Posts

Knowing Who You Are

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Sometimes it is hard to remember who you are. There is just so much noise. There is just so much to do. There are just so many voices vying for attention. There is just so much negativity. There is just so much to worry about. There are just so many distractions. In the midst of it all, it is really hard to remember who you are. And it all seems to move so fast. In the Gospel of Mark, we have a similar fast moving story that takes the reader through Jesus' baptism, his temptation in the desert, and his proclamation of the kingdom of God. This is where it all begins for the author. Listen to the voice of God through this reading from Mark.  "In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan.  And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him.   And a voice came from heaven, 'You are my Son, the Beloved;   with you I am well pleased.' And the Spirit immediately

Beginning with Ashes

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In the Christian calendar, the season we call Lent begins with Ashes.  This Wednesday, throughout the world many Christians will hear the words "Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return" as they are marked with the sign of the cross on their forehead with ashes (even in the midst of a pandemic, this tradition will continue in creative ways). These ashes serve as a reminder of human frailty and brokenness, of the many reasons we have for lament and the ways in which we have failed one another, of the weight of our grief and the depth of our sorrow. These ashes mark not only our bodies but also the beginning of a 40-day journey called Lent. For those who make this journey, it will take us into the complexity of what it means to be human, the struggle of life itself, the challenge of faith, and the presence of God throughout it all.  After a year of immeasurable loss, physical distance from those we love, fear of a virus we cannot see, and anxiety over what might

A Deeper Truth

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In that moment when you can only hear the message that you have failed, are a failure, will never be enough, could never measure up . . . pause . . . breathe deeply; feel your pulse; listen again. The truth is deeper. You are the beloved. You are a gift of the universe to the universe. You are . . . you, and that is exactly who you need to be. -bshivers

words

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words speak  worlds into existence - galaxies, super novas, and planets; a universe of particles, atoms, molecules, quirks and quarks; the beautiful and unusual, the exotic and familiar, the seen and unseen, the you and the me; the breath of life in the form of speech molds and shapes that which can only be held by the creative imagination; handle these words,  your words, all words with care for they can also destroy in an instant that which took an eternity to build -bshivers

My Indoctrination

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It is up to me to change, to demand change, to work for change. I am committed to this work.  Having said all of this, I confess that my indoctrination started early and continued through my childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood. History lessons focused on Western Europe, the colonies, and the United States of America - the “City on a Hill”. All of this was taught from a White colonialist point of view.   Art history focused on artists and art forms from Western Europe and the United States. Music focused on . . . yep, you guessed it, Western European and US musicians. The only literature classes offered in my high school were British Literature, American Literature, and the Bible as Literature.   Church life was focused on colonial ideals of mission and a White-centered worldview. The theologians studied and referenced were all White Western male theologians. The hymns we sang were written by White Western composers.   The unholy trinitarian alliance of Christianity, democracy,

Be More

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I woke up this morning - December 31, 2020 - with a two word phrase stuck in my head.  Be more. Throughout the last several years in the week before New Year's Day, I have chosen a word to contemplate during the coming year. In the past, I have walked with words like "create", "curiosity", and "let it go" as my companions. A couple of days ago, I went to an online word generator and had a word chosen for me at random. The word that came back was "listen". I thought that was a perfect word for 2021. Listen.  Then, I woke up with that phrase stuck in my head on New Year's Eve.  Be more. And it simply wouldn't leave me alone.  So I started trying to figure out what it could mean.  Be more what? Be more patient? Be more kind? Be more present? These statements seemed like a qualitative analysis of how I should move through the year. Maybe that wasn't it.  Maybe there was a space between the two words. Be ________ more. Be patient more.

This moment - this in between

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This moment is a liminal space. A space, a moment to consider what was and what continues to be with anger, grief, and sadness while contemplating what yet may be with hope, anxiety, and promise. The knowing and the not knowing; the clouded memories and the blurry vision; the yes and the maybe; the was, the is, the possibility held simultaneously in this moment this in between. Here we are in this liminal space. -bshivers Bombed out and abandoned Syrian military building in the Golan Heights. Photo taken December 28, 2018