(Many of these will appear in my forthcoming book from St Johann Press: HITCH-HIKING TO ALASKA: The Way of Soulful Service)
You and I get ahead when nobody else gets left behind.
What others say I have created, I know only has been revealed to me.
What am I missing that would enable me to know what I am missing?
We take too much credit, and lay too much blame.
I yearn to be present in this moment, until I remember that my yearning is present in this moment, too.
I am here to be and to see, not just to do and get through.
A road that ends in paradise has no need of two-way bridges.
I need to be humble about being humble.
There is no “thank” without “you”.
There\’s not what is without what\’s not.
Wandering, I stumbled upon my purpose; adrift, I made port; unbidden, love arrived; asleep, I learned my lesson; in silence, notes danced across my score; dreaming, my problems solved themselves.
Dignity or bread: don’t make me choose!
What makes a noun proper? Could it be the same thing that makes a verb tense?
What matters most: freedom to, or freedom from?
Can you give me freedom? I doubt I can give it to you.
The aroma of justice makes the heart hungry.
You broke my heart, and truth fell out instead of spare change.
If I own what you owe, I’ll reap what you sow.
I want to live in a world in which directions are marked with feathers instead of arrows.
I have hiked trails through land so beautiful that now even my shoes have souls.
I saw a large paintbrush lying in a gutter in a gritty city. I hope the artist will come back and finish the painting.
If mud obscured my eyes long enough to break the spell they put on me, could I then see deeper into the heart of this muddy world?
Wait for grace when you are stuck between the cross and a hard place.
Look for leaf causes, not just root causes.
I’m a mountain broker: where life has gone horizontal, my job is to arrange an uplift.
Since I gotta be on a cross, give me one with a view.
(After meeting someone for the first time) I hope our crosses pass again.
Language has its limi
On God, Faith, and Religion:
(Many of these are from my two books in print, OPEN CHRISTIANITY and BIRDLIKE AND BARNLESS.)
Poems are receipts I give to God for the experiences she gives me.
God is Love for some body, not just any body.
Can God be the subject of a declaratory sentence?
God: a wonderful friend, but a troublesome concept.
I’m an agnatheist. I’m not sure there really is such a thing as an atheist.
On my night hike, a coyote stared at me. “Dinner?” her eyes asked. “God?” asked mine.
God may sleep in my storm-tossed boat, but when she rises, so shall I.
Belief in God can be an unsatisfying intellectual exercise, but knowing God is a heartfelt spiritual exercise. (Open Christianity)
Living faithfully – living “as if” – gives you the strength and imagination to make the world a better place. (Open Christianity)
The gospel is true not because Christianity is the one true religion. The gospel is true because you can find it in the stories of people’s lives, anywhere, anytime. (Open Christianity)
When we are fully able to face the suffering of the cross, we can begin our own path to salvation. (Open Christianity)
Conversion is not just about turning to Jesus: it is about entering into the experience Jesus had when he found God within himself – the Christ. (Open Christianity)
Rituals give us inward mobility. The movements of the ceremony take us to places in our souls that would otherwise be hard to reach. (Open Christianity)
We are able to relate with other people only because we are able to relate to ourselves as if we were others… (Open Christianity)
Let the church open to all who seek to know God and follow the way of love, no matter what language they use to describe it. Let it open to all who seek the kind of relationship with God that Jesus had, no matter how they sort out the myths from the facts of Jesus’ life story. (Open Christianity)
Christianity follows the humble faith of an empty man. So how did we Christians become so full of ourselves? It’s time to empty ourselves of the belief that our religion is better than others. (Birdlike and Barnless)
Prayer is like a hike along the shore of the soul, whether it’s full of dancing waves, or drained to reveal the mud and the junk. (Birdlike and Barnless)
The good news about religion is that it helps us to see things that are invisible. And the bad news about religion is that it helps us to see things that are invisible. One challenge for us as faith-seeking people is just this: to sort out the difference between the unseen things that are worth seeing, and the unseen things that aren’t.
(Birdlike and Barnless)
To be a real friend to yourself, listening and responding with love, is to be God\’s friend. And from this compassionate relationship within, you will be moved to serve others more beautifully. (Birdlike and Barnless)
What’s the true test of Christian faith? Is it to accept that all, or even most, of the stories of the Bible are literally, factually true? … But why should such credulity, so facile for so many, be the price of admission to the Christian faith? What if the true test is to love the unlovable? That’s a very steep price for everyone to pay. (Birdlike and Barnless)
It is wisdom to be aware of the depths of our ignorance. (Birdlike and Barnless)
What has more truth? The front page of the newspaper, which lists facts, or the story of the gospel, which consists largely of myth and poetry? I am convinced that you will find more truth in the gospel than in the newspaper. (Birdlike and Barnless)
We can leverage the little faith we have today, so that we can move more than mere mountains tomorrow. (Birdlike and Barnless)
The Christ within us transforms BUT into AND, AGAINST into THROUGH, FOR into WITH.
(Birdlike and Barnless)
Listening is what happens when the words of others go deep enough into our souls to take root. Like soil must be broken and tilled to be ready for seeds, our souls must be broken open in order to make way for what others need to tell us. (Birdlike and Barnless)
Faith is what happens when we stop pretending that we are entitled to divine exceptions from the laws of nature. Faith doesn’t exempt us from the pain of this world, but it does give us an experience that transcends it and gives it meaning. Faith is the paradox of knowing our mortality and our immortality at the same time. Faith embraces the contradiction that we are separate, limited creatures and we are also one with God. (Birdlike and Barnless)
As Jesus emptied himself into the bread and the wine, so we revere the other creatures and people who, like him, have emptied their lives into ours. (Birdlike and Barnless)
Let us feast on bread and wine in spiritual communion, and fast from all that keeps us from communing deeply with each other and with God. (Birdlike and Barnless)
Marriage is a spiritual path. A way of being together that liberates each of you from selfishness, from the attachments to material things that cause so much suffering. Marriage is a refining fire that with your passion for each other can burn away the dross of your lives and melt your hearts down to the gold of pure unconditional love. (Birdlike and Barnless)
Website: JIMBURKLO.COM Weblog: MUSINGS Follow me on twitter: @jtburklo
See my GUIDE to my books, “musings”, and other writings
Associate Dean of Religious Life, University of Southern California