Does Social Media Shape Our Lives More Than God Does?

I just found this video – latest in the series on Social Media Revolution thanks to Rev Gene .  Yes that’s right I used social media to find it!!! and it made me wonder how much of our lives now is shaped by social media that pulls away from God rather than towards God.  Now I use social media as much as anyone – start my day with looking at facebook and twitter.  post prayers & blog daily but I still wonder sometimes is this really helping me and others draw closer to God and to the purposes of God for my life?  I would love to hear your thoughts on this.



How Long Do You Spend in the Shower?

This morning I was reading this article at on Unilever’s push towards sustainability.  I was fascinated to see that one of the major obstacles they recognize is people’s showering habits.  Many of us not only shower too frequently  (there is evidence that suggests that daily showers are not always good for us) but many of us also spend far too long in the shower.

In Australia during the 10 year drought evidently a lot of people restricted themselves to 2 minute showers.  When I was on the mercy ship Anastasis we restricted ourselves to 3 minute showers because of the shortage of water.  Now I never actually placed a stopwatch in the shower but it did teach me a habit that I have never gotten over.

How long we spend in the shower may not seem like a justice issue but it could be and even more so in the future.  As I read about the concern that the wars of the future may be over limited water rather than land I am glad that I am able to at least make this small contribution.

So my question for you – how long do you spend in the shower and do you think it matters?


Worshipping God in the Real World – How to Cook Your Life with Edward Espe Brown

After my post on dumpster diving and food justice David Hutcheson-Tipton  suggested I look up Edward Espe Brown and How to Cook Your Life.  Brown is a Zen priest from Fairfax, California, author of the famous Tassajara cookbooks, philosopher, Zen teacher and master chef.  There are some profound comments in this trailer from the film.  I particularly like the comment Treat the food as though it was your eyesight, as though it was that precious.  I agree with him – food is precious and when enjoyed in the company of friends it provides in many ways a glimpse into the kingdom of God.  His thoughts just emphasized for me once again the sacrementality of the food we eat and the ways that our preparation and consumption of it connects us to God and others

Worshipping God in the Real World – Dumpster Diving for Food Justice

This morning I came across an article on Grist magazine entitled Dumpster Diver Says Trader Joe’s Must Start Wasting Food

All in all, Americans throw out a whopping one-half of the food we produce and import. This wastefulness coexists with a devastating recession and record numbers of Americans dependent on food stamps—one in eight of us, to be exact. Our propensity to waste has now reached beyond our means to do so, and yet we keep up the bad habit even while our neighbors go hungry. Read the entire article

I was fascinated by this depiction of yet another aspect of our food chain that I tend to pay little attention to.  How much food is wasted in our communities and what can we do to change this.

I know a number of people in Christian communities around the world who supplement their food with dumpster diving but to be honest I have never really thought about the possibility of this bein a spiritual practice.  But the article this morning had me wondering: Could this be another issue that requires us to step forward in faith and make a difference?  Is the disposal of food waste as much a Christian responsibility as I think its production and consumption is? and lastly is our involvement in this issue yet another possible way that we worship God?

The film about and by  Jeremy Seifert  DIVE! will be released on DVD, iTunes, and Netflix on July 19.


The Wild Goose Has Flown

Tom & I and Cindy Todd have just returned from the Wild Goose Festival in North Carolina.  The weather was hot, humid and dusty but any discomfort was quickly outstripped by the joy of the festival.  In some ways it was like a great homecoming of friends and family that we have not seen for a long time.  Mark and Robyn Pierson from New Zealand, Doug Pagitt, Mark Scandrette, Tony & Peggy Campolo, Brian McLaren, Geoff and Sherry Maddock to name just a few.  But it was also a great opportunity to make new friends some like Mike and Julie Clawsen that I have wanted to meet forever.  Others who just happened by the Mustard Seed booth and soon became staunch friends.

It was also a great opportunity to  listen to new viewpoints, grapple with new perspectives and learn new approaches to worship, social justice and theology.  I can’t remember the last time my head was so abuzz after a conference and I know that there will be a lot more reflections to come over the next few days.

More photos here

Worshipping God in the Real World – Dodging Forks and Other Parenting Highlights by Penny Carothers

Today’s post in the series Worshipping God in the Real World is contributed by Penny Carothers.  Penny is the Social Justice Editor for the Burnside Writers Collective.  In between washing diapers and trying to make her kids laugh she is working on a book chronicling her mother’s descent into mental illness, some of which you can find on her blog.  You can also find her on twitter, and in the kitchen, on a quest to bake the perfect cake.  This post first appeared on her blog Hearing Voices under the title Dodging Forks and other Parenting Highlights


“I’m not going to be your friend any more!”

My daughter, four, is rolling away from me, her platinum hair a tangled veil as she kicks her legs to fend off the pants I am trying to pull up her squirming legs.

“I know you’re upset that you can’t play with your Legos anymore, but it’s time to go to lunch.”  I say, hovering over her, using my superior size to push her legs into one pantleg.

She kicks harder.  Her jaw is set, her eyes hooded and dark.  “No!” she yells.

I sit back and take a breath.  I hate forcing her to do what I want.  Then I remember my old stand-by: when you want compliance, use humor.  I take her blush-pink pants and position the waistband around my head, like a hat.

“Oh, good,” I say, letting out my breath, as if in relief.  “Because I really like my new hat.”  I cup my chin and turn my head from side to side, showing it off.  “Don’t you like my new pink hat?”

Her expression shifts almost instantly.

“No!” she yells, but this time she is giggling.  She scrambles up on all fours and comes at me, grabbing for the legs that dangle on either side of my ears.  “That’s not your hat.  Those are my pants!”

While she clutches her pants to her chest I go for her socks.  “But what about my new mittens?  Don’t you like them?  Don’t they match my outfit perfectly?”  I too, am giggling now.

All of the energy Quinn was using just moments ago to defy my plans has been redirected to her smile and her laugh and her new task: putting on her clothes as fast as she can before I can steal them away.  I watched, amazed, as she dresses herself.  Moments later, she stands up, ready to go, a shy smile on her face.

* * *

Perhaps it’s heretical to say that I think I know how God feels sometimes, but that’s what parenting has done for me.  Like God, I could use my greater strength to force compliance, but I (hope I) never will.  Like God, I see my children’s world from above and that change has shifted my perspective dramatically.  As a child, I loved my parents because they loved me.  As a parent, I love my children simply because they exist.

And my children take advantage of this, of course.  They do maddening things.  They throw forks at me when all I’m trying to do is get them to eat the food that’s good for them.  They spit on the floor when I tell them they’ve had enough TV for the day.  (At least she’s not spitting at me, I tell myself.)  By the end of the day this kind of behavior wears me down, makes me wonder if I’m doing a good job raising these little beasts.  (Does God ever feel this way? I wonder.)  But deep down I know that my parenting skills have little to do with my daughter’s outbursts.  Her reactions to my limit-setting are developmentally appropriate.  The fact that she rebels means she is growing and developing a healthy sense of self.

It stuck me one day that perhaps God sees my tantrums in just this way.

I didn’t ask to be born!  This planet sucks.  What a terrible idea!  I yell at God, when I am overcome by the state of suffering in my world, and in the world in general.  Later, when the emotions have subsided, I am disappointed by my lack of trust.  When will you stop being so bratty? I ask myself.  What are you, a teenager?

Then I look into my daughter’s scowling face as I tell her it’s time to stop painting and wash up for dinner, and I have a blaze of insight.  Well, actually… maybe I am a teenager – a spiritual teenager.  When it comes to the maturity of my faith, maybe my reactions to life are developmentally appropriate.  I have a lot of growing up to do, and besides, God doesn’t expect me to take everything in stride if for no other reason than I don’t have His perspective.  Perhaps, perhaps, He even enjoys my spunk.  After all, He loves me, unconditionally, simply because I exist.  And He knows that no matter how much I protest, getting dressed and facing the day is something I need to learn how to do.  I bet, if given the chance, He’d even stick a pair of pants on His head teach me how.

Light for the Journey Prayers

Tom and I are currently at the Wild Goose Festival in North Carolina.  Its a great place to reconnect with friends and make new ones.  It is also a great place to share prayers and faith like these prayers from my daily postings on facebook and twitter.   I am sure that it will give rise to many new mediations and prayers too as there will be much to reflect on.

May we proclaim God’s righteousness

And shout aloud God’s praise

May we exalt the Lord Almighty

Who acts with justice and mercy

May we worship always the one who is Holy and Incorruptible


May the hope of God strengthen us through wind and storm and fire

May the mercy of God comfort us through doubt and fear and trouble

May the love of God surround us and lead us to faith and trust


Have mercy on us O God, Father almighty.

immeasurable God, patient God, incorruptible God.

Immortal God, eternal God, perfect God.

Merciful God, wonderful God.

God who abides in the heavens above,

Have mercy on us. (From Celtic Primer)


Eternal God, creator of the universe

Who made the sun and moon and brought night and day into being

Transform our darkness into light, kindle your flame within

Renew us, redeem us, make your presence shine for all to see


Last week I wrote a blog post on Faith and Doubt which inspired this prayer

God show yourself to us

In the midst of doubt may we meet Jesus

In encounters with life’s struggles may the Holy Spirit fill us

In the presence of fear may God’s love and peace break through


A prayer from St Patrick

Lord, be with us this day,

Within us to purify us;

Above us to draw us up;

Beneath us to sustain us;

Before us to lead us;

Behind us to restrain us;

Around us to protect us.


May we know today that you are God, there is no other

May our fears give way to joy

And our doubts be transformed by trust

May your ways of life enfold us and your love encircle us

May we move forward without fear into the peace of your presence


Have mercy on us O God, Father almighty,

God of hosts, noble God,

Lord of the world, unutterable God,

Creator of the elements, invisible God.

Heavenly Father, you who abide in heaven,

Have mercy on us.


This prayer was sent to me by a friend. It really spoke to me this morning and thought that it would bless some of you as well.

Look back and thank God.

Look forward and trust God.

Look around and serve God.

Look within and find God!”


I came across this Celtic prayer from Feilire Oengusso today thought that you would appreciate it:

You have nothing more precious

Than the love of God, if you perform it:

You will not regret

Adoring the King of clouds.


Recession II Ready or Not

Recession II- Ready or Not! 

Join us in creating new ways to reach out to those that will be hammered by the coming wave of state cut backs, the ongoing federal cutbacks and increasing global economic volatility at Saint Mark’s Cathedral, 1245 10th Ave. E. Seattle, 98102

 9:00 to 12:00 Saturday July 23, 2011

Please register now:

Recession II- Ready or Not!

  • We will have church leaders share what they are already doing to reach out to those hammered by the recession
  • We will identify some of the new  impacts of the state cutbacks on the poor and middle class
  • We will brainstorm new ways churches can reach out to those that will be impacted by these cutbacks
  • We will also identify creative new ways to help our people to reduce their own economic vulnerability to increase their availability to their neighbors
  • We will offer a process to track how successfully people implement their new  ideas

After Katrina numbers of churches created disaster response capabilities in conjunction with local governments. Thankfully a number of those churches were ready to respond to the horrific tornadoes and floods as a result of that preparation. We want to enable churches to also prepare for economic crises.

This is the third event we have sponsored to enable churches in our region to prepare for waves of economic distress impacting our neighbors.  In prior sessions people came up with ideas like starting a church “craigslist” posting available vehicles or rooms in their homes.  Saint Margaret’s Episcopal asked attorneys, counselors and spiritual directors to offer their services pro-bono to those in need.  Trinity Lutheran Church in Lynnwood offered classes in financial management and food processing and a number of churches have started community gardens.

This ecumenical event is co-sponsored by the Episcopal Diocese of OlympiaThe Washington Association of Churches , The Lutheran Public Policy Office , The Parish Collective and Mustard Seed Associates

Bishop Greg Rickel, from the Diocese of Olympia will welcome participants. Alice Woldt from WAC and Paul Benz from LPPO will describe the specific ways the new state cutbacks will likely impact our neighbors.  Younger church planters from the Parish Collective and leaders from other churches will describe creative ways they are already reaching out to those impacted by the first waves of the recession.  Tom & Christine Sine from Mustard Seed Associates will lead the brainstorming process.

We are counting on you to share ways your congregation is already responding and to imagine new ways we can reach out to those that will be impacted by the new waves of state cutbacks.

Worshipping God in the Real World – Spiritual Practices for Everyday Life

Over the last couple of weeks I have been posting guest posts on the topic Worshipping God in the Real World: Spiritual Practices for Everyday Life.  I am sorry that these have been rather sporadic because of my recent travels.  However for those who like to follow along either daily or in one fell swoop here is the series so far.

Worshipping in the Real World – Parenting with Soul by Sally Collings

Welcome all Doubters by Coe Hutchison

Living the Worship Driven Life – Steve Wickham

Faith Means Doubt – Thoughts from Thomas Merton

Worshipping God in the Real World – How To Encounter God in Everyday Life – K Zhang

Worshipping in the Real World – Reclaiming the Jubilee – Christine Sine

Worshipping in the Real World – God Sightings off Campus – Theresa Froehlich

I also thought that some of you would like to review the posts from my previous series on a similar theme: What is a Spiritual Practice

Reinventing the Wheel by Mark Buhlig part of Roadtrip Project

God of the Bountiful – A Harvest Prayer by Christine Sine

The Spirituality of the Long Distance Runner by Steve Fouch – The Spamhead Blog

The Spiritual Practice of Lament by Tracy Byrd Dickerson – Nacreous Kingdom

Spiritual Practices for Sitting In Front of the Screen – Lynne Baab

Thirsting for Coffee With God – A Very Spiritual Practice by Richard Dahlstrom – Pastoral Musings from Rain City

The Spirituality of Creating by John Chandler – Some Strange Ideas

Celebrations and Parties as a Spiritual Discipline by Kathy EscobarThe Refuge

The Spirituality of Drinking (Chinese) Tea by Andy Wade

Networking as Spiritual Practice by Steve Knight,

Mothering as a Spiritual Practice by Tara MaloufRed Thread Photography

Coloring as a Spiritual Practice by Danielle Grubb ShroyerJourney Church

Being Quiet as a Spiritual Practice by Eliacín Rosario CruzMustard Seed Associates

Settling In: Reestablishing Spiritual Practices in a New Place by Ed Cyzewski, author of Coffeehouse Theology

Civil Disobedience as Spiritual Practice by Jarrod McKenna

Running as Spiritual Practice by Luis Fernando BatistaRenovatio Cafe

How to Exercise Caution When Getting Back to Exercise by Adrienne Carlson

Playing Children’s Games as Spiritual Practice by Julie Clawson

Intergenerational Friendships as Spiritual Practice by David ZimmermanInterVarsity Press

Unemployment as a Spiritual Practice by Stephen Herbert

Editing Your Life: The Spiritual Discipline of Editing by Marcus Goodyear, The High Calling

Living in Transition as Spiritual Practice by Guy Chieleski

The Spiritual Practice of Apologizing by T Freeman

Love-making as a Spiritual Practice by Mark Scandrette

Smoking the Glory of God by Jason Clark

The Spiritual Practice of Getting Honest With Myself by Jonathan Brink

Spiritual Discipline–Serving at the Pantry by Maria Henderson

Yoga and Jesus: This is a Spiritual Practice by Christina Whitehouse-Sugg

Driving as Spiritual Discipline by Reverend Mother

Between the Sheets: Sleeping as Spiritual Discipline by Teri Peterson

Brigid Walsh – Gleaning as Spiritual Practice

Bowie Snodgrass – Grief as Spiritual Practice

Thomas Turner – Engagement as Spiritual Practice

Stan Thornburg – Making Space for the Rabbi

Gary Heard – Encountering the Stranger as Spiritual Practice and GPS Navigation as Spiritual Practice

Jason Fowler – Listening for God’s Voice in Music

Sheila Hight – Birdkeeping as Spiritual Practice

Steve Taylor – Composting as Spiritual Practice

John O’Hara – Anyone Can Cook – Spirituality in the Kitchen

Bethany Stedman – crying as a spiritual practice

Christopher Heuertz – Feeling close to God in the graveyard

Gerard Kelly – twittering as a spiritual practice –

Tim Mathis – blogging as as a spiritual practice

Mary Naegeli – Writing a sermon as spiritual practice

Hannah Haui – Cultural Protocol as spiritual practice

Jamie Arpin Ricci – Pet Ownership as spiritual practice

Matt Stone – Listening to Enemies as Spiritual Practice

Dan Cooper – Washing Dishes as Spiritual Discipline

Maryellen Young – The spiritual practice of taking a shower

virtual Eucharist: Is this a spiritual practice – Christine Sine

Is Breathing a Spiritual Practice – Christine Sine

Worshipping in the Real World – Parenting with Soul by Sally Collings

Parenting with Soul

Today’s post in the series Worshipping God in the Real World comes from Sally Collings.  Sally is the author of Parenting with Soul (from HarperCollins, available in Amazon’s Kindle store print edition currently available in Australia only), Sophie′s Journey, Positive and The World According to Kids. She lives in Brisbane, Australia with her husband, two daughters and one goldfish. Even as mother to two young children, she still manages to grab the odd nanosecond of serenity.

Sally Collings


I reckon mothers of newborn babies should be recruited as spies. Interrogation techniques involving sleep deprivation would be useless on us. ‘You want me to stay awake for 48 hours straight? That’s too easy – do you want me to change diapers and clean up vomit too?’

I’m a bit of a morning person. In my early twenties I worked the breakfast show on a community radio station, so I would be up in the dark, catching the train with the early shift workers. I used to love seeing the first glow of light blush the sky, being out in the world with the privileged few while the rest of the world slept on, unconscious. The world out there was so still and full of promise.

Years later, I sat with my first child in the first few months of her life. Awake through the night again, but not by choice. Not even remotely. It’s all very well staying up to see the dawn when you know you can sleep in the next day. It’s another to be forcibly woken night after night after night …

Babies display all the characteristics of jet lag. Night or day, it makes no difference to them. They can be living in Boston but operate on Madrid time, they may be in Johannesburg but their watches are set to LA’s time zone. It’s one of the first great lessons a newborn must absorb: daytime wake, night-time sleep. Given that they won’t learn to tell the time for another seven years or so, no wonder it’s all a mystery to them.

In those first years of being a parent, waking up and getting out of bed becomes one of yours spiritual practices. Think of monasteries and nunneries where the bells ring in the darkest hour before dawn, and the faithful must rise and go to devotions. That’s you.

In those night hours, everything is still – and the sound of a baby crying can seem loud beyond imagining or tolerance. Yet when your baby settles to feed or is bundled up in their cot, there is no time or place that is more silent. There is just the two of you. Nothing else is.

It soon becomes second nature to roll out from under the covers when your baby squeaks. Some nights it is harder than others: your baby’s cries become part of a dream that goes on, or you feel that your limbs are lined with lead and it is purely impossible to rise up.

My two girls are six and almost eight now and we are reclaiming the night. Eight hours sleep is mine again more often than not. Perversely, though, sometimes I look back with a tiny bit of longing at those soft, still, aching nights, sitting with a baby feeding, alone together in absolute intimacy.

When you’re awake at three in the morning, look on the bright side – here’s some silence and solitude come your way. Your days are full, so this is a gift. Feel fellowship in the fact that there are so many parents right now doing what you are doing. You might want to say a prayer for them; here’s one that works for me.

Dear God,

Please bless all mums and dads who are awake with their children right now. Bring serenity to breastfeeding mothers and healing wisdom to parents with sick children. For parents who are sleepless, tense and anxious, I pray that you will bring them solace in the night hours.