Archive for March, 2011

Water in the Cave

// March 26th, 2011 // No Comments » // Church in The Cliff, Uncategorized

This Lent we gather in the cave: an ancient place of protection and encounter with God.

We draw our attention to the sound of moving water as it trickles down cave walls and drips into shallow pools. We sit this week with lectionary passages full of water stories.

The Exodus passage (17:1-6) recounts the struggles of the Israelites wandering in the wilderness. The people are thirsty and scared. And worried not just about themselves but their children and animals. The people cry out to Moses and also to God with desperate voices. Yahweh responds and instructs Moses to strike the rock at Horeb with his staff, and fresh water pours forth for the people to drink.

Have you ever been so thirsty you were scared?

I used to go trail running at a state park when I lived in Indiana. Once I got lost. My mouth became dry with thirst and fear. My mind did funny things: I kept thinking I heard a stream up ahead but then I would realize it was just the sound of the wind rushing through the leaves. I ran and walked alone through the forest for several hours and ended up emerging at another side of the park. Relief flooded my whole system when I saw evidence of other people— cars parked in a parking lot—and I knew that I was no longer lost. It was still another long walk along a service road back to my car and the extra water I carried. As I drank it I could almost feel each one of my depleted cells being restored. Gratitude poured in with the water and replaced the dehydration and fatigue.

Lent is often characterized as a season of soul work. I wonder if it wouldn’t better be described as an invitation to soul care. The process of human transformation is uneven. As we say yes to God and move deeper into our healing, it becomes harder to maintain an internal imbalance. The tired, vulnerable, thirsty parts of ourselves call out for our attention.

What parts of you are parched and in need of replenishing?

I invite you to play around with water practices this week as you engage this question. Notice your sensation of thirst and let it remind you of your connection to other living creatures. Cultivate gratitude as you hold a glass of clean water. Drink before meals and exercise to give your body what it needs to digest and sweat. (It turns out many of us live in a state of minor dehydration most of the time, which can make other health challenges worse). Give up beverages other than tap water for a day or more and donate the money you save to help build wells in Uganda.

And join us this Sunday for conversation about our thirsty selves and our thirsty world. We will collect a special offering in honor of World Water Day to help build safe drinking wells for communities in need.



Exodus 17: 1-6

The Israelites left the desert of Syn to travel by stages, as YHWH had directed them. They camped at Rephidim, but found no drinking water. Again they turned on Moses, saying, “Give us drinking water.” Moses replied, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test YHWH?” But the people were thirsty, and complained even more to Moses. “Why did you bring us out of Egypt only to make us and our children and our livestock die of thirst?” Moses appealed to YHWH. “What am I to do with these people? They are ready to stone me!” YHWH answered Moses, “Take some of the elders and move to the front of the people. Take with you the staff with which you struck the Nile. Go! I will wait for you there by the rock of Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it for the peopel to drink.” And Moses did so, in the sight of the elders.

Con/Textualizing Lent

Readings and Discussions at 10 AM in the lounge. Facilitated by Stephanie Wyatt & Adam DJ Brett

March 27-Role and importance of sexuality in theology with the provocative Marcella Althaus-Reid

April 3-Understanding why we post-moderns are as we are with help from Jaime Clark-Soles

April 10-Why the Old Testament and Jesus’ Jewish identity really matter according to Amy-Jill Levine

April 17-Prayers and meditations from our own Jann Aldredge-Clanton as we go into Holy Week

We will have copies of the articles for the upcoming week with us each week, or save us printing costs and receive the whole packet by emailing Adam (

A message from Huma-Faith

// March 19th, 2011 // No Comments » // Church in The Cliff

Baquee says:

Greetings of peace to all!!! Though I know Forest Hill, Huma-Faith’s project for women with children may be out of the service area for Church in the Cliff. We desperately need assistance with repairing a small roof leak and replacing 2 studs and sheet rock under one of the living room windows. We need skilled volunteers or assistance with finances to pay a person in the craft. To help a woman retain her children, we need to open the house April 1st.

If you wish to volunteer or would like more information please contact Huma-Faith.

Call for Artists and Poets – DART Stations 2011

// March 19th, 2011 // 5 Comments » // Church in The Cliff, DART Stations of the Cross

DART Stations of the Cross 2011

A letter from Scott Shirley and a call for writes, poets, artists, and whosoever feels called to participate in crafting an experience of the Stations of the Cross on the DART (Dallas Area Rapid Transit). Follow the link to learn more

Keeping the Prophets Alive

// March 19th, 2011 // No Comments » // Church in The Cliff

This Lent we explore the cave, an ancient meeting-place for the Divine.

Last week we journeyed with the prophet Elijah, running from Queen Jezebel’s death threat to the cave on Mount Horeb (1 Kings 19:1-13). We imagined ourselves in his story: heart-beating, retracing the steps of Moses, troubled and listening for the voice of God anew.

This week we learn about another character on the scene in Elijah’s day: Obadiah. Obadiah was in charge of the royal residence. He cared for King Ahab and Queen Jezebel and their household—all of whom were expected to be loyal to Yahweh’s rival, Ba’al. Yet Obadiah loved Yahweh. So much so that when Jezebel was killing the prophets of Yahweh, Obadiah risked his own life to hide one hundred of them in caves and to provide them with food and water. (1 Kings 18: 1-4).

Can you imagine it? Fifty prophets living in two separate caves. The care it would take to smuggle enough food and water to sustain them. Pilfering supplies from the royal stash to nourish the voice of dissent. Obadiah sits at the intersection of the powerful and the powerless and he pivots—using his position subversively.

Prophets are the truth-tellers, the wisdom holders in any generation. They hold dear God’s deep love for the world and long to show us the way forward. I can picture Obadiah’s prophets; tucked into the cave’s dusty darkness and yearning for sunlight. Deep and resonant voices whispering together for fear of detection yet longing to call out and set things right. Stomachs tight with hunger and nursed along with only enough food and water to get by yet longing for a feast; not only for themselves but for all of God’s people.

Are there still prophets tucked away in the cave which we long to hear from?

I like to think that there is one wiry prophet who is hanging on to God’s vision for a more integrated body/spirit connection. Our tradition seems better at teaching a “body negative” or at best a “body as irrelevant” approach to spiritual life. This body prayer prophet has not yet had her day in the sun — but I hope that soon she will. I don’t know what it looks like exactly but if I squint my eyes I can see the hazy outlines of a worship experience that is one part yoga studio, one part liturgy. If you find one, please sign me up.

Some back story. I grew up in a church. I was loved by a kind community who taught kids how to sing, who took us to the border and said lets love our neighbors and build some houses. And storytellers who taught me the beauty and complexity of scripture. There was also a lot of talk of prayer– but not much talk about how prayer and bodies go together.

As I got older I longed for a lesson in how to pray with my body. I felt the tension in my shoulders of being hunched over books in high school and college, as well as the catch in my breath deep inside after a day of listening to stories in my first job at a domestic violence program.

I needed to move and find God in the movement.

So, like many in our community, I was drawn to yoga. Some coworkers taught me how to do sun salutations and I was hooked. The relationship between the breath and the movement felt so intuitive and comforting. I was never a hardcore yogi able to contort myself into super tricky headstands or anything. But a steady stream of classes and books kept me inching along in my practice.

And during the post college years, when I was mad at church for being so lame, God met me on the yoga mat. During lonely times on the mountain in Peace Corps, and the rigors of grad school I came to trust God in the simple flow of breath in and out and of conscious movement.

So I hold onto the desire of a prophetess, deep in God’s cave, who can teach me and others yearning for this kind of integrated practice.

I wonder what prophets you think our world might need to hear from? What prophets might be buried deep in the cave of your own heart?

Join us this Sunday for a fresh cappuccino and good conversation.

Peace to you,


Church in a Cave

// March 11th, 2011 // No Comments » // Church in The Cliff

Lent is an invitation. Each year it opens for us on Ash Wednesday like the mouth of a cave.
      It is the cave of Elijah, running from a death threat, heart beating and listening for the voice of God. It is the cave of our desert mothers and fathers, retreating from the excesses of the imperial cities and sitting in the quiet; weaving a basket and finding in the practice the touch of the Divine. It is the cave of our origins and the threshold of the via negativa, an ancient walk through shadows and into the heart of God. It is the cave of our new worship venue, as we say goodbye to sunlight and wind in the trees and instead draw our attention to the flicker of flame and the vibration of voice.

      Cave practices can be different for each one this Lenten season. Those enveloped by the strains of life may choose to gift themselves with one meal a day with no distractions or to prioritize some much needed self care: massage, nutritional consultation, or retreat.  Others may find the cool simplicity of the cave inviting them to a reevaluation of the material that surrounds them and a desire to strip away nonessentials. This could be as simple as reorganizing a book shelf and gifting superfluous tomes or forgoing a purchase and giving the money to Iris to help buy a water buffalo (info on our Heifer International summer mission project below).

      How is God moving in your soul this season? The invitation this Lent is to find shelter in an ancient place and to listen; trusting that the mystics who have traveled before will guide us and the Mystery will meet us.
      Join us tonight for an Ash Wednesday service with experiential meditation stations (6:30pm Kessler Theater Gallery) and Sunday for the beginning of our Lenten season.

God’s peace before, behind and beneath you this day,


Heifer International Mission Project

Church in the Cliff is a community that listens to our young people and the vision of the world they want to co-create with God. Last year Chloe spoke of her love for working with children and the arts, and she led us in an all-ages mission trip to the lower 9th ward to work with an innovative summer arts program at All Soul’s Episcopal Parish. This year Iris is coming of age.  And she brings to our community a love of animals and a strong commitment to the environment. So we are taking a pilgrimage to Heifer Ranch (July 8-11) and dreaming big. We want to buy an Ark. Price tag $5,000. It includes not one but two camels! and supports sustainable development in some of the poorest corners of the globe. Want to get involved? Join us for an info session this Sunday, 5pm, at casa Amory-Pinkerton. 2515 Gladiolus Lane. 75233. Pizza (both gluten free and gluten filled) will be served. 

Con/Textualizing Lent:

Readings and Discussions at 10 AM in Gallery.   Facilitated by Stephanie Wyatt & Adam DJ Brett
Starting this Week!
March 13 – Rethinking how we read the Bible with Dale Martin
March 20-Conceiving the trinity in light of ideas about God from other faiths – John Thatamanil
March 27-Role and importance of sexuality in theology with the provocative Marcella Althaus-Reid
April 3-Understanding why we post-moderns are as we are with help from Jaime Clark-Soles
April 10-Why the Old Testament and Jesus’ Jewish identity really matter according to Amy-Jill Levine
April 17-Prayers and meditations from our own Jann Aldredge-Clanton as we go into Holy Week
We will have copies of the articles for the upcoming week with us each week, or save us printing costs and receive the whole packet by emailing Adam (