Calm Waters during Hurricanes

Rembrandt Storm on Sea of Galilee

A story of Jesus and the disciples tells how the fishermen were in a boat probably looking for supper when a storm comes up. Jesus is asleep (long work day maybe) and the boat is pitching back and forth in a sudden storm. Mark 4:35-41: “Don’t you care if we drown?” (NIV).
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Is the US Election Over?

~~~ Our lives on the line~~
~~~ Our lives on the line ~~~

Dear Ones — know that you are love and are living on Earth to love. This is not a social media announcement. I’m probably breaking the rules~not the first time.

We can do acts of kindness. We can give more from our larder, walk in the shoes of a mother from Honduras, tutor in a poor school with immigrants, open our homes to Syrians. This is Christian charity, and it is good. We can give from our hearts. And often in charity we only give from our excess. Is this all we are called to do? Is kindness in safe measures what Jesus did? Or what the Holy Spirit today is asking us?Read more

A Long View

Tree where Jesus Healed
Tree where Jesus Healed

Coming home after a sabbatical is a love-hate journey. I love connecting with friends. I hate shopping and all the ‘stuff.’ I love curbside recycling; I hate all the plastic packaging in the US. Many friends are interested in the trip: What did you learn? What was the highlight? How did the 10 month sojourn change you? I hate-and love- all those questions.

Does a long trip change me more than if I had stayed home in Cambridge? Yes, my body changed for me; my mind paced itself differently; my synapses fired in different circuits; my prayers seemed more intimate and yet broader too.

I can say for certain as I traveled to Israel and then East Africa, my eyes changed. A few times in Jericho and Jerusalem, I saw Jesus walking on the marble steps. Jesus’ eyes were piercing; his sandals were made of rope. When he looked my way, my prayers glowed. Jerusalem was beautiful and so disturbing. My eyes couldn’t get enough, and daily acquaintances mentioned the killings, stolen dignity, imposing walls.Read more

Rains Come to a Parched Land

Marati Ghat from Ganges
Marati Ghat from Ganges

I am ending my sabbatical with 4 days in Varanasi, the holy Hindu city, thousands of years old. Varanasi, maybe the oldest city in the world, is also known as Kashi, the City of Light. Temples, all 800 of them, light torches and ring bells twice a day. Shiva, the creator and destroyer was born here. Two daughters, the Varuna and Assi Rivers, join their mother Ganga at this place. The Ganges begins in the mountain streams of Himalayans. It is beyond beauty--and terribly damaged.

The river is the longest in South Asia and serves the highest population density. Flowing through 29 cities, it provides water to 40% of India's population. Too bad Mother Ganga is treated like a septic tank--sewers, piles of trash, cows and humans take daily 'dumps' into the river. Diseases and fecal coliform rates are sky-high. Yet people daily swim, fish, and do their laundry. It is truly amazing how Hindis trust the health of their Mother, and I try to fathom such respect. During the two Hindu holy weeks, 70 million bathe in mother Ganga to 'cleanse' themselves.Read more

India 33 Years after the Disaster

Jain Temple on Bhopal Lake
Jain Temple on Bhopal Lake

What makes the city of Bhopal in India famous? It is crowned with a huge lake, and is dubbed the City of Lakes. Have you heard of its amazing inter-religious harmony- Christians, Jains, Hindus-- all respect each other-- and almost a third of its population Muslim? Have you heard of Bhopal's prosperity with small commercial enterprises of jute, textiles and pottery along with a predominance of farming?

For those of us over 40 years, we know Bhopal as having the largest ever industrial disaster in 1984 with 4,000-16,000 deaths. The villain, Union Carbide, leaked 40 tons of deadly methyl isocyanate gas (MIC or cyanide), being produced for pesticides. As with Cherynobol and BP's Deepwater explosion in the Gulf, the safety mechanisms were inadequate and the danger was minimized so that profit could be maximized.Read more

Moving Mountains in Nepal

On the road to Pokara

The first of June saw the last day of our Nepal marathon—6 days straight doing AVP workshops.The last three days were at PsychDesk, a counseling/training center. Eighteen graduate psych students and social workers came, about ten were turned away for lack of space.

During AVP we often ask around the room, "Where would you most want to visit in the world?" 60% of the participants wanted to visit special temples, or natural phenomenon like Mustang, Muktinath or Manag -- all within Nepal. Any other workshop people want to visit new countries. But there's no place like Nepal. Please enjoy some photos posted below.Read more

Peace Stakes among Rural Friends

First AVP workshop with Nepal Quakers
First AVP workshop with Nepal Quakers

We facilitated an AVP workshop in Ramecchap Nepal for 18 Evangelical Friends. These Friends are not used to workshops on peace, social issues or self-esteem. The church has no running water nor chairs. But these Quakers were very savvy about social justice. They survived an earthquake; they heard about the generous world-wide donations after this disaster, and they knew that this money wasn't distributed fairly.

Older sister (maybe 7 years) helps babysit
Older sister (maybe 7 years) helps babysit

These friends are not scholars, but they are wise in the ways of structural violence. They are fishermen and farmers living where the rivers run more and more turbid and the soil is too rocky to support crops. They live on steep mountainsides with frequent landslides. Nepal government released $150 for any earthquake family victim. Now the monsoon season has begun and the government's many promises to disperse the international aid has not occured. Fifty years ago people in Ramecchap lived with milk and honey, their land a jewel. Now, what are they?--the salt of the rumbling earth.Read more