Professional Wonderer

October 17, 2016

            In 2006 my campus ministry students and I were preparing to go on a church-sponsored mission trip to Nicaragua. One of the students, fluent in Spanish, tutored the rest of us, bless her heart, in our wildly varied capabilities as Spanish-speakers. I had a smattering left over from when we lived in Mexico City when I was ten and was charmed all over again at how descriptive the language could be, how one single English word could be painted, with a cluster of Spanish words, in  vivid and beautiful detail that came alive.

            One of the teachers we were going to work with in Nicaragua was pregnant at the time, so our tutor first taught us the word for pregnant (embarazada) and then the phrase for giving birth, which is dar la luz. Literally “givin...

October 13, 2016

[I am writing to you from Carmel, Indiana, where I’m visiting with a dear sisterfriend (you know, the ones who seem sprung from the same pod, even though you didn’t meet them until you were all grown up) who is graciously hosting the dogs and me. First extended road trip. Roadcinante performed perfectly.] 

“Something is afoot in the universe, a result is working out which can best be compared to a gestation and birth; the birth of a spiritual reality formed by souls and the matter they draw after them.”

                                                            Fr. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Human Energy

            Teilhard de Char...

October 10, 2016

            If you follow my Facebook author page, you’ve already been introduced to Roadcinante, the Roadtrek Popular 190 I bought from some lovely folks down in Valdosta, Georgia. The name I chose is a play on Rocinante, John Steinbeck’s name for his home-on-wheels (Travels with Charley), which in turn was the name of Don Quixote’s steed. (Go here for more about the etymology of the name and Cervantes’ wry humor in choosing it.)

            I thought I’d take a moment and introduce you to my traveling companions, Connor-Bo-Bonnor and Beasley Ralph.

            Connor is eight years old and right now an anxious mess. He’s been that way for a while; part of it I attribute to his age, and part of it is his personality. (We refer to him as “ne...

October 10, 2016

            So, boxers…

            I blame the obsession squarely on my father. Even though he grew up a Midwesterner, he became enamored of East Coast ways while attending Brown University (1936-1940). He and his fraternity brothers made weekend jaunts down to New York City, and for a time he was even engaged to a dark-haired Connecticut woman named Ann, going out on long rides on her family’s sailboat and escorting her to all kinds of elegant shindigs. Then he returned to his Midwest senses and reconnected with my mother, whom he’d dated, on and off, since he he’d been sixteen and she fourteen. After leaving the East Coast he never lived there again, but I think he retained his appreciation for a kind of polish decidedly missing from the back-home relatives....

October 2, 2016

            Here is the thing: I am a sixty-three-year-old former pastor. And…I have lost my faith.

            Some of you may already know this about me; others may be surprised to hear it. Or maybe not.

            It has taken me a long time to move past the shame and guilt and confess my doubts, own up to the empty place inside, but my spiritual turmoil might have been more obvious to others than I know.

            Some of you may want to offer encouraging words, a loving prayer, an appropriate scripture passage, or wisdom you’ve culled from various well-loved traditions or belief systems. Thank you for all that. Thank you for the love that is the impetus for your wanting to reach out. The fact is, I have been in a dark enough...

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