Monday, October 16, 2006

Peace Pole

My son says that I need to blog more often if I expect anyone to visit! OK.

Just returned from a long walk around Hawk Hill and the lower Lake loop at Bishop's Ranch. On the way I visited the Peace Pole. The recent group that was at the Ranch tied many prayers to the Peace Pole so I took strips of fabric along to re-stock the prayer box. The old prayer ribbons are faded, the new ones bright. The Pole does not seem weighed down by all those prayers. The hawks and the lizards read the breeze as easily as do the ribbons and as lightly.

I visited the Trailside Sanctuary on my walk also. Built in memory of Leanora and Jack Miller Dowling, there is an altar in the center in which people have placed feathers, acorns, small pieces of tile, handmade paper torn from journals. It is all about love - love in action. mothers in love and fathers in love and children and friends, those we know and those we have yet to know.

As I walked I took enormous comfort in an impersonal god who's nature is to gush forth life in all forms, to bathe us all in light and love and to seek out the valleys and depressions and tightnesses wherever they are and heal them. Before I die I want to hear the wind as a child hears the wind.


Sunday, October 01, 2006

precious lord take my hand

Sunday - the beginning of the week in which I move to Bishop's Ranch, outside Healdsburg. In this countryside diocesan headquarters, my home will be a studio overlooking the oaks and quail and golden hills of Sonoma County. That's out the back. The front overlooks the courtyard fountain and beyond that the chapel. A gorgeous place for healing, for writing, for contemplation, for prayer, for play, for coming to terms with life at 51 - a far different life than I ever imagined.

Coming back from the City this evening, after dinner with a friend - across from the Giants ball park, after they lost their last game of the season, to the Dodgers, 4 - 3 .... I listened to an NPR show on Gospel music. It moves me so deeply. So profoundly. It doesn't surprise me to hear the singers say that yes, they feel Jesus every time they sing. Every time, they are filled with the Spirit when they sing. They sing to help them through hard times, to lift up their hearts, and those who hear them. We begin the Eucharistic prayer, Lift up your hearts / We lift them to the Lord. Gospel does this - for real. Lifts up my heart. And like the Eucharist - the structure of Gospel is to sing out your troubles, but always in the presence of the community - and the community echoes back - we hear you, we're with you, we carry your burdens with you.... this is Christian community at it's best. It is what I have found with so many friends, Christian and non, and it has kept me going. Kept me uplifted. yes jesus!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

New Eyes

This week, 180 clergy from Diocese of California gathered at Bishop's Ranch for our first clergy conference with Bishop Marc. In preparation we read Bill Countryman's book, Living on the Border of the Holy, reflecting on our own experiences of being in the border country - where we are brought close to the Holy. Sometimes these experiences fit within the church's language of God, but often not. For instance, childbirth, skiing down a snowy slope in the late afternoon, hanging laundry, watching a slug traverse a garden path....many of us have experiences of the Divine that aren't easily placed within traditional religious themes....but that, nevertheless, are the generative, creative force behind much of our ministry, and behind many people's sense of God

Clergy conferences always feel like a real stretch to my introverted soul. Anytime clergy gather there seems to be an underlying strain of competitiveness. I went this time, desiring to brush past that and to see with new eyes.

And that certainly happened!

I lost my glasses and couldn't find them anywhere. So, instead of hanging out with my small group for discussions, I put on my prescription sunglasses and drove in to town to Kaiser, and then, with my new prescription in hand, drove to LensCrafters. Four hours later, I had brand new glasses, progressive lenses and all. They do look good. The salesman said they are "youthening" and they make me look "sassy but approachable". Certainly, when you're nearly blind, as I am, a good lens grinder is an experience of the Holy brought close to hand!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


Went with two friends last night to see The Illusionist, filmed by a Czech Republic company. Beautiful old world tone, a love story of the interchange between illusions and reality. What is real, what isn't? What is good and what is bad? Do they change places? And can we ever be sure which is which?

There's an old Chinese story about an elderly man whose horse bolts and the villagers console him saying how bad it is. He says, maybe, but maybe not. The horse returns with a herd of wild horses. The villagers congratulate the man. He says, maybe this is good, maybe it isn't. His son falls and breaks his leg while taming the wild horses. Again the old man is consoled by the villagers. You know his answer. Not long after this, the government comes through the village and conscripts all able bodied young men to go to war. The elderly man's son, who has the broken leg, is left behind to live out his life peacefully.

The assignment of good and bad to events is mostly done with vision that can prove to be more illusion than reality. I cling to this story as I proceed down the painful path of my husband's decision to pursue a life separate from our long ongoing conversation that is marriage. Who's to say whether that decision may yet prove to be our salvation - individually and as a couple - or not? As I mature, I know only that I know less and less.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

new technology!!!!

Due to the wonderful work of my son, Kai, I now have a new domain name: with a new email address: linda AT PoetPriest DOT com. A web site will follow! Kai Harris also has a website - visit him!

He's also helped me discover google mail - which has many cool features that have eluded me thus far.

it's a great day today, and we've got an apple pie cooling and almost ready to eat.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Electing a Bishop

7 AM in the Park and Ride lot off Sir Francis Drake Blvd with coffee in hand, I joined fellow delegates from St. John's, plus two deacons, one a writer and the other an FBI Chaplain. Our plan was to leave sufficiently early to get a parking place close to Grace Cathedral,where we were going to help elect a new Bishop of California. The morning flew by, beginning with a multi-lingual Liturgy of the Word, followed by ballotting and caucusing and more coffee. I don't know that I've ever been at a church gathering with as much energy and sense of good business about to be conducted.

My overall experience was the grandeur of the silence that threaded through the day. Over and under and around the multitude of words, I was keenly aware of a grand silence, not just the silence of the beauty and largesse of the cathedral, nor the silence of the prayers of so many, but the profound silence of the Love which drew us all into this moment and would sustain us and impel us into the work ahead of us - work, along with our new bishop, to bring good news to the poor, release to the captives and recovery of sight to those blinded by greed or need or alienation.

The day ended earlier than we'd imagined, with the election of Mark Andrus, after only three ballots and a remarkable showing of trust and respect by the laity of the clergy. After communion, I leaned over to another clergy friend and said I was ready for a nap - at only 1:30 PM!

Instead my 24 year old daughter picked me up from the steps of the Cathedral and we drove down into the Haight to go second hand clothes shopping. Stepping into a tattoo parlor with her so she could purchase a new nose ring, I sat down on a low red velvet couch to wait for her, underneath dramatic posters of arabic words and full color zodiac signs available for tattooing. A young couple noodled sweetly on the next couch....

It was a full circle kind of day - the church in dialogue and service within the cathedral and the church in dialogue and learning and leaning and gleaning within the world. And threaded all through was Love in glorious glorious forms and disguises and manifestations.

Welcome Bishop Elect Andrus.

and Yay for the Suns win tonight!