Shadowing Pádraig Ó Tuama: Common Ground is Not the Goal

Shadowing Pádraig Ó Tuama: Common Ground is Not the Goal

While debriefing Narrative 4 circles I facilitate in and beyond Nashville, I often hear people say things like, “This experience reminds me of how much we all have in common. Most of the time, we’re all focused on all our differences, but we just need to remember that we are all more alike than we are different.”

This is a lovely sentiment, and one that may even be true. But it also might not be. While prioritizing the search for common ground has great use, it also runs the risk of assuming we must do this because difference is bad.

Shadowing Pádraig Ó Tuama: The Political is Personal

Shadowing Pádraig Ó Tuama: The Political is Personal

Everything political is personal for someone. Politics, at its etymological root, has to do with how we organize our lives and affairs with the people we live among. And how we live among each other affects us all in personal ways.

Shadowing Pádraig Ó Tuama: The Subjectivity of Reasonableness

Shadowing Pádraig Ó Tuama: The Subjectivity of Reasonableness

“Most people do what seems reasonable to them at the time, most of the time …

It’s not that everyone all the time is being reasonable. That’s obviously not true. It’s that most people are probably doing what they consider reasonable. And even that needs nuancing: “most of the time.” Sometimes, people act in ways that even they can acknowledge are unreasonable. Most of the time, however, it’s likely helpful to assume people behave in ways that make sense to them.”

Shadowing Pádraig Ó Tuama: Understanding is Not Complicity

Shadowing Pádraig Ó Tuama: Understanding is Not Complicity

Being able to understand is not the same as justifying, or agreeing with, or supporting. It’s simply being able to get your head around why and how that person, in their context with their story and their pain and their experiences and their relationships and their wiring, might come to think and act as they do. In the end, this is all about empathy.

The Story We’re All Yearning to Tell

The Story We’re All Yearning to Tell

I think part of what this reveals is that we are all moving through life yearning to be true, authentic, and vulnerable with each other. We want desperately to show our true selves to each other. To have our pain and our pride, our vulnerability and our victories, seen and heard—even by total strangers. We have stories we don’t want to keep inside. 

The Revolution Will Not Be Romanticized

The Revolution Will Not Be Romanticized

This conversation illuminated an increasingly noticeable pattern, especially among my peers: put simply, the more we get “radicalized,” the more we’re tempted to romanticize. This is particularly pronounced in the work of advocacy and solidarity. We sometimes seem to think that to be true advocates we must believe rosy stories of those we work with or for.

A New Daily Advent Reader for Peacemakers

A New Daily Advent Reader for Peacemakers

This is the Advent reader I’ve been waiting for: diverse, timely, and topical. Along with my friend Claire Brown, I’ve been working throughout the end of October and early November to assemble this remarkable list of contributors for a daily Advent reader focused on what the Advent season has to say about peacemaking. Subscribers will […]

They are Muslim, We are Christian

They are Muslim, We are Christian

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 […]

New Book Available

New Book Available

Cascade Books has just released my new book Where the River Bends: Considering Forgiveness in the Lives of Prisoners, with a foreword by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu. Synopsis: Myriad works discuss forgiveness, but few address it in the prison context. For most people, prisoners exist “out of sight and out of mind.” Their […]

This Land Is (not) Your Land, This Land is My Land: Thanksgiving, Advent, and the Fleeing Christ

This Land Is (not) Your Land, This Land is My Land: Thanksgiving, Advent, and the Fleeing Christ

This post was originally published on the Tokens Show Blog on December 4, 2015.  “I find it ironic on this Thanksgiving Day—a day of sharing, hospitality, and welcome—that our nation is divided as to whether we should extend hospitality to those seeking refuge in our borders.” Such was my dad’s opening remark as he welcomed […]