Mark's Blog

There are forces and voices in our increasingly polarized world that want us to view the issues of the day in a binary way: this or that; good or bad. Most issues are more complicated. This blog seeks to invite people to journey beyond the safety, if not the rigidity, of our silo and our ego – to the soul; where we have the opportunity to see things differently.
Vulnerability, Mystery and Artificial Intelligence

Vulnerability, Mystery and Artificial Intelligence

Functional Atheism is a term I first heard about thirty years ago from writer and conference leader Parker Palmer.  He described a functional atheist as someone who says they believe in God but lives as though God doesn’t exist.  I have held on to the term for these...

On the Lookout for Hospitality

On the Lookout for Hospitality

It seems that an agreement has been reached to raise the debt ceiling, so as to avoid default.  After months of dire predictions,  weeks of preening by pundits and politicians, and several days of round the clock negotiating, a deal has been achieved, which  now...

Fear, Trauma, and Guns

Fear, Trauma, and Guns

Last week I was in Washington DC with a group of bishops, clergy and laypeople to witness and strategize about our work in gun violence prevention (referred to as GVP).  Organized by Bishops United Against Gun Violence, which I helped form after the Newtown,...

The Challenges of Freedom

The Challenges of Freedom

Freedom.  The bedrock of the American experiment.  It is protected in the first amendment of the Bill of Rights, adopted in 1791:  freedom to exercise one’s religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, freedom of the right to petition the...

Playing Chicken is No Game

Playing Chicken is No Game

When we were kids, we occasionally played a game of chicken on our bikes.  Two of us would ride toward each other – as fast as we could, and the one who veered off at the last minute was identified – no, ridiculed, as a chicken.  A real wuss.  A designation no one...

The Challenge of Challenging Bad Behavior

The Challenge of Challenging Bad Behavior

It was two a.m. when I was awakened by a loud conversation taking place in the next campsite at a state campground in southern Vermont.  After fifteen minutes of being forced to listen to my neighbors argue about various issues in their relationship, I decided to pay...

Confronting Violence with Nonviolence

Confronting Violence with Nonviolence

I cut across the edge of my next-door neighbor’s newly seeded front lawn, on my way to cross the street to see a friend.  I was about nine years old.  About twenty feet into my trespass, the father of the family charged out of his house:  “If you don’t get off my...

Molting our Shells into Bardo

Molting our Shells into Bardo

Bardo is a Tibetan Buddhist term.  It refers to the space between birth and rebirth, a space marked by vulnerability, in that one does know for certain what is coming next.  It can also be a time for growth.   I often liken bardo to the period of time when lobsters...

Buried in the National Anthem

Buried in the National Anthem

“No refuge could save the hireling and slave…”  A poetic phrase, embedded in perhaps the most well-known tune in America:  The Star-Spangled Banner.  We know the tune and have memorized the words.  We sing it before ball games, at the openings of town meetings, and at...