We Can Do Both

Last week I watched the new documentary about Mr. Rogers entitled Won’t You be my Neighbor?, so he is impressed on my mind as I absorb details of the mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, in the community of Squirrel Hill, which was Fred Roger’s real neighborhood. My heart is a [...]

A Tale of Abundance

Over half of my life I operated from a perspective of scarcity. During that time, according to my skewed perception, everyone was a competitor or a critic, always judging and potentially threatening, and nothing felt secure. It seemed just when I had something in hand, it would be whisked away, so everything had to be [...]

Boundary-less Belonging

Jesus knew what it meant to be pigeon-holed. His town of Nazareth had a population of just a few hundred people, and most of his ministry took place around the Sea of Galilee, just 19 miles from his hometown. Beyond that, many of the gospel stories take place around Capernaum, and the distance from Jesus’ [...]

Animals

{Essay excerpted from Season of Wonder, Frederick Press, 2016} Of late, several of my close companions are animals. Two cats, a neighbor horse, a neighbor dog. I am close to them in ways I am close to few others, though I have a bevy of family and friends who keep me floating on rivers of [...]

We are Already There

  Throughout his ministry, Jesus challenged every boundary people used to define and separate themselves—ethnic boundaries, geographical boundaries, purity boundaries, moral-legal boundaries, relational boundaries, boundaries between humans and animals, adults and children, men and women. Jesus didn’t stop at material boundaries, but went on to demonstrate with his life that everything is spiritual—there is no [...]

Risk Nearness

I have a hunch we are steeped in enchantment, unawares. That just beyond the scrim of our distracted, worried, pre-frontal-cortex-bound lives, are goings on (vivid and undeterred by our inability to see) that we would not want to miss—if only we knew we had choice in the matter. In a way, quantum physicists are introducing [...]

Dear Graduate

Dear Graduate Congratulations! Today, you graduate. You may be graduating with honors or by the skin of your proverbial teeth. You may even receive an empty diploma cover, your graduation contingent on summer school. Throughout your life you are not going to care. You won’t care if you have five tasseled cords around your neck, [...]

Know Your Story

We all have life-shaping mega-stories—or traditions—that have shaped us since childhood. And most often we don’t “fix them to our hearts and bind them to our foreheads.” Instead, they operate outside of conscious awareness. In my own life, powerful evidence of a mega-story first emerged when I was in middle school. It began in seventh [...]

Widening the Family Circle

“The problem with the world is that we draw our family circle too small.”   Mother Teresa Until the age of ten, I lived like many American kids of the ‘70s, in a primly geometric neighborhood, cross-hatched with pavement, with matchbook yards and immature plantings. More than any tree, the television towered over my childhood. Sweltering [...]

Peace is the Way

Mark 11:20-25. In the morning, as they went along, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots. Peter remembered and said to Jesus, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered!” “Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ [...]