Invitation

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.

I’m So Done

A New Song from The Merry Mystic

Have you ever had someone who keeps embarrassing you in public—someone you feel like you have to keep apologizing for?

Someone … or something?

I have. And I’ve written a song about it. Without a band, I can’t do this one live, so here it is as an mp3.

In case the lyric went by too fast, here it is in full:

I'm So Done

We're out with friends and I'm afraid you'll say something offensive:
A sexist screed or racist rant that's coarse and comprehensive,
And I'll be left to patch it up with people you've offended,
And claim that what they heard you say was not what you intended.

But now I'm so done
Being your apologizer,
Yeah, I'm so done,
And I'm just a little wiser.
I was your bold excuser
And your liar and your loser,
But my spin control is spun,
And I'm done.
 
You turn their heads and everybody finds you hypnotizing,
Until you turn obnoxious and I start apologizing.
You stun the room, and I'm supposed to make some explanation.
How did it get to be my job to save your reputation?
 
But now I'm so done
Being your apologizer,
Yeah, I'm so done,
And I'm just a little wiser:
I was your chief excuser
And your liar and your loser,
But my spin control is spun,
And now I'm done.
 
You're beautiful, except for each and every ugly bit.
You're full of truth and wisdom, and you're also full of what fans hit.
You're peace and love and joy, and then you're homicidal rage,
With healing balm and poison pill on almost every page!

You threaten us with snakes if we complain about the rations,
You threaten us with plagues if we belong to other nations,
You threaten kids with bears if they go teasing balding leaders,
And you threaten them with stoning if they're stubborn little bleaters.
 
But now I'm so done
Being your apologizer,
Yeah, I'm so done,
And I'm just a little wiser:
I was your cheap excuser
And your liar and your loser,
But my spin control is spun,
And now I'm done.
 
You said that God forbids us kill, and that he helps us do it.
You said the world was ending, but somehow we all lived through it.
You said that you were perfect, and that we should all respect you,
And you said that God would curse us if we ever should correct you.
 
But now I'm so done
Being your apologizer,
Yeah, I'm so done,
And I'm just a little wiser:
I was your lame excuser
And your liar and your loser,
But my spin control is spun,
and now I'm done.

But now I'm so done
Being your apologizer,
Yeah, I'm so done,
And I'm just a little wiser:
I was your sad excuser
And your liar and your loser,
But my spin control is spun,
and now I'm done.

Merry Christmas, Mr. President

A Christmas Greeting from The Merry Mystic

President Trump is claiming a victory in getting people (retailers, apparently) to say “Merry Christmas” instead of “Happy Holidays.” So here’s my Merry Christmas wish for him.

And a Happy Christmas to all Merry Mystics everywhere, and to all a good night!

Jingle Bell Dox

A Merry and Mystical, Doxological Take on "Jingle Bells"

What could be more joyful, and therefore more God-ful, than Jingle Bells? And then, why can’t we sing it in church? Perhaps a few new verses would help …

Here’s the original first verse, along with my two doxological verses:

Jingle Bell Dox

Dashing through the snow
In a one-horse open sleigh
O’er the fields we go
Laughing all the way
Bells on bob tail ring
Making spirits bright
What fun it is to ride and sing
     a sleighing song tonight!

The sleigh that glides along,
The horse that knows the way,
The harmony of song,
The snow inviting play,
The spirits growing bright,
The laughter and the fun,
They shine the light and fill the night 
     with praises of the One!

The sleigh is gliding God,
The horse is snorting God,
The fields are growing God,
The bells are ringing God,
The snow is drifting God,
The speed is thrilling God,
And yes, this moldy, golden oldy 
     song is singing God!

My Old Stomping Grounds

The Merry Mystic Goes Home

After weeks of packing, driving, and unpacking—you wouldn’t believe how many U-haul truckloads it took!—my family and I have moved back to my old home town of Princeton, Illinois. This is the town where I went to high school, and where my wife and I met and married, so of all the places I’ve lived, this is the one that feels most like home.

And, well, moving is hell! I’m sore all over, we’re still something less than half unpacked, and I haven’t had time to write anything new for you all. Nevertheless, it’s good to be back on my old stomping grounds. On Sunday, I didn’t go to church—my own work as pastor of the Open Prairie United Church of Christ here won’t start until December. Instead, I went to pray at a little park where, in former days, I spent a lot of time talking to God.

In this issue of The Merry Mystic, I wanted to share my old stomping grounds with you.

Samhain Song

A Merry and Mystical Message for Halloween

Samhain is the old Gaelic festival that lies behind many of our modern Halloween customs. In this video, I talk a little about Samhain, and I share a new song about it.

Here’s the text of that song. (It’s actually from the last chapter of the fantasy romance I’m working on, The Pastor and the Priestess.)

Samhain Song

The anxious fear, the fevered dream,
The ghostly moan, the primal scream,
The cold that grips us in the night --
The dance around the fire’s light,
To banish fear from hill and dale.
   For love can see beyond the veil,
   And glimpse, behind the graven gloom,
   A hidden heat, a hopeful beat,
   The fertile darkness of the womb.

The foolish, haunted, hating heart,
That tries to tear the world apart,
And plans and plots to bitter ends --
The circled power of our friends,
That over evil will prevail.
   For love can see beyond the veil,
   And glimpse, behind the graven gloom,
   A hidden heat, a hopeful beat,
   The fertile darkness of the womb.

The doubt that steals away the will,
The gloomy fears that self-fulfill,
The wariness to take a chance --
The spirit pleading, Come and dance,
And never be afraid to fail.
   For love can see beyond the veil,
   And glimpse, behind the graven gloom,
   A hidden heat, a hopeful beat,
   The fertile darkness of the womb.

The memory of days gone by,
The falling tear, the heavy sigh,
The burden of the loss we bear --
The new adventure waiting there,
Where love-light leads us down the trail.
   For love can see beyond the veil,
   And glimpse, behind the graven gloom,
   A hidden heat, a hopeful beat,
   The fertile darkness of the womb!

Longing for the Deep Peace

A Merry Mystical Re-Run

This past month, my spiritual practice has been shot to hell.  Oh, I’ve prayed frequently—but briefly and distractedly.  Have you ever just sat in the presence of God, or just taken a walk in God’s company, and wholly escaped the passage of time?  Have you ever surfaced from deep reverie to notice—how odd!—that the sun has set, or the sun has risen?  I have, but not this month!

In fact, I’m embarrassed to confess that my life right now is just totally berserk with work.  I’m helping put on a play this month, as performer, accompanist, lighting and sound designer, you name it.  And I’m preparing to start a new job, and to move my extended family next month.  It seems to be one of those seasons when there just aren’t enough hours in every day.

Anyway, there certainly weren’t enough hours to squeeze out any new work for The Merry Mystic this week! Instead, I took some comfort today in listening to this old song of mine. This was The Merry Mystic in May of 2016. I hope you’ll find this re-run as comforting as I did.

May you be blessed today with deep peace: the deep peace of the running wave, the deep peace of the flowing air, the deep peace of the quiet earth, the deep peace of the shining stars—the deep peace of the Prince of Peace.

Midwives of Hope

A Hymn Celebrating Those who Help Hope into the World

In the legend of Moses’ birth (Exodus 1:15-2:10), there are two official midwives: Shiphrah and Puah. Then there are three other women who, in their different ways, also help bring hope into the world: Moses’ birth mother, his sister, and his adoptive mother. Here’s a new hymn celebrating their work, and the work of all midwives everywhere.

Sheet music for “Midwives of Hope” is in our Free Stuff area.

Tired of You

A Political Rant from The Merry Mystic

I don’t want to alienate my politically conservative friends, God bless ‘em. And I’m a bit embarrassed to add any more political ranting to our overheated national discourse. But I do want to be honest in sharing my work here.

So here’s fair warning: if you’re tired of political rants, you might want to skip this one. Because it’s a song addressed to President Trump. It’s called, “Tired of You.”

P.S. This YouTube video is mostly a still image over the music, with only a little performance video at the end. If you’d just like the music, here it is:

P.P.S. I really had to work to edit this song down to a manageable length. There were, initially, a lot more words. Because I know words. I have the best words….

Slogan Survey Results

The Merry Mystical Motto: Humorlessness Is Next To Godlessness

In this week’s video, I report on the results of last week’s survey.

In addition to the results reported in the video, there were quite a few write-in candidates. Here are the slogans proposed by other readers, unedited and in no particular order:

  • Progressive Christianity – Christianity’s Progressive Rock station – all Yes, all the time.
  • Get in touch with your own personal spirituality
  • Progressive Christianity– because we really want to remain Christian.
  • – because we don’t know everything -yet.
  • “Accepting new knowledge since _(fill in your own date)_”
  • “Where thinking is still allowed, and encouraged”
  • “Tell your story, then listen to ours”
  • Progressive Christianity – because we need to progress!
  • Progressive Christianity – It’s on my bucket list!
  • Progressive Christianity — Sounds better than retrograde Christianity
  • Progressive Christianity – Practicing more than we preach.
  • Let us begin to live the life that Jesus modeled for us.
  • …because what if they found Jesus’ body; would it negate His life and teachings?
  • Love yourself and your neighbor.
  • We may not be 1st but we are way ahead of whatever is 2nd. ( just saying )
  • Progressive Christianity- because Jesus way was always forward into the midst of life
  • Progressive Christianity-because saying, “I have faith,” isn’t a valid replacement for evidence.
  • Progressive Christianity: Because we are one big friggin family!
  • Progressive Christianity – marching forward towards world peace not backwards to world domination.

Thanks to everyone who participated! I’m going to close the survey now, but please feel free to add your suggestions in the comments below.