Which Slogan Is Your Favorite?

The Merry Mystic Ventures into Marketing

Hello, friends! This week, I’ve been aware of a number of really bland church slogans.  For example:

  • “Everyone welcome”—as if there were any church in the world that didn’t make that claim.
  • “In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; and in all things, charity”—as if that settled anything. (That epigram goes back to 1617, when Marco Antonio de Dominis, an archbishop of the Roman Catholic church, wrote, “in necessariis unitas, in dubiis libertas, in omnibus caritas.”)
  • “Jesus loves you”—not a bad claim in itself, but often used as a launching pad for cruelty. As in, “Jesus loves you, so it’s too bad you’re gay and going to hell.” I wonder whether the love of Jesus wasn’t being pronounced over the body of Marco Antonio de Dominis, while it was being exhumed, dragged through the streets, and burned for heresy, along with all his works.

Anyway: I’ve invented some slogans for an advertising campaign for progressive Christianity. I’m looking for something less anodyne than the usual stuff—something with a Merry-Mystical touch of irreverent humor. It would help me if you’d take just a minute to read my suggested slogans here, and vote on your favorite. There’s also a place to suggest a slogan of your own.

So please, take the survey: which slogan is your favorite?  I’ll share the results, and any (printable) write-in votes, next week.

Thanks and best blessings,


River Poetry

The Merry Mystic Goes to Xanadu

Today I’m thinking of an old poem: “Kubla Khan; or, A Vision in a Dream: A Fragment,” written by Samuel Taylor Coleridge in 1797. I’m also thinking of an even older poem: the Book of Revelation.

(Perhaps I should apologize to those whom the title of this post fooled into expecting a clip from “Xanadu,” the 1980 roller-disco movie featuring Olivia Newton-John and Gene Kelly. But I’ll try to do something with that movie next week!)

A Message from my Papa

The Merry Mystic Doesn't Fall Far from the Tree

In honor of Father’s Day, here’s a guest missive from my own dear father, Howard Webber. On this rainy morning in Holderness, New Hampshire, he offered some affirmation for me, and some wise words for fathers everywhere.

(Incidentally, I asked my mother to do a guest missive too. She only laughed and said, “That’ll be the day!”)

Imagine Competing

The Merry Mystic Skips Church

I’m in Holderness, NH, enjoying some vacation time with my family. (There’s a big motorcycle rally going on this week in nearby Laconia—that accounts for the background noise in the video!) In between naps and family excursions, I’ve been thinking about a question this week, and I’d really like your help with it.

Please leave a comment and help me wrestle with this question. Suppose there were a church assembly where you could honestly say to people, in every minute they spent with you, yes, this is the best, the brightest, the most rewarding thing we could be doing together right now. What would that look like?

Wind on the Hill

Pentecost with The Merry Mystic and A. A. Milne

Hello, friends! I’m releasing this edition of The Merry Mystic a little early, so you can have it for Pentecost Sunday. Pentecost is a celebration of the Holy Spirit: a noise like a rushing wind, and tongues of fire, and speaking in tongues, and all that. And whenever I think of the Holy Spirit, I think of this beautiful little poem by A. A. Milne.

Come To Me

The Merry Mystic Celebrates the Sexy Ebullience of Creation

Spring is on my mind and in my heart this week. Trees are leafing out overnight, and foals and fawns are frolicking in the meadows. The sexy ebullience of creation is made manifest. It’s like a recapitulation of the seven-day creation story from Genesis. I picture God as calling all living things, both into existence and toward God’s self simultaneously. This call is a deep enchantment, a longing that is part of our incarnational being, a magnetism that draws us Godward.

That’s the idea of “Come To Me,” a song from my 2012 album As a Deer Longs. Without a band and a DJ, 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:

Come To Me

I am ready now.
I have trained myself for this.
I summon you:
	Come to me!

Bird of the air, I summon thee:
	Flap your wings and come to me!
Beast of the earth, I summon thee:
	Stomp your feet and come to me!
Fish of the sea, I summon thee:
	Shake your fins and come to me!

I shine my light and draw you like a moth to a flame,
I sing the song and send the sound of saying your name.
I pull you to the edge and then I pull a little more,
I light the fuse and spread the news and open up your hidden door.
Now come to me!

I open up a path that you won’t find on the map,
I light the dark and make a spark that bridges your gap.
I dance before the altar and you feel the earth shake,
I touch you and your sun comes up and tells you that you’re wide awake.
Now come to me!

Fly me, whale me, stork me, quail me, hare me, snail me, come to me!
Bear me, bee me, mare me, flea me, manatee me, come to me!
Louse me, mouse me, goat me, stoat me, tick me, chick me, come to me!
Bat me, gnat me, frog me, rat me, dog me, cat me, come to me!
Come to me!

My Store page tells you how to buy that album, if you’d like to hear more.

Mothers Day Psalm

Tribute to a Merry and Mystical Mama

Hello, friends. Here’s a Mothers Day special, in honor of my own wonderful mother.

Here’s the text of that version of Psalm 23.

The Lady Is My Mother

The Lady is my mother;
   I shall not want.
She tucks me in between clean sheets;
   She reads me a story.
She cleans the cut and binds on the Band-Aid;
   She combs down my hair for our name's sake.
Even though I tremble and cry out in darkness, I will waken with relief,
   For you are with me; your hand and your voice, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me with macaroni and cheese
      in the presence of my siblings;
   You set fresh milk on the table, and only gently scold me when
      My cup runneth over.
Surely love and generosity shall sustain me all the days of my life,
   And I will dwell in the house of the Lady for ever.