Archive for category: Uncategorized

More Thoughts on Human Trafficking

01 May
May 1, 2012

May 11, 2012

A diverse group of about 25 — students, faculty, and staff joined together on Tuesday, May 8th to learn more about Trafficking. 
We learned about local Human Trafficking from the perspective of two members of the local task force on Trafficking — a police officer and an FBI agent.What we heard sparked an energetic discussion about how we can impact change by taking steps to change laws so that the criminals (pimps and Johns) in the metro area can be held to greater accountability for their crimes.

We also hold in mind the countless children, women, and men who are trafficked across our planet.  Some are sold into the sex trade, others are used for dangerous or difficult labor working long hours in horrific conditions, still others are used as domestic servants. 
At Marylhurst we are united with the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary in their public stance to end human trafficking. 

Our next gathering on Trafficking will be held on Tuesday, June 12th from 12:00 – 1:00. 

Those of you in the Portland area might also be interested in a panel on Trafficking which will be held at West Linn Lutheran Church (right down the road from the university)  20390 Willamette Dr. (hwy 43) on Wednesday, May 16th at 7:00 pm.

President Obama’s Easter Message

09 Apr
April 9, 2012

(Easter) is an opportunity for us to reflect on the triumph of the resurrection, and to give thanks for the all-important gift of grace. And for me, and I’m sure for some of you, it’s also a chance to remember the tremendous sacrifice that led up to that day, and all that Christ endured — not just as a Son of God, but as a human being.

For like us, Jesus knew doubt. Like us, Jesus knew fear. In the garden of Gethsemane, with attackers closing in around him, Jesus told His disciples, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.” He fell to his knees, pleading with His Father, saying, “If it is possible, may this cup be taken from me.” And yet, in the end, He confronted His fear with words of humble surrender, saying, “If it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”

So it is only because Jesus conquered His own anguish, conquered His fear, that we’re able to celebrate the resurrection. It’s only because he endured unimaginable pain that wracked His body and bore the sins of the world that he burdened — that burdened His soul that we are able to proclaim, “He is Risen!”

So the struggle to fathom that unfathomable sacrifice makes Easter all the more meaningful to all of us. It helps us to provide an eternal perspective to whatever temporal challenges we face. It puts in perspective our small problems relative to the big problems He was dealing with. And it gives us courage and it gives us hope.

We all have experiences that shake our faith. There are times where we have questions for God’s plan relative to us — but that’s precisely when we should remember Christ’s own doubts and eventually his own triumph. Jesus told as much in the book of John, when he said, “In this would you will have trouble.

“But take heart!” “I have overcome the world.” We are here today to celebrate that glorious overcoming, the sacrifice of a risen savior who died so that we might live. And I hope that our time together this morning will strengthen us individually, as believers, and as a nation.


20 Feb
February 20, 2012

This Wednesday Christians begin the season of Lent. The word “Lent” actually means springtime. Growing up I always thought that had to do with the season — since Lent comes in the spring, but then I realized that is only true for half of the world. For the other half of the world Lent comes in fall. So, what might this season of spring time really be about?

I offer, if I may, the idea that Lent is springtime because it is the time for us to care with attention to our spiritual roots. It is the time for us to make sure that we are giving our spiritual life the attention it deserves. Just as the spring plants won’t grow if they don’t get a good balance of sun, warmth, and moisture — so too our spiritual lives won’t continue to grow if they do not get a burst of life in the spring time.

Lent is a time to rededicate ourselves to practices of spiritual discipline — a word we don’t like in American society, but it is through disciplines that we grow. Committing to a spiritual practice for the season of Lent means that we don’t have to decide each day whether or not we will do that discipline — we’ve already decided. Practicing a discipline helps us to not spin our wheels.

So, blessings on you as you practice a spiritual discipline for Lent whether it be: spiritual reading, daily prayer, daily Mass, the Rosary, sitting in silence, taking walks each day, getting enough sleep, fasting, adding random acts of kindness… Blessings!


07 Feb
February 7, 2012

We’ve been blessed with amazing weather these last few days — today not so much. It seems like life is often that way — we have times where all seems to go well, the sun is shining, the air is soft and we feel energized and ready to take on what ever comes our way. Then our natural need for some quiet time steps in and we find ourselves faced with a cold, cloudy day. We tend to judge the cold and cloudy days as a disappointment, but are they really? Can we learn to stop and attend to the graces and the beauty that may be found when the brightness of the sun is muted?

Evelyn Underhill speaks of mysticism as unity with reality. Today seems like a good day for us to focus on reality and how in touch we are with it.



New Discoveries

23 Jan
January 23, 2012

I just finished two weeks of residency for my Doctor of Ministry program at WTU in Washington DC. The time was filled with readings, classes, discussions, and enjoying the company of my cohort peers. One of my discoveries during the two weeks was the English woman Evelyn Underhill. I was so impressed by her perspective on interfaith relations, on her understanding that Christianity requires more than just a “social” commitment (meaning casual), and on her personal life of deep prayer lived in the midst of the everyday concerns of life that I decided to write a paper on her works and her life. So over the next few weeks I’m going to share my learnings about Evelyn with you. If you’re a fan of hers I’d love to hear why she is important to you.

Blessings to you, and to me, as we discover the wisdom of Evelyn,


New Year Greetings

05 Jan
January 5, 2012

2012, remember when that date seemed a life-time away? Well it is here, so now what?

Each new year brings with it the opporutnity for us to take stalk of our lives and to consider not only who we are, but who we wish to become.

Some make resoultions, some take time to reflect, some just celebrate. All is good.

I hope that as we enter this new year that each of us is able to rejoice in what is good — good in the world, in our homes, with our families and friends, at work and school, with our own lives. I hope each of us can take some time to really be present to the moment that is, not the moments that have been or the moments that are yet to be, but just to the moment that is right now.

So, happy 2012! May this be a year of memorable and joyful moments.



Almost Here

19 Dec
December 19, 2011

The Christmas Season causes mixed feelings for many people. For Christians it is the high festival of the year — the celebration of God loving humanity so much that God became one of us in the person of Jesus. Yet this focus is often lost by the stress of the holiday season: cards, gifts, decorations, food, and the expectation that we should all be happy and joyful — all the time.

For those who are not Christian, or for those who do not believe in God, I imagine that it comes down to a choice — to join in the party, or to hold fast to your deeper belief system and refrain from all the Christmas fuss.

So, I wish all who are Christian a very blessed Christmas a true celebration of the key festival of Christianity. For all those who are not Christian, I wish you a blessed and joy filled new year. As we continue to walk the path of learning and understanding one another’s beliefs let us never go for the lowest common denominator — instead let us remember that our beliefs are diverse, and that is a good thing, it brings richness. Let us respect the deep meanings of the many religious celebrations — even those we do not celebrate, or understand.

Let us make 2012 a year of celebrating richness instead of trying to not offend by being too: Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, Pagan, Muslim….

Happy New Year and happy celebration of all significat religious feasts!


Advent Waiting

29 Nov
November 29, 2011

We wait all the time. We wait in line, we wait for test results, we wait for planes, we wait at traffic lights, we wait for children to get ready for school, we wait, we wait, and we wait.

Waiting is a fact of life, so the question becomes, how do we wait?

During Advent we are called to wait with purpose, with intent. We are called to open ourselves to new and amazing possiblities.

I invite you to make these weeks of Advent a time of intentional waiting… at the stop lights and every where else you find yourself waiting for the not yet.


Gratitude Attitude

19 Nov
November 19, 2011

It is once again that time of year, when we turn our attention to thoughts of gratitude. Some of my Facebook friends have a practice of daily gratitude — where each day he or she posts something that happened during the day for which he or she is grateful. Wow! A lot of work, if you ask me, but I can’t help but admire the zeal behind the idea.

A wonderful mental health practice is to end each day by naming five things you accomplished during the day and five things for which you are grateful.

Why is it important to be grateful? Who cares anyway? Well, in the great scheme of things when we can practice a gratitude attitude we tend to be happier, we tend to appreciate the people in our lives more, we are able to let go of those daily frustrations with greater ease… so who cares? We all do! When we practice gratitude we are easier to be around and our positive energy can inspire others.

So whether you post each day on Facebook, or keep a priviate list, or just take a moment each day to appreciate someone or something — let’s make this habit of gratitude, not just a once a year celebration, but an attitude for life.

Blessings as you celebrate gratitude,


All Saints/All souls

01 Nov
November 1, 2011

I love the feasts of All Saints and All Souls — I love them because it is the time of the year where we intentionally celebrate those who have walked this journey before us. We remember all of the men and women — famous, and not so famous — who strove to follow a path to God.

Elizabeth Johnson borrowing from St. Paul describes the Communion of Saints as the crowd up in the stands cheering us on as we run the race of our faith journey. They are all on our side, they all wish us well, and want us to succeed. We as Catholics, as well as people from almost every major faith tradition, believe that those who have died care about us, are connected to us, and long for our happiness.

So let us celebrate the Saints with a capital “S” and the saints with a lower-case “s” — one and all.