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Roxane Gay recently released her memoir, “Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body” and it’s interesting to see how such an accomplished author can be defined – by some – solely by the number on the scale. I came across a quote of hers once that stayed with me: “When feminism falls short of our expectations, we decide the problem is with feminism rather than with the flawed people who act in the name of the movement.” The same can be said of politics and religion.

As the world seems to be more and more a constant headline of Us vs. Them, I found the author’s insights to be timely and true. There’s always a story, isn’t there? Something led a person to this place. Sometimes that place is one of accolades and applause. Sometimes it’s to impulsive actions based on flawed perceptions.

After the Manchester attacks, mosques in my home state of New Jersey opened their doors to the public. “We want to tell them we are against extremism, we are against terrorism, we are against violence, and we are against discrimination of any type against anyone,” said Imam Mohammad Moutaz Charaf, spiritual leader of the El-Zahra Islamic Center in Midland Park.

The fact that the we need reminders that not every Muslim is a terrorist is astounding. It always amazes me that people online feel they have some kind of birthright to make evil comments about people they don’t even know. Sometimes whole groups. You may not agree with a person’s ideology, or faith, or even their hairstyle, but how does it really affect your life, anyway?

Someday your story will be told. It can be a tale of compassion and courage, or of blame and bigotry. How that story unfolds is really up to you.

In honor of Father’s Day, a quote from one of my favorite fathers – MLK.

The world is spiraling out of control. We are not evolving, but de-evolving. Every day things become more vicious, more divisive, more hopeless.

Here’s where you’re expecting me to say, “Have hope! God is with us!” I am not going to say that.

I’m growing increasingly tired of hearing, “hope and pray that things will improve.” I’m not sure that’s enough. It feels to me as if God is pushing our buttons lately, with a very intentional agenda in mind: What will it take?

What will it take for you to call your senator? What will it take for us to understand that we are all human beings and need to take care of one another? What will it take to stop blaming and start working on solutions? What will it take for us to wake up?

It is all very well and good to hope and pray. In fact, prayer can be powerful action. But there is more to be done, and it starts with making our actions congruent with our beliefs. Do you claim to be a Christian yet don’t care about (or actively work against) the welfare of the poor, the immigrant, those standing on the margins (like the LGBTQ community)? You might want to re-evaluate. Do you hate liberals? Conservatives? Hating is not a Christian value. Spewing that hatred, whether online or at a “rally” is not a Christian activity.

Which is not to say that Christians have a corner on morality; we don’t. And part of God’s wake-up call to us is recognizing that we, in our diversity of faith traditions, are more alike than different, that Sharia law doesn’t hurt me any more than someone keeping kosher does — just follow your own beliefs and be considerate of others’ beliefs. Religion isn’t the enemy; it’s people who misconstrue and misinterpret religion, who forget that God is love — above all else.

I firmly believe that Jesus was a radical. He didn’t come to soothe anybody’s spirits; he came to shake things up. And that’s what God is doing now. God is shaking and shaking us, trying to make us declare exactly who and what we are and what we believe is right and just.

So…are you ready to stand up? If not, what will it take?

What do you give others? Happiness? Strength? Confidence? All are gifts from God given to us to share.









How often do you get frustrated when something doesn’t turn out the way you had hoped?  We forget to live in the moment – celebrating the activity of serving Christ, expecting a certain outcome.  We just aren’t that wise.

Plan the deed.  Exalt in a job well done.  But remember that other people have autonomy.  Its how God made us all?


Spend time in peace so that you have what it takes to face the turmoil.

One of the trickiest paths to walk as a Christian is that of the social justice movement.  At least it seems that way to me. Christ called on us to address the needs of the prisoner, the orphan and the widow.  Unfortunately injustice is often wrapped up in racism and intolerance.  It may not be comfortable, but don’t assume that those demanding justice are “rewriting” history.  Take a deep breath.  Take a look at events.  Read up on both sides.  And pray.


Strangers hold onto man for two hours after he threatens to jump off bridge

So here’s an idea. Instead of a Smart Phone, why don’t we invent a Sweet Phone – only calls from kindred spirits with a sunny outlook get through; those with a hidden agenda, a chip on their shoulder, or an axe to grind would be blocked.

It might be possible to do that with our social media habits as well. If you think of the news headlines as a slow drip of poison into your psyche, you’ll be more cognizant of the negative effect it’s having on your emotions.

My mother used to say each of us needs twelve hugs a day just to survive. Not sure why she chose the number twelve, but I’m down with the sentiment. We can do the bio-equivalent of that with our online viewing habits.

What about starting a trend that for every critical tweet or comment you post, you must compliment someone or focus on a positive thing? For every bad airline encounter story you read today, I propose that you read two feel-good stories. Listen to an uplifting song. Write a poem. Anything to counteract the constant barrage of chaos and carnage.

Here’s a positive story to start you off. It’s not often that a picture can bring me to instant tears of joy, but this picture of Good Samaritans reaching through the bars on a bridge to keep a suicidal man from jumping really got to me.

Strangers do good things for people all the time, even though the bad news gets most of the press.

These random people came together when a car overturned into a flooded area, trapping two infants inside. One man carries out a toddler, saying, “Dear Jesus, please let this baby breathe.”

Cue the waterworks again! Mercy. I may as well go to the kitchen and chop some onions at this rate.

This stranger’s kind act really warmed my heart: a sweet story about a long-lost letter.

With all the political weirdness and the general turmoil in the world, I propose that this kind of news is not just human interest, it’s a poultice for the soul.

One of my mom’s favorite sayings, and it didn’t matter if she was talking to a five year-old or a twenty-five year old, was “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all.”

Yes, she knew she was quoting Disney and she knew we knew.  Bring it up and she’d just give you that stare.

You probably think that Mom came to mind because it’s Mother’s Day weekend.  That’s probably part of it. But part of it was also reading Lori’s post. Even if she didn’t agree with what any and all of these people had done, Mom would have chosen a different path. Confrontation just wasn’t her thing.

When the mom up the street didn’t feed her kids well or keep them clean, Mom didn’t argue or lecture.  She invited the kids down for lunch and she put their coats in the wash. She even put then in the tub a time or two because “we had played outside for too long and they were obviously chilled.”

I never heard her tell another mom off because their child behaved badly, but woe to me if I repeated that behavior in front of that parent.  “We do not behave like that. What would people think?”

Arguments online? That wasn’t an issue way back then, but knowing Mom it still wouldn’t be today. Mom might have gone on Facebook to catch up with an old friend or exchange a recipe. She definitely would have participated in sewing forum’s and shared patterns and tips. But argue? Not Mom.

When they asked Mom to teach Sunday school, they probably thought she’d go for the cute, little kids.  Mom asked for the high schoolers. I was too young to be in her class but I heard about it. They discussed everything using the lesson as a jumping off point for life, the world and everything. The opinions stated by her students weren’t always the common wisdom.  They challenged each other.  They asked her “why do we believe this and not that?” She gave what they asked thought before she answered, especially when she didn’t agree.

And week after week, they came back.

If they didn’t have something nice to say based on someone else’s belief, they could speak their mind but they didn’t name call, they didn’t argue.  It wasn’t about the other person, it was about their own belief, idea or opinion. They could disagree, but they had to be civil.  Otherwise, what would people think?

Wishing you all a Blessed weekend filled with inspiration and memories of the mom’s, grandmothers, Sunday school teachers and others who shaped us into the people we are today!


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