March 20th marked Naw Ruz, the Baha’i New Year, and it has me thinking about fresh starts and changes. It seems very natural to me to start the new year not in the dead of winter, but as the world itself begins anew. “In the spring there are the clouds which send down the precious rain, the musk-scented breezes and life-giving zephyrs; the air is perfectly temperate, the rain falls, the sun shines, the fecundating wind wafts the clouds, the world is renewed, and the breath of
A WPM story I heard suggested that changes in policing will not happen from the top-down, but by changing our local police departments one at a time. I agree. I believe the same is true of churches. It is good that the National Council of Churches, denominations, and various diocese, synods and conferences are doing racial justice work through truth-telling and conciliation projects, but if local congregations are not engaged, so what?
I am serving on the Racial Justice Mov
“And this is what we know for certain: ‘It’s the lower jaw that moves.’” (Victor Hunter and Lanny Hunter, Stories of Desire and Narratives of Faith”
We all work from a reference point of our assumptions. For those who seek to be connected to the ecumenical church and the interfaith movement, an important assumption is a willingness to engage in holy conversation. Listening and talking are essential disciplines to the spiritual journey. We talk and we listen. We listen and we
One of the hardest funerals I have ever performed was the result of an instant moment of death. A tired father was driving on a long Wyoming road to see his daughter. Mike fell asleep at the wheel. He veered across the highway and hit an on-coming car. That was an instant the family wished they could take back. That was a forever moment when a life was taken away.
The imposition of the death penalty is a forever moment—a life is extinguished never to return. A life is snuffe
When I arrived in Wyoming to serve the United Methodist Churches that I have been appointed to serve in Powell and Lovell, I was warned – this is Wyoming – it is different! And wow, they were right! Wyoming is a beautiful and rugged state, so very different from places I have lived in the past. Wyoming is a state that is fiercely proud of all that it has to offer. It has a history that is steeped deeply in the traditions of the “Old West”. In that tradition, it is easy to ref
I was really looking forward to November 3rd. For one thing, it’s my birthday. I thought that the election would be over, I would not be receiving about 50 email messages a day asking me to send some candidate, many in other states, money for the election or their re-election. And my biggest wish was that we would have a new President in the White House. I got that wish, but unfortunately for my inbox and the country, it was not that straight forward. We all know what happene
Our nation has been through a turbulent time over these past few weeks. Besides the ongoing pandemic that threatens to be with us indefinitely, we have witnessed an attempt at an insurrection of our federal government and the ongoing political, social and economic divisions within our society. Often when we look for “light at the end of the tunnel” it seems like the tunnel keeps right on going.
In the midst of this we as the people of faith must have an answer to offer in th
In referring to the book “Interfaith Leadership: A Primer”, by Eboo Patel, he breaks Interfaith into two parts, “Inter” and “Faith”, with definitions for both. “Inter” is “Who am I? Who are you? How do we relate to each other?” “Faith” is diversity as expressed by differing religious groups or faith communities. These questions are common, but they are experienced in different ways, depending on your particular point of view. “Inter” refers to intergroup relations as expresse
The election is over, the end of the pandemic is in sight, and while there is still much work to do, at this time of year we turn our attention to celebrating the various winter holidays. From the well known religious celebrations of Christmas and Hanukkah to secular traditions such as the Winter Solstice and New Year’s, to a variety of lesser-known celebrations such as Ayyam-i-ha and Diwali, There are ample opportunities to celebrate. Through time and across cultures people
Many times, we hear and read stories in the news about violent crime and think, ‘that only happens to other people.’ The reality is, it can happen to anyone. I was impacted by the murder of a loved one — twice. As a child, my mother was kidnapped, raped, and murdered at the hands of a man that had already been to prison and was out on parole. As an adult, my husband was murdered by a man that shot him point-blank in the head and burned his body in a fire pit while in a meth-i
The Wyoming Interfaith Network recently held its 2020 annual meeting. The theme was “Restoring Hope-Combatting Racism Through Interfaith Work.” Because it was on Zoom and neither speakers nor attendees had to travel across the state, it was the largest WIN meeting in memory and had a cast of wonderful speakers from parts of Wyoming and around the country. We heard heart-felt pleas for racial justice from across the religious spectrum, witnessing of racial, religious, and soci
It was winter of 1977 when I first arrived as an Episcopal priest in the state of Wyoming. I agreed to serve a tiny parish in the even tinier town of Dixon near the Colorado border. For me this was the beginning of an adventure and I yearned to serve not only the Little Snake River Valley but also the entire state of Wyoming. It didn’t take long for my bishop to assign me to a new organization called the Ministry to Impacted Areas, an ecumenical effort to address the aftermat
Do you ever feel like you are in survival mode with all the conflict bombarding us in the news, social media, and even in our personal relationships? It seems that every topic today is divisive. Politics, the pandemic, and racism are all hot topics. Some days I feel like I’m just trying to survive, and getting to a place where I can stay focused on applying spiritual principles and solving problems seems like a distant hope. People are responding to this bombardment as people
This is the first of a series of my weekly messages (as my turn to write comes along) to explore the content of a book given to me by our Executive Director Jordan Bishop, titled “Interfaith Leadership – A Primer”, written by Eboo Patel, the founder and President of Interfaith Youth Core, an international organization which teaches Interfaith relationships to youth. But Patel’s book is unique, for it gives direction and purpose to guide interfaith leaders on how to be success
I have counseled couples who lost their child—by cancer, accident, suicide. All I know and feel is that “This is the greatest grief of all.” To lose one’s child is not only to lose a close and life-long relationship, it is to lose the dreams we have for the future of the one we love. Years ago, Rabindranath Tagore wrote: “Every child brings with it the promise— that God is not yet finished with humankind.” But, when a child dies, there are three loses: the closeness of a rela
Each of our faith traditions, backgrounds, or stories move us toward some greater than ourselves. As a Christian in the Episcopal tradition, the practice of moving beyond myself is one I’m still working on. Jesus’ first public words are in Mark 1:15 when he tells us to “repent” or what literally translates into “change your mind”. Jesus’ command is one towards introspection, it challenges us to transform our lives into one that loves the world and loves God. But with the worl
The percentage of Americans who wear corrective lenses to improve their eye sight runs high. If you don’t wear glasses to facilitate your eye sight, it is a safe bet that you surely know someone who does. To wear glasses is the desire to see more clearly. What does it matter if someone calls you “four eyes” or “specs?” Far more important to attain 20/20 vision with visual aid. Sight, clear sight, is a powerful gift. We are about half way through 2020. What a year! Do you re
This started out to be just another weekly message from yours truly, but as I dug into the reams of information available out there, I thought, just cherry-pick some of the statistics that are making headlines these days, and share some insights of Interfaith work with you, so here goes. First let’s do the statistics. According to the latest Pew Research Poll, a random sampling of 11,537 people over the age of 18, most Americans say that the coronavirus outbreak has had an im
Five years ago I attended my first Talking Circle, which was at the close of a two day conference on the Wind River Indian Reservation about the prevalence of sexual assault of Indigenous people. I vaguely recall some of the presentations, but what I most remember is the Talking Circle and how powerful it was. We pulled our chairs into a large circle without a table or anything inside the circle. There was a talking stick and it was explained that you could only speak if you
To state the obvious: We are living in strange times. Most of us who have devoted our lives in the service of religious leadership are focused on the same question: How does our spiritual community re-enter public life? By now, all of our Christian denominations have sent guidelines informing pastors and congregational leaders about things leaders should plan for when doors are open again for public worship. My own denomination – the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) – s