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Poem for Camp Gilmont: Come and Connect

Poem for Camp Gilmont: Come and Connect
I sense in me and in others a deep yearning  to connect and experience and know God, the one who creates us, calls us and gives our lives meaning.
In this yearning is the desire To have extended moments, A time for listen and being and learning with Christ That is outside of our normal routine. This is Gilmont
I sense in me and in others a desire To connect and know others In ways I cannot through emails and meetings and lunches. I want to be known and to know others Deeper than just their names or the work they do or where they live. I want to encounter their soul and they encounter mine. This is Gilmont
I sense in me and in others a profound wanting To connect with myself. To be willing to be present with me Beyond the distractions of everyday life. To bring together all the scatter pieces of me That run in many directions. I want some way to see me, know me. Truly love me and be loved by me. Where can I connect with me in this profound way?
This is Gilmont.
I sense…

Prayer of Lament and Confession for Racism

Prayer of Lament
Oh Lord, who is ever before me, beside me, behind me, and within me, In this time of deepening awareness of the brokenness of racism in our land, I lament:             How often I have looked outward to see racism yet have failed to look within;             How complex and messy racism is and how difficult to address. How little I have truly done in the midst of all I see;             How I often did not know what to do when I am aware of the deep pain of racism;             How often I have been speechless when a word was needed; How again and again, Blacks end up dead at the hands of the police who have sworn to protect;             How again and again police are faced with life-threatening situations that end with life being lost; How Black parents have to find the words to give their kids "the talk" on how to come home safe.             How racism has been part of the fabric of this country since its founding;             How the effects of racism, from Jim Crow law…

Racism in Me

Racism in Me
The deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor and the responses and protests to those deaths have created an opening unlike any I have seen in my lifetime. Unfortunately, black men and women have been dying at the hands of the police for a long time. The anger and grief have been simmering a while and have now boiled over. This anger and grief do not simply need a release so things can return to normal. They need to push us into the very issues that are causing the anger and grief. Racism is systemic and pervasive. Though changes in law and police polices will help, these changes do not address depth of racism. Racism has been a part of the fabric of our country since the first settlers came from Europe. The horrendous treatment and destruction of the indigenous people. The discrimination of people based on the color of their skin. The judging of those with darker skin as unworthy. The importing of slaves to grow the economy. The first Affirmative Action law…

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Play

Two weeks ago in my blog, I shared pictures I had painted as part of the Contemplative Painting Class at the Retreat House Spirituality Center. I shared 5 paintings with comments. The above painting I did not share. It was the last painting I did in the second class. I didn't really like it. It didn't speak to my spiritual journey, or so I thought.

On my way to Gilmont Conference Center for a board meeting, I listened to Brene Brown and the Power of Vulnerability. This is a series of teachings Brene did for Sounds True. In one of her talks Brene Brown talked about the importance of play for wholehearted living. Brene's first response when play came up in her research data was to discount it. Then it was to realize that she didn't know how to play, didn't have time to play, and had too many important things to do rather than play.

Brene defined play as "time spent without purpose." Based on that definition, I realized that I don't know how to pla…

Contemplative Painting

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Contemplative Painting
Over twenty years ago my friend Glennietta gave me some paints and paper for my birthday.  I told Glennietta that I was not an artist.  She said she was not asking me to be an artist.  Simply put paint on paper. If you want to splash some purple, splash purple.  See a green that grabs you, paint that shade of green.  Just play with it. See what happens. What I discovered when I did this simply process, when I got out of my head, and just slipped into creative, messy, paint play, I would enter into deep soul work. It is amazing what shows up on the paper.
For two and a half years, I have been leading Contemplative Painting at the Retreat House Spirituality Center in Richardson, Texas. We gather, introduce ourselves, choose some colors that speak to us, do a brief meditation, and paint.  At the end of our time, we share what the experience was like - what (or who) showed up, what we felt, what we see in our paintings and in the paintings of others. It is always a…

R.I.P. My Friend, the Thistle

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R.I.P. My Friend, the Thistle
Each day as part of the Seminary of the Wild virtual retreat we were invited to go out onto the land. We were instructed to find a portal, something we could cross over or ask permission of in order to begin our wanderings. These portals are important because they help us shift from our ordinary time into the mysterious, where we don’t know what might happen. On the first day of my wanderings at Erwin Park in McKinney, as I walked from my car, I saw a thistle plant standing tall above the surrounding grasses. I was drawn to this particular thistle plant and went over to look at her.The thistle had one bud at the top of the stem and a smaller one coming forth from a lower branch. Thistles are fast growing plants and I knew I would enjoy coming each day to see what new growth she had had. I looked at the leaves with their thorny edges and saw the small spikes running up the stem. A beautiful plant but one I didn’t want to touch.I would simply admire her beaut…

Knowing Eternal Llife

Knowing Eternal Life
(This blog takes a previous blog, Encountering the Woods in New Zealand and seeks to apply that insight to our knowing of God) In March I and six other family members traveled to New Zealand in March to visit our daughter and to see New Zealand. (This happened right before the covid-19 pandemic shut everything down.) We saw many wonderful sights each day.It was a marvelous time. I want to share with you an experience I had in the rainforest of New Zealand. Picture towering trees, over 100 feet tall. Pines. Oaks. Trees I don’t know the name of.Picture lush vegetation, green all around. Ferns standing 6 feet tall and reach up to the sky.Birds flying overhead. Some sitting in the trees singing. The air rich with wonderful fragrances. I placed my hand on one of the huge trees to feel the energy of this place. As I stood in this rainforest, it occurred to me that there were three ways I could know and experience what was around me. The first was as a consumer, as someone …