Monthly Archives: November 2015

The Circle of Blessings: A Thanksgiving Message

In this season of Thanksgiving, my heart is overflowing with quiet joy. There is a sweet remembrance of falling leaves painting breathless strokes against the sky. My grateful heartbeat now pulses to some song my soul has yet to sing. And, in the middle, I rest. I am complete.

How sacred is this life we have been given. A gift of Grace. And, as each moment skips past in delight, the only yearning that remains is to love a little better, forgive a little deeper and to respond a little swifter to the call of suffering in my neighbor’s eyes. For, why have such moments been given if not to compel us straight into the heart of one another?

I am so grateful for our community. I feel it a sanctuary in an increasingly polarized world. It is a blessing to gather into our circles, hand in hand, where we know we are held, supported and deeply cherished by one another. And, blessedly, this love then becomes a gift to the One Love and, like ripples in a pond, moves out to be used in ways we know not. How wonderful.

As children and grandchildren crowd around my Thanksgiving table and we bow our heads for grace, I want you to know that you too will be there with me for my heart bows in gratitude for each of you. I feel we have been brought together to live an amazing vision of unity amongst peoples, cultures and faith traditions. It is not easy to confront terror while continuing to hold the terrorist in our hearts. It is not easy to stand for goodness and compassion while some mistakenly forge hatred and polarization to separate us from one another. But, when I stand in our circles, I know that such separation is not possible. How I wish everyone could have such an experience. How different our world might be.

We are not meant to journey alone. It is why we have been given to one another. And, it is together, hand in hand, we will discover the equanimity born of courageous compassion to ever expand our circles as we walk our path, manifest our vision, and set a place for all at our table. I can think of no better way to say thank you for this life we have been given.

A Blessed Thanksgiving Everyone…


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In Response to Terror: An Open Letter to Parisians & The Terrorists

Dear Parisians & Terrorists,

Parisians, as I watch the terror that has unfolded in your city, know that your city is now my city. Your pain, horror, shock and mourning, is now mine also. For what is done to you, my brothers and sisters, is also done to me. As minister to an interfaith community, I can say with great confidence that I, as well as many in my community, stand with you in the full pursuit of right action that leads to accountability and justice. Your fight is now our fight for it is a fight for the restoration of peace and tolerance among peoples – a tolerance that strives to celebrate sameness across cultures and faith traditions while forging the difficult, challenging, yet critically essential, path to respecting and honoring difference.

We are largely a people of the pen, not the sword. We seek non-violence as our instinctive default. We recognize the power in harnessing forces for justice, as was seen in India with Gandhi and in our country with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., as opposed to fighting against, creating the real possibility of becoming that which we would destroy. But, make no mistake, if it becomes required of us to stand next to you in fighting evil at our doorsteps, we will not shy away. We will examine closely what is arising in our own hearts as we rise up in strong and clear pursuit of the restoration of justice. And, by God’s grace, we will choose, if need be, to die with you, by the sword of Truth.

To my brothers and sisters – yes you – the ones perpetrating evil, should you come upon this letter, know that we do not seek personal revenge. And, we refrain, as best we can, from judgment for it is our belief that God alone brings judicial sentencing. It is why we are told in the Bible, Galatians 6:7, we will reap what we have sown. Or, in the Qur’an, we are reminded: Indeed the death that you flee will indeed encounter you. Then you will be returned to the Knower of the sensible and the Unseen, and He will inform you about what you used to do. al-Jumu’ah: 62:8. So, while you may expect reward in heaven, instead, we believe you will first find yourself purged of all the terror you have perpetrated. The fear and horror you have caused others to feel, you will then, yourselves, come to feel. It is the only way God’s law may bring healing grace and compassion to all where evil once prevailed. Such is the birthright of all of us, being one with one another, in this heart of God in which we live.

Still, while you continue to cast a shadow of death upon our world, I assure you we will fear no evil for we know the great Shepherd guides our way. With His rod and staff, we will defend the helpless and seek to forge a new day of reckoning in the hearts of all peoples.

And, to all who may hear…
We will continue our interfaith work igniting a light in the midst of the darkest night. We will stand for the Truth that sets us all free from hatred and evil.
We will not fear death…as much as living a fearful life.
We will stand for goodness and mercy and continue to pray that, one day…

We all may dwell in the House of the Lord forever.


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