#Route101: Another New Year

As we recover from the motion blur of our epic #Route101 road trip, much of the past year is coming into focus for me in the rearview mirror. I spent much of 2022 and a good chunk of 2021 thinking and writing about meaning—discerning it, making it, communicating it. I tried every personality test and even got into tarot. I turned inward, coiling up tighter and tighter until I got sick of that spiritual exhibitionism and the leering that comes with it. I wanted out and I found an unexpected exit in photography, an ecstatic eye to thread new lines through. But … Continue reading “#Route101: Another New Year”

ADVENTWORD 2022—PURIFY

Today’s #AdventWord is not one I’d have picked myself; there’s almost no choice but to read a word like PURIFY in, well, puritanical terms, and, if you’re anything like me, maybe even a James Hetfield twang: TRUTH AND DAREPEELING BACK THE SKINACID WASH GHOST WHITEULTRA CLEANWANNA BE SKELETON Metallica’s “Purify” perfectly captures the unrelenting reductionism of how we tend to hear & deploy the concept of “purity”: a sweet turpentine to burn off all excess & filth. PURIFY OUR CONSCIENCE! cries this Sunday’s collect: “Purify our conscience, Almighty God, by your daily visitation, that your Son Jesus Christ, at his coming, may … Continue reading “ADVENTWORD 2022—PURIFY”

Let The Reader Understand

Over the years journeying with Christ, I’ve found myself returning again and again to the same sort of affect when searching for God: a sense of feeling God’s presence most deeply in the margins and fringes—the uncanny things that reach out and grab ya, as the Halloweentide song goes. My theological reflections have almost become predictable; sooner or later, I’ll be using the word “strange”—and this Advent reflection is no different. What a strange line we have in this already bizarre Gospel telling by Matthew: “let the reader understand.” It’s the only interjection of its kind in the whole New … Continue reading “Let The Reader Understand”

#AdventWord 2022—Messenger

Today’s #AdventWord was meant to be a collaboration, but it didn’t quite come together that way. And yet, even though someone else picked this word out for me, MESSENGER just happens to be one of my more favored from this year’s list. Charlie Brown wasn’t the first to wonder about the meaning of Christmas. From day dot, the Christ event has been the riddle that somehow turned the key on a cosmic mystery; everyone could sense it, but few had the words to describe what it meant, and we still fumble with the language til now. For me, the meaning of Christmas … Continue reading “#AdventWord 2022—Messenger”

#AdventWord 2022: Sabrina

Sabrina and I worked on a video project called SANCTUS deep in the belly of the early pandemic that relied heavily on pieced together footage recorded at a distance, so we thought it would be poignant to reference & recall that time and visual grammar in this year’s Advent collaboration. In these next three posts, we will combine recordings of Sabrina’s liturgical action with imagery I’ve captured to illustrate Sabrina’s written words. BREATHE Breathe, and let thislifebloodinfuse every oneof your (30 trillion)cells,bodyandsoul x FIRE The flame flickers, shrinks, then leaps and grows, ready to kiss my fingers. As I hold … Continue reading “#AdventWord 2022: Sabrina”

#AdventWord 2022: Christine

// Every year for many years, I took part in an Instagram ritual called #AdventWord, first on an old account, then here—every year except the last, when I just couldn’t; the very idea of ritual exhausted me. // A few weeks ago, I checked in with myself to see if anything had changed. Things had. I wanted to mark the season again, but only if I could do it with others. So that’s what I’ll be doing this year; not every day – just when it feels right. I hope it feels right for you too. // Today’s word is WALK. … Continue reading “#AdventWord 2022: Christine”

Our Marmite God

There’s a sticky sandwich spread in the United Kingdom called marmite. It’s as dark and goopy as molasses but has a savory flavor that’s so strange and inscrutable that the company that produces it decided decades ago to celebrate its divisive distinctiveness with a slogan that declared: “Marmite—You Either Love It or Hate It.” Brilliant. Why pretend that your yeast extract is just like peanut butter when it’s so demonstrably not? By fully owning your bizarreness, your fans become your best evangelists and you may even generate a healthy margin of profit from the curious seeking something new (even if … Continue reading “Our Marmite God”

#AdventWord 2021

It’s November and in a couple of weeks, it’ll be Advent, the countdown to Christmas that for the past five or six years, I’ve marked by participating in #AdventWord in some shape or form. I looked forward to this time and task much as I look forward to the long stretch of autumn rituals and feasts. Last year felt strange, as though Advent had arrived too quickly or something; I wasn’t ready, but I was still inspired. This year feels worse. I thought that maybe I’ll gain motivation by meticulously planning what I want to say; I looked over the word list … Continue reading “#AdventWord 2021”

Digital Discipleship

I recently enrolled in a class on digital media and Christian discipleship, and the next post I’ll be making will be part of this week’s assignment: “post a picture that reflects your definition of discipleship on your Instagram account.” “Discipleship” isn’t a term I hear used in the churches I go to or the churches I grew up in; I’m more familiar with the “believer” to “follower” spectrum of terms for that general concept of allegiance to Christ. So I had to figure out what’s different about this word before I could define it for myself. Looking up and talking … Continue reading “Digital Discipleship”

So That Nothing May Be Lost

There’s something that happens whenever I read scripture; I find myself looking for God in the gaps—not “the God of the Gaps,” that theological sleight of hand that calls “God” any explanatory rabbit pulled out of every mysterious hat, but rather, the spirit of God’s lessons for us, today, at the margins, in the silences, on the thresholds—in any place we overlook. That these gaps exist is undeniable; so what, if anything, is the Spirit saying to God’s people there? We can ask this question in different ways when reading this Sunday’s gospel text. This event—often called the Feeding of … Continue reading “So That Nothing May Be Lost”