Transformation: May 2005

It was a great retreat: Large swatches of time alone where the silence sank deep into my bones. Anointed scriptures, quotes and questions that stirred the quieted heart. Ample time to share with others--in the large group, in small prayer groups, in casual time around the table. Creative nudges through various artistic tasks that expressed more than we knew we were saying.

Equally astonishing was the simple fact that I made it through the whole four days without once getting furious at the idiocy of the leadership...a highly uncharacteristic achievement NOT due, unfortunately, to a new level of personal maturity, but rather to the prayer covering (thank you, thank you) and the exceptional integrity and skill of the leaders. They assumed that we were Christians, involved in ministry and desiring a deeper walk with God. There was great respect for the mystery of each person's particular dance, and intrinsic trust in the Holy Spirit's work--both in individuals and in the corporate weaving together of our lives.

What a wondrous thing it is to adventure together into the depths of God! May I learn to walk and to lead others in the power of such grace and love.

"We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately." --Benjamin Franklin at the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

Here are some upcoming opportunities to practice the presence in company:

DRAWING CONCLUSIONS is a summer creative interlude on Thursdays from 11:00 to 12:30. It will run in two four-week blocks: June 16 - July 7, and July 20 - August 18. Class time will be divided into three sections including 1) Discussion of unfinished projects that bubble on the back burner or clutter up our closets, 2) Exploration through art and/or writing, 3) Sharing and discussion of our creative/life expressions, watching for the movement of God within and without. Form and Transform. The first meeting will be in downtown Santa Cruz by the Museum of Art and History. Call or email me if you want to join.

BIG SUR CAMPING AND CRAWDAD SOCIETY is the weekend AFTER July 4th. This time of rest, fellowship and floating down the river usually includes a community of around 40 people. It is one large group campsite, with the picnic tables gathered into a common area and places for tents scattered over the grounds. Cost is $8 per person per night, or you can just come down for the day at $6. There is no program per se, although several traditions have emerged over 20 years including bring your own meat and something to share dinners, the crawdad feed provided by intrepid hunters, the ice-scream hike, the rock skipping contest, the death march through the gorge, some-more sticky songs around the campfire, and of course, a casual church service on Sunday. If you want to come, contact Michael ([email protected]) or me.

FAMILY CAMP is another week long venture into Christian Community. We are instructed at the beginning to NOT BE CRITICAL, which as you may imagine, does not sit easily with me. I always start off feeling highly critical of the injunction not to be critical. Fortunately there is enough music, prayer, fun, fellowship, love, laughter and GRACE to keep me rolling through the week. Then on the way home, my family has an orgy of critical thinking. It's great fun. July 17-23 at ECCO near Bass Lake. Contact Judy: [email protected] or ask me for more info.

A couple of books:

Madelyn writes: "Rereading THE MOZART EFFECT. Keep humming, singing, toning, praising the Lord." I stumbled upon a copy of this book by Don Campbell in an antique store in Reno, of all places. It's an utterly fascinating compilation of studies about the effects of music and sound. I promptly went forth and bought some more Mozart. My favorite is his variations on Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. I guess those scriptural injunctions to sing, praise, and make melody in your heart are not just God-on-an-ego-trip after all....

Madelyn also wrote that she's reading ONE LAST HUG BEFORE I GO; The Mystery and Meaning of Death Bed Visions by Carla Wills-Brandon. "A very thin veil between the worlds???" It's $12.95 new. Now if someone would just order it, I could check it out. If it happened to wander into the store, you'd find it on our "life after death" stack in the far corner of the back room.

THE LAZARUS TRAP is a new novel by Davis Bunn. I have an autographed copy that I got from the author who looks astonishing like T. Davis Bunn--who writes sweet novels like THE MUSIC BOX, and THE QUILT. THE LAZARUS TRAP is an action, adventure story about a man in a jail cell who wakes up remembering nothing. Memory slowly returns with a conspiracy of embezzlement, murder, and personal vendetta brewing around him. It's 14.99 new, or you can have this lightly used autographed copy for $8. A real page turner: buns without the tea.

Meanwhile we've got more books here then we know what to do with. Come stock up on summer reading. I'll give you 5 books priced under $5 for $5....if you come in during June. Five Alive: one grab per customer. Come and get em.


"If you're going through hell, keep going." --Winston Churchill

Alliee +