The Good Samaritan, In My Driveway

Amidst terrifying darkness, glimmering points of light feel like miracles. Once again we are reeling from a mass shooting; once again we search for answers; once again we keep going about our business, even as we know that many families are enduring what was, until a few days ago, unimaginable loss. News of the horrific event, and the ongoing aftermath, is full of questions that may never be answered about the mass murderer. But we have survivors’ stories and we … Read More

One Curious Clergyman

Life can get exciting when we burst through the restrictions of our expected identities, especially if it’s in the hot pursuit of truth, justice and the general illumination of the human soul. You and I might do this kind of thing once in a while, but it’s risky. To watch heroes boldly striving in adventures that play out in a neat hour or two, we turn to the screen. And, in the most interesting of these, the heroes themselves can … Read More

Alabama in August? Yup, That’s Right.

“What brought y’all down to Alabama?” the coffee seller on a Montgomery street corner asked, as friendly as she could be. We paused. It wasn’t so easy to explain to a welcoming Southerner that we were a group from New Hampshire travelling through their state to commemorate the murder 50 years ago of a civil rights activist from our state– Jonathan Daniels. But she didn’t flinch and, in fact, said something like, “Oh, that’s SO interesting!” Then she went on … Read More

Ah, Marriage: In Any Form, It’s A Mystery

Just when you think, after about 25 years in the marriage pond, you might be getting the hang of it, you realize there might be a whole other way of swimming than the one you learned—the one you’re still learning, actually. That’s kind of how it feels when you have a burgeoning anthropologist in the family who is studying how polygamy has worked, over generations, in peaceful communities on a distant continent. In this country, we’ve been widening our definitions … Read More

It’s Easter, and More

Over the course of the past Holy Week, my husband was preparing for services culminating with Easter today — the pinnacle of the Christian calendar. Meanwhile, I was, for the first time, teaching a unit on ancient India to high school juniors. In my mind’s eye, I saw temples with elaborate carvings and women in colorful saris as I made the daily drive up and down a fairly bland stretch of highway. It made for a kind of interesting mash-up … Read More

What Holds You Up? In a Good Way, I Mean

Here we go, into the beating heart of the Christian calendar again. In observance of the first day of Lent yesterday, my husband once again participated in “Ashes to Go” in downtown Concord. Apparently it, or they, went quite well. The weather was practically balmy, and lots of people stopped by. I was reminded of human mortality too…just from a little distance away. At this time of year, I am also reminded of the fact that I didn’t grow up with … Read More

There’s More Than One Way to Hustle

  “You really aren’t comfortable with moral ambiguity, are you?” This was the question my husband asked me shortly after we emerged, one evening last week, from seeing American Hustle. For some reason he thought I hadn’t liked the whole movie, when what I think I said was that I didn’t particularly warm up to any of the main characters, except for maybe Carmine Polito, who is open to taking money from an unknown Arab sheikh for the casinos because all … Read More

I Believe, Therefore I Do

On the heels of Christmas with its mix of sacredness and enchantment, I’m setting out to write something here about the act of believing in something and how closely it is, or perhaps is not, aligned with leading a good life. Of course just about any fool would say that the quality of anything flowing from a particular source must depend primarily on the legitimacy of the source – or set of beliefs – itself. I would maintain, however, that … Read More