Touchpoints on The Gospel

Touchpoints on The Gospel

Touchpoint: Eternal Life. Watercolor of Jesus walking into heart-shaped clouds with cross in the distance

All in One and One in All

“Love has its source in God, because God is love. To love one another, means the source of love I offer the world, is also from God. If love is too much a burden to engage for me, then I have not come to know God, the source of all the love I have access. How can I understand a command to love my enemies, when I am not aware of the source of all love? Love would in some cases be a heavy burden because on our own, we have a limited capacity for love.”
Touchpoint: I Am the Vine. Photo of a vineyard in flames from the movie, A Walk in the Clouds

God’s Love Burns

“Branches are connected to the vine and they abide together. Fecundity is the intimacy of abiding with the vine and each other. The vine is rooted in love below the earth, in what is called the rootstalk. It is the source of all growth and renewal. Branches cannot renew themselves separately from the vine and rootstalk. No wonder Jesus says, ‘Apart from God, we can do nothing.'”
Touchpoint: Jesus speaks about his death. Photo of tiny seedling sprouting.

Seeds of Glory

“Some of us of have had more doodoo in our lives than others. Please share the richness of your story with others. For our children, share your shade, your fruit, your new seeds to be planted. The many new seeds your story produces is what it takes for the main stalk to be glorified. To be multiplied.”
Touchpoint: Cloud of witnesses. Image is painting of the Transfiguration by Armando Alemdar Ara

Earth, Water and Fire

“In this unimaginable heavenly experience, I love the human part of the story. Peter was terrified and doesn’t know what to say. So, he offers to build dwellings for the three on the mountain. What else would a guy say who has heard about the Ark of the Covenant, the Temples… the tents where God lived? He just was stunned in the moment. I seriously had to stop and laugh. The writer must have had fun writing, ‘Peter didn’t know what to say!’ In the awkward silence, as they gazed up at the three prophets whispering to each other, somebody had to bail everyone out!”
Touchpoint: Jesus went away to a solitary place. Image is a painting by Briton Riviere called Christ in the Wilderness (1899)

Engaging Solitude

“We are vulnerable in our loneliness, but Jesus sought engagement with the light that was previously revealed to him in the Jordan. He quoted words that he held on to his whole young life. He had no desire to be famous or powerful. In this moment, when his fame was at its peak, it was time to go to a solitary place for authentic connection. What a paradox that in a crowd, we may need to be alone to connect.”
Touchpoint: You speak with authority; image is a shadowy figure at a window, symbolizing inner demons

Devils and French Fries

“The evil is real, but I do not understand it. However, since I shook off the idea that I must wage a war against it, I have not encountered it. It has no life-giving breath, but only a stink in the air. Maybe a good candle and a centering prayer will help create an emotional receptivity to God as king rather than a panic-driven election of a false god.”
Touchpoint: John the Baptizer. Watercolor image of John the Baptist preaching to a crowd

Let’s Get Tattoos!

“At baptism it is not about our declaration of acceptance of God, it’s about our full acknowledgment of God’s reception of us! This mystery invites us into God’s heart. This mystery is the heartbeat in all people, whether aware of it or not. Though we may sin, doubt, judge, curse, deny, betray, we cannot remove the tattoo placed on our hearts as a reminder that we belong.”
Touchpoint: Matthew 25; Image: painting of sheep and goats by Lydia Irving

Damn Serious

“It causes me to ask myself, have I not evolved from euphoria and intellectual devotion? Have I become spiritually self-indulgent and neglected those God shows preference for in suffering? I can tell you that as a preacher, my words have not neglected them. My actions are what I would prefer to think about.”
Touchpoint: Parable of the Talents; closeup image of old masters painting of hand holding gold coins

It’s Absurd

“To paraphrase De Mello, it only takes a willingness to see things in a new way. This is what I like to tell my clients in AA. ‘You’re right, it’s not about willpower. Willpower doesn’t work. It’s our willingness and God’s power. If you are faced with repercussions for seeing things in a new way, you also may be invited into the ineffable presence and co-laboring nature of God, who is not anything like the master in this story.'”
Touchpoint: Parable of the Ten Bridesmaids; painting of a woman's hand holding an oil lamp

Present to the Finish

“In our spiritual life, to be present is the goal, not Bible reading. Contemplative practices are not the Mystery, they are the means to be present to the Mystery.”
Touchpoint: The Greatest Commandment; image is graphic design of the words "Love God & Love Others."

The G.O.A.T.

“All the laws hang on these two commandments and those commandments defer to the real, genuine greatest of all time. I don’t know about you, but I’m getting goat bumps! What if all our efforts to legislate law in our personal lives and communal lives needed to be filtered by these two commandments? What would be different?”
Touchpoint: Sing a New Song; image of bird chirping at sunset

A New Song

“It appears to me that Jesus is constantly trying to save people from themselves… from our egos searching for identity and value in the wrong places. Doesn’t it seem like that to you? These guys come to him and say, “What is your opinion on Caesar’s empire built on unfair taxes?” Jesus says in effect, ‘Here’s what I think of your unfair tax. You rob people of their assets for a coin that is worth much less.'”