Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Living In Sin

My church seems to believe that living together outside of marriage is a sin.  Well, read the April 26 Business section of the NewYork Times.  It has an article about all the financial reasons that older widows and widowers do not choose marriage but do live together.  Apparently, marriage for these people can have rather unfortunate financial ramifications.  This is an example where a church continues with the same teaching, though the real world has changed.  In the USA there are unintended consequences to "doing the right thing."  Would it not be better to help these people by talking about weighing various issues, including inheritance and taxes, before deciding what to do about becoming a "couple?"  Of course, maybe all these elderly people are living as brother and sister.  You think?

Tuesday, April 29, 2014


Seems that some of the Vatican Curia are muttering about the changes in style and values of Francis I.  They miss privilege and comforts.  Be not surprised at this.  You cannot be focused on power and status, while also becoming holy.  They are contradictory.  Unfortunately, many lay persons expect their ordained to be better than the laity, more holy and spiritual whatever that might be.  Why?  Do you think the laying on of hands at ordination is some kind of magic.  I think of cardinals as bureaucratic administrators rather than as holy men.  My bar is not high for them, and I do not get cynical about it.  I do not look for saints in the Vatican.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Living Space

Seems an important Cardinal in Rome needs 6000 square feet of apartment space and some nuns to care for his needs.  His place is right next to where the Pope lives.  I don't think the Cardinal will smell much like the sheep from the 6000 square feet apartment.  Well, maybe if all his sheep are rich people he will smell like them.  I guess the Pope will be left to take care of the poor.  It is really hard for people to change.  If you seek to live first class all your life, it gets to be a habit.  I have bad habits too.  But my habits seem to be economy class.  I should have aimed higher!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Come On Back

The New York Cardinal is going big into media to invite Catholics back to church.  They left for a reason.  I don't think the blitz invite is dealing with the reason.  Think of a lot of people having a bad taste in their mouth over some food product.  They all stop eating it.  One day, the producer of the food invites them to try the food again.  No changes in the food.  So why would it taste any different now?

Saturday, April 26, 2014

"I'm Forgiven"

I was having one of my whinny days, the day after Easter, when I am supposed to be all pumped up with resurrection.  Not!  So I was not a worthless priest, but I could see "worthless" down the road.  Fortunately, grace intervened.  Grace as in gift.  I got a call to go to the psych ward of the hospital.  More whine, the darkness just before the light.  At the psych ward, I met a woman who wanted to be forgiven for her past.  Over and over she asked if she was forgiven, as we prayed and I assured her.  Even though I went into the ward in dullsville, something happens to me when I try and be helpful.  I seem to rise to the occasion.  I forgot about being whinny.  Finally, as I was about to leave, the light went on for the woman.  For the first time in a long time, she felt forgiven.  She began to weep with joy.  To be a part of this can make my day.  The lesson for me:  reach out, be helpful to another and it can change your day.  It did mine.  But when I texted a would be friend about having a wonderful experience in a psych ward, she responded, "Did you check in?"  But I was too happy to hate her.

Friday, April 25, 2014

The Scent

A mystic once said that with sin we lost the scent.  What scent?  Well, before Adam messed up, he was able to sit with all the animals and name them.  He had a scent about him that said it was safe to be around him.  It was a scent of unity among creation.  I don't think he was eating meat yet either, but that is another story.  Back to the scent.  When we have a wholeness about ourself, a peace, no bad behavior or selfishness, we have a scent about us that other people, and animals for that matter, pick up.  We are not only safe to be around, we are attractive.  Meditation helps.  So do friends, with reminders, should we forget how to do good behavior.  As long as we stay connected to God and friends, there will always be a wisdom to direct us away from our silliness.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Shower

When I was in high school and college sports we had open showers.  We all showered together, naked around one another.  We dressed and undressed in front of one another.  I never thought twice about it.  When I went into the seminary, it was way different.  Showers had stalls.  I got the sense that guys simply did not stand naked around one another.  What was that about?  I was clueless, but bemused back then.  Why are people who are supposed to be following Christ, so afraid to be naked in front of another man?  Was not Jesus naked on the cross for all the world to see?  Christians covered him up in the art work.  Maybe that is where the shower stall thing started.  I am suspect of a priest who talks about sex, but is afraid to be naked in front of anyone.  But I sure wish I could get buffed and sculpted.  The gym has failed me.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Fraction Rite

In my church we have a ritual in the mass that is called "The Fraction Rite."  The priest takes this big round host and breaks it up into separate pieces.  Each piece is ragged and uneven.  But all the pieces, together would make a big round whole host.  Community is made up of ragged, and broken people, separated from one another in our individualistic, personal rights oriented, gated world.  If we could come together, we would be whole.  This is what the receiving of the broken pieces of the host mean.  The body of Christ is what my church calls us, when we come together.  How together we will be outside the doors of the church, well, that is the daily job of the believer.  We will get to heaven well enough if we can begin to break down the walls that we build up to keep others out.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Broken Dish

We are at times like broken dishes.  Psalm 31 agrees.  A dish in pieces cannot be put back together, at least not by itself.  A community of broken parts, however, can put all the parts together to make a whole.  I have found it so.  Think of recovery programs.  A bunch of drunks are surely broken and cannot put themselves together again.  Each one has tried on their own.  They failed separately.  Together, they can be made whole, not each one separately, but all of them together.  How? They welcome the stranger.  They help one another.  They listen to each other.  They offer solutions that have worked in their own life.  They accept one another.  They do not judge, nor try to make anyone believe anything.  It could be that way in church or synogogue communities too.  Sadly, I have seen it work better with recovering drunks than sectarian, religious believers, faithfully attending their places of worship…separately.  If there is a coffee/donut time after, each person greets their friends.  The stranger, the newcomer, find your own place.  I like to think of God as the stranger, waiting for me to climb out of myself.  Often I do not.  That stone covering my heart gets so heavy.  God, remove it, that I might welcome you.

Monday, April 21, 2014


Did you ever think that you don't know what is best for you?  You make decisions, and they turn out to be sour, fruitless and dead end, the same old, same old?  Consider surrender.  This is one half of the solution.  The other half is to have someone to whom you surrender who has your best interest at heart, who loves you with no conditions.  I am yet to find any mere mortal who fits this bill.  I used to believe in God, but my self-willed life was rather messy.  Then I learned to surrender, out of desperation.  Things have gone better since then.  Desperate yet?

Sunday, April 20, 2014


I heard this and pass it on to you.  Someone said that they just got their first DWI.  When questioned about it, they admitted that they have driven a lot while loaded.  What they meant is that this was the first time that they got caught!  They are lucky.  Many people don't get caught.  They die first, and even more tragically, take others with them.  On this Easter, I think that Jesus is trying to catch us before our mess destroys us, or makes us so very unhappy.  It is OK if you don't believe in Jesus.  But if you continue to do stupid things and get the same stupid results, you might want to look for a solution.  You are not the solution

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Guess Who Us Coming To Dinner?

It seems that Gustavo Gutierrez, a central American priest, A Liberation Theologian, was never on the short list of invitations to Rome from the last two popes.  He just got the invite from the Vatican based upon a new book that has two chapters by him.  Someone who is really wrong can become someone who is not so wrong, depending on the Pope, I guess.  So if you think you are on the outs, just wait.  Of course you could always change on the outside to fit in, but Gutierrez never did that.  His day has come.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Free Ride

I had agreed to go up into the mountains to give a retreat and thereby miss seeing the final round of the Master's Golf Tournament, a big deal for sports junkies like me.  Lots of graces for this action.  Lots of time off from purgatory.  Then God sent a blizzard.  The mountain retreat was moved to the church office across from my house.  I gave the retreat and got to see a lot of the Master's including the last few holes.  So I get all this grace but did not have to do anything to get it.  Intention is everything!  Of course I intend to be good every day, but then stuff happens.


See yesterday's blog about Neccos at Walgreens in Boulder

Thursday, April 17, 2014

SOS Neccos

For those locals in Boulder, Necco wafers are on sale for 99 cents at Walgreens on 30th.  I just had skin surgery on my leg for cancer, and this would boost my immune system!  Well…maybe not, but Neccos do have healing stuff.

More Than Belief

In John's Gospel, it seems to say if you know Jesus you will keep his word.  It does not say if you know Jesus you will believe in the creed, but that is what seems to have happened with many who say they are Christian.  The creeds say nothing about the Sermon of the Mount, or other core teachings from the lips of Jesus in the Gospels.  It is a lot easier to believe a theology than it is to actually follow the teachings of Jesus.  Note that these creeds developed in Councils that began to be called by Emperor types, people of power and wealth for that matter.  Such people prefer a religion that believes dogmatic statements, rather than one that demands we follow the actual teachings of Jesus.  He definitely took the side of the poor and demanded justice, not just charity.  No wonder he got crucified.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


Some believers cut Judas a little slack.  They say he had a plan.  He did not intend for Jesus to be crucified.  Judas tried to set things up so that Jesus would finally resist his opposition and bring about a political and military solution to foreign occupiers.  So they say.  You may scoff, but are we not all Judas at one time or another.  He had a plan and tried to manipulate things to bring it about.  Trouble is he never consulted Jesus or got a second opinion.  Do we not at one time or another connive, manipulate and control things to get some result, our result?  We do not consult, get a second opinion or ask advice of those who are part of our plan.  The result is often a mess, our mess.  When you finally realize that there is a bit of a Judas in you, don't kill yourself or beat yourself up over it.  Enjoy God's unconditional forgiveness for  your idiocy.  An ego crush can be a good thing.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Hitting Bottom

I am suddenly aware that there is a lull in the Sports world for me.  There is nothing to look forward to. The college basketball March Madness is over.  There is no Super Bowl.  Hockey, Pro Basketball playoffs are an eternity away from a Finals.  Baseball is just at the beginning of its long season.  There is no evening excitement on TV for me, a Sports fan.  But it is Holy Week!  Do I not look forward to Easter?  I must admit, I lack the enthusiasm for the core of my faith that would equal my enthusiasm for a Sport's dramatic conclusion.  This is what is called a Spiritual Bottom.  I am in grave need of Grace, a miracle, God's help.  My soul is dry.  I am powerless to change.  But a Bottom is good.  It makes me realize that I need God on a daily basis.  I need daily spiritual help.  My prayer cannot be just when I want something.  It will have to be daily, and this will make a new relationship, based upon my powerlessness to change and God's love in spite of myself.  I have the chance to experience God loving the messy me, until I can become what God has called me to be.  The Good News is that this all bothers me.  If Easter is just a weekend holiday of fun for you, your life is a lot more of a mess than mine.  I will take a Bottom any day because saints can be made from desperation, but never from complacency.

Monday, April 14, 2014


Seems that some priests in Rwanda were somewhat involved in the genocide there 20 years ago.  Did they get defrocked?  Did they get thrown in prison?  Did they get reprimanded or sent for counseling?  Well, no.  They were transferred to places in Europe where they are working openly as priests.  I am not sure who helped to get them out and set them up in their new, safe locations.  Some people are a bit upset with this.  How do you get permission to work in one country when the whiff of genocide follows you from another?

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Goodbye Mansion

Seems the Bishop of a $2.2 Million mansion has decided to sell it.  He said that the church has changed.  Does this mean that before Pope Francis it was OK for a bishop to live in a mansion in an upscale community?  I thought Jesus had no place to lay his head.  I cannot be too harsh.  I have a lot more running stuff than I really need.  I could use a walk-in closet.  They come with mansions don't they?

Saturday, April 12, 2014

You Don't Say

A nun with a title, "Professor" at a school that titles itself a college, seems to believe that masturbation can lead to homosexuality.  You don't say.  I once heard that French Kissing causes pregnancy.  These connections seem to be a Catholic thing, though, so far, they are not part of our dogma.

Friday, April 11, 2014


In our Western, first world capitalistic idea of rights, we emphasize individual rights, such as freedom of speech, movement, protest, bear arms and abortion, to name a few.  In  third world, less capitalistic countries, the emphasis is often on social rights which the first world sees as "socialism," or even communist.  Such social rights are for food, clothing, shelter, education and medical care.  The capitalist would say these are privileges for those who can pay for them.  In our own country we have both the individualistic and the social mentalities.  The poor have basic survival needs for which they cannot suffuiciently pay.  The important thing here is that your idea of a right is not everyone's idea.  It depends on your circumstances, the society in which you find yourself.  If Jesus is God, he could choose the circumstance in which he grew up.  He chose the poor.  In God's eye, maybe all rights are not so equal.

Thursday, April 10, 2014


Well, an archbishop was chided by his flock for building a 6000 square foot house for himself and to entertain and so on.  This is generally the prelate line.  He then said, "The church has changed."  You bet it has.  No more living like Princes.  But it has taken the laity to get the bishops to focus on the way they live.  It is the laity who are asking the bishops to look again at the opulence of their lifestyle.  Jesus did not entertain anyone.  He had no place to lay his head.  Jesus went to the homes of the rich and had a good time.  If he invited them to anything, it was to pick up their cross.  A mansion is not much of a cross.  Sometimes, I think that our leaders are better at finding donors than they are at finding disciples.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014


Catholics don't sing in Church.  Protestants do.  The Reformation restored congregational singing by writing hymns in the vernacular, that expressed our faith, in tunes that everyone could sing.  Catholics had medieval polyphony, so complex, that only trained choirs could sing.  This is why the Protestant is much more comfortable sharing their faith, because they sing it.  Their hymns are from scriptural themes.  Catholics expect professional missionaries, nuns and priests to do the evangelizing, and choirs or cantors to sing.

Along came Vatican II.  Catholics were supposed to now evangelize.  We wrote hymns in English.  They were dreadful and banal.  It felt like a folk concert, a bad folk concert. Catholics, the ones that stayed, sang for a while.  We wrote better hymns, but the horse had left the barn.  Catholics don't sing.  And they still don't evangelize.  If you don't sing it, you won't share it.  Only a joyful person shares the faith.  Catholics prefer Holy Communion.  It is quiet, and individualistic, just you and God.  It might make Catholics feel better, but it is not the Gospel.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Spilled Blood

Forgiveness is hard to give, especially when we have suffered from someone else's mess, through no fault of our own.  To the innocent sufferer, forgiveness is like pouring out their own blood.  This is why it is often called the cross.  But Jesus, on his cross, said the people did not know what they were doing.  Forgiveness of someone who does know what they are doing is the kind of forgiveness that will change the innocent sufferer.  Change, transformation and forgiveness are all very difficult.  So don't beat yourself up too much if you find it slow going.  Be humble in the forgiveness area.  You are in very deep water.  But it is the water that gives us life and slacks our thirst for peace.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Heating Problem

Seems that a Brit hospital has found a way to heat their building.  Burn aborted fetuses.  I wonder if the Nazis figured out how to heat buildings in concentration camps with the dead bodies of gassed Jews?  Good grief!

Sunday, April 6, 2014


Sin gives me a hangover.  If you ever drank too much, the next day your head and body all hurt.  You may say, "I won't do that again."  You may apologize to whoever you offended, promise to take care of damage caused, and so on, but the hangover does not go away because of your promises or other's forgiveness.  It is the same with sin or bad behavior.  If you have offended anyone, they may forgive you if you ask.  God forgives, but that does not take away the "hangover" or effects of what our fault has done to our soul.  The spiritual life is wounded, and damaged.  It takes time to heal.  There are interior consequences to a day badly lived.  I have found that daily doses of meditation, can lessen the hangover because it lessens bad behavior on a daily basis.

Saturday, April 5, 2014


The nice thing about my birthday, besides that I am still around to celebrate it, is that I get chocolate.  My friends are very health conscious, so a lot of the chocolate is dark.  That's the good stuff.  I don't get chocolate just because I whine or ask for it, though there is truth to that.  Lots of people ask for something and get zilch.  For some reason the people who give me chocolate like me.  Why they like me is a mystery.  If they really knew all my faults, my mess, then I think the chocolate treats would be no more.  Now God likes me, but that is God's job, or personality.  What is unique about God is that God knows all about me, even better than I know myself, and still likes me.  God feels the same way about you.  So I am a combination of mess and Gifts/talents from God's love.  We all are.  Come to think of it, I like some pretty messy friends!  Maybe my friends like me in spite of myself.  These are the best of friends…the ones that like us just as God does.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Miss the Point

Yesterday, I wrote about how I would miss a golf tournament on TV because I had chosen to do a good deed, as a way to work on my own self-centeredness.  I got several comments of how I could tape the tournament and therefore not miss it.  This amuses me and then saddens me.  To do a good deed with as little suffering as possible, with as little cost to ourself, is to miss the point.  Peter did not want his friend Jesus to suffer much at all.  Jesus called him, "Satan."  He loved Peter, but Peter missed the point.  The cross is the central motif for Good Friday.  Will you go to a Good Friday service, but tape your favorite shows so you will be little inconvenienced by your stab at piety?  Well, things could be worse.  We could skip it altogether and use the Easter weekend as a holiday to visit Vegas.  

Healthy Teeth

We now know that healthy teeth and gums will add to the health of the rest of our body, and vice versa.  We know a lot of connections between what we do and don't do, with the connecting results.  We use to blame God when things did not work out the way we wanted or expected, only to find out a lot of stuff is just our own dumb fault.  Shake a baby a lot and it is going to have brain damage, but there was a time we would blame God for our child's poor health.  I suspect as science continues to make discoveries, we will find out a lot more about how one thing affects another.  Maybe we will find that brussel sprouts causes cancer.  I hate brussel sprouts anyway, so if that is true, I am in good shape.  We know now that dark chocolate is really good for us…but you gotta keep those teeth brushed, picked and flossed.  Good gums make for good tummies.  Blame God less.  Eat the right stuff. Then get it out from between your teeth.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Masters

The second Sunday of every April is the final round of the Master's Golf tournament at the beautiful Augusta, Georgia National Course.  I always keep my calendar open to watch it.  No ministry or appointments on Master's Sunday afternoon.  But this year, I was asked to give a retreat to peope who are going to become Catholics at Easter.  I said yes.  No Masters.  It is up in the mountains with no TV or iPad wireless.  I know that they could find someone better than me to give the retreat.  I am a lightweight storyteller with maybe a point or two.  These people want depth.  I said yes anyway, not because it will change their lives, but to change mine.  Most of the time, I can do the good I want to do, the good that suits me.  But can I do the good I do not want to do?  That seems to be when I will pick up my cross, lose my life (the Masters), to find my life, spiritual transformation.  Can you yet do the good you do not want to do?  Anyhow, call me and let me know who won the darn tournament.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

No Water

The city was laying optic pipes/wires/cables and hit a water main by mistake.  So now we have no water at home.  So I went looking for the bottled water that one stores for emergencies.  No bottled water.  This is how you find out that you are not ready for emergencies.  You have one.  So now we will get stocked up.   I just assumed that we had the water and we did at one time, but I never bothered to check recently.  This is a minor glitch.  But it can be the story of my life at times.  I assume something about my spiritual condition, but don't bother to address it.  Then comes an emergency and the well is dry.  I can't get access the living waters of God.  I am tapped dry.  Prayer is like water.  We need it every day.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

April Fool

I am moving to New York City.