What I hope for is that, even in times when we disagree with one another so deeply on issues of the Christian faith, we can do so always knowing, believing and living the challenge that it is to be the Body of Christ. This is my prayer and I'm sticking to it.
As service became a defining aspect of growing up in America, the infrastructure moved from the church to the schools and became so secularized that conversations around faith were discouraged -- even taboo.
Accepting gratitude, the thanks of someone else, even a stranger, lights us up -- it makes us feel good. It helps us, even for a second, to see the light and love that is within us. When we give thanks, we open up spiritually.
The teacher had acted out the story of Noah and the ark. Simon told us about how God created the flood, and then God made the wind and the sun that dried up the rain. "So what is God?" I asked. "God is the clouds," he said.
Like nature models, political, social and moral models originate in human experience, and, as experience accumulates, they evolve. Typically, the models we've inherited from the past were formulated over centuries, if not millennia.
The woman I call mom is not my birthmother, my adoptive mother, nor even a legal in-law in the majority of the USA. She is still undoubtedly my mom, and I am proud to call her as such. She is my husband's natural mother and a year ago this stranger became mine.
I dreamed of becoming an All-American hero. I just didn't know how I was going to get there. I had no real job skills, and hadn't done well enough in school to earn a college scholarship. Maybe that was why a commercial I saw about the Army intrigued me.
There are too many people in our communities who find themselves in the middle of a life journey that does not seem to lead them to places of peace and comfort. One of those persons was a former neighbor of mine who took her life a few weeks ago.
In a disaster aftermath, whether caused by hurricane or earthquake or tsunami, the right impulse is to rush in with appropriate relief. But for people of faith, too often this same "rush in" model is applied to making excuses for God.
The struggle for me during these times is how to not treat such times as some voyeuristic movie experience that can be paused or halted by powering down my device, but instead find a healthy way to participate in the healing and support.
Comfort food is what helps Frances Owens deal with important transitions -- the wild ride of politics and transitions she is making in her professional and personal life. Together we dished on life in Colorado, the calling she feels as a community leader and dinners at the White House.
Talk to her, I thought. Talk to her. Normally, I don't strike up conversations with perfect strangers but there was something about the woman waiting for the elevator with me at the medical complex. I couldn't ignore the voice in my head any longer.
I believe each of us has an innate capacity for strength and throughout our lives, we develop -- through conditions we find ourselves in -- the skills to be secure, passionate, formidable and determined.