient of everything else.  They constantly defile the silence of the forests and the mountains and the sea.  They bore through silent nature in every direction with their machines, for fear that the calm world might accuse them of their own emptiness…

“If our life is poured out in useless words we will never hear anything in the depths of our hearts, where Christ lives and speaks in silence.  We will never be anything, and in the end, when the time comes for us to declare who and what we are, we shall be found speechless at the moment of the crucial decision:  for we shall have said everything and exhausted ourselves in speech before we had anything to say.”

My noise seduces me to worship a god made with my own hands and thoughts.  The deep well of silence brings me to recollection of the God who lives beyond words.

13 January 2015

enemies, miscreants, and other nasty people

Holding a grudge becomes a heavy burden.

“When we are free from the need to judge or condemn, we can become safe places for people to meet in vulnerability and take down the walls that separate them.  Being deeply rooted in the love of God, we cannot help but invite people to love one another.  When people realize that we have no hidden agendas or unspoken intentions, that we are not trying to gain any profit for ourselves, and that our only desire is for peace and reconciliation, they may find the inner freedom and courage to leave their guns at the door and enter into conversation with their enemies.” (Henri Nouwen)

Don’t kid yourself; we are surrounded by enemies—enemies within and enemies without.  Jesus is onto something when he says, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44).

It can be a tall order to pray for one’s enemies, to wish them good and not harm.  It very often takes more than we have.  But when we’re able to actually pray for our enemies, it has a way of taking away the fun of hating them.  Loving your enemies helps take away the knee-jerk sting, the tightening in the chest, when we see them.  And crazily enough, we might actually find ourselves doing good for them!

We can leave our guns at the door.