El Rio Debajo del Rio

The pope and La Curandera, the Healer


This is an encore presentation of a previously posted column. This column first appeared Aug. 4, 2008.

Oh do not be too exuberant, for as you know, we’ll have to tie down those leaping bones, cramming them into a much smaller carapace. As in foot binding, we’ll let the true spirit ache under man-made strictures, and force the children to forget or else pretend that they cannot see what they truly see, hear what they truly hear, know what they truly know.

Not a witch hunt -- a treasure hunt: GLTB persons


This is an encore presentation of a previously posted column. This column first appeared June 8, 2008.

In our rural immigrant family, we had an entire gaggle of old women who were devotees of little St Francis of the animals. They loved him because he spoke to the birds and the creatures. “Like we do.” They liked Francis because he worked hard outdoors. “Like we do.” They liked him too because they considered him a village healer. “Like us.”

Battlescars: women's souls cannot be killed


This is an encore presentation of a previously posted column. This column first appeared July 8, 2008.

My grandmother, Katerin, used to talk back to the priest on TV. She had an entire litany: Don’t tell me to be like Blessed Mother if you don’t really mean it all the way down to your bones, Father. Blessed Mother didn’t let anyone tell her what to do, except God. So, unless you’re God, don’t be trying to tell us what to do all the time. I just got a big phone call from heaven: God says there’s a big difference between really being God, and just thinking you are.”

Unplanned Pregnancy: A Holiest Art Form


This is an encore presentation of a previously posted column. This column first appeared June 30, 2008.

Make art about whatever of God

you have been given to apprehend.

Make enormous and miniscule art,

the kinds we may have to look at

through a microscope at first,

in order to truly see... God.

And make the kind of art which,

even from miles away,

is of such magnitude,

we cannot take it all in.

We Are All Immigrants: The Soul Demands Kinship


"We are all los inmigrantes, and the soul is The First Immigrant: The Soul cannot be held back by any imaginary boundary drawn against it; not by mountain ranges, not by rivers, nor by human scorn.

The Soul, goes everywhere, like an old woman in her right mind, going anywhere she wishes, saying whatever she wants, bending to mend whatever is within her reach. Wherever the Soul migrates, it brings blessed and often desperately needed new life."

Political Catholicism vs. Christ's Catholicism


Internecine: ways of disagreeing which are destructive to all sides.

In our time, when it too often has come down to our listening hard, but not being able to tell some priests from most politicians -- as they too often sound exactly alike, choosing the same rhetorical references and processes to defeat or demand a cause ... we, in our beliefs, our striving to hold life sacred, have to go a different way.

The Marys of Mother Africa: Story of Greedy Boy


Mother Africa: for hundreds of years she's groaned under humans who have harmed her by looting her treasures, setting enmity between peoples, and by forcing stones atop her greatest minds and hearts so they could not grow into giants.

But, also I sense from knowing many souls who were born into the earth there, that in Mother Africa is rooted the mysterious Heart of the World, a Heart of Humanity that ever beats strong no matter what, and that is oddly ever vulnerable ... yet ever invincible ... ever wounded ... yet ever covered with flowers of acacia ... the honey of which flows like deep amber sweetwater.

Consecrated Life: The Rock Pile


What I know of consecrated life, I have learned from my loveship with the ones I some times call affectionately "madwomen in black," our nuns ... and los hombres con pechos, male priests, brothers and monks who are mothers.
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I am not a theologian, rather growing up in the north woods, perhaps I'm more a tree-ologian. As a wandering preacher, even as a backwoods mystic, I do not know everything I wish I could know about convent life, about consecrated life lived in community where souls are involved in a lifelong lapidary project with one another ...


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In This Issue

July 14-27, 2017