Bdote, Seth Eastman in 1848

Updated 11/21/20

[I’m updating this post as many prepare for Thanksgiving amidst the worst COVID spike since the beginning of the pandemic. And as stories of Pilgrims and Indians play again, construction of a new, unnecessary and dangerous Enbridge Line 3 Tar Sands Pipeline is set to begin November 30. Please, as you read, get involved in prayerful, political and material support of Water Protectors. Honor the water and our indigenous siblings. Here are ways to get involved:

If you’re in Minnesota, take politcal action today and join in the effort to reach Attorney General Keith Ellison asking…

breathe in + breathe out


logion 35

You cannot take a strong man’s house
by force unless you first
bind his hands and remove him.


Reflection: He’s been getting in his reps the strong man in my body-mind His reflexes are lightning fast He moves, seemingly effortless He is my defensiveness my defenses He is my coping, my compensating my judging He sculpts my bias He is my trauma, our trauma He’s defined the boundary of my reality And he consumes a lot of calories feeding on my soul gnawing on my relationships He’s got me stuck standing…

There was this great sketch on SNL last December. Kristen Wiig was hosting the Christmas show. It was one of those music videos — look it up — “SNL Kristen Wiig Christmas Morning.” Essentially, it’s two kids, a dad and mom taking turns Blondie-esque rapping about all the great stuff they got. Except, the mom only got a robe. Each time they come back to her, she sardonically rhymes about how “nice” her robe is, and how she burned her hand making Christmas breakfast, and how she stuffs the pain of being neglected deep inside. It’s not that she wants…

logion 34 If the blind are leading the blind they will topple together into a pit. ** I love how so many of the logia spoken by Jesus, like so many of the wisdom sayings spoken by teachers across time and culture, bring it back to the body. Body is not simply a convenient metaphor. Body shows up in the great teachings because body is the pathway. But, what’s up with the able-ism, Jesus? Mute, deaf, paralyzed, and here, blind. Always, it seems, associated with lack? Would Jesus be cancelled by popular culture today? There’s a question to sit with…

breathe in + breathe out

logion 33

What you hear with one ear,
listen to with both,
and then proclaim
from the rooftops.

For no one lights a lamp
and then hides it away.
It is placed on a lamp-stand instead
where those who pass by
may see by its light.


Reflection: Many think the Judeo-Christian story begins with “In the beginning…,” but it truly begins with “I have heard my people’s cries…” It begins when a people, suffering enslavement and oppression, cry out and their cries are met with deep listening and compassionate action. Loving relationship expressed…

Kitty corner from where Philando served kids smiles up and down stairs a dolly, one step at a time and one wheel flat cases of water laundry detergent, toilet paper from folx who make their home in St Paul to homes besieged by green marking rounds and irritant incapacitant containers The donated rubber gloves won’t help fumigate the apartment where black mother has just returned from a third visit to the ER Asthma and taxpayer tear gas Hard to go to work when you can’t breathe Hard to be alive when tax payer bullets are in your chest Hard…

breathe in + breathe out


logion 32

A city built and fortified
on a mountaintop cannot fall,
but neither can it be hidden.


The ancient walls of Megiddo

Reflection: I remember Megiddo, Armageddon, a tel surrounded by plains stretching to the horizon. It was a city built on a hill, and it could not be hidden. Century after century — millennia even – it was attacked. Besieged. And often, the people within survived. The mountain walls and hard-earned wisdom allowed them to hold strong and fend of the invader. But there was something more critical to their resilience, even thriving. In the midst…

I did a chaplain shift at George Floyd Square last night.

On my drive in, I passed armored trucks and humvees -

on the freeway in Arden Hills,

on the 35-W Bridge,

on random corners of South Minneapolis as I picked up donated materials for prayer flags (to be hung by pilgrims at GFS & Brookly Center).

On my drive out, I rolled through Uptown, my old stomping grounds.

I passed more war vehicles

and there were dozens of businesses boarded up.

At the Square though…

I sat by a fire and talked with beloved community.

I saw art as prayer all around.

And I was offered hot fresh chicken wings and endless one-liners

from Frank, a staple at GFS.

Why is the state making war while the people make friends?

If only…

Only if

the rows of humvees I saw

as I drove my kids home for dinner

were a row of mourners

making pilgrimage to honor his life

to lay flowers

on the concrete stained red

to weep

for the pieces of them that died when

one of their own killed, only if, one of their own

Only if

their clothes were black for the lives that matter and

their riot gear was turned back

into tax dollars that served

the people

Only if press conferences were neighbors gathered

to listen

to hear neighbor speak of the harm done

breathe in + breathe out


logion 31

No prophet is welcomed home.
No healer cures acquaintances.


Reflection: Familiarity becomes problematic when it closes us off from wonder. We keep things close and categorized because it allows us to exercise a certain power over — a certain level of control. Sadly, this closeness inhibits our ability to see the greater whole and muffles invitations to expansive healing, whether they be embodied in a truth-telling other or in that still small voice within. It is in learning to be in our bodies — learning to navigate through fear and addressing…

Mike Rusert

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