For far too long, we’ve worshipped at the altar of “or.”
Mine or yours.
Right or wrong.
Black or white.
Good or bad.
Acceptable or unacceptable.
Republican or Democrat.
Gay or straight.
Rich or poor.
Friend or foe.
Your way or my way.
I believe in the power of “and.”
My dream & yours.
My faith & yours.
My marriage & yours.
My sexuality & yours.
My country & yours.
My ancestry & yours.
My child & yours.
My reproductive choices & yours.
My generation & yours.
My point of view & yours.
My freedom & yours.
It’s time to drop the “ors.”
This country is big, beautiful and bountiful. There is room for everyone. Our founders didn’t ask us to choose between life, liberty OR the pursuit of happiness. They knew there is no freedom in “OR” – only when we make room for “AND” can we all live peacefully.
So this June, when I’m ordained as an Interfaith Minister, I’ll wear a stole embroidered with different symbols of world religions. But perhaps the most powerful symbol on that cloth will be the ampersand.
Because I believe in the power of “and.”
(The above image is called “Ampersand Love” by Laura Pavlo and can be found here.)
This work by Teri Goggin-Roberts is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License.
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This week the world lost a gentle, kind, loving woman.
I first met Mary in 1996, when our children started school together. Although we weren’t friends in the “Let’s have a glass of wine and get a pedicure” sense, I counted Mary among the women I really admired.
Mary and I began to bond when we shared carpool duties in Kindergarten. I’d pick up her son Robert, along with my daughter Sarah, and bring them back to my house. Mary would pick up Robert a little while later, depending on her changing work schedule, and we had some time to connect, mom-to-mom. From the beginning, I loved Mary’s tender style of parenting. Her kind eyes, sweet smile and easy laugh put children and adults at ease.
At the risk of stating the obvious, it looks like the holiday season is in full swing. Parking lots are overflowing with traffic and normally organized store shelves look ransacked.
Watching all the hustle and bustle this week brought back a memory of a holiday season from long ago. I was sixteen and working as a waitress in a department store restaurant. (Yes boys and girls, before malls had food courts many department stores had restaurants where tired and hungry shoppers could refuel.)
It was my first real job and although I’d been working at the restaurant for months, I was totally unprepared for the insane lunch crowd on the Saturday before Christmas. A line of people waiting for tables snaked out the door. The hostess looked frazzled. Bus boys… Continue reading
”The first step toward change is acceptance. Once you accept, you open the door to change. That’s all you have to do. Change is not something you do, it’s something you allow.” ~ Will Garcia
I love Facebook. Among the endless game requests (which I hide), baby photos (which I adore) and rants (* to be discussed) I also find gems of inspiration like the quote above. It was posted by Chris Cade, a man who describes himself as a “reluctant hero” on a journey to empower others.
So Chris’s quote got me thinking about Facebook rants again. (My last blog was about one of my own Facebook rants – see Kardashian Krazy.) Facebook is a snapshot of life, so it’s no surprise… Continue reading
My personal Facebook page is usually a rant free zone. I post a few, mostly observational, comments a week. In general, I’m an upbeat person and my Facebook posts reflect that. (Here comes the BUT…)
Last week, I ranted about Kim Kardashian:
“Wow. Even NPR is talking about Kim Kardashian. (I thought I had found a Kardashian free zone.) Hitting the off button because I REALLY DON’T CARE!!”
After posting, I felt even worse. Why was I so ruffled by a woman I’d never met? I’d never even seen an episode of her show. Was I personally affected by her impending divorce? No. What I knew about Kim Kardashian came from the snippets I’d seen on morning news shows and photos on the covers of magazines at the… Continue reading
It’s October and in case you haven’t noticed, the color pink is popping up everywhere. NFL players sport bright pink gloves, skyscrapers and bridges glow pink in the night sky and it seems every food product in the supermarket has a pink ribbon. I even spotted an ad for a roofer in my local “coupon clipper” that had a pink ribbon and offered to donate a portion of all jobs in October to breast cancer research.
I’m ambivalent about the pink ribbon campaign. I hope it reminds people about the threat of breast cancer, but I wonder how effective it really is. But that’s a discussion for another day.
What DOES work – is screening mammograms. I used to dread… Continue reading
Say what you will about social media, but I’ve “met” some inspiring people on Twitter and Facebook. Granted, I’ve never shaken their hand, or stood next to them at a party, but I feel lucky to have them in my life on any level.
One such person is Michael Tittinger. I connected with Michael on Facebook through my cousin’s husband Jason. Got that? Convoluted I know, but that’s how social media connections happen. Jason “liked” Michael’s Facebook Fan Page called, “Mikey Walks” and I was intrigued (read: nosey). So I clicked the “Mikey Walks” link and am so glad I did.
“Mikey” (Michael Tittinger) is walking across the United States and posting to his Facebook… Continue reading
This Sunday, 9/11/11, marks the tenth anniversary of the day that the world, as we knew it, changed forever. How the world changed is different for each person that witnessed the unfolding horror. But change the world did.
Perhaps you’ll pray, or participate in a memorial service, or observe a moment of silence. Maybe you knew someone who lost their life, or knew someone who knew someone. But I venture to say that nearly everyone will reflect on “the moment” you heard the news. Today, I share with you a bit of my experience, but not where I was when I found out, but where I was when I saw my first ray of hope.
After watching the events unfold… Continue reading
Be thou the rainbow in the storms of life. The evening beam that smiles the clouds away, and tints tomorrow with prophetic ray.” ~ Lord Byron
As you may’ve guessed, life on the east coast has been hair-raising this past week. Depending on your location, areas experienced varying degrees of destruction, from earthquakes/aftershocks, to Hurricane Irene, hundred year floods and a few tornados thrown in to keep things interesting.
We’re all a little twitchy in the Philly area, looking over our figurative shoulders to make sure nothing else is creeping up on us.
Feeling the need to connect with a higher perspective (see Spirit Key), I decided to meditate. It was no surprise that my energies felt scattered as I tried to meditate for the first… Continue reading
For my 15th birthday, my mother’s sister (Tänte Ilse) gave me a collection of some favorite poetry handwritten into a yellow, leather bound journal. Some poems are in English, others in German (Tänte Ilse’s native language). This journal is one of my most treasured possessions because there is so much love in each carefully printed word.
A German poem called, “Daheim” is one of my favorites. Daheim is a tricky word to translate, but essentially, it means “home” as in homeland, or the place that lives in your heart as home.
Carefully taped on the page opposite this poem is a folded slip of paper with a pressed flower and one simple phrase, “Daheim bin ich gewesen.” (I’ve been at home.) Tänte Ilse… Continue reading