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What if?

Hubble Captures Gallery of Ultra-Bright Galaxies

What if we are simply acting as parasites fighting with each other to devour the earth? What if our galaxies are like mitochondria, the power houses of cells? Thus, in the metaphor, we, are solar system, is contained within a cell. We are intimately connected with each other, so much so that our actions and decisions reverberate out affecting every one else, as everyone else's affects us. Still, we continue to duke it out as if subjugating or rejecting or killing those of another group is not killing us, and the organism that serves as host. What does it take to see the larger picture that we are so infinitesimally small in the larger universe, that the divisions we perpetuate are ludicrously petty. Would we treat one another better then? Would tribalism, nativism, nationalism, racism, sexism, fill-in-the-blank-ism ad infinitum, cease?

Story is Memory

How many of y'all here have been to Disneyland?

The first time I visited I must have been four, because my baby brother was literally still a baby in our mother's arms. It was Christmas time, as the Magic Kingdom looked especially magical decked out in holiday lights. Mom used to tell me that my favorite attraction was the General Electric-sponsored animatronic family in Tomorrowland that I made us watch three times. But I barely remembered that. The ride I remembered best and could recreate scene by scene in my mind as if I were riding it again, was the Pirates of the Caribbean. Do you remember that ride?

The Social (In)Justice of Thermostat Settings

San Francisco and the surrounding Bay Area experienced an historic heatwave this weekend, with recorded temperatures in the city exceeding 100 degrees two days in a row. To give you some context, up until this week there had only been ten 100 degree or more days since 1904. That's only ten 100 degree or more days in 113 years. Because San Francisco so rarely gets hot, most houses do not have air conditioning. In the surrounding areas, temps average 10-20 degrees higher so some homes do have AC while others do not.

The thing is, air conditioning requires power. And so long as our energy comes from fossil fuels, running the AC burns more fossil fuels, which increases global warming, which results in hotter temperatures, which causes more people and businesses to run air-conditioners, which use more fossil fuels, which will make the temps even hotter....

Thriving In Difficult Times

When Mom was diagnosed with a virulent cancer in 2009, I took a leave from my job with the UUA in DC to come back to San Francisco where my parents still lived, and watched helplessly while the cancer tortured and killed her over the course of seven weeks.

Shortly after the funeral I was weeding the yard, and I noticed that a plant was growing from underneath the building. Somehow, against the odds, a seed had landed through one of the small holes of a ventilation grate, taken root under what I imagine are not hospitable conditions, and then sent a stalk back through the grate to reach the life-giving sunlight.

Revisiting Ethics 101

When I was in college I double-majored in neurobiology and cognitive psychology, which meant the vast majority of my classes were in or related to those areas. Berkeley required me to take a few humanities courses in the hopes that they would make me a well-rounded person, but the young, earnest me filled those breadth requirements with classes on Logic, "Eastern Philosophy," and Art (painting). I wanted all my classes to be "useful." Utilitarian, if you will. Bottom line, I did not have a liberal arts education.[1]

Living in Non-White Whiteness or White Non-Whiteness or ...

Kathleen's 6th Birthday

"What do you like about being white?"

The anti-racism training facilitator chose me to go first. My view of myself as multicultural Latinx, with indigenous heritage and light skinned privilege, was discounted a room full of other participants. Every struggle of not being white enough, or Latina enough flew up to my throat into a knot. I could not get past the word "multicultural," because the facilitator, an African American man, kept interrupting, insisting I was white. I thought my story about my grandparents and great grandparents had explained who I was the day before. The Latina facilitator said in a stage whisper, "She's Latina." The white facilitator said in a stage whisper to the Latina, She's white!" Whispering ensued between them. The facilitator who asked the question more than once said, "Fine, let's move on. We'll get back to you." I sat in shock. The next white individual, somewhat understandably, did not want to claim he was white either.

The Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi: My Past and Present, or, Spiritual Self-care for Today

Tree and Bell at Deer Park Monastery

When I arrived at seminary, I brought two documents with me, the anonymous, Norman, Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi, and Thich Nhat Hanh's Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings. Those two were what I modeled my life by, imperfectly, reflecting the kind of Christianity I wanted to keep, and the Buddhist precepts that best reflected my aspirations as to how I wanted to relate to the world.


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Acknowledgments is made possible in part by generous support from the Fahs Collaborative