A Thrill of Hope

Christmas is over. Bing’s gone back to a global-warming green Christmas after severe winter storms. Clarke Griswold has taken down the lights one strand at a time. Tiny Tim survived, thanks to Scrooge’s repentance and intervention.

Yet, this Christmas felt more like Carol of the Bells than Jingle Bells, didn’t it?

Just before Christmas, I found myself burned out, edgy, and tired. The sprayed on painted snowman and reindeer display in the window at Burger King didn’t help my lack of spirit nor did the smells of the Christmas tree lot kick start the eggnog in my veins when I walked by each night as I listened to podcasts and processed my day on my urban trek through the Christmastide.

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A Stranger in a Strange Church

Robert Pirsig wrote, “The only Zen you find on a mountain top is the Zen you bring.”

I thought of that as I worshipped in an historic church recently.

I watched the young couples practicing personal piety.

I saw students bow their head in prayer for the entire service.

No one welcomed me, no one said goodbye.

And it was perfect.

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Hope and Equality in an Unvirtuous Kitchen

Richard Kerrigan is a chef working at The Goat’s Toe in Bangor, Northern Ireland. He works relief for mental health support charities, and he has a background in mental health nursing.

It’s difficult to ignore the references to food and cookery in the Bible. From the first bite of that seemingly perfect, shiny apple in Genesis to the Last Supper and the feasts and wine in the New Testament, there are scores of nods to the culinary world. Many are metaphors for knowledge sharing (unless Christ really did feed thousands using a couple of cod fillets & a few baps). Indeed, a lot of Jesus’s teaching and preaching is done at mealtimes & when else would be better to feed the mind than when you are feeding the belly? Folk are more likely to listen if there’s free sandwiches and a pot of coffee. It’s the reason most of us turn up at training days.

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Can’t Start a Fire Without a Spark – Thoughts on Hanukah

Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg  writes books about the messy business of trying to be a person in the world, and how spirituality can inform and transform that work. Sometimes that’s about parenting, sometimes feminism, sex, God, justice, or joy.  It’s all interconnected, isn’t it?

She’s a highly-sought keynote speaker and lecturer who has been named by Newsweek and The Daily Beast as one of ten “rabbis to watch,” and one of the top 50 most influential women rabbisContinue reading

The Jedi-Like Monks of Skellig Michael

Philip Kosloski is a writer and author of the book, The Last Monks of Skellig Michael, and creator of a comic book under the same name. He is a spirituality writer for Aleteia.org and a big Star Wars geek.

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God Loves Moving Boxes: An Advent Reflection

The Rev. Robert W. Lee (IV) is an ordained pastor and author of the book, “Stained Glass Millenials.” A sought-after speaker, Rob also writes for several publications. A friend of the Abbey, we are pleased to present Rob’s writing to you on this first Sunday in Advent.

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The Gift of the Strange

Friend of the Abbey Lily Burana is a novelist and spiritual writer, whose works include: I Love a Man in Uniform: A Memoir of Love, War, and Other Battles; the novel Try; and Strip City: A Stripper’s Farewell Journey Across America. She has written for The Washington Post, GQ, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Entertainment Weekly, the Village Voice, and the New York Observer. She was a contributing editor at New York Magazine and SPIN. Her newest book, “Grace for Amateurs: Field Notes on a Journey Back to Faith” can be ordered here. Continue reading

A Place at the Table

I once did a funeral for a man who tragically died of a massive heart attack at Tim Horton’s coffee shop at the age of 59. He deeply loved his wife and children.

This was a man who enjoyed the simple things in life. He found his place in the great outdoors, hunting, fishing, 4 wheeling, boating, barbecuing, spending time back country at the camps, and most of all having friends over for cold beers in the garage while watching the Detroit Red Wings. Continue reading


When I was 25, I was ordained to go serve as a minister on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. Over the course of five years, I spent time with these people who were complicated, quiet, and compassionate. The accents, the food, and the friendliness were only matched by the tempers, the laughter, and the grudges that extended beyond generations. Continue reading