merbc

Appreciations and reflections out of Durham, NC

I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms.

—Henry David Thoreau

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.

—Henry David Thoreau

70 degree Fall.

70 degree Fall.

These broadening, universalist words by Gordan B. McKeeman give me hope for a more secular understanding of ministry:

Ministry is

a quality of relationship between and among human beings
that beckons forth hidden possibilities;

inviting people into deeper, more constant, more reverent relationship with the world and with one another;

carrying forward a long heritage of hope and liberation that has dignified and informed the human venture over many centuries;

being present with, to, and for others in their terrors and torments, in their grief, misery and pain;

knowing that those feelings are our feelings, too;

celebrating the triumphs of the human spirit, the miracles of birth and life, the wonders of devotion and sacrifice;

witnessing to life-enhancing values;

speaking truth to power;

speaking for human dignity and equity, for compassion and aspiration;

believing in life in the presence of death;

struggling for human responsibility against principalities and structures that ignore humaneness and become instruments of death.

It is all of these and much, much more than all of them, present in

the wordless,
the unspoken,
the ineffable.

It is speaking and living the highest we know and living with the knowledge that it is

never as deep, or as wide, or as high as we wish.

Whenever there is a meeting that summons us to our better selves, wherever

our lostness is found,
our fragments are united,
our wounds begin healing,
our spines stiffen and our bones grow strong for the task,

there is ministry.

Quality beach time with Anna and Farmer Cate. 

Edenton’s farmers market crabs.

After a great day at work. This is week three of my chaplaincy internship. Exploring my role as a chaplain while identifying as an atheist and humanist.
Compassion and listening can take someone a long way. 

After a great day at work. This is week three of my chaplaincy internship. Exploring my role as a chaplain while identifying as an atheist and humanist.

Compassion and listening can take someone a long way. 

I relish my bathroom’s natural light.

I relish my bathroom’s natural light.

But in a way, sharing in the awkwardness was sharing in our uncertainty, and sharing in the silence was sharing in our unknowing.

—Woman quoted by Jeanne Stevenson-Moessner,  A Primer in Pastoral Care (2005, page 23)

Another favorite community spot here in Durham, the Bulls Stadium.
Beautiful night for a game.

Another favorite community spot here in Durham, the Bulls Stadium.

Beautiful night for a game.

Was feeding Meg’s chickens when I came across this little guy.

A five leaf clover. Feeling super lucky.

Was feeding Meg’s chickens when I came across this little guy.

A five leaf clover. Feeling super lucky.

Some nights I would wake up and not remember a thing, but I would feel epic and vulnerable.

—Timothy Zane Reavis, from his poem, “Apocalypse in A-Minor

Chicken and garden sitting for Meg.

Chicken and garden sitting for Meg.

Exploring my new neighborhood.

Exploring my new neighborhood.