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Three Leadership Lessons from John Woolman

In this time of multiple pandemics and many crises, I struggle with how to relate to those with whom I disagree. How do I find the wisdom to interact in a loving way; how do I speak my truth so they might hear? I find the eighteenth-century American Quaker John Woolman inspiring and instructive for […]

With My Heart Enlightened

Last February was the 10-year anniversary of my open heart surgery to replace my aortic valve. The valve problem was caused by a congenital defect, and the time had finally had come for the replacement. Scripture, mystics, and poets say that the heart is the organ of spiritual perception. I’ve wondered if the purpose of […]

Conversions of Consciousness

“Jesus is concerned with eliciting a conversion of consciousness from those not yet able to understand, and not with imparting information to a deluded pattern of consciousness.” (John P. Keenan, The Gospel of Mark: A Mahayana Reading) As I reflect on the events of September 11 and our nation’s way of responding, I realize that […]

Hearts Broken Open

In mid-March, all the numbers fell off my calendar and clock as my carefully arranged plans changed in an instant. With the spread and threat of the COVID-19 virus, my sensibly constructed life changed. For the next month, I would watch every single plan change, die, or be reconceived in some way or another. The […]

Mustard Seeds and Yeast

[Jesus] proposed another parable to them. “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that a person took and sowed in a field. It is the smallest of all the seeds, yet when full-grown it is the largest of plants. It becomes a large bush, and the ‘birds of the sky come and dwell […]

Contemplatives and Racial Justice: What is Ours to Do?

Rose Mary Dougherty, in her days leading groups at Shalem, had a favorite parable she came back to often. With her charming Irish smile, she would ask: “Why do the antelope walk side by side in the jungle?” And after letting that settle for a short moment, she would answer: “So they can blow the […]

Between Us There Is No Between

Today’s blog is taken from the reflection and prayer offered during Wednesday’s Prayer for the World by Shalem graduate Barb Kelly. Over the past several weeks I have been pondering and praying the question, “What obligations do we have to one another?” I have a heightened awareness of the question of obligation during this time […]

Guard Your Heart

Since my grandmother died over a decade ago, she comes to me from time to time in my dreams. In moments of pain or struggle, confusion or doubt, she will suddenly come visit me while I sleep. As we neared the three-month date in this time of physical distancing and social upheaval, everything felt very […]

“For Everything There Is A Season….”

June is one of my favorite months. Despite that in Erie, PA—where I am from—it is often a rainy, muddy month, it is also a time of important milestones. As a child, June meant the end of the school year. As an adult, it’s become the month of gay pride parades and festivals. I’ve also […]

Step by Halting Step: Leadership in Uncertain Times

In this season of the year, following the crucifixion and resurrection and Jesus’s subsequent forty days among the disciples, Christians celebrate the ascension, the time when Jesus left the disciples and ascended into heaven. What a roller coaster that month and a half must have been for the disciples (as I mentioned in the eNews […]