Does the heart have a narrow door?

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July 1, 2019

On Friday morning, Richard Rohr’s meditation on Conscious Parenting included a poem-prayer from our most recent book, Coral Castles by Carol Bialock:


Does the heart have a narrow door?
Will it allow in just one more
of every beast and flower and bird
and every song it has ever heard?

Just one more child, just one more flower,
one more relinquishing of power
to that sane and sacred foolishness
of living by inclusiveness?

Does the heart have a supple, elastic latch
that makes it easy to dispatch
all pettiness and bigotry
and opens it to what makes us free?
. . .
You who can heal all wounds and hate
make my heart open, free, and great.

—Carol Bialock [1]

Richard asks readers to “take note of what word or phrase stands out to you. Come back to that word or phrase throughout the day, being present to its impact and invitation.” And in the footnote, Richard offers the following words about Carol and about her book:

[1] Carol Bialock, “Widening the Door,” Coral Castles (Fernwood: 2019), 87. Used with permission. Carol is a Religious of the Sacred Heart and author of the poem “Breathing Underwater” which inspired the title of my book on Twelve-Step spirituality, Breathing Under Water. Today is Sr. Carol’s 90th birthday and the release of her book of poems, Coral Castles!

I want to thank you for your support of Barclay Press. Carol (who turned 90 years old last week) had been seeking a publisher with the help of friends and family, one of whom brought the manuscript to my attention. Your help made it possible for us to give Carol a birthday she won’t soon forget!

Eric Muhr





 
BARCLAY
PRESS

211 N. Meridian St. #101
Newberg, OR 97132
503.538.9775


www.barclaypress.com
Copyright © 2019 Barclay Press, All rights reserved.


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Feeling incompetent, unqualified?

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June 24, 2019

In this morning’s Fruit of the Vine, Scott Wagoner asks if you’ve “ever been invited to do something you feel completely incompetent or unqualified to do,” and I think about the fact that I’m here at Barclay Press, trying to navigate a dramatically changed publishing landscape while also facing the steep learning curve of fund-raising for a nonprofit. Just three years ago, I was a youth pastor, and before that I taught literature and writing at a Christian high school.

Take a moment and consider how you got to where you are. If your professional trajectory – like mine – doesn’t make any sense, this might be evidence, according to Scott, of God’s call on your life.

Consider Moses. “He was raised in Pharaoh’s house by Pharaoh’s daughter,” Scott writes. “He murdered an Egyptian. He left in order to flee the wrath of Pharaoh and ended up in the wilderness of Midian. And then in the ultimate disruptive moment, God appears to Moses in the form of a burning bush and calls him to go back to Egypt and lead the Israelites out of bondage. All Moses can do is list his excuses and plead for God to send someone else to do it (Exodus 4:13).”

Similarly, according to Scott, “We will face disruptive moments when God calls us to be part of something for which we feel inadequate or incompetent.” I know this is true. I’m learning and growing as fast as I can, but in spite of the three years I’ve already served at Barclay Press, I still haven’t found my pace. Some days, it feels like I’m falling farther and farther behind. I could offer excuses or try finding some other place – some other role – in which to serve.

The temptation is real.

But “to walk away from the invitation is to risk the death of our soul,” according to Scott. On the other hand, “to accept God’s invitation is to grow deeper through partnering with God and trusting that God will provide the necessary competencies, courage, and confidence.”

Scott offers this question for all of us to carry with us in the creative tension of faithful living: “Where do you sense God inviting you to join him in his good work for our creation?

For what it’s worth, I’m glad God called me to this work at Barclay Press, a place where I’m invited to “grow deeper through partnering with God and trusting that God will provide.” And I’m praying for you this week!

Eric Muhr





 
BARCLAY
PRESS

211 N. Meridian St. #101
Newberg, OR 97132
503.538.9775


www.barclaypress.com
Copyright © 2019 Barclay Press, All rights reserved.


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Coral Castles

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June 17, 2019

A poem she wrote has been translated into multiple languages, set to music, and featured in a best-selling book on spirituality and the twelve steps. But until recently, the author of “Breathing Underwater” has been virtually unknown, and the collection containing that famous poem has never been published. Richard Rohr calls it “stunning”; other writers and poets describe Carol Bialock’s debut collection as “brilliant and luminous”; “lighthearted and holy”; “dynamic, immediate, ecstatic”; “a book of love and God ... bursting into bloom.”

Read more about Carol here. We are releasing her book on Carol’s 90th birthday, a week from this coming Friday.

Honestly, the poetry of Carol Bialock is stunning! Her ability to communicate inner states, universal truths, and spiritual depth is unparalleled. What a loss that the world did not discover her earlier!  But it is not too late! – Richard Rohr, OFM, Founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation

Reading Carol Bialock’s poems, I forget to doubt and critique and meddle and complain. Here is a spiritual poetry that offers the reader vivid, dynamic, immediate, ecstatic experience on a human scale. “Dizzy with love and light,” this book is a delight. – Katie Peterson, author of A Piece of Good News

Carol Bialock’s work hums in wise praise of a world hemmed in mystery and wildness. Brilliant and luminous, each poem burns with a quiet, interior light. – Gina Ochsner, author of The Hidden Letters of Velta B.

Carol Bialock’s Coral Castles is a wide and generous door into poetry and joy. These poems offer us a merging of forces that are tangible and full of delight: here we find bone meeting soul, I journeying to We, and the seen fearlessly greeting the unseen. “Go sane,” the poems tell us, “You are the whole, not part…Come home to being world / and galaxy / and universe.” This is a book of love and God in which poet and poem also fuse, bursting into bloom. I want to give it to everyone I know, saying, “Look and see!” – Annie Lighthart, author of Iron String and Lantern

“All you need is a little courage” Carol Bialock declares, and then takes us through image and rhythm on a “trip to the edge of the world” where we encounter sacred mysteries, the heart of the poet, and our own surprising wholeness. This work is lighthearted and holy, whimsical and profound—the fruit of a life spent watching for wonder, the gift of a soul in love with the world. – Bethany Lee, author of The Breath Between

Carol Bialock’s heart is a “huge and lovely land” filled with poems of invitation to the available communion in every moment. They affirm that God is  irresistibly, mysteriously afoot. Sister Carol is not afraid of paradox or the embodied wild experience of the greatest, fierce and Sacred Adventure. She asks us to “let the true Gods out” and to know “we have been in heaven all our lives.” She is a loving companion whispering to us look, listen, touch, right here now, do you love this world? All you need is a little courage, a dash of daring. Take the invitation, read these poems, walk this mystic’s path, join this wise woman awhile. – Peg Edera, author of Love Is Deeper than Distance





 
BARCLAY
PRESS

211 N. Meridian St. #101
Newberg, OR 97132
503.538.9775


www.barclaypress.com
Copyright © 2019 Barclay Press, All rights reserved.


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