Braver/Wiser Archive
Braver/Wiser Archive
Worship
  • Tender Places

    Spirit of Compassion, help us draw strength from all that we are. Give us new language with which to claim our wholeness, a new litany of joy built out of words that wounded.
    By Lindasusan Ulrich | 12/6/2017
  • An Adequate Christmas

    An adequate Christmas would have you calm and open, taking it in, accepting whatever is. Slow it all down like you might be, in some way, attuned to the pace of the Eternal. If you need, you can fake it at first.
    By Jake Morrill | 11/29/2017
  • I Ride Bus

    My three-year-old is almost completely nonverbal. Every day when she gets off the bus, I ask her the same question: I ask her how her day was, and every day I get the same answer: ”Momma, I ride bus.” I ask her what she had for lunch and who she played with. I ask her if she...
    By Rayla D. Mattson | 11/22/2017
  • The Dynamics of Silence

    "How complicated it is to break silence: to open all of the secrets in all of our broken hearts. But silence does break; truth seeks the light. We're unraveling silence because we have determined that our power with one another is greater than the power someone once had over us."
    By Erika A. Hewitt | 11/15/2017
  • Someone to Listen

    My pager went off at 2:30 a.m. The nurse on the phone said they didn’t know what to do with this patient and thought maybe I -- the chaplain -- could talk to her. If I couldn’t help, they might have to move her to the psychiatric unit.
    By Connie Simon | 11/8/2017
  • Holding Space for Truth to Bloom

    Someone whispered to me, “Can you pray?” All eyes turned to me. I had no earthly clue what to say. It was a profound gut-level panic. It was the moment I learned to speak the truth as best I understand it, and to hold space for it to bloom.
    By Lisa Bovee-Kemper | 10/25/2017
  • Making Space for Our Doubts

    “If I ask you a question, do you promise to tell me the truth?" For future reference, if a child asks you this question at Christmas time, EVADE.
    By Becky Brooks | 10/18/2017
  • Squandered Divinity

    Living up to my sacred identity is hard! It means remembering that every time I fail to choose grace, or goodness, or peace, I am thoughtlessly squandering my divinity.
    By DeReau K. Farrar | 10/11/2017
  • Pulled by a Fragile Thread

    We, the willing, follow the threads to one another; past rightness and quips and tweets. We will find one another and persist past sunrise.
    By Robin Tanner | 10/4/2017
  • Between Wonder and Fear

    Life is full of seesaws: it offers us moments of extreme wonder and moments of fear. Sometimes you have to live through the fear for the wonder to arrive.
    By Elizabeth Harding | 9/27/2017
  • Multicultural Joy

    Each of us at the wedding had unique stories about their life, but most knew how it felt to be an Asian American in this country. That was enough for me.
    By Yuri Yamamoto | 9/20/2017
  • "Change" Is a Word on Wheels

    How many times do I need to make mistakes at the expense of other people, or people’s groups, before I’m ready to admit that I’m not any better at this than the bigoted and willfully ignorant? If I am to “be change,” I must commit to humility and refuse to settle for my own...
    By DeReau K. Farrar | 9/12/2017
  • Faith in Small Actions

    We have to have faith that in the end our small actions matter. We can’t predict what will happen when a small change has been entered into a complex system; the only thing we can predict is that we’ve changed the future in some way.
    By Tim Atkins | 9/5/2017
  • Meeting the Monstrous Beast

    Pray, if you pray. Send love and money, too. We will be rolled and covered, but we will rise and carry others with us. Watch for the opportunities to rise and carry. Watch for the holy moments where some people see God.
    By Teresa Honey Youngblood | 8/30/2017
  • Love Showed Up

    Remembering is the art of holding a memory and sharing it; it’s drawing upon that memory so it can help us to grow into people who live lives of meaning and service. As a practice, remembering connects us deeply to each other and to the love that sustains us.
    By Elizabeth Harding | 8/23/2017
  • Who We Can Turn To

    What happened in Charlottesville is nothing new. We know how to fight it, and it is done in community—wherever we can find it. Spirit that runs through us all, remind me to look up, to reach out, to find those doing this work alongside me and join them.
    By Aisha Ansano | 8/16/2017
  • Blessed Curses, Cursed Blessings

    Someone had broken into our garage. We picked our way through the space, storage tubs strewn about, ready to make a list of what was missing: two wool sweaters and half a tent. Someone was suffering a misfortune here, but it wasn’t us.
    By Becky Brooks | 8/9/2017
  • Grateful to Our Teachers

    In the moment that I switched to “teacher mode,” I recalled moments in which I had inadvertently said ungracious things. I was fortunate enough to have professors, ministers, and friends illuminate my clumsiness for me. They did so in a way that was gracious enough that it...
    By Seanan R. Holland | 8/2/2017
  • Nourishing Our Whole Selves

    Our souls and minds need sustenance as much as our physical bodies. May we delight in the ways we find to provide this nourishment to our whole selves.
    By Aisha Ansano | 7/26/2017
  • 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

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