Wednesday, December 25, 2019

True Blue Miracle

True Blue Miracle

“I believe in miracles and I can tell you why
Once a year the street I live on sparkles like the sky
All hung with lights for Christmas
Twinkling ev'rywhere
The world turns bright for Christmas
And if that isn't a true blue miracle
I don't know what one is

“I believe in miracles
I know because I've seen
Once a year the place I walk is filled with trees of green
And pine cone smells of Christmas
Floating thru the air
To jingle bells of Christmas
And if that isn't a true blue miracle
I don't know what one is

“But the greatest wonder of them all
Is not what's happening around you, it's the way
You start to be
Yes the greatest wonder of them all is how your
Heart is filled with love
You start to light up like a Christmas tree

“Feelings feel so wonderful
You have to let them show
Maybe that's why ev'ryone begins to get a glow
And fill their hearts with Christmas
Spirit they can share
That's the best part of Christmas
And if that isn't a true blue miracle
I don't know what one is
And if that isn't a true blue miracle
I don't know what one is.”

From the Sesame Street Christmas Special, a fav,

This year I heard it new – True BLUE miracle.  Apparently the phrase “true blue” is from medieval times, when colors had symbolic meaning, and blue meant loyalty, constancy, faithfulness, truth.

We at the Blue Theology Mission Station wish for true blue miracles for you and yours.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Mary (And Joseph) Brood

Mary (And Joseph’s) Brood

And there were in the same ocean, mouth brooders, abiding in the sea, keeping watch over their children by night. 

This jawfish dad has a mouth full of babies!  Talk about a caring father.   Many fish are “mouth brooders,” often the dads.  Those circles with white eyes – that’s his brood of babies.  For a week or more after he and mom have created fertile eggs, dad holds the brood, gently, safely, inside his mouth. Periodically he carefully opens up so the babies can aerate and eat a little, then closes up for safety.  And no food for dad during this gestation week.

We think “to brood” only means to be a grumpy or anxious worrier.  But the original meaning is, like “breed,” to sit on (like a hen) or hold carefully your “brood” of fragile young until they can live on their own. 

I thought all fish reproduced by “broadcasting” their young, just shoot egg and sperm out into the water and hope they meet.  End of parenting. 

But this jawfish taught me that brooders are slower, more patient and gentle.  Their broods are smaller than the broadcasters’ but more likely to survive.

I’ve been sharing various “ocean birth narratives” in these weekly posts during this Advent season as part of my Blue Theology Ocean ministry.  The whole universe is groaning with new birth this season; maybe whales or molly fish (last week) can show us how pregnantly possible is all of creation.

In the Christmas story new life comes from both broadcasters and brooders.  Angels shout from the heavens, shepherds glorify and praise God for all they have heard and seen.  Broadcast and shout out the good news and it will spread and take root.

At our Blue Theology retreats here on Monterey Bay for youth and adults we tell parables of these broadcasted multitudes; a fish goes forth to spawn, the prodigal spawner.

But we also preach the good news of brooding, how we are led beside the still waters, our souls restored by the spirit hovering over the deep.  Rereading this other birth narrative, I see that Mary is a brooder, pondering, treasuring these things in her heart.  Joseph too, I imagine, like these mouth brooders, a dad come later to parenting, is just as caring and gentle with his brood.  And both of them, like all parents, sacrifice their own needs for those of their brood.  (Which can involve a little brooding of the anxious sort!)

And there were in the same ocean, mouth brooders, abiding in the sea, keeping watch over their children by night.  Blessed new birth to all holy brooders.

Plan for a Blue Theology Retreat by Monterey Bay in 2020!  We are booking youth groups, adult or intergenerational groups, and guided personal retreats, all year round. . I post these Wednesday ocean devotions here and on Facebook.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Pregnant Molly

Pregnant Molly

I know how you feel, Molly, my sister.  Your back aches, abdomen stretched tight, churning inside you - will this pregnancy ever end?  You are really ready to give birth to your babies!  Not long until Birth Day. 

This molly fish will soon give birth to as many as 100 babies, all born “live,” meaning fully developed, ready to go, “viviparous.” Many fish are “oviparous,” laying eggs that hatch later and far from Mom.  But mollies, guppies, perch, some sharks all give “live birth.”

I love how many different ways there are to have babies in God’s creation.  Lay eggs or give live birth, sexual or asexual reproduction, do it just once in your life (octopus) or over and over (mollies), start birthing at 8 weeks (mollies) or 20 years (loggerhead turtles.)  There’s no end to all the ways new life blooms. God clearly loves diversity and variety in all things, even birth.

At this “pregnant” Christmas time of year we here at the Blue Theology Mission Station ( are telling wet birth narratives from oceans and rivers. Last week we shared the gospel of pregnant whale travelers.

Actually, all birth stories are wet.  We viviparous human children of God emerge from 9 months in an inner sea, our mother’s amniotic fluid that is the same salinity as the ocean.  Creation’s eggy births are also wet, fed by juicy nutritious yolks.  33 years ago I had a blessed Advent pregnancy and when my “waters” broke, it wasn’t just Norah that was wet. 

“Molly” is of course not just the name of this tiny fish, but a nickname for Mary.  This season we remember a Mary who, like this molly, bravely waited, not knowing what exactly was coming next, but trusting that it was good and right.  And wet.  Even in dry Palestine, on that holy night, Mary and Jesus were wet.  Stay wet, my friends.
I post these devotions on ocean spirituality and stewardship every Wednesday here and at on Facebook as part of my Ministry for Blue Theology.