(The short version:)
The Daily Sip has been briefly suspended in November and December in favor of making pottery Christmas gifts and in preparation for a new 2.0 version with an adjusted name on this site in January. Stay tuned.)
Chas and Shugg
(The full version:)
For the past decade, I have written regular blog posts beginning in New Hampshire with “The View from Blackwater Bluff” and was also syndicated in the New Hampshire Diocesan newspaper when I left the monastery in 2006. By 2013 I moved to St. John’s Cathedral and began The Daily Sip. It was really daily back then, six days each week, and was meant to offer meaningful spiritual help for people whose life under the Dean had been mostly liturgy and some other stuff. They had had a diet of cream-puffs about ritual while what they needed a steak and a bunch of broccoli to survive Spiritual Anemia! It was also an amazingly powerful opportunity to expose some things by clergy and bishop. As to the Diocese of South-eastern Florida, well…they made their choice without speaking to us first so…
After four years of my own experience of brutal relational bullying by bishops, I learned that holding church princes accountable to right administrative and pastoral conduct will lead to their use of their tools to dominate and destroy, so I left the church in June of 2017 to escape the bullying and to rest in the deserts of New Mexico. I kept the Daily Sip, and its couple thousand subscribers and 3,000 + Facebook readers, but went to weekly writing, which was also syndicated in other publications.
Moving to Whidbey Island has been immensely healing. Walking beaches in the Salish sea will do that. A three-year distance from the church has also helped to drain the toxins. The last time I wore clericals or set foot in a church was June 2017 when I walked out of my final Wilderness service and into a new life.
However, the anger and even rage at the church took time to leave my heart and mind the way bad shrimp takes time to leave one’s gut…in spurts. I began changing my writing in the Daily Sip (which was neither at that point) to help people disaffected and abused by church leaders (their own, or others) because many said that as a person outside the church, I had the power and the experience to say things that salaried church workers could never get away with or would never dare – and because I have tremendous courage fueled by a love of the congregations and clergy that can so often suffer mightily under creepy leadership. My readers asked for what we began to call “domestic spirituality.” They no longer cared about what happened to bread and wine when a priest hovered their hands over it…rather….they cared about what led to their unkindness at a grocery cash register with a bagging person who went too slowly. They were asking not “What is doctrine?” but rather “How can we all be kinder people Monday – Saturday?”
So, being myself a rather terrible failure as a Christian, but trying now to just be a good person outside religion, I began writing Sips about living a good life rather than about dogma or ritualistic practice. My editor – a close friend from Denver – began to challenge me when I would wander into church-bashing, gently reminding me that it was similar to yelling at a gang-member-thug …in other words…what good will it really do? It is what it is.
So I have, for a few weeks now, stopped writing entirely in order to spend more time at my pottery wheel and experimenting with glazes when not fundraising (my wonderful day-job). I needed to “go on the wagon” of ridding myself of rage-addiction by a complete fast and some valuable self-observation.
As we head for a new year, I am heading for a new kind of writing …sans rage. We are currently re-naming the Daily Sip and so if you have a name in mind (be kind please) I would welcome hearing from you at email@example.com. The new blog will sometimes be a video from my pottery wheel on aspects of spirituality and daily kindness-living; but no longer will I be speaking or writing about church. This is, let me assure you, not because of the scolding I have been getting, but rather, because I no longer want to spew anger nor should my readers have a diet of it. Given how the Daily Sip began at St. John’s – that would be the hight of irony. Usually, the new version of the Daily Sip come January, will be a 300-500 word essay and photo. It will resume, renamed, in 2021 and I hope that you will remain a subscriber. If not, please unsubscribe and go well and gently into new things being assured of my gratitude for so many years and so many thousands of readers.
I remain unsure of what I think of Creeds, rituals, and dogmas, church councils, bishops, and patriarchy. And I no longer want to even think of these things, let alone write about them. But I am sure that like Pema Chodron and other heroes-writers of mine, those of us trained in spirituality need to write things that help regular people lead kind lives -kind to others and kind to themselves.
If you pray, please pray, and if you ask the cosmos for things, ask away – that whatever the Daily Sip becomes in January, it is wholesome, kind, heartful, and helpful.
Warmly and with king regards,
Charles LaFond and Sugar-the-dog
(and Kai-the-dog whose energy lingers like the fragrance of baking bread.)