Repentance Begins on Your First Day


To the baby cradled in his mother’s arms,

Feel the warmth. Soak in the affection.  Nurture your belonging in this beautiful world.  Gaze in her eyes and receive her fierce devotion.  This is your birthright.  This moment is your true identity as beloved divine creation.

I dream for you a world where all others embrace you the same way your mother does now.
I dream for you a world where you may flourish in freedom of body, soul, and mind.
I dream for you a time and place where others may perceive your tender heart and your endless potential, just by the sight of you.

Even as your mother gazes upon you today, she is preparing for the talk.  She will one day have to sit you down on the porch and speak to you about the world as it is.  Her heart will twist and turn in her chest as she places a new identity over this first one – black male in America.

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Tender Courage



To my dear friend on your first day on the job,

I can only imagine how it felt this morning as you pulled up to the church with two kids in the back. Dropping them off with the “goodbyes” and the nervous “be a good listener” before you walked those hallways and stairwells to your office on your first day as senior pastor. I’m sure a beaded necklace adorned your chest and a smile spread brightly and permanently across your face as you walked through offices giving your usual good mornings. They were always a staple in my life for the past six years. I’m glad a new crop of people can start their day with your abundant welcome.

After pleasantries, you arrive at the much-anticipated moment. The door closes and you sit at your empty desk. The job description suddenly becomes less a document of certainty and more a question of discernment of the logistics. The massive office must have felt so foreign after living in your closet-turned-office that people passed on the way to the restroom each day. The desk and seating area must have felt so ominous and expectant.

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Both Mine, for Today


IMG_3782My two boys,

A spring Saturday with Daddy on call on Louisville’s most accident-prone days, I knew it was a day for the three of us. I indulged myself with a 6:45 am alarm. You slept in enough for coffee to be made, eggs to be scrambled, and my eyes to open enough to greet the day happy at its arrival. I vowed that this Saturday, I would try to truly honor a Sabbath. I would not attempt to accomplish anything other than be with the two of you.

This is not to say being your mother is a restful task. You failed at sharing within moments of playing together and you squealed when things didn’t go your way. As I make my way through this journey with you as your mother, I give of myself, my personhood and my body, my daily tasks and my daily worries as means to grant you life, sustain that life within you, and nourish its growth.

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To Amsha and the Yazidi Women

Displaced demonstrators from the minority Yazidi sect demonstrate outside the United Nations offices in Irbil, Iraq, on Aug. 4 in support of those held captive by the self-proclaimed Islamic State.

Displaced demonstrators from the minority Yazidi sect demonstrate outside the United Nations offices in Irbil, Iraq, on Aug. 4 in support of those held captive by the self-proclaimed Islamic State.

To Amsha and the Yazidi Women,

The car has made its way back home from dropping the boys off  and it is time to walk back inside to begin the tasks of the day – emails to send, errands to run, calls to make.  But I am hunched over the steering wheel, my eyes glazed over as I watch the tree branches sway.  The grey fall morning and my to-do list for the day feels suddenly foreign as I finish listening to a NPR report.  Through the power of journalism, I have been transported to Erbil in Iraq as Leila Fadel tells me you.  She tells me how you and your fellow Yazidi women have been captured by ISIS and held as slaves for sex, violence, and service after your husbands and families have been murdered before your very eyes.

Your voice makes it real.  Your soft voice sounds too familiar.  The words, I may not understand, but your humanity I receive.  It is a voice of a fellow woman, a fellow human being, who has endured the darkest night and now wonders, where do I go from here?  Can life continue now that my dignity and my community has been robbed? Continue reading

For Days Whose Endings Are Sweeter than their Beginnings


Dear oldest,

The car was our breaking point this morning.  Your Sunday morning wake-up call was too early.  Your excitement about getting out of bed was too nonexistent.  My patience was too low.  There are burdens from work and casualties that come from being a son to a minister and a doctor.  The casualty this morning was our beginning.  It was not sweet and it was not pretty.  It was ragged and rough.  It was what was necessary to get Mommy to work on time.  It was not how either of us wanted to start our day.

“When we get to church, I want you to drive back home and start agin,” you said.

Me, too. Continue reading