A More Perfect Union

When I was a child going to school in Atlanta, Georgia, my teachers taught me that forming a “more perfect union” of freedom, equality and opportunity was the dream of democracy. “You are a citizen of this country,” they said, “and your responsibility is to hold that dream – even fight for it – not for your individual benefit but for all of us.” As I grew older, this duty of citizenship became complicated. I realized that my white skin color opened doors of opportunity closed to people with darker… Read More

Lessons from Harvest Season

We are in the harvest season. Most mornings right now, I begin my day by putting on my mud boots, grabbing a basket, clippers, and bug spray, and walking out to the field just behind our house. There we have planted a wonderland of vegetables – peppers, okra, zucchini, squash, beans, peas, cucumbers, carrots, beets, jalapeños, onions, tomatoes, eggplant, and herbs. These mornings, at the height of the harvest, I fill my basket to overflowing. This morning ritual reminds me that life is designed with “abundance” in mind. Living in… Read More

Hachiko and Lifelong Friendship

Outside the Shibuya Station in Tokyo stands a bronze statue of a dog named Hachiko. Hachiko was an Akita Inu dog born in 1923 and adopted by Hidesaburo Ueno, a professor of agriculture at the University of Tokyo. Each morning Ueno and Hachiko would walk together to the Shibuya train station where Ueno would tell Hachiko goodbye before getting on the train to work. Hachiko (Hachi) would then spend the day waiting for Ueno to come back. In the meantime, local shopkeepers and station workers would keep an eye on… Read More

The Olympics Win

This week as we continue to celebrate the Tokyo 2020 Olympics we are hearing the wonderful and inspiring stories of the lives of the athletes and the sacrifices they’ve made to get to this point. More than that, we are seeing their character and care for one another even at the height of competition. Sunday, high-jumpers Gianmarco Tamberi of Italy and Mutaz Essa Barshim of Qatar flawlessly jumped the high jump at 7 feet, 9 1/4 inches. But neither of them could clear the bar at a higher level after… Read More

It’s All Grace

Celtic spiritual teacher and author John Philip Newell has just released a new book called Sacred Earth, Sacred Soul. It’s a beautiful text reminding us at just the right moment in human history of the gift of Celtic Christianity, a faith that honors the sacredness of the earth and of the human soul. For Celtic Christians, humanity and creation are interwoven in a beautiful tapestry of interdependence. “It’s all One, everything connected to everything,” the Celtic Christian might say. In his opening chapter, Newell tells us of the story of… Read More

Rediscovering “Good Religion”

Tomorrow I will be hosting a two day Teach-In with Diana Butler Bass on the trends we see in institutional religion. Dr. Bass has been a leading thinker and scholar in this space for many years, bringing a unique ability to understand the global influences that impact our culture and pursuit of the Sacred. In an article published on CNN, she commented on a critical study that came out from PRRI: On July 8, the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) released its American Religious Landscape survey for 2020. The report resembled those of… Read More

Hans, The Tailor

Have I told you the story of Hans, the tailor? No? Well, let me begin… Hans, the tailor, was famous through all of the lands for his skill in sewing the perfect suit. Because of his reputation, an influential entrepreneur visiting his city ordered a tailor-made suit. But when he came to pick up his suit, the customer found one sleeve twisted that way and the other this way; one shoulder bulged out, and the other caved in. He pulled and managed to make his body fit.  As he returned… Read More

You’re OUT!

The greatest year in baseball history had to be 1924. The World Series that year between the old Washington Senators and the New York Yankees was considered a classic. The series was tied at three games apiece, with the final, seventh game played in Washington. In the ninth inning of the seventh game, the score was tied, two to two. New York came to bat.  Three batters up and three batters down. The Washington fans started screaming. Washington could win the game with a run in the bottom of the ninth. The… Read More

An Astronomer Teaches Us About Belonging

On her podcast, On Being, journalist Krista Tippett interviewed astronomer, Dr. Jill Tarter about her work searching for life on other planets. Jill was the inspiration for the main character, Dr. Ellie Arroway, in the 1997 movie Contact staring Jody Foster. She has devoted her career to searching for signals sent from other technologically advanced cultures on other planets. Yes, it sounds crazy. You should listen to her explain it, and I bet she will convince you that it might be the best job on earth. During the interview, I was struck by their conversation about thinking… Read More

As I Was Taking Off on My Flight

I was sitting on the run-up pad in my plane going through my checklist. Free movement of my ailerons and rudder, check. All circuit breakers working, check. Altimeter set, check. Magnetos, check. Then I looked at my vacuum reading. It was showing zero pressure. I waited, hoping the engine just needed more time to warm up. It didn’t move. I ran through the rest of my checklist. Everything checked out except the vacuum pump.  I sighed. I wouldn’t be flying that day.  I let the controllers in the tower know, and… Read More