Daily Practice for 2016.03.24


I am super exhausted today. Tuesday, a youth that I work with attempted suicide. He texted me while they were in the middle of the attempt and said, "Help me." I called 911 as I was an hour away.

This particular youth is 19 and had been out of detention for less than a week before his mental screamed out of control. He has known institutions almost his entire life, including mental health stays prior to detention. Unfortunately, he has no family or support system in his home town. So they plopped this vulnerable 19 year old into a homeless group home in the middle of Seattle. Homeless shelters are not equipped to manage someone's day to day mental illnesses.

He is also transgender. While in detention, they did not take him seriously and continuously used the wrong name and pronouns. At the shelter, in less than a week, he was also misgendered and limited to one bathroom in the house. The bathroom struggle is real. And in that bathroom, the other boys were quite rude. He hated it there. But what are his options? Homelessness? Another institution? Jail?

It seems to me that for youth that leave long term detention as adults, there needs to be a middle ground. A place to go where social workers and health care folks come to the young people. Where they learn how to pick out food, cook...everything. This young person is not the only one I have walked through this process. We have to do something, Washington!

In the meantime, since I have no legal rights to this youth, I don't know if he is dead or alive. What a bummer I am this morning! I am equal parts sad, worried, hopeless, and angry.

Today's practice is inspired with music by Fall Out Boy, a poem from me that I wrote about mental illness and Spiritual Direction, and sacred wisdom from Shannon Alder along with readings from the Jewish and Christian lectionaries, the Qur'an, and the Bhagavad Gita.  The photo is mine.

I have also been reading the devotional from Reconciling Ministries Network. Today, Rev. Joshua M. Noblitt reminds us:

"So many people, including this professor, have sacrificed much and worked hard to bring about a world that is better for me and for all who have felt marginalized in some way."

This is the need for the litany of names. The names #blacklivesmatter and #sayhername recite as victims of state violence. A remembrance of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. Not realizing that in their death, they are bringing about a work in the world that will, hopefully, lead to more equity.

What names would you hold up?

Harvey Milk, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Sandra Bland, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Matthew Shepherd, Monica Loera, Papi Edwards, Emily Davison...

#itstime to stop death-dealing practices and to move into life-giving ways of life.




Let my heart rise up to meet mercy, my voice to meet compassion, my hands to meet action.

BIBO: Breath In, Breath Out--shhh


Hum Hallelujah by Fall Out Boy

So hum hallelujah,
Just off the key of reason
I thought I loved you
It was just how you looked in the light.
A teenage vow in a parking lot
"Till tonight do us part"
I sing the blues and swallow them too


ghost town by Terri Stewart

small, still voice of wind,
tossing my tumbleweed-thoughts
that roll through a ghost town.

here, my safety has been
abandoned to the rats and mice
that hide from revelation,
distrusting that light
so much that they will not stay
and visit. the locks and guns
have been jammed by mud-caked
memories of injustice,
in the sheriff’s office.

the hollow-hallow notes of the
player-piano silent
except for the collapsing
frame that drops pieces of itself
crashing onto the discordant keys,
creating a nightmare sound of
happiness twisted into grief,
twisted into a mockery of joy,
in the saloon.

the telegraph does not speak
into the future, the wires
have frayed and disconnected
from the source of consolation,
reality has dissolved letters of love
or news of the war and the
beloved sears & roebuck catalog,
in the post-office.

the ghost town disgusts me.
especially when the wind is
blowing and changing all that
i know into something unknown
ripping the roof apart and causing
the cacophony of noises to come
in from all directions telling
me, what?  untrustworthy voice!

so small and still or
so big and booming

telling me to tear the walls apart
bare-handed until my fingers
become bloody stubs and
yet you insist that i see you,
listen to you, the wind destroying
the small community of barn owls
and bats that i have built in my
ghost town.  i do not want to hear
you.  the owls and bats are my
saving grace.

Terri Stewart, Dec. 2010

Note:  This poem was inspired when I did a Spiritual Direction session with a woman who was schizophrenic at WCCW.  The desire to listen to an inner voice, an outer voice, any voice! is held in tension with a deep distrust of voices.  What language do we put around spiritual talk or even intuitive talk when voice is compromised?

Sacred Text
For full, typed-out scripture, follow this link

Exodus 17:8-16
Psalm 116:1-2, 12-19
I Corinthians 11:23-26
Qur'an Surah 2.243-248
Bhagavad Gita 2.43-47

Please bring your own sacred readings to the daily pattern. If there is something else you'd like to see, let me know! The readings are from the Jewish Lectionary, the Christian Lectionary, and reading the Qur'an and Bhagavad Gita straight through.

Sacred Quotable

“I am tired of people saying that poor character is the only reason people do wrong things. Actually, circumstances cause people to act a certain way. It's from those circumstances that a person's attitude is affected followed by weakening of character. Not the reverse. If we had no faults of our own, we should not take so much pleasure in noticing those in others and judging their lives as either black or white, good or bad. We all live our lives in shades of gray.” ― Shannon L. Alder



For the oppressed and weary
Especially for #blacklivesmatter and
for the LGBTQIAP community.
For signs of despair and violence,
for those affected by the Sudanese security forces silencing female activists with violence and rape
for those affected by the fighting in the ancient city of Palmyra
for those affected by the US strike killing 40 in Yemen
for US victims of gun violence in the last 72 hours,
254 incidents, 71 killed, 164 injured
For signs of hope and peace,
for the anti-FGM efforts in Somalia, supported by their Prime Minister
for the baby rhinocerous rescued in India
for Starbuck's plans to give away 5 million meals to the hungry
for Disney and the NFL speaking out against anti LGBTQ legislation
For Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam
For those who suffer, are homeless, or are sick
For those we love, those we hate and those we are indifferent to
For the transformation from ME to WE

Let peace prevail on earth.
So may it be.

Lord’s Prayer:

Translation by Neil Douglas Klotz, Sufi

O Birther! Creator of the Cosmos,
Focus your light within us— make it useful:
Create your reign of unity now-
Your one desire then acts with ours,
as in all light, so in all forms.
Grant what we need each day in bread and insight.
Loose the cords of mistakes binding us,
as we release the strands we hold
of others’ guilt.
Don’t let surface things delude us,
But free us from what holds us back.
From you is born all ruling will,
the power and the life to do,
the song that beautifies all,
from age to age it renews.
Truly— power to these statements—
may they be the ground from which all
my actions grow: Amen.

May Peace Prevail on Earth. Amen. So mote it be.

2016 03 24

"Amen" means "may it be so."
"May peace prevail on earth." is an addition inspired by Michael Dickel 
BIBOLove is an addition attributed to the work of Soyinka Rahim, InterPlay practice, BIBOLove


News Notes:
Mass shooting resource
Wars in the World
Prayer cycle of the world's countries
Good news

Today's Scriptures:

Deuteronomy Exodus 17:8-16

Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures--The New JPS Translation According to the Traditional Hebrew Text

8Amalek came and fought with Israel at Rephidim. 9Moses said to Joshua, “Pick some men for us, and go out and do battle with Amalek. Tomorrow I will station myself on the top of the hill, with the rod of God in my hand.” 10Joshua did as Moses told him and fought with Amalek, while Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. 11Then, whenever Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed; but whenever he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. 12But Moses’ hands grew heavy; so they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it, while Aaron and Hur, one on each side, supported his hands; thus his hands remained steady until the sun set. 13And Joshua overwhelmed the people of Amalek with the sword.

14Then the LORD said to Moses, “Inscribe this in a document as a reminder, and read it aloud to Joshua: I will utterly blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven!” 15And Moses built an altar and named it Adonai-nissi. 16He said, “It means, ‘Hand upon the throne of the LORD!’ The LORD will be at war with Amalek throughout the ages.”

Psalm 116:1-2, 12-19

Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures--The New JPS Translation According to the Traditional Hebrew Text

I love the LORD
for He hears my voice, my pleas;

2for He turns His ear to me
whenever I call.

12How can I repay the LORD
for all His bounties to me?

13I raise the cup of deliverance
and invoke the name of the LORD.

14I will pay my vows to the LORD
in the presence of all His people.

15The death of His faithful ones
is grievous in the LORD’s sight.

I am Your servant,
Your servant, the son of Your maidservant;
You have undone the cords that bound me.

17I will sacrifice a thank offering to You
and invoke the name of the LORD.

18I will pay my vows to the LORD
in the presence of all His people,
19in the courts of the house of the LORD,
in the midst of Jerusalem. Hallelujah.


I Corinthians 11:23-26

The Voice version

23I passed on to you the tradition the Lord gave to me: On the same night the Lord Jesus was betrayed, He took the bread in His hands; 24and after giving thanks to God, He broke it and said, “This is My body, broken for you. Keep doing this so that you and all who come after will have a vivid reminder of Me.” 25After they had finished dinner, He took the cup and in the same way said, “This cup is the new covenant, executed in My blood. Keep doing this; and whenever you drink it, you and all who come after will have a vivid reminder of Me.” 26Every time you taste this bread and every time you place the cup to your mouths and drink, you are declaring the Lord’s death, which is the ultimate expression of His faithfulness and love, until He comes again.

Quran Surah 2.243-248

Quran: A Simple English Translation

243 Have you not seen those who fled their homes in their thousands for fear of death, whereupon God said to them, ‘Die!’ and later brought them back to life? Surely God is bountiful to mankind, but most of them are ungrateful.

244 Fight [in defence] in God’s cause and remember that He is all hearing and all knowing.

245 Who will give God a generous loan? He will multiply it many times over. It is God who withholds, and God who gives abundantly, and it is to Him that you shall all be returned.

246 Have you not heard of what the chiefs of the Children of Israel demanded of one of their prophets after Moses? They said, ‘Appoint for us a king, and we will fight for the cause of God.’ He replied, ‘What if you refuse to fight, when ordered to do so?’  ‘Why should we not fight for the cause of God,’ they replied, ‘when we have been driven forth from our homes and our children?’ But when at last they were commanded to fight, they all refused, except a few of them. God knows the wrongdoers.

247 Their prophet said to them, ‘God has now appointed Talut to be your king.’ But they replied, ‘How can he be king over us when we are worthier of kingship than he and he has not even been granted an abundance of wealth?’ He said, ‘God has chosen him over you, and has given him great knowledge and physique. God grants kingship to whoever He pleases: God is magnanimous and all knowing.’

248 Their prophet also said to them, ‘The sign of his kingship is that the Ark [of the Covenant] shall come to you. Therein shall be tranquility from your Lord, and the relics which the House of Moses and the House of Aaron left behind. It will be borne by the angels. There is a sign in this for you, if you believe.’


Daily Buddhism Reading 

Bhagavad Gita


Driven by desire for pleasure and power,
caught up in ritual,
they strive to gain heaven;
but rebirth is the only result of their striving.

They are lured by their own desires,
besotted by the scriptures’ words;
their minds have not been made clear
by the practice of meditation.

The scriptures dwell in duality.
Be beyond all opposites, Arjuna:
anchored in the real, and free
from all thoughts of wealth and comfort.

As unnecessary as a well is
to a village on the banks of a river,
so unnecessary are all scriptures
to someone who has seen the truth.

You have a right to your actions,
but never to your actions’ fruits.
Act for the action’s sake.
And do not be attached to inaction.


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