The bird song is a place to begin.

But not the bird song.

A bird song.

That bird’s song.


It is not just any bird song.

It is a ballad. 

And not any ballad but a lament.

Those chirps they begin at the back of a red feathered throat.

And they progress bravely, sadly, out and into the world.


Or the chime.

Those delicate crystal notes are fragile and tentative.

It is a surprise that they do not shatter on the back yard grill.

The basketball hoop.

The navy side wall of the SUV in the driveway.


The chime notes travel in a gaggle.

A herd-bunch of teen girls.

Headed to powder their collective noses.

They are arranged shortest to tallest.

A scale.


Take them together and you are getting somewhere.

Chirps and tings and tings and tings chirp!


But do not forget the wind.

Perhaps it is birthed beneath the bird wings.

It nudges and shoves the hanging metal tubes in that  back yard where the dandelions stretch toward the sun!


Do not forget the wind.

It lands in the ear before the bird song and between the wind chimes.

Hear them together and you are beginning to hear something.


An old man with a lifetime of calluses,

Runs them up and down the smooth bare back of his grandson.

The little boy sighs.  The old man sighs.

You will have to silence much of yourself.

To enter this deeply into The Music.


There is a siren down town.

We only call it a wail because we have stopped listening to it

And begun to think about what it signifies.

Begin to listen to it.

Stop thinking on what it signifies.


You will disover it is not a wail,

You will hear how it plays in the soundscape,

Rising above then below then above then below

The birds’ call and the chimes notes.


The rhythm section,

The scratchy rub and the sighs

And the breeze and the breeze and the breeze.


A man once told me that the music is only within me.

His words they were the first verse of a song.

A woman once told me that music is only outside me.

Her words were the second verse to a song.


There is a chorus.

I have not heard the chorus.

I will sing it now.

But not alone.


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The stories that speak to our soul begin at a home where things are good. Cinderella is happy with her father. The three little pigs have grown up and are ready to move on. Bilbo Baggins knows his shire. Adam and Eve walk with God in the garden. My story isn’t much different. There was a time and a place where it was so good. There was a community for me. And there was joy. We were filled with a sincere desire to do what God wanted us to do. We possessed explanations and understandings that went a certain distance. We offered security and tradition and laughter. For a lot of years, that was enough. I have this sense that it was also necessary. I have this surety, now, that it certainly wasn’t everything. There were some things that became increasingly problematic as time went by. There was a desire to package things up so very neatly. Sunday morning services were efficient and strategic. Responses to differences of opinion were premeditated. Formula began to feel more important than being real. A real desire for everybody to be one of us, but also a real sense that there is an us, and there is a them. They carried a regret that it has to be this way, but deeper than this regret was a surety that this is how it is. I began to recognize that there was a cost of admission to that group. There were people who sat at the door, collecting it. Those people wished they didn’t have to. But I guess they felt like they did have to. They let some people in, and they left others out. There was a provisional membership. My friends did possess a desire to accommodate people that are different… But it would be best for everyone concerned if they were only a little bit different. I did make many steps forward in this place. Before I went there, there were lies that I believed. Some of the things that I learned there, I still hold on to. But that place is not my home anymore. Those people are not my community anymore. There were times it was hard. I am engaged in a different community now. And I am working hard at finding a place in many different places now, embracing many different kind of families. I don’t always get it right. I am trying and I am learning and I am moving foreward. I have this sense that I am not alone in these experiences. I believe that we are tribe and we are growing. We are pilgrims, looking for a new holy land. Perhaps we won’t settle on the same spot of land. But if you’ve read this far, I am thinking that we are probably headed in the same general direction. I have begun this blog to talk about where my journey is taking me. In every space, we find people who help us along. And maybe we can get to know each other, here. We embrace ideas that provide a structure for the things we believe, and perhaps we can share these too. Maybe we can form a group, a tribe, a community, if we can figure out a way to work through the shadow of these kinds of groups, if we can bigger than the us-and-them ideas that have caused so much trouble in the past. As important as they are, I think the very nature of online interactions will lend itself to something equally powerful. I am stumbling onto these practices that my grandfathers and great grandfathers in the faith engaged in. I am learning about these attitudes and intuitions are so different than the kinds of things we call doctrine today. I don’t know about you, but I am running out of patience, and even interest, in conversations about doctrine. I hope that maybe you’ll share a little something about where your journey is taking you, and maybe our common joys and challenges might help each other along, and we might lift each other up. Thanks for doing this journey with me.

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