Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God – Really?

I’ve been reflecting on my experiences of God and want to share one with you. I’ve often been puzzled by the talk of sin and God’s wrath. I used to read sermons such as those by Jonathan Edwards and try to fit my belief into the box of an angry God who needed to have his wrath appeased, but I couldn’t ever fit. Here’s a story from my early life that shows why I struggled.

I closed the back door of our home, shutting Hugh out of my life, relieved that I would never see him again. I had been very cold and closed towards him that evening, yet as I closed the door, I heard a voice and felt an impression in my heart. ‘You haven’t loved your brother in Christ.’ That was all. That was it. I heard the words and knew their truth in my heart. I felt no condemnation, but knew the reality was that I hadn’t loved him. No matter what else happened in our lives, Hugh was my brother in Christ and I had been rude to him. I knew that wasn’t the way I was supposed to be living. I wasn’t walking the path Jesus was guiding me along but was veering off on my own direction. I had asked for a life companion, a husband and Hugh had been given to me yet I had rejected the gift. What would happen now? What happens when God gives you a gift and you toss it aside?

My experience of God in that moment was of understanding, tenderness, righteousness and love. God heard the negative churning in my mind, saw the decision I made and didn’t run away from me. My coldness and rudeness were seen, understood and mirrored back to me. God spoke tenderly into my mind and my heart, describing what I had done and what I hadn’t done. I was shown a glimpse of my cruelty yet also showed a different path that I was invited to walk. I’m to love. God didn’t start with me loving the whole world, but loving one person, who was my brother in Christ, one person who has faith and is wanting to walk the path of life with me. God showed me the path of loving, the path of kindness, the path that Jesus walked. It’s a beautiful path, might not always be easy but it is the path of loving.

I didn’t hear any condemnation that day. I experienced understanding, tenderness, righteousness and love. Love for me. Love for Hugh. Understanding for what might have been. Understanding for was going to be because of my choices.

I had listened to the voices of criticism that came from a place of fear, from that place deep inside me where I was taught to fear loving, that place that carts out boulders and builds walls. God saw me in that place, had compassion on me, didn’t run from me or abandon me or shut the door on me, but spoke tenderly, firmly, and wisely into my life. God is good, faithful, kind, compassionate. God knows me, knows each of us and cares.

I’ve never encountered wrath or anger, only God’s tenderness, compassion and invitation.

Perhaps this week you would enjoy journalling one of your experiences of God.

Love and prayers


Mystic in Motion

Companion on the Way with Contemplative Fire

Companion on the Rivendell Way

Society Member of Shalem Institute for Contemplative Living

Coming Home to Where I’ve Always Been

In March of 2017 I was beginning my Sabbath leave and a three-month ‘Retreat in Daily Life’, with Jesus’s birth narratives as my starting point in prayer. Using imaginary prayer, I was sitting around the campfire with shepherds, and as the sky filled with angels I leapt to my feet. A hand lifted me through the angels and brought me off stage. I could see the whole world, and the Jesus story as a play on the world stage. I was no longer a part of it but was in the wings watching the drama unfold. Turning, I saw a door marked ‘Director’s Office’ and I was invited to enter. Inside, I knew a presence telling me to rest, for I wasn’t needed on stage.

That was five years ago. The image and message are still alive for me. My new life in BC began as an ‘off stage’, quiet life. Sometimes it got busy but then I would quieten it again. Today something different happened. I realized how being in the Director’s Office is a sacred and holy place, yet I haven’t been focused on the Director. My ears, eyes, body are always turning to what’s happening on stage. I’m here, in this fabulous, wonderful, holy place, called by Spirit to be with our Director and I’m not focused there for I’m still turning to the distractions of the world.

I’m stunned at the awareness. I need to capture that treasure and not loose it.

I feel so graced to become aware of the gift of being in the Directors Office, and the gift of realizing that I haven’t been valuing the gift, for I have continued to be distracted by the noise on stage. I know I’m repeating myself, but I need to hear the truth. Too often I let truths blow away in the wind. I want to stay present to the Director in my everyday life. My night dreams are still full of the noise on the stage reflecting how much I’m still entangled in it.

Today I turn to Jesus and speak with him…..I’m so grateful to you.  Do I try your patience? It’s been years that I’ve been in the Director’s Office and years I haven’t always respected your call. I am so sorry. I have been as a child, naughty and distracted. I want to learn to be HERE with you. The trees have told me to be still ever since I arrived. I’ve paid some attention, but not enough. Help me keep my focus on The Director. That’s my calling, to use my will, my reason, my wisdom in focusing on You, Loving One. And I know that even as my eyes wandered back into the rush of life, you never took your eyes off me, for I am your child. I have returned home to where I’ve always been, living in your Loving…..

And you Gentle Reader. Are you wandering and now ready to return home? What might be your distractions that keep your focus off your Creator?  What keeps you rushing instead of resting and trusting?

Love and prayers


Mystic in Motion

Companion on the Way with Contemplative Fire

Companion with the Rivendell Way

Society member of Shalem

Creek Time

The creek is pouring down the mountainside today. We always hear the creek. Even in the summer when it becomes a small stream, we can hear it from our home. The odd day in the summer I hear the highway traffic from far below us, but usually I just hear the creek flowing. We’ve had a couple of days of rain and now the creek is FLOWING! From somewhere up high on the mountain the waters come together and find the dip in the land near our home to make the journey to the ocean. It’s relentless. Always flowing. I can’t see the source, but I know the flow.

Deep inside each of us is a mountain spring with flowing waters, waters that want to move through us and out to the ocean around us. Sometimes that Source of Love within us flows freely, sometimes it’s dry as a summer creek bed. Sometimes, to let the water flow freely, boulders or old trees have to be pushed out of the way or come bounding down the creek causing their own bit of havoc. Same for us, sometimes we have old ways, thoughts, memories, tapes that need to be washed away so the Water from the Spring of Love can flow through us.

I have a song that I sing sometimes before I meditate, or as I walk the mountain road listening to the creek beneath me. It goes something like this…..

My heart is open to you.

My heart is open to you.

My heart is open to you,

Open to You, open to You

Remove the boulders, remove the barriers, remove the debris,

So your Love flows through me,

So your Joy flows through me,

So your Peace flows through me,

So your Wisdom flows through me.

So YOU flow through me

Have some fun with it. Make up your own tune, play with the words to make them your own. Let’s sing new life into us, into those around us, into the world.

My heart is open to you….

Love and prayers from a singing Mystic in Motion  


Mystic in Motion

Companion on the Way with Contemplative Fire

Contemplative Fire Canada, Founder

Society Member with Shalem Institute for Contemplative Living

Companion with The Rivendell Way



If you’re hungry, you find something to eat. If you’re thirsty you reach for a drink. If you’re lonely perhaps like many of us you berate yourself, call yourself a loser and feel bad. Sound familiar?

What if loneliness was seen just as another basic human response to an essential human need? We need food so we get hungry. We need water so we get thirsty. We need human connection, so we get lonely.

What if being lonely wasn’t a shameful or bad feeling, but a healthy human indicator that needs a response. It is your psyche saying, time to talk to someone, go outside and smile at someone, look up family or friend, time to pick up a phone. That’s all it’s saying. Let go of the other rubbish.

Last week we watched Renee Fleming interview Dr. Vivek Murthy, former Surgeon General of America on her show ‘Music and the Mind’ regarding his book ‘Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World’. I really enjoyed his presentation. One thing he did was remove the stigma from loneliness and turn it into a healthy human attribute.

What a switch.

I found his whole presentation around how to survive, even thrive as a human so helpful. When we were children no one in my world talked like he did, offering guidance on how to navigate the rapids of human life. How to be genuinely kind and thankful when the world is cruel. How to connect intentionally and authentically with image and prestige are being promoted by others. Perhaps some of you got that as a child. I didn’t. I’ve learnt a lot as I matured, but still have so much to learn. The world is turbulent right now. We need to find compassionate ways to be together, to heal past wounds and create new ways going forward. We are meant to work together. As spiritual beings we are meant to draw on the Spirit source within us, everyday, not on special days or occasions but everyday, all day.  

Got a couple of good books on the go, but then I’m ordering ‘Together’!

I’ve got something else on loneliness and friendship for you next week, but in the meantime…. Wishing you all a warm and connecting week where you draw from the Source within.  

Love and prayers


Mystic in Motion

Companion on the Way with Contemplative Fire

Contemplative Fire Canada, Founder

Society Member, Shalem Institute for Contemplative Living.


I make choices. We all make them everyday.  This week I felt the cloak of judgement settle on me. Someone named an aroma of pride in me and I felt the judgement settle around me. Yes, I could smell the pride too, so I own the pride, but wrestle with the sense of judgement. I wonder if it comes from choices I make.

I was at the Blood Donor Clinic answering their long questionnaire. There is a little delight that creeps through me as I continue to check the ‘no’ boxes on the medical form. I’m 71 and I don’t take any meds. I have no underlying conditions. And yes, I can feel a bit of pride in being able to check those boxes, so when someone hinted that my pride was connected to self-righteousness I had to pause and consider.

What’s this pride about my health? What’s responsible for my health? Am I in control of it? Hardly, for partly I have my Dad’s genes and he had nothing to do with doctors till his very last years, dying at home from a heart attack at 89.  Partly I have my mom’s genes that weren’t so healthy but something inside me decided years ago that I didn’t want to follow her route, so I make food and exercise choices. Partly I suppose it’s the gift of this body for this life and in that I’m grateful. I appreciate a body that works well even as it ages. Partly I’m healthy because of genes I inherited but also because of choices I’ve made.

I think here the feeling of judgement creeps in. Some of my health comes from the emotional work I’ve done. I don’t carry a lot of emotional baggage anymore. I’m very content with my imperfections including my need to be perfect! That work reduces my stress level enormously which I’m sure leads to good body health. When something gets triggered in me, which it does, like this need to process pride, I try to clean my emotional house. I don’t like internal clutter, junk of the past that I trip over. My current lifestyle is also my choice and contributes to my health. It’s gentle, I’m open to doing more, but careful what I let in. I don’t want to overextend as I’ve done in the past. Been there done that, don’t need to do it again, but am willing to serve however I’m called. Right now, it’s that small circle I’ve written about. And I’m certainly healthy through my spiritual practices, ways of being that nourish my inner sense of Self, of connection with God’s Love, Joy, Peace and Wisdom.

I do choose to engage in spiritual practices just like I choose what to eat, but I don’t make those choices out of duty, or to look good or to belong to a group. I make those choices out of a wonderful, warm embrace of God. I feel close to something that I name as God. I know there is so much more I might experience, but I value what I have known and want more and more and more.

Possibly the core of my health is that yearning for more of God in my life, more Love, more Joy, more Peace, more Wisdom, more Gentleness, more Kindness, more Forgiveness…. I hope you know what I mean. I simply want More of MORE God. And I’ve discovered that not everyone does. For years I thought everyone needs to discover what I’ve peeked at, but I’ve come to realize that not everyone wants to peek down the pathways that I want to run down. Is that why I feel the label of judgement? I’m sort of okay now with people who don’t want to join me on spiritual cleansing paths, but maybe not completely and maybe they feel an inner judgement from me. It’s hard for me to understand why people are so caught up in the things of this life when there is so much MORE and that MORE makes this life much more wonderful. But then, I’ve only my life to live, not theirs. I need to let them live their life, walk their path and me grow in loving them just as they are. There’s room for me to grow there.

I know I feel warmth and affection toward the one that rightly named my health pride. I’m glad they did. Yet I’m also happy to make the choices that I do make about how to live my life. I wish they knew that my choices come from Love, from being loved and I kinda think they don’t know that LOVE yet as a daily life-giving fountain. That’s my basic life choice; I choose Love, more Love.

Rambling Thoughts from a Mystic in Motion


Companion on the Way with Contemplative Fire

Contemplative Fire Canada, Founder

Society Member of Shalem Institute



The Big Beyond

I walked The Creek Path after a neighbour had done some more work on it and gasped. He had cleared off some of the forest rubble tossing it further down the cliffside, leaving me with a clear view of path. It looked more like a garden walkway than a trail through the forest.

When I started this project in March I was scraping away at the forest, the rubble on the ground, the rocks, trees, ferns, stumps and watching for the critters that live there. First Rebecca and Jas joined me as Great Quarantine Project took shape and then when John our neighbour and Master Trail Builder joined the project it literally took off. John brought his expertise to create switchbacks, his chainsaw for the trees, four-foot crowbar to move rocks and his delight in playing in the forest. Trudi and Rose have helped too with rakes and willing hands to move stones and clear the forest.

It’s not finished but there is now a clear path down the hillside from our home to the creek. What was in February rough forest is now a hillside, natural garden. The path is edged with rocks or tree limbs, with stairs at some of the steep points and even stairs that sweep gracefully around a tree trunk. It has been thoughtfully and lovingly created. I’m grateful.

As I study the different faith traditions, I see centuries of Master Trail Builders at work. My longing for a creek path is mirrored in my longing to discover the source of life, to know why we are all here on this planet, to know the purpose of life. I’ve asked those questions since I was a young girl. Smith’s book makes me feel so normal. For thousands of years humans have asked those same questions. I used to think I was odd for asking them for no one else in my home and few in my friendship circles were driven by them. He takes those questions and shows how faith traditions have approached them. My desire for spiritual knowledge is as old as humankind.

In the common desire to reach the creek, the source of life, people have discovered answers and created many pathways. Although there is diversity there is also so much similarity in the practices. Doesn’t it show a common source? I think many of the differences are cultural and historical. When I comb through the practices, I can see a path, one that allows for differences in temperaments, callings and stages of faith development. But the path is there. It’s for us to clear off the rubble so we can see it and then walk it. Some of the rubble I needed to clear away are my own theological limitations, my own western dominance worldview. Long before the western world developed, people in valleys and villages of Asia were asking the same questions I asked as a young girl in Toronto. Can I not listen to their answers and learn from them?

I needed help to reach the creek. I need help to live into the spiritual reality that I know exists. I am willing to learn from the Master Trail Builders of faith traditions, people who have been sent to us to teach us the way into The Big Beyond. There is a way to live that will align us with the spiritual reality that is bigger than our everyday existence. There is a path. I can see it. Can you? What does your path look like? Where does it take you?

Love and prayers from a Mystic in Motion


Companion on the Way with Contemplative Fire

Contemplative Fire Canada, Founder

There’s More to That Story!


Sometimes a trip into town can be most surprising. Today was one of those days.

As I headed into town to do a few errands I listened to a podcast from Michael Meade with ‘Living Myth’. I didn’t know anything about him. It simply was the first one that showed on my app and the title was intriguing. Off down the highway I went and soon found myself enjoying his social commentary from a contemplative perspective. He was telling a story about three fish and nestled within that story was another one about a wise bird. Although his main social commentary was coming from these animal stories, he also was describing the role of story, folk stories and myths in human culture. He said the stories exist not for us to believe them, but to learn from them.  They are a means for one generation to teach another. Ah….will I allow myself to move from belief into learning, into transformation, into new ways, into something new being birthed????

During my first few decades within the church being a Christian involved knowing what to believe. I was taught ‘correct’ doctrine through sermons, small groups and independent study of authors who taught ‘correct’ theology. I did hours of Bible study that was shaped by commentaries with a particular perspective. I was taught apologetics, so I’d have a ‘correct’ answer to any question. It was all about belief.

What if we read the Jesus stories not to believe them but to learn from them? I was taught that it was important to believe that each detail of the Gospel stories was true. The belief in historical reality was what was important, not that I ponder and be shaped by the truth within the stories.  Later I learned to pray with the gospel stories using my imagination. Jesus became so real to me. I watched him laugh, sweat and fall asleep. I sat with him as a child and walked with him as a man. He wasn’t a storybook character, nor theological construction, nor a remote divinity. He was a real man, who knew me and cared for me. He wanted to hear my questions, my worries and my discoveries. His love for me began to change me as I allowed him to give me his wisdom.

I’m grateful for my years of scripture study. And I’m grateful too that now I can still learn from those stories, as well as the stories within different traditions. I’m grateful that I’m not constrained by specific beliefs, but allowed to constantly grow and change, held and shaped by a compassionate, loving God who I know through Jesus.

It was a great trip into town. I came home with new plants for the garden, food for tomorrow’s picnic, reaffirmed in my perspective on being a spiritual human and having found a thoughtful person who is doing his bit to bring some help into our groaning, smokey world. Of course all done keeping social distance and mask on!

Where are you at today? Learning or believing?

Love and questions from a Mystic in Motion


Companion on the Way with Contemplative Fire

Contemplative Fire Canada, Founder

Shalem Society Member

Learning to Climb a Mountain


I’m getting stronger as I walk the mountain road behind my home. At first, I needed to catch my breath several times but now I can walk the whole way without pausing. Slowly. Step by step. A gentle pace, but I can do it. I’m learning to climb my mountain.

When I began my Christian journey although I had a delicious outpouring of God’s love, I ended up in a legalistic world of correct behaviour and doctrine. Years later I re-discovered grace and experienced again, in a more integrated way the warm embrace of acceptance. Now into the fifth decade of my journey I’m returning to a world I left behind in 1971. I have a strong base in my Jesus experience which is rooted in both scripture and mysticism, and now from that base camp I’m exploring what other faiths have taught over the thousands of years.

One of the pieces that I hear is that there is room for both action and grace. Knowing God’s grace-filled loving presence and saying ‘yes’ to that, I’m also invited into whole-hearted devotional commitment to God reflected in daily life. There are ways for me to learn and to practice that will lead me deeper into my life with God, within God. I have things to learn about climbing the spiritual mountain. I wonder if I’ve been on autopilot and now am being invited into hands-on flying.

In some of the other traditions I find a strong devotional heart and intentional practice that goes deeper than either the early legalism I encountered or the monastic structures of my later life. I’m invited to be an active co-participant in life. My daily choices make a difference to the whole universe. I’m not to be passive, receiving the gifts and grace of God, but asking with assurance as a child, for them. ‘Reveal yourself to me’. And intentionally structuring my days to live a selfless, devoted life.

Perhaps there is a sense that familiarity breeds contempt. Have I heard these things within the Christian world and not accepted them, or not to the depth I do now? Possibly, yet I smell I different aroma as wander through many traditions. I see the millions of people over the millennium who have searched for answers, hungered for purpose, and found pathways to God. They have worked hard and said ‘Here is a pathway.’ They have sought to learn to climb mountains and walk in deep valleys while engaged in Spirit Life.

I’ve held to a rhythm of life for the last ten years, and now I hear an invitation to a more intentional shape to that rhythm. Time to put on some crampons and head more deeply up the mountainside. So much to learn. So many ways to grow. Sometimes I feel like I’m just beginning.

How’s your climb going? Are you living on autopilot or intentionally? Are you climbing with me?

Love and prayers from a Mystic in Motion


Companion on the Way with Contemplative Fire

Contemplative Fire Canada, Founder

New Perspective



The Sun is warm and embracing, yet a cool breeze dances around me. I’m watching the tide go out on Manson’s Lagoon. There are a handful of tiny people on the other side exploring what’s left in the tide waters. Gulls and a heron are feeding. I’ve walked out to one of the lagoon islands for my morning meditation and watched the trickle of water head back out to the ocean. I could sit here for the day. It’s one of my favourite spots on the earth.

Sitting on the edge of the lagoon, I can see its dry bed, the open waters of the sound, the mountains of Vancouver Island and the sky stretching above me. Dry – Open – Solid – Stretching. My imagination is caught in the flow of the tides, and the sense of being on this planet within the cosmos. I feel on the edge.

When I sense this edge, everything else shifts; the struggles of life both mine and in the world, the uncertainties, the stumbles, the hopes, the possibilities, all these take on a different hue. The Edge Keeper becomes more real to me. I’m not alone on the edge.

This week I read a story, so timely after last weeks ‘Troubled Waters’. The writer was asking an elder how to bring change into the world. The elder after a long pause throws a stone into a pond. “That’s how you bring change into the world, one ripple at a time”. Change comes as I change myself, and then focus on loving those closest to me. I don’t save The World, I bring healing to my tiny portion of it. Can I do that? Can I love those in my most intimate circle? Can I create a space safe enough for their soul to show up? Last night I spoke a harsh word at someone. Guess I still I have much more to learn. At least I heard it. Now I can apologize for it.

Dry – yes sometimes I’m dry even harsh and spiky like oyster shells on the bottom of the lagoon.

Open – yes I will live open to change, to acknowledging my spiky parts, my dry parts.

Solid – yes I know The Edge Keeper who is so solid, so sure, so constant, so loving.

Stretching – yes I will be stretched to let go of old ways and be loved into new ways.

I’m grateful to live on the edge, watching the flow of life, willing to be change in my tiny spot on the earth.

Love and prayers

From a Mystic in Motion


Companion on the Way with Contemplative Fire

Contemplative Fire Canada, Founder


Troubled Waters

Two rivers coming together often create turbulence. I’ve used that image in marriage counselling so many times! And it’s one I know is true. When two lives join, when two families join it takes awhile to sort out how the new family will live.

The last few weeks I’ve been reading from two different sources. One stream of books takes me deep into our spiritual life, how we flow from the Source of All Life, how we are all interconnected, each person, plant and stone is connected. That stream leads me to joy. The other stream takes me into the social structures that have determined the lives of people within our communities, to the segregation laws, to public attachment to violence and control. That stream shows me fear. What happens when fear and joy come together?

I’ve been reading Huston Smith’s work from the late 1950’s on world religions. I wonder what would have happened in my life if I had found him in my search in 1970’s! He is speaking to the questions that I was asking: what do we want, what is the purpose of life, why are we here? He looks at the major faiths and how people have wrestled with these same questions over thousands of years. I so often felt alone in my questions, but clearly I wasn’t. I was part of a huge stream of people that search out meaning in life and that’s what gives birth to religion as a solid part of human society. As I dip into the expansive spiritual world he describes, I feel at home, and hear so many faith traditions connecting us all. It feels good.

I’ve also been reading Isabel Wilkerson’s latest book ‘Caste’ and it troubles my heart. I realize it’s from an American perspective and to read a Canadian version would be instructive, but I have enough ties to America to know connection to that story and considering their place in the world it’s an important book. I haven’t finished it yet, so I’m still digesting, as much as I can what she documents, but so far she’s begun to outline the social structure that is deeper than racism, that subjugates one human to another in brutal and binding ways. In the last section I read she traces the origins of caste in both India and America to their spiritual roots. Both countries used their holy books to justify the ranking of people and the resulting control of a dominant group. It’s chilling.

How can what I love and that leads me to joy, lead to such brutality? How can humans read the same holy books and some come away ready to enslave and dominate and others ready to serve, even unto death? And the enslavement isn’t ancient history. The last laws were repealed within my adult lifetime and the effect of those laws continues long after they were officially repealed. How can it be?

Troubled waters today. I think sometimes it’s good and necessary to go through troubled waters.

Love and prayers


Mystic in Motion

Companion on the Way with Contemplative Fire

Contemplative Fire Canada, Founder