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One of my friends works at a company that makes customized blankets and yard banners and much, much more.  Recently she explained to me how they do it.  When they make a blanket that is printed with an image of someone’s pet, they first print that image in reverse on a blanket-sized piece of paper.  Once that has been done, the blanket must be spread out oh so carefully so that it feeds through the steam press without shifting or wrinkling.  Then, as it passes over the paper, is it blasted with super steam.  The steam transfers and sets the image.

When I learn something and don’t use it, I forget. Then I find myself having to re-learn that particular skill.

Praying for my enemies?  Oh, yeah.  That does work.  It really changes my stinking thinking around.

Using my prayer beads?  Right — it slows down my thoughts and keeps my praying for much longer than my usual short-and-sweet memos to God.

Praying while I walk a labyrinth?  That’s one of the best places for me to hear God.

Knowledge that I don’t use is quickly lost.  Sure, it is wonderful when I regain it but how much better is it when use sets it up as a reliable practice?  Set by steam, ready for daily use.


They say the wise man knows he knows nothing.
Though I am not wise, what I know could fit
on the width of a dime, on the lean edge
of a knife, on an atom. With careful cursive,
I could inscribe my life’s learning on the tittle
of an i. But what I know, I know boldly, down
to the soft center of my bones, a level so molecular
that the truth runnels into my porous soul
and mingles with my being. The truth is this:
Love is everything. It is quest and craft,
the only answer worth seeking, living and
dying for, chasing into strange lands and
distant ports. It is the only place to pin
your hopes, like stars on the blanket of the sky.
It is both work and worth of a lifetime.
But even greater: God is love.

“I don’t know. Let’s look that up.”

It was one of the most common phrases around here when my son was growing up.  Actually, now that I think about it, it is still really common, but there are three adults in the house to look things up.  Thank God for Google.

Yesterday in adult Sunday school, someone told us about a church she had visited as a teen.  The pastor told her that they didn’t believe in the Trinity because “we don’t understand it.”  Whoa! What?

How can you not believe in things you don’t understand?  If that was the case, I’d cease to believe in a good chunk of humanity, calculus, and a whole lot of other things.

I can’t say that I always love not knowing something or not understanding.  One of the men, a retired engineer, is way too good at putting me on the spot.  But I think he enjoys it.  “You always looks so surprised!”

But how can we learn and grow if we thing we know everything?  Isn’t that an attempt to put ourselves on the same level as God?

I’m okay admitting that I don’t fully understand the Trinity.  I’m enjoying studying about it but that study would probably be a lot less interesting if I already knew it all.

What are some of the things about faith that you find “un-knowable”?


“A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing.” That’s one of those things my mom said all the time.  When I was a kid, I thought she meant that we need to know a lot.  Because if we know a lot, we won’t make mistakes.

Of course, when I was a kid, I also thought that the story of the Garden of Eden was all about obedience.  And that’s definitely part of it.

But as I got older and graduated from high school and then went on to college, I started to wonder about the Tree of Knowledge.  Why was God so keen on keeping us away from it?  People do great things with knowledge.

The older I get, the more certain I am that people are pretty clueless.  Although this was a moment of clarity for me, God knew it all along.  Tree of Knowledge?  Can we toddler proof the Garden?


Knowledge is like paintHow do we know what we know?  It sounds like a riddle or a tongue twister.  But think about it.  How do you know something?  Is it because someone told you?  You saw it with your own eyes?  Or you experienced it?

There are a wide variety of ways to attain knowledge.  Many animals learn only from their own experiences.  Eating X made me sick.  

Other animals can learn by witnessing another experience something.  That’s going to leave a bruise!  

Human beings can learn in yet another way.  We can learn through what we hear and what we read.  God gifted us as a species with insatiable curiosity.  My advice to you — Listen to people who are unlike yourself. Read, read and read some more.

Why?  Because you can’t paint with an empty can. 


Have a Mary Little Christmas

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