Category Archives: Reflection

Thought for contemplation

Let there be light

I cannot begin to express what it meant to gaze recently with my own eyes at this exquisite relief of the “heretic” Pharaoh Akhnaton, Queen Nefertiti, and their three daughters with their message of light and peace (click on image … Continue reading

Posted in Photo essay, Reflection

Sustaining gaze

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Refugee Tales 2

Worth. Reading.

Posted in Booknote, Educational resource, Overheard, Reflection, Web resource

On the road to Whitby

See Whitby Abbey (that dark square in the distance) a little more clearly here. Learn about Hilda of Whitby Read more on Hilda by author Ray Simpson

Posted in Educational resource, Reflection

On being and living

What can mean more to the Word than thinking beings, since their very existence is an act of supreme goodness? (Gregory of Nazianzus, Or. 28.11) Living is not a private affair of the individual. Living is what we do with God’s … Continue reading

Posted in Reflection

“I’d really just like a book on social justice”

From Mark Zuckerberg’s Harvard Commencement speech last week: Remember when I told you about that class I taught at the Boys and Girls Club? One day after class I was talking to them about college, and one of my top … Continue reading

Posted in Educational resource, Online Lecture, Overheard, Reflection, Web resource

When did we see You…a stranger…?

Posted in Educational resource, Overheard, Reflection, Web resource

Marilynne Robinson: On being and worth

“Being and human beings…are invested with a degree of value that we can’t honor appropriately. An overabundance that is magical….Brilliant creatures, who at a very high rate, predictably, are incomprehensible to each other….Abuse or neglect of a human being is … Continue reading

Posted in Overheard, Reflection

Little City Kids Die: Why Economic Equity Matters

Source: World Health Organization/UN Habitat, Hidden Cities: Unmasking and overcoming health inequities in urban settings (2010), p. 40.

Posted in Educational resource, Reflection, Web resource

That Bear

Source: Not quite certain, but I found it posted without credit or any noted restrictions at Paul @bingowings.

Posted in Overheard, Reflection, Web resource

We are human beings

In May 2011 we went to Gaza with musicians from the Berlin Staatskapelle, the Berlin Philharmonic, the Vienna Philharmonic, the Scala [of Milan], and the Orchestra de Paris…a concert organized by the United Nations…and the whole situation was very moving. … Continue reading

Posted in Booknote, Overheard, Reflection, Web resource

Vocation: Essence

“Like breathing, it’s something I have to do. I’ve never really wanted to do anything else, and it’s been a lifetime of finding out what I need to know to do this.” A Conversation with Artist Mary Minifie by Charles … Continue reading

Posted in Overheard, Reflection

Wild snail eating, and other thoughts on natural soundings

I find myself stumbling these days across some fascinating windows into the power of listening to non-vocal sounds in the natural world–related to healing, illness, trauma and civic conflict, and desert monasticism. Consider (or perhaps I should say, open your … Continue reading

Posted in Educational resource, Overheard, Reflection, Web resource

Night Owl’s Blessing

…rise up, and behold the choir of the stars, the deep silence, the great repose. Contemplate with wonder the order of your Master’s household. Then is your soul purer; it is lighter, and finer, and soars nimbly. The darkness itself, … Continue reading

Posted in Overheard, Reflection

The hospitality of St. Polycarp

“The police….found him lying down in the upper room of a cottage. He could have escaped but he refused saying, “God’s will be done.” When he heard that they had come, he went down and spoke with them. They were … Continue reading

Posted in Overheard, Reflection, Web resource

Divine ocular fluid

    Moses as he lay dying [it is said] wrote the final verses of the Pentateuch with his own tears, “sealing his life and his book in the only manner it could be sealed, with the divine ocular fluid, … Continue reading

Posted in Overheard, Photo essay, Reflection

Making music with life: The needle of the Word

I usually don’t post potentially preachy-sounding religious meditations on this blog, but am really struck by a thought-provoking online essay this morning on the Feast of the Epiphany (sort of), by Ryan Knowles, a former Boston University doctoral student in early Christian … Continue reading

Posted in Overheard, Reflection

Religious ritual and civic sewers: Trondheim stormdrain

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Joyeux Noel

Lady Chapel Screen, 1420, Exeter Cathedral, photo by SR Holman. View more (and better) images of Exeter Cathedral at ipernity.  

Posted in Reflection

The distraction of information

“It is a greater help [to] persevere at the tasks in which [you are] engaged than that [your] attention be dissipated by the distraction of information.” -Basil of Caesarea, Questions of the Brothers [=Small Asceticon] 101, transl. Anna Silvas.

Posted in Overheard, Reflection


It’s such a lonely thing, writing…You sit at your desk, you don’t have any input from anyone else. You go through moments of utter despair and lack of self-confidence, and then there are those occasional days when it all happens … Continue reading

Posted in Reflection

Keeping Hold: A Lock of God’s Hair*

For which I am truly thankful. (*line from the Welsh poet, RS Thomas)

Posted in Reflection

How shall we live?

In the wounding of becoming lost, I can correct myself. We can take flight from our lives in a form other than denial and return to our authentic selves through the art of retreat. I want to feel both the … Continue reading

Posted in Overheard, Reflection

Rejoicing in morning rain

(click on image for hi-res detailed view)

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On maps and threads

“There are maps of the ground and maps of the spirit. We believe they are distinct. They are not. They weave and thread together. I [am] caught up somewhere in the knots where they join.” -Nicholas Luard, “To Santiago de … Continue reading

Posted in Reflection

An eye for the right words

“Oh, to have that kind of eye…like a magnet for plucking the right words from your soul.” -Antjie Krog, A Change of Tongue (111)

Posted in Overheard, Reflection

Science Paper, May 25, 1942

Always amazing to discover what staid, elderly relatives wrote about in high school… (but then maybe it seemed obvious when the beloved, heroic grandfather of this particular staid relation survived by building & selling lobster pots…) (click on cover to view artwork)

Posted in Booknote, Overheard, Reflection

Flurries for July

(no this is not a weather report! rather, a counter-seasonal image for cooling contemplation during a heat wave)

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Recovering Personhood

Living in a culture of organized distractions…having lost touch with our own personhood, we can receive neither the personhood of our neighbor nor of God. -Fr. Maximos Constas (“Watch then thyself”(Πρόσεχε σεαυτῷ): Spiritual Practice and Digital Culture,” May 2016)

Posted in Overheard, Reflection, Web resource

This dust is Mine

Take off your shoes. This dust is mine, this knotted web is  mine, this shadow is my shape for you, and when the hot dust scalds your eyes to tears, who is it weeps with you to soak your dust … Continue reading

Posted in Overheard, Reflection

Remembering Exeter Palace Garden


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Domestic migration

  “Blimey, I know there’s a code violation here somewhere… let’s see, which regulation do I choose?…” (click on image to view at full size)

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Te Deum Laudamus

Click on the colored image above to read the words of this ancient hymn; Click on the musical notation to hear it sung within one Lutheran tradition today. Click here to listen to the hymn as it was chanted regularly … Continue reading

Posted in Reflection

Remembering Oscar Romero – in Edinburgh

*2020 UPDATE _ SEE BELOW* Unveiled in 1992 in memory of Archbishop Oscar Romero of San Salvador, assassinated on March 24, 1980, this plaque by artist Paul Grime stands at the entrance to Edinburgh University’s “Romero Place.” Click on the … Continue reading

Posted in Reflection

Flexible Flyers at Rest

Two 1920s-era 58″ Flexible Flier Racer sleds sit waiting for wet mittens, children’s chuckles, and a new century of winters

Posted in Reflection

When is human charity like feeding wild animals?

Think about it. Here’s Helen MacDonald’s New York Times essay that triggered this (outrageous?) question.

Posted in Overheard, Reflection

Let us sing

“Let us sing as we go. May our struggles and our concern for this planet never take away the joy of our hope.” Pope Francis, Laudato Si’ “On Care for our Common Home,” 244

Posted in Educational resource, Overheard, Reflection, Web resource

Let’s forget it’s January

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Christmas: Three mysteries in the silence of God

“And hidden from the prince of this world were the virginity of Mary and her child-bearing and likewise also the death of the Lord—three mysteries to be cried aloud—which were accomplished in the silence of God. How then were they … Continue reading

Posted in Overheard, Reflection

Light at Durham

  I come to bow beneath Thy walls, To lift my heart and drop my head And join those trembling, echo calls That round these gilded, stoney halls Sing unto Thee, Lord, Hallowed.

Posted in Reflection

Do you wish to see God’s altar?

“the body of the Lord becomes your altar…when you see this one as a beggar, don’t simply refrain from insulting… but actually  give honor; and if you witness someone else insulting him [or her], stop them, prevent it.” -John Chrysostom, … Continue reading

Posted in Overheard, Photo essay, Reflection

Marketplace: “We’ve been fishing all night…”

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Poverty in Zambia: A Context for Religious Response

Richard Chimfwembe’s doctoral thesis (University of Pretoria, 2013), available as a free pdf download, reflects extensively on the role of pastoral care in nurturing practical improvements in the lives of the rural poor. The Rev. Dr. Chimfwembe leads theological education … Continue reading

Posted in Educational resource, Overheard, Reflection, Web resource

The prayer of (and for) a mindful leader

“Ever since the day when the burden of episcopacy was placed on my shoulders, a burden to which it is so difficult to do justice, I have been troubled by the anxieties that go hand in hand with the honour. … Continue reading

Posted in Overheard, Reflection

Religion and Basic Survival: Open the Nepali Borders

Friends in Nepal tell me that the country — already poor and still struggling to survive and recover after the earthquakes — is now running out of fuel and other essential resources, because of the “unofficial” blockades at the Indian border … Continue reading

Posted in Op-Ed, Overheard, Reflection

Oxford D[aw]n

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Migrants at prayer in France

Read more about this church and the migrant camp in Calais France, where, according to the Wall Street Journal, “More than 3,500 migrants from Sudan, Eritrea, Syria and Afghanistan are languishing … in conditions the United Nations has described as ‘absolutely … Continue reading

Posted in Educational resource, Overheard, Reflection, Web resource

Equality, Salisbury Cathedral

Above: Gazing into the modern baptistry at Salisbury Cathedral (UK), with its reflection of the “Equality” banner, part of a cathedral-wide focus on  human rights in concert with the 2015 exhibition celebrating 800 years of Salisbury’s historic copy of the Magna Carta, … Continue reading

Posted in Educational resource, Reflection

Flannery O’Connor, on self-abandonment

Writing is a good example of self-abandonment. I never completely forget myself except when I am writing and I am never more completely myself than when I am writing. (Flannery O’Connor to Betty Hester, December 9, 1961, as quoted in … Continue reading

Posted in Overheard, Reflection

On the “right to relief” (1719)

For extream [sic] Want gives every Man a just Right to Relief; and he is as much an Owner, and has as good a Title to this, as we have to any Thing which we possess.” Source: Benjamin Ibbot, “Parable … Continue reading

Posted in Educational resource, Overheard, Reflection