Braver/Wiser Archive
Braver/Wiser Archive
Worship
  • Love's Pronoun Is Plural

    My son, Caleb, and I went to Starbucks on a recent Saturday morning. We often do this as a prelude to the weekly grocery shopping. It sweetens the deal, which is important, as he is about to be 14 and on the autism spectrum. Both of these factors contribute to his resistance to...
    By Elea Kemler | 7/19/2017
  • Love Always Protects

    There’s something deeply moving for me about the idea of a love that will always have my back. "Always"—meaning unconditionally and without hesitation. And there's something deeply jarring for me about the idea that, despite my most earnest hopes, my best intentions and desires...
    By DeReau K. Farrar | 7/12/2017
  • Becoming a "Real" American

    For almost thirty years after coming to the United States, I didn't fully understand the cultural cues around me. Initially, this gave me the false sense of liberation. I often interpreted uncomfortable situations to be my fault, as an ignorant immigrant. Trying hard to...
    By Yuri Yamamoto | 7/5/2017
  • Life Tips from a Pottery Wheel

    The most important lesson pottery has taught me is to not be attached to the final product—the process matters more than the product.
    By Tim Atkins | 6/28/2017
  • Green Beans

    Light We Seek, wherever I am on the journey toward wholeness for all of us—that is, toward racial equality—help me to forgive myself and others for missteps and missed opportunities, and guide my efforts to build up the relationships where love, justice, and understanding grow.
    By Teresa Honey Youngblood | 6/21/2017
  • Do the Next Thing with Love

    What DO we do in the face of evil? Anything. Everything. Pray, protest, bake, hug, grieve, wail, laugh, explain, linger, research, fight, cry. What we absolutely must not do is ignore it.
    By Becky Brooks | 6/14/2017
  • Keeping Our Connections Strong

    I am not alone. I don’t have to face the world alone and I don’t have to fix the world alone. When I need hope, I find it in on the faces of my people. All we need is hope... and for that, we have each other.
    By Sean Parker Dennison | 6/7/2017
  • To Be Suspicious

    As a born traveler, I love the novelty of discovering a familiar thing in a new setting. And what’s more familiar than a white clapboard church building on the town green? On my time away from the pulpit I often go for long drives in the hill country around my home in central...
    By Daniel Gregoire | 5/31/2017
  • The Folded Lie

    Life is neither a playground nor a game. The folded lies are real. With our voices, we can and will undo them.
    By Maureen Killoran | 5/24/2017
  • Delicious Ambiguity

    How is it that I, a minister and known skeptic, am able to a) not run around screaming that the sky is falling and, b) do my job at all? This question perplexes those belonging to religious traditions that offer comfort in the form of certainty. For some, answers to life’s...
    By Marisol Caballero | 5/17/2017
  • What Do We Do with Our Pain?

    People are in pain all around us, all of the time. How can we be companions to those in pain, and bear witness, so that pain can be transformed into something less harmful? Last week, the crowd on a New York City subway herded me into a corner against someone’s seat: a man in...
    By Erika A. Hewitt | 5/10/2017
  • Confessing Communities

    I long for progressive religious communities that are confessing communities—places where we admit our wrongdoings, are held accountable, and called back into covenant.
    By Robin Tanner | 5/3/2017
  • Exuberance

    What's my favorite weather? When the wind whips your face, you're alive, and you can think what you will.
    By Jake Morrill | 4/26/2017
  • Home Is Where We Feel Connected

    We humans have both a natural desire and a spiritual need to feel connected and to grow roots, even if those roots aren't necessarily tied to a geographic place.
    By Marisol Caballero | 4/19/2017
  • Infighting Is Easier

    Standing roadside, stranded, watching thousands of dollars rise in the smoke coming from under the hood, it’s easier to fight about who forgot to put oil in the car than to hold one another’s shaking hands in the shape-shifting uncertainty of whether the three white boys we’re...
    By Teresa Honey Youngblood | 4/12/2017
  • Crossing Thresholds

    At times in my life, I’ve had to step back to fully take in the puzzling enormity of some action or decision I’ve taken. In those moments I’ve instinctively reached out for some kind of comfort in the form of a self-embrace, hugging myself with my arms crisscrossing my belly,...
    By Daniel Gregoire | 4/5/2017
  • Good Intentions and Incomplete Efforts

    We are sometimes selfish, sometimes complicit with systems that do harm, sometimes the cause of pain and injustice. Until we can hold compassion for ourselves and others—until we can be forgiving when we fall short—our love is incomplete.
    By Sean Parker Dennison | 3/29/2017
  • Hope for a Great Sea Change

    With a name like mine, it’s easy to guess I’m Irish. My forebears were among the millions who struggled to escape Ireland’s disastrous Potato Famine (1845-1852). With his six siblings, my great-grandfather Patrick boarded one of the infamous “coffin ships” out of Liverpool. When...
    By Maureen Killoran | 3/22/2017
  • Blessed by a Stranger

    There we were, two strangers idling at the red light―but I felt seen, and blessed, by a stranger.
    By Erika A. Hewitt | 3/15/2017
  • Singing Out for Love's Return

    For twelve years, Daisy has been the best dog any person could love. But last week, when she disappeared into the woods? That wasn’t what I was thinking. As I tramped along the wet trail, calling for her, other words came to mind. We’ve rambled together through these woods for...
    By Jake Morrill | 3/8/2017
  • Expect Nothing

    I had finally begun to relax—a bit. We were en route to Pennsylvania. My friend, a formal part of our “framily,” was visiting. We decided a visit to a crayon factory was the perfect winter outing for toddlers. The day was clear and crisp with typical bumper-to-bumper traffic for...
    By Robin Tanner | 3/1/2017
  • Go Play

    ...
    By Marisol Caballero | 2/22/2017
  • With Whom Do You Believe Your Lot Is Cast?

    Ethical question (although this really happened): You are in a local grocery store. An elderly, poorly-dressed white lady is pushing a cart, moving with obvious difficulty as she adds to her hoard first one item and then another. She finishes, then proceeds slowly – not to the...
    By Maureen Killoran | 2/15/2017
  • At Times, Look Up

    When you grow up in New York City, as I did, you'll learn one cardinal rule: to never look up. Whatever you do, never look up to see the second story of a house, or the tops of buildings or worse still, the sky! To look up at the sky, whether to actually see the sky or to take...
    By Daniel Gregoire | 2/8/2017
  • Both the Burning and the Light

    About six months ago, I got a new tattoo. It’s a lit match on my right wrist, added to an arm full of paintbrushes, pens and other art supplies. As a minister, my tattoos are sometimes controversial, and I was a little nervous about what people would think about this addition....
    By Sean Parker Dennison | 2/1/2017
  • Love Is the Last Thing to Ration

    When I picked up her call, Kira’s voice was thick with tears. Kira, one of my best friends, is the mother of 4-year old twins, working full-time, and grieving a recent divorce—which means she’s also learning how to be a single parent. "I lost it tonight,” she confessed in a rush...
    By Erika A. Hewitt | 1/25/2017
  • Tiny Deaths

    We sat on the back steps watching transfixed as hundreds of rust-red spiders, big as thumbs, dropped on strands of silk out of the pecan tree in the backyard. It was exquisite, a great exodus of faith and instinct, leaping from one life and floating down to the next. But then,...
    By Teresa Honey Youngblood | 1/18/2017
  • Sticking It Out in the Storm

    .I want liberty and justice for all in my country. That will ask of me—and of many of you—the discipline of discomfort.
    By Jake Morrill | 1/11/2017
  • What Will You Do With This?

    This was not my plan for January 1st, 2017: disheveled, wearing a pair of pajamas, and with unbrushed teeth at the pediatric urgent care in New Jersey. Picture it: twin toddlers with a terrible cough and first-time moms. I spent the night wavering between panic and fatigue while...
    By Robin Tanner | 1/4/2017
  • All Our Relations

    I am ever grateful for the friends who are my family; who have pieced me together each time I’ve fallen apart; who laugh, cry, dream, and age happily by my side.
    By Marisol Caballero | 12/28/2016
  • The Craft of Winter Solstice

    Here we are on the cusp of the Winter Solstice, when the light comes back! To celebrate, I went to the discount store in search of inexpensive picture frames. I felt the urge to use what I have in the way of old photographs and glitter glue for some higher and greater purpose....
    By Daniel Gregoire | 12/21/2016
  • The Celebration in Front of Us

    Have you felt it? The hush that falls over a crowd after a wonderful performance, just before the applause bursts forth? The feeling of transcendence as thousands of voices rise together, filling a stadium with a favorite song? A rhythm that seems to sink bone-deep into people’s...
    By Sean Parker Dennison | 12/14/2016
  • When Merry Meets Mess

    I know a little about "merry" meeting "mess" at the holidays — and by a little I mean How much time have you got? Four Christmases ago, a painful break-up sent me spinning into a long tango with depression. Two Christmases ago, I came down with the stomach flu. Last year, as...
    By Erika A. Hewitt | 12/7/2016
  • Somebody Like That

    “Did that man just strap a gun to his belt?” My 10-year-old squinted, looking across the parking lot of the grocery co-op. I had seen it, too: a middle-aged white man had stepped out of his pick-up truck, taken out a black holster, and strapped it on, pulling his shirt down over...
    By Teresa Honey Youngblood | 11/30/2016
  • The Stubborn Gifts of Breath and Life

    May we give thanks always, believing that, even in the world’s bleakest moments, the dance of life is always underway.
    By Maureen Killoran | 11/23/2016
  • Hold On

    Holding on does not come easy to me. As a teenager who left home and bounced around, I am talented at escaping. I can evade like the best of them. I can avoid people who speak truth that’s packaged in less-than-pretty paper. I can leave when the words are ones I do not like. I...
    By Robin Tanner | 11/16/2016
  • What on Earth Is Worth Saving

    Those of us with some privilege in this empire may be tempted to seek refuge in it, as if privilege was ever going to save us. But who’s to say whether you’ve come to this place and position for a time such as this?
    By Jake Morrill | 11/9/2016
  • Help Us Never to Forget

    Help us to live in peace together and serve one another and to see the holy light in everyone, even when those holy lights are especially hard to see.
    By Daniel Gregoire | 11/2/2016
  • Universal Shorthand

    I have begun to pray recently. This may sound odd coming from a minister, but as much as I adore leading prayer in front of a congregation, on the state capitol steps, or at a patient’s bedside, I’ve always held a certain amount of shame that prayer isn't central to my spiritual...
    By Marisol Caballero | 10/26/2016
  • The Importance of Being Awkward

    Last Saturday, I strolled past a yard sale. Browsing a table piled high with Halloween costumes—feather boas, silly hats, and the like—I spotted a Rastafarian hat with black dreadlocks attached. When you’re white, as I am, you don’t always notice systemic racism. When you do, it...
    By Erika A. Hewitt | 10/19/2016
  • An Unlikely Teacher of Love

    He was, I am told, just a dog. But who was it that, fresh from the litter, climbed onto my chest, licked my face, and rubbed his pink baby nose against my cheek? Who chewed the edges of my only antique desk? Who hiked to the top of Multnomah Falls, snug and safe in my backpack?...
    By Maureen Killoran | 10/12/2016
  • Hope for the Heartbroken

    I'm sitting here broken-hearted. I could try to convince you that it’s about the state of the world with its tragedies, suffering, and seeming lack of compassion, but it’s not. I’m broken-hearted because a relationship that had swept me off my feet is over. I’m sad because...
    By Sean Parker Dennison | 10/5/2016
  • The Three Maries

    It took me 37 years to recognize that I had been cloistered off from the beauty, the richness, and the heartbreaking complexity of other people’s experiences.
    By Teresa Honey Youngblood | 9/28/2016
  • Our Whole Life Is a Series of Signs

    Our whole life is a series of signs. Any slight action: a dim semaphore. Our redemption, if it happens, will mean somebody tried.
    By Jake Morrill | 9/21/2016
  • United by Vulnerability

    "Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I'll meet you there." —Rumi ...
    By Robin Tanner | 9/14/2016

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