Reflections

What is obvious to me was a joyful surprise to them; what I take for granted, they celebrate in thanksgiving.

A quarter century ago, Henri Nouwen went to live in Latin America to see what he could learn in poor communities there: “In many of the families I visited, nothing was certain, nothing predictable, nothing totally safe. Maybe there would be food tomorrow …work tomorrow… peace tomorrow. Maybe, maybe not. But whatever is given—is a reason to rejoice or say gracias. What ...

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This is the time in American history, when we must force the resignation of the POTUS.

Nine decades ago this month, in the Syrian World journal,  Reverend W.A. Mansour quoted George Gordon as saying, “American patriotism also means that you remember that the American nation is composed of immigrants. The only original American is the Indian [read Native American/First Nations member]. This historic fact should be forever borne in mind.”

So we now have a President without any sense of ...

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A Fresh Look at Democracy from the Desert

The owl cries out before the dawning light
To all the other desert dwellers, proclaiming
“I’m still here! Maybe you are too!”
But what a here it is,
Yuccas and saguaros marching forth
To cast their ballots somewhere out
Across the rocky, cactus-studded plains
While up above them, in high places
On Frog Mountain, clouds hold a summit
To determine the next legitimate President
Of this parched and broken terrain.
“Well, I’ll try it!” says the eager packrat.
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What I am grateful for this morning is the hundreds of thousands of American women assembling in our Capitol

What I am grateful for this morning is the hundreds of thousands of American women assembling in our Capitol this morning who know that this country must be managed & cared for as if it is more than some Beauty Pageant.

It must cared for as if all lives around the world–women, men, gay, lesbian, transgender, foreign-born & native, animal, vegetable, mineral & ...

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Take a stone of sadness that has been burdening you and put it aside, just far enough that something new can grow in its stead.

Sometimes our very sadness over disappointments in ourselves, our neighbors, our loved ones or our entire country can be transformed into a restorative process toward tangible good.

Who does not get down when we see our world or our relationships in shambles? But very few of us actually want to stay “stuck” in that sadness. And so we can either move toward anger ...

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All across the country, urban area communities are taking over abandoned public spaces to repurpose them as safe places.

All across the country, urban neighborhood communities are taking over abandoned school grounds, church grounds and other public spaces to repurpose them as food hubs, community gardens, food justice training centers and safe places for their children to play and work with plants.

The latest of these efforts is the Flower and Bullets collective in Mid-Town Tucson repurposing the Julia Keene School for ...

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Do you realize how many people have quietly gone about their service to conservation organizations for decades?

Last night, at the Desert Botanical Garden, I had the blessing to once again see Nancy Swanson, who has been an allegiant supporter and volunteer there (as well as taking on a bout as board chair of the Garden) over a period that now spans forty years.

Do you realize how many people around us have quietly gone about their service to conservation ...

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Tonight I am struck how the latest Scorsese film, Silence, reminds us of two things…

Tonight I am struck how the latest Scorsese film, Silence, reminds us of two things: 1) Our compassion (or lack of it) for others in the world cannot be measured by or even recognized through labels such as Christian or Buddhist, Democrat or Republican, activist or contemplative. Labels always fail us, because they build allegiance not to core intentions and actions but ...

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My friends, it is time to elevate the Yes to be our common covenant. Let’s vote for healing over partisan conflicts.

If you haven’t thought about it in this context, you might say that America is in the worst & potentially most violent gridlock since the Civil War. Half the country thinks they “won” the elections & will oust the Washington elite which have seldom let any public benefits flow their way.

The other half thinks that not only did their candidate win the ...

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Gregory Boyle reminds us of the vision of an ancient prophet that we must aspire to today…

Gregory Boyle reminds us of the vision of an ancient prophet that we must aspire to today: “In this place that you called a wasteland, someday there will be hears again the voices of mirth and laughter…the voices of those gathered to sing.”

To reach that goal, Boyle says, we each need to hear and bear enlightened witness to each of those voices ...

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The Yaqui or Yoeme in Sonora Mexico need our Support in Stopping or at least rerouting a Natural Gas Pipeline.

One thing I am grateful for this year is how people of all cultures & livelihoods have stood with the Sioux and other First Nations at Standing Rock. But if you have not heard, the Yaqui or Yoeme in Sonora Mexico need our same support in stopping or at least rerouting a natural gas pipeline now intruding on their lands along the ...

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This morning a piece of paper popped out of my desk drawer; “Respect for Native Knowledge Can Help Preserve the West.”

This morning at dawn, a piece of paper popped out of my old desk drawer and fell to the floor. It was something that I forgot I had even written, and for sure I had not remembered that it had been published in the Arizona Daily Star around a decade ago. It was called “Respect for Native Knowledge Can Help Preserve the ...

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Not long ago, that brilliant & passionate philosopher Kathleen Dean Moore asked us this question…

Not long ago, that fiercely brilliant & passionate environmental philosopher Kathleen Dean Moore asked us this question:

“What will be our legacy for those who have no voice to shape their own destinies–what chance of gladness, what landscapes of enduring, bedrock value?”

My complement to that–if anyone can be as eloquent as Kathy can be–is that to speak on behalf of ...

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Our love & respect for one another are cultural antibodies that can protect us against the dis-ease in society.

It may be one of those times when we have to put a temporary ban or moratorium on “sniveling”, the desperate act of whining or complaining in a tearful manner. Yes, there are indeed valid causes for being alarmed, fearful, depressed or feeling marginalized that touch many of us… I do not want to sweep them under the rug at all.

But what ...

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On New Year’s Eve, five of us read poems, including this one written almost fifty years ago by Wendell Berry.

On New Year’s Eve, a mesquite wood fire in the fireplace, snow gently fell outside; five of us read poems, including this one written almost fifty years ago by Wendell Berry, published in ‘Farming: A Handbook:

 

“In the dark of the moon, in the flying snow, in the dead of winter, war spreading, families dying, the world in danger,
I walk ...

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Red Rock Testimony conveys the spiritual, cultural, and values through essays of writers whose births span seven decades.

President Obama’s designation of 1.3 million acres of sacred Native American sites, contemplative sanctuaries in canyons and archeological treasures at the Bears Ears National Monument is the best thing to happen this December, and the kind of gesture that might make America grateful gain. It reminds us that we live in a blessed country of spirit-filled landscapes.

If you have not yet seen ...

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Ecologists are finding mutualistic interactions as more pervasive than signs of outright competition for scarce resources.

Even in the harshest desert environments limited by water and heat, ecologists are finding mutualistic interactions as or more pervasive than signs of outright competition for scarce resources or signs of predatory behaviors.

From soil mycorrhizae and nitrogen-fixing bacteria, to plant-pollinator and plant-seed disperser interactions, cooperation abounds in challenging places and challenging times.

Some of the best-known examples of symbiotic relationships can be found ...

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Whenever I get too caught up in trivial pursuits, I remember Pablo Neruda’s lead into a poem and Walt Whitman’s lovely lines.

Whenever I get too caught up in the trivial pursuits of being human, as if our political machinations are sucking up all the air in the room, I remember Pablo Neruda’s lead into a great poem, “I have grown tired of being a Man”, and Walt Whitman’s lovely lines:

 

I THINK I could turn and live with animals, ...

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