“In the end, we need people. We need to be close and connected to others. Our relationships shape us. They provide us strength and direction. The give us the immeasurably powerful opportunity to help others. They help us grow toward the best possible version of ourselves. They allow us to join our strength to help make a better world.”Read More
“When we begin to recognise our deep similarities over our surface differences, the door is opened to love. We must open that door and, as hard as it is, we must step through. Everyone is our neighbour today. The future of justice depends on love.”Read More
“But helping all of our children to learn about injustice and equipping them to strive for a better world has an impact that endures from generation to generation. In this way, we will play perhaps our most consequential role in making a better future. Through our children and our children’s children’s children, let us build the world of love and justice.”Read More
Today is a different kind of Sunday Gathering. We are going to explore how we connect to one another and what that really means for us. Not coincidentally, the Connections team has been involved in planning and two of its members will participate.Read More
Steven Pinker - a Harvard professor of psychology and prolific author - contends that violence has declined over the history of humankind. In his 6th book, The Better Angels of Our Nature, Pinker lays out the case for the bend toward justice. He writes ‘violence has declined over long stretches of time, and today we may be living in the most peaceable era in our species’ existence. The decline, to be sure, has not been smooth; it has not brought violence down to zero; and it is not guaranteed to continue. But it is an unmistakable development, visible on scales from millennia to years, from the waging of wars to the spanking of children.’Read More
We are living at a time when people are turning more and more toward leaders who promise to ignore the complexity and make decisions on their own. People are voting for them. This is a time when many feel like the world is changing too fast. Changes in population. Changes in power. Changes in sexual and gender norms. All of these things frighten them. And they want conservative change - they want to go back to what they were comfortable with and they are frustrated by the slowness of checks and balances and giving everyone a say. When there’s enough anxiety about change and enough frustration - resolute, decisive, and even dictatorial decision-making becomes appealing to some. They seek a revolutionary change in how things work if not a full-fledged revolution. We should always remember that powerless, fearful, frustrated people are likely to undertake radical action.Read More
Being subject to racism for generations means a lack of opportunities. It means having greater obstacles put in front of you than others. And then it means blaming you for your lack of progress. And when you’ve been told enough times that you will never get ahead, that you are not good enough, and that you should give up, it has an enormous negative impact on children and adults. It is a way to destroy the optimism and potential of a culture.
A terrible past has created great disadvantages in the present. Let us help to create a future where the debt this nation owes to African heritage people is paid in a way that creates justice.Read More
We each have the opportunity for a turning point many many times in our lives. We can choose what new experiences we will have. They may lead to light dispelling the darkness. They may lead to a new perspective. They may break down barriers to love and understanding.
Turning points are rarely painless. They usually involve deep discomfort even if we have chosen them. When they happen to us against our will, this can be even more so. Turning is so hard because to do it we give up the comfort and safety of the familiar and the expected.Read More
Many of us are not very conscious of the paths we travel as we become who we are. We may not even notice how we are changing and we’re even less likely to connect the dots to what has caused us to change. We don’t recognise how we became good at this or fearful about that. How did we get be compassionate, outgoing, anxious, self-centred, driven, passive, assertive, angry, biased, open-minded, religious, sceptical, artistic, timid, or adventurous?
So, how did we get here? How did we become these people we are?Read More
I’d like you to think about some of the ways you really love to spend your time—not things you do on holiday, but things you might get to do on an average day if you’re really lucky. For me, these things are reading a good book, learning something new, spending time with my wife or talking to my niece on skype, or making something. I don’t do these things nearly as often as I’d like to, but I’m getting better at making time for them. And today I’m going to talk about how the way I spend my time and the way I think about my time has changed over the past few years.Read More
In this place, let us stand up for one another
Let us strengthen one another
Let us shelter one another
Let us use our own strength to change hearts and minds
So that all may be safe and strong and proud
And none need protecting from harm
Difficult things happen between human beings. Some of them can not be reconciled. There are acts so unforgivable that reconciliation is not possible. Relationship can become so hostile and vicious that there can be no turning back. Sometimes it is about safety: It can be abusive to suggest - as some religions have - that abusers should be given another chance and another and another. This is asking the abused party - usually a woman - to put their sanity, their health, and their very life in danger. Even without danger, how many times should one forgive and try again after being mistreated again and again. There are also those times when, even if we could imagine the potential for reconciliation, it becomes impossible because of distance or death.Read More
This Wednesday is the Jewish "Day of Atonement" - in Hebrew, it is known as Yom Kippur. Yom Kippur is Judaism’s response to our need to reconcile our personal aspirations with the reality of our actions. On Yom Kippur, Jews pray and fast all day, and acknowledge their failures over the previous year. Yom Kippur provides – as does the Christian practice of confession – a ritualised way to deal with the fact that we know we have not been the people we intended to be. Holding onto this secret shame causes us pain, it makes us feel we need to hide our true selves away. Releasing it is actually a relief.Read More
Change is hard. Is it harder than hard? Is it impossible? Can we change at all? Sure, we know we can change some behaviours. Sometimes, we really do succeed in drinking less or exercising more. We might even keep our inboxes clear - at least for a while. But is all our hope of being able to change in more profound ways completely unrealistic?
For many years, researchers threw cold water on the prospect of deep-seated change. They concluded that, after adolescence, our core personality traits are fixed and nearly unchangeable. More recently, new studies have suggested that this claim is incorrect - that we can, in fact change in major ways. Some studies have even concluded that relatively short periods of therapy - therapy of almost any kind - can result in significant and long-live changes in our personalities. Other events and transitions in our lives do change us.Read More