The men and women moved slowly past the prostrate women in her eighties. She repeated a modified sun salutation and prayer for peace several times in the aisle, even as a dozen or so latecomers passed her as they made their way to their seats. And then the woman stood up, hands pressed together in a sign of peace and compassion and returned to her seat using her cane for assistance.
All this time, the room remained rather hushed with four thousands hearts and minds fixated on the stage, awaiting the words from His Holiness the Dalai Lama. This woman was physically doing what so many of us longed to do. We longed to match the peace and compassion of this global religious figure in action. Instead most of us just sat in awe of his demeanor and superb eloquence. Read the rest of this entry
I spent most of this month preparing for an intensive “J-term” course that I took last week at Meadville Lombard Theological School. The course was entitled, Ethical Wisdom: A Comparative Study of Buddhist, Native American, African American and Humanist Traditions taught by Meadville’s provost Sharon Welch. Truly, this course was transformational for all of us that gathered for the five days of sharing, discussing, reflecting, and journeying together through the world of postcolonial theory and the intersections of oppression and alternative moral and spiritual systems of ethics.
After the week ended, I was overwhelmed by the extremely complex set of emotions I had, ranging from anger and hoplessness, to immense joy and motivation. The last half millennium could be re-told by a storyteller in very different ways. A Native American scholar we read during the week completed the provocative title of his book, The Truth About Stories: A Native Narrative, by suggesting that that (stories) are all we are. Humans shape their world by countless stories that help to make sense of their particular disposition. There are plenty of these stories in the United States that paint the last half millennium in a much brighter hue than how non-Euro/Western people might. Read the rest of this entry
I returned Wednesday evening from a three-day ministerial career assessment in Westchester, IL. A requirement for ministerial credentialing in the UUA, this time was meant to give me space for reflection and analysis of where my life is now, where it is headed, and how a career in ministry is or is not along my journey forward. The experience was very formative and gave me a lot of great things to think about. While the discussions and events throughout these three days are confidential because of the agreement I made with other ministerial candidates, I wanted to share one salient point that has remained on my heart.
The last activity before the five of us returned to our separate lives was an opportunity to give presents to one another. These presents were not tangible, they were spiritual. There purpose were to be tools and reminders of certain things that will help us along our travels towards ministry. While I cherish each of my gifts, there was one that stuck out to me that I wanted to lift up today: the breath of life. Read the rest of this entry