Monday, December 27, 2010

Why Lord, why?

While we were celebrating Christ's birth, He led another precious one Home, and our "Whys" echo across eternity . . . "and thank you for your prayers for our family,Our dear Julie went home to be with the Lord on Christmas morning. We aregrieving and heartbroken for [our son] Dan and their 4 small children. We travel to Ohio to be with them at this time. Please pray for our family. In Christ, Elaine and Loren" . . . friends in Montana. Praying over John 17 . . . and "listening" . . .

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

mental health and Christmas

Those of us who have had, are having, or may have in the future, struggles with mental health issues; depression, anxiety, OCD, PTSD, schizophrenia and others, should never have to feel ashamed or fear seeking help and sharing our pain. An illness that is so prevalent and touches so many should never be denied or “swept under the carpet” of cultural stigma. And, the church, of all places, should lead the way for those who need healing, but even it too often fails.

It breaks my heart to see, to know of so much pain that goes unnoticed and the lack of real help and compassion because society/culture is afraid or indifferent to it. To hear the pain in the voices of those who are able, by some grace, to come to the point of expressing that pain, to find a safe place to be themselves . . . no masks, no pretense . . . to seek healing in the love and understanding of another.

Why do we refuse to heal one another?! For Christ’s sake we should be doing as he commanded, loving one another, healing one another, easing the pain, carrying the burden that cannot be carried alone. Lord have mercy on us, sinners in need of a Savior, and yet, ignoring You! Come Lord Jesus, make all things new, restore us and bring us into Your Kingdom! Come quickly Lord, we are desperate.

In this season of celebrating Your birth, do we truly seek You? The One who came in such humble circumstances to seek and save the lost. “Perfectly” dressed up for all the exuberant and glamorous celebrations, hiding pain and brokenness. The same pain and brokenness that you desire to break through, to heal and to restore us from, to make us new creations. May this Advent truly be a beginning for so many of us who suffer, may we celebrate Immanuel as the shepherds did in humility and as ourselves . . . naked of pretense and any sense of entitlement.

O come, o come Immanuel and ransom our captive hearts . . .

Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas 2010

So another year survived in the Grace and Love of a God who apparently has a “sense” of humor along with that compassionate nature?! So, in brief bulleted order are the following highlights:
 Patrick Perching Eagle Watters began his storytelling “career” in earnest, spinning tales of both Lakota and Celtic heritage.
 Patti continued to enjoy her new teaching career at Sac City College, among all the ministry things.
 May saw things really “ramp up” for our family:
 Cody graduated from EATM program at America’s Teaching Zoo in Moorpark.
 Laura (Kyle’s fiancée) graduated from med. school at UC Colorado and moved to Omaha for her four year residency in OB/GYN at U. Nebraska med. ctr.
 June saw Kyle and Laura get married at Grand Island Mansion in our own Sacramento Delta. (Yes, they would be “separated” by many miles for a few months.)
 The rest of us (PnP, Cody, and Karly & Phil) sneak off to Kauai for ten days!
 July saw Cody begin work for Pacific Animal Productions (San Diego) doing shows all over the State.
 Mid-August saw Kyle finally move out to his sweetie and wife in Omaha, while still pursuing his PhD from Stanford!
 On 8-9-10 Anthony Cayden DeFazio joined us . . . and what a delightful addition to both the Watters and DeFazios, and a gift to Mom & Dad (Karly and Phil).
 In September PnP finally answered a “call” to move to another church to serve the new pastor and congregation there, after 20+ years at our old church during which time the Lord prepared us well to “go”.
 Kyle made his successful defense of his thesis and was declared Dr. Kyle Watters, PhD astrophysics & cosmology, Stanford University!
 And we ended the year celebrating Christmas early with the entire family home . . . a rare occasion indeed!
Patti and I continue to listen for God’s direction for our lives in total trust and surrender. Including, a potential “call” to be a licensed pastor for Pat. We both continue to partner in many ways, while also doing our individual soul care (Anam Chara) things. It is an amazing season, including our temporarily “empty nest” now refilled with family, including AC, our grandson. With grateful hearts and only by Grace, PnP

11 Rules That You Won’t Learn in School About Marriage.

Rule 1: Marriage isn’t about your happiness. It’s not about you getting all your needs met through another person. Practicing self-denial and self-sacrifice, patience, understanding, and forgiveness are the fundamentals of a great marriage. If you want to be the center of the universe, then there’s a much better chance of that happening if you stay single.

Rule 2: Getting married gives a man a chance to step up and finish growing up. The best preparation for marriage for a single man is to man up now and keep on becoming the man God created him to be.

Rule 3: It’s okay to have one rookie season, but it’s not okay to repeat your rookie season. You will make rookie mistakes in your first year of marriage; the key is that you don’t continue making those same mistakes in year five, year 10, or year 20 of your marriage.

Rule 4: It takes a real man to be satisfied with and love one woman for a lifetime. And it takes a real woman to be content with and respect one man for a lifetime.

Rule 5: Love isn’t a feeling. Love is commitment. It’s time to replace the “D word”—divorce—with the “C word”—commitment. Divorce may feel like a happy solution, but it results in long-term toxic baggage. You can’t begin a marriage without commitment. You can’t sustain one without it either. A marriage that goes the distance is really hard work. If you want something that is easy and has immediate gratification, then go shopping or play a video game.

Rule 6: Online relationships with old high school or college flames, emotional affairs, sexual affairs, and cohabiting are shallow and illegitimate substitutes for the real thing. Emotional and sexual fidelity in marriage is the real thing.

Rule 7: Women spell romance R-E-L-A-T-I-O-N-S-H-I-P. Men spell romance S-E-X. If you want to speak romance to your spouse, become a student of your spouse and enroll in a lifelong “Romantic Language School,” and become fluent in your spouse’s language.

Rule 8: During courtship, opposites attract. After marriage, opposites can repel each another. You married your spouse because he/she is different. Differences are God’s gift to you to create new capacities in your life. Different isn’t wrong, it’s just different.

Rule 9: Pornography robs men of a real relationship with a real person and poisons real masculinity, replacing it with the toxic killers of shame, deceit, and isolation. Pornography siphons off a man’s drive for intimacy with his wife. Marriage is not for wimps. Accept no substitutes.

Rule 10: As a home is built, it will reflect the builder. Most couples fail to consult the Master Architect and His blueprints for building a home. Instead a man and woman marry with two sets of blueprints (his and hers). As they begin building, they discover that a home can’t be built from two very different sets of blueprints.

Rule 11: How you will be remembered has less to do with how much money you make or how much you accomplish and more with how you have loved and lived.

Dennis Rainey, Family Life

Friday, December 10, 2010

submissive clay

We are not called to be successful, but faithful . . . relax.

Further, our accomplishments mean nothing if our hearts are not inclined toward the Lord, enabling us to walk in humility.

Jeremiah 18:1-6
At the Potter’s House
1 This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: 2 “Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.” 3 So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. 4 But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.
5 Then the word of the LORD came to me. 6 He said, “Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?” declares the LORD. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel.
2 Corinthians 4:6-7
6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,”[a] made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.
7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.

Friday, December 3, 2010

simplicity . . . it's how He came

And so, with barely a ripple of notice, God stepped into the warm lake of humanity, without protocol and without pretention.
Where you would have expected angels, there were only flies. Where you would have expected heads of state, there were only donkeys, a few haltered cows, a nervous ball of sheep, a tethered camel, and a furtive scurry of curious barn mice. Except for Joseph, there was no one to share Mary's pain, or her joy. Yes, there were angels announcing the Savior's arrival—but only to a band of blue-collar shepherds. And yes, a magnificent star shone in the sky to mark his birthplace—but only three foreigners bothered to look up and follow it.
Thus, in the little town of Bethlehem . . . that one silent night . . . the royal birth of God's Son tiptoed quietly by ... as the world slept.
[from Intimate Moments With The Savior by Ken Gire]

We would like to have something to give, to pour out for love of Him, but we don't have even that. It seems we don't have anything.
Nothing to offer except our uselessness, and our choice to be with Him: and that is a choice that no one but Him is likely to put any value on.
[from Celtic Daily Prayer, Aidan readings, Dec. 3]

This Christmas, this Advent Season, why not reflect on the simplicity of Christ’s birth? Why not, even in the midst of the commercialism, the grand celebrations and concerts, the lights and fanfare . . . why not realize again, or for the first time, the truly ignoble and curious, but oh so sweet, birth of our Savior?

Silent night, Holy night . . .

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Two Wolves Story

The two wolves story is said to have originated with the Cherokee peoples, but is also a traditional story in many other Native American people groups. The story is most often told by a grandfather to his grandchild or grandchildren, and this is how it came to me. The wisdom and spirituality contained within is clearly from the Creator, Wakan Tanka, God. And, if the wisdom were applied to our lives the world would be very much different and beautiful.

When I was a youngster, our family always returned to northeastern Montana where my father’s family grew up. All the cousins of the eleven children of James and Eliza Watters would gather at the home in town, Nashua, or out at Uncle Arvie’s ranch. We would play, ride ponies, learn to drive farm equipment, hunt with bows and arrows and more. Grandfather would chew plug tobacco, tell stories, play his mouth harp and pass on his wisdom learned in hard times.

Inevitably, the two wolves story would come up. Many of us children were being raised in California where violence and corruption were prevalent. Yet, in Montana life seemed to be another world; people cared about each other, were kind and always helpful, even if they didn’t know you. Whether we asked the question, or Grandpa just felt the need to share, the two wolves story became important to us, and even more so as we grew into adults.

“Grandfather, why is there so much killing and cruelty in the world?” we would ask. “My children, inside each of us are two wolves who are fighting each other,” began Grandfather. “There is a dark wolf who is filled with hatred, lust, greed, evil, and selfishness. There is also a white wolf who is filled with kindness, compassion, selflessness and love. They cannot exist together, so they battle within us.” “But, Grandfather,” we ask, “Which one wins?” And Grandfather replies, “The one you feed.”

I have told this short, but powerful story many times as a parent and storyteller, and in my adult years my faith has drawn me to Bible passages which seem to speak about the two wolves story. It could almost be applied to discipleship in the sense of imitating Christ Jesus? Personally, Philippians 4:8-9 seems to be an exhortation to “feed the good wolf”?

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”

May you feed the good wolf and teach your children and grandchildren to do likewise.

Patrick Perching Eagle Watters

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

coming to God just as we are . . .

There is a story told about a Jewish farmer who, through carelessness, did not get home before sunset one Sabbath and was forced to spend the day in the field, waiting for sunset the next day before being able to return home.
Upon his return home he was met by a rather perturbed rabbi who chided him for his carelessness. Finally the rabbi asked him: 'What did you do out there all day in the field? Did you at least pray?'
The farmer answered: 'Rabbi, I am not a clever man. I don't know how to pray properly. What I did was simply to recite the alphabet all day and let God form the words for Himself.'
When we come to celebrate we bring the alphabet of our lives. If our hearts and minds are full of warmth, love, enthusiasm, song and dance, then these are the letters we bring. If they are full of tiredness, despair, blandness, pain and boredom, then those are our letters. Bring them. Spend them. Celebrate them. It is God's task to make the words!
Ronald Rolheiser

If my lips could sing as many songs
as there are waves in the sea:
if my tongue could sing as many hymns
as there are ocean billows:
if my mouth
filled the firmament with praise:
if my face
shone like the sun and moon together:
if my hands
were to hover in the sky like powerful eagles
and my feet
ran across mountains as swiftly as the deer:
all that would not be enough
to pay You fitting tribute,
O Lord my God.
Unknown author

For many years I've written under the pen name of Anon E. Moose because I've always felt the words belonged to God and not me. Both of these writings reminded me of that truth.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

the good and beautiful life (apologies to James Bryan Smith)

Two men/women are living lives which outwardly may appear to be similar. They are married, raising children and working in their respective careers. The difference, which may be noticeable in their countenance, is that one has discovered the secret of living every day "in the house of the Lord", of "beholding His beauty and seeking Him in His temple." Not just a once-in-a-while thing but the life of communion with God in every little thing, as well as the great things. To experience God at work, play and school throughout the moments of life which may appear ordinary to others, but that are in reality heaven on earth.

Isaiah 61:1
1 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,[a]

Jesus read these words in the temple and said He was the fulfillment of them. He commands us to do likewise.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

From Clan to Tribe – The Story of a Celtic Lakota Family

The Watters family, the name meaning “They that dwell by loch and sea”, originally lived on the western islands and the highlands of Scotland. Belonging to a sept (smaller family group) of Clan Forbes, the families were farmers and fishermen under the protection and leadership the clan chief. Being in the upper highlands and islands afforded some security during the 18th and 19th centuries, the land and climate being somewhat inhospitable and troublesome for travelers. These people subsisted on a diet largely of potatoes and whatever vegetables might grow in the rocky soil, as well as whatever the sea would begrudgingly give up. Life was extremely simple and often just plain “extreme.”

Faith had always been a mainstay of strength and community for our family and others. The old Celtic church established by monks, (Patrick, Columba and others), was critical to the life being and morale of people who struggled to eke out a living in this country. As time and seasons would pass, this faith would play a continual role in the life of the family. Especially, as oppression and tyranny caused the family to uproot themselves and journey to other lands and places.

The 18th century finally brought insecurity to our family in the form of the notorious and often barbaric Highland Clearances. Without going into detail in this brief history, the Clearances were England’s answer to dealing with troublesome clans, and also, to introduce sheep to the highlands to bolster their woolen industry. Lowland clansmen were even utilized by the government to drive out, burn out and brutally displace the highland families and clans. There are many general accounts of all this mayhem and where all the surviving families fled to, but there are always exceptions to generalities throughout history.

For the most part, the Watters family fled the highlands to either the outer islands or across the sea to Ireland, settling on the north shores in what is known as County Antrim. James Watters (this author’s great, great grandfather) and Ann Lowery were wed there and started their family, continuing in the pattern established by generations before them; farming and fishing. Dates and details of the Watters family are very difficult, if not impossible, to find. Ship’s manifests and the occasional recorded birth, death or marriage document are often the only evidence of where and when the family turned up in places.

It wasn’t long before another “clearance” of sorts would cause the Watters to once again seek freedom and safety from oppression. The English weren’t satisfied with colonizing just the highlands, but now wanted to displace troublesome Gaelic peoples in favor of bringing industry and colonists to the Ulster regions of Ireland. These actions once again included military operations in what is now Northern Ireland. Suffice to say, James Watters did not want to stick around for the potential destruction and death that seemed to be coming once again. Making their way to a port, the family secured steerage on a ship bound for Philadelphia in the hopes of connecting with other Celtic families that fled earlier to America.

James and Ann settled in Alleghany County Pennsylvania after a short stay in Philadelphia. Farming was good and the family prospered. During this time, my great grandfather, Samuel, was born. Again, there is not much in the way of detail about our particular family in Pennsylvania, but other histories give a very good indication of how life looked during this time in the history of the United States. Samuel apparently thrived in this new world environment, and developed an also apparent penchant for exploration and adventure. He eventually left Pennsylvania and traveled northwest to Minnesota, where he became employed as a fur trapper for either the Hudson Bay or Northwest companies, again, details are sketchy but those were the two major companies employing trappers. French, Irish, and Scots made up the bulk of the work force at that time. Like many other trappers, Samuel “took up with” a Native American woman, which was not only convenient for surviving in the land, but also brought valuable connections with the native population in terms of business propositions. Eventually, Samuel and Isabel Marshall (her English name) were wed and started their own family. At this time, (early 1800’s,) the Lakota people were happily entrenched as a woodland people, enjoying hunting, fishing and gathering, while also engaging in the occasional skirmish with the neighboring Ojibwe tribe.

It wouldn’t be long, however, before yet another sort of “clearance” would threaten the Watters family. Now, a little cultural history on Lakota family is probably necessary here? The Lakota people had a somewhat matriarchal society, not so much that women were in charge, but that whenever a man married, he became part of the wife’s tribe/family. Tribes usually consisted of several family groups led by a chief, hence the “clan to tribe” transition of my family. During this time, settlers were pushing westward seeking their own “manifest destiny”. And, often the settlers were accompanied by government military forces who would establish forts in the frontier. The forts provided protection and a sort of town where people could gather, obtain goods and services, and in general maintain a sense of community. Needless to say, the native population was often a hindrance to this new colonization westward. All sorts of “arrangements” and coalitions were established between various people groups; unfortunately for the Lakota these coalitions didn’t include them. Eventually, the Lakota people sought another place to live in peace, and this saw them leave Minnesota traveling southwest into the Dakota territories. Samuel and his family were part of this migration, at least what little evidence that exists seems to lend credence to that movement? (Later evidence such as death certificates and gravestones would provide further hints to the movement of the family.)

During the time of life on the Great Plains, the Lakota nation thrived. The new lifestyle of hunting and moving with the great Buffalo herds seemed to suit them well. Horses added another advantage to the growing nation of tribes, and the often glamorized life of the Indians began to be developed among white America. Sadly, the “good days” of the Buffalo and plains life would also be short-lived for the Lakota and our Watters family. Further westward movement of settlers and forts (cavalry) continued to desecrate both the land and the indigenous people; disease, massacre of the North American Bison (Buffalo), and environmental damage (yes, believe it or not it had already started,) among other things. The government felt compelled to intervene on behalf of settlers and deal with the “Indian uprisings”. Again, I won’t belabor that history here, but suffice to say our family was once again feeling the need to move.

Establishment of reservations (areas of isolation for the various tribes) by the government heralded a clear signal to Lakota leaders that something must be done. Several skirmishes among cavalry and Indians alarmed Washington and prompted further escalating military intervention. Notable among these campaigns was Custer’s debacle at the Little Bighorn River (the Greasy Grass our people call it.) While Lakota people did have some effective efforts against the government troops, it was clear to all Native American leaders that they could never outlast the numbers and force of the government. Most leaders chose to comply with treaties and move their people to reservations, (which sadly was the beginning of “social genocide” of Native American culture and people.) Our family chose to flee to Canada with other Lakota, accompanied by Cheyenne tribes. Sitting Bull, chief of the Hunkpapa tribe of Lakota, had made this choice while Crazy Horse (a relative and also chief of the Oglala tribe) finally decided to stop fighting and return to the reservation, (he was later tragically murdered there.)

In Canada, the government had taken a much more amicable approach to native populations, ceding large tracts of land and granting citizenship to their indigenous tribes. This looked like a very good choice for the Lakota, but the Canadian government took the position that only existing indigenous Canadian tribes could be granted this status. Once again, my family was a people without a country. Staying in Canada was useful for a time, but Lakota people wanted to be with other families (tribes), and eventually Sitting Bull decided to return to the reservations, and many different tribes followed. Sadly, this choice would also end Sitting Bull’s life in similar fashion to Crazy Horse. This became a critical turning point for my family.

My young grandfather, James, chose to return with some Lakota back to the U.S. via Montana (west of the path of other tribes.) Those Lakota joined cousins of the Assiniboine tribe at the Fort Peck Agency in northeastern Montana. This was also a time of deeply emotional decisions by members of our family. Samuel Watters chose to take his family and separately move back to Minnesota. Details of that move and whatever happened to he and his family are once again scarce, except for a death record of Samuel in Ottertail, Minnesota. His son, James, on the other hand decided that he must begin to hide his Lakota heritage if he wanted to own land and have a future in America. James met and married Eliza Coffey, an Irish woman whose family lived in that area of Montana at the time. James homesteaded near the intersection of the Missouri River (Big Muddy) and Milk River. There they raised their family of eleven children, farming and hunting (but all the while being very cognizant of hiding any Lakota connections.) The children were an interesting mix of clearly Lakota looking people (much like James), but also with fair skinned and even some red-headed ones! When asked about the darker character of some members of the family, James explained that we were descended from “black Irish” lineage. The ruse worked and my family thrived in the Fort Peck area, but never associated with relatives on the reservation there. Some of my uncles even went so far as to deride “the lazy Indians on that reservation.”

Anyway, fast forward to all of my father’s family getting older, going away to college, starting their own families and moving to one coast or the other, (Montana winters had taken their toll on their collective psyches.) Many of us ended up in Sacramento, California, and life went on for the Watters, the Irish Watters. The only conflicts of note were the occasional bout between the Protestant and Catholic sides of the family, but those usually boiled over harmlessly, (unlike things back in Ireland.) Most of the families gathered every summer back in Montana to visit the grandparents and Uncle Arvie (the sole member who stayed on to ranch and farm.) Us kids spent those summers hunting, riding horses, learning how to drive the farm trucks, working the harvest and more. I always recall the “tack room” my Uncle Arvie had on his farm. It was loaded with the most wonderful collection of leather goods; saddles, bridles and more. And, there were many handcrafted bows and arrows among the weaponry in that room. I suppose I should have suspected some Indian connection in my family, what with all the prowess in hunting and horseback skills, but again, no one in the family ever brought up Indians in conversation. Then, one summer when we were much older, and apparently with the blessing of my now very old grandfather (James), my own father pulled out an old sepia tone photograph of a Lakota woman. The resemblance to my grandfather and my own father and a couple of his brothers was uncanny. It was then that I first knew of our Lakota heritage, and yet still it was a secret between my father and me. Sadly, the family still harbored fears of being “found out”, even though at this point it would not have mattered. I guess my father felt a deep need to recognize this heritage with me? We had done Boy Scouts for many years, and my father always emphasized the Indian lore aspect of Scouting. In fact, we both joined the Order of the Arrow, a subgroup of Boy Scouts dedicated to Native American culture. His own skills as a Lakota warrior became very apparent; horse whisperer, wonderful worker of leather and natural materials, an amazing hunting eye and skill. That time passed too quickly for me, and especially for him. I went on to playing football and forgot all about those Order of the Arrow days.

Fast forward again, I have raised my own family and “retired” from regular work. All the years of being a park ranger, environmental biologist and father now seemed to be speaking to me of something deeper in my spirit. I had also become a Christian in the truest sense, a disciple of Jesus. That new identity seemed to be calling me to look back, to seek my roots. This new journey led to expanding our family tree, which had been mistakenly “altered” at the point of Samuel and his alleged wife in that tree. Thus this story was born, and it has given me a deeper understanding of who I am, not only as a Lakota Celtic, but as a follower of Jesus, and through Him of the Great Mystery, the Holy Trinity. It has given me a loving and compassionate attitude for other people groups and religions; it has made me a better person. I realize I am on a journey with still more seasons to experience, but now the journey has a destination, even if I don’t know where the next step leads. I have found purpose, God’s purpose, in my life as a disciple. I have found identity in my heritage as a holy man (shaman, priest, etc.) but also as a heyoka (clown in the Lakota sense.) Henri Nouwen would call it “wounded healer”, or one who takes his own story and struggles, and uses them to give comfort and healing to others. Not that I have “arrived”, but I have a more clear path . . . the Narrow Road, the Good Red Road of Jesus Christ. From Patrick and Columcille, to Nicholas Black Elk and Crazy Horse, I have found relatives and spiritual mentors from the past who continue to “speak” to me today. They point me to the Way, they affirm my path and guidebook, the Bible, and they join me in the Journey.

Mitakuye Oyasin, Bennacht De Ort, (“All My Relatives” in Lakota and “God Bless You” in Gaelic, the language of the Celtic peoples)

Patrick Perching Eagle Watters, Lakota and Celtic

[Among resources that have provided both physical and spiritual “evidence” for this story are; Nicholas Black Elk – Medicine Man, Missionary, Mystic by Michael F. Steltenkamp, and Stories of the Celtic Soul Friends – Their Meaning for Today by Edward C. Sellner. These two books, among other written forms, have been instrumental in seeing my family history in a spiritual light, as well as providing some vital physical history.]

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

From Celtic Daily Prayer - Blessings

Prayers of blessing

Bless us, Lord, this day with vision. May this place be a sacred place, a telling place, where heaven and earth meet.
Lord, bless the work that we do;
bless it,
and keep us in Your power.
Bless to me, O Lord,
the earth beneath my feet;
bless to me, O Lord,
the path I tread:
my walk this day with the Father,
my walk this day with Christ,
my walk this day with the Spirit.
I thank You for this, my God: I am a traveller and stranger in the world, like so many of Your people before me.

Would it not be the beautiful thing now, if you were just coming instead of going?

May the road rise to meet you;
may the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face
and the rain fall softly on your fields.
Until we meet again
may God hold you
in the hollow of His hand.

I bless you, (Name)/darling one,
in the name of the Holy Three,
the Father, the Son and the Sacred Spirit.
May you drink deeply
from God's cup of joy.
May the night bring you quiet.
And when you come
to the Father's palace
may His door be open
and the welcome warm.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

following Jesus along the Narrow Road . . .

I sometimes (often?) wonder why so many Christians are satisfied with “consumer christianity” and avoid following Jesus . . . being a disciple, an apprentice to the One who redeemed us?
Psalm 119:141-143
141 Though I am lowly and despised,
I do not forget your precepts.
142 Your righteousness is everlasting
and your law is true.
143 Trouble and distress have come upon me,
but your commands are my delight.
Jeremiah 9:23-24
23 This is what the LORD says:
"Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom
or the strong man boast of his strength
or the rich man boast of his riches,
24 but let him who boasts boast about this:
that he understands and knows me,
that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness,
justice and righteousness on earth,
for in these I delight,"
declares the LORD.
Matthew 11:25-26
25At that time Jesus said, "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. 26Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.

I am small and despised.''Yes, but have I not said, "Do not despise the day of small things!"?' Amy Carmichael

I'd rather be a little thing climbing up than a big thing tumbling down Old Sunday-school song

The man to whom little is not enough will not benefit from more. Columbanus

Many a man has grown upright because his tendrils have clung to a cross. Hugh Redwood

By Your cross and resurrection You have redeemed the world. Say but the word, give me understanding, and I shall live. I shall not die, but I shall live and proclaim what You have done, Lord. Just say the word, Lord. Speak it to me. There is a power within the word You speak which is greater than the word itself. Give me understanding. Only You can impart revelation. People may explain to me, but only You can reveal it to me, even then, in a way that makes me realize it. Realize that word within my heart. Realize Your word in my life. Make it real, Lord, in me. Let Jesus the Living Word become flesh again, and live among us, spoken through our lives to a world that is dying for want of the knowledge of Him. Send forth Your word and heal them. Let Your glory be over all the earth.
Arthur Burt and Andy Raine

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Patrick Perching Eagle

I have used that name in my storytelling times, but it has great significance in my own life and that of my family. My parents named me after St. Patrick (patron saint of Ireland), and the parallels of his life and that of my family are seen in many ways. Recently, a pastor of mine suggested I read "Stories of the Celtic Soul Friends - Their Meaning for Today" by Edward Sellner. The chapter on Patrick of Armagh was a true revelation to me. That book coupled with another by Michael Steltenkamp (SOJ) titled Nicholas Black Elk - Medicine Man, Missionary, Mystic, completes for me a "who I am" in God's Kingdom and how that has been formed through my family's history. Lakota and Celtic - a beautiful mix of God's making.

Now, while I find these books to have great personal interest, I can also recommend them to those who love stories of the Celtic saints, and those who love native American history and culture, especially in the 1800's to early 1900's. For me, these books, and God's Word and Spirit have given me another "guidepost(s)" along the Narrow Road.

Mitakuye Oyasin Bennacht De Ort, Patrick Perching Eagle

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

a "healing ministry" . . . ???

PnP On The Road – a “healing ministry”???

It is your business and others' to go forth, being available to
them face to face, for that is the only way of bringing them to Me. For when you are face to face with them, you love them, and once you love them, then I can speak through you.
From Molchanie by Catherine de Hueck Doherty

His love that burns inside me impels me on the road to seek for Christ in the stranger's face or feel the absence of His touch, then to be His hands and feet.

Make friends of God's children; help those who are weak; forgetting in nothing, His blessing to seek.
William D. Longstaff

Oh the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person; having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but to pour them all out, just as they are, chaff and grain together, knowing that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then, with the breath of kindness, blow the rest away.
George Eliot

If your heart is right with my heart, give me your hand, the right hand of fellowship, the right hand of brotherhood. If your heart is right with my heart, give me your hand. Anon from Celtic Daily Prayer

2 Corinthians 1:3-5 (New International Version)
The God of All Comfort
3Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 5For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.

PnP On The Road . . . it is, in a sense, a healing ministry in that we simply allow ourselves to be used by the Lord wherever and to whomever He sends us. To be vulnerable and available is the rule we live by.

Christ as a light, Christ as a shield, may the Peace of the Lord Christ go with you.

[Inspired by Celtic Daily Prayer, Aidan readings for October 13 and the daily morning prayers.]

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

is it the dweeb, or our Father disciplining us???

"When things seem really bad we might need to hesitate before assuming it's against us and out to get us. As Gamaliel pointed out, we need to be careful just in case it's God we'd be fighting in rejecting it." [from Celtic Daily Prayer, Aidan readings, October 11]

It's not necessarily always the dweeb . . . we too often give him too much credit for trouble in our lives. We need to stop, look and listen to see if God is trying to get our attention.

"Great questions stand unanswered before us, and defy our best wisdom. Though our ignorance is great, at least we know we do not know. When we don't know what to say (or do), best to keep quiet and seek Him." Peter Marshall

He disciplines those He loves . . . Proverbs 3:12 & Hebrews 12:6 . . . among others.

The ancient fathers and mothers (a Kempis, Teresa de Avila, and more) have learned this lesson and passed it along for those who would "hear" it.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

A Two Month Old Changes Everything

A Two Month Old Changes Everything . . . Then Again, Maybe Not?!
A two month old grandson changes everything . . . well, it seems like it anyway?! Quiet time that used to be first and foremost for an hour or more each morning has become baby feeding, changing and entertaining time . . . déjà vu!
Riley, the dog, takes his usual place at my feet and attempts to entertain little Anthony when I finally get to “quiet time”, but sometimes the little guy just wants to be held. And, because I’m an “old guy” these days . . . well, it suits me fine . . . all things in God’s time.
The Lord has truly placed eternity in my heart and is allowing me to live His Kingdom life here and now. Each day, each moment is a blessing and a gift (ah, such sweet “knowledge”, thanks be to God my heart has finally grasp it.)
I have been acquainted with “earthly” death, my own, and that of others close to me. I fear it not, and in that, find great freedom and Peace. The prayer attributed to St. Francis has become my own:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon:
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope
where there is darkness, light
where there is sadness, joy
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.
More encouragement from Celtic Daily Prayer (my daily devotional):
In the night Your song will be with me, will be with me, in the night. A song keeps singing in my heart for I am Yours and You, Lord, are mine, and all my times are in Your hand.
Lord of my heart,
give me vision to inspire me, that working or resting,
I may always think of You. Lord of my heart,
give me light to guide me, that, at home or abroad,
I may always walk in Your way.
From Robert van de Weyer's anthology, Celtic Fire
With Your inspiration the pilgrim is fired, is filled with courage to tackle the way.
He treks through Tear Valley and makes it a spring, a blessing, like early rain bringing new life. He takes the path inward to stand before God.

Believer, hold Him high that all may see the light of Jesus in a son of man.
Poor Joseph fell foul of his brothers' jealousy. In the bottom of his pit it took a lot of imagination to believe any good could ever come of it.
From The Othona Psalms

The earth is full of Your steadfast love, but now teach me Your commands. It is me that is out of step, out of tune, discordant and jarring.
The brightest colour upon His palette is of no use to the Artist if it refuses to blend with the others.
Hugh Redwood
We need to find our place in God's purpose, receptive and open to His direction and inspiration; and all creation waits as it were on tiptoe in excited anticipation of what can happen if we assume the destiny for which we were created, and stand as 'sons of God'. We become 'Christ-carriers'.
Anyone who strives to climb out of a pit will not pray that its sides shall be smooth.
Hugh Redwood
Withdraw not Thy hand, O my God, from me here, O Chief of the chiefs, O withdraw not Thy hand.
From Poems of the Western Highlanders
When things seem really bad we might need to hesitate before assuming it's against us and out to get us. As Gamaliel pointed out, we need to be careful just in case it's God we'd be fighting in rejecting it.
Great questions stand unanswered before us, and defy our best wisdom. Though our ignorance is great, at least we know we do not know. When we don't know what to say, keep us quiet.
Peter Marshall
O God, forgive the poverty and pettiness of our prayers. Listen not to our words, but to the yearning of our hearts. Hear beneath our petitions the crying of our need.
Peter Marshall
God, You hear within us the groanings so deep they cannot even be uttered. Let Your tender mercies come unto us that we may live again.
'Can I not do with you as the Potter?' says the Lord God. Lord, help me to realize that I am Your project.
Have Your own way, Lord, have Your own way You are the Potter - I am the clay Mould me and make me after Your will while I am waiting, yielding and still.
Adelaide A. Pollard
'Can I not do with you as the Potter?' 'Yes.'

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

HOPE . . .

The "world", especially the western world and American culture give us no reason for hope in this life. And, the church often does no better, teaching that we can get our "ticket" punched for Heaven, but again offering us no hope in this life. Leaving us with the modernist lament, "Life's a bitch, then you die." But Jesus taught us differently. He told us the Kingdom is here and now! If we would but have "eyes" to see and "ears" to hear we will encounter the living Lord in our seemingly mundane daily lives, and discover the "abundant life" He promised. "Seek first the Kingdom,and all else will be added." This IS the HOPE that is missing from our lives, from the lives of so many disenchanted, even nihilistic, young people. This IS the REALITY, not the paltry, shallow nonsense pedaled by the media and our pathetic culture. We do have a choice in this life . . . choose the Way of the One called Jesus. Not talking consumer Christianity or pop religion here, but the path of the "ancients" . . . the tried and true Narrow Road. It's there and you will find it if you seek it. The "road map", the divine GPS unit if you will, is the Bible. And, there are "guides" to assist you along the way as well.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Please be careful with your relationships . . .

Infidelity is a large, invasive and destructive weed that grows from the most seemingly insignificant seed of indiscretion. Anon E. Moose

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Celtic Pilgrimage

Celtic Pilgrimage - love to do this someday, and it's on my "bucket list". St. Patrick to Columba to Aidan . . . from Armagh & Clonmacnoise to Iona to Lindisfarne. Tracing those Watters family roots . . . they that did dwell by loch and sea.

some "openings" over recent days

As we have come alongside others in their times of struggle recently, God has shown us His Kingdom . . . the here and now Kingdom in Christ.

Healing ministry - our own presence as God's Presence to others . . . may we not only be "living sacrifices" but also "living prayers" for one another.

Our lives seem filled with despair and hopelessness lately, but its a result of coming alongside others in their dark times. Being "present" to one another as God's Presence is often not easy, but being light and salt is always a blessing. We are called to be "messengers" of a HOPE that surpasses both darkness and world, and as Henri Nouwen would say, "In the Name of Jesus".

My wonderful wife, Patti, has been "hearing" "healing ministry", and sensing God's voice in that for her (us?) Lately, we are finding this is not so much a "ministry" or program, but a life lived in His Kingdom, here and now. The best example I can think of right now is that of the Northumbria Community and their "ru...le" - Vulnerability & Availability. I think Larry Crabb (Connecting) would agree? Lord have mercy.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Vulnerability and Availability

Vulnerable and Available - These two traits are keys to true fellowship in Christ, AND to healing as well. Yet, we resist being vulnerable, even fear it. We keep our own brokenness to ourselves where it is useless to heal us OR others! And, what about availability? We exercise this trait in token only, because, without being vulnerable, we cannot be truly available. So we walk around reflecting the world, instead of Christ.

Let's GET REAL in Him! Not just self deprecating "humor", but real vulnerability and availability. In Christ we can do all things, even express truthfully our own brokenness, then be a healing instrument in God's hands.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Mystic Revolutionaries . . .

Jesus followers - mystic revolutionaries who believe that changing the human heart and changing human society are not separate tasks, but are as interconnected as the two beams of the cross.

Generally speaking, pastors/shepherds in our time have become unfamiliar with, and even somewhat afraid of, the deep and significant movements of the Spirit.

Preaching must be the careful and sensitive articulation of what is happening in the community so that those who listen can say, "You say what I only suspected, you clearly express what I vaguely felt, you bring to the fore what I fearfully kept in the back of my mind. Yes, yes -- you say who we are, you recognize our condition."

Maybe it is past time for the "priesthood of all believers" to step up and be those Christ has called and is calling to "Go" into His inbreaking Kingdom?!

If there is any posture that disturbs a suffering man or woman, it is aloofness. The tragedy of Christian ministry is that many who are in great need, many who seek and attentive ear, a word of support, a forgiving embrace, a firm hand, a tender smile, or even a stuttering confession of inability to do more, often find their ministers distant people who do not want to "burn their fingers."

The beginning and the end of Christian leadership is to give your life for others. Are you prepared to do that? It is requires your all . . . is it your "season" in the LORD?!

Are any of you prepared to accept your role as, to be, "wounded ministers", and hence, "healing ministers"?!

[inspired by Henri Nouwen in Wounded Healer and other works . . .]

Thursday, September 2, 2010

from the Links Fellowship & Randy Wolf

Increasingly in our time, people assume that all that is needed for spiritual growth is Bible study, or church attendance, or a prayerful walk with God under the shadows or along the banks of His creation. But some issues in life will never be changed by Bible study, church attendance, or even prayer alone. God uses people. He wants us to grow together.
This is best described by Henri Nouwen in his book, Ministry of Presence:

More and more, the desire grows in me simply to walk around, greet people, enter their homes, sit on their door steps, play ball, throw water, and be known as someone who wants to live with them. It is a privilege to have the time to practice this simple ministry of presence.

Still, it is not as simple as it seems. My own desire to be useful, to do something significant, or to be part of some impressive project is so strong that soon my time is taken up by meetings, conferences, study groups, and workshops that prevent me from walking the streets. It is difficult not to have plans, not to organize people around an urgent cause, and not to feel that you are working directly for social progress.

But I wonder more and more if the first thing shouldn't be to know people by name, to eat and drink with them, to listen to their stories and tell your own, and to let them know with words, handshakes, and hugs that you do not simply like them, but you truly love them.

You cannot grow to Christlikeness in isolation. We must be around others and interact. We all need to be a part of a Christ-honoring, people-loving community--not only for what we can get but what we can give.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

the next (big) step in following Christ . . .

August 12, 2010 (drafted), August 23, 2010 (revised and sent after ten days in prayer)

Fremont Presbyterian Church Session & Family –

Subject: Patrick & Patricia Watters acceptance of call to discipleship/soul care ministry

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

This decision has been a very long time coming, and not without considerable deliberation in prayer, by ourselves, and with others. We have been in a season of “waiting” for about two years, during which time God has spoken to our hearts through His Word, other authors, people and circumstances. It is also not take lightly, as Patti and I have always considered our ties to Fremont to be similar to a marriage covenant.

Many of you may know of our recent “journey” with the congregation of River Life Covenant through the cancer and eventual death of Dr. David Kilmer, our long time close friend and Brother in Christ, who was an elder at River Life. During the past year or so we have ministered to Dave’s family, and to the larger family at River Life, and this during a time of pastoral transition for them. It has become clear that God is “calling” us to ministry at River Life, and that “call” has been confirmed and affirmed by the new pastor, leadership team and many members there.

Again, we have had many “leadings” or “openings” from His Word and Spirit in this time, not to mention wise words from trusted Brothers and Sisters in Christ who know and love us, and the Lord. An example of encouragement (exhortation?!), You have a long tie and affection for Fremont as a thing (Wesley would call it an unholy affection, I think). But the brothers and sisters in Christ, Fremonters or not, are STILL your brothers and sisters in Christ. There is only One Body, One Church, One Faith, One Lord, One Baptism. You cannot leave the church, without leaving Jesus (but it is no problem leaving this or that building or organization or denomination—).”

We have grown in Christ during our time at Fremont, and have raised our family within the community of faith there. But, as our spiritual friend says above, it is the Body we belong to, not any particular “church” or denomination. Many of you also know of our extensive involvement in “para church” ministries; Young Life, E49 Corp. and others. It is that para church experience that has given us a larger vision of the true Church of Jesus Christ, the organism called the Body. And, our sincere intention is to remain closely related to that Body, including that part that calls itself Fremont, as we enter this new season of serving our Lord. It is also our hope to see partnerships continue to be made among area churches, especially in the area of discipleship and discipling (and all those words mean; healing, mentoring, teaching . . . preparing and partnering with God to see His Son formed in us . . . in a word, transformation.)

In closing, we don’t see this as so much a “leaving” as a “going”, much as Abram and Sarah did in faith so long ago. However, we do tender our resignation from the institutions known as the PCUSA and Fremont Presbyterian Church, as we sense this is a necessary part of our going. We have learned to have complete trust in God and His Providence, surrender and submission have become much easier in this season, thanks be to God. We go in the abundant Grace and Love of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and wish you all the Peace of Christ as we do.

Only by Grace,

Pat & Patti Watters

Monday, August 23, 2010

more on pilgrimage . . . when heaven breaks in

Inspired from quiet time in Celtic Daily Prayer, 8/23/10:

In 561 Columba arrived on lona with his twelve; in 1938 MacLeod arrived with another band of twelve, half craftsmen without jobs, half students for the ministry. They built a wooden shed to live in by the fallen monastery and began the work of re-building. MacLeod recounts that the group needed money with which to get its project started. 'I wrote to the richest man I knew. He replied that I should go see a psychiatrist at once. Then I asked - me a pacifist, mind you - Sir James Lithgow, a builder of warships at his Govan shipyard. He was interested, but asked if I would give up my pacifism if he gave me the £5,000.1 said "Not on your life." "Then," he said, "I will give you your £5,000." ‘Materials were hard to obtain: 'The war was on and the government commandeered all timber. But a ship coming from Canada struck a storm and jettisoned its cargo of lumber in the Atlantic. The tirnber floated 80 miles, finally landed on Mull, opposite lona - and all the right length! It roofs the lona library today.'

If we are “building” for God, He will provide. However, if we are building idols of and for ourselves then He cannot support it.

It's not my brother or my sister but it's me, O Lord: standing in the need of prayer. We are so warm in our own self-esteem that we freeze the folks around us. We get so high in our own estimation that we stand isolated on a mountain top of self-righteousness. That is why You came: Lord Jesus: not to save the lecherous but to turn the righteous to repentance. And it is me, O Lord. I am the lost who needs saving.

There are “places” where the veil between heaven and earth is very thin, “thin places” where only a tissue paper separates the material from the spiritual. Many people have tried to express the experience of such places, but words escape them, and they can only return to them hoping to regain the experience again. Some will visit physically places like Iona, Lindisfarne or Clonmacnoise, but most of us “visit” in our hearts wherever God has us.

God asks, 'Who will go for me?

Who will extend my reach? And who, when few will listen

will prophesy and preach? And who, when few bid welcome,

will offer all they know? And who, when few dare follow,

will walk the road I show?'

John L. Bell & Graham Maule, The Wild Goose of lona'

May my life be a living sacrifice to you, O God, a pleasant offering in the Name of Your Son.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Discipleship . . . personalized

The journey of following Christ, of discipleship, will "look" different for each person and each season when we choose to follow. The Lord knows each of us intimately and His plans are designed in love and grace with our particular needs in mind. [For me personally, an example of this is how God has given me The Imitation of Christ (by Thomas a' Kempis) as a constant companion because I need the daily reminder of my pride and lack of love for others.] If we are faithful in our devotions (disciplines) He will meet us at our point(s) of greatest need, and by His Spirit will transform us into the likeness of His Son . . . the process and journey of discipleship/spiritual formation. This is the abundant life our Lord and Savior promised.

only by Grace,


P.S. recommending once again The Complete Book of Discipleship and the Renovare resources . . .