Office
TPC Integrative Psychotherapy and Pastoral Counseling
312 West Millbook Road
Suite 109
Raleigh, NC 27609
(919) 845-9977 ext. 207 

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About Me

Certified Fee-Based Practicing Pastoral Counselor
(919) 845-9977 ext. 207
Email Me

Education and Training
Campbell University
Duke University
University of Wales Cardiff
North Carolina State University
WakeMed Health & Hospitals
Alamance Institute for Pastoral Counseling

Experience
Pastoral Counseling
Hospital Chaplain
University Chaplain

 

 

Sunday
Oct062013

The Guest House by Rumi

THE GUEST HOUSE

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

--Rumi

Sunday
Aug252013

Beannacht - John O-Donohue

Monday
Jul292013

Soteriology, or the doctrine of repurposing 

While leading a small group discussion yesterday, I was struck by a new image of salvation.  The concept of “repurposing” (i.e., recycling and reusing old wood/materials for a new use or project) was connected to the Christian idea of salvation.

I am big fan of repurposing, especially in some my woodworking projects.  There’s a table I built in my office made out of materials from my parents’ old screened in porch. I have a bulletin board at home recreated from wine corks and scrap lumber from previous projects.  And, I built a planter box on the deck which is made from an old wood pallet I found trashed behind the local hardware store.

Old materials could go to waste or they can be given a new purpose. Obviously, the latter is my preference.

While our tendency is to think of salvation as only a future reality (something that happens once we’ve died), our challenge yesterday was to reform even the idea of what salvation can mean for us presently. Isn’t it a present reality as well as a future one? Isn’t there some present usefulness to “being saved?” Isn’t there some good use right now for this old bag of bones, flesh, and blood that can add beauty, meaning, and purpose in this life as well as the next?

Repurposing old wood takes more time, energy, creativity, adjustment, and flexibility. And I am thankful that for “those who are being saved,” God embodies these characteristics quite well.

Tuesday
Jun182013

a buckhead eucharist

(Repost from a few years ago because I heard someone use the phrase today, "That was one of my favorite meals."  So, here's a story of one of mine.)

Some years ago, we ate with some friends in Atlanta. I joined my wife with two of her friends from work along with one of her friend's partner. The five of us enjoyed a great meal...a couple of snapper specials, the salmon, grits of some kind, prickly pear margaritas, a dos equis, a stella artois, and a pint of guinness. Desserts came too.

But, nothing tasted as good as the conversation. 

For three co-workers, it seemed wonderful (and necessary!) to commiserate and celebrate about work. The two "significant others" sat quietly, for a little while at least, in support of this make-shift group counseling session. But then, the attention bounced in my direction. What was I up to these days? With genuine interest, affirmation and support, my new friends listened to the tale that is my journey. They also listened to our trials and triumphs of being parents.

We listened to a sense of loss and grief of one whose father recently died and how she's getting away to put her toes in the sand on this "father's day" weekend.

We all then listened to the other couple's struggles at their church. And of course, I offered my take on the problems that arise when folks working for the Kingdom get bogged down trying to run it as a business. Then we all commiserated that something's just not right in the world of Christianity.

And so, a single Episcopalian, two gay Methodists, and two Baptists of some sort gathered at the table giving thanks in a communal sense. 

Had I known how the night would have played out, I probably should have started by saying, "On the night when Jesus was betrayed, he gathered in an upper room...he took bread...he took the cup...do this in remembrance of me."

Thursday
Jun132013

simply holy, wholly simple

I was on-call at a hospital some years ago, on a Sunday to be specific. A standing responsibility as chaplain on a Sunday was to lead a chapel service in two locations of the hospital. In one setting, six patients and I came together to meet God. No one arrived without help from a nursing aide and I greeted each one as they were brought in.

One had a hip replacement. Another had heart problems. Others had a stroke, an accident, or some situation they didn’t offer this congregation of saints and sinners. From the first few moments, I wanted to take off my shoes. The holiness of this gathering was almost as visible as the tears that it caused. 

I shared a reading from Psalm 139 suggesting that there’s no place we can go to escape the presence and power of God. Before I could ask, others starting sharing their stories, most of which were told through tears. When I was trying to bring things to a close, I asked if anyone had a song they’d like to offer making some joke about not wanting to sing myself. As most everyone laughed, one patient quietly said, “I’ve got something to offer.” And he began to sing. As large tears marked his rough face, his offering marked my soul. 

What God has for me, it is for me.
What God has for me, it is for me.
I know without a doubt, that he will bring me out.
What God has for me, it is for me.
(It is for Me,” Miami Mass Choir)

I prayed our closing prayer calling each person by name. What struck me was that for about 45 minutes that Sunday morning, I was with the church. We normally say “at” church. But, that doesn’t seem to fit much anymore. Church isn’t a place. Nope. For me, church is a communal reality, a way of living, and a way of being human.

My poetic response.

Simple stories.
A simple song.
A simple gathering of flesh and blood, hands and feet, hearts and minds.

Simply beautiful.
Simply meaningful. 

Simply holy.
Wholly simple.