More posts are available in the Tensegrities Archive

I find myself trying to sustain a lot of “tensegrity,” and decided that one way to live creatively in the midst of that is to try and journal regularly about the various paradoxes I find myself within. “Tensegrity” is a word Buckminster Fuller once coined — “tension” + “integrity” = “tensegrity.” He used it to describe the incredibly stable nature of the structures he could build by holding competing forces together while respecting their integrities. I like to use it to describe what it is to be a person of faith living in a global media culture.

Imagine when this is over...

/ 30 July 2020

I am grateful for the wisdom shared around the world, as we face this pandemic. This piece reminds me of how important it is to remember this is global, and to imagine when it ends.

Liturgy of the Hours

/ 30 July 2020

Our campus pastor, Jeni Grangaard, has embarked on a wonderful process of creating a podcast with the liturgy of the hours. It’s a really powerful way to mark the day, and I deeply appreciate the range of musical styles she has invited in. Here’s my favorite of the many episodes so far. It features the music of Zach Busch and Jearlyn Steele.

RIP John Lewis

/ 18 July 2020

We are mourning the death of John Lewis today. There are so many reasons why, not the least being the moment we find ourselves in when we need his courage and steadfastness. So rest in power and peace, John Lewis, and may we honor your life by digging more deeply into the struggle for racial justice in this country. Please his read his final essay, published on the day of his funeral.

Thank you to the Detroit Youth Choir for this anthem:

Police, protests, paternalism

/ 3 June 2020

The last few days have been wild and surreal here in the Twin Cities. I think it will be years before I fully grasp all that I am trying to hear and learn. I am deeply grateful that the MN State Office of Human Rights has started a civil rights investigation into the Minneapolis police department over the past ten years.

But a couple of pieces this week really resonated with me. This essay which talks about an analysis The Marshall Project did on police and protests is very helpful. It points out how de-escalation tactics on the part of police work and are very important — and yet, even knowing that, how rarely police use them.

There is also emerging support for thoughtful ways to film the police, and I found this piece helpful.

This blog is written by a white Christian woman (and that is what I am, although that label makes me cringe), and it explores how a certain kind of “good white Christian” can turn use good intentions to end up impacting people with paternalistic racism.

And the National Museum of African American History and Culture has released a rich web portal full of resources for talking about race.

White privilege means...

/ 29 May 2020

This was going around facebook this morning. I want to amplify it by re-posting it here.

I have privilege as a white person because I can do all of these things without thinking twice:

I can go birding (#ChristianCooper)

I can go jogging (#AmaudArbery

I can relax in the comfort of my own home (#BothemJean and #AtatianaJefferson)

I can ask for help after being in a car crash (#JonathanFerrell and #RenishaMcBride)

I can have a cellphone (#StephonClark)

I can leave a party to get to safety (#JordanEdwards)

I can play loud music (#JordanDavis)

I can sell CDs (#AltonSterling)

I can sleep (#AiyanaJones)

I can walk from the corner store (#MikeBrown)

I can play cops and robbers (#TamirRice)

I can go to church (#Charleston9)

I can walk home with Skittles (#TrayvonMartin)

I can hold a hair brush while leaving my own bachelor party (#SeanBell)

I can party on New Year’s (#OscarGrant)

I can get a normal traffic ticket (#SandraBland)

I can lawfully carry a weapon (#PhilandoCastile)

I can break down on a public road with car problems (#CoreyJones)

I can shop at Walmart (#JohnCrawfordIII)

I can have a disabled vehicle (#TerrenceCrutcher)

I can read a book in my own car (#KeithScott)

I can be a 10yr old walking with our grandfather (#CliffordGlover)

I can decorate for a party (#ClaudeReese

I can ask a cop a question (#RandyEvans)

I can cash a check in peace (#YvonneSmallwood)

I can take out my wallet (#AmadouDiallo)

I can run (#WalterScott)

I can breathe (#EricGarner)

I can live (#FreddieGray)


White privilege is real. Take a minute to consider a Black person’s experience today.

#Black Lives Matter

Riots in St. Paul

/ 29 May 2020

Last night was a long night. I went to sleep to sirens and helicopters, and I woke up to sirens and helicopters. Eric went out on an early morning bike ride, and texted back photos of the destruction in our neighborhood. Our Speedway gas station, one block from our house) was burned down.


/ 28 May 2020

Here we go again. On Monday of this week Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin arrested George Floyd, and used a restraint hold (kneeling on his neck) that either killed him outright, or certainly contributed to his death.

On Tuesday there were large protests and a march that for the most part were very calm and peaceful, until the very end when eye witnesses noted young white males involved in property damage at the police station in precinct three. The police moved in with riot gear, tear gas, mace, and rubber bullets.

On Wednesday the protests devolved into angry confrontations with burning of buildings, looting, and destruction of a largely immigrant-owned small business neighborhood.

This morning the Twin Cities are in anguish. Four police officers who were at the scene of the original arrest have been fired. The mayor of Minneapolis and the Chief of Police have asked both the BCA (Bureau of Criminal Apprehension) and the FBI to investigate. The National Guard has been called out.

We must lament, and we must act.

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. It is past time for large numbers of us to learn the skills and discipline of nonviolent civil protest. Until all of us are free — and that means healthcare for all, housing for all, good schools for all, real democracy — people will be forced to express their very real and legitimate anger and anguish in these ways.

God help us. Lord have mercy on us.

Worship in a time of pandemic

/ 25 March 2020

I had the opportunity to “visit” a number of churches this past Sunday, as friends put up online what they were doing. It was wonderful! And it was really great to be able to go to my mom’s church (she’s been the organist there for fifty years!), and hear Rev. Nancy offer a highly engaging children’s time, even through live streaming.

I was struck, vividly, by the creativity of these pastors — all of whom openly acknowledged that they don’t know what they’re doing, and they hope their communities will learn and experiment with them.

It reminds me of the early days of seminaries putting classes online, where faculty felt free to say that they didn’t know how to teach online — so they were open to learning about pedagogy. And that learning, in turn, transformed their regular classes as well.

I think it’s entirely possible that on the other side of this pandemic church leaders will have learned some very important lessons that they will bring back to what we might have called “typical” worship in years past.

In the meantime, I’m collecting some resources for worshipping communities on my COVID-19 page.

COVID-19 and Lent

/ 24 March 2020

Lent has always been a time of reflection for me, catalyzed in a variety of ways. This year, in the middle of a pandemic, I’ve been particularly moved by the daily email meditations that come from the Center for Action and Contemplation (Richard Rohr and community).

I find music to be a crucial source of comfort these days, and I keep returning to this song (and its video images) as I try to breathe into oneness this Lent. My prayer is that this terrible global crisis will bring us more deeply into communion, and make us more thoroughly aware of our interdependence.

More on COVID19

/ 16 March 2020

Updates and information:

I have moved my resource collection to its own page and will be updating there.

I am doing fine — my cold is slowly receding — and we are finding ways to stay connected while hunkered down at home. I want to start collecting the most useful pieces I’ve come across, rather than simply allowing them to fly through my facebook stream. So here is a list:

A good basic “explainer” from Vox

Visualizations that help us to understand why we need to “flatten the curve”

Understanding some of the data

The Imperial College of the UK’s report, which finally triggered our federal government to do something]

A reminder from the head of Andover Newton at Yale Div to keep our priorities in order: “(first) safety, (second) emotional well-being, (third) keeping our institutional gears turning, and (where possible) taking advantage of teachable moments.”

Fair use and emergency remote teaching

Tips on reporting on COVID19 and preventing misinformation

We need all of us

James Martin, SJ on faith in a time of coronavirus

Met Opera to offer free streams

Howard Rheingold’s tips for teaching online in higher ed

More tips for teaching online

Engagement tools for remote teaching

Crowdsourced tools for remote learning

Good advice for livestreaming worship that encourages participation

Parish resources in a time of social distancing

Advice from someone who has lived in isolation for a long time

Lessons from the Presencing Institute for this time

Sojourners list of useful resources for faith communities

The Anglican Church of Canada’s list of resources

Principles for ethical cancellation

Community care in a time of COVID19

And to keep laughing — try Jimmy Fallon and Lin Manuel Miranda as they try to do a show from home

A Coronavirus coping kit

More posts are available in the Tensegrities Archive