Thursday, January 28, 2010


Today at lunch, I went with my Rector to deliver Communion to someone who seems near the end of life's journey. The experience has affected me this afternoon on many levels. I am humbled to serve, sad for the man I visited, and facing a renewed consciousness of what in life is truly important.

Things like "Obamacare" debates, and union and,political sniping over email are not high on this list. Helping people like this man, the people I see as a Chaplain and the people in Haiti, and in our city are. I confess I lost patience with the email today.

Tonight I serve as on-call Chaplain for the first time in several weeks. I am prepared to be humbled some more if my pager sounds.

Posted via email from drben54's posterous

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Forgiveness - three posts from

I was privileged to hear Fr. Nouwen once before his untimely death,  Forgiveness is a topic I confront every New Year.  Not only are there those whom I must forgive, if I do not want to carry a burden of anger through my life,  but there are at least a couple of things for which I I could be forgiven. 

I am not sure it is beneficial for me to go seeking out people from 10, 20 or 30 years ago, though "12-step" programs do espouse this action.  But if I state these things to God and ask for forgiveness, I am prepared if contacted by these people to make amends as I can and accept forgiveness if offered.  (Not sure if this is making sense.)  Receiving forgiveness is the hardest.  But an important step towards this end is to be honest before God and accept responsibility for things I may have done.  BEN


Forgiveness, the Way to Freedom

To forgive another person from the heart is an act of liberation. We set that person free from the negative bonds that exist between us. We say, "I no longer hold your offense against you" But there is more. We also free ourselves from the burden of being the "offended one." As long as we do not forgive those who have wounded us, we carry them with us or, worse, pull them as a heavy load. The great temptation is to cling in anger to our enemies and then define ourselves as being offended and wounded by them. Forgiveness, therefore, liberates not only the other but also ourselves. It is the way to the freedom of the children of God.


Healing Our Hearts Through Forgiveness

How can we forgive those who do not want to be forgiven? Our deepest desire is that the forgiveness we offer will be received. This mutuality between giving and receiving is what creates peace and harmony. But if our condition for giving forgiveness is that it will be received, we seldom will forgive! Forgiving the other is first and foremost an inner movement. It is an act that removes anger, bitterness, and the desire for revenge from our hearts and helps us to reclaim our human dignity. We cannot force those we want to forgive into accepting our forgiveness. They might not be able or willing do so. They may not even know or feel that they have wounded us.

The only people we can really change are ourselves. Forgiving others is first and foremost healing our own hearts.


Receiving Forgiveness

There are two sides to forgiveness: giving and receiving. Although at first sight giving seems to be harder, it often appears that we are not able to offer forgiveness to others because we have not been able fully to receive it. Only as people who have accepted forgiveness can we find the inner freedom to give it. Why is receiving forgiveness so difficult? It is very hard to say, "Without your forgiveness I am still bound to what happened between us. Only you can set me free." That requires not only a confession that we have hurt somebody but also the humility to acknowledge our dependency on others. Only when we can receive forgiveness can we give it.

Posted via email from drben54's posterous

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Not amused

While making breakfast, saw and interrupted a little "B and E" action in the house next door. "Cop Knock" on the front door made the person inside flee out the back.

While I dealt with this often in Boston, I am beginning to think about moving. I like my house, but next door is kind of close.

Posted via email from drben54's posterous

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Senator Edwards answers the question "Who's your daddy?"

I am not sure how I feel after the latest John Edwards revelation about his sordid affair with a staffer during his last presidential campaign. This whole pile of steaming amoral effluence finally was peaked today by Edwards' assertion he is indeed the father of young Frances Hunter.

I volunteered for to work for Edwards because he was a Populist, speaking up for the "little people" who did not have a voice. I also liked that he worked his way through college in a mill. I did something similar at a jet engine plant.

But the rumors of an affair tainted the campaign from Day 1. The story finally broke after Edwards withdrew and our Sacramento committee switched to supporting Obama. First Edwards lied and denied, then he said another main was the father. In an interview with ABC, I saw a man consumed by grandiosity and narcissism. He said he "only had the affair while his wife was in remission". Great.! That one hit me really close to home as a 3-time cancer survivor.

I'm cynical now. I figure any politician is offering supporters a sales pitch. I wonder what candidates are REALLY like? It's just sad. Edwards whole schitck was just an act. And we fell for it!

Posted via email from drben54's posterous

Monday, January 18, 2010

Finding Solitude - thoughts by Henri Nouwen

Father Nouwen wrote a book about the topic of solitude vs. loneliness which sustained me a few years ago when I was at the lowest point of my life.  Seeking solitude in a monastery for the weekend, I finally "got it" on the drive home.  In solitude, I listened, and got what I needed for that time.

Finding Solitude

All human beings are alone. No other person will completely feel like we do, think like we do, act like we do. Each of us is unique, and our aloneness is the other side of our uniqueness. The question is whether we let our aloneness become loneliness or whether we allow it to lead us into solitude. Loneliness is painful; solitude is peaceful. Loneliness makes us cling to others in desperation; solitude allows us to respect others in their uniqueness and create community.

Letting our aloneness grow into solitude and not into loneliness is a lifelong struggle. It requires conscious choices about whom to be with, what to study, how to pray, and when to ask for counsel. But wise choices will help us to find the solitude where our hearts can grow in love.

Posted via email from drben54's posterous

Friday, January 15, 2010

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Gift of Friendship - Thoughts from Henri Nouwen

The Gift of Friendship

Friendship is one of the greatest gifts a human being can receive. It is a bond beyond common goals, common interests, or common histories. It is a bond stronger than sexual union can create, deeper than a shared fate can solidify, and even more intimate than the bonds of marriage or community. Friendship is being with the other in joy and sorrow, even when we cannot increase the joy or decrease the sorrow. It is a unity of souls that gives nobility and sincerity to love. Friendship makes all of life shine brightly. Blessed are those who lay down their lives for their friends.

Share your thoughts on this reflection. These reflections are taken from Henri J.M. Nouwen's Bread for the Journey.

Read the latest Nouwen release: Home Tonight. Watch Home Tonight with Henri Nouwen video.

Visit for more inspiration!

Posted via email from drben54's posterous