Not released in 2020, the ones I listened to the most

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Thanks to the magic (it is magical) of the musical app I use, I can track what songs I listened to the most in 2020. These aren’t songs released in 2020. These are songs that spoke to me during this turbulent year.

What songs led you through 2020?

Yes, music has its own intrinsic value. You can listen. You can listen and simply enjoy the sound of the drums, the warm expression of the piano, the rhyme scheme that is wonderfully matched with the song’s meter.

Then again, music also has extrinsic value. The sounds travel beyond the sound itself. Something inside you is brought out for you to hold and see. “Oh, that is exactly how I feel right now!.” Or a song makes that which is difficult somehow manageable; expressed in the chords, arrangements and vocals.r. …

Trail markers along the journey

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Photo by Shapiro

Below are trail markers of human development. How have you experienced relationships supporting your development in these aspects of character? In your past or in the present has there been a group of people or an individual who related to you in a way that prompted growth in one of the trail markers below?

Attachment: The ability to have healthy relationships in which you are your best and truest self. Through positive relationships you are able to get essential needs like safety, truth-telling, forgiveness, trust and more met. …

Something is Awry

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Family Archives

I’m with a married couple. They sit on the plaid couch in my office. I am their pastor.

“Would two weeks from Sunday work?”

The husband and wife are planning a party to celebrate their 40th anniversary. They want it at the church.

He says, “We’d like to make it during fellowship hour after worship. Most of our friends are from church anyway.”

“And if they aren’t, then you will have extra people in worship. How about that?”

She was born in Madison, Wisconsin. They were married in Milwaukee. …

How about you?

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Photo by Annelies Geneyn on Unsplash

Books — A list of the best books I read in 2020, books on religion, spirituality, mental health, and brain science. Those are the essential topics published in The Neurons of Heaven. What about you? What books on religion, spirituality brain science and so forth, would you recommend?

  1. The Rabbi’s Brain by Andrew Newberg and David Halpern
    Catch this word: “Neurotheology.” What is learned at the intersection between theology and brain science? The book locates the practices of Judaism in, well, in our brain. Does brain science take away from mystical experiences? …

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Photo by Brooke Campbell on Unsplash

Truth has to be given in riddles. People can’t take truth if it comes charging at them like a bull. The bull is always killed. You have to give people the truth in a riddle, hide it so they go looking for it and find it piece by piece; that way they learn to live with it (Chaim Potok).

Let’s be honest about the stories we tell ourselves. That is why many congregations still pause for the confession of sin in worship. That is what some of us dare to do during the long silence of the night. …

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(I wave to my wife on the
grid before the race

She is dressed in red;
just like she said she would
and from the cockpit

I just know

I know there is
a smile on her face
she loves me
for better and worse)

Even on the radio
it sounds awful

the fire is everywhere
a fierce orange fireball
void of fourth of July festivity

after all, this is Memorial Day

(let’s get the holiday right)

the radio announcer says
I hope the fans aren’t
inconvenienced by the
smoke and ashes,

the unforgiving
noonday eclipse of the sun

as the pomp and circumstance
disappears in flames
until the firemen…


Tim Shapiro

I am an ordained minister exploring the crossroads of religion, spirituality, mental health, and brain science. I can be reached at

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