Riffing Mark in Lent.

Mark 9:30-50*

To reify** a parable. To make it concrete and real… the greatest of the foibles. The greatest of missing the mark… to put four corners on a great circle… 199A8920-6221-4675-8E2D-F3CFB6A2DA75

Missing the mark… to see or feel or stumble or … all of that, of missing the mark. So there is the parable … the declaration to remove, tear out… break off… The permission to cut, to drown, to … it is not permission at all… it is a charge of responsibility. All with a babe held in arms… to be passed with gentle love… all around from one to another.

Waking from a dream of being locked out of many familiar places. To have all agency stripped away. To have nothing but my feet… to trudge away from the ‘new’ and ‘special’ ways of seeing… the pivot that strips away all that is familiar. 3F99E1F7-AA26-4D74-84B6-E2C4404B37ABAnd… beginning that trek… with the first step. Suddenly understanding that the path that was so clear… now well shaken and stirred… 

The ‘new’ leader is ‘taking charge’… in ways that begin again. And… that is not the path that is of my path. All the friends and partners of that time are suddenly busy in the new plan… the wonder and comfort of that which was familiar and off being a part… is suddenly locked and apart. 

A new seeing … first as fear … to see that the change is coming quickly. A storm on horizon.

That which was … is now not. The tide has shifted and the harbor… comfort and care… the boat of my heart… is carried away on the tide and tested in storms. The whole of creation is about… dancing and howling and roaring… of a storming delight… in the maelstrom… far from a known land… held in creation’s arms… passed gently from arms to arms… Even as the owners of those arms … argue among each other… still the passing is with gentle kindness… The noise of the storming argument… does not touch the warmth of being passed from tide to tide… from rising sun to rising moon… from winds of the east, the north, the south, and west…4D25AEA9-CBF4-45F3-B6B8-69F89C487D3C

The joy of ‘those times’ is no less a joy. Those joys, are of the peace which passes all understanding. The gift of invitation to be in a moment of creation. That sacred shared moment of the whole host of creators… be they one, two, three… many… or beloved communion with just one other. All joy of a harmony … called forth in moment. A friend speaks of a shooting star… the wonder of moment… attempting to hold that moment… as holding back the tide… pushing the river back up the mountain… the preservation of a great flowing stream… that is alive with wonder.

All of this… in the tossing of night into day. The shifting of tide from rushing to slack and rushing again… the foment of waves… torn by a rip… Dancing winds … that rage back and forth… amid all … the sudden understanding of a peace which passes all understanding. The moment of that quiet kiss… the gentle passing of infant… from arms to arms… the voices… are a storm. The arms are the caring of all creation. 

So it is a gift of this lenten retreat… a gift of arms. The shift of storm… and caring arms.

The whole of the host of creation. A gift of this dawning day.BD56AAE8-84DF-4E65-AE1E-4FFD0DE14D77

*(They went on from there and passed through Galilee. He did not want anyone to know it; for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, “The Son of Man is to be betrayed into human hands, and they will kill him, and three days after being killed, he will rise again.” But they did not understand what he was saying and were afraid to ask him. Then they came to Capernaum; and when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the way?” But they were silent, for on the way they had argued with one another who was the greatest. He sat down, called the twelve,

and said to them, “Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.” Then he took a little child and put it among them; and taking it in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.” John said to him, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.” But Jesus said, “Do not stop him; for no one who does a deed of power in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me. Whoever is not against us is for us. For truly I tell you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink becaus

e you bear the name of Christ will by no means lose the reward. “If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea. If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life maimed than to have two hands and to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame than to have two feet and to be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to stumble, tear it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and to be thrown into hell, where their worm never dies, and the fire is never quenched. “For everyone will be salted with fire. Salt is good; but if salt has lost its saltiness, how can you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.”)

** Reify:

  1. make (something abstract) more concrete or real.
    “these instincts are, in humans, reified as verbal constructs”

A Way To Think About Your Project.

I think in Mind Maps. Bubbles that link, interact, dance, and play…

A complete ecosystem of connection…

A symphony, a song, a lyric and a melody. A project, an idea, a way of puttering in this project world.

03 What is it that you are trying to do Steps to Start (Getting it out of

It is really easy to get completely inside this kind of thinking. Or… experince a major headache if you don’t see things this way.

02 From one setting to another setting- a way to think about your project(1)

These kinds of maps are not brainstorming or forms to fill out. They are a way of questioning a project and evaluating the capacities of the system which is proposing the project. It is relational thinking. The fun of it, for me, is to be given some information or data – in context… then, to play with the project players… play and find the connections, the disconnections and the opportunities in the emotional/capacity/compentency arena to make sense of the elements of a project.

The idea is that …

05 2022 Project - Business PlanningPermitting Questions and Flow

It used to be that I thought about these connected systems in disparate form and formation. No longer! The idea of projects which come to fruition is a dance of iteration, commitiment, mutual reguard, and hard work with partners. It is managing disagreement and conflict in ways that are generative. It is a whole symphony in a single product launch or process engagement.

It is soul-feeding. Just as music or poetry or a fine vista… soul-feeding.

04 Discernment Framework

This set of Mind Maps are the newest iteration of this work. There is progression and delight in the dance of a project. Just as planting a field yields, with good cultural practice and care, a crop; this set of assesment tools, alignment processes, and practices – questions, can yield success in deployment, engagement, enrollment and collaboration.

If you want to see the whole set… in flow, look here

To all who have walked this set of processes… in all of the various iterations, thank you. It is only with feedback that a system grows, changes, and iterates. To the play of living – with thanksgiving.

Of Mary Oliver and Parker Palmer… the gift of giving to…

D1FE4C6F-135F-4CEA-A3E0-51B6030DAAA6The high C
The song sung at an internment
The song sung at a sacred moment
The song sung at a passing

In each place and time,
given of myself fully…
And, this moment,
as candles burn

feeling lost and without
anchor to a place
anchor or moorage
in bay or at quay

so sensing a rising
resentment to this state.
Sun breaks upon
rising mountains

tears of falling
raining from upwelling
eyes blurred in
light of day.

80F964F6-CB34-444B-939F-D8C60FDA0172To Palmer’s questions:
What do I need
to let go of?
What do I

want to give myself to?
These gentle query
basking in fall sun
guide the boat.

A dear friend,
declared a shooting star
a swift passing
across the sky.

That same friend,
called out surround;
armor all around
with butcher’s bill

from tilting ground
with broken
with battered
head to hands

again to questions…
What do I need to let go?
What do I want to give
myself to?

47747915-BCDF-469E-9C34-F6D1D29D8AE0And again…
What do I need to let go?
What do I desire to give
myself to?

In the rising
the walking at
the altar in the world
a gentle echo.

A gentle kiss
the all of creation
the surround of
that giving in moment.

Two, Three, Four, and more… align

The ocean turns over. Part that was deep comes to the surface. That which is surfaced… is evaporated. Now the vapor moves over land and comes back down as rain… rolling down the mountains. Bringing the flotsam and jetsam of the stream… back to the deep.

The ocean turns over… welling up from the depths. Welling and welling…

In air, the jet stream courses across the tides… bumps into and streams over mountains.

Where the mountains rise up… the great plates of the rolling earth’s crust… push up and over… shove deeply into core… there is also another set of speeds.

Then, then we come to the great speeds of shift in the human condition. A life… short and long… rushing at hyper speed… yet, only in miles of kilometers per hour… as the day rises, eases, and sets.

A life, rising, easing and setting…

In each dimension… these speeds – as normal motion. There are moments when all align. A moment of … and, if it is a the plates rushing over and under… it may seem an eternity to other scales. An eternity… which is but a pico in another’s relative time.

So, once seen… this cacophony of tempi… all moving at pace… along… and thinking, ah, there is another who moves at my time… my meter… my alignment… Another partner. The sudden easing away, as another, in fact is moving at alternative tempo… which for a beat, was in aligned wonder…

And, in another set of bars, will align again… out there in the great symphony.

Sections, all playing to a great pulse… yet, within the department, division, sector… an independent sub-tempo holds sway. Until the tide shakes the very core and … all are in the great hall for a movement.

Then, back to routines of harmonic fervor. To rouse in great hall again… further on along… as the ocean turns over, the great plates rise and fall… the spinning of the galaxies… dance through heavens… all in moment, all in chorus, all in … all in… all in…

A moment and all. In that moment. Just for a moment.

Clear. The moment. Before dawning in this moment. Humbled to see and swim in this cascade of clarity. The falls of … a spring shower… a gift of laughter in the humbling tide. A wave that carries high up on the beach. As it recedes… the tumbled sand shows patterns not seen before or since. A new seeding in. A new rising up. A new aligned presence. A moment. A gift. Unbidden, a gift. With thanksgiving

Some random thinking … Playing with Time

Can we ‘make’ the sun rise more quickly? Can we delay the moon’s rising? In the speeding up of the deep carbon cycle… are there consequences for this ‘adjustment’? Each is a far fetched moment… yet, there is active demand to have daylight be more… and night less… so that there is greater productivity… what other cycles are being ‘adjusted’ in the name of – a specific system need-as opposed to a harmonic balance-in the dynamic of the ‘whole’ of a linked – supporting – emerging set of variables? Just musing the sun rise… a dynamic balance.

A Way To Think About Your Project

Each a view of the same set of elements. Each element speaks from a different set of foundational facts… The conversation, if it is adversarial, stacks the various foundational facts, Triangleselements, views, and position in different perspectives, contexts and places… being invited to rationalize this pile, this stack, this conversation… takes time, thought, collaborative perspective, respect for the various agency… all in a sense of calm… it doesn’t come cheap… if the whole motivation is to get a quick determination… to get to where ‘I’ want it to be… well, that is an argument that will return again and again… Seeing the patterns spin… play that tune again, and again, and again… or not… and if not, taking the time to make rational, connected, linked, and aligned agency.

Easing into the end of a day

As the day eases to end… There is an invitation to stop and take stock. There is an invitation to just sit in the easing.

It is a moment of complete presence. A gift. Sitting with the gift. With thanksgiving.


Of a morning… 12-25-2020

B9053F48-AC89-4732-8219-A0DB53EA4B1FOf a Christmas Morning. The wind is down… Still dancing and playing. Enough to blow the porch around… And so, battened, hunkered, sheltered… with family and friends scattered in places near and far… comforted by the stories of the desert fathers and mothers… grumpy and also filled with care, empathy, humor, … a bit dusty from days of wind, piles of sand, blown over and then away… care-worn and yet, and also, and even… filled with humble care, humble love, humble wonder… at the rising sun of this day.
Of a morning. Blessings to each and all beloved. Holding in mind’s eye, the whole of the journey’s host. Some gone on before… the beacons to harbor, to camp, to home. Some off on far away journey. Seeking and finding on a path which, for the moment, has looped away. Some, from a moment of great connection… now on a river, stream, bay or ocean… long shifted in the tide. The parting, perhaps not of the same texture of the shared moment. And, in this dawn, lifting up that moment shared. For, it is the soul moment.
The rest is but cover of other condition.6DCD975E-1FEF-4A06-B728-86E0B6248E6B
Of a morning. Chipping clay from leaden feet. My own – of course. For every moment of amazing place… a pat of clay to humble in oh so human. The wounding from, these feet have trod… Yet still, the dawning of this day, as each dawning, to fall again in love … at this altar of the world.
A blessing of the dancing wind. A blessing of the warming sun. A blessing even of the dust filled air… even that set of mote – a blessing.
In dreams, last night, again in a barn. The rain and storm… battering against the walls… the machines drawing milk from warm and steaming cows. The stench of manure and urine … of sweet milk and my own sweat. The sacred moment of, sudden care. Just there, sweet hay also is in the stench. A song begins to lift in my heart. For, this is dreaming and waking dream… all wrapped in a moment.
Now, far distant… through years… a moment back in that barn… a sudden remembering and also crystalline vision… on a boat, in a storm, on a flight, in halls in far off lands, at the foot of castles, in ancient stadium, with baton in hand… at letter A, in the 3 with 2, at a birth, at a death… the whole of the host… in the arms of love, in the arms of lyric, of song, of all of creation… of a dawning morning. The fire is burning bright. The wind dances. Children are waking. In this same dawn, a breathing is stilled… the leaf falls from the tree… a train leaves on time… a ship sails, a song… the last note… there, just beyond hearing… fades away… and it is all of this, in each breathing moment.
A gift. A humbling gift of the living moment.2D3FA2AA-9C15-4F3D-AC10-CF280E6AF4C9
In thanksgiving… in lifting up… in the bidden or not… presence.
And into the dawning of this, this new day.



The heroic journey. Being the hero. As Hero. As Guide.

When the guide comes to the fore, the hero fades. The work of the hero is to be … the hero. The work of the guide is, to engage the journey as well as be in relationship.

Living in a small town. A generous house that allows … music, engagement, a sunny spot to be at the altar in the world.


When we, as an agency, begin to align with hero… we become that which we despise.
When I, in agency, begin to align with hero… I become that which I despise.

When shadow drives my behavior. Suddenly ‘winning’ becomes the goal. The wonder of winning… what is that? That place of being the ‘winner’ in this crazy trek.

I hear the speculative nature of living… It echos in my own and of all of the lives that are now in play. The teams that play at speculation are actually based upon being the house. So, when the house owns the line, the house wins. We are working with and … sometimes being… a huge group of folks who have bought into the game of ‘winning’ the big pot. Believing, in the wonder, that we, all of us, own that pot. Now the pot is turned to what is has been for a long time. A grand speculator scheme… a grand Ponzi. And, the iceberg that is the whole of creation… is slowly turning turtle. An acceleration of the swiftly tilting…

And, we, the investors in that grand scheme… we are in a funny place. The last time we rode this pony, it caused us to re-evaluate. And, since then, there has been something holding the moment. For, that re-evaluation, is now the continuing of … holding place on the turtle turning ice…IMG_8047

I woke … the clarity of mixing up the hero and heroic, the hero leader and guide… One leads a parade. One coaches up and over… This is not a parade of leading. It is a journey of comrades. When the comrades are calling for a hero or … seeking that hero who has show the universal feet of clay… there is the moment. My own clay feet, they are still wet from the morning meditation. Created in the past days… swiftly encasing feet, and even whole leg.

When I am vector, just as each of us is vector… Then there is something even more … Something even more. I don’t get to be both inside and outside. We are all amid. And, when the cacophony of amid, together becomes so loud… then the desire to be outside, away, different, … with and alone… in quietude and safety… and able to dance in the glorious…

To try to be both a fighter jet and a freighter at the same time. To deploy as “both/and” … is to risk something of tearing apart at the seams. The Hero/Guide is neither Hero nor Guide. The Guide is one who practices presence; the guiding in the guiding. A hero is one who stands arrayed in power and light… keeping all around safe. There is the hubris of the moment.

1CD2543C-6B94-490D-A751-D19CC95F8B11_1_201_aSeeing all of us… all vectors… all transmitters… all receptors… each in-fected; each and all. In this humbling moment. To understand that something even more is come. In that owning the all, comes the wonder of the journey. The trek. Such is the moment. Great and gracious in care. Great and gracious in care.

Funny too, to come slowly awake and be met with the reading of Easter 19. Acts 8:26-40. Funny to have risen this morning in the understanding of mis-step and mis-stake, only to be guided by a reading that created a grand joke… a humor. A wonderful tension that is both/and; just as this being human is both… and…

The wonder of the joke… both… and. Suddenly this day seems … ‘something about this day…’ A gift. In gratitude, a gift.img_3093

Acts 8:26-40
An angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Get up and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” (This is a wilderness road.) So he got up and went. Now there was an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of the Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, in charge of her entire treasury. He had come to Jerusalem to worship and was returning home; seated in his chariot, he was reading the prophet Isaiah. Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over to this chariot and join it.” So Philip ran up to it and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah. He asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” He replied, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to get in and sit beside him. Now the passage of the scripture that he was reading was this: “Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter, and like a lamb silent before its shearer, so he does not open his mouth. In his humiliation justice was denied him. Who can describe his generation? For his life is taken away from the earth.” The eunuch asked Philip, “About whom, may I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?” Then Philip began to speak, and starting with this scripture, he proclaimed to him the good news about Jesus. As they were going along the road, they came to some water; and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water! What is to prevent me from being baptized?” He commanded the chariot to stop, and both of them, Philip and the eunuch, went down into the water, and Philip baptized him. When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away; the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing. But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he was passing through the region, he proclaimed the good news to all the towns until he came to Caesarea.

That reflection, that learning time.

Equality held in the grand sea of equity.

Great sea… great sea of equity…


On the gift of morning

To understand that there is no noise to cut through. There is only a communion and community to engage. In that frame, to understand the wonder of connection. That connection of a moment of common. Sinner and saint… A tussle of … putting down the tussle and engaging that communion of human-ness.

So, in the face of the bully, what does that look like? In the face of fear, what is the connection? In the face of the violence of attack, what is that sea of equity? This thing I mull… The push that is just a bit too much of friend or stranger, sitting in judgement of a moment… In the face of that moment what response.

I can only speak from moments of experience. To speak caution to power. To suggest frustration to one who seems to desire to cow engagement. To experience the grand drama of that power, dramatically framing the caution as threat or the frustrated leaning in and putting the sense all on … In each case, the leaning back, apologizing … Then, in this quiet moment… realizing, in hindsight, the caution and framing of frustration were clear in then and now. The issue, to understand the moment of crossing. To know that standing in the shadow of that power over or the desire to make an unworkable situation work … anymore… is not to the good of … so to say what needs to be said and own the shift. That is the ‘what’ in the face of that moment and, only for that moment. The challenge is, of course, that the moment of engaged … echos, ripples, and the the waves upon the shore … blow back into the pond, into the sea… the sea of equity.

Still, the caution of that moment, the acknowledgement of frustration, the blow of the winds of change… all of that still echoes. In the sloshing sea of equity.

Invitation; the altar in the world

IMG_8064“… ‘I have told you already, and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again?…” John 9:18-41

Perhaps in the severing … there is a moment of creating linking.

Perhaps … in the severing, there is the raising up … of the altar in the wide world.

Listening through a reading that my eyes say to my ears… A rationalization through reporting of an application of rules across the entire span of the world. Though the fact patterns of understanding and belief are different across the whole, still, the rule is applied. A set of rigid ‘knowing’ that, when applied … leads to formation of so many levels of shift.

In some places, it just means that those who would not or could not, follow the dictum… will disappear from the ranks of those in company. And so, now outside, will continue a relationship with all creation. The dictum, meant to keep pure, creates another linkage or path… one that creates a new set of relationships. The severing by dictum… creation of yet another set of faith links.IMG_8058

At the same time, reading about the faithful unchurched. A fine writing that talks about the mourning of the passing of a place that was formative… and now … coming to terms in that place of expectant projection that the ‘church’ need not be perfect. It just needs faithful servants. The deep and troubling sense that in a dying community, the plaintive desire to have faithful servants is a teaching of servitude… On is not the other.

Last night, enjoying the monthly men’s club. A throw back of a gathering that has some taint of misogyny… and yet, in the breaking of bread, the sharing of story, the gathering together in a jumble of community… sharing pictures of children, now grown… sharing stories… some are old saws… told so often that there is not a sentence that can be a surprise to most of the listeners… all of this in a gathering of men. The club; growing with added generations. It may not survive another ten years… yet, it is a gift in this moment.

When a narrative is demanded in explanation … sometimes there is something in the demand, the demand that a story become a description of … of a world that makes the listener more comfortable … yet, the narrative … our story, it is of our stones, our partners, our hits, our misses. It is that moment of … just being in a story that is of comfort in the face of … at times, great discomfort.IMG_8061

Walking through the doors of a church that was once home… and is home no more… even when that place is in this, the home town… it is something that appears to be a demand of faith. Yet, the greater altar in the world is a church that invites attendance in every moment.

I neighbor who performed a great service was at dinner last night. I asked if he was going to send me a bill for the service… “Are you kidding,” he replied? “It took me all of 20 minutes.” His gift of twenty minutes saved me hours of anguish. I great and faithful gift of community. A gift of neighbor. A gift of friend. That is my church. Imperfect. Full of mission in community. It is the sunrise. It is the sun set. It is the workplace. It is the mail carrier. It is a political machine working to a greater good. It is the arc of an ending of career, seeking legacy. It is the old order, holding on and making the rules more and more to preserve… It is the dancing of the dogs in the morning and the smile of a small child dancing in the hall outside my office cube. It is the altar of a friend’s son, watching a movie and laughing … twinkling of the eye. It is the sadness at an old friend’s passing. It is the lifting up of a college classmate as a grandchild comes into the world. It is the celebration of parents health and healing in the arc of aging. It is the passing of a year in the life of each child… it is all of these and so, so much more.

I miss the rubric of the service. I miss the comfort of the hymn and the wonder of a reading; read well. I miss the gathering of choir … the preparation of the anthem, the sharing of humor in the loft, the long discussion of a service… planning for a celebration… the wonder of a mass, concluded in silence and reverence… the gathering of children… the crying of a child where the entire congregation breathes comfort to partner parents… raising up this song of living… In the houses that are declared sacred, there seems little room for this lifting up. The easing away of a generation… in sacred sense… there is something … easing away.IMG_8047

This altar in the world is something of a mystery. The altar, constrained in a building is equally so. The dictum of each is the chasm of living both on the mountain top and in the canyon. The valley between is home. As too are the mountain tops. That tithe that is all of what I am, it is given in places of wonder. It is given in small and large … and returned in the same coin. The gift of all creation speaks in the most unusual moments… That place is … a moment of just so. Just so indeed.

And so, in narrative, that story made up… the gift of this dawning day is to muse in a story told and the demand to tell it again. This time, each element of the telling is honored and owned. The best in the moment. In that owning, there is also a sense of permission to celebrate at the altar in the world.

The church… the altar in the world. Amen, and amen.IMG_8032