Talk or Resent

On a clergy retreat I read an article by a Buddhist monk. The article was titled: “talk or resent.” At the time he said this, he reminded us that two small boys laid in an Israeli hospital. One was Osher Twito, 8, an Israeli boy seriously wounded by shrapnel from a rocket fired by Palestinian militants from Gaza. The other boy next to him was Yakoub Natil, 7, a Palestinian who was brought there weeks previously from Gaza City after he was badly hurt by shrapnel from an Israeli Air Force strike in January. The Monk said, “Here, the conflict’s pain has been compressed into an improbable intimacy.” To the leaders of those countries in conflict he said: “Talk or resent and remember the cost of
resentment as you look at these beat up kids.”

As a last ditch effort 7 years ago, I referred a man and woman to a counselor. She complains that he never talks. He complains that she talks too much. She wants him to be more outgoing. He wants to spend more time in his workshop. After many moments of listening the counselor brings them to this reality: “Talk or resent. Together lets find a better way.” And the three of them begin a long journey.

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This summer I filled out 24 pages of an application in order to teach contemplation and mediation to inmates in the prison system in Florence, AZ. When announcing I was entering the prison, some of my friends rejoiced that I was finally found out! Very funny friends. Actually, they remind me that “religion without humor is deadly.” Continue reading

Why I Go To Church by Garrison Keillor

“Our church sent around a questionnaire a month ago, asking, “Why
do you come to church?” and I still haven’t filled it out. For one thing, I go because I read stories in the newspapers about declining church attendance and I hate to be part of a trend. For another, church is a sanctuary from thinking about myself, my work, my plans for the week, my problems with work, my view of DJT and my PSA and most recent MRI, my lack of exercise, other people’s view of me, myself, and I, and frankly I’m sick of myself and so would you be if you were me. 

My mind drifts during the sermon. The acoustics amid Romanesque splendor are truly lousy – and my thoughts turn to my beautiful wife and our daughter and various friends and relatives, and I pray for them. 

I pray for solace and sustenance in their times of trial and I ask God to surprise them with the gift of unreasonable joy. 

I pray for people caring for parents suffering from dementia and people caring for children who are neurologically complicated. I pray for the whales, the migrating birds, the endangered elephants. 

It’s an hour and a half with no iPhone, no news. Last week is erased, bring on Monday. The babies will grow up to
be impatient with orthodoxy and eager to be other than whatever their parents are, but it was holy water they were splashed with, not Perrier, and who knows but what they might wander back into church one day and appreciate the self-effacement it provides. 

Man does not live by frozen pizza alone. Sunday does not need to be like Saturday or Monday.Turn down the volume, dim the bright flashing lights of ambition, look into your heart, think about the others, one by one. As part of the service, you get to reach around, right, left, forward, back, and say a blessing on them all (“The Peace of God be with you”) and when else do you get to do that? Not in the produce section of the supermarket. 

People need to be blessed. Shouting and sarcasm and insult have not worked, so move on. God loves you- go in peace.”