If you’re not already getting The Merry Mystic, I’d like to convince you to sign up.
I wish I could offer you a really compelling freebie here—you know, one of those life-changing how-to offers: how to attract wealth, how to get into heaven, how to lose ten pounds overnight. But, alas, I can’t promise that The Merry Mystic will change your life. What will happen when you sign up is that you’ll receive a short video with some of my best work every week. There’s music and story; there’s food for thought, for prayer, and for laughter. If you’re a progressive spiritual seeker, whether or not you’re a Christian like me, I think you’ll find these worth your while.
The Merry Mystic is free, and it always will be. It comes with a password to my Free Stuff area, which includes lots of my free sheet music and other resources. You can unsubscribe any time you like. I hope you’ll give it a try by entering your email address in the form on this page.
If you need more convincing, read some of The Merry Mystic‘s recent posts below. And best blessings on your journey, wherever it takes you.
This week, I’m afraid I haven’t created very much in the way of new content for you. Instead, I’ve been working on some shameless self-promotion. It involves live events—events where I participate as a speaker or entertainer or (best of all) both. I love doing live events. They bring in a bit of money—and, after all, one must eat—but there’s more to it than that.
The writing I do is wonderfully rewarding, whether I am making a song, an essay, a poem, or a whole book. It feels like a co-creative act: I feel that God is helping me make something new, and rejoicing with me when it comes out right. But sharing what I’ve made is an equally amazing experience, and it’s a good way to counterbalance the isolation of writing. When I stand up in front of a group, I am able to transcend my reflexive shyness and be dynamic and outgoing. Such sharing is effortful for me because, like many pastors, I’m a compensating introvert. But I find that doing live events is entirely worth the effort. The blessing of creating something doesn’t feel quite complete until I share it in person.
Well: but looking at my calendar, I see that I have only one live event scheduled between now and the end of the year. (That’s not counting Sundays, of course. Any time you’re in Clare, Michigan, you’re welcome to come and participate in my regular “live event” on Sunday morning!) So, I’d like to drum up a few more gigs. What I did this week was to create a “speaker page.” It advertises my availability as a speaker and entertainer. I also filmed a short promotional video to go with it. It’s here:
Please check it out, and let me know if you have any comments or questions. Who knows? Maybe someday, I can meet a few more Merry Mystics in person!
I’ve often asked God for instructions. I even tried using one of those newfangled discernometers. Here’s what happened.
I’ve been wishing for an enticing premium to offer people—something that would persuade more folks to give me their email addresses for The Merry Mystic. How to lose ten pounds overnight? How to attract money? How to avoid an eternity of torment in hell? (That one used to persuade a lot of people to join churches, and even tithe to them, so I considered it seriously.)
But then it hit me: I have something lots of people want. I have the secret of flight. Ready for this?
It’s been a long time since The Merry Mystic brought you any outright preaching or teaching. Usually, I prefer something more casual, like music or humor. But I just couldn’t help myself this week. (I had a former career as a professor of computer science, so every now and then, I just have to bust out with a PowerPoint.)
My subject comes from an open-ended question I received this week: what is faith all about? My answer is from my own Christian perspective, of course. But I’d love to hear what you think about that question too, so please scroll down when you’ve seen the video and leave a response.
Reverend Cheryl Burke is a regional leader in my denomination. She has a good thought to share here about silence—I think you might enjoy listening to her. (Silence is something that churches in the United Church of Christ tend not to be very good at; usually, if there’s more than a few seconds of silence in the Sunday service, people start looking around nervously, wondering who dropped the ball!)
It’s fall here in Michigan. I’ve harvested a few acorn squash, and we have a few pumpkins coming on, but our garden is my wife’s project, and she plants mostly for the birds and insects. The birds and bees and butterflies—and squirrels, and deer!—have been busy harvesting. It reminds me of how gardening can be a ministry, and a form of prayer. I wrote a hymn about it: “Dear God, In Your Garden.”
Best blessings on your gardening, cooking, woodworking, knitting—and all your other ministries.
P.S. You can find scores for “Dear God, In Your Garden” in our Free Stuff area. And you can read a lot more about it in Chapter 5 of my book, The Inn of God’s Forgiveness.
Last week’s episode of The Merry Mystic—my rant—was the most popular ever. Still, it didn’t exactly take the internet by storm. So here, as promised, is my cat video.
Thanks for all the great responses and shares last week. It helps me more than you know. Best blessings!
I’m usually a peaceful guy. But there are some things that get under my skin, and being told I’m a heretic, or I’m not really a Christian, is one of them—especially when the person telling me that is an atheist. You might want to send the kids out to play while you watch this one.
Leave a comment and rant on, or rant back, if you like. (And do share this post. You know what happens next week if you don’t!)
The woods were my first church. The first time I remember being aware of the great Song of God, I was in the woods. The first time I remember feeling my part in the connectedness of all living things, I was sitting in a tree. (These days, I hear that Song and feel that connectedness in other places too—sometimes even in a church of stone!)
I wrote this song, “Treesong,” for my last album, As a Deer Longs. The instruments and male vocals are mine; the female vocals are Kelly Autrey-Webber, my true love; the images are from a walk in the woods of New Hampshire.
(I’m sorry the images aren’t sharper — they’re just stills culled from handheld video, shot as I walked. But I think they’re beautiful, even as they are.)
I recorded this merry, mystical missive in the early morning on top of West Rattlesnake Mountain in New Hampshire. It’s a place to which I often return. I remember visiting it as a boy—I’m pretty sure my father carried me part of the way up. I also remember carrying my own son up to the top—he’s more likely to be able to carry me now. It’s a place that always reminds me strongly of the Celtic Christian emphasis on the presence of God in the natural world.
Don’t worry: I’ve neither seen nor heard of any rattlesnakes on Rattlesnake Mountain. In any case, on that morning, I think they’d have been rattling in time with God’s great song.