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Alone With My Thoughts? Just Shock Me.

  All mankind’s troubles are caused by one single thing, which is their inability to sit quietly in a room. -Blaise Pascal   When I leave on vacation later in August, I am leaving my smart phone at home. There should probably be some version of methadone for those who stop doodling with their phones…

Famous Little You

In his intriguing article, “Love People, Not Pleasure,” Arthur C. Brooks considers the three classic aspirations that fuel our quest for happiness: fame, wealth and pleasure. Not surprisingly, Brooks concludes that none of the big three brings happiness. The whole article is worth reading (http://nyti.ms/1rnCr3I), but I was taken by this reflection on fame. Most…

A Gardener’s Theology of Weeds

  When I go into the garden with a spade, and dig a bed, I feel such an exhilaration and health that I discover that I have been defrauding myself all this time in letting others do for me what I should have done with my own hands. -Ralph Waldo Emerson   Ralph Waldo would…

Lay My Burden Down

“Come to me all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” I read this passage to my congregation yesterday, surely some of the most sublime words ever to pass Jesus’ lips. But instead of my talking and talking about those beautiful…

To Make Something of Beauty

One of the simplest joys of life is to make something beautiful.  For me that joy is greater when that something has been run down or broken or left for useless. For the past three days I have been painting my daughter and son-in-law’s new apartment in New York. Actually, I have been working on…

Losing Weight

I’m grateful for today’s guest post from my wife, Pam Anderson, who, along with my two daughters, blogs at threemanycooks.com.   David and I have lived in Darien for eleven years now—the same amount of time we were in Bucks County before moving back here. Last winter I suggested to David that, come spring, maybe…

The Case of the Hospital Orderly

All of us are gifted. All of us have something to offer. All of us can touch a life and be a blessing. We often imagine that other people are gifted, other people can make a difference, but we doubt our own powers of blessing. It’s because we trust in bigness-as-greatness. If I can’t deliver…

Move On

The stories people tell at funerals. We were burying Christine, a woman who would soon have been ninety. A good friend, Donna, remembered how she complained and whined to Christine about some recent changes in church worship, and after a few weeks of this Christine just said, “Get over it. Move on.” Donna was stunned:…

Life is a Ride

Riding a hot air balloon is probably about as dangerous as riding a Ferris wheel, but it didn’t feel that way on Saturday when I climbed into a basket and the thing took off. As the massive balloon inflated, it took the pilot, Stan, and three men on the ground to keep it under control….

The God I Don’t Believe In

Last week I heard Rabbi Lawrence Kushner, the writer and scholar of the Jewish mystical tradition of Kabbalah, interviewed on the radio. He told a story that I haven’t forgotten. Rabbi Kushner was invited to a dinner for a class of young people preparing for their bar or bat mitzvah. Classes completed, they had come…

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