10 Words From Obama’s Farewell Speech (That You Won’t Hear Again For Awhile)

In 2005, I attended a Sojourner's conference in D.C. The theme was ending poverty, and the gathering was mostly young clergy, social workers and community organizers. My friends and I had a series of misadventures getting there--everything from terrible weather to airline incompetence--and by the time we arrived, we were soaking wet, a day late and SEVERAL dollars short, and had no clothes but the ones we were wearing. We rolled through our first day grumbling that no way was this worth … [Read more...]

The Difference Between Celebrity and Authority: Meryl Streep Gets It, Trump Never Will

Her Highness Meryl Streep preached a sermon at the Golden Globes last night.As she accepted the Cecile B. deMille award, she did not use her moment at the microphone to selfishly reflect on her career, or to thank her mama. As one of the most decorated performers of all time, she has had plenty of other occasions to do that.Instead, she took a moment to express her concern about the behavior and temperament of the incoming President; she called him out on his mocking of a disabled … [Read more...]

10 Ways to Care for Someone (When Nothing Will Fix It)

You just can't imagine what they must be going through. You don't know what you could possibly do to help. You have no idea what to say.Thing is... No one does. There is no magic formula of care and concern, words and deeds that will make this terrible thing better for this person you love. The death of a spouse, the cancer diagnosis, the divorce, the job loss, the debilitating accident, the incarcerated daughter... You can't fix it. Very often, not even a professional can fix it--not a d … [Read more...]

Moana, the “Other” Princess: Thoughts on Identity and Belonging

Guest post: by Rev. Allison RuariWhen I was three, I learned the words to “Jesus Loves the Little Children.” After hearing “Red and Yellow, Black and White/They are precious in his sight,” I had to reconcile that I was none of those colors (nor was my Samoan father). Still, I knew Jesus loved me (and my father). So what did I do? I asked questions and made the music director change the words. The new words weren’t perfect, but they served my purpose and the conversation encouraged others to t … [Read more...]

What Were You Expecting?

What were you expecting?If your childhood pre-dates the digital age and the magic of Amazon.com, then you have memories of spending December pouring over that sacred text, the Sear's Wish Book. That's how you KNEW for sure it was Christmas, when that thing showed up in the mailbox.These days, the retail world has other ways of getting our expectations up. They tell us to anticipate everything from diamonds to dazzling technology to a Lexus in the driveway with a giant bow on top. … [Read more...]

Assemble: Word 3, Advent 1

One of the best parts of Christmas at my house is getting out the nativity sets.When I was a newlywed--with no children--I decided that I was going to be a collector of international nativities. My husband and I are both kind of minimalists in the home decor department. We don't do knick knacks, we think less is more, and anything that has to be dusted is probably more trouble than it's worth. However, I felt like nativity sets were the perfect thing for me to start gathering. They would … [Read more...]

Anticipate: Advent 1, Word 1

I spend a lot of my time and energy anticipating future needs. Mine, and those of other people.I anticipate the needs of my kids: That one is starting to whine and look kind of puny--better fix a snack before she has a meltdown. His jeans are getting too short, again; better order some, because he will outgrow them in his sleep, AGAIN. They should go to bed now or we will have a difficult morning. Make sure everybody pees now, or somebody will have to go behind a tree when we get to the pa … [Read more...]

The Country Needs Us, And We Need You: A Call to Action

Guest Post: by C. Shawn McGuffeySince the election I have been saddened. Luckily, I am fortunate enough to have a loving partner, family, friends, and students that reach out at precisely the right times to keep me intact. My good choices keep reaping benefits.And as you can see from the picture, I’ve also been acting, organizing, and participating. I am so proud of the many community members that are still doing the work to make this world better.Many of us, however, still have n … [Read more...]

I’m With Them

"My head is pounding and I feel sick; but I can't go to bed because when I wake up tomorrow it will be 100 years ago."That's what I said to my spouse (and Tweeted) at around midnight last night. That confounding arrangement of verb tenses aptly sums up where many of us are today. Utterly confounded. Disoriented. What year is it? Where do I live right now?It is easy to despair... Because, Jesus, this is a dark place. I am not using the Lord's name in vain, I am literally saying JESUS, … [Read more...]