Blessed are the pure-hearted. We think of this beatitude in absolute terms. Purity=perfection. We don't tend to think of pure-heartedness as raw, vulnerable. even perhaps behaviorally maladaptive. And yet, as The Rev. Dr. Gil Stafford points out the truth of pure-heartedness in absolutely loving and honest terms. Howie, Jim and Gil walk through miles of thought as they discuss themes such as soul friendship, blessings at the point of mortal death, and purity of heart filled residing in communities. Pay particular attention to Gil's conversation around his new book "Meditations on Blue Jesus." The video edition of this podcast includes artwork painted by Gil's Sister - Dinah. You can learn more about her and her life here . In sum - Jesus the Christ's pure heartedness is inherently human and lived out in a deepening search within and without rather than a dogmatic pursuit of perfection.

Matthew 5: 7 - Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the merciful, not the nice or the pitiful. Jesus offers this beloving beatitude in the Spirit of compassionate care. Mercy (hesed) is a shower of blessings between the giver and receiver. Bishop Caryle Hughes wisely points out that such bold mercy in our time requires baptized and confirmed Christians who are practicing Adult Christianity. Going to Church is one important thing. Living into the Church's mission is a much more just adventure. You'll delight in Bishop's humor, sincerity, and grace as she converses with Howie and Jim in this episode.

Matthew 5:6 builds upon 5:5.  Disciples who suffer in want of, ( Hunger - πεινάω 0) & are desperately thirsty ( διψάω ) for a upstanding relationship with/for God (righteousness -  δικαιοσύνη) will be satisfied (   χορτάζω ) .  Satisfaction isn't descriptive enough.  Stuffed is better.

The Rev. Canon Mark Harris is an artisan and artist on behalf of Christ's righteousness. He is a preacher as well as a printmaker.  He is a consultant and a creative blogger. Mark brings all of these talents to this episode in our effort to unlock more understanding of God's reign in the beatitudes and more broadly in Matthew. 

The value of meekness is under siege these days as well as misunderstood.  Many people, especially people with authority view meekness as undesirable and weak.  They and we would be wise to explore the term of meekness as Matthew’s Jesus uses it in Matthew 5:5 as well as elsewhere in the Gospel.

Ancient Greeks understood meekness, (Praus) as an intentional effort to possess “strength under control.” A meek person was a self-disciplined person who was graceful and artful under pressure, not passive and frail. People of the economic and social underclass might have learned meekness because of the domination they experienced from intruders and those persons who existed in higher castes than they did.  However, beginning with Alexander The Great and Plato, meekness for Ancient Greeks was a self-disciplined praxis for rulers and philosophers alike. We find evidence of tasks to develop meekness in ancient royalty training manuals.

Today, on CircuOsirty .21, Jim and Howie sit down with Canon Dr. Deirdre Good to discuss meekness within the context of the 1st Century Beatitudes and the 21st Century Beatitudes. Deirdre uses her own text, Jesus The Meek King, along with many other references to tease out the essence of what it means to be meek in the Reign of God as well as how we who desire to follow Jesus may develop the resilience to seek meekness rather than power.  The three participants engage in sharing numerous stories of courageous meekness and hospitality they have experienced as well as how Jesus would have us to be meek when it Is necessary.

We have a wonderful episode this week Beatitudes - Conversations of Blessing. This week's beatitude is Matthew 5: 4. (Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted.
I once heard that if someone loves you they will share a story with you. Allison Carnahan must love us because she shares her heartwarming, heroic, and holy life stories with us this week on Beatitudes - Conversations of Blessing. Allison talks about her life growing up in MN. She speaks to her enduring relationship with Russell Carnahan as they suffer and thrive through their time in the USAF and her battle with a life threatening disease.
There is so much here that has and now inspires the people of St Pauls Episcopal Church Harrisburg, St. Paul's Episcopal, Christ Memorial Episcopal Church, and Church of the Resurrection Episcopal Mission. Now you can hear her inspiring story too. Have some tissues close by and be loved and then share your stories of mourning and comfort @ - Watch and listen to the vlog @

The Rev. Canon Dr. Manoj Zacharia is the Rector of St. Anne's Episcopal Church in Annapolis, MD. He visits CircuOsity .21 to guide through a powerful conversation regarding Matthew 5: 3. Jesus begins his Sermon on the Mount by noting that those persons and are downtrodden are blessed by God.  Rev. Dr. Zacharia guides us through an exploration of how he has witnessed this phenomenon in his own life - a life lived in a myriad of cultural settings and with profound ancestral foundation.  Enjoy as we embark on this verse by verse series.

We begin our Beatitudes Series with a delightfully informative and rich conversation with Professor AJ Levine.  Professor Levine (along with Jim and Howie) talk about many personal, spiritual, and faith community topics.  AJ shares a bit of her personal life story.  She mentions some particularly blessed moments in her life. Listen for a quick clip about friendship and Job's friends in contrast to AJ's friends.

The trio then moves on to chat about the Gospel of Matthew and its 2nd Temple Jewish context.  There's rich comparisons here discussing how Jesus' followers and crowds were similar as well as distinct from today's American contexts.

The conversation then ventures into the variety of meanings (translated and otherwise) for the term "blessed."  Who is blessed and why?  What is the manner of blessings for Jesus that somehow identify God's reign uniquely.

Finally, AJ offers some pertinent, holy ideas about what the Beatitudes teach us and how to share such wisdom in our faith communities - ecumenically and in interfaith environments.  She closes with her own translation of the Beatitudes.

This episode in and of itself offers rich material for Christian educators and congregations.  It is also a great ladder for climbing us the rest of our Beatitudes pilgrimage in the weeks to come.


Blessings along The Way


Well, we've started - #Letusbegin #podcastlive - CircuOsity 's Beatitudes - Conversations of Blessing introductory episode is live and online. You can join in on our #vlog #beatitude #pilgrimage today. Bring your questions, joys, hopes, and more as we climb toward Jesus' on the Mount. Like and follow us too!


March 17, 2020

You Tube Video

Hey there, I/m trying something different. My life and the COVID-19 events have impacted me to create in different ways.  My most recent adventure is a return into YouTube. Consider my thoughts and words here

I'll get back to podcasting soon.  Thanks. J

Photo (The Fresh and The Ancient) Credit -Photo by Joey Kyber on Unsplash 

Jim enjoys a half-hour chatting with Tenneson Woolf. Tenneson, as you'll learn by listening is a poet, sage, spiritual inquirer, and in the best of terms - a well-above average human being.

Tenneson, for the past 25 years or so, has been facilitating teams and groups using a variety of participatory leadership style.  His work and collegiality with Margaret Wheatley, guided him to learning about The Circle Way. Tenneson, since that time, has introduced persons, individuals, and teams into circles in a variety of communities.  For Tenneson, this work is Spirit-Led and essential to the circumstances human beings face in their families, jobs, faith communities, and the broader world.

Jim and Tenneson spend the majority of their chat discussing the concepts of leaning into trouble. They discuss what trouble is and why people naturally avoid it. They also chat about why it is often most difficult yet most rewarding to lean into unknown, chaotic, fearful circumstances because creating islands of sanity, as Meg Wheatley states, is essential to humanity'swell being in this day and age. All of these topics flow into and through Tenneson's purpose of "striving to help people be smart together."

Who Do We Choose to Be? Cover

Watch M. Wheatley's presentation on Choosing who we desire to Become.

Tenneson and Jim share their stories, offer their appreciation, and wrap much of their thinking about the way forward as they stand on the frontier of entering into an 18-month rite of passage and leadership pilgrimage entitled Fire and Water. Fire and Water's participants will explore their ancestry, lean into the unknowingness of new relationships with self, fellow pilgrims, and The Divine.  This CircuOsity episode offers hope for the Fire and Water adventure as well as similar leadership and communal endeavors going on around the planet.

Thanks to Tenneson for his wisdom and presence in this space and all of his endeavors.  You can learn more about Tenneson on his website or by clicking on the Fire and Water site. Enjoy the pod and offer your comments and questions.


Tenneson in one of his contemplative moments.

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