Sin: The Practice of Turning

I think the essence of sin is that it causes separation. We usually know when we have done this with something we said or did. Then we can ask for forgiveness and try to repair the rift. But the separating act that cannot be repaired is the one we refuse to see—anything about ourselves that we keep hidden from our own view by pride, shame, fear, or any other motive. This inner separation keeps us from being whole. We can be healed only by opening to seeing our deepest recesses where both our worst impulses and our hidden goodness and talents reside.

—Mary Jo Meadow



Photo by Mary Rogers



She did not sense the change; how or when it happened.

Much like the rotation of the earth, she was completely unaware.

It was her first trip to New York.

With an afternoon free from meetings,

She sped with friends to the Metropolitan Museum of Art,

Where she passed through the sculpture garden and the American Wing.

A woman on a mission, her heart raced as she sought out the Renaissance collection,

Sure that theirs would be world-class.

Entering the first salon, she slowed her pace,

Drinking in works of art painted five centuries before.

This had been her favorite period.

She had spent her teenage years in Italy, visiting museums filled with the lovely, fleshy paintings

Of Raffaello, da Vinci, Michelangelo, Botticelli, Caravaggio and more.

She studied culture, stories, language and style of the Rinascimento at an American University.

Here, at the Met, she gazed at the walls

Expecting to be touched by the deep grace of the Masters,

Listening for their stories to speak to her heart.

She stood alone, opening herself to them only.

Waiting, waiting, waiting.  But nothing happened.

Actually something did happen, but it was not what she wanted.

It seemed that invisible veils were pulled away from her face, from her eyes.

And as she passed from gallery to gallery, she was only aware of

Too many Madonnas holding old man babies, too many wealthy patrons in portraiture,

Too many Goliath heads on bloody platters, their grisly locks held aloft by victorious Davids.

The paintings mocked her noble vision of the work that she had so loved.

Suddenly, the rug was pulled out from under her.

As if all she’d known and believed was a sham.

Her heart began to pound as she realized she was suddenly a woman without a country.

Without this attachment, she was less herself.

Deep down inside she felt less defined.

Hurrying through the remaining galleries, she sought her friends.

Meanwhile, she was filled with a profound sadness, a growing emptiness, more to the point.

She spotted familiar faces far ahead in the Impressionist wing.

And, while she propelled herself toward them, not caring about this period,

A strong presence, like friendly arms, reached out to her from all sides.

Renoir, Cezanne, Van Gogh, Seurat, Gaugin, Monet each beckoned “venez à moi, ma chère”

Their dreamy colors, rich landscapes, imaginative brushstrokes and mood-filled moments

Lured her into their lush and picturesque scenes.

She stopped and took a breath, amazed at this unexpected calling.

Touched by their captivating beauty,

Her heart slowed down to a deep and comforting rhythm.

She had found a new love, a new home for her artistic spirit.

Somehow, she had not sensed the change; when it happened or why.

The earth had turned and so, apparently, had she.

Reeling from the shift, she was grateful to have been caught by the quick and unseen hand of

The powerful Creative Force.

—Dana Boyle, 2016


Turning is a dance

We lose touch with ourselves

in the pursuit of excitement, stimulation.

Zoom, zoom, zoom goes our mind

Breathing is a shallow practice for the moment

We look for love but often forget we ever found it.

Turn, turn, turn

To the center of our being

A point of nothingness

Untouched by illusions or failings

The little point, the little window that is the pure

Allelulia for and from the Maker of stars, pebbles & light.

Turn, turn, turn

To the center of our being.

—Becky Myrick



This is a photo of a magnificent mural created by Barb Britain’s (WBUUC) daughter Lori Greene. Lori has a proud heritage of African American, Native American and White American. I had the privilege of viewing this beautiful mural last summer.

–Let us turn around the sins of oppression wrought against African Americans, Native Americans and other ethnicities

–Let us turn around the sin of imposing our culture on other cultures

–Let us acknowledge our history’s shame even though painful

–Let us recognize the damage done by ignorance and intolerance

–Let us walk out of the shadows of silence and speak up without fear

–Let us have the courage to recognize our prejudice and failures and learn from them

–Let us turn around these sins by opening our hearts and holding out our hands in support of justice, freedom, and equality for all.

—Gail Diez



The group I was with in Haiti moved a woman from the dwelling pictured to a cinder block place closer to “town.”
Photo and Comment by Ross Safford


I taught two older men who wanted to try and bake as a way of having some income.
Photo and Comment by Ross Safford


Here are some children playing in water, as we delivered water to Cite Soleil. Cite Soleil is reported to be the poorest area in the Western hemisphere.
Photo and Comment by Ross Safford



by Jerry Andre

The drug situation has us in a sweat. It has been going on for a long time. The effects of the drug trade, too, are as harmful as the drugs themselves. Efforts at enforcement and interdiction are continuous, but the drugs intercepted are charged off as normal shrinkage of inventory. Imminence of any remedy is not evident. Doing more of what we are doing already does not promise the change we seek.  If “more” doesn’t work, another choice is “different”, but different how?

Experience tells us that prohibition is a legal fantasy. We choose for ourselves between naughty and nice. Criminalizing drugs has itself proven harmful to society. There is no lid on the price of things bought illegally. (You would complain, maybe, to the Better Business Bureau?). Corrupt officials are like an infestation of termites in enforcement, with their fingers in pies created by the war on drugs. There are innumerable agencies that have addressed the problem over many years. The result?  Lawmakers, judges and journalists fleeing (if they make it), lots of dead people, billions of dollars spent, and drugs all over the place.Just letting it work itself out is not a viable answer, but vacating the laws we have would not significantly change things.

A program of in-bond regulations for these items would let us manage a situation that is uncontrollable while it remains “invisible”. The pies attracting collusive authorities would be fewer. People who fled could go home. Prison population would shrink, and law enforcement could concentrate on traditional things like murder, robbery and reckless driving. There would be some excess prison staff and real estate.

An unsettling thought: Release from prison of drug offenders will have them looking for employment. An option would be release to military or government service, with training for those who need it and gradual rotation into the work force. Funding for this could come from ending the cost of their imprisonment.

Even with the profit motive diminished, commerce in these substances will continue, with remaining participants trading their black hats for white (okay, grey). The established infrastructure would become an asset, and product quality should improve. The revenue stream from duties and sin taxes adding to the public coffers would also be an improvement.

There will be some drugs that require supervised, limited, distribution to those who have compelling need for them at licensed “happy houses”, isolated and tightly secure. Some should be government run and basic, ensuring a reliable cheap source. Others, private and ritzier. Real-time monitoring will be essential, and randomly rotated supervision will be necessary to avoid compromising relationships.

Unlicensed operations, on discovery, should be subject to immediate, expensive, inspections and stiff fees, increased upon repetition, for license applications after the fact, giving us a handle on what is now an unmanageable situation.

Total elimination is fantasy, of course, but the battle with no end and its casualties innocent or not would no longer be daily news.