The virulent conflict we experience in our world is fueled by a need on both sides to win at all costs, to be right and—even more important—to prove others wrong. We all have the “talking points” committed to memory. We can rally the facts and marshal the stats to “take down” another person. Yet even […]
Meeting My Brother in the E.R.
I was already aware of him when he walked in. He was the man whose car pulled up to the door just ahead of us, and I had hopped out quickly to get ahead of him. Who knows how deep the line is inside that door. I am on vacation in a strange town. I’ve […]
As a priest, I’ve officiated at hundreds of weddings, but Friday I attended my first Nigerian wedding. If you remember the scene in My Big Fat Greek Wedding, when the conservative, understated parents of the WASPy groom first meet the bride’s big, boisterous Greek family, you know how I felt walking into the banquet hall. […]
It Tolls for Thee
Rarely am I so moved. The funeral for my mother-in-law ended. I lined up with five other pallbearers and walked the white coffin to the hearse. We got in our car and waited for the procession to begin. Pam began quietly to weep. There is something startling about the hearse and the coffin, the physicality […]
I am sitting with my father, playing gin rummy, but I might as well be sitting in a monastery or any retreat house. I am here for a week. Our days are simple and highly ritualized. Breakfast is at 8:30. (Two eggs on an English muffin, daily, for him.) We may converse for a while […]
My Night in Sing Sing
On Monday night I sat in the most exciting, powerful and inspirational circle I’ve experienced in years. I was conversing with convicted felons at Sing Sing prison—homicide, armed robbery, drug dealing. We sat in a classroom, maybe fifteen of us from the “outside” and ten inmates. We had come to learn more about a program […]
Thinking Big Enough
“If your life’s work can be accomplished in your lifetime, you’re not thinking big enough.” -Wes Jackson Those words gave me pause—a big pause. I read them in an article about sustainable agriculture (as a South Dakota native it’s sad to see the systematic poisoning of the earth as the basis for our agri-business). Wes […]
It’s OK to be Stressed!
Why are you stressed? Turns out, that’s the key question. Rabbi Harold Kushner writes of a study, some years ago, at Duke University Medical Center. They gathered up a couple hundred Type A people, the hard drivers who are always on the run, always working, honking at the guy in front of them who doesn’t […]