We are endangered species, but Franciscan values could save us

At my new home in Chicago, I can visit the shore of Lake Michigan, and I like to go there to pray. From my spot on a concrete slab, all that is visible to me that is “natural” is water and sky. Everything else — the concrete, the fence, the shoreline — has been constructedContinue reading “We are endangered species, but Franciscan values could save us”

On parenting, poverty, and privilege

It’s been two months since our family abruptly said goodbye to the mission we were serving in Honduras. We left because our five-year-old daughter came down with dengue fever, a nasty mosquito-borne illness that becomes even nastier if contracted a second time. In someone who has already had the illness, a second exposure can resultContinue reading “On parenting, poverty, and privilege”

Learning to abide in care

What does it mean to be a community of care? How can we deepen in our care for one another in a world so caught up in efficiency and the self-protection of individualism?

Christian resistance in the style of St. Francis

It’s indisputable that today’s signs of the times point to heartache, injustice, division and confusion. The truth seems to be debatable. The persecutions of the little ones — from immigrant children, refugees, victims of natural disasters and targets of sexual assault; those who are on the margins — often are the ones who bear theContinue reading “Christian resistance in the style of St. Francis”

Headlines and prophets: a conversation

McDonald’s workers go on strike over sexual harassment  “Yes, I’m on my  way to visit you with Judgement. I’ll press compelling evidence against sorcerers, adulterers, liars, those who exploit workers, those who take advantage of widows and orphans, those who are inhospitable to the homeless — anyone and everyone who doesn’t honor me.” In NorthContinue reading “Headlines and prophets: a conversation”

A complicated patriotism

Years ago, during a Fourth of July parade, I had a panic attack. Fresh back to the United States after studying abroad for six months and foggy with jet lag, I felt dizzy and overwhelmed among the swarm of white people speaking English, waving flags, eating candy and donned in red, white and blue. ThenContinue reading “A complicated patriotism”

Listening to and praying with the cries of the children at the border

Like everyone else who understands that the Bible is a book that calls us to love without limit, I am heartbroken by the splitting of families at the U.S./Mexico border.

Love in the midst of the mess

You are dreading another meal of ramen noodles and canned vegetables, but you know that’s all that’s left in the cupboard, that it’s the best you can offer your son tonight. You’re thinking about this as you enter the dimly lit child care center to pick him up, with hunger pulling on your stomach, onlyContinue reading “Love in the midst of the mess”

Dead man on the sidewalk

He is lying in the middle of the street, wrapped in a blanket, semiconscious. Earlier, someone was concerned enough to call the paramedics. The paramedics picked him up by the arms, dragged him to the sidewalk, determined he did not need medical transport, and left. When the paramedics find him, nobody is with him. NoContinue reading “Dead man on the sidewalk”

A troubled conscience

On June 20, Pope Francis visited the gravesites of two Italian priests who were well-known for the ministry among the poor and their opposition to war. These men were prophets. When I think of someone like them, closer to home, it’s Joshua Casteel. Joshua grew up in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, enlisted in the United StatesContinue reading “A troubled conscience”