The Rawness of Travel

“I cried and I cried and I couldn’t shake that [travel] experience, not that I want to shake it and get rid of it, but it was so close to me and I felt so called to it that I was impacted viscerally.” (Participant 11, from the dissertation, Beyond the U.S.: A qualitative study on … read more

Walls and Doors: The Politics of Immigration

Much has been said during the presidential campaign about the issue of immigration. We have heard about walls, deportation forces, open borders, paths to citizenship, and more. The question of immigration is finally a question about boundaries, identity, and control.  What does it mean to be a nation? What is the status of national boundaries? […]

For All the Saints

This morning, I stood next to Southwest alumnus the Rt. Rev. Greg Rickel, MDiv ’96, as he consecrated the Eucharist at a clergy retreat in Seattle. As I listened to the familiar words, spoken in Greg’s familiar twang, I drifted back in memory to what has turned out to be the pivotal moment of my life: […]

Spiritual Formation in the Cemetery

Sometimes clergy and seminarians will have a slip of the tongue by referring to the seminary as a “cemetery.” This is usually followed by an ironic chuckle, as if to say, “Yes, sometimes seminary is a place of death.” Antony the Great, 4th century Egyptian Christian, had a similar experience during his early spiritual formation. […]


Russell Schulz-Widmar, associate professor emeritus of Church Music at Seminary of the Southwest, asked my permission several years ago to include a meditation that I had written on the hymn, Profetiza, as part of his book, Praises Abound, published in 2012.  Russell’s book is a compendium of reflections and meditations written by his students and […]

Why Do (at Least Some) People Need to Go to Church?

I think it’s a very hard question, and it is provoked by a moment in Diana Butler Bass’s book Grounded: Finding God in the World – A Spiritual Revolution. Bass describes a time in her childhood after moving to the country when she begins to experience dirt as something to be investigated and not avoided: […]

Open to Change

This summer I fell in love with the rocky coast of Maine. Sitting on a boulder at Schoodic Point listening to squawking gulls chase after lobster boats in the bay pushed me into aesthetic bliss. For a moment I closed my eyes to absorb more deeply. My inner peace was shattered when a stranger yelled […]

Behold, I make all things new

At her birthday party last week, my goddaughter said, “Just as I had almost figured out how to be 18, now I’m 19.” I don’t know about you, but I have that experience all the time. To be a human being is to be in nearly perpetual transition. Just when we’ve almost figured out how […]

A Life of Complications

A few months ago, I made the decision to purchase an Apple Watch to better track my run mileage, pace, and heart rate.  As I began to learn more about the Apple Watch, I discovered a fascinating feature called Complications.  In the world of Apple Watch, a complication is a feature that allows the watch […]

Toward a more ‘generous intellect’

For me—an introvert who works in ministry—one of the most dreaded questions asked by an airplane seatmate is, “So what do you do?” As someone who works in a church, I usually cannot avoid my seatmates’ ensuing thoughts on Christianity, the Church, God, Zen Buddhism, sexual orientation, women in ministry, etc. It’s not that I […]