Apocalypse Never (and what we can do about it)

I grew up in the Pentecostal church. When I was ten, I knew just how the world would end: “the fire next time.” Tribulations. Seven seals. The four horsemen. Rainstorms of blood and fire. And what was more, this was coming any day now: the present terrible state of the world had been precisely prophesied [Read More...]

What Bowling Taught Me About Patience

A couple of week’s ago, on a cold Chicago afternoon, after being cooped up for most of the week, my husband and I looked at each other and said, “Let’s go bowling.” Now, nothing says wholesome family fun quite like putting on some smelly communal shoes and listening to drunk men swear at the football [Read More...]

A Scream and a Theory: Natural Selection and the Higher Moral Order

Scientific theories do not occur in a vacuum. Like poems or paintings, theories reflect the times and characters or their authors. Darwin’s theory of natural selection, far from being a stark and cold scientific theory, was—and continues to be—an impassioned cry for equality and justice. A cry far more grounded and stirring than anything available [Read More...]

Worthy to be Entrusted

(Today, I preached at the ordination of a new minister in my denomination, Unitarian Universalism. Her name is Rev. Lara Campbell, and I shared the pulpit with Rev. Michael Tino. Here is my half of the sermon.) “Do not demand immediate results but rejoice that we are worthy to be entrusted with this great message,” [Read More...]

A Gift, A Letter, and a Drowning Man: The Legacy of “Letter from Birmingham Jail”

There’s an old Zen story that does like this:   Once there was a great warrior. He had never been defeated, and he continued to win every confrontation into old age. He was known far and wide as the only warrior who had never suffered a defeat. This of course was a challenge to younger [Read More...]

Saving the music, Saving our souls

Much talk is made of gentrification, but I want to take a moment and lift up the shadow side of all the cool new coffee houses and increased property taxes – dispossession. New Orleanians who managed to return post-flood are finding themselves pushed out of the city by the incredible post-2005 rent & tax increases [Read More...]

What A Miracle Is

  Once I crossed the Sierra Madres with a bus driver named Arturo who had one arm and a stick-shift bus.   Sometimes between the the shift and wheel Arturo’s good right arm would pause to make the sign of the cross toward a portrait of the Virgin that banged the windshield from a string. [Read More...]

Unconditional Love: An Epiphany

Over winter solstice, I watched my father tending to KG, his first grandchild, with unconditional love. We had just celebrated her one year birthday and she was beginning to cruise around with increased confidence.  As she found herself standing in front of my mother’s highly breakable ceramic nativity scene, KG began to methodically hand each [Read More...]

The Eager Chaplain

Early in ministry, there are skills to be learned. Preaching, counseling, the coffee-hour nod that says, “Yes, I’m listening,” even if it’s not true. Oh, and another one. Boredom. Overcoming it? No. Letting it pull you down below where you can breathe, and then holding you there. For hours. It’s important to know how to [Read More...]

Sometimes It Takes A Lie

Sometimes it takes a lie to keep a religion. “It’s merely a game,” they told the priests–”how we fast for days, then cut a tall pole to climb. How we costume and dance. It means nothing, how we chant in circles and bleed chickens. How we climb and fly round and around in air. Come, [Read More...]


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