The Whence of the Isms of (the) U(nited)S(tates)…

I am a contributor to the Feminism and Religion blog.  Here is an excerpt of my most recent post. Thus, when enemies or friends Are seen to act improperly, Be calm and call to mind That everything arises from conditions. -Shantideva, Bodhicharyāvatāra The early Indian teacher, Shantideva, calls humanity to a deeper exploration of the people and situations we encounter. While it may sound simple, his invitation can be very difficult for American mentalities. He is asking us to look at something more complicated than the individual who acts; he is pointing us toward the causes and conditions that give … Read the full post

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A Brush with What’s Most Beautiful

Pelicans dive bombing into fish full ocean Sometimes one, sometimes four in tandem Then the dorsal breach of a dolphin startles me My heart leaps You are here Moving, showing yourself, gliding from depths to surface with calm attentiveness More fins, you are never alone. Your pod and the flock linger in this spot where I set up watch First it was just me witnessing you all and the rhythm of these moments Then others stopped and turned and set their sights to catch a glimpse A glimmer of the mystery of a life so fluid, so immediate to itself– filled … Read the full post

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Made Well: A Sermon on Healing and White Supremacy

SERMON “MADE WELL” SCRIPTURE: PSALM 30, MARK 5:21-43 BETHANY PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, LAFAYETTE, IN June 28, 2015 The Rev. Dr. Marcia Mount Shoop, Preaching Often the lectionary seems to have providential timing—and this week is a startling example of the mysterious way God’s provisions weave their way through our lives. If there was ever a time when we need to attend to the details and contours of Jesus’ healing touch, it is this week in America. And healing is the main item of business in the passages the lectionary directed us to today. This week in America we’ve gotten to know … Read the full post

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The Confederate Flag Is Not the Only Thing That Needs to Come Down

The Confederate Flag flying over the South Carolina capital building was a morally bankrupt phenomenon in our country long before nine great saints of the Christian church were martyred because they were black. What happened in Charleston was white supremacy terrorism. And what’s been happening in the institutions and in the soul of this country for centuries is white supremacy culture. It’s good for the Confederate Flag to come down. But, it’s not good enough. The soul work of the “American experiment” (as America was often called in my high school U.S. history class) is much more difficult, much more … Read the full post

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Interview on Modern Day Flappers Podcast

Thanks to Nancy Hawthorn and her “Modern Day Flappers“– “a podcast dedicated to exploring women’s identities beyond traditional scripts,” for the rich discussion about embodiment and redemption (and lots of stuff in between).  Click here to link to the Modern Day Flapper’s website.  Click here to go right to iTunes for the podcast.

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A Blessing for Survivors

that’s the first thing
the healing
muse says

the bitter taste,
the wasting waste,
that is from your brush
with death

the antidote
the anti-venom,
is breath (read more)

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March Madness—Can Sports-Fan-Love Translate into Justice for Players?

I am a Kentucky Wildcats basketball fan. I was born and raised in the Bluegrass State not far south of Lexington, so the electricity, the loyalty of being a KY basketball fan goes deep for me. My father got his PhD at Duke and has never faltered in his allegiance to the “other” big blue. Even with a Duke fan in my household, several years at UNC (the “other” hue of blue), and calling many other college towns home, I have stayed true to the UK Big Blue when it comes to basketball! Sometimes people ask me how I can … Read the full post

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In-Forming Communities of Healing Initiative at Vanderbilt Divinity School

I am just finishing up the first academic year of a three year collaboration with Vanderbilt Divinity School on bodies and healing.  The blog post below, that is posted on the VDS Voices blog, shares some of what is emerging in our work together.

Surviving sexualized violence resonates with surviving violence of many kinds—especially violence that is personalized, violence that penetrates our flesh, our self-understanding, and our ability to connect with the world around us.

Survival skills are idiosyncratic, and they are often wise in ways we can only understand fleetingly. These survival skills can deaden and disconnect us. They can leave our nerve endings raw and exposed. And these survival skills permeate and help shape a world—a world that sometimes re-harms, sometimes supports, and oftentimes wants to move along as if everything is as it should be.

The ubiquity and idiosyncrasy of these survival skills means that anyone can be triggered by anything at any time. This statement may be jarring. (click here for the full post)

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The Pregame Warm Ups for Super Bowl XLIX: Soft Footballs, Crying Quarterbacks, and Other Offensive Formations

An excerpt from my post on the NFL and masculinity on the Justice Unbound website:

Super Bowl week is here! And the NFL is stretched out in all of its media glory for America to adore and, more now than perhaps ever in the history of American football, to dissect.

The scrutiny that football is under right now is, indeed, unprecedented. And the 2014 season has been one thing after another in the world of American football in general, not just for the NFL. From more talk about concussions,  to college players trying to form unions, to domestic violence, to lawsuits against the NCAA for academic fraud, the pressure is building for football to come clean about its problems.

But, human nature shows itself again and again to be agile when it comes to avoiding the big questions. We can say we’re sorry for the little missteps, but changing long held patterns, hallowed assumptions, and unconscious biases are not transitions we surrender to easily. (read full post)

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Safety and Vulnerability in a Dangerous and Fertile World: A Meditation on Incarnation

And excerpt of my latest post on the Feminism and Religion website:

Feeling safe again is often the healing and elusive aspiration of a person like me.

I have been living with the deep and cellular residuum of sexual trauma for most of my life—over thirty of my going-on forty-six years.

For many years, the grief and shame of losing my innocence cultivated an intense orientation to life’s doing. Safety for me back then was activity, noise, frenetic schedules, and a constant soundtrack to my life that meant I never had to be quiet with myself. Safety was in the predictable metrics of success that I could use to measure my self worth. I never had to stop and admit that I didn’t feel safe, ever. (Read full post)

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