Blog Archives

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 […]

What Do We Think We’re Doing When We Pray?

One of the readings assigned for my first program at the Shalem Institute, the Transforming Community: Leading Contemplative Prayer Groups and Retreats program, was an article by Ann Ulanov entitled, What Do We Think People Are Doing When They Pray?  I have often returned to that question, both in my own practice and in my […]

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: […]

Fill Your Heart with Joy: The Journey of Pilgrimage at Home

This article is by Chuck McCorkle, Jackson Droney, and Margaret Benefiel A pilgrimage is a journey, of experience if not of geography, into new and seemingly uncharted territory. . . With vision somewhat more clear as a result of the journey, one can discover a richness within one’s own heritage which had previously been overlooked. […]

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 […]

Let This Light Grow in Us

Let it grow in us, this light, let it grow in all of our hearts, the light of our love for one another, let it grow and get stronger, let it not be dimmed but increased, becoming ever more radiant, reaching out to enfold all the people who need its blessing so badly. Let it […]

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 […]

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; […]

Cultivating Basic Trust in a Time of Uncertainty

After his many years of research and study, teaching and discovery, Albert Einstein famously stated: “I think the most important question facing humanity is, ‘Is the universe a friendly place?’ This is the first and most basic question all people must answer for themselves.” With COVID-19 cases surging by the day and the aftermath of […]