Speaking Truth—or Redemption—to Power?
In March, at the request of X, a Massachusetts inmate I have been writing to for the past three years, I send the letter excerpted here to the Parole Board:  . . . A member of my meeting’s Prison Fellowship
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What Does Freedom Taste Like?
In a couple of hours, people will gather on Boston Common to take turns reading aloud “The Meaning of July Fourth for The Negro,” the deeply moving speech Frederick Douglass gave on July 5, 1852, in Rochester, New York. At this
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Who’s Looking?
Easily overwhelmed, I’ve learned the best way for me to experience an art exhibit is to slowly and reverently—yet randomly—stroll through a gallery and let everything on display silently surround my senses until That One Work hits me between the
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“I can’t believe I’m still . . . “
That arc of history may be long and slowly bending towards justice—but it’s not exactly cruisin’ down I-95, is it! Sometimes that arc moves so slowly its movement is almost imperceptible. Sometimes it pauses, curves back on itself. Sometimes, like
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Whatever Works
  When I learned that Nelson Mandela had found great strength in Invictus, I made copies of that William Ernest Henley poem and mailed them to two men I correspond with, currently behind bars. Nice gesture, right?  But pointless. I
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What I’d Do Different Now
Some years ago I began to wonder: Whatever happened to those two African-Americans who desegregated E.C. Glass High School in Lynchburg, Virginia in 1962? So I found Dr. Lynda Woodruff and Reverend Owen Cardwell, Jr.—and wrote a book about what
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“Something Close to Love”
What I love about this picture: it perfectly illustrates its accompanying excerpt from WellingUp.net. Check it out! (Keywords: Prison, Light, Green/Exercise Yard) What else I want to say this picture: Those rusted bars only hint at the horrors of incarceration. But
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Lawn Ornament
“It’s come to this,” I thought, putting up a “In this house we believe . . . ” sign in my front yard Saturday. “I’m living at a time and a place where I must declare that ‘Kindness is Everything’!” But then
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Light Breaks Through
Having spent the day before with a dear and loving friend, settling into meeting for worship on Sunday I found myself reviewing the kinds of love as if Philia or Storge were ice cream flavors: yum! My personal New York Super Fudge
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“As Good And As Bad As I”
Sunday, just as I passed the bushes pictured above—”Somerbridge” boosts thousands of lilac bushes in bloom this week— a car pulled to the curb, its passenger-side window rolled down, and a young, pleasant-looking woman plaintively called, “Can you help me?
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“Pray you, love, remember.”
The more I read Robert Rossner’s The Year Without an Autumn: Portrait of a School in Crisis, the more I realize I’ve forgotten way more than I remember about the 1968 crisis Rossner chronicles. Which is startling! For not only was I
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Holding All of It
I’m holding a place for transformation. I’m holding a space for Love. And, apparently, when it comes to the vulnerable, the preyed upon, I’m holding my breath. This morning, much to my surprise, I realized I’d been holding on to
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Piece. Peace.
I used to think, if you want peace, work for justice. But during worship this past Sunday it came to me: If you want peace, work for peace. I saw the inter-relatedness of issues I’ve siloed I’m my heart. Affordable
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Wicked Wrong
Like everywhere else, Greater Boston has its own rhythms, its own special events—and its residents mark their calendars accordingly. In an area dominated by college students, for example, Moving Day, September First, equals tie-ups all over the city as thousands
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“Profound, Deep Work”
Sunday I had the privilege to hear Dr. Amanda Kemp talk about “holding the space for transformation.” Wow. Just. Wow. Or, as my late, beloved friend, George Preston, used to say: “Good stuff!” So I invite you to acquaint/reacquaint yourself with
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“There is a crack in everything”
Yeah. It’s broke. It’s been broke a long time. (Some of us pretended otherwise. We can’t now.) Some of us are broke, too. Just getting by. Phone calls, marching, showing up, being public, getting arrested? Too public. Too dangerous. Too
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Love as a Verb
My bedroom is on the first floor and I live on a busy street so, late one night last week, when a fire truck’s flashing lights shone through my venetian blinds as it roared past, it almost made
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“Noli Me Tangere”: The backstory
It was years ago, in the midst of the random opulence and higgledy-piggledy of Boston’s Gardner Museum, that I fell in love with Mary Magdalen. This one. “I may not yet know how to love Jesus,*” I thought, instantly attracted to Raphael’s redhead.
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“The Stranger Among You”
I live in Somerville, a sanctuary city, and my faith community is located in Cambridge, another sanctuary city. As the xenophobia in this country becomes ever more vicious, I’ve been been examining what this dual citizenship means. Not in terms
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Losing A Step
I fell yesterday—on a shoveled-bare, brick and asphalt sidewalk maintained by Harvard University. Because of the icy sidewalks all over Somerville and Cambridge yesterday, I’d been wearing YakTrax; one coiled wire had apparently got caught in a gap between two
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“Preparing”
When I’d told an aging activist I was going to a CD training on Saturday he’d snorted: “What’s to learn? You go limp. End of training!” But I don’t roll that way. If I’m considering something hard, something I’m scared
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Numbered
On the thirty-first anniversary of the Challenger tragedy and the same, infamous day Muslims were being refused entry into this country, I saw “Hidden Figures.” That such an unlikely competitor to “Rogue One” has been such a surprising, box office
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“Throw sand in the gears of everything.”
Read this post-election, forget-signing-petitions article last week; unfortunately, it makes perfect sense. And so I’m left with The Question—What does resistance look like? For me?  How do I gum up the works? Non-violently. Here’s how far I’ve gotten: 1. Need to mobilize,
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“The World Will Be Saved by the Western Woman.”*
In high school Latin we’d been taught that “E pluribus unum” had actually been a Roman salad recipe! So in this time of great transition (and fear) I’m wondering what our country’s salad bowl looks like. How out of Many
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