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 tassels around your neck, or [...]

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,’ [...]

Pre-Middle

{This poem about "pre-middle" age seems to resonate with the times we are in—so much slipping away, so much being learned. I wrote the poem back in my 30s, though now I am squarely "middle."}   Pre-Middle If childhood is a cradle of universal arms and middle age a turning back—needy or humbly surrendered; if [...]

Seeing Clearly

When I was a college undergraduate, my ethics teacher taught that ethics come down to this: being able to see clearly. We can engage in all sorts of philosophizing, all sorts of ethical calisthenics when we get into a quandary, but when it comes to a situation where we must make a difficult ethical decision, [...]

Love is our destiny

“The purpose of life is to be continually defeated by ever greater things.” ~Rainier Maria Rilke Fall arrives and my walk takes me past Foley Creek, the stream quickened after a week of heavy rain. The loud splash of a salmon stops me in my tracks.  At several points around my neighborhood, roadway meets creek, but at this [...]

We Go Together

In the intriguing book Sapiens, Yuval Harari makes the case that homo sapiens dominated all other species and left behind other early-humans because we were able to pass on shared mythologies, or sacred stories. Prior to the ability to build group cohesion in this way, through shared concepts and values, groups tended to reach a [...]

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 boundary [...]