Showing posts from November, 2013

the gospel according to daniel tiger.

There are a few cartoon characters who have changed my life lately. I found myself getting defensive when someone called Dora a princess character this summer. "Actually, Dora is a loyal friend. And she goes on adventures. And she never gives up. So try watching an episode before you pigeon hole her as a princess character. She's actually pretty bad ass." I reacted as though he was talking smack about my best friend.

Daniel Tiger is the animated descendent of Daniel Striped Tiger from Mister Roger's Neighborhood. There's a trolly and Daniel uses his imagination a lot. The friendships are relatable for a toddler and the plots give Jasper great words for his feelings.

Every episode has a little jingle to help you remember the social or emotional lesson in play. "Keep on trying - you'll get better," has been the theme of potty training this week. For almost five days, Jasper wore underwear without hitting the potty. Accidents galore. Lots of laundry. …


We are grateful for your strength because you are capable of all kinds of things: discipline, distance, teamwork, and loyalty that most Americans lust after. You've seen and done incredible things. You serve and labor while most of us go about our ordinary days, unaware of your sacrifice. We are in awe of your strength.

But we are also grateful for your vulnerability because you tell stories that widen our world: our ethics, our imaginations, our politics, and our faith. You've seen and done incredible things. And then you come home, thank God, to a culture that does not know how to receive your emotions and stories well. You come home to the economy and land and people you defended and face unemployment because we don't know how to translate and apply your valuable skills...even though you do. We say dumb things like, "Wow. Did you kill anyone over there?" and nod as though we understand the complexities of your darkest moments.

So thank you for your strength an…


Last winter we lost a few redwoods at Zion. We said goodbye to beautiful and generous saints who left this world in peaceful or sudden ways. The forest rumbled as they fell and we grieved - we wondered how we could go on without them and longed for things to be like they used to be.

But things can't be like they used to be - and they shouldn't be. The forest does not manufacture new redwoods overnight. Instead, the sun pokes through and the ecosystem shifts a bit. The air sounds wide open and the breeze dips down into quiet, sleepy corners.

And then the ferns stretch and span. They recognize the shift and the spaces that are building something new. Slowly, they rise toward the light and stand a little taller because there is room to be and breathe. The potential is palpable.

We have ferns rising at Zion these days. Young people are claiming a place and articulating their gifts and sneaking into the fabric of this forest. It's fun to watch them bond with older women and ro…