a proportional response

Love is always the answer…but only when it sits in relationship with truth. 

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a feast of proportionality at the Metropolitan Museum of Art looking on to Central Park

Public discourse at its best is rich with paradox but recently seems mostly littered with misunderstanding. Echo chambers resound wildly amplifying hurt and fear, both of which, I can say personally, are utterly warranted in this new political landscape. But how to hold the hurt and fear with the nearly impossible paradox that brings love and truth together? What is a proportional response?


“Truth without love is brutality, and love without truth is hypocrisy.”
– Warren W. Wiersbe


And there’s the rub. A truth untempered by love is violence, while love without truth is toothless. I’ve seen quite a few white folks floating Dr. King quotes on the internet, especially this one: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.” That seems like an enlightened response, but I’m not sure if it’s completely proportional. I think it’s a great sentiment that makes folks feel good. I think in its original context, the quote is a powerful stand for peace and reconciliation. But reconciliation is about first confronting some ugly truths. The light makes all the dark places known, not just the ones we want to see.  Continue reading

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the morning of 9 november

“On Winter’s Margin”
– Mary Oliver

On winter’s margin, see the small birds now
With half-forged memories come flocking home
To gardens famous for their charity.
The green globe’s broken; vines like tangled veins
Hang at the entrance to the silent wood.

With half a loaf, I am the prince of crumbs;
By time snow’s down, the birds amassed will sing
Like children for their sire to walk abroad!
But what I love, is the gray stubborn hawk
Who floats alone beyond the frozen vines;
And what I dream of are the patient deer
Who stand on legs like reeds and drink the wind; –

They are what saves the world: who choose to grow
Thin to a starting point beyond this squalor.

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raptor on acadia mountain

the myth of the second act

After making a considerable change, am I showing up as myself in this new landscape or am I just sneaking in after intermission?

The idea of becoming someone new is tremendously seductive. The phrase “reinventing yourself” has 2.7 million hits on Google. And to be honest, why not? How much of a mess have we all made with our lives (especially as we reach the Great Middle) and wish we could do it all again, or at least start out on a different path?

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shifting perception

“We should not be surprised or scandalized by the sinful and the tragic. Do what you can to be peace and to do justice, but never expect or demand perfection on this earth. It usually leads to a false moral outrage, a negative identity, intolerance, paranoia, and self-serving crusades against “the contaminating element,” instead of “becoming a new creation” ourselves.” – Richard Rohr

of prayer, love, and the touching of other worlds (Dostoevsky)

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“My young brother asked forgiveness of the birds: it seems senseless, yet it is right, for all is like an ocean, all flows and connects; touch it in one place and it echoes at the other end of the world. Let it be madness to ask forgiveness of the birds, still it would be easier for the birds, and for a child, and for any animal near you, if you yourself were more gracious than you are now, if only by a drop, still it would be easier.

“All is like an ocean, I say to you. Tormented by universal love, you, too, would then start praying to the birds, as if in a sort of ecstasy, and entreat them to forgive you your sin. Cherish this ecstasy, however senseless it may seem to people.” – Father Zosima in The Brothers Karamazov

IMAGE: West Hills County Park, Long Island