Light and Shadows

Back in early August, I had the privilege of walking the Table Rock Wilderness Trail near Mollala, Oregon, with my grandson, Moses.  On the trail I was captured by the play of light and shadow along the trail.  Among the images I photographed that day was this one of a monarch butterfly on the path among the circular shadows created by the sun shining through the trees:

light, shadow, and monarch in visual converation

In September, back in Sarastoa, a friend who was the husband of a colleague, died too young, unexpectedly, Continue reading

what prayers persist

Sarah & Jan

Sarah & Jan

In our Thursday AM study group at St. Andrew we are reading Jan Richardson’s wonderful book, In the Sanctuary of Women.

Tomorrow we at 10:00 am we will be discussing chapter one.

It is about Eve.

Jan ponders lots of questions about Eve.  Among them is one something like this:


What prayers persist beneath the layers of paint on your life?


Jan says there are blessings buried beneath the layers of who Eve has become to us.  These blessings have become nearly impossible to discern because of the layers others have added to her story over the centuries, “a patina of interpretation and the crackling of conflict, lines laid down by those who have sought to inscribe their meaning across the canvas.  They have looked into the layers and said . . . ”


What do you see within Eve’s story?

What hovers for you beneath and between the lines of the text?

What blessing in Eve’s life do you find with your own eyes?


And, now . . . among Jan’s blessings for you are these:

Throughout this day and this night, may you know the breath of God breathing in you.


May you discover that Wisdom and Courage are lovers.  Their secret is that their dwelling has no lamps.  At sunset they say a prayer that in the night their ears hands noses tongues will tell them what they need to know . . . The neighbors find them odd, but their children – Compassion, Integrity, Hope – have learned the wonder of a heart unhiding itself, coming as gift to our deepest eye.


When all about you lies in pieces, may the Holy One make of them a passage.


May the desires of your heart draw you toward creation and connection.  May you know always and always, you are not alone.   The Mother is in you.  The Father is in you.  The wind, the fire, the sea, the touch of your love, the mountain, the desert, the plateau, the city, the country, the song, the prayer, the silence, the laughter – boisterous/ebullient joy, the tears – aching/forlorn sobbing, the quiet hope of the flickering candle, the sand of the beach, the food on your table, the wine of your tasting,, the sight and sound of the sand hill crane in flight . . .may all these and more remind you . . . you are not alone!


May the Holy One, who created you from words and dust and called you good, inhabit your every hunger, dwell in each desire, and encompass you in the choosing that lies ahead.




What a transforming time has been the season of Lent and Easter for St. Andrew.  Donna Papenhausen’s art (& her words) have enabled us to see familiar texts differently.  Jim Cox’s gift of music has empowered us hear the notes of those familiar texts with fresh ears.

the porch watcher

the porch watcher

During my lenten trip to Portland, Oregon for a visit with my daughter and her family, we had dinner at the home of a family who are dear friends of theirs.  Propped on the friends’ front porch was the pottery face in the image above.  It was leaned up against the blue siding of their home.  The face intrigued me, so I took a picture.  Imagine that!

Later that night my son-in-law, Jeff, was showing me a photo which won him first place in a photography exhibit.  He showed me a few of the steps he had taken with the image to transform it from the original picture to the final framed art he submitted for the show. It is a magically whimsical view of a high flying carousel.

That got me a bit curious about the picture I had taken which was, by now, named “the porch watcher.”

So, I played with the image a wee bit.  My play was not anything as magnificent as Jeff’s, but I created three versions of the porch watcher which each elicit a different set of feelings within me.

porch watcher - sepiaesque - Version 3

porch watcher - sepiaesque - Version 2

porch watcher - more alive with reds&greens

The third one exudes radiant welcoming love.

Jeff liked it too.

Which one speaks to you?

The Thursday Study group is reading, Marcus Borg’s book, Speaking Christian.  In one chapter he says that prior to 1600 the word “believe” comes from the Old English be loef which means “to hold dear.”

I do wonder what would happen to us if we began to see differently enough to know “believe” as “belove.”

Borg says “To believe in God does not mean believing that a set of statements about God are true, but to belove God.  To believe in Jesus does not mean to believe that a set of statements about him are true, but to belove Jesus.”

Thank you Marcus.  Thank you Jeff.  Thank you porch watcher.  Thank you Jim.  Thank you Donna.

with great hope, phil garrison

four thoughts on a text

The gospel text for Sunday, March 3, 2013, the third one of Lent 2013 is:

Luke 13:1-9

New Century Version (NCV)

Change Your Hearts

13 At that time some people were there who told Jesus that Pilate[a] had killed some people from Galilee while they were worshiping. He mixed their blood with the blood of the animals they were sacrificing to God. Jesus answered, “Do you think this happened to them because they were more sinful than all others from Galilee? No, I tell you. But unless you change your hearts and lives, you will be destroyed as they were! What about those eighteen people who died when the tower of Siloam fell on them? Do you think they were more sinful than all the others who live in Jerusalem?No, I tell you. But unless you change your hearts and lives, you will all be destroyed too!”

The Useless Tree

Jesus told this story: “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard. He came looking for some fruit on the tree, but he found none. So the man said to his gardener, ‘I have been looking for fruit on this tree for three years, but I never find any. Cut it down. Why should it waste the ground?’ But the servant answered, ‘Master, let the tree have one more year to produce fruit. Let me dig up the dirt around it and put on some fertilizer. If the tree produces fruit next year, good. But if not, you can cut it down.’”

#1:  from Ann S. Howard & Barbara Brown Taylor:

Jesus is inviting them, Barbara Brown Taylor suggests, into vulnerability. Writing for The Christian Century, she said, “It is not a bad thing for them to feel the full fragility of their lives. It is not a bad thing for them to count their breaths in the dark — not if it makes them turn toward the light.

“It is that turning he wants for them, which is why he tweaks their fear,” she writes. ” . . . That torn place your fear has opened up inside of you is a holy place. Look around while you are there. Pay attention to what you feel. It may hurt you to stay there and it may hurt you to see, but it is not the kind of hurt that leads to death. It is the kind that leads to life.

“Depending on what you want from God, this may not sound like good news . . . But for those of us who have discovered that we cannot make life safe nor God tame, it is gospel enough. What we can do is turn our faces to the light. That way, whatever befalls us, we will fall the right way.”

Take it from me, Jesus could be saying in this fig tree parable, we cannot make life safe nor God tame. But in the darkness is the guide to the dawn; in the emptiness is the way to fulfillment; in the losing is the gain; in the dying is new life; in the folly is the wisdom—the wisdom of the cross. So in this Lenten season, take a look at your own torn-open place, your unanswerable question, your fruitless fig tree. Sit with the paradox, hold the tension. In the dying is new life.

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an adventure in the everglades

2012 was an unusual and awesome year in our lives.

Thank you for being part of it through

Our new year’s blessing for you continues the theme of this webpage:

May 2013 be for you, a year of vibrancy, beauty, tears, and grace.



In today’s paper, Frank Bruni’s editorial, “This New Year, seek peace with your body, avoid promises,” included his final paragraph:

We’re so much more than these wretched vessels that we sprint or swagger or lurch or limp around in, some of them sturdy, some of them not, some of them objects of ardor, some of them magnets for pity.  We should make peace with them and remain conscious of that, especially at this particular hinge of the calendar, when we compose a litany of promises about the better selves ahead, foolishly defining those selves in terms of what’s measurable from the outside, instead of what glimmers within.”

May your vibrancy be enhanced as you make peace with your body and define yourself by what glimmers within.

Our St. Andrew Church sign today reads:

2013, May it be a year of Light.

May it be so.



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