PRAYER: Sick—Jesus Heals A Man With Leprosy

February 4, 2019

From Daily Prayers Father, your Son accepted our sufferings, teaching us the virtue of patience in human illness. Hear the prayers we offer for our sick brothers and sisters. May all who suffer pain, illness, or disease realize that they are chosen to be saints, and know that they are joined to Christ in his suffering for the salvation of the world. [...]

SERMON: The Cleansing of the Leper by Richard Chenevix Trench

February 3, 2019

When he was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him. And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. And Jesus saith unto him, See thou tell no man; but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.  (Matthew 8:1-4) We are told that the ascended Lord confirmed the word of his servants with signs following; here he does the same in the days of his flesh for his own.  his discourse upon the Mount, that solemn revision of the moral code, lifting it up to a higher level, has scarcely [...]

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.  [...]

SERMON: Homily For Lent by The Venerable Bede

February 25, 2018

Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us. But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Then came she and worshiped him, saying, Lord, help me. But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs. And she said, Truth, Lord; yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table. Then Jesus answered and said unto [...]

HEALING: A Simple Way To Change Our Image Of God by Dennis Linn, Sheila Fabricant Linn, and Matthew Linn

October 26, 2017

From: Good Goats Perhaps the easiest way to change our image of God is to try something that takes only a minute. Get in touch with the love of God in  your heart. Put a smile on your face that matches that love. Smile at a person who loves you and allow that person to smile back at you. Taking in the smile of someone who loves us is such a simple thing.  Yet, it can be one of the most healing things in life.  A friend’s smile can heal us if we know that God loves us, just for a start, at least as much as the people who love us the [...]

SATURDAY READING: New Indigenous Forms Of Christian Healing by Amanda Porterfield

October 21, 2017

From: Healing in the History of Christianity In some contrast to the de-emphasis on transcendence in some forms of social justice theology, many converts integrated Christianity with traditional values and customs with an ease that caught many Western missionaries by surprise, if they understood what was happening.  These new indigenous forms of Christianity often revolved around healing and incorporated miracles of healing into modern forms of social consciousness.  Christians in Africa, Latin America, eastern Europe, and Asia combined social visions of Christian healing with practices of spiritual healing derived, at least in part, from indigenous traditions.  And investment in indigenous forms of spiritual healing stimulated new [...]

HEALING: We Are All Good Goats by Dennis Linn, Sheila Fabricant Linn, and Matthew Linn

October 19, 2017

From: Good Goats A few years ago, we presented some of the ideas in this book to a group of elderly retired Roman Catholic nuns.  One sister raised her hand and said, “But what about the story of the sheep and the goats?  It says right there that the sheep go to Heaven and the goats go to hell.” Dennis responded by asking the whole group, “How many of you, even once in your life, have done what Jesus asks at the beginning of that passage and fed a hungry person, clothed a naked person, or visited a person in prison?”  All the sisters raised their hands.  Dennis said, “That’s wonderful!  You’re all sheep.”  Then Dennis asked, “How many of you, even once in your life, have walked by [...]

HEALING: Punishment Never Heals, Only Love Can Heal by Dennis Linn, Sheila Fabricant Linn, and Matthew Linn

October 12, 2017

From: Good Goats When we speak of how our recovery depends so much on knowing God as merciful and loving, the most frequent question we are asked is this: “If God is so merciful and loving, then why be good?” I (Dennis) understand this question since I did many good things because I feared a vengeful, punishing God.  For example, I read Matthew 25 about the sheep and the goats.  I interpreted this passage literally and thought that since the sheep go to Heaven and the goats go to hell, I wanted to  make sure I was a sheep.  So, out of fear and as a good sheep, I did many good things such as visiting the sick and feeding the hungry.  Yet, when my image of God changed, I did even more good things and did them with more [...]

HEALING: Why Is It So Important To Change Our Image Of God? by Dennis Linn, Sheila Fabricant Linn, and Matthew Linn

October 5, 2017

From: Good Goats Why is it so important to heal our image of God?  It is not so we’ll know what afterlife is like.  Rather, it is because we become like the God we adore.  Studies show this is true in many aspects of our lives.  In marriage, for example, the more a couple experiences God as a lover, the more likely they are to enjoy a wholesome, loving marriage.  Andrew Greeley found that this wholesomeness extends to all aspects of marriage, including sexual fulfillment.  So, too, in David Nygren and Miriam Ukeritis’s study of who are the most caring and least caring among those who choose celibate religious life, the most caring were four times more likely to image God as a caring healer than their less caring peers.  [...]

HEALING: “God Is A Father; More Than That, God Is A Mother” (John Paul 1) by Dennis Linn, Sheila Fabricant Linn, and Matthew Linn

September 28, 2017

From: Good Goats At times I (Dennis) resisted changing my image of God from that of child abuser to child lover.  At first I thought that my resistance was to changing my theology.  But I discovered that my real resistance was to changing my personality. First, to stop reading scripture so literally and to begin to appreciate its images and symbols, I needed to rely less on my ability to think and more on my underdeveloped feeling side.  Secondly, to appreciate how God loves the unrepentant sinner, how grace is not earned but given as a free gift, I had to become more at home with receiving from others rather than always compulsively doing things for them.  In summary, I needed to integrate feminine values into my deeply skewed male [...]

HEALING: What About Free Will? by Dennis Linn, Sheila Fabricant Linn, and Matthew Linn

September 14, 2017

From: Good Goats Does Jesus’s descent into hell to be with those who seem to have rejected God violate free will?  Or, could it be that by his loving and healing presence to those in hell, Jesus restores free will?  Free will has often been defined as the capacity to say, “Yes,” or, “No,” to God.  However, Karl Rahner and other theologians suggest that free will is the capacity to choose in a God-like way.  Thus a truly free person paradoxically, like God, can only choose the good.  Saying, “No,” to God is not a sign of free will but rather of how a person still needs healing in order to become free.  Once healed and truly free, that person, like Jesus, can only say, “Yes,” to [...]

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 [...]

HEALING: Jesus Comes To Be With Us In Hell by Dennis Linn, Sheila Fabricant Linn, and Matthew Linn

September 7, 2017

From: Good Goats What if it appears that some people, such as Hitler or the Nazis who hung the innocent child before Elie Wiesel’s eyes, have closed the door of their heart from the inside, and chosen hell?  Is there anything God can do?  By descending into hell, God can come to heal us even there.  The common understanding of Jesus’s descent into hell, (1 Peter 3:19), is that Jesus goes to preach the good news only to the just souls awaiting redemption.  However, according to the New Jerusalem Bible, this understanding overlooks that Jesus goes also to the chained demons mentioned in the Book of Enoch and those in Noah’s time who were punished by the flood because they “refused to believe.” Theologian [...]

HEALING: What About The Hell Of Suffering? by Dennis Linn, Sheila Fabricant Linn, and Matthew Linn

August 31, 2017

From: Good Goats If God is so willing to spend eternity loving and healing us, where is God when we suffer now?  If God abandons us to the hell of suffering in this world, how can we believe God won’t abandon us to hell in the next?  Where is God in natural disasters, wars, tragic accidents, concentration camps?  Job, after losing his health, home, and family, concluded that suffering was a mystery in which we cannot know the role of God, (Job 42:1-6).  Elie Wiesel, watching the Nazis hang an innocent child in the hell of the holocaust, came to a different conclusion: Total silence throughout the camp.  On the horizon, the sun was setting.  “Bare your heads!” yelled the head of the camp.  His voice was raucous.  [...]

HEALING: Does God Send Anyone To Hell? by Dennis Linn, Sheila Fabricant Linn, and Matthew Linn

August 24, 2017

From: Good Goats Our Roman Catholic tradition and many other Christian traditions share two beliefs about afterlife.  The first belief is that Heaven exists and people are there.  (By “Heaven” we don’t mean a specific geographical place “up there,” but rather a state of loving union with God.)  We all have loved ones – grandparents, parents, friends – who we are confident are in Heaven.  Secondly, hell exists as a possibility, but we don’t know if anyone is there.  (By “hell” we mean a state of supreme alienation.)  If anyone is in hell, it is not because God sent that person there, but because he or she chose it.  C. S. Lewis used the image of hell as a room with the door closed [...]

HEALING: How Being Loved And Forgiven, As An Unrepentant Sinner, Healed Me by Dennis Linn, Sheila Fabricant Linn, and Matthew Linn

August 17, 2017

From: Good Goats Being loved as an unrepentant sinner, as Paul was, has often been a healing and life-changing experience for me.  For example, years ago my German self-righteousness got set off by the U. S. border patrol.  One day, while we were in California a mile from the Mexican border, I was writing outside with Sheila.  We saw the border guards catch five Mexicans on the beach.  We wanted to reach out to the Mexicans in some way, so we went inside the house, gathered up enough granola bars for them, and went out to the beach.  When we arrived, the five Mexicans had their hands up in the air and were being searched.  We had just been in Mexico, where we felt overwhelmed by meeting so many jobless people unable to provide [...]

HEALING: Is God A Prosecuting Attorney Or A Defense Attorney? by Dennis Linn, Sheila Fabricant Linn, and Matthew Linn

August 10, 2017

From: Good Goats The theology of Anselm leaves out some very important “good news” because it ignores other traditional and more compassionate understandings of the New Testament accounts.  For example, parakletos, or the “Spirit of Jesus that judges us” could best be translated as “our defense attorney who justifies us,” (John 14:15; 15:26).  Spanish conveys this well, since in many Biblical translations and church prayers it describes the Spirit of Jesus which judges as nuestro abogado, meaning “our defense attorney.” The New Testament has many stories of Jesus as defense attorney.  Two such stories are those of Saint Paul, (Acts 9:1-22), and of the adulterous woman, (John 8:2-12).  In [...]

HEALING: God’s Twenty-Thousand-Year Pout by Dennis Linn, Sheila Fabricant Linn, and Matthew Linn

August 3, 2017

From: Good Goats My tendency to read the vengeful punishment language in scripture literally came in part from a common understanding of the teaching of Saint Anselm (1033–1109).  In Redemptive Intimacy, Dick Westley quotes theologian Walter Imbiorski who describes how Anselm’s thinking has often been caricatured by popular Christian teaching: You see, part of the difficulty is that most of us are caught up emotionally in what I would call Anselmian Salvation Theology, which goes something like this.  God created the world.  Adam and Eve sinned.  God got pretty damn sore, goes into a 10,000 year pout, slams the gates of Heaven and throws the scoundrels out.  So he’s up there pouting and about 5,000 years ago by and the [...]

HEALING: Reading Vengeful Punishment Passages Literally Can Drive Us Crazy by Dennis Linn, Sheila Fabricant Linn, and Matthew Linn

July 27, 2017

From: Good Goats The time when I understood most clearly the dangers of reading the vengeful punishment passages in the Bible literally was when I was called to a mental hospital to see my friend, Bill Wilson.  Guards ushered me into his room.  Bill’s hands were chained to his bed and he had a bandage over the right side of his face.  That morning he had tried to gouge out his right eye.  When I asked him why, he quoted to me Matthew 5:29: “If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your member than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.” Everyone knew Bill was crazy for taking the first part of that passage, “If your right eye causes you to sin, [...]

HEALING: Jesus’s Response to Vengeful Punishment by Dennis Linn, Sheila Fabricant Linn, and Matthew Linn

July 20, 2017

From: Good Goats Changing our image of God from child abuser to child lover was the core of Jesus’s mission.  Jesus was always trying to change people’s vengeful image of God.  Often Jesus tried to heal on the sabbath, or touch a leper, or forgive someone.  But the priests, scribes, and Pharisees would forbid Jesus to do these things because they interpreted literally the vengeful punishment passages of their Bibles which spelled out the consequences of such “illegal” actions. For example, in the story of the adulterous woman (John 8:5), the scribes and Pharisees want to stone her to death.  They justify themselves by telling Jesus, “Moses has ordered us in the law to condemn women like this to death by [...]

HEALING: What About Vengeful Punishment In Scripture? by Dennis Linn, Sheila Fabricant Linn, and Matthew Linn

July 13, 2017

From: Good Goats At first I found it hard to believe in Hilda’s loving God.  I had grown up reading Matthew 25, about what God would do to goats, and other seemingly vengeful punishment passages in scripture.  For example, Matthew 5:29 says that if your right eye is a temptation, it would be better to pluck it out than to have God throw you into the fires of hell.  Such passages made God seem to be a child abuser, much like Good Old Uncle George. Assuming that what I had learned from Hilda might be true, I began asking myself, how do those who love us the most use vengeful punishment language?  Then I began to notice that those who love the most – grandparents, parents, lovers – often use the same words of vengeful punishment [...]

HEALING: God Loves Us At Least As Much As The Person Who Loves Us The Most by Dennis Linn, Sheila Fabricant Linn, and Matthew Linn

July 6, 2017

From: Good Goats I was stunned.  What Hilda taught me in those few minutes is the bottom line of healthy Christian spirituality: God loves us at least as much as the person who loves us the most.  God loves us at least as much as Hilda loves her son or at least as much as Sheila and Matt love me. When Sheila and Matt most love me, they are not going to say, “Dennis, we love you unconditionally, much more than you can ever imagine.  But you really blew it.  So, to hell with you, but remember how much we love you.”  And even though Sheila has a mighty big purse, she does not lug around an account book to mark down my sins and what punishment I merit.  And if Sheila and Matt don’t do these things, could it be that God [...]

HEALING: How My Image Of God Changed by Dennis Linn, Sheila Fabricant Linn, and Matthew Linn

June 29, 2017

From: Good Goats One day Hilda came to me crying because her son had tried to commit suicide for the fourth time.  She told me that he was involved in prostitution, drug dealing, and murder.  She ended her list of her son’s “big sins” with, “What bothers me most is that my son says he wants nothing to do with God.  What will happen to my son if he commits suicide without repenting and wanting nothing to do with God?” Since at the time my image of God was like Good Old Uncle George, I thought, “God will probably send your son to hell.”  But I didn’t want to tell Hilda that.  I was glad that my many years of theological training had taught me what to do when I don’t know how to [...]

HEALING: We Become Like The God We Adore by Dennis Linn, Sheila Fabricant Linn, and Matthew Linn

June 22, 2017

From: Good Goats I changed when my image of God changed.  Most of us recognize that we become like our parents whom from early on we adore, even with all their faults.  We may not realize that we also become like the God we adore. Unfortunately, the God I grew up adoring was German.  My God was a self-righteous German who sat on his (at the time my God was all male) judgment throne.  Being a self-righteous German, my God could see all the mistakes and errors in everyone else.  If my self-righteous God did not like what he saw in others, he could even separate himself form them by sending them into hell.  And if my God could be a self-righteous German then no matter how many healing prayers I prayed, I would probably never change.  I [...]

HEALING: Why Wasn’t I Healed? by Dennis Linn, Sheila Fabricant Linn, and Matthew Linn

June 15, 2017

From: Good Goats For many years the three of us have prayed for healing of life’s crippling hurts.  We have experienced profound healing in our own lives and in the lives of others.  But I (Dennis) finally came up against a problem in my life where healing prayer didn’t work.  Why not? I am half German.  Although I don’t want to stereotype all Germans, like many of my ancestors I was born a self-righteous German.  Like self-righteous “Good Old Uncle George,” who threw into the blazing fire anyone who did not act in a way he approved, I, too, saw all the mistakes and errors in everyone but myself. For years I tried every kind of healing prayer in order to be rid of my self-righteousness.  Although these [...]

HEALING: Good Old Uncle George by Dennis Linn, Sheila Fabricant Linn, and Matthew Linn

June 8, 2017

From: Good Goats I (Dennis) grew up with an image of God that resembled Good Old Uncle George, as described by Gerard Hughes. God was a family relative, much admired by Mum and Dad, who described him as very loving, a great friend of the family, very powerful and interested in all of us.  Eventually we are taken to visit “Good Old Uncle George.”  He lives in a formidable mansion, is bearded, gruff, and threatening.  We cannot share our parents’ professed admiration for this jewel in the family.  At the end of the visit, Uncle George addressed us.  “Now listen, dear,” he begins, looking very severe, “I want to see you here once a week, and if you fail to come, let me just show you what will happen to [...]

HEALING: Finding Glory In Our Torment

June 2, 2017

I am not a grey-haired someone who sits back and is impressed by how well I have surmounted the very hairy challenges in my life. Instead, I am a grey-haired somebody who walks about being very impressed by how I have managed to survive God all my life. I have these periods when God taps me on the shoulder and whispers, Julia, got a minute?  Let’s heal something in you. As do other people, I realize. Each and every time I go through a let’s-get-healed period I think, Ah, ha.  This is it.  I’ve gotten to the bottom of it all at last! But, no. Not only do these very real spiritual strippings occur on a regular basis. They get worse every time. The pain is more profound.  The discovery more exacting and excruciating. And [...]

BLESSING: Blessing Prayer For Healing, by Joyce Rupp

May 8, 2017

May you desire to be healed. May what is wounded in your life be restored to good health. May you be receptive to the ways in which healing needs to happen. May you take good care of yourself. May you extend compassion to all that hurts within your body, mind, and spirit. May you be patient with the time it takes to heal. May you be aware of the wonders of your body, mind, and spirit and their ability in returning you to good health. May you be open to receive from those who extend kindness, care, and compassion to you. May you rest peacefully under the sheltering wings of divine love, trusting in this gracious presence. May you find little moments of beauty and joy to sustain you. May you keep hope in your heart. [...]