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Practically Divine

Updated: Sep 15, 2021

I WROTE THIS BOOK for everyone hungry to taste the divine, struggling to see it, needing inspiration and challenge to go back out and try again. You can cross lines and gain new perspective. It is possible to love the whole world. We don’t have to get cynical, fearful, numb, or be shamed into thinking we have nothing to offer. I think sometimes it’s even much easier than we think.

I have sat through way too many presentations in which a speaker will say something like, “Here are the Four Cs to a fulfilling life.” We take out our notebooks or laptops to write down or type the four C words. We can’t help ourselves. Then the next night, I lie in bed and think of three of the words, tossing and turning, trying to recall the fourth. By the end of the week, I’m lucky if I remember that the words started with C.

There is no secret formula to experiencing the sacred in our lives. It just takes practice and practicality.

The deep truth of our lives and the fullness we are striving for don’t happen with someone giving us the code to deep knowledge.

Meaning and faith are not secret things.

Sometimes what we need most is to remind one another of how the divine is all around us, calling us to see and taste it for ourselves.

  • We can find our deep truth and purpose while we are on the way to the grocery store or struggling to make a marriage work.

  • We can find beauty while we go through a TSA checkpoint or walk along any sidewalk.

  • We can feel gratitude sitting in a waiting room or forgiving ourselves for one thing we didn’t get done.

When we cultivate our ability to see the divine in the midst of our days, slowly we can trust that deep within us lies the same love that was woven into creation.

I have felt the practically divine all along the way of my personal journey. Even when I didn’t know where I was headed, or I worried that a new justice enterprise would be too much to take on, I knew I had to do something. It is good news that, beyond our power to fully understand, our path is full of sacred crumbs that are enough to keep us moving in the right direction.

It doesn’t matter where we are—whether we are reading this in the comfort of our bed, on a prison cot, or wandering in the world—something divine is present at any given moment. Maybe it’s just an idea, a moment of inspiration, or even the song of a bird. We can learn from one another’s collective wisdom, but we also have to be

willing to forge our own way to new places.

All we have learned, felt, and thought from childhood until this moment is with us as we take the next step. We have all we need to make that next step, with no regrets. We do not need more thought leaders repackaging ideas into a marketable gimmick or bumper-sticker theology. We need to help one another with real, hands-on advice to root us and help us grow. The practice of love in our thoughts, words, and deeds would serve businesses, politicians, and pastors well.

Practically divine is what it sounds like: both practical and divine. We are both almost and just enough!

People are searching for the divine.

Think about the divine and where you can find it in your life:

  • Through accepting your present state

  • Finding beauty in the brokenness

  • Embracing the divine chaos of the unknown before you

  • Redefining the old lies and stories you’ve been told, so you can learn from the past and move forward

  • Using your creativity to reconnect to your divinity and to others

  • Finding love’s presence even on your most difficult days

  • Appreciating the divine gifts that come from your imperfections and traumas

  • Letting go of your physical and figurative baggage

  • Sharing in a feast of love, knowing there is always enough mercy and forgiveness to go around

Practically divine is not an oxymoron. It is as poetic as being optimistic in the midst of depression or as vital as sitting in silence with a friend who can’t take any more advice. It is both and, not either or.

Most people want to feel excited about their ability to do something that will create meaningful change. This inspiration comes with one simple, small, practical act of love. When I see how love has healed so many broken people, including me, it is my great joy to remind people how they can create love in the world.

When you spread the message that love heals and that signs of divinity are all around, supporting us on our darkest days, you pick up lots of friends. It’s a message that gives people the impetus to do something, anything, so we

can share in the feast of love together. Now is the time to promote the practically divine idea that in coming together, wherever we are, we can lift one another up and be happier and more creative.

You just have to keep practicing. The results are always a surprise, with more unfolding than you imagined, teaching you that you can’t go back the way you came. Practically divine asks us to find a new way.

Practice might not lead to perfection, but it will lead us closer to love.

In this book, I will write the word love over and over. Please know that it’s shorthand for my whole theology. When I say love, you can translate that into “life with God.”

To me, love is where the temporal and the eternal meet, and love has an infinite number of expressions.

Love is done a disservice when it is categorized into neat boxes, and the million shades of its blessings are missed. The love I’m exploring in this writing is love that feels practical and specific.

I am pursuing the kind of love that moves from ideals into practices that take on flesh and bone.

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