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

April 21, 2020

Tomorrow is the 50th anniversary of the first Earth Day, which was held on April 22, 1970. This significant anniversary is an invitation to pause and consider some of what led to the creation of Earth Day in the first place, what has happened in the years since, and how that might inform where and how we go from here. Let’s start with a brief glance backward at two contributing factors to the first Earth Day. The first major influence… Read more

April 17, 2020

What happens next is a very human question. These days, so many of us are wondering: what’s next with this pandemic? What’s next for the economy? What’s next for our country? What’s next for those most vulnerable? What’s next for those I love most in the world? What’s next is also a question most of us ask at one time or another when confronted by our own mortality: what’s going to happen after I die? And our human vulnerability to… Read more

March 31, 2020

One of the books I have been reading during such a time as this is Life Reimagined: The Science, Art, and Opportunity of Midlife by Barbara Bradley Hagerty. Some of you will recognize that name from hearing her voice over the years on NPR—National Public Radio. Hagerty’s book is about navigating midlife, but there are a surprising number of relevant insights for finding your path through any disorienting event, including a pandemic. So much of the shift to midlife is about… Read more

March 26, 2020

There are a lot of scary headlines out there. And even though we can’t control the state of the  world, I would like to invite us to spend a little time reflecting on what we do have more influence over: how we respond to frightening news. A simple framework that has stuck with me in recent years is from the psychologist Rick Hanson. (Some of you may know his books, like Buddha’s Brain.) For now, imagine you are sitting in… Read more

March 16, 2020

At the congregation where I serve as minister, we recently had the opportunity to hear a sermon from a Buddhist monk named Bhante Sujatha titled “Suffering Is Optional.” A week after that Dharma talk, our world shifted in the D.C. Metro area (as it has around the country and the world) due to increased restrictions related to the Coronavirus. For our current situation, I would like us to reflect a little more on how the wisdom Bhante shared from the… Read more

February 25, 2020

We are now in the final week of Black History Month, an annual reminder about the importance of reflecting on our past through the lens of African American experiences. Black History Month is also a more general reminder that history is never neutral. It is always told from some point of view even if that point of view is not always acknowledged. Let me give you an example of what I mean. If you sign up for a class on… Read more

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