About Cat Chapin-Bishop

Stillness at Solstice

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Over the years, our celebrations have evolved–but they have retained as much acceptance of the cold and the dark as celebration of dawn and the sun. We love the strengthening light past the solstice… but we would not understand the beauty of it, if we did not pause for the beauty of the long nights and sleeping land. [Read more...]

Discernment and the Spiritual Activist, Part I: Injustice

Ferguson Protest, NYC. The All-Nite Images. 2014.

It’s not enough to “not be racist.” Racial injustice is bred into the body of American society all the way down to the bone, and if every outright bigot on the planet were to leave for Mars tomorrow, racial inequality would not end, because of all the quiet, unthinking ways racism has crept into our societal DNA. [Read more...]

An Island in an Ocean of Air

Baxter Peak. Dylan, 2011.

1979 in Williamsburg, Virginia was not an easy time or place to be gay. “There comes a time,” she said, “in all my friendships, when I have to decide. Do I tell, or do I not tell?” She stood at one side of a precipice, and she saw me on the other. I wanted to tell her, “I already know!” But I did not know how. [Read more...]

Practicing

Two porcupines cross a road

A few years back, I accepted a challenge to commit to a “regular spiritual practice.” The terms of the challenge defined that as a daily spiritual discipline of at least twenty minutes. Unfortunately, the year that I took this on was an especially hectic one. Try as I might, I just could not clear any twenty-minute windows of time, other than my daily commute to and from work. And so, my daily practice of rolling meditations was born. [Read more...]

We Do Not Have to Be Broken

Quaker welcome sign

I forget, so often, that prayer–that communing with Spirit and with the concerns that are on my heart–is not a consolation prize, something to do when I don’t know what “real” work to do, or I’m out of the time or strength to do it. We don’t have to be broken. I don’t have to know how to fix us. I can do the easy work–I must not be afraid to do the easy work, the rewarding work, the joyful work which has been put into my hands. [Read more...]

Honoring an Ancestor

FlockOfYellowBirds

So today, on Samhain, I’ve been reminded of my longstanding sense of connection to Ann Putnam the younger, the second-youngest of the “afflicted girls” of Salem Village, and probably the most persuasive of all those who accused innocent men and women of witchcraft. Ann Putnam, today, this day that is sacred to those of my [Read More...]

A Love Letter

appleocean

This is my love letter to the servant-leaders of the world. Being a leader, a real, true, leader, whose commitment is to the Beloved Community, often means being the one who sets the limits and holds the boundaries. The ache of leading does not mean you are failing; it means that you accept that your work is service, and you are trying very hard to do it right. [Read more...]

Yeah, It Really Is About Race

ferguson protesters

This story isn’t about Ferguson, Missouri alone. It’s about every city and every town in the United States. It’s about the way white Americans have never really cared to see the forest for the trees, have always preferred to hunt for some specific detail that will allow us to turn away, to deny, to pretend we don’t know. We need to reach out, center down, and begin. [Read more...]

Stories that Last

classroom

To write is to share the truth of your life, your heart. To teach is to hold that sharing in trust, and to nurture it. And many of my students have lives, have hearts, of extraordinary beauty. [Read more...]

What Do You Mean, “God,” Cat?

Sunlit Tree

As a Pagan, I learned to listen to the spirit within the parts, and of relationships among them. As a Quaker, I learned to listen to the Spirit within the whole. [Read more...]


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