What I Do
I seek to create a more beautiful and reconciled world through my teaching, speaking, writing, and facilitating of authentic personal storytelling. Here are some of my projects...
I love to write. I’ve authored a couple of books and contributed to some other projects. I’m drawn most to the stories that people rarely hear. Those are the ones that often help us most.
I speak and teach on topics like storytelling, reconciliation and forgiveness, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, incarceration, and more.
Tenx9 Nashville is a Belfast-originated monthly community storytelling night where 9 people have up to ten minutes each to tell a real story from their lives, based on a theme. I’ve been running this in Nashville since September 2013.
In addition to speaking and teaching on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, I also organize and co-lead political and religious tours to Israel and Palestine, taking pilgrims to the sites of ancient stories and introducing them to the people telling new stories.
Read what I've been thinking lately
As I became friends with Pádraig and Paul … I recognized something that I knew well from my own life—love. Genuine love. I watched the way they touched each other’s faces and hands with tenderness, said each other’s names with affection, missed each other when the other was away—and I knew exactly what all that felt like. I no longer saw what difference it made if it were for someone of the same sex.
Reposting a story I wrote for OnFaith on dining in the home of Palestinian Muslims, originally published April 3, 2017. As we prepare to step inside their home, a friend says, “It is a different world in there.” They are Muslim, and we are Christian. We come from white American privilege, and they from the poverty […]
Last September, the good folks over at Plough published two revised stories from the appendix of Where the River Bends. I’m reposting here. Was Jesus serious when he said, in Matthew 25, that we’ll find him in places like prison? If he spent his time with the least of his society, discipleship would seem to require […]
This was originally posted at Red Letter Christians on March 30, 2016. To read an intro to the Gospel Rewrite series, click here. To read the original gospel stories, click here. In December I began working for a non-profit law firm that provides free assistance to vulnerable Tennesseans trying to access affordable health care. One of our […]
Here's what folks are saying about my writing
“[Where the River Bends] is important … We cannot encounter these pages and remain unaffected. But what will happen to us if we listen to those we tend to ignore? This book is one way to find out. I encourage us all to listen.”Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, from the foreword
“We can theorize about what forgiveness really means, or we can talk and listen to those we have viewed as unforgivable. Where the River Bends … offers depth of insight and perspective that is rare yet essential if we are going to move to higher ground.”Michelle Alexander, bestselling author of The New Jim Crow
“…Where the River Bends is a book pregnant with the hope that comes through the power of forgiveness. Don’t just read this book… let it move you to become an agent of mercy in a merciless world.”Shane Claiborne, bestselling author of The Irresistible Revolution
Letters from “Apartheid Street” is “a valuable resource for all who are called to be peacemakers – which should mean all of us.”Brian D. McLaren, bestselling author of A Kind of Christianity
“Our field needs passionate, on-the-ground, first hand descriptions of the challenges of constructively engaging settings of deep and painful conflict. [Letters from “Apartheid Street”] provides just such a window.”John Paul Lederach, peacebuilder, author of The Moral Imagination
“Pay serious heed to Michael McRay.”David Dark, author of Life’s Too Short to Pretend You’re Not Religious
“Surprisingly invitational… [Letters from “Apartheid Street”] is a book worth reading and rereading. As a guide for activism, I hope these reflections will have a profoundly rippling effect.”Kathy Kelly, Nobel Peace Prize Nominee
“Most of us seem content to merely believe stereotypes we hear about prisoners from television, movies, etc. [Where the River Bends], however, shatters this view of the criminal offender.
Letters from “Apartheid Street” is “invaluable, necessary, and absolutely brilliant.”Englewood Review of Books
“What is hopeful about [Letters from “Apartheid Street”] is the humanity the author shows through his interaction with Jews and Palestinians. In a down to earth yet profound way, this book shows Jews a way out of the injustice of occupying another people.”Marc H. Ellis, author of Toward a Jewish Theology of Liberation
Letters from “Apartheid Street” is “an important read for human rights workers who want to do this work with integrity, but more importantly, who want to learn how to be the change that they want to see in the world.”Tarek Abuata, Executive Director of Friends of Sabeel – North America