The Open

Smoke from raging wildfires is rising out West and making its way to the skies in the East. Hurricanes are finding their way onto Southern shores. Angry tears roll down the faces of black mothers and fathers remembering lost loved ones at the hands of a racist society. White people scramble to understand racial injustice; […]

Sons of Light and Daughters of Day

But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness, for that day to overtake you like a thief.  For all of you are children of the light and children of the day. We are not of the night or of darkness. Therefore, let us not sleep as the rest do, but let us stay alert and […]

Learning the New Song

The old song of my spirit has wearied itself out. It has long ago been learned by heart so that now it repeats itself over and over, bringing no added joy to my days or lift to my spirit… I will sing a new song. As difficult as it is, I must learn the new […]

The Challenge of this Special Time

In a recent letter, a Trappist monk who has been my friend for decades, wrote this to me: “It is a special time to be living and praying…” This simple phrase immediately went to my heart. It seemed true, with a depth of meaning I would lean into in the days ahead. My friend is […]

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 […]

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 […]

The Movement in My Heart

“God is at work enlarging the boundaries of my heart.” -Howard Thurman, Meditations of the Heart For many years Congressman John Lewis led bipartisan congressional delegations on a Civil Rights Pilgrimage to Alabama for the Faith and Politics Institute. As a board member, I was privileged to join one of these in 2001. This is […]

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 […]

“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 […]