Some Dogs Go to Heaven

Some Dogs Go to Heaven

Though prayer can have universal themes and language, sometimes it’s less about what you say or who you’re saying it to, and more about the universal language of connection and compassion. According to a recent article in the Washington Post, there’s a therapy dog named Lulu “who comforts mourners at Ballard-Durand Funeral & Cremation Services in Westchester County, N.Y. ” by putting her paws up onto the kneeler and tilting her head down.” According to the article, Lulu was taught this “praying trick,”and “she’s an added source of comfort’’ to mourners of all ages. The owner of the funeral home says “She has a calming presence. She’s a social dog who loves people and has great instincts. She’ll curl up into a ball and lay down next to an older person, or jump around with kids. She especially helps the children, since not all of them understand death.’’ I’m not sure any of us actually understand death, though we do understand the need to take and give comfort at the most difficult times. So is mimicking the actions or motions of prayer while genuinely comforting those in the deepest throes of grief a trick, or true cross-species act of compassion? In Ancient Prayer, I discuss Pitzi, my late father‘s childhood pet, who waited faithfully at the train station in Hungary every single day for over two years for my father to return from the Concentration Camps. Pitzi wasn’t trained to love or be loyal, it was just who he was intrinsically. So back to the dog trained to mimic the actions of prayer; is pretending to pray actually prayer if it helps those around you? Lulu, the dog in the story can’t read the liturgy, nor can she express words of comfort, but she can form a deep connection with those actually praying, and she can certainly comfort those needing it the most. When the words elude you or the idea of prayer seems too far away, sometimes simply being with those needing your presence can help them through the toughest times. It isn’t a party trick and you don’t have to fake it, but even if you don’t have the words, even mirroring the physical actions that offer them solace can help....

The Non-Controversy of Donald Trump and a Tallit AKA Wrapped in Prayer...

A few weeks back there was some controversy surrounding Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump donning a traditional tallit, or Jewish prayer shawl made in Israel, and gifted him by a pastor during a visit to a black church in Detroit. I kind of shrugged and saw it less as cultural appropriation (though the part about the pastor fasting over it, while also handing Trump a Jewish prayer book gave me pause) than jumping on a particular evangelical approved bandwagon. I wrote about the concept of prayer shawls being embraced in many faiths in Ancient Prayer on page 317, and you can read it...

Bono and Eugene Peterson on the Psalms

I have to rewatch this video before I can better comment. I’d also love some background on the series and Eugene Peterson in general, but as Peterson says prayer/the psalms isn’t always pretty. The longer version is below. Meanwhile, oh, how I’d love to get a copy of Ancient Prayer to Bono!  ...

Prayer is What You Believe It Is

An interview with me about Ancient Prayer on Garnet News.

#ALeapOfFaithChallenge

Starting on February 29th (Leap Day) and for next 30 days, I invite you to challenge yourself and your perceptions of who you are and take a leap of faith with me. Over the years, I’ve met and/or interviewed hundreds (though at this point it’s probably more like thousands) of interesting people from all parts of the globe and spanning all walks of life. I realize that of all their amazing accomplishments or impressive achievements, they shared a common quality– a deep abiding faith. But despite sharing this one quality, they never expressed it in exactly the same way. For some, it’s a lifelong deep abiding faith in a higher power; for others, it was the unwavering belief in their own abilities. Some of the people I most admire make their art their business, while others make business an art form. In honor of Leap Day on February 29th, 2016, I’m starting A Leap Of Faith Challenge. I’m going to profile, interview or feature some of the people I most admire across a variety of disciplines and ask them about their own leap of faith, and how the rest of us can find inspiration in their achievements. Either that or I’ll be sharing some of my favorite resources and books, movies or websites that have inspired me to take a leap to the next big thing when I felt more like crawling under the covers. I’m also going to send out a daily prompt and challenge and invite you to sign up and participate — well, that part is probably a bit overly optimistic, but you can sign up here. Questions? Comments? Tips and tricks of your own? Feel free to drop me a line using the form below. And if you’re socially inclined, please use the hashtag #ALeapOfFaithChallenge so we can better find each...