Thursday, December 6, 2018

Life Without Superheroes
"The storm was a pivotal point in my perception and understanding of loss and recovery. I would never again look to Plastic Man to fix things."

"No storm can destroy our compassion for one another." 

Saturday, June 23, 2018

The Mountain is Calling

Heart Mountain

     
     
           

One cannot help but be impressed with this geological marvel that frames the Bighorn Basin near Cody, Wyoming, especially when one knows how the mountain was formed.



     The Heart Mountain Relocation Interpretation Center located on the other side of the mountain pulls us back into a dark side of our nation's history.
     I know we cannot live on the mountain in some fantasy peaceable kingdom, but I know we must not live in the swamp of fear and hate. I believe we can love the stranger. Will we? 



Monday, April 2, 2018

A vision quest and moral choices

The Bridge
from Friedman's Fables
Edwin H. Friedman

     This story begins when after years of struggle and search, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity presents itself. He is excited to begin the required journey to fulfill his vision and is ready to face any and all obstacles along the way and then he meets the man with the rope. 
     I choose to tell this story because I believe that most all of us recognize persons who will, if allowed, make themselves almost totally dependent on someone else and are willing to take no responsibility for themselves. I wonder, do we sometimes understand ourselves as the dependent one?
     If you want to make the story work for you, I encourage you to raise some questions of it.  Here are some that come to my mind:
     - How would you get the man hanging from the rope to take responsibility for himself?
     - How much responsibility does the man on the bridge have for the other?
     - Could both men be the same person?
     - Why are the dependent so often calling the shots?
     - If someone came up to you and said, "Hold the end or I'll jump," what would you do?
     
You take it from here. 
 Max

     
     
     
     

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

The Caged Bird



The Caged Bird
     More often than not, if one thinks about it, there is more to any story. The story of the caged bird is a simple little story, but tell it to a child and you'll see what I mean. Put yourself in the place of the little bird yourself and translate the metaphor into your environment and circumstances and your story will be obviously be more complex.
     While there is no judgment in the story about what was the right thing for the little bird to do, we are challenged to examine our own response to the risk of freedom and security. Only you can decide how long to weigh your options and what is the right response to any challenge. The story doesn't judge the little bird. It would never feel the wind in its wings or the sun on its back but neither would it feel the bitter cold or fear predators.
     As I have said, I would have heard this story differently when I was eighteen or when I was forty than I hear it now. I don't know that I have any more answers now than I did then, but I have come to believe that the more I am in harmony with myself, the people around me, and the world in which I live, the more precious freedom is and the more I am willing to risk.
     The little bird in a cage; something to think about.


Thursday, November 23, 2017

The Princess and the Dove

     I tell this Italian folk tale once again, this time in the midst of an ever evolving saga of sexual exploitation, the fallout of which is sending shock waves through our culture. It certainly does not adequately addresses guilt too long denied or anger too long repressed or suffering so long endured nor does it offer, in itself the formula to lead us out of this moral swamp. So why tell it all? Neither the princess nor the spellbound prince are romanticized as the tale begins. One cannot help but be disturbed at the princess' unhealthy willingness to sacrifice her own self worth or the spell-released prince's contempt for her sacrifice—the loss of self-respect as well as the lack of respect for the other. The transformation occurs, of course, when the princess forces the issue. The prince faces his own guilt and asks for forgiveness. The princess, who has discovered her self-worth and power, forgives and both are healed.

     I like happy endings so, of course I like it for that. But deeper than that, it speaks to me of the virtue so long denied—genuine respect which I believe is foundational for the healing of our culture. And that is the reason I tell it again and again.

Monday, October 2, 2017



The leader of the United Church of Christ, saddened and sickened over the loss of life in a mass shooting Sunday night in Las Vegas, offers prayers for those killed, the injured, their families, the first responders on the scene, and those who continue to provide physical and pastoral care in that community.
At least 50 people were murdered and more than 400 injured after a gunman opened fire on an outdoor concert on the Las Vegas strip Sunday night, the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history.
"Every lost life is a name, a history, a hope, a story - an unfulfilled future," noted UCC General Minister and President John Dorhauer. "Every lost life leaves behind loved ones who mourn and grieve and piece together a future of their own torn asunder by matters we cannot comprehend. I can't find words to capture this pain, this collective grief and anger. I cannot reach deep enough into my soul to express fully the pain, the anger, the rage, the confusion, the anxiety, the emptiness. When will it end?"
On Oct. 1, a 64-year old local man repeatedly fired into the crowd of 30,000 people at a country music festival, from a 32nd story window in the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino. The gunman was found dead, and while the Las Vegas sheriff hasn't yet established a motive for the shooting, investigators said at least 10 rifles were recovered from his room.
"Moved by grief, let us transform our pain into action," Dorhauer prayed. "Let us set our hearts and our minds and our hopes on a future of meaningful action that seeks to undo (violence like) this and restore onto us a tomorrow filled with hope and promise."

Monday, September 25, 2017

Words
all  right in their place
         reveal    heal
then to announce silence
        slip away
so the spirit can move
                               Max
{on the occasion of slowing my anxiety rate

on my 86th Birthday}