Monthly Archives: November 2014

Purple Flowers, Central Park 14

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Our friend Nancy Eng MacNeill received a liver transplant in May, 2014. As part of her rehabilitation, she trained for a half-marathon with other transplant recipients. Her husband, Bruce joined her. Her children supported her. The half-marathon occurred today.

We could not go to Seattle to watch Nancy and Bruce and Team Transplant. We could not stand and cheer. We could not welcome them at the end of their Half Marathon. So Tricia and I walked in New York. We walked 13.1 miles during the day – not consecutively. But we walked in friendship, in thanksgiving, in hope.

And when we paused in Central Park, we spotted these purple flowers.

Consider signing up to be an organ donor.

30 November
Central Park
Manhattan, New York



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Remember those who sought peace and justice

Eggs in cannonToday marks the 150th anniversary of the Sand Creek Massacre. A National Park Service press release describes the event in these words (italics added):

The Sand Creek Massacre, tragic and unnecessary, impacted Federal-Indian relations and created the circumstances for years of warfare. With the events of November 29, 1864 fixed in their minds, Plains Indian nations faced an uncertain future between warring against and accommodating the federal government.

Cheyenne and Arapaho peace chiefs [Black Kettle among them], influenced by assurances of peace at the Camp Weld Conference, reported to Fort Lyon throughout October of 1864. The fort’s commander told Black Kettle and other leaders to await a peace delegation at their camp on Sand Creek and to fly the U.S. flag to indicate their peaceful intent. Throughout November, these elders waited.

On November 29, U.S. Army (Volunteer) soldiers
[under the command of Colonel John Chivington, a Methodist minister],
 attacked the village. Disregarding the greetings and calls to stop, these “beings in the form of men” fired indiscriminately at the Cheyenne and Arapaho. Of approximately seven hundred people in the village, about two hundred died that day. Two-thirds of the dead and mutilated bodies left on the ground were women and children.

Boasting of his victory and downplaying Army casualties, Colonel John Chivington paraded the body parts of dead Cheyenne and Arapaho through the streets of Denver, reveling in the acclaim he long sought. However, not all of Chivington’s officers and men agreed with his actions, and soon the
consequences of these actions would sweep up and down the Plains, back to Washington, D.C., and into the lives of thousands of people. [Captain Silas Soule refused to order his company to fire during the massacre; he and Major Ned Wynkoop played key roles in the investigation of the massacre.]

Learn more about the Sand Creek Massacre:


Remember those killed and wound and violated.

Remember the horror, the atrocity.

But remember also Black Kettle, who sought a just, honorable peace for his people; and remember Silas Soule, and Ned Wynkoop and the others who, in their way and fashion sought peace and justice for those touched by this day of horror.

May the day soon come when, by God’s grace, we transform weapns into implements of production and healing.

See you along the Trail.



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Filed under Antiracism, Current Events, Human Rights, National Park

Let the circle begin

Intl Day Solidarity Palestinian PeopleToday is the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

The UN Calendar of Observances app says this about the day:

More than eight million Palestinian people live in territory occupied by Israel, in Israel, in neighbouring Arab States, and in regional refugee camps. International Day of Solidarity provides an opportunity to remind the international community that the question of Palestine remains unresolved and that the Palestinian people have not yet attained their inalienable rights as defined by the UN General Assembly, including the right to self-determination and national independence.

On the official page for the day, the UN provides this description:

In 1977, the General Assembly called for the annual observance of 29 November as the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People (resolution 32/40 B ). On that day, in 1947, the Assembly adopted the resolution on the partition of Palestine(resolution 181 (II))

In resolution 60/37  of 1 December 2005, the Assembly requested the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and the Division for Palestinian Rights, as part of the observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People on 29 November, to continue to organize an annual exhibit on Palestinian rights or a cultural event in cooperation with the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine to the UN.

The observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People also encouraged Member States to continue to give the widest support and publicity to the observance of the Day of Solidarity.

In 2014, the Day, which is normally observed on 29 November, will be commemorated at UN Headquarters in New York on Monday, 24 November.

I had the privilege to speak on behalf of the Israel-Palestine NGO Working Group at the UN for the observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. We called for the UN and international community to increase their engagement and efforts to support Palestinians and Israelis in the search for just, sustainable peace.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also spoke. He concluded:

On this International Day of Solidarity, I call on the parties to step back from the brink.  The mindless cycle of destruction must end.  The virtuous circle of peace must begin.

May the circle begin!

See you along the Trail.

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Advent starts at 12:01 AM (EST in the U.S.A.)

Lion and lambAdvent begins on Sunday, a time of preparation and waiting. In conversations with my son about a discipline we plan to practice together, we decided to make 12:01 AM (EST in the U.S.A.) our starting moment. That may not be liturgically sound. But it is what we choose.

What is sound, and more than sound, as a way to enter the Advent season is to read Advent/Darkness, a post by Christina Cleveland. Here are a couple of excerpts to encourage you to read her whole post:

… Advent isn’t about our best world, it’s about our worst world. …

… But we do the Light a disservice when we underestimate the darkness. Jesus entered a world plagued not only by the darkness of individual pain and sin, but also by the darkness of systemic oppression. Jesus’ people, the Hebrews, were a subjugated people living as exiles in their own land; among other things, they were silenced, targets of police brutality, and exploitatively taxed. …

… Advent is an invitation to plunge into the deep, dark waters of our worst world, knowing that when we re-surface for air we will encounter the hopeful, hovering Spirit of God …

Read Advent/Darkness, re-read, ponder, and pray.

I wish you a holy Advent and a blessed Christmas.

See you along the Trail.


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Yes means yes, no means no

highlight-fact-evaw-en-244 pngI read  The Guardian report that “One in three women have experienced physical or sexual violence from their partner, while 7% will be assaulted at some point in their lives by a non-partner.” A new series of papers in the Lancet provides the source. The World Health Organization and UN Women report similar figures to document further the violence women endure.

And my tears flow.

I recognize that only a portion of the sexual and physical violence against women is reported.

And I wonder.

I wonder about what I have done and left undone. I wonder about what I will do. And I wonder if I have taught my sons and other men well enough not to rape and to challenge rape culture.

In my speaking and my acting, have I said clearly enough:

People, all people, all people of every sexual orientation and gender identity, are precious and to be treated with dignity and respect.

Rape and sexual violence are wrong. Don’t rape. Don’t commit sexual violence.

Yes means yes. Sexual relations must be consensual. Without consent, sexual contact is rape. No nuances. No maybes. Consent. Freely given. Yes means yes.

No means no. Whenever no is said. No matter how many yeses may have preceded it. No means no.

No circumstances justify rape or sexual violence. None. No one “asks” to be raped. No one “deserves” to be raped. No circumstances!

Each person is a human being. No one, no group of people, are objects to be exploited for other people’s pleasure.

Believe someone who says they have been raped or violated sexually. Alleged perpetrators deserve their day in court. But too often people who report rape are automatically discounted and discredited. That needs to stop. Perhaps there are a few false reports. The overwhelming, overwhelming majority are not. It takes enormous courage to come forward and report a violation. We need to have the decency to listen and believe. We need to make sure that systems and structures are in place to support those who report abuse and to make sure full investigations followed, when appropriate, by trials or other legal measures, take place.

Patriarchy must be dismantled. Masculinity redefined. Ideas of control and power and violence that combine to fuel rape must be re-imagined and replaced with ideas of mutuality and equality.

Intervene. If you witness rape or sexual violation happening or about to happen, say something. Do something. Report. AND say something when you hear people objectify or describe about others inappropriately. Or express a desire to treat others inappropriately.  Or tell jokes that demean or degrade people sexually.

People, all people, all people of every sexual orientation and gender identity, are precious and to be treated with dignity and respect.

I wonder. And I hope and pray that I have taught my sons and others well. I hope and pray that I will continue to do so. I hope and pray that I will work to end rape culture and honor all people.

See you along the Trail.


Filed under Current Events, Family, Human Rights

Orange Your Neighbourhood – End Violence against Women and Girls Now


adapted from an email sent by UN Women’s Civil Society Section and originally published on Swords into Plowshares

November 25 is the International Day to End Violence against Women and the start of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign! As you may know, this year’s UN celebrations will take place under the theme “Orange Your Neighbourhood – End Violence against Women and Girls Now“. The initiative led by the Secretary-General’s UNiTE campaign focuses on local actions towards ending violence against women and girls, while using orange as the uniting colour of all advocacy efforts.

As part of  the online campaign for the 16 Days, UN Women’s Civil Society invites everyone to join in the effort and orange their social media accounts. It’s quite simple – you can show your support and orange your Twitter and Facebook profile pictures by adding an orange Twibbon filter.

Could consider adding the Twibbon filter to your organization’s and/or personal profile picture any time between 25 November and 10 December to raise awareness on ending violence against women and girls. We can join the conversation on social media through the hashtags #orangeurhood and #16days, and are welcome to use any of the suggested messages and images available in UN Women’s social media package.

Learn more about the PC(USA)’s initiative to end violence against women and girls.

Presbyterians against Domestic Violence provides a number of liturgical and resources to address domestic violence.

Presbyterian Women offers suggestions for actions to end violence against women and girls year round.

See you along the Trail

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Filed under Current Events, Human Rights, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations, United Nations

Equality, Dignity and the Link Between Gender-Based Violence and Sanitation

From the United Nations:

toiletday2014“Equality, Dignity and the Link Between Gender-Based Violence and Sanitation” is the theme for this year’s World Toilet Day, which seeks to put a spotlight on the threat of sexual violence that women and girls face due to the loss of privacy as well as the inequalities that are present in usability. Toilets generally remain inadequate for populations with special needs, such as the disabled and elderly, and women and girls requiring facilities to manage menstrual hygiene.

See you along the Trail.

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Beyond tolerance

ToleranceThe United Nations has designated today as the International Day for Tolerance.

This action followed on the United Nations Year for Tolerance, 1995, proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in 1993 at the initiative of UNESCO , as outlined in the Declaration of Principles on Tolerance and Follow-up Plan of Action for the Year.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon calls “all people and governments to actively combat fear, hatred and extremism with dialogue, understanding and mutual respect.”

Tolerance is good.

Tolerance is important.

Dialogue, understanding and mutual respect are good and important.

But they are all starting points as we seek to honor and welcome one another as God’s children, live together as the human family, learn from one another, dismantle privilege and systems of oppression, build liveable communities of co-equality, and care for all creation, including the human creature.

May this day be a time to renew our efforts.

See you along the Trail.

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Purple flowers, Second Street, Louisville

Purple Flowers Louisville November 9

Delicate purple petals
graced the way to
Christ Church Cathedral this morning,
for a wonderful worship experience
with friends expected and unexpected,
although the plan to go to an early service
so the Steelers game could be viewed,
which turned out to be something of a disaster
given how poorly they played.

9 November 2014
Louisville, Kentucky

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Purple peppers, Crescent Centre, Louisville

Purple peppers

While waiting for a friend
at the Crescent Centre apartments,
I spotted a number of peppers.
I know not why they are there,
but they included these that are

9 November 2014
Crescent Centre apartments
Louisville, Kentucky

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