Peace in the Pool

Normally when I write about the Peace I find in the pool, it’s all about me — the water, the rhythm, the quiet.

But yesterday’s Peace was brought to us by a 92-year-old Hungarian emigré.

It’s one of those decisions I juggle. Do I speak to people I don’t know when I’m wearing a few ounces of nylon. It’s a vulnerability thing. I once had a woman introduced to me, who decided based on the introduction what my politics were and why she abhorred them, and i thought, what? I’m in my happy place and you’re going off? blah.

But, my natural curiosity makes me susceptible. And in this case, it was a lovely contact.

We who whine often don’t stop to think about why this place is valuable. We often spend more time whining than making things even better. Because truth to tell, if you travel at all or live abroad, you realize how many things are good here…

So why not work to make them better. Wringing our hands never did much to make things work…

and then, after Monsieur L’Emigré climbs out, my other favorite nonagenarian dropped into the pool. Another political conversation ensued.

What a delightful world we live in.

Peace is waiting to be picked up and celebrated. It’s in our hands.

And, along those lines did you vote? Because Peace is in our hands, and it’s lucky we are that’s so.


Reading, Peace, Reading

When I was a tender seminarian I heard William Sloan Coffin (recently retired as minister at Riverside Church in NYC and formerly the Yale chaplain who started Clergy and Laity Concern during the the VietNam War) speak about being involved with what’s going on in the world.

Coffin talked about the importance of being involved. At the end someone stood up and said, great for you, you’re on the speaker circuit… You blow in, blow up and blow outta town (ah you gotta love a hall full of ministers!).

Coffin admired the hit and then asked… how many of you have read a book on something other than ministry? How many of you have read a serious book this year. Less than 25% raised their hands.

And he said, yeah… no excuse for that. That’s part of your ministry.

I admit his seeds fell on fertile ground. I love reading. And I believe it’s important. And I’m lucky that the UUs feel it’s important and that my congregation agrees. And so I take this time very seriously and stuff my brain — with things that pertain to what we’re up to and to what I think I and all of us might need to think of. And with things that are going on and we can’t help but look at. There’s so much to wonder about. So much hard (reading) work to do.

So reading. I find Peace in it. In its turn it stirs me to look for Peace. It’s a cycle I’m lucky to be able to indulge. Just a couple weeks of stuffing ahead, and then look out world! I’m back! Wake up world! Time to step up!


Courage and Peace and Lunacy

To be courageous is always a bit lunatic, isn’t it? To dare to do something that is outside our comfort zone. Luckily it’s the Ripe Garden Moon and it’s full of comfort for when we do the crazy courageous things.

It’s funny what supports us in courage. In the case of my friend, she relied on simple good manners to carry her up and over.

In my case, I just didn’t want to have an unmatched set. And really, everyone else had forgotten I made a mistake and even if they were holding it against me, who cares? It’s my life I want to have organized, nothing to do with anyone else. (so who’s my harshest critic, right, me). So I could just do what I needed to do.

Things happen that need to be dealt with. Sometimes they’re fairly small things. Sometimes they’re big and horrible. But we do what we have to… or at least what we can of what we have to. We step up and do the hard work.

And that is just that…

A certain kind of Peace comes in doing what needs to be done. In doing the right thing. In daring. We like ourselves when we dare for things that matter.  so, let’s shall we, let’s Peace.


Thunder Moon Rumbles Demand Peace

Gay Marriage and a continuation of horrific painful death penalties. Fair housing and denials of climate change. ACA and massacres. Life is unsettled.

The Thunder Moon rumbles.

The question is, what are we going to do about it?

How are you and I going to weigh in? What thread will we unravel? Racism, injustice, unequal access, automatic weapons, climate change, the death penalty, economic justice. Pick one, pick any one.

Peace is waiting for us to step up. Let us do so — by the light of the silvery Moon. Because it is time. Because it is our work to do.


Tears in Paradise, Act for Peace

Two days home from a workshop on Undoing Racism, taught by the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond, I wake up to the news of the death of nine Black people by a white gunman. They were shot at church in a Bible Study.

I’d already sent out the day’s musing about how we who live in Paradise don’t make room for everyone, don’t insist that Paradise is abundant. And then this, proof.

It could be one crazy guy except we tolerate crazy white guys doing this. This is a thing. This is a trend. This is a movement. White people killing bunches of Black and Brown people. Will his religion be on trial the way the Boston Marathon’s religion was? Will we (finally) wonder what it is in White culture that causes so many to go so wrong? Because it’s about time we do.

And in all the pictures of the aftermath, people kneeling in prayer, people holding hands in prayer, not a white face in the picture. “And I didn’t hear nobody pray.” And oh right, I didn’t hear anyone say, there is an epidemic of white exceptionalism and it’s killing our neighbors. But it’s true. I didn’t see anyone say, “I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry.”

Ramadan starts today. Maybe while our Muslim sisters and brothers are refraining and reflecting, we might do the same.

I’m sure that some people like those in the AME church would be grateful to wake up in Not Hell. But Paradise is possible, if we understand the need to throw open the Garden gates and welcome the world. Do we believe in Life?

It’s time to wake up, step up, show up for Peace. It’s time to redefine and transform Paradise. Each and every one of us is needed for this hard and precious work.


Thunder Moon Peace!

It’s a new month… and there were choices to make about names. Thunder Moon seemed a fairly clear winner given the storms of the last couple days.

This could be a month of seeing what’s true. It’s soon the longest day with the brightest sun for a slow and steady reveal. And there will be slashes of light casting a different look at things… We’ll be waking up early, because the Sun’s insistent. Shall we use the time to step up?

And things can be, should we choose, be shaken up in the time of the Thunder Moon — or we could begin to see that in fact things are already different from what they’ve been, or we’ve thought they’ve been…

It’s time. Are we ready? People, the Earth, All God’s critters really shouldn’t have to wait any longer on us, should they? All in for Peace?


Preparing the Ground for Peace

It’s amazing how hard this work is to hear. Incredibly sobering to think I am called to help teach it.

Because they’re making no mistake about this. If I’m here, they’re clear, I’m here to do the work.

Yesterday was a challenging day for all of us. I knew going in, of course I did, that I was going to be confronting my privilege. I don’t know if my Black colleagues understood how very challenged they and their work would be.

At the end of the day there were a lot of headaches and and heartaches.

Tell, us, you say…

The  broth isn’t cooked yet, I can tell you that. It hasn’t clarified. I believe that what will result will be health-giving. For me. For the social service directors I’m in class with. For our communities. And I believe it will set up a fire in our bellies to do the work.

But in the meantime the chopping, slicing and dicing is laborious. Yesterday my Black colleagues had to deal with the fact that the in addition to the pain they felt as they’re disregarded in their work is only part of the picture. They also sat through hearing that the work they’re doing may be, by its very nature, damaging rather than helpful to the constituents they work with. The trainers’ argument was compelling enough that no one was really thinking the trainers were wrong… It just makes you tired… and sad.

There was lunch eating with kind, but confrontational women. Even with the best of intentions, we often miss the point. Or at least I do.

And after lunch the work was about White folk… You couldn’t have listened to the morning’s talks and not known this was coming.  It was about the privilege we have at every moment of the day conferred upon us by a system built upon people’s being one down.

My work this weekend, so far, has just been to stay open, to try and hear what’s being said. To hear the critical analysis. To hear the way the world impacts people of color. To hear the pain of these highly educated, well-paid, very talented executives.

And then to allow myself to feel my own sorrow, to see my unconscious acceptance, and to not let any of that stop me from being part of a group who does things to make a difference.

To recognize that I’m only a Peacemaker when I’m making Peace for everyone. I’m only a Peacemaker when I’m waking up, stepping up to the hard work of social action. When I’m creating not only the beloved community, but the just one. No Justice, no Peace, Bob Marley told us. I’ve sung it… have I ever really listened to the words? or listened to my heart after the words? we need to… the world needs us.



Peace Waits in the Undoing of Racism

I’ve come to New York to take a workshop entitled Undoing Racism. I came on a whim and a conviction. My niece did it in NOLA. I saw her post, checked with my board, and signed up.

All (all!) we did yesterday evening was be introduced to the program and talk who we are and why we need to undo racism. It was eye-opening, stunning, and you began to get an inkling, through these precious stories why it’s all so important… and the leaders are clear that what has been done can be undone. May it be so. and may I work to stay open during what’s going to be a wonderful, grueling process. It’s time to step up. Time for social action.

Peace be with you and may we all bring Peace to the world.


Community Peace in the Berry Moon

Overcast or not it was a lovely June day in the Berry Moon. Perfect for fêting two wonderful people who had done so much for the community.

Doug and Margie Sturm were extraordinary, but they were also very ordinary folk. They were both teachers, she taught countless high school kids to love literature; he taught religion and poli sci… and hurrah for that combo! Depression kids, they knew the value of hard work and had the knack of finding ways to get things done.

They believed strongly in the value of community, starting an organization entitled Community Alliance for Respect and Equality. They were warm and witty and engaging and people participated, sometimes just to hang out with them… and why not?

It was so fitting that the day in their honor was a day for soliciting volunteers fueled by fun music. The community gathered and a good time was had by all…

Peace is Possible… but you have to step up to do the work. Doug and Margie stood up and stepped up to the task. They loved broadly and boldly. And oh, they had great kids and left a trail of disciples behind them.  Let us give thanks… and go and do likewise. Peace. Your community needs you!


April Fools and Lunatics

Well, we woke up and the ugly laws are still there. Laws that say that what I believe means that I may forbid you services: health, food, housing. The Fools say: oh, we didn’t meant tha-at. The Lunatics say: this is not acceptable. Peace is inclusion.

This country was founded, with flaws, it must be admitted, on civility and citizenship.

Every amendment we’ve made to its founding has been for greater inclusivity.

But there’s something about homosexuality and this moment in history that makes us think it’s ok to say you’re less than human. And it seems that has given us permission to step up our racism and our misogyny.

Lots of people sitting back and smugly shaking heads that this just proves how crazy people are. It’s not the right reaction. We have to stand up and change the laws. We have to stand up and shop other places. We have to vacation other places. Wake up. Stand up. Speak up. Step up.

As I write, I realize beloved nephew is getting married in Arkansas. So Miss Wake up. Stand up. Speak up. Step Up, Priestess had better figure out how she’s going to respond when there.

Everyone has worth and dignity. Everyone is precious. People of faith and philosophy had better figure that out. We’re here to celebrate creation and create community.

Watch out April Fools whose jokes have turned mean. We are Pink Moon Lunatics for Peace. and we vote, in the voting box and with our dollars.