January 12, 2021

Introduction The violent assault on the United States Capitol Building on Wednesday was shocking and traumatic. To construct a response, I would like to start with a story from the history of my own chosen tradition of Unitarian Universalism to put this week’s events into a larger context. Then, there are a few related aspects of what happened on Wednesday that I would like us to explore in more detail. Finally, I will point us toward where we might go… Read more

January 5, 2021

The year 2021 has finally arrived! And the beginning of a new year is traditionally a time for reflection on the year that has passed, reevaluation of one’s life from this new perspective, and recommitment in the form of new year’s resolutions.  This time of discernment, which supports our making thoughtful choices about how best to move forward with our lives, reminds me of Robert Frost’s (1874 – 1963) most famous—and also most widely misunderstood—poem, “The Road Not Taken.” This… Read more

December 30, 2020

The following are the top ten best books I’ve read since this time last year–in alphabetical order by the author’s last name because agonizing over a precise order would take all the fun out of remembering these books: We the People: A Progressive Reading of the Constitution for the Twenty-First Century by Erwin Chemerinsky, (2018) Mama’s Last Hug: Animal Emotions and What They Tell Us about Ourselves by Frans de Waal (2019). (If you are curious about how to act… Read more

December 16, 2020

Two years ago I wrote a post inspired by ecologist Peter Wolleben’s The Hidden Life of Trees. It’s one of those remarkable books that can significantly shift the way you experience the world. There is so much more happening with trees than is often apparent from our human point of view. In particular, there is growing scientific evidence that trees communicate with one another, share resources, and have intricate relationships with other trees in what is sometimes called the “wood… Read more

August 19, 2020

The Indigo Girls’ song “Go” includes these lyrics: Grandma was a suffragette Blacklisted for her publication Blacklisted for my generation Those lines have stuck with me ever since I first heard that song more than two decades ago. I find that reminder to be so powerful: invoking the memory of radical forebears who came before us—as suffragists, as abolitionists, as social justice activists for so many other causes—who together passed on to us a world with more justice and equity… Read more

August 3, 2020

As of last week, more than 150,000 people have died from the coronavirus in the U.S. alone. And we should be honest that that number is likely an undercount due to inconsistencies in how various localities attribute COVID-19 as a cause of death (The New York Times). Worldwide, more than 600,000 people have died of Coronavirus (NPR). The death toll will continue mounting in coming months. So in such a time as this, taking a step back to reflect on… Read more

June 22, 2020

I have posted about reproductive justice once before—seven years ago, in 2013. At that time, the year 2011 had been the single worst year for abortion rights since Roe v. Wade, with 92 abortion restrictions passed in state legislatures. 2012 followed suit as the second-worst year for abortion rights since 1973 with 43 abortion-restricting provisions enacted at the state level (Guttmacher 2013). That year I also led a six-session class on reproductive justice at the congregation where I serve as… Read more

June 8, 2020

Growing up in South Carolina, the first time I can remember really engaging with Black History Month was in middle school. Not coincidentally, that was the same year I had my first African-American teacher. It was 8th grade Earth Science, and every weekday that February various ones of us were assigned to make presentations about different black scientists. I remember some of my classmates voicing racist objections to those Black History Month assignments, but we learned a lot, and I… Read more

May 4, 2020

I would like to invite you to open your mind and heart to two different stories. The first is a cautionary tale from the past. The second is a hopeful story of a possible future. I chose these two particular stories because we are in close proximity to two important dates: Today is the 50th Anniversary of the Kent State massacre. This past Friday was May 1st, known as “International Workers’ Day” or May Day, an annual celebration of the… Read more

April 27, 2020

Mary Oliver (1935 – 2019) has been called “America’s most beloved poet” by no less than The New Yorker, and she has long been a favorite in my own chosen tradition of Unitarian Universalism. In 2006, Oliver delivered the Ware Lecture at the annual UU General Assembly. She read many wonderful poems during that hourlong presentation, and toward the end she made her way around to one of the poems that many people had been waiting for all night: “Wild Geese.” She… Read more

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