Leaders one and all: June 2004

Moses' staff, flung onto the ground, became a writhing snake; the moment's flamboyant magic exposing a deeper message: Drop the authority you've been given and it becomes a hissing serpent.
Standing as we are, knee deep in a pit of vipers, it is easy enough to rail against the mess. More to the point would be to reach down and grab a slithering beast by the throat. Give it a shake and it will become a staff of authority in your hand. There is, as Mother Teresa said, always room at the bottom.

Mother Teresa picked up a dying person, her staff in time blossoming like Aaron's, spreading the sweet odor of sanctity throughout the world. Transformed by the light of God, the stink of decay from those left rotting on the street morphed into a bubbling spring of love, a drink offered to a thirsty world.
I've been sipping on NO GREATER LOVE, a collection of Mother Teresa's words wrapped in a pristine hardback. This is not a 'one greedy gulp' sort of book, but I ought to be finished in a week or so if you want it next. $7

There is, of course, a time of endurance. The snake refuses to straighten out, flicks it's forked tongue at you, mocking your efforts. The temptation is to hurl it against the wall in a fit of fury and leave the mess for somebody else to clean up. We all succumb. The best insurance is prayer. Regular prayer; day in, day out. Prayer laced with scripture, worship, fellowship. Akin to Roo's strengthening medicine, daily habits build endurance for the race. Tiggers LIKE strengthening medicine; it sustains the bounce.

I'm not sure how I got from Moses to Winnie the Pooh in four paragraphs.

Tessa writes that she loved all the books about magic when she was growing up; that's how she discovered the Narnia books, she was looking for more books in that genre. She says she never knew they were "Christian" until she was grown up. Two authors she mentions that are unfamiliar to me are Elizabeth Enright (Gone Away Lake) and Edward Eager (Seven Day Magic, Half Magic).

I remember sneak reading the whole fairy tale section in school readers during grade school. Disappointment reigned when I finished the tales and had to plod thru the history or 'our neighborhood' section instead. Fairy tales are a language for discussing spiritual things. One of my stories, originally titled, "Going to Church," just won first place in the local Hans Christian Anderson contest and has been sent on to the international competition in Italy. Tra La Tra La. (It runs about 8 minutes and I'll perform it for your church or group at the slightest provocation....)

LOST IN WONDER - Rediscovering the Art of Spiritual Attentiveness is going to be a supplemental text for our 7-week Illustrated Journal Workshop. Written by Esther de Waal, the book weaves around Benedictine and Celtic spirituality, with lots of quotes from believers and literary types through the ages. The writing rambles a bit, but if you've gotten thus far in this newsletter, you can clearly cope with that! $14.95.

We're calling the workshop, DRAWING NEAR. It's all a ruse to get you settled down for a couple of hours a week. Settled down so you can see what comes up. Kathy Swanson, who is a wondrous painter, is leading the workshop with me. I, of course, am the wondrous writer....lots of people left wondering. "Huh?" 10-12:00 Thursdays beginning July 1. Let me know if you're planning to come.

Prayer of Jabez, Left Behind, Purpose Driven Life...I'm not sure why certain books sweep the nation. I know that as a retail establishment I'm supposed to ride the crest of these waves, raking in the bucks, but I always seem to roll my eyes and shake my head instead. And this isn't ONLY because Costco sells them cheaper than we can order them. After all, a couple years later WE get them cheaper than Costco...three stacks of Left Behind books....um....Left Behind.

My Christian Retailing magazine exhorts me to "prepare for a resurgence of interest in The Passion, with the soon to be released video." Some times I can barely stand it.

Hopefully YOU are still standing. Leaning on your staff. Here's a final quote, courtesy of word-a-day (from whence I get many of the endquotes for this newsletter):

It is surprising what a man can do when he has to, and how little most men will do when they don't have to. -Walter Linn

Alliee +