This Father’s Day I want to recognize the kind, patient, sensitive, and caring men who serve as father figures and role models in our children’s lives. They are uncles, teachers, caregivers, cooks, drivers, security guards, and coaches. They are there every day in every way. They gently guide our children through their days, offering advice and wisdom – giving our children a model of what and how they can grow up to be … — Maggie Doyne, BlinkNow
It’s the most profound gift and the most daunting challenge. — Matt Bomer
Open your hands if you want to be held. — Rumi
It is not flesh and blood, but the heart which makes us fathers … — Johann Friedrich Von Schiller
I’d say, Buckle up!… It’s going to be a journey where half the time, you don’t know what you’re doing or what to expect, or how you’re going to bear the pressures, or as Blake put it, learn to endure the beams of love. I would say, it’s one day at a time … It’s Doctorow saying …[it] is like driving at night with the headlights on where you can only see a little ways in front of you, but you can make the whole journey that way. — Annie Lamott
Songs about fathers and parenthood:
- My Father’s Eyes by Eric Clapton (rock)
- Fathers (Friends Theme Song Parody) by Sesame Street (pop)/children’s music)
- Father’s Eyes by Amy Grant (Christian)
- Color Him Father by The Winstons (rock)
- Daddy Lessons by Beyonce (country)
- Grandpa by The Judds (country)
- Unforgettable duet by Nat King Cole with Natalie Cole
- My Old Man by Zac Brown Band (country)
- He Didn’t Have to Be by Brad Paisley (country)
- Glory by Jay-Z (rap)
- The House That Built Me by Miranda Lambert (country)
- Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone by The Tempations (jazz/rock)
- Father to Son by Queen (rock)
- Just the Two of Us by Will Smith rap)
- Father and Daughter by Paul Simon (folk pop)
- Cats in the Cradle by Harry Chapin (ballad)
- Song for Dad by Keith Urban (country)
- Butterfly Kisses by Bob Carlisle (country)
- My Father’s House by Bruce Springsteen (rock)
- Dance With Mu Father by Luther Vandross (pop)
- The Greatest Man I Ever Knew by Reba McIntyre (country)
- In the Living Years by Mike & The Mechanics (ballad)
- Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy) by John Lennon
- My Father’s House by Johnny McEvoy (Irish)
- Your Joy by Chrisette Michele (neo-soul)
- Daddy by Beyonce (pop)
- Father and Son by Cat Stevens (ballad)
- The Best Day by George Straiit (country)
- First Man by Camila Cabello (country)
- There You’ll Be by Faith Hill (country)
- Just Fishin’ by Trace Adkins (country)
- Daughters by John Mayer (ballad)
- Papa Don’t Preach by Madonna (pop)
- You Should Be Here by Cole Swindel (country)
- Winter by Tori Amos (pop)
- The Walk by Sawyer Brown (country)
- My Little Girl by Tim McGraw (country)
- THey Don’t Make Em Like My Daddy by Loretta Lynn (country)
- Daddy’s Hands by Holly Dunn (country)
Questions to consider:
- If your image of God comes from a parent, what does that experience of love offer as your relationship with God? Stern and disciplinarian, intimate and affectionate, constant and close, faraway and not present, instructive and patient, quick and restless … how do you know God as met through your connection to your primary relationships: parents or caregivers in your earliest years?
- Does calling God “the Father” help you to connect to Holy Love or is it a barrier? If so, why? What language would help connect you to Godself?
- For whom have you been a role model or mentor, an influencer and changemaker?
- Who has been a father figure or role model in your life?
|The Longing and the Love (excerpt) — Brian Lundin |
We long for the perfect protection of a father,
for strong arms that encircle us,
hold us tight to a broad chest, a beating heart.
Arms that toss us into the air,
screaming with laughter and a little fear,
even though we know those arms will always catch us.From the moment we gasp our first breath of air,
we long for the perfect father.
We long for a father who sacrifices,
who lays down his time to play games,
read our favorite book one more time,
or take a long walk and listen.
Who reaches into his pocket and pulls out a dollar for ice cream.
Who reaches deeper to provide a good home, good food, and good gifts.
We long for a father who always protects,
always cheers, and always sacrifices.Some of us are blessed to find
bits and pieces of these longings met in human form,
Like sun through stained glass—a brilliant picture,
illuminated by our Father who satisfies these longings.We thank God for fathers who protect,
who encourage with strong words, and strong convictions,
fathers willing to sacrifice, striving to love.But some of us are grieving.
Grieving the loss of a good father, or the lack of one.
Some never knew their father’s arms,
and some bear scars, on skin and soul,
dealt from a father’s swinging arms.
At some point, all of us are left longing.
Lacking.No human father can perfectly satisfy.
Look up and know your Father in Heaven gave you these longings,
and only He can … fulfill them …We celebrate our fathers on earth, and our Father in heaven.
We give thanks for the longing, and give thanks for the love.
|Father’s Day Prayer — Maren Tirabassi|
God, I’m praying for fathers –
fathers, up at night with newborns,
fathers, bent under college debt,
fathers who are good with one age of child
and haven’t a clue with another.
I’m praying for fathers balancing self
and home and work and parenting,
especially when no one seems to notice.
I’m praying for fathers of adolescents,
and for those who are adolescents themselves,
as well as many who prop up their elbows w
hen their hands slip on the gift of accountability.
I’m praying for grandfathers and transfathers.
godfathers and grieving fathers,
foster fathers and adopting fathers,
solo fathers and step-fathers,
fathers-in-law and fathers-in-neighbor,
more grandfathers – tiptoeing around divorce,
and also teachers, pastors, coaches, counselors
who mix a tiny bit of what they know
from fathering into relationships
with dozens of children, and l
earn the rhythm to step back.
I’m praying for those living
with their mistakes as fathers—
small thoughtlessnesses that call for self-forgiveness,
or deep damage needing repentance, transformation.
I’m praying for those who want to be fathers,
and those who have wanted, but it never happened.
I’m praying for those who miss
their fathers because of death or distance,
deep difference or disappearance,
and I’m praying those who miss their children
because of death or distance,
deep difference or disappearance.
Be a parent to them, O God,
on this day and all the days of the year.
I am praying for those who have been
so violated by men in relationship to them,
that the very name “father” is a wound.
Heal them with time and anger,
memory, love and support.
As we approach this civic day
with its tangle of knotted emotions,
draw out for each of us from
your fathoms of tenderness, care, and strength,
for our most intimate needs – named here,
barely whispered to ourselves, or
still hidden in the cave-rooms of our souls.
For a New Father (excerpt)— John O’Donohue
As the shimmer of dawn transforms the night
Into a blush of color futured with delight,
The eyes of your … child awaken in you
A brightness that surprises your life …
… You feel the full force of a father’s desire
To protect and shelter.
… May your heart rest in the grace of the gift
And you sense how you have been called
Inside the dream of this new destiny.
May you be gentle and loving, clear and sure.
May you trust in the unseen providence
That has chosen you all to be a family.
May you stand sure on your ground
And know that every grace you need
Will unfold before you
Like all the mornings of your life.
Extraordinariness of Daily Acts: Just Showing Up
My father didn’t tell me how to live. He lived and let me watch him do it. — Clarence Budington Kelland
Dads are most ordinary men turned by love into heroes, adventurers, story-tellers … and singers of song. — Pam Brown
A good father is one of the most unsung, unpraised, unnoticed, and yet one of the most valuable assets in our society. — Billy Graham
I believe that what we become depends on what our fathers teach us at odd moments, when they aren’t trying to teach us. We are formed by the little scraps of wisdom. — Umberto Eco
When you’re young, you think your dad is Superman. Then you grow up, and you realize he’s just a regular guy who wears a cape. — Dave Attell
Sometimes the poorest man leaves his children the richest inheritance. — Ruth Renkel
The biggest lesson for my kids is that they know they are the most important things I have. No matter what is going on in my life, your kids are forever. — Lin Manuel Miranda
I talk and talk and talk, and I haven’t taught people in 50 years what my father taught by example in one week. — Maria Cuomo Cole
I remember a very important lesson that my father gave me when I was twelve or thirteen. He said, ‘You know, today I welded a perfect seam and I signed my name to it.’ And I said, ‘But, Daddy, no one’s going to see it!’ And he said, ‘Yeah, but I know it’s there.’ — Toni Morrison
A good father is one of the most unsung, unpraised, unnoticed, and yet one of the most valuable assets in our society. — Billy Graham
He adopted a role called being a father so that his child would have something mythical and infinitely important: a protector. — Tom Wolfe
On Loving Our Children
Baby, I paint the sky blue
My greatest creation was you.
In my career, there’s many things I’ve won and many things I’ve achieved, but for me, my greatest achievement is my children and my family. — David Beckham
When my father didn’t have my hand, he had my back. — Linda Poindexter
Prayer — Maya Angelou
Father, Mother, God,
Thank you for your presence during the hard and mean days.
For then we have you to lean upon.
Thank you for your presence during the bright and sunny days,
for then we can share that which we have with those who have less.
And thank you for your presence during the Holy Days, for then we are able
to celebrate you and our families and our friends.
For those who have no voice, we ask you to speak.
For those who feel unworthy, we ask you to pour your love out in waterfalls of tenderness.
For those who live in pain, we ask you to bathe them in the river of your healing.
For those who are lonely, we ask you to keep them company.
For those who are depressed, we ask you to shower upon them the light of hope.
Dear Creator, You, the borderless sea of substance, we ask you to give to all the world that which we need most—Peace.
All Kinds of Fathers: Honoring the Men in Our Lives
There are many different types of Dads. Father figures come in all shapes and sizes, and being a parent can sometimes lie with a less-traditional role-model. — MensLineAustralia
It is not flesh and blood, but the heart which makes us fathers and sons. — Johann Friedrich Von Schiller
But a role model in the flesh provides more than inspiration; his or her very existence is confirmation of possibilities one may have every reason to doubt, saying, yes, someone like me can do this. — Sonia Sotomayor
You can honor the day by acknowledging someone who made a difference in your life … — James Van Praagh
Role models set goals for you and try to make you as good as they are. Role models are important. — Kasey Zacharias
My role model didn’t tell me, he showed me. — Unattributed
By being a living role model of what you want to receive from others, you create more of what you want in your life. — Eric Allenbaugh
Be the flame of fate, that torch of truth to guide our young people toward a better future for themselves and for this country. — Michelle Obama
We tend to become like those we admire. — Thomas Monson
Children need role models rather than critics. — Joseph Joubert
A role model can teach you to love and respect yourself. — Tionne Watkins
To change bad habits we must study the habits of successful role models. — Jack Canfield
As a leader, it’s a major responsibility on your shoulders to practice the behavior you want others to follow. — Himanshu Bhatia
God / Holy Love as Parent & Creator
There is something gratuitous about creation, an unnecessary abundance of beauty, and through its blossoms and pleasures we can revel in the sheer largesse of the Father. ― Michael Reeves
[About Prodigal Son parable] … he’s a parent who loves both his children more than anyone can measure. And that’s when counting breaks down. When you love so much there is no scale adequate to calculate your devotion. The elder son, he counts … But the … father – doesn’t. Can’t. Love like this, you see, cannot be measured, tracked, or managed. … God’s immeasurable love. Period. — David Lose
Right from the moment of our birth, we are under the care and kindness of our parents, and then later on in our life when we are oppressed by sickness and become old, we are again dependent on the kindness of others. Since at the beginning and end of our lives we are so dependent on other’s kindness, how can it be in the middle that we would neglect kindness towards others? — Dalai Lama
The child asks of the Father whom he knows. Thus, the essence of Christian prayer is not general adoration, but definite, concrete petition. The right way to approach God is to stretch out our hands and ask of One who we know has the heart of a Father. ― Dietrich Bonhoeffer
God attaches no strings to His love. None. His love for us does not depend on our loveliness. It goes one way. As far as our sin may extend, the grace of our Father extends further. ― Tullian Tchividjian
Most of us were taught that God would love us if and when we change. In fact, God loves you so that you can change. What empowers change, what makes you desirous of change is the experience of love. It is that inherent experience of love that becomes the engine of change. ― Richard Rohr
I am always struck when I reread the parable of the merciful Father. … The Father, with patience, love, hope and mercy, had never for a second stopped thinking about [his wayward son], and as soon as he sees him still far off, he runs out to meet him and embraces him with tenderness, the tenderness of God, without a word of reproach. … God is always waiting for us, He never grows tired. Jesus shows us this merciful patience of God so that we can regain confidence and hope — always!— Pope Francis
Committing myself to the task of becoming fully human is saving my life now… to become fully human is something extra, a conscious choice that not everyone makes. Based on my limited wisdom and experience, there is more than one way to do this. If I were a Buddhist, I might do it by taking the bodhisattva vow, and if I were a Jew, I might do it by following Torah. Because I am a Christian, I do it by imitating Christ, although i will be the first to admit that I want to stop about a day short of following him all the way. In Luke’s gospel, there comes a point when he turns around and says to the large crowd of those trailing after him, “Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple” (14:26). Make of that what you will, but I think it was his way of telling them to go home. He did not need people to go to Jerusalem to die with him. He needed people to go back where they came from and live the kinds of lives that he had risked his own life to show them: lives of resisting the powers of death, of standing up for the little and the least, of turning cheeks and washing feet, of praying for enemies and loving the unlovable. ― Barbara Brown Taylor
About the Prodigal Father (excerpt) —Nadia Bolz-Weber (full article: https://www.patheos.com/blogs/nadiabolzweber/2016/03/junk-food-djs-and-brothers-a-sermon-on-how-all-that-is-the-fathers-is-ours/)
… So Jesus told them this parable of 2 sons.
The first son took his inheritance and left town and squandered everything he’d been given. Like a child who if given the freedom to choose for themselves what they eat, they gleefully gorge themselves on Fruit Loops and Snickers for breakfast and Mountain Dew and Funions for lunch and a dinner of only double stuff Oreos and by the next night they are begging for broccoli. The younger son had been belligerently independent and self-focused – so sure that if he got everything he wanted that he would be happy but instead he was miserable.
And so returning home with his head hung low he glances up and sees the Father running to him – before the younger son could even get his totally rehearsed speech out of his mouth the father throws his arms around him and covers him in love. What was lost is found, what was dead is alive says the Father. None of which are moral categories.
These things call for not condemnation, but a party! And so the father hires a DJ and an amazing caterer and there is dancing and song and drink and joy.
The younger son may have squandered his freedom in self-indulgent excess. But the older son was just as wasteful.
The older son squandered his freedom by not thinking he had any. He didn’t believe that all that was the Father’s was his. He squandered the gifts of the Father by living a life of mirthless duty. And coming home from the field he hears the party underway and resents such a lavish show of love thinking it a limited resource. He was being a complete ass and yet again, the Father comes to him reminding him of the great love he has for his child.
The father sacrifices his dignity twice by running into the street to embrace his children – not as a reward for the children being good but because that is simply the Father’s nature. We are children of a God who does things like that. So in response to the incredulous religious people of his day who were trying desperately to uphold their reward and punishment program Jesus told them a parable about a seemingly bad son and a seemingly good son and how not one thing about their behavior had any effect whatsoever on the heart of their father. All the love that the father had was theirs no matter what. Everything the father had was theirs. So the tragic thing about this story isn’t that one was selfish and one was resentful, the tragic thing is that neither of them trusted the love of the Father. And when that love is not trusted as being sufficient – we replace it with a punishment and reward system.
…. If you have been told that God is some kind of punishing, capricious, angry bastard with a killer surveillance system who is basically always disappointed with you for being a human being then you have been lied to. The church has failed you and I am so sorry.
So if you hear nothing else hear this: that angry punishing God is not the God I know. And it is not the God revealed to us in the person of Jesus Christ. This Jesus who ate with sinners and tax collectors and pissed of the religious authorities (because he was so clearly free from their control) and who loved and healed and forgave people indiscriminately – well this Jesus was God’s way of telling us who God is.
So when I reject my identity as beloved child of God and turn to my own plans of self-satisfaction, or I despair that I haven’t managed to be a good enough person, I again see our divine Parent running toward me uninterested in what I’ve done or not done, who covers me in divine love and I melt into something new like having again been moved from death to life and I reconcile aspects of myself and I reconcile to others around me.
But I’m human, so inevitably some anxiety or resentment sets me off and I start the whole cycle over again. And that’s ok. Because we have endless opportunities to lift our heads and see how the Divine Parent is running toward us – calling us home. Reminding us of God’s love for us and freeing us to be agents of reconciliation…
God Is for Us — Richard Rohr (full article: https://cac.org/daily-meditations/god-is-for-us-2016-09-30/)
Love is just like prayer; it is not so much an action that we do, but a dialogue that already flows through us. We don’t decide to “be loving”; rather, to love is to allow our deepest and truest nature to show itself. The “Father” doesn’t decide to love the “Son.” Fatherhood is the flow from Father to Son, one hundred percent. The Son does not choose now and then to release some love to the Father, or to the Spirit. Love is the full modus operandi between all three of them! (Remember these classic names are just placeholders. You can replace them with any form of endearment that works for you, but make sure something works!)
… Love is not something you do; love is Someone you are. It is your True Self … Love is where you came from and love is where you’re going. It’s not something you can attain. … It is the living presence of God within you, often called the Holy Spirit, or what some theologians name uncreated grace.
You can’t manufacture this by any right conduct. You can’t make God love you one ounce more than God already loves you right now.
You cannot make God love you any less, either—not an ounce less. You could do the most terrible thing and God wouldn’t love you any less. (You would probably love yourself much less, however.)
You cannot change the Divine mind about you! The flow is constant and total toward your life. God is for you!
You can’t diminish God’s love for you. What you can do, however, is learn how to believe it, receive it, trust it, allow it, and celebrate it, accepting Trinity’s whirling invitation to join in the cosmic dance.
Catherine LaCugna [writes] “The very nature of God, therefore, is to seek out the deepest possible communion and friendship with every last creature on this earth.”
That’s God’s job description. That’s what it’s all about. The only things that can keep you out of this divine dance are fear, doubt, or self-hatred. What would happen in your life—right now—if you accepted being fully accepted?
- It would be a very safe universe.
- You would have nothing to be afraid of.
God is for you.
God is leaping toward you!
God is on your side, honestly more than you are on your own.
Doubts are the ants in the pants of faith. They keep it awake and moving.
– Frederick Buechner
I talk to God but the sky is empty. ― Sylvia Plath
I think the trouble with me is lack of faith… often when I pray I wonder if I am not posting letters to a non-existent address. – C.S. Lewis
We demand rigidly defined areas of doubt and uncertainty! ― Douglas Adams
Doubt is an uncomfortable condition, but certainty is a ridiculous one. ― Voltaire
Who among us has not experienced insecurity, loss and even doubts on their journey of faith?… We’ve all experienced this, me too. – Pope Francis
… the Old Testament, which is where many of the questions (and questioners) are. The Old Testament proves that God honors questioners. Remember, grumpy Job emerges as the hero of that book, not his theologically defensive friends. — Philip Yancey
Songs about DOUBTS & QUESTIONS:
- No Doubt About It by We The Kingdom (Christian): https://youtu.be/JCvKzyj2Tu8
- Lost in Doubt by Fame on Fire (pop): https://youtu.be/uTJjQ3QX3Y8
- Shadow of a Doubt by Bonnie Raitt (country): https://youtu.be/CRA8u93sOWs
- Doubt by Twenty-One Pilots (rap/spoken word): https://youtu.be/MEiVnNNpJLA
- Forgiven by Alanis Morisette (pop): https://youtu.be/-9DnL-TlyJw
- Sense of Doubt by David Bowie (instrumental): https://youtu.be/ENqheXKftbo
- No Doubt About Love by Kenny Loggins (country): https://youtu.be/usDtyKAfHjw
- Hand to Hold by JJ Heller (pop): https://youtu.be/n88EHf_ocoQ
- Remove This Doubt by Diana Ross & The Supremes (rock/soul): https://youtu.be/7qnQ9bZAMLo
- The Angel of Doubt by Punch Brothers (folk): https://youtu.be/9PibO0h7Hrg
- Lay Your Doubts & Fears Aside from Semele, HWV 58, Act II Scene III: No. 32 (Jupiter) (opera): https://youtu.be/a9nyBhLiumw
- Dyin Day by Anias Mitchell (folk/country): https://youtu.be/X1KG7jsaTrM
- Ain’t No Doubt About It by Wilson Pickett (rock/soul): https://youtu.be/CdjbvwJ4NHg
- Don’t Speak by No Doubt (pop): https://youtu.be/TR3Vdo5etCQ
- First by Lauren Daigle (Christian): https://youtu.be/RbWQV3OiRqA
- Who Could Ever Doubt My Love? By Diana Ross and the Supremes (soul/rock): https://youtu.be/4yaUE3L5Ex4
- Doubt by Joywave (pop): https://youtu.be/rTfGoa4p_EQ
- Doubt by Mary J Blige (R&B/soul): https://youtu.be/NUE5r4Mzf80
- Doubt Me Now by Cody Johnson (country): https://youtu.be/CdPmRNl3a6E
- No Doubt by Robin Gibb (rock): https://youtu.be/il0ugK6Doo0
- Raise a Hallelujah by Jonathan and Melissa Helser (Christian): https://youtu.be/awkO61T6i0k
- Laughing With by Regina Spektor (pop): https://youtu.be/-pxRXP3w-sQ
- Doubt by The Cure (rock): https://youtu.be/X2iHXlCShmY
- If You Find Yourself in Love by Belle & Sebastien (pop): https://youtu.be/de8OlR7G1xU
- Shadow of a Doubt by Roxette (rock): https://youtu.be/NMwbdiKzd4U
- When In Doubt by Punch Brothers (folk instrumental): https://youtu.be/cjBQT8GKf80
- No Doubt About It by Bay City Rollers (pop/rock): https://youtu.be/oPPERfmIpzE
- This Is the House that Doubt Built by A Day to Remember (hard rock/punk rock): https://youtu.be/9xjb9rvi7Js
- A Little Doubt Goes a Long Way by Reel Big Fish Band (zydeco/cajun): https://youtu.be/aLDgVieHIOM
- Shadow of a Doubt by Asia (rock): https://youtu.be/ZfKnjoShJTc
- Monolith of Doubt by After Forever (metal rock): https://youtu.be/rnNQpPW6ofc
- Without a Doubt by The Roots (rap, caution: explicit lyrics): https://youtu.be/IJJzRWO72Po
- Debate Exposes Doubt by Death Cab for Cutie (indie/rock): https://youtu.be/0E83Fvd5rFA
|A Sonnet for St. Thomas the Apostle|
— Malcolm Guite
“We do not know… how can we know the way?”
Courageous master of the awkward question,
You spoke the words the others dared not say
And cut through their evasion and abstraction.
Oh doubting Thomas, father of my faith,
You put your finger on the nub of things
We cannot love some disembodied wraith,
But flesh and blood must be our king of kings.
Your teaching is to touch, embrace, anoint,
Feel after Him and find Him in the flesh.
Because He loved your awkward counter-point
The Word has heard and granted you your wish.
Oh place my hands with yours, help me divine
The wounded God whose wounds are healing mine.
QUESTIONING: An Act of Faith
When I speak to college students, I challenge them to find a single argument against God in the older agnostics (Bertrand Russell, Voltaire, David Hume) or the newer ones (Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris) that is not already included in books like Psalms, Job, Habakkuk, and Lamentations. I have respect for a God who not only gives us the freedom to reject him, but also includes the arguments we can use in the Bible. God seems rather doubt-tolerant, actually. — Philip Yancey
In other words, no matter how strong our faith is, at some point we may experience doubt. But instead of being a sign of weakness, doubt can actually be something that causes us to dig deeper into our relationship with God, and can even make our faith stronger. — Jesse Carey
Certainty is so often overrated. This is especially the case when it comes to faith, or other imponderables. — Julia Baird
Doubt isn’t the opposite of faith; it is an element of faith… Sometimes I think it is my mission to bring faith to the faithless, and doubt to the faithful. – Paul Tillich
Belief in God does not exempt us from feelings of abandonment by God. Praising God does not inoculate us from doubts about God. – Eugene Peterson
Surely… we cannot imagine any certainty that is not tinged with doubt, or any assurance that is not assailed by some anxiety. – John Calvin
I do not believe there ever existed a Christian yet, who did not now and then doubt his interest in Jesus. I think, when a man says, “I never doubt,” it is quite time for us to doubt him. – Charles Spurgeon
The minute we begin to think we know all the answers, we forget the questions, and we become smug like the Pharisee who listed all his considerable virtues, and thanked God that he was not like other men… Those who believe they believe in God, but without passion in the heart, without anguish of mind, without uncertainty, without doubt, and even at times without despair, believe only in the idea of God, and not in God himself.”– Madeleine L’Engle
When I get honest, I admit I am a bundle of paradoxes. I believe and I doubt, I hope and get discouraged, I love and I hate… I am trusting and suspicious. I am honest and I still play games. Aristotle said I am a rational animal; I say I am an angel with an incredible capacity for beer. – Brennan Manning
We live in a culture that has, for centuries now, cultivated the idea that the skeptical person is always smarter than one who believes. You can almost be as stupid as a cabbage as long as you doubt. – Dallas Willard
All the things that have ever deeply possessed your soul have been but hints of it, tantalizing glimpses, promises never quite fulfilled, echoes that died away just as they caught your ear. But if it should really become manifest – if there ever came an echo that did not die away but swelled into the sound itself – you would know it. Beyond all possibility of doubt you would say ‘Here at last is the thing I was made for.‘ — C. S. Lewis
I have a lot of faith. But I am also afraid a lot, and have no real certainty about anything. I remembered something Father Tom had told me—that the opposite of faith is not doubt, but certainty. Certainty is missing the point entirely. Faith includes noticing the mess, the emptiness and discomfort, and letting it be there until some light returns. — Anne Lamott
Who among us—everybody, everybody!—who among us has not experienced insecurity, loss and even doubts on their journey of faith? Everyone! We’ve all experienced this, me too. It is part of the journey of faith, it is part of our lives. This should not surprise us, because we are human beings, marked by fragility and limitations. We are all weak, we all have limits: do not panic. We all have them … If one has the answers to all the questions—that is the proof that God is not with him. It means that he is a false prophet using religion for himself. The great leaders of the people of God, like Moses, have always left room for doubt. You must leave room for the Lord, not for our certainties; we must be humble. — Pope Francis
Darkness is such that I really do not see—neither with my mind nor with my reason—the place of God in my soul is blank—There is no God in me—when the pain of longing is so great—I just long & long for God … The torture and pain I can’t explain. — St. Mother Teresa
For more than a week I was close to the gates of death and hell. I trembled in all my members. Christ was wholly lost. I was shaken by desperation and blasphemy of God. — Martin Luther
The lesson of wisdom is, be not dismayed by soul-trouble … Cast not away your confidence, for it hath great recompense of reward. Even if the enemy’s foot be on your neck, expect to rise amid overthrow him. Cast the burden of the present, along with the sin of the past and the fear of the future, upon the Lord, who forsaketh not his saints. — Charles Spurgeon
If Christ spent an anguished night in prayer, if He burst out from the Cross, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ then surely we are also permitted doubt. But we must move on. To choose doubt as a philosophy of life is akin to choosing immobility as a means of transportation. ― Yann Martel
COMMENTARY on THOMAS as a DOUBTER
Here’s my simple contention about this passage: Thomas is not so much a doubter as he is a realist. Think about it. Everything we know about Thomas up to this point suggests that he is forthright, genuine, and even courageous …
Thomas, I would contend, is at heart a pragmatist, one who likes his truth straight up and who relentlessly takes stock of the situation before making a decision. …
Which leads me to believe that what changes when Thomas is confronted by the risen Lord is not that he is no longer a doubter – he never really was – and certainly not his realism. No, what changes is his perception of reality itself. Of what is possible. Of what God can do. Even of what God can do through him….
Jesus comes and takes his mocking words and turns them back on him, not to humiliate or scold him, but simply to confront him with the possibility that his reality was too small, his vision of what is possible too limited. And when Jesus calls him to faith, he’s actually inviting him to enter into a whole new world. …
And this issue of having too small a vision of reality is what I find interesting. Because I also fall into a worldview governed by limitations and am tempted to call that “realism.” Which is when I need to have the community remind me of a grander vision. A vision not defined by failure but possibility, not governed by scarcity but by abundance, not ruled by remembered offenses but set free by forgiveness and reconciliation …
There are, I suspect, a lot of Thomases in our congregations…. who should not have to surrender their sense of realism, but instead be invited to a whole new reality that God created — David Lose
So, two things I noticed and wondered about when reading this passage.
First, Thomas only asks to see what the other disciples have already seen. … Thomas asks for no extraordinary proof to move his extraordinary doubt, but only requests what the others had already been given.
Second, is Thomas’ reaction one of doubt or realism? Might it be that Thomas was, above all else, a realist? And that reality had come as never before ….— David Lose
This week’s gospel lection offers us a secret room, and, with it, an invitation to touch, to cross more deeply into Jesus’ story and our own… History has labeled this disciple Doubting Thomas, as if his uncertainty were the most memorable thing about this follower of Jesus who, elsewhere, is the first to step up and say he is willing to die with him Yet Jesus, as is his way, gives Thomas what he needs — Jan Richardson
I was reminded that in the story of the raising of Lazarus, Thomas is the one—the only one—who steps forward and expresses his willingness to die with Jesus. In this week’s reading, Thomas once again crosses into a place where others have not ventured: into the very flesh of the risen Christ… The wounds of the risen Christ are not a prison; they are a passage. Thomas’s hand in Christ’s side is not some bizarre, morbid probe: it is a union, and a reminder that in taking flesh, Christ wed himself to us.— Jan Richardson
Inventory ― Dorothy Parker
Four be the things
I am wiser to know:
a friend, and a foe.
Four be the things
I’d been better without:
freckles, and doubt.
Three be the things
I shall never attain:
Envy, content, and
Three be the things
I shall have till I die:
Laughter and hope
and a sock in the eye.
We learn from failure, not from success! ― Bram Stoker
If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things. ― René Descartes
Doubt everything. Find your own light. ― Gautama Buddha
Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.― William Shakespeare
To deny, to believe, and to doubt absolutely — this is for man what running is for a horse. – Blaise Pascal
Tell people there’s an invisible man in the sky who created the universe, and the vast majority will believe you. Tell them the paint is wet, and they have to touch it to be sure.
― George Carlin
Doubt as sin. — Christianity has done its utmost to close the circle and declared even doubt to be sin. One is supposed to be cast into belief without reason, by a miracle, and from then on to swim in it as in the brightest and least ambiguous of elements: even a glance towards land, even the thought that one perhaps exists for something else as well as swimming, even the slightest impulse of our amphibious nature — is sin! And notice that all this means that the foundation of belief and all reflection on its origin is likewise excluded as sinful. What is wanted are blindness and intoxication and an eternal song over the waves in which reason has drowned. ― Friedrich Nietzsche
I like the scientific spirit—the holding off, the being sure but not too sure, the willingness to surrender ideas when the evidence is against them: this is ultimately fine—it always keeps the way beyond open—always gives life, thought, affection, the whole man, a chance to try over again after a mistake—after a wrong guess. ― Walt Whitman
And your doubt can become a good quality if you train it. It must become knowing, it must become criticism. Ask it, whenever it wants to spoil something for you, why something is ugly, demand proofs from it, test it, and you will find it perhaps bewildered and embarrased, perhaps also protesting. But don’t give in, insist on arguments, and act in this way, attentive and persistent, every single time, and the day will come when, instead of being a destroyer, it will become one of your best workers–perhaps the most intelligent of all the ones that are building your life. ― Rainer Maria Rilke
THE GIFT of DOUBT —from Between the Dark and the Daylight by Joan Chittister (Penguin Random House)
As Voltaire remarked, “Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.”
The problem is that certitude seduces us. It enables us to believe that what was said to be true is true because someone else said so. It simply cuts off thought. It arrests discussion in midflight. And yet we yearn for it with a passion. We spend endless, sleepless nights grappling with intellectual options in order to wiggle them into a satisfying kind of certainty without so much as a scintilla of evidence.
Rulers of all stripe and type dispense certainties—theirs—with great abandon. They do whatever it takes—define cultural dogmas, assert organizational doctrines, impose decrees, and use power, force and penal systems—to suppress the ideas of anyone who dares to question them. Ideas, after all, are dangerous things. Ideas have brought down as many myths and mysteries as they have toppled kingdoms.
But there is another way to live that runs hot and bright through darkness. There are always some in every population who know that life is not meant to be about certainty. Life, they realize, is about possibility. They see certitude as a direction but not an end.
Doubt is what shakes our arrogance and makes us look again at what we have never really looked at before. Without doubt there is little room for faith in anything. What we accept without question we will live without morality. It is in populations like this that monarchs become dictators and spiritual leaders become charlatans and knowledge becomes myth.
An ancient people tell the story of sending out two shamans to study their holy mountain so that they could know what their gods expected of them. The first shaman came back from the north side of the mountain to tell them that it was covered with fruit trees, a sign that their god would always bless them abundantly. The second shaman came back from the south side of the mountain to tell the people that it was barren and covered with rock, a sign that their god would always be with them but intended them to take care of themselves. So, which shaman was right? If both, then it is dangerous to dogmatize either position.
It is doubt, not certitude, that enables us to believe, because it requires us to think deeply about an entire subject, and not simply depend on the side of reality that is on our side of the mountain. Only when we look beyond absolutes to understand every level of life can we possibly live life to the fullest, with the deepest kind of insight, with the greatest degree of compassion for others.
Voltaire was right, of course. Certainty is comfortable but always unlikely and forever disruptive. As life changes so must our explanation and response to it.
The Blessing of Thomas
— Maren Tirabassi
“Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.” — John 20:29b
Blessed are the ones, says Thomas,
to those who listen to him, this eastertide,
who don’t need a sanctuary to worship God.
Blessed are those who don’t need a choir to hear holy music,
and who don’t need to sit in a pew
to open their hearts in prayer,
and who don’t need a stained glass window,
or a preacher or even bread and cup
to find the good news.
Blessed are those who really touch
even with gloves on,
who really smile with a mask,
who can be kind on Facetime or Zoom,
who follow a livestream to find Jesus alive.
But also blessed is the Thomas in every one of us
who acknowledges our longing
to hold someone’s real warm hand
not just the story of a hand
that reaches out to someone else, and who wants to feel
not Jesus’ long-ago bleeding side
(we congratulate ourselves about that)
but at least to feel side by side
with other Christians
in order to be side by side with Christ.
Blessed is the Thomas in all of us, who lives with doubts and hopes,
and learns to let go of all expectations
when waiting to meet God.
Breath means new life — and new life means new growth, change, and ongoing development. The Spirit protects and connects, but also challenges, provoking and pushing us along. — SALT Project
You are called to be truly human, but it is nothing short of the life of God within you that enables you to be so, to be remade in God’s image. ― N.T. Wright
Bethlehem was God with us, Calvary was God for us, and Pentecost is God in us. — Robert Baer
- Holy Spirit by Francesca Battistelli (Christian music)
- May the Longtime Sun performed by Sara Thomsen (yoga/meditation music)
- Come Holy Spirit by Bright City (Christian music)
- Breathe by Taylor Swift (pop)
- Breath of Heaven by Amy Grant (Christian music)
- Just Breathe by Pearl Jam (country)
- Every Breath You Take by the Police (rock)
- Take My Breath Away by Berlin (rock)
- Catching my Breath by Kelly Clarkson (country)
O Thou, far off and here, whole and broken,
Who in necessity and bounty wait,
Whose truth is light and dark, mute though spoken,
By Thy wide grace show me Thy narrow gate.
— Wendell Berry
WHAT IS PENTECOST? (excerpt from article by SALT Project, full link here)
1) Pentecost (from a Greek word for “fiftieth”) is the fiftieth and last day of the Easter season. Next week is Trinity Sunday, and then nearly six months of “Ordinary Time” begins, during which this year’s walk through the Gospel of Mark (and occasionally John) will continue. From ten thousand feet, the Christian Year appears divided almost in half: about six months of holy seasons (Advent, Epiphany, Lent, Eastertide), and about six months of Ordinary Time. Like a pendulum swinging back and forth, or a pair of lungs breathing in and out, the church alternates between these two movements each year: high holidays and everyday life, the joys of celebration and the grunt work of growth.
2) Pentecost is the Christian reinterpretation of the ancient Jewish pilgrimage festival, the Festival of Weeks, or Shavuot (pronounced “sha-voo-OAT,” rhymes with “coat”), celebrated 50 days after Passover. For the ancient Israelites, this festival was an explicitly inclusive harvest celebration (Deut 16:11; Lev 23:16), and over time, it also came to mark the reception of the Torah at Mount Sinai. For Christians, it celebrates the reception of the Holy Spirit and the birth of the church. Happy Birthday! …
SPIRIT IN US and WITH US
… view the work of the Holy Spirit differently. The Spirit doesn’t solve our problems, but invites us to see possibilities we would not have seen otherwise. Rather than remove our fear, the Spirit grants us courage to move forward. Rather than promise safety, the Spirit promises God’s presence. Rather than remove us from a turbulent world, or even settle the turbulence, the Spirit enables us to keep our footing amid the tremors. — David Lose
Those in whom the Spirit comes to live are God’s new Temple. They are, individually and corporately, places where heaven and earth meet. — N.T. Wright
Dreams grow holy put in action. — Adelaide Anne Procter
If you want to speak to God, tell it to the wind. — Proverb from Ghana
A great wind is blowing, and that gives you either imagination or a headache. — Catherine the Great
Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive. —Howard Thurman
When you strip it of everything else, Pentecost stands for power and life. That’s what came into the church when the Holy Spirit came down on the day of Pentecost. ― David Wilkerson
Without Pentecost the Christ-event – the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus – remains imprisoned in history as something to remember, think about and reflect on. The Spirit of Jesus comes to dwell within us, so that we can become living Christs here and now. – Henri Nouwen
It has seemed to me sometimes as though the Lord breathes on this poor gray ember of Creation and it turns to radiance – for a moment or a year or the span of a life. And then it sinks back into itself again, and to look at it no one would know it had anything to do with fire, or light. … But the Lord is more constant and far more extravagant than it seems to imply. Wherever you turn your eyes the world can shine like transfiguration. You don’t have to bring a thing to it except a little willingness to see. Only, who could have the courage to see it?” — Marilynne Robinson
… Although onlookers thought that the believers who received the Spirit at Pentecost were babbling (Acts 2:13), in fact they were speaking intelligibly in several languages (Acts 2:8-11). Note well: they were all saying the same thing (testifying about Jesus) in different languages. It takes a thousand tongues to say and sing our great Redeemer’s praise. … plurality: the various … streams testify to Jesus in their own vocabularies, and it takes many languages (i.e. interpretive traditions) to minister the meaning of God’s Word and the fullness of Christ. As the body is made up of many members, so many interpretations may be needed to do justice to the body of the biblical text. Why else are there four Gospels, but that the one story of Jesus was too rich to be told from one perspective only? Could it be that the various … traditions function similarly as witnesses who testify to the same Jesus from different situations and perspectives? ― Kevin J. Vanhoozer
Pentecost came with the sound of a mighty rushing wind, a violent blast from heaven! Heaven has not exhausted its blasts, but our danger is we are getting frightened of them. — Smith Wigglesworth
The Worship of Nature— John Greenleaf Whittier
The harp at Nature’s advent strung
Has never ceased to play;
The song the stars of morning sung
Has never died away.
And prayer is made, and praise is given,
By all things near and far;
The ocean looketh up to heaven,
And mirrors every star.
Its waves are kneeling on the strand,
As kneels the human knee,
Their white locks bowing to the sand,
The priesthood of the sea!
They pour their glittering treasures forth,
Their gifts of pearl they bring,
And all the listening hills of earth
Take up the song they sing.
The green earth sends its incense up
From many a mountain shrine;
From folded leaf and dewy cup
She pours her sacred wine.
The mists above the morning rills
Rise white as wings of prayer;
The altar-curtains of the hills
Are sunset’s purple air.
The winds with hymns of praise are loud,
Or low with sobs of pain,—
The thunder-organ of the cloud,
The dropping tears of rain.
With drooping head and branches crossed
The twilight forest grieves,
Or speaks with tongues of Pentecost
From all its sunlit leaves.
The blue sky is the temple’s arch,
Its transept earth and air,
The music of its starry march
The chorus of a prayer.
So Nature keeps the reverent frame
With which her years began,
And all her signs and voices shame
The prayerless heart of man.
It is not light that we need, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake. — Frederick Douglass
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you. — Khalil Gibran
Pentecost Blessing — Jan Richardson
On the day when you are wearing
your certainty like a cloak
and your sureness goes before you
like a shield or like a sword,
may the sound of God’s name
spill from your lips as you have never heard it before.
May your knowing be undone.
May mystery confound your understanding.
May the Divine rain down in strange syllables
yet with an ancient familiarity,
a knowing borne in the blood,
the ear, the tongue,
bringing the clarity that comes
not in stone or in steel
but in fire, in flame.
May there come one searing word:
enough to bare you to the bone,
enough to set your heart ablaze,
enough to make you whole again.
Questions to consider about Acts 2: 1-21:
- What gifts do you believe you have received from the Spirit?
- When have you felt connected to something larger than yourself?
- When have you had a sense that you’ve lost control and your expectations have been overturned? What happened next? Did that experience make a lasting change in you?
- When have you felt like a ‘stranger in a strange land?’ What helped you reconnect?
Music about fire, wind, breath and Spirit:
- Dancin’ in the Dark by Bruce Springsteen (rock)
- Sailing by Christopher Cross (pop/soft rock)
- Come Alive (Dry Bones) by Lauren Daigle (Christian)
- We Didn’t Start the Fire by Billy Joel (rock)
- Colors of the Wind performed by Judy Kuhn (musical)
- Ring of Fire by Johnny Cash (country)
- Here Comes the Sun by The Beatles (rock)
- Mandolin Wind by Ron Wood & Rod Stewart (rock/pop)
- Set Fire to the Rain by Adele (pop)
- Breath of Heaven by Amy Grant (Christian/Christmas)
- Another in the Fire by Hillsong United (Christian)
Thoughts on Pentecost & Holy Spirit
Chi and the Christian understanding of the Holy Spirit share many commonalities. The Old Testament ruach and the New Testament pneuma carry the same ambiguity of multiple meanings, as does Chi, such as “breath, air, wind, or soul.” — Kim
Here’s one thing
you must understand
about this blessing:
it is not for you alone.
It is stubborn about this.
Do not even try
to lay hold of it
if you are by yourself,
thinking you can carry it
on your own …
— Jan Richardson
Both the Jews and Christians celebrate Pentecost. During the Jewish Pentecost, every male Jew living within twenty miles of Jerusalem was legally bound to go up to Jerusalem to participate in the feast. Jewish Pentecost is also known by the name Shebuot or Shavuot (The Feast of Weeks). … For Christians … It is the day when the Holy Spirit descended on the apostles in the form of different tongues. It took place fifty days after the Resurrection of Jesus. The feasts also commemorate the inauguration of the Christian Church by apostles. — latestly.com
… Fire fell, I say, in angel-swarm, and men were changed for good,
To feast with God, to feast on God, to savor holy food.
Bread and wine, body and blood, were shed and tucked in a tomb.
But, out He strolled, and breathed His breath, and the world became a womb …
— Ross Guthrie
You burn with irrepressible, ferocious passion … we can barely stand upright in the face of your love … you would subsume us in the unrelenting hold of your peace … thank god our inadequacy defining you has never stopped you yet. — Cheryl Lawrie… look for – and expect! – the Holy Spirit to come along side us and shake things up, preparing and equipping each and all of us to share the disruptive, surprising, and life-giving word of grace of the God who will not rest until all people enjoy abundant life … — David Lose
English translations also underplay the fear-inducing, adrenalin-pumping, wind-tossed, fire-singed, smoke-filled turmoil of that experience. Those who observed this Pentecost visitation from outside the room are described in the NRSV as “bewildered” (v. 6), “amazed and astonished” (v. 7), and “amazed and perplexed” (v. 12). The Greek terms describing their reactions could be appropriately rendered (following the lead of various lexicons) as confused, in an uproar, beside themselves, undone, blown away, thoroughly disoriented, completely uncomprehending. — Frank Couch
This is not a soft, cuddly Holy Spirit; this is an uncontrollable and unpredictable Spirit … the Spirit is not our private possession — it’s not “mine.” The Spirit is given to the whole community. — Patrick Johnson
The Spirit is like breath, as close as the lungs, the chest, the lips, the fogged canvas where little fingers draw hearts, the tide that rises and falls twenty-three thousand times a day in a rhythm so intimate we forget to notice until it enervates or until a supine yogi says pay attention and its fragile power awes again. … The Spirit is like fire, deceptively polite in its dance atop the wax and wick of our church candles, but wild and mercurial as a storm when unleashed. … The Spirit is like a seal, an emblem bearing the family crest, a promise of belonging, protection, favor. …The Spirit is like wind, earth’s oldest sojourner, which in one place readies a sail, in another whittles a rock, in another commands the trees to bow, in another gently lifts a bridal veil. … The Spirit is like a bird, fragile alloy of heaven and earth, where wind and feather and flight meets breath and blood and bones. … The Spirit is like a womb, from which the living are born again. — Rachel Held Evans
Excerpt from Mindfulness Exercise by Thich Nhat Hanh (full article)
Just recognize: this is an in-breath, this is an out-breath. Very simple, very easy. In order to recognize your in-breath as in-breath, you have to bring your mind home to yourself. What is recognizing your in-breath is your mind, and the object of your mind—the object of your mindfulness—is the in-breath. Mindfulness is always mindful of something. When you drink your tea mindfully, it’s called mindfulness of drinking. When you walk mindfully, it’s called mindfulness of walking. And when you breathe mindfully, that is mindfulness of breathing.
So the object of your mindfulness is your breath, and you just focus your attention on it. Breathing in, this is my in-breath. Breathing out, this is my out-breath. When you do that, the mental discourse will stop. You don’t think anymore. You don’t have to make an effort to stop your thinking; you bring your attention to your in-breath and the mental discourse just stops. That is the miracle of the practice. You don’t think of the past anymore. You don’t think of the future. You don’t think of your projects, because you are focusing your attention, your mindfulness, on your breath.
Spirit as Flame and Fire
Do not feel lonely, the entire universe is inside you.
Stop acting so small. You are the universe in ecstatic motion.
Set your life on fire. Seek those who fan your flames.
— attributed to Rumi
Love in its essence is spiritual fire. — Seneca
The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire. — Ferdinand Foch
Heat cannot be separated from fire, nor beauty from the eternal. — Dante Alighieri
We cannot tear out a single page of our life, but we can throw the whole book in the fire. — George Sand
You kindled me, heap of ashes that I am, into fire. — Cassandra Clare
… I am … setting fire to the forests
at night when no one else is alive or awake
however you choose to see it and I live in my own flames
sometimes burning too bright and too wild
to make things last or handle myself or anyone else
and so I run. run run run
far and wide until my bones ache and lungs split
and it feels good. Hear that people? It feels good …
― Charlotte Eriksson
Keep a little fire burning; however small, however hidden. ― Cormac McCarthy, The Road
If you’re going to try, go all the way. There is no other feeling like that. You will be alone with the gods, and the nights will flame with fire. You will ride life straight to perfect laughter. It’s the only good fight there is. ― Charles Bukowski
There may be a great fire in our soul, yet no one ever comes to warm himself at it, and the passers-by see only a wisp of smoke. ― attributed to Vincent van Gogh
The Moth don’t care
when he sees The Flame.
He might get burned,
but he’s in the game.
And once he’s in,
he can’t go back,
he’ll Beat his wings
’til he burns them black…
No, The Moth don’t care
when he sees The Flame …
The Moth don’t care if
The Flame is real,
‘Cause Flame and Moth
got a sweetheart deal.
And nothing fuels
a good flirtation,
Like Need and Anger
No, The Moth don’t care
if The Flame is real …
― Aimee Mann
Spirit as Wind and Breath
The wind that gave our grandfather his first breath also received his last sigh. The wind also gives our children the spirit of life. — Chief Seattle
The breath of life is in the sunlight and the hand of life is in the wind. ― Kahlil Gibran
Close your eyes and turn your face into the wind. Feel it sweep along your skin in an invisible ocean of exultation. Suddenly, you know you are alive. ― Vera Nazarian
The wind shows us how close to the edge we are. — Joan Didion
To most human beings, wind is an irritation. To most trees, wind is a song. ― Mokokoma Mokhonoana
When men sow the wind it is rational to expect that they will reap the whirlwind. — Frederick Douglass
The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails. — William Arthur Ward
What is the good of your stars and trees, your sunrise and the wind, if they do not enter into our daily lives?— E. M. Forster
You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself. That is something you have charge of. — Jim Rohn
I hear the wind among the trees Playing the celestial symphonies; I see the branches downward bent, Like keys of some great instrument. — Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced. – Soren Kierkegaard
Ironically … it is by the means of seemingly perfunctory daily rituals and routines that we enhance the personal relationships that nourish and sustain us. ― Kathleen Norris
Solving problems means listening. – Richard Branson
One thing becomes clearer as one gets older and one’s fishing experience increases, and that is the paramount importance of one’s fishing companions. — John Ashley Cooper
We don’t know who we are until we see what can we do. – Martha Grimes
Whatever you can do,
or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius,
power and magic in it.
— W. H. Murray
A Thirsty Fish (excerpt) — Rumi
I don’t get tired of you. Don’t grow weary
of being compassionate toward me!
All this thirst equipment
must surely be tired of me, the water jar, the water carrier.
I have a thirsty fish in me
that can never find enough of what it’s thirsty for!
Show me the way to the ocean!
Break these half-measures, these small containers …
- What a Difference You’ve Made in My Life by Ronnie Milsap (soft rock)
- It Makes No Difference Now by Ray Charles (soul / country western cover)
- The Difference Between Us by Tina Turner (rock)
- What Difference Does It Make by the Smiths (rock)
- Different by Michael Tyler (Christian)
- Different by Hayden Summerall (pop)
Some songs for challenging times:
- The Greatest by James Blunt (inspirational pop)
- Joy by For King & Country
- In Dangerous Times performed by local singer & minister Mary Edes
- I Feel Like Going On performed by local singer & minister Mary Edes:
Fish & Fishing Songs:
- Oceans (Where Feet May Fail) by Hillsong United (Christian)
- Big Fish by FFE (Gospel)
- I’ll Probably Be Out Fishing by Toby Keith (country):
- Fisherman’s Friend by Port Isaac Fisherman’s Friend (sea chanty / acapella)
- Big-Eyed Fish by Dave Mathews Band (ballad):
- Gone Fishin’ by Bing Crosby & Louie Armstrong (big band)
Questions to consider from John 21 (link: John 21:1-14)
- What is one thing that this pandemic has caused you to see or experience differently? What do you appreciate?
- What do you want to keep from this experience? What do you want to let go or be done with?
- What in your life do you now consider to be abundant, that might once have felt scarce or limited?
- And what do you now wish you had in greater quantity or quality, that you didn’t appreciate before this time?
- What would you wish to give or offer, without limit, if you could?
- What simple rituals or habits create a pattern in your daily life?
- What gives you a sense of purpose?
- What are some comforting practices or routines that you have developed during the pandemic, or in the bigger picture, across the course of your life?
Trying a Different Approach; Attempting Something New
One country … one ideology, one system is not sufficient. It is helpful to have a variety of different approaches … We can then make a joint effort to solve the problems of the whole of humankind. — Dalai Lama
You will enrich your life immeasurably if you approach it with a sense of wonder and discovery, and always challenge yourself to try new things. – Nate Berkus
Do one thing every day that scares you. — Eleanor Roosevelt
Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go. – T.S. Eliot
I hope that … you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re doing something. — Neil Gaiman
Creativity is thinking up new things. Innovation is doing new things. – Theodore Levitt
Try new things everyday. Don’t be afraid of failures. You will not lose anything. But your brain will be packed with experiences. — Akash Ryan Agarwal
Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. — Neale Donald Walsch
I’m an entrepreneur at heart. I’m not afraid of starting up, starting over, or even failing for that matter, because the fact that I try new things in itself is a victory. — Lynn Collins
Without experimentation, a willingness to as and try new things, we shall surely become static, repetitive, and moribund. – Anthony Bourdain
To live an art-filled life, one must be willing to try new things & accept that things change. – Lee Hammond
We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths. – Walt Disney
Life is worthwhile if you try. It doesn’t mean you can do everything, but there are a lot of things you can do, if you just try. – Jim Rohn
What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything? – Vincent van Gogh
I won’t know if I like it until I try it, will I? ― Cassandra Clare
How do you know, unless you open the door? ― Casey Rislov
Change How You Think About Problems
We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. – Albert Einstein
Problems are not stop signs, they are guidelines. – Robert H. Shuller
Not everything that is faced can be changed. But nothing can be changed until it is faced. – James Baldwin
Every problem is a gift. Without them we wouldn’t grow. – Tony Robbins
It isn’t that they cannot find the solution. It is that they cannot see the problem. – G.K Chesterton
Problems are nothing but wake-up calls for creativity. – Gerhard Gschwandtner
Inside of every problem lies an opportunity. – Robert Kiposaki
There is no problem outside of you that is superior to the power within you. – Bob Proctor
You can increase your problem-solving skills by honing your question-asking ability. – Michael J. Gelb
On Fishing: Light-hearted and Deep-minded Observations
Fishing is a discipline in the equality of men – for all men are equal before fish. — Herbert Hoover.
Yes, Jesus poured himself out for others. But he also went to parties, had breakfasts on the beach, went into the desert by himself, and took time off from the crowds. — Joan Chittister
Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after. — Henry David Thoreau.
The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore. — Vincent Van Gogh
… fishermen are the people with the most immediate vested interest in having a healthy sea. — Mark Kurlansky
The fish and I were both stunned and disbelieving to find ourselves connected by a line. — William Humphrey
In every species of fish … it is the ones that have got away that thrill me the most, the ones that keep fresh in my memory. — Ray Bergman
… drought affects everyone in the state, from farmers to fishermen, business owners to suburban residents, and everyone has a role to play in using precious water resources as wisely and efficiently as possible. — Frances Beinecke
What did Christ really do? He hung out with hard-drinking fishermen. — Iggy Pop
Fishermen own the fish they catch, but they do not own the ocean.— Etienne Schneider
There will be days when the fishing is better than one’s most optimistic forecast, others when it is far worse. Either is a gain over just staying home. — Roderick Haig Brown
Fishing is not an escape from life, but often a deeper immersion into it. — Harry Middleton.
I go fishing not to find myself but to lose myself. — Joseph Monniger
Christianity began as a religion of the poor and dispossessed – farmers, fishermen, Bedouin shepherds. There’s a great lure to that kind of simplicity and rigor – the discipline, the call to action. — Camille Paglia
I only hope the fish will take half as much trouble for me as I’ve taken for them. — Rudyard Kipling.
Everyone should believe in something. I believe I’ll go fishing. — Henry David Thoreau.
If all politicians fished, instead of spoke publicly, we would be at peace with the world. — Will Rogers
The charm of fishing is that it is the pursuit of something that is elusive but attainable, a perpetual series of occasions for hope. — attributed to John Bucha
I don’t want to sit at the head table anymore. I want to go fishing. — George Bush.
The best fisherman I know try not to make the same mistakes over and over again; instead they strive to make new and interesting mistakes and to remember what they learned from them. — John Gierach
I have fished through fishless days that I remember happily without regret. — Roderick Haig Brown
The fishing was good; it was the catching that was bad. — attributed to A.K. Best
Having a Sense of Purpose: Ordinary Tasks, Small Habits & Rituals as Sacred Moments
I am not sure exactly what heaven will be like, but I know that when we die and it comes time for God to judge us, he will not ask, ‘How many good things have you done in your life?’ rather he will ask, ‘How much love did you put into what you did? ― St Mother Teresa of Calcutta
It’s not what you do, but how much love you put into it that matters. ― Rick Warren
… God’s attention is indeed fixed on the little things. But this is not because God is a great cosmic cop, eager to catch us in minor transgressions, but simply because God loves us–loves us so much that the divine presence is revealed even in the meaningless workings of daily life. It is in the ordinary, the here-and-now, that God asks us to recognize that the creation is indeed refreshed like dew-laden grass that is “renewed in the morning” or to put it in more personal and also theological terms, “our inner nature is being renewed everyday”. Seen in this light, what strikes many modern readers as the ludicrous details in Leviticus involving God in the minuitae of daily life might be revisioned as the very love of God. ― Kathleen Norris
Excerpt from an essay by Rumi —There is one thing in this world which you must never forget to do. If you forget everything else and not this, there is nothing to worry about, but if you remember everything else and forget this, then you will have done nothing in your life.
It is as if a king has sent you to some country to do a task, and you perform a hundred other services, but not the one he sent you to do. So human beings come to this world to do particular work. That work is the purpose, and each is specific to the person. If you don’t do it, it’s as though a knife of the finest tempering were nailed into a wall to hang things on. For a penny an iron nail could be bought to serve for that.
Remember the deep root of your being, the presence of your lord. Give your life to the one who already owns your breath and your moments. If you don’t, you will be like the one who takes a precious dagger and hammers it into his kitchen wall for a peg to hold his dipper gourd. You will be wasting valuable keenness and foolishly ignoring your dignity and your purpose.
If you want to know if you are, in fact, loving yourself at all, ask yourself if you have ever cultivated something you like to do—like crocheting or gardening or painting or golfing or music. Ever. And if you haven’t, why haven’t you? Listen carefully to the answer. It is the key to being a whole person; it is the key to a whole other life. — Sr Joan Chittister