Nativity November 2010

A few of us were sitting around the back table discussing our abortions: the people we were then, the people we are now, the grace and mercy we found in Jesus the Christ. When the bells on the front door tinkled, conversation skidded to a stop. A woman walked into the back room. "We're discussing our abortions," I said.

"Me too." She pulled out a chair and sat down to join us.

This time of year I am especially enamored of Joseph, the man who took on a child that wasn't even his. Mary becomes an icon for all the courageous women who give their bodies to the task of creation. I'm grateful for dedicated parents that bring spirit, soul, and body to the arduous task of raising a decent human. They can't do it without the larger community: kings and shepherds, extended families, friends, teachers--all those who invest time, energy and money in supporting this mysterious act of love. We care for one another in the face of manifold difficulties, and discover the most surprising gifts along the way.

"When I approach a child, he inspires in me two sentiments; tenderness for what he is, and respect for what he may become." -Louis Pasteur

The Tweetest Book has 130 characters: I had great fun tweeting book suggestions. You can follow at or just check out the feed on the front page of our web site. This month's Literary Party on Friday, December 17 will focus on Christmas Books. Send me your Christmas Book suggestion between now and Epiphany, and I'll tweet it.

"Books are the bees which carry the quickening pollen from one to another mind."-James Russell Lowell

Manifest Victory; a Quest and a Testimony by R.J. Moseley was the best book of the month for me. Educated at the end of the 19th century, Moseley moved thru the great philosophers, shifting his orientation from Baptist, to Christian Science, to getting Baptized in the Holy Spirit and ministering freely in Christ. The story of his life is focused primarily on his internal revelations, spiced with stories of those he encountered along the way. Moseley made money by growing pecan trees, and freely wrote, spoke and ministered to those in need. The stories of those he ministered to on death row are particularly inspiring and his view of Christianity in the early 1900's intriguing. Best of all are the revelations and insights, which often made me pause and pray. Interestingly, I appreciated his insights more as they were revealed over the course of his life, than I did in a condensed version at the back of the book.

Two paperback copies of Manifest Victory showed up mysteriously in the river of books behind the desk. They may have come from a CFO camp where I had a book table a couple of years ago. Perhaps they hid on a shelf and emerged in a recent reorganization. The cheapest copy on-line is $23, and the remaining few run from $40 to $377. I would particularly recommend this book to those who feel like they are floating, untethered to a particular denomination; or to anyone who wants more Jesus, more light, more love. I'll sell one copy for $30, and pass the other one around at $5 a read.

"To read without reflecting is like eating without digesting." ~Edmund Burke

"Why are you reading a book called How to Keep a Spiritual Journal?" Michael asked in tones of disbelief. No doubt he was thinking of the stacks of spiral notebooks that litter three different rooms of our house. Nonetheless I still enjoyed skimming this "guide to journal keeping for inner growth and personal discovery" by Ronald Klug. It had some good basic suggestions. Reading it reminded me of our conversations on Journaling, which we often schedule near the beginning of the year. Consulting my calendar, I've decided to do this year's Symposium on Journaling, Tuesday, December 28 at 3:45. Bring a past journal or a bright clean one for the New Year. We'll share stories and methods over coffee, tea, eggnog or whatever goodies show up. I think I might order the new Heron Dance Meditation Journal for 2011.

"..all great beginnings start with a conversation." ~ Herby Bell

Meanwhile I've been conversing every other week in a column called In the Spirit on the Saturday Faith page of the Santa Cruz Sentinel. If you, or your local group, are doing anything remotely interesting, be sure to let me know.

Alliee +