April 15, 2018

When I first met Fr. Norman Rotert in the early 1970s, he was pastor of an inner-city parish in Kansas City, Missouri, trying to imagine how to stabilize a neighborhood suffering from white flight and blockbusting.

I was a Kansas City Star reporter then, writing about those destructive urban dynamics, and Norm wanted to pick my brain a bit. I was glad, if a little surprised, that he was at least as interested in what was happening outside his church's walls as he was in what was happening inside them.

Out of those and other conversations came Norm's decision to commit to direct action through community organizing. He got personally involved by obtaining his own real estate license. Once...

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” –Philippians 4:8

Distractions, we all have them.  They keep us from thinking about those things that are really important in our lives; God, family, and friends.

As technology advances being distracted from what is important becomes easier than ever. We spend hours on social media tethered to our smart phones, tablets and laptops.  And now, the 2016 presidential election campaigns have taken over social media and the noise has been amplified to an unpreced...

“Who shall I be today? The answer is more obvious than the question. Of course I’m going to be me. Me yesterday, me today, me forever. But if I were to start my day with the question “Who shall I be today?” I’d have to start with a decision bigger than Honey Nut Cheerios or Rice Chex. Actually the choice would be a commitment, which is a lot to expect in the first moments of consciousness. A momentous moment to be sure. How about this? Today I will be a person who pays as much attention to the interests and concerns of others as to my own. Would I push the unity-of-humanity gauge a little higher? Or maybe this. Today I will never lose patience. And nobody gets hurt. Or this. Today I wi...

March 28, 2018

As we enter into Holy Week and recall the sufferings of Jesus, let us remember the “reason” for his sufferings: his great love for us. Let us reflect today on the link between suffering and love.

When we are experiencing pain, it is easy for us to long for a world without pain. Imagine a world with no headaches, no misunderstandings, no cancer, no loneliness, no terrorism, no hunger, no wars. Sounds pretty wonderful, no?  But if we delve deeper, we see there is often a direct link between suffering and love.

Malcolm Muggeridge, the British journalism and Christian apologist, said he would not want a world devoid of pain. He maintained that everything he had learned that truly enhanced hi...

February 18, 2018

As we enter the Winter Olympics I wanted to share a gold medal story that is near and dear to my heart. But first, some background might help:

My name is Amy. Other than a very part-time side gig, I am a stay at home mama of three kiddos. Our youngest child has Legg-Calve Perthes Disease. This is a childhood disease that affects the hip and makes walking difficult and extremely painful at times. Our daughter has a very severe case. She began having pain right around her 4th birthday. At 4.5 she had surgery, was put in a Petrie cast (google it), and was wheelchair bound for a year. She re-learned to walk shortly before going to kindergarten. She is now 7 and still struggles with pain off...

Her

Here is something for the cold, gloomy days we are experiencing:  As I cleaned out things accumulated over decades in preparation for moving, I came across the following clever piece. Whenever I see excellence—such as a stunning ballet, a breathtaking piece of art, or a well-written poem or story—I’m spurred on to do the best I can in my projects. The account here is silly but incredibly well-done. I hope it makes you smile and prompts you to do your utmost in whatever task you undertake today. It might remind you of the movie Ghostbusters and make you chuckle . . .

It is with the saddest heart that I must pass on the following news.

Please join me in remembering a great ico...

January 15, 2018

On Monday, January 15, we Americans pay tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr., a man who gave his life working for the equality of all peoples. Friday, January 19 is the annual March for Life in Washington, DC. Both days celebrate the precious gift of life. Here are two true stories that also speak of the beauty, mystery, and sacredness of life.

“Piano Duets”: This first story comes from William Bausch’s book, The Word in and out of Season.

Margaret Patrick had just moved into the senior center and was being introduced to the other residents in the large dining room. Margaret, who is Black, noticed a piano in the room. She mentioned that she used to play the piano a lot before she had her s...

December 25, 2017

Imagine it – a cozy creche with the shepherds, magi, and animals all in awe of the newborn baby. A joyful mother and father look tenderly upon their new son, Jesus. The star above shines brightly, welcoming the Christ. “Oh Holy Night” rises softly out of the reverent silence.

I’m struck by how often we romanticize the manger scene. This romanticization can easily make it more palatable and more comfortable, which also makes my prayer easier. But this romanticized version does not reflect the reality.

While I love the peacefulness and ease of the scene, I’m also uncomfortable about how it glosses over reality. Jesus was born into an incredibly broken situation – a mother who would be spur...

December 23, 2017

The Gospel passage for December 18 begins “This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about.” We are familiar with Joseph’s taking Mary as his wife. And throughout the next few days the familiar story continues. . . Zechariah in the temple . . .Mary’s visit to Elizabeth. . . Mary’s Magnificat.

But we don’t know how the story will end. Scripture tells of Jesus’ public life, his crucifixion, and his resurrection. The New Testament continues with the details of the early Christians and the letters of Paul, John, and Peter. But we still don’t know how the story will end. Eons of chapters will continue before we know the end of the story, ...

but we can guess how the final chapter will begin...

November 25, 2017

2 Timothy 1:7 – For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.

For the majority of my married life, I’ve made our bed every morning.  In the beginning, I did it grudgingly.  As a logical being, I don’t quite understand what the big deal is about having straightened-out sheets, pillows and comforters, when I’m just gonna mess it right up later that night!  Do we scrub the toilet every time it’s used?  How many of us steam-clean our toothbrush every day? I mean, if a made bed is so important, why not go all out and change all the bedding daily (and flip the mattress while you’re at it)?

As it happens, unmade beds are one of m...

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