A Hard Pack Newsletter


This afternoon I’m doing what I call a “hard pack.”  This is not the kind of packing one does when going on a day trip or will just be away overnight.  Not even the kind of packing one does when going to a single location where the weather is somewhat predictable.  No, this is the kind of packing you do when you are going to be on the road for a while in the midst of changing seasons, with formal and informal events that require more than one pair of shoes… but you are still insistent that it all needs to go in one carry on.  Because it just DOES, okay?  Don’t argue with me on that.

This newsletter follows suit.  Lots of random stuff on a variety of different themes packed in pretty tight.  But what else is one to do? 

This newsletter marks the one year anniversary since I started writing a bi-monthly update and I’m very proud to say that I’ve not missed even one “edition.”  At present, there are 344 of you that I get to check in with every other week, plus 3 people named Yku5skeruyoij Hsyr7frfrtss and 450 people named James Smith… who I keep in a special archive and ponder what to do with.  Sorry, James.  

I’ve written about a good number of topics that I care a lot about:  truth, administration, scripture, social media, civility, conflict transformation. Sometimes it is hard to find the common thread in there, I know! And so it is hard to say what exactly this newsletter is about…other than keeping in touch.  I love when you write me back, except when you write in Russian (which I can’t really read) or want to re-do my website or sell me bitcoins. But, seriously, I do like hearing from you.  And if there are newsletters from the past year that you’ve found particularly helpful or interesting and you’d like me to do more on that topic, please let me know.

As a way to celebrate this first anniversary, I’m going to send links related to a couple topics I’ve spent a lot of time dwelling on this past year:

  • A wonderful new poem by Jessica Jacobs about connection before social media…. On the old-fashioned landline.
  • A great Jesuit examen to that could be used in a high school, college, or parish setting about right use of social media, so that it doesn’t mess with the rest of our lives.
  • An invite to a parish mission that I’ll be doing this coming week (for those of you in the greater Seattle area).  It’s going to be on the theme of “God’s Story” and where we fit into it.  Plenty of space to spread out in the church.  Would love to see you there.  
  • What does it mean to pay spiritual and moral attention to the conflicts of our lives?”  Good question, huh?  Here is an article from Padraig O’Tuama that I find myself turning back to after just teaching Skills for Conflict Transformation at Emory a few weeks ago.  Planning to share it on my course site. 
  • An invite to a #Rules_of_Engagement webinar (for my CGS sisters and brothers) hosted by the U.S. Association of Catechesis of the Good Shepherd on September 29 at 3 p.m. ET.
  • An invite to a free online gathering about preaching and the Dominican family (especially for those of you who are Dominicans).  Titled “Urbi et Orbi: Dominican Preaching to the City and the World,” this event was supposed to be in the Philippines, but now it can truly be international because it will consist of three mornings in a row on Zoom.  No reason not to be there now!
  • An invite to a Zoom talk I’ll be doing about the relationship of truth and justice for the Sparkhill Dominicans in their J.T. Vincent Lou lecture series on the evening of October 21.  No charge to participate in this event either!

Can’t pack it all in??  Trust me, I understand.  But know that you are most welcome just to click or show up for whatever interests you most.  And, I’ll never know if you are wearing the same pair of shoes for it all.