Thursday, February 11, 2016

To Muck We Shall Return

A new post at New Sacred ~

I’m shoveling out a goat barn.  I’m pitchfork-shoveling out a goat barn and thinking about ashes, and earth, and muck, and mud.  I’m thinking about the traditional words of Ash Wednesday, “remember you are ashes, and to ashes you shall return.”

Mostly I’m thinking about muck.  With the big snows we’ve had lately, the muck is even muckier than usual.  It never ends, you know.  The muck.

We come from this, too, don’t we?  I’m shoveling and thinking about how we come from this stuff that is caked on my knees from holding yearling kids as we adjusted their collars.  We come from this stuff, too.

Monday, February 8, 2016

You Are A Symphony

The universe does not
revolve around you.
The stars and planets spinning
through the ballroom of space
dance with one another
quite outside of your small life.
You cannot hold gravity
or seasons; even air and water
inevitably evade your grasp.
Why not, then, let go?
You could move through time
like a shark through water,
neither restless or ceasing,
absorbed in and absorbing
the native element.
Why pretend you can do otherwise?
The world comes in at every pore,
mixes in your blood before
breath releases you into 
the world again.  Did you think
the fragile boundary of your skin
could build a wall?
Listen.  Every molecule is humming
its particular pitch.
Of course you are a symphony.
Whose tune do you think
the planets are singing
as they dance?
~ Lynn Ungar ~
(Blessing the Bread)

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Dear White Folk

My latest piece at New Sacred, in response to the shootings of 5 Black Lives Matter activists by white supremacists last night.  Also includes some action links from Showing Up for Racial Justice.

Dear white folk, you know what time it is.

Paul says to the Romans, the white people of his time, “…You know what time it is…it is NOW the moment to wake up!” (Romans 13:11, NRSV)

That time is now. That time is NOW.

Time to show up for Black and brown life. Time to break white silence about the horrendous damage white supremacism does to our communities, to Black and brown bodies, to our own souls.

Mother Emanuel AME, Sandra Bland, Jessie Hernandez, Syrian refugees, Jamal Clark…

Dear white folk, the time is NOW to show up and speak out and act for another America. Act for a prophetic vision of a whole and beloved community.

Monday, November 23, 2015

If We Believe In the Fight Then We're All Saved

Learned this song last week, at a Showing Up for Racial Justice visioning retreat. Love it:


Aren't you going to come along?
Aren't you going to fight?
Aren't you going to hold your hands up to the light?

If you feel an emptiness,
If you want to hide
Think about the blood
That's pumping keeping you alive

We've got it all worked out,
The plans all made
If we believe in the fight
Then we're all saved

It's gonna hurt for a while
But it would anyway
Let us stand resolute
With our voices raised

We have a right to insist
To be free and brave
If that should cease to exist
I'd throw my heart away

It's a long long way
To the promised land
So try where you are,
Do what you can

You belong to what you understand
So teach yourself how to demand
The monument that you deserve
For rising up in a beaten down world

Aren't you going to come along?
Aren't you going to fight?
Aren't you going to hold your hands up to the light?

If you feel an emptiness,
If you want to hide
Think about the blood
That's pumping keeping you alive

Friday, October 23, 2015


Audre Lorde ~ 
“I was going to die, sooner or later, whether or not I had even spoken myself. My silences had not protected me. Your silences will not protect you.... What are the words you do not yet have? What are the tyrannies you swallow day by day and attempt to make your own, until you will sicken and die of them, still in silence? We have been socialized to respect fear more than our own need for language."

I began to ask each time: "What's the worst that could happen to me if I tell this truth?" ... Next time, ask: What's the worst that will happen? Then push yourself a little further than you dare. Once you start to speak, people will yell at you. They will interrupt you, put you down and suggest it's personal. And the world won't end.

And the speaking will get easier and easier. And you will find you have fallen in love with your own vision, which you may never have realized you had. And you will lose some friends and lovers, and realize you don't miss them. And new ones will find you and cherish you. And you will still flirt and paint your nails, dress up and party, because, as I think Emma Goldman said, "If I can't dance, I don't want to be part of your revolution." And at last you'll know with surpassing certainty that only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth. And that is not speaking.”

Monday, October 12, 2015

New Post at New Sacred: Which Stories to Celebrate?

On the first anniversary of the murder of Michael Brown, our Denver chapter of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, got up before sunrise to cover the Northeast Denver, CO neighborhood and Stapleton business area with more than 3,000 flyers asking, “Did You Know?”

Stapleton is a business-and-neighborhood development built up after the original Denver airport (also named after Stapleton) moved farther east. The neighborhood is predominantly white and relatively well-off, in contrast to the older surrounding neighborhoods historically and currently made up of Black, Latinx, and poor/working class white folk.

“Did You Know?”

The flyers taught residents and businesses that their neighborhood was named after Benjamin Stapleton, a Denver mayor in the 1920s-1940s, who also happened to be a major leader in the KKK and appointed several other KKK members to high-level city positions.

Keep reading here!

Friday, October 9, 2015

Poem of the Day

Dedicated to the memory of Karen Silkwood and Eliot Gralla

“From too much love of living,
Hope and desire set free,
Even the weariest river
Winds somewhere to the sea—“
But we have only begun
To love the earth.

We have only begun
To imagine the fullness of life.

How could we tire of hope?
— so much is in bud.

How can desire fail?
— we have only begun

to imagine justice and mercy,
only begun to envision

how it might be
to live as siblings with beast and flower,
not as oppressors.

Surely our river
cannot already be hastening
into the sea of nonbeing?

Surely it cannot
drag, in the silt,
all that is innocent?

Not yet, not yet—
there is too much broken
that must be mended,

too much hurt we have done to each other
that cannot yet be forgiven.

We have only begun to know
the power that is in us if we would join
our solitudes in the communion of struggle.

So much is unfolding that must
complete its gesture,

so much is in bud.
~ Denise Levertov ~
(Candles in Babylon)

Friday, October 2, 2015

I Am All Happiness

If you've been reading here a while you know how much I love goats.  I've been working at my friend's farm for years off and on, and weekly for the last year or so. 

A poet friend sent me this (from the New Yorker), which describes perfectly why I love my goat friends.  Enjoy.

Pescadero, by Mark Doty

The little goats like my mouth and fingers,

and one stands up against the wire fence, and taps on the fence board
 a hoof made blacker by the dirt of the field,

pushes her mouth forward to my mouth, 
 so that I can see the smallish squared seeds of her teeth, and the bristle-whiskers, 

and then she kisses me, though I know it doesn’t mean “kiss,”

then leans her head way back, arcing her spine, goat yoga, 
all pleasure and greeting and then good-natured indifference: she loves me,

she likes me a lot, she takes interest in me, she doesn’t know me at all  
or need to, having thus acknowledged me. Though I am all happiness, 

since I have been welcomed by the field’s small envoy, and the splayed hoof,  
fragrant with soil, has rested on the fence board beside my hand. 

April 4, 2015, Holy Saturday (between Good Friday and Easter).
Mary Magdalene was born right into my lap.  Lemongrass was a great first-time mama.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

A New Post, On a New Site

I'm excited to share that I'm now a contributor at a new blog being published by the UCC called New Sacred.  Here is an excerpt from my very first post:

The Jennings family is Black. As they tend the soil, two white men walk right through their front yard and into the garden, and begin to talk to Mary about their church.

They never ask anything about her, but plow through their rehearsed missionizing speech until his mother interrupts that she is already a Christian, a “pillar,” Jennings notes, of her church with a faith “as unfathomable as the blindness of these men to our Christian lives.”

The Jennings family lived but 200 yards from the white men’s church, and Willie regularly played basketball on the court in the church parking lot.

(There’s no way I can do justice to how Jennings tells this story. Please find this book and read it for yourself!)

Then, Jennings asks the question that has haunted me as a white woman ever since I first read it in December of 2012, in the aftermath of Trayvon Martin’s murder: “Why did they not know us? They should have known us very well.”

“Why did they not know us?”

Read more here --

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Prayer for the Day

School Prayer
by Diane Ackerman

In the name of the daybreak
and the eyelids of morning
and the wayfaring moon
and the night when it departs,

I swear I will not dishonor
my soul with hatred,
but offer myself humbly
as a guardian of nature,
as a healer of misery,
as a messenger of wonder,
as an architect of peace.

In the name of the sun and its mirrors
and the day that embraces it
and the cloud veils drawn over it
and the uttermost night
and the male and the female
and the plants bursting with seed
and the crowning seasons
of the firefly and the apple,

I will honor all life
-wherever and in whatever form
it may dwell-on Earth my home,
and in the mansions of the stars.

from I Praise My Destroyer. © Vintage Books, 2000.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

My Morning Meditations

This morning I am listening to the voice of my dear mentor, Dr. Vincent Harding, who died one year ago today.  I, and we, need him still.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Ash Wednesday

It's a slightly complicated Ash Wednesday for me which means I won't make services at either church where I am worshiping these days.  So, my cielo (being also a pastor) gave me the ashes in our backyard with the bright sun washing down, birdies hovering nearby, and crocuses blooming through the still-melting snow.

One of the readings we did was this Jan Richardson poem:

Blessing the Dust
A Blessing for Ash Wednesday

All those days
you felt like dust,
like dirt,
as if all you had to do
was turn your face
toward the wind
and be scattered
to the four corners

or swept away
by the smallest breath
as insubstantial—

Did you not know
what the Holy One
can do with dust?

This is the day
we freely say
we are scorched.

This is the hour
we are marked
by what has made it
through the burning.

This is the moment
we ask for the blessing
that lives within
the ancient ashes,
that makes its home
inside the soil of
this sacred earth.

So let us be marked
not for sorrow.
And let us be marked
not for shame.
Let us be marked
not for false humility
or for thinking
we are less
than we are

but for claiming
what God can do
within the dust,
within the dirt,
within the stuff
of which the world
is made,
and the stars that blaze
in our bones,
and the galaxies that spiral
inside the smudge
we bear.

Amen to that.  I have been through the burning.  Look what God can do with the dust!