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Day Number 21,328

“So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” -Psalm 90:12 I have done the math, and the number of my days since birth is 21, 328. (It’s easy: go to numbermydays.com and enter your birthday.) I don’t suggest you take the Psalm literally, but it’s not a bad…

God is Not Urgent

About now, many of us are looking at our New Year’s resolutions and wondering what happened to our resolve. I don’t care much for resolutions, since they are mostly attempts to arm-wrestle small problems into submission without having to look plainly at one’s life. I like “priorities” instead of “resolutions.” Which reminds me immediately of…

Where is Your Life Taking You?

Where is your life taking you? That’s the question I heard Parker Palmer asking. The Quaker wise man was being interviewed. “I had to ask myself,” he said, “where my life was taking me, rather than just where I was trying to take my life.” It’s important to try to take your life somewhere. Without…

Clock or Compass?

We live by the clock. Running as fast as we can, trying to cram in one more thing. We vie with each other for the distinction of being the “busiest.” In his book First Things First, Stephen Covey suggests a different orientation. We ought to live not by the clock but by the compass, finding…

Tired of All the Noise?

We expect monks and mystics to tell us how important silence is. Gordon Hempton is neither of those. He is an acoustic ecologist, someone who studies the sound of the natural world and seeks to preserve it. In his book, One Square Inch of Silence, Hempton says there are less than a dozen places left…

The Work of Doing Nothing

“He started out head up and facing me,” my daughter Maggy is saying to me. “But now he’s turned head down, facing away from me. Perfect position.” She was something like six months along. I wanted to know how he (we know it’s a boy in there) makes these turns, gets all lined up. “Oh,”…

Fearless Weirdness

I am a little weird. Aren’t you? I’ve been thinking about weirdness the last few weeks because, in the Christian season of Advent, John the Baptist has appeared. Every year he comes to haunt us with his strangeness—his animal skins for clothing, his grasshoppers for food, his cave for a home, his “repent” for a…

Beware: Inner Peace

I received this alert, and it’s the kind of warning that–in this Advent season–I am delighted to pass on. Symptoms of Inner Peace Be on the lookout for symptoms of inner peace. The hearts of a great many have already been exposed to inner peace and it is possible that people everywhere could come down…

You Shall Conceive and Bear a (Grand) Child

My daughter is having a baby which means that I am having a grandchild. Grandparenthood is once removed. This is a birth you did not conceive. You did not have any choice in this matter. Often parents have to “try” to have a child. They decide that now is a good time to allow it…

Excuse Me, Mr. Buddha

  I spent last week in a monastery praying with Buddhist monks and nuns. It wasn’t as easy as I thought. Every November I take a week of retreat—almost always to a Benedictine monastery. I love to sit in chapel and hear the monks chant the Psalms, to walk the cloister, to sit in the…

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