How We Live

Water Is Life — Dreaming toward Standing Rock 1

Water is life. Several folks responded to a recent Facebook Post of mine, expressing a desire to support me in going to Standing Rock. So I’m taking a “leap of faith” and heading west. But I’m going to need your help. See the “How to Donate” at the bottom of this post! And also HERE. I hope to spend 2-3 weeks living in the Sacred Stone camp (near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation), among the people whose heritage I share, representing all of you who stand with them through me. As Stone Camp founder LaDonna Allard said, “We stand with prayer. When […]

Ah, Beauty! 1

The Beloved Community: Here and Now Last night a group of us were gathered at the Antioch Institute discussing the Beloved Community. Our goal was to think about how and where we see the Beloved Community here and now. So, we posed the questions, “What are some of the key characteristics of Beloved Community? What are some visible signs that we are in the presence of Beloved Community?” The group led itself in an energetic conversation, reaching into their own this-life experience: “It’s humanity.” “When someone says, ‘I see you.’” “There’s Hope in the Beloved Community.” “Equity.” And on and […]

For Freedom! 5

For Freedom On May 22, 2015, I was the preacher for the Baccalaureate Service for the 2015 graduates of New Brunswick Theological Seminary…an honor bestowed on me by the students. The purpose of education, I asserted, was For Freedom, and I asked the graduates, “So are you freer today than you were when you started down this road?” The story of the Hebrew children in the fiery furnace demonstrates not just gumption but true freedom: “We will not bow down!” they said. I wandered from the three boys to Martin Luther King, Jr., to Shakespeare’s Othello and the villainous “friend,” Iago; […]

The Three Hebrew Children

Odd Ducks & the North Pole 2

At the beginning of every residency during my MFA at Spalding University, the Director of the program, Sena Jeter Naslund, would welcome us home and remind us that “we are all odd ducks here.” To me, Sena’s greeting always felt like the perfect “Welcome Home” speech. We weren’t un-odd, or de-oddified, there at the residency. I can attest that we were each and every one odd. We didn’t become in-liers rather than outliers, nor did we fit in with one another like a magic puzzle. We were odd ducks, together. A brace of odd ducks. Those of us who are “unconventional” […]

Happy Problems

Kim Stafford tells the story of how whenever he or his siblings complained to their father about something, his father would say, “Well, that’s a happy problem!” He narrates this story in his book, The Muses among Us: Eloquent Listening and Other Pleasures of the Writer’s Craft—a collection of short essays that present perspectives on life that everyone should hear. We are trained early on to think problems are bad things and to be fearful of making mistakes. Each one of us can tell our own sob-stories—and some of those stories are nigh unto horror stories—about how we learned to […]