Wednesday, March 16, 2016


     The title of a recent article in The Christian Century (March 1, 2016) by William T. Cavanaugh caught my attention:

     "Healing from the ground up: The church as field hospital."

     In beginning the article, Cavanaugh shares the following quote from Pope Francis:

     "I see clearly that the thing the church needs most today is the ability to heal wounds and to warm the hearts of the faithful; it needs nearness. proximity. I see the church as a field hospital after battle. It is useless to ask a seriously injured person if he has high cholesterol and about his blood sugars! You have to heal his wounds. Then we can talk about everything else. Heal the wounds, heal the wounds. And you have to start from the ground up."

     This took me back 45 years ago when I served as the program chairman for our Student Conference on Mission and Ministry [February 12-14, 1971] at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest. As program chairman, I suggested the phrase "Pioneering the Human Task" --  which I had discovered in a book by Dr. Gabriel Fackre, now retired from Andover Newton Theological School as the Samuel Abbot Professor of Christian Theology, Emeritus.

     The cover for our brochure for the "Pioneering the Human Task" conference featured the following quote from Dr. Fackre's book:

     "...when the Samaritan came upon the victim, he did not hand him a tract,
or preach a sermon, or say, 'Let us turn to hymn 52.'
                      The text says, 'He bound up his wounds.' 
In a world of wounds, the Church is called to be the first to leap to the side of the hurt.
Its missionary task is to speak the language of compassion and deed,
                               a language which the world understands.

And like the Samaritan, its role is to be the first on the scene -- to pioneer the human task."

Amen and Amen.

Monday, March 14, 2016


     "Every man is a moon
and has a side which he turns toward nobody:
     you have to slip around behind it
if you want to see it."
                                             -- Mark Twain

     "There are dark corners in everybody's life."

                                     -- Lucas McCain (Chuck Connors) in TV's "THE RIFLEMAN"

     "We like to imagine that  good and bad,
                 right and wrong,
                          are miles apart...
                                    But the truth is that very often
they're all tangled up with each other."

                                    - Rev. Charley Jackson (Bill Cobbs) in the movie "GET LOW"

Friday, January 22, 2016


I have a good friend who has been a quilter for many years.

After sharing my reasons for this blog about Patchwork Quilt Spirituality,
I asked her to think about it and then share her thoughts.
Here is some of what she wrote:

"Every one benefits from having a quilt...

They are better than a miracle drug because
   they soothe & comfort your soul just by being.

They offer you a refuge,
   brighten your surroundings
      and send a feeling of encompassing love.

Once it is hand quilted --
   it has the ability to lift spirits,
      heal hurts and surround a person with the feeling of a warm hug.

[adapted from a personal letter from Ruth Walker, January 2016.]

By the way, yesterday, January 21st, was "National Hug Day!"
as reported in the Care 2 Healthy Living website.
According to the article, reported by Diana Vilbert:

   "Hugging gives us the warm-and-fuzzies."

The article goes on to claim that hugging stimulates the neurotransmitter oxytocin --
which promotes feelings of trust and contentment,
and helps to lower blood pressure and heart rate.

Didn't Jesus say something about a "Comforter"?

Wednesday, January 20, 2016


"What matters in life
      is not
          what happens to you...

but what you remember
     and how you remember it."
               --Gabriel Garcia Marquez

                 +  +  +  +  +

"We do not see things as they are;
          We see things as we are."

                              -- TALMUD

                  +  +  +  +  +

"There are no facts, only interpretations."

                                     -- Friedrich Nietzche

                  +  +  +  +  +

"Life isn't about
                           finding yourself --

Life is about
                      creating yourself."

                                   -- George Bernard Shaw

                  +  +  +  +  +

                 is not found...
 It is given."
                         -- copied

Sunday, January 17, 2016


"Look at the stone cutter 
hammering away at his rock,
perhaps a hundred times 
without as much as a crack showing in it.

Yet at the hundred-and-first blow
it will split in two,
and I knew it was not the last blow that did it,
but all that had gone before."
                                                  --Jacob A. Riis

                             + + + + + + +

"Tell me the weight of a snowflake,"
a coal mouse asked a wild dove.
"Nothing more than nothing," was the answer.
"In that case I must tell you a marvelous story,"
the coal mouse said.
"I sat on the branch of a fir, close to its trunk,
when it began to snow...
Since I didn't have anything better to do,
I counted the snowflakes settling on the twigs and needles of my branch.
Their number was exactly 3,741,952.
When the next snowflake dropped onto the branch --
nothing more than nothing, as you say--
the branch broke off..."

The dove, since Noah's time an authority on the matter,
thought about the story for a while and finally said to herself:
"Perhaps there is only one person's voice lacking
for peace to come about in the world."

                                + + + + + + +

                                                       -- Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

[Ty: "Lord, I believe; Help my unbelief!"]

Sunday, January 10, 2016


I was born on Friday, January 10, 1947.

On one of my birthdays, I received a card that said:

         'a birthday is

     the start of another
       365-day journey

     around the sun.

       enjoy the ride."

I recently realized that in turning 69,
I am now beginning my 70th trip around the sun!
(That is a big number!!)

Over my previous trips, I have accumulated many clippings --
which I consider part of my patchwork quilt spirituality.
As I begin this next trip around the sun,
I want too share some of the better ones in the coming days.
Here are a few for today:

LISTEN to the song that resonates within you,
and discover where the sacred and the everyday intersect.

When there is no wind, row.
                                      --Japanese Proverb

Hope is not pretending
     that troubles don't exist...
             It is the trust
    that they will not last forever,
         that hurts will be healed
and difficulties overcome...
             It is faith
that a source of strength
    and renewal  lies within
to lead us through the dark
           to the sunshine...

[to be continued]

Thursday, December 31, 2015


2015 has been a hard year for me.

After living with my aged mother since 2010, she passed away on July1 at age 94. Her final weeks were under hospice care, and though I served in my last professional position as a spiritual care coordinator for a Virginia hospice, I had never served as a primary caregiver. The experience was quite exhausting, and I am still not ready to write about it. But I will say that, for all my experience with death and dying (as a former pastor and hospital chaplain who conducted my first funeral in 1971,) I have been overwhelmed by the mystery of it all.

And then there is the issue of parenting our son, who continues to struggle with the confusing aspects of his autism spectrum disorder. This process continues to be an emotional rollercoaster with its own kind of fatigue. [Someday I hope to write about our experiences with the "autism spectrum" but I am not yet prepared to do that either.]

Suffice it to say that my understanding of my own faith and spirituality has had its ups and downs.

But enough of my excuses for being so absent from my blog this year.

As I say goodbye to 2015, I want to re-commit myself to the potential of this blog and the potential of "patchwork quilt spirituality!"

Just this New Year's Eve morning, I was checking out Rami Shapiro's column (always fascinating) on the Spirituality and Health website. From there I saw a link to a Q&A interview with Thomas More (from Spiritualty & Health, Jan-Feb 2014)) about his 'new' book: A Religion of One's Own.   I am very eager to read this book, as I was thrilled to read his following quote:

"I think we need a new, deeper and more personally relevant religion that includes a strong spiritual component, one that draws from the traditions but is suited to the individual." 

It is my intent to use this blog in 2016 to provide resources and encouragement to empower individuals to choose what works for them and develop their own unique spirituality--that is, a PATCHWORK QUILT SPIRITUALITY.

Happy New Year to us all!