My writing

THE CHURCH: A Theology Of Disconnection

February 24, 2019

The medieval mystic, Hildegard of Bingen began to have visions as a very young girl.  Her parents decided that it would be best for her to enter a monastery where she was educated by a fellow anchoress and the monks there.  As she grew into an adult she became oppressed by what she felt was the corruption of the priests and monks.  So she picked up her skirts, fled into the countryside, and established her own convent where she wrote down her visions and some very beautiful music. For me this is a perfect illustration of how a person of profound faith can come to feel a serious disconnection with the church. I relate to her story.  But there are differences in our storylines. First, in my church history I have rarely come across a [...]

GOD 101: Forgiveness, Grace, And Mercy

January 13, 2019

I have a new little wooden box that is sectioned off.  It allows me to put small bottles in each section. I relate to that box.  My mind likes to put its ideas in little sections, and organize and reorganize the sections to see how things line up. Like a kaleidoscope.  Each piece standing in its own place, but changeable in its relationship to the other pieces. There’s a lot in theology and even in our liturgy that I find sloppy.  Or is done in such a way that causes a person’s sloppy thinking. I would like to say, Well, we don’t have to always be exact about things in the church, and mean it.  But, well. That’s just not me. Yes, I know.  People are good-hearted.  And they mean well. But let’s talk [...]

EDEN: A Spit Of Chaos, or, The Serpent’s Motive

November 23, 2018

I just want to say upfront, so there’s no confusion here, that I have come to feel that the most significant barrier to a person’s reading of the Bible is the church.  How it’s waved its paw to erase subtlety, explained things in such a child-like manner that people have dropped any desire to be curious or assertive about the words before them, and insisted on being The Experts that must be listened to. Over the last I-don’t-know-how-many years, I’ve really come to appreciate the Bible.  Most of my life it served as my code book: I would search it to find explanations to visions, to confirm them as accurate, to show me my way. But as I’ve come into old age and now have the confidence to know that the [...]

THE MECHANICS OF PRAYER: When The Prayers You Make Make You

October 30, 2018

My mother, not a kind or generous mother, told me that my first words were the Lord’s Prayer. I have always treasured that knowledge, holding it close as an affirmation of who I am. My badge of identity, as it were. But after the past year or so I have come to a new appreciation of that choice of mine. To reach out into the air and decide which words I was hearing around me were the ones I wanted to speak aloud. I have experienced something strong and heart-changing in the past few months. It has to do with my prayers. Of course I have prayed all my life. In church. At the dinner table. Before meetings. For other people. From time-to-time, even for myself. Prayer is a part of my life.  In the doing.  In the studying under God.  In [...]

JESUS CHRIST: A Battle Worth Fighting

October 16, 2018

We can wander into Renaissance Festivals and see people all made up to be people of that time. We can watch the news and see how a group of people have assembled to recreate an historical battle, complete with swords and drums and even working muskets. There was a time when young people liked to dress up as druids and demons just to play a game. And so the list can go on:  People who put themselves into a Sherlock Holmes story; people who dress up as Antony and Cleopatra; even children in a Christmas play, miniature wise men and a pregnant lady. In a way I am one of those people.  Except without a costume. When I am in visions of being back with Jesus, in his time, I am not there physically.  I am not part of the scene. I am just breath [...]


October 7, 2018

This edited reposting was first published on July 10, 2012. For the most part, intuitively, we understand how prayer works.  When I tell you that a prayer must be a telling of a truth, you nod because that makes perfect sense.  When I write that you must be aligned in your prayer, that is, you must want the result of your prayer in your thoughts, in your feelings, and in your actions (after all, praying for a job without going out and actually looking for one proves you to be disinterested, at best), you will respond, “Of course!” The concept of being committed to your prayer, really committed, committed to your knees, is obvious also. But there are aspects of prayer that are not so obvious.  I haven’t written yet on [...]

THE EARTH: The Grace Of Farewell

September 10, 2018

We come home, shut and lock the door, and pull the drapes together. Nature has been shut out. The wind.  The stars.  The rain. It doesn’t matter.  It’s out there. And we are safe inside here. Increasingly, I think that we like to feel separate from nature because we don’t want to listen to her.  We don’t want to know what she teaches us everyday.  We want to be our own men.  We want to determine what happens around us. And we work very, very hard at that.  We construct hospitals to cure everything.  And when something isn’t cured, we blame the doctors. We Must Be In Control Of Our Lives At All Times. But nature doesn’t do this.  Just the opposite, in fact.  Nature gives us a continuous montage [...]

THE EARTH: The Nature Of Dirt

August 12, 2018

It’s funny how the length of time that I have been studying God (62 years) has shaped my mind.  Like water shapes the stone as it runs through the canyon.  A new way, I guess you could say. So as I type up these writings about dirt and soil, on cleanliness, on health, my mind drifts into its own paths of knowledge. And, for me, the concept of dirt really belongs inside our bodies, so to speak.  In our souls. I see a soul as being like a terrarium, when you take a glass container usually used for fish and plant a little garden in it. If we all allowed ourselves to let this metaphor sink in – really sink in – we would have a better time with our lives. This is because one of our greatest barriers in life – barriers to [...]

THE EARTH: The Healing Nature Of Nature

July 21, 2018

Florence Williams begins her book, The Nature Fix, with a very startling story: A middle-aged Japanese business man with a very serious case of cancer decides to go sit in the forest before he turns himself in for treatment. He stays a few months, and when he walks out again, his cancer is gone. The author goes into the chemical affect that cypress has on a body, one, apparently, that changes the nature of cancer cells in the body.  She connects this reality to biophilia: a belief that humans possess an innate tendency to seek connections with nature and other forms of life.  In this case, to heal. The book continues as the author travels the world looking at the ways people’s encounters with nature result in physical healing.  [...]

MIRACLES: Knocking On Heaven’s Door, or The Stretch

July 8, 2018

I don’t write about miracles that often.  I suppose that is because finding words to describe the depth of transcendence involved in a miracle is a strain, even for me. I have defined a miracle though: a stepping out of time to ensure the outcome. What this is is a comparison with ordinary prayers.  And I’m realizing that I can write about miracles a bit by comparing them to ordinary prayers. An ordinary prayer, a petition of some kind to God, involves three elements: God, the pray-er, and time. All three of these elements must align in order for a prayer to be answered.  The person making the petition must be aligned within himself (that is, his thoughts, feelings, and actions must all agree with the petition).  God, of [...]

EVIL: Understanding Lucifer

June 21, 2018

I have a son who, when he was young, played some video games.  One type he played were called role-playing games.  In these, the player assumes the identity of a fictional character and works to accomplish the many levels that are in the game.  One challenge on each level is to defeat the “boss.”  The antagonist to the player’s protagonist.  As the player climbs to the next level, the difficulty of defeating the boss gets harder.  Until the last level, when the player meets the “Last Boss.” The worst enemy of them all. Seven years it has been.  Funny how so many things in our lives revolve around the number seven: days in a week, continents, seas, deadly sins. It began back then, but it took a few years [...]

THE EARTH: Creation—The Devil Is In the Details

June 17, 2018

There is a parallel saying to the title of this essay: God is in the details. When God is in the details then he will be revealed through your attention to detail.  Your sacred devotion to your work will return great rewards. But when the devil is in the details, your lack of attention to the work in front of you will result in mistakes, and you will be disappointed in your effort. I’m not using that phrase in the usual way. Instead I’m going on my own path with those words. I’m old.  I get very fatigued when I hear people say things that refer to God, the Father, as one who is aware of every blink of our eyes.  Making God, the Father, out to be someone who sits on his throne able to watch everything at all times at [...]

THE EARTH: Co-Creation

May 29, 2018

When Christianity came along it did one thing: it separated the sea and sky. Or, better perhaps, it separated Heaven from Earth. God, the Father, is in Heaven.  Up there in the wild blue yonder. What is down here on Earth is evil. Because it’s not God. The Father. A real and significant push to overlay this absolute view of God, the Father, onto the ancient Earth-worshiping religions produced very real effects. But whose idea was it, anyway, to make Earth and all that it does not a part of God, The Father? It was God the Father who created Sacred Earth. It was the Holy Spirit who got its inherent wildness under control. Well, under some control at least. The Earth was created to be fecund.  It was designed to go forth and [...]

EVIL: Loneliness

May 6, 2018

Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty. (Mother Teresa) Loneliness is taking the illusion of separation and making it real. Loneliness is sitting down in a boat ride at an amusement park and never coming out of the tunnel. Loneliness is believing every lie that has ever been told us. Loneliness is the root of all evil. There are two parts to loneliness: self-centeredness and disheartenment. Self-Centeredness There is a difference between being alone and loneliness.  We could live in a large family, have a job with many others, attend a large church, and live in a big city and still feel lonely.  On the other hand, we could live in a cabin deep in the woods and, while being alone, feel connected. How can [...]

EVIL: Seeds

April 22, 2018

And so the process of separation was complete. Night could now bow to the rising sun.  Seas could caress the dry land.  Birds could watch the grass below for any signs of food. Man could hold woman in his arms and sway with the wind. The most important separation lay where no one was paying any attention.  In the heart of the garden.  Two trees.  Separate in their concepts themselves. But on one tree there existed the ultimate separation: Good from Evil. This divided wholeness came in the form of fruit, which we know is defined by having seeds. Strangely, given the context, but still very applicable, seeds are life. Literally. Figuratively. Spiritually. Nothing alive can live without seeds. Every seed has life in it, and every seed is [...]

EVIL: Wholeness Broken

April 14, 2018

And so it begins. Or so the story goes: In the beginning. And like the good, little children we are, we begin there and go on. My prayer assignments during Advent and Lent can come with some very heavy lifting of some concepts.  It can feel like having one’s soul scraped.  With a wire brush. Nothing like a good cleaning, hey, Julia?  Hey, yourself. That anvil that invariably falls in there somewhere creates serious aftershocks. This Lent the assignment set itself up as my study of certain beliefs I have about myself. It’s always about me during these stirring parts of the church’s year.  That’s how I know that it’s going to hurt a lot. And then there was this strange clearing.  A clearing with just me in [...]


March 18, 2018

It was the first time I received that command: Eat orange, chocolate, milk. I was a young woman.  With long hair.  A car of my own. I had graduated from Berkeley.  Was working somewhere. I lived in a few rooms in an apartment, with my canoe tied up out back, in the little waterway that meandered through that neighborhood. My life, on the outside, at least, was most ordinary. Inside, it was a different story. For a few years, I studied a woman who led a church that followed the philosophy of Ralph Waldo Emerson. Transcendentalism, it was called. Nothing outrageous.  Nothing strikingly heretical. Just a general softening of the gospels. It was a system of thought that I was well aware of. Even though I was living in California, Emerson [...]

UNITY: Spiritual Warfare, or, The reason the church was created in the first place

February 12, 2018

Let us begin with an exercise in imagination. I want you to picture a pie chart. At first, when you look at it, it looks like it is all one color. Let’s say, white. But as you study it, even use a magnifying glass on it, you are able to see one very fine, black line. As you pull away from the chart, the black line blends into all the white. This is the pie chart of sin. The white represents sins for which a person can atone, ask for forgiveness, and receive it. That very fine, black line represents the one sin for which a person cannot atone or receive forgiveness. One sin. So if the overwhelming majority of sins can be forgiven, why do so many churches spend so much time on justifying judgment and condemnation? One of the very [...]

UNITY: The Art Of Quilting

February 8, 2018

Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Rise and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” This is a desert place. And he rose and went. And there was an Ethiopian, a eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure. He had come to Jerusalem to worship and was returning, seated in his chariot, and he was reading the prophet Isaiah. And the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and join this chariot.” So Philip ran to him and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. Now the passage of the Scripture [...]

UNITY: God’s Prayers, or Smelly feet

January 28, 2018

The purpose of the church has always been misunderstood by man. Seriously misunderstood. Perhaps because Jesus ministered to us, individually and generally, we have assumed that the church takes his place and is the means for God to minister to us. We can go there to receive the sacraments, if they are available. We can go there for fellowship. We can go there to polish our self-esteem. We go there. Because the church is ours.  It belongs to us. It exists for us. When has anyone ever stepped over his church’s threshold, gotten down on his knees, and asked, What can I do for you, Father? Anyone? Ever? You see, we are supposed to be the answer to God’s prayers. It’s fine if, when we are at church, we pray for something [...]

EVANGELISM: Street Walking

January 21, 2018

I was born into an Anglican church. And I do realize that my childhood stamped me in very certain ways. I was also born into a small Maine coastal town. Which accomplished even more of the stamping. A number of times a year the rector (chief priest) sat at our dining room table and chatted.  It was an expected visit.  I won’t say it was exactly an anticipated visit.  But it was a given. The curate (lesser priest) was expected to keep lonely widows and struggling families, the shut-ins and church discontents regular company.  Holy Communion was distributed to those who had not made it to the rail to receive it. I grew up knowing to my bones that church was not just something that happened inside a particular building. All the [...]

UNITY: Of Style And Substance

January 14, 2018

I was born an Anglican. This means that I have always belonged to the church associated with King Henry VIII, of England, and his break from the Roman Catholic Church.  Henry wanted a son.  His first wife, his deceased brother’s wife, didn’t bear him one.  He wanted a divorce from her so he could try begetting a son with someone else.  The Pope agreed that the marriage was invalid because it was against the church law to marry your brother’s wife. Henry had been given a dispensation for that error.  And now was being let off the hook of having made the error in the first place. How convenient for Henry. But the wife he wanted to divorce was from Spain.  And Spain was in the process of providing the Pope with war [...]

GOD 101: The Court System Of Heaven

December 16, 2017

There are things that people have been told about God and judging. And there are things that people have not been told about God and judging. Lots of things, actually. In a sense, the justice system of God is three-fold. Just like America. Except not. Let’s start with God, the Father. From almost the very beginning, quite soon after creation is accomplished, God, the Father, becomes a judge of his own creation. He finds guilt.  He judges.  He sentences. And his sentence on the inhabitants of Eden is carried out. After that, pretty much any time you turn around, God is judging. Somebody.  Or something. The Flood says it all. We were found guilty.  We were judged.  We were sentenced. So there we have the complete picture of [...]

SPIRITUAL WARFARE: Finding Reality In God

December 10, 2017

It was a long battle. Eight years in the fray.  And so many more in recovery. I was very aware that my marriage was an assignment from God.  I even verified that before the wedding took place. As it went on, I found I was being trained: lessons specific for handling what was before me that I rigorously worked to learn and apply. One lesson I was being taught – this was fresh knowledge for me – was about binding a soul.  This binding works to lessen the negative effect that an evil person can have on the world. This was something very new to me. Over the years of the battle I watched as my binding would take effect, then watch some more how, in time, the binding would ease and slip off.  And the rancid behavior, calmed for a time, [...]

GOD 101: The Shape Of Change

November 17, 2017

I have had periods in my life when I feel perfectly comfortable with a concept God has given me to study, but don’t know how to express it in ordinary English language.  It feels, sometimes, as though I think in one language, but speak in another. This is one of those times. If we go to church, or read the Bible to the point of knowing it, or even if we listen to sermons on television, sooner or later we run up against the wall that is God’s final day for us.  The Day of Judgment.  We might also start to wonder why or how there is going to be a “New Heaven” and a “New Earth.” So we might be able to find a kind of theme facing us down: I’m going to come and sort you all out.  Those who pass my [...]

EVIL: Love And Inadequacy

October 23, 2017

A little while ago, during a vision, I happened upon something.  Not intentionally.  Or, at least, I don’t think it was intentionally. I raised my eyebrows at it and decided that I didn’t want to know this. I’m not sure why.  But I decided I wanted to keep it a secret. Even from myself. But last night, not realizing I was on the same path that would lead to the same answer, I happened upon it again. So the secret was officially “out.” Everything that exists has a seen side and an unseen side. Pretty much every minute of the day we are unaware of this. That the good has a tangled side. That the bad have a confused and weak side. That what appears before us and convinces us it is what we see is not, [...]

GOD 101: From His Bookshelf, or, Watch your backs

September 29, 2017

More and more it becomes fascinating to me how old I am.  Both because most serious mystics die young (it is very hard on the body), and because I can sit quietly and trace themes and currents that have been with me all my life. One set of visions I have found mostly annoying, to be honest.  Until very recently. At a very busy point in my mystical adventures I felt a sharp poke in my mystical rib-cage.  Poke.  Sharp.  Repeated. It was the insistence that I stop what I was doing and read a certain book. Which I thought was absurd. Now I have thought God’s instructions ridiculous, even stupid, throughout my life, but this one so astounded me that I reasoned that it proved that my visions my whole life were nothing more than the [...]

HEALING: Crossing The Line

September 9, 2017

My first healing miracle occurred in a public place.  A seminary, in fact. At morning Mass.  During the service.  At the rail. And while the event disturbed me deeply, I was still conscious enough to watch people around me and how they reacted to me now. Now. Now that they knew. I didn’t know I had this ability. But the next second in my life after the touch, they knew. My reaction, of course, as it has been my whole life, was to curl up like a mole somewhere soft and dark and just stay there until the commotion was over. Commotion. We don’t think of that word being attached to God. Mostly we think, Yes, I believe in God, but this morning’s newspaper is a lot more interesting than to think about than God. We [...]

FORGIVENESS: Turning The Tables—Do We Forgive the Father of the Prodigal?

August 27, 2017

Let’s face it, the Father of the Prodigal Son comes off as some kind of superhuman hero. God the Father, to be specific. I like to spend time in that low, quiet quarter of my soul that sort of rumbles about looking for meaning and connection with the rest of the world. And it interests me when I feel the wind with the same kind of whisper on it blowing by me. A mumble here, a shrug there. It is there in the world: the grumbling against the mighty spirituality of God. I know it’s in me.  Grumbling about the vast difference between the absolute that is God and my hunger pangs which are relative. Relative to me. They relate to me.  And my stomach. And in those moments, I really don’t care about God’s absolute need to [...]

GOD 101: On Belief, or Finally Managing to Get Our Shoes on the Right Feet

August 7, 2017

I have a suggestion. Before you read this, put a big, brown paper bag over your head. That way, when your head explodes from reading this, it won’t make such a mess. That someone else will have to clean up. Just trying to think of others. That’s all. Right. Ready? So, here goes. This Essay Is On Your Belief In God. Want to know what the truth is about Your Belief In God? Do you think it matters that You Believe In God? Well, if you do think this, You Are Wrong. It really doesn’t matter if you believe in God or not. What matters is if God believes in you. Take a moment. Walk around the block if you have to. I understand – really I do – Just How Important Your Belief In Your Belief In God Is To You. Really. I do. Before [...]