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Archive for social justice

Desmond Tutu as Christian Mystic

The three-fold division of Christian mysticism (purgation, illumination, and union) is essential in understanding Desmond Tutu’s life. Purgation exemplifies Tutu’s formation as an institutional church leader, illumination exemplifies Tutu’s role as confessor, and union exemplifies Tutu’s elder years as sage. As Tutu’s life proceeds through purgation, illumination, and union, not only does mysticism describe Tutu’s […]

Prayer as Action: Loving the World

Does it ever seem that not much is happening when you pray? When that’s what it seems like to me, all I need to do is look back at the tracks of prayer in my life. The psalmist’s astonishment and relief at being “lifted out of the miry bog”- in all the bog’s various guises […]

Exhaling My Prayer Breath

On January 29th I received my first Pfizer vaccine shot. On February 19th, I received the second shot. Two weeks later, I could finally begin to breathe deeply again. How long had I been holding my prayer breath? I didn’t realize how long I had been shallow breathing… more than 11 months, beginning when we […]

Diana

On March 17th of last year, I was awakened in the middle of the night by intense pain shooting through my body. It felt like sharp knives cutting into my muscles. The pain continued until the morning, allowing me only fitful, unrestful sleep. When I finally pulled myself out of bed, I craved even more […]

Prayer Changes Us

There is an old saying: be careful what you wish for. In a similar vein we might also be careful how we pray and what we pray for. As we practice contemplative prayer things change and that change is mostly in ourselves. Our ways of seeing and acting in the world become transfigured by divine […]

Experiencing the Beloved Community

Where did life begin for you? My life started in the womb of my maternal grandmother, Margaret Dunnivant Owens, born in 1908 in Giles County, Tennessee, the birthplace of the KKK. Participants in Shalem’s Heart Longings program listened to stories of my grandmother on January 9, 2021, as I honored her legacy, her struggles in […]

Just As We Are

I’ve always known the call to write. Mom supported my efforts, placing a small table in the dormitory-style room that held beds for me, my siblings, and our grandmother. The writing space didn’t last long; getting into closets on either side required sliding the desk one way or the other. But the message was clear: […]

Living in Liminal Space

What a week! Since last Friday, we have seen two pivotal razor-close Senate elections in Georgia, the certification of the electoral college vote for President, and the specter of violent rioters descending on the U.S. Capitol. In the past few weeks, I’ve been reflecting on living in liminal space and that reflection has illuminated the […]

The Sacredness of Time

As 2020 draws to a close and a new year opens before us, I’d like to offer some words that invite us to reflect on the sacredness of time. This year has been so hard, in ways unimaginable to us at the start of it: deepening climate crisis with both drenching rains and severe drought […]

Finding God in the Darkness

“And the people stood afar off, while Moses drew near to the thick darkness where God was.” (Exodus 20:21) The year is winding down, and the winter solstice is just around the corner. For me, this darkest day is a time to reflect on what has been revealed in the darkness of this year, both […]