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The personal blog of Frank Lesko. Award-winning writer. Non-profit entrepreneur. Activist. Religious professional. Foodie. Musician. All around curious soul and Renaissance man.

See also my professional blog: The Traveling Ecumenist.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

On Balancing Sauntering, Down Time and Having Goals


 
Hiking - "I don't like either the word or the thing. People ought to saunter in the mountains - not hike! Do you know the origin of that word 'saunter?' It's a beautiful word. Away back in the Middle Ages people used to go on pilgrimages to the Holy Land, and when people in the villages through which they passed asked where they were going, they would reply, 'A la sainte terre,' 'To the Holy Land.' And so they became known as sainte-terre-ers or saunterers. Now these mountains are our Holy Land, and we ought to saunter through them reverently, not 'hike' through them."

 - John Muir


This meme has been sauntering through the internet. To that, I say:

Amen! Let's saunter through the mountains. Or not, whatever.

Everything is so scheduled now. I've fallen into that myself. I used to always naturally take time for down time, for drifting, aimless adventures that sometimes turned into something and sometimes didn't... meals that had no recipe just see where it goes... I think it made me a better person, more creative, more sure of myself, more everything. I think it made me more independent, my "center" was never some external activity. I think it's great for kids to learn how to navigate this kind of space, to trust your own impulses and find your way through the fog, and to make adventures out of nothing and follow your whims. Not to be overly worried about what you "should" be doing.

Maybe it's because I grew up in a small town where we had the good fortune of being bored a lot. There were no countless clubs or soccer games to attend. I'm not against all those activities, but once you learn how to have fun in an empty room, to paraphrase the Buddhist quote, then that is a gift you can carry with you your entire life. You don't need external stimuli.

I'm thankful I grew up before the internet and smart phones. Of course, older folks were worried my generation would be wrecked due to TV watching, so maybe it is good to take those warnings with a grain of salt. However, I actually think they were kind of right, but I managed to get enough of a glimpse of a better world. I quit watching TV when I was around 6th grade after watching far too much of it when I was younger and that really helped.

I changed that because I wanted to become goal-oriented, and goals are important. But I'm not convinced I've figured out how to do both. I discovered a better world through sauntering. And the things I want to be goal-oriented about were things I discovered and explored while sauntering without goals.

The downside is that it means that there were long tracts of time that are difficult to understand. There are stacks of unfinished projects of various types. Half-edited essays on social media whereas others are writing books. What did I accomplish? Should I have more "product" to show for it (a yucky term)? Where did my 20s go?

I think of some my peers in college who were med students, It seems like their whole lives were planned out very early and most of their hours were scheduled. Did they have enough opportunity to grow and stretch and do all those intangibles? Do they recognize the value in doing so? Or were they simply prudent, made good use of their youth, put their skills in service of the world, and built a future for themselves in the meantime? Sometimes that doesn't seem like such a bad deal! Maybe none of us knew who we were when we were young, so maybe it's just wise to spend your 20s working through med school than working in some factory or office like I did. But do they even know who they are? Maybe they already do and that's why they could fit into a tract so early. Maybe they just didn't need to saunter as much. Or maybe with a secure income and career, they can devote their later years to that. Everyone's different.

Learning how to live a sauntering life while also being goal-oriented is something I have yet to figure out.

***

Every Saturday I used to wake up and just... whatever happened. Maybe I cooked. Cleaned. Maybe I wrote a song. Maybe I had an adventure. Maybe wrote a letter. Maybe bits and pieces of all of these. Maybe something wonderful happened. I miss being in that space. It's hard to look back and wonder... was I wasting time? well, no... but a lot of projects didn't get done this way... but those projects probably wouldn't have gotten started another way! Maybe nothing happened and I went to bed frustrated and unfulfilled, maybe a lot happened--unplanned and unscheduled but things still happened, often great things. But the head space to do this is really a precious thing which opens the door to so much. I miss it and don't enter into that space much anymore. I don't trust that things will get done if I don't schedule them and get serious about goals, but then the very joy that was necessary for those goals is harder and harder to find this way. I would lean and loaf and invite my soul.

Maybe down time is just a luxury you don't get when you have a family or when you want to turn dreams into reality. But I think people used to have more of it in generations passed.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

The Myth of Meritocracy

 
 
I should like this but I don't.
 
This picture has been going viral across social media lately.
 
It only tells half the story. 
 
Here's how I look at it:
 
I work like it all depends on me, but I vote like it all depends on we. We need to understand both.
 
Far too many Americans have bought into the myth of meritocracy, which suggests that your individual hard work and enterprise are the ONLY variables in your success. That's simply wrong at face value. No, it is not healthy to get stuck in a blame or victim mode, either, but it's also neither healthy nor accurate to think you are an island. Both extremes can be a trap and both have some truth, depending on how they are lived out and understood.
 
What this sign fails to realize it that it took the WHOLE COMMUNITY to build the school where this sign is on display. Millions of your fellow Americans put their time, talent and treasure on the line to make sure you got this education--taxpayers, teachers, administrators, janitors, nurses, construction workers, coaches, etc. They make sure you have a hospital when you are sick, roads to travel to school on, and a safe environment through police, fire and military presence.
 
NO, you did NOT get there on your own. Systemic injustice and oppression are real. Some groups and individuals have it harder than others--FACT. Naming that and calling society into accountability is not "playing the victim." It's just denial and gaslighting to deny that these factors do impact real lives significantly.
 
But YES, YOU do have a lot of agency in your life--probably more than you realize. No, you are not a helpless victim of peer pressure or any other circumstances in your life. But all those circumstances DO have an impact and it would be wrong to ignore it.
 
It takes a wise and mature person to sift through all this.
 

Monday, September 9, 2019

Open Borders: A Necessary Stage in Human Evolution

I get involved in a lot of debates online about immigration. Usually people try to retort with a sweeping rhetorical fallacy:  "So are you saying you just want open borders??"  No, I am advocating for ethical, humane, merciful, compassionate treatment of all who come to the border and across it, regardless of their level of documentation. That is not too much to ask. I give the official church answer, which is that most Christian denominations affirm the right of a people to establish space for themselves and to have a system for entry and exit for the purposes of safety and order--but the right to have a border is NEVER greater than the right to life, and people have a right to cross a border--papers or no papers--if their conscience demands it.

THAT BEING SAID, if you want to know my personal opinion, I am more in line with this article. It's time to move away from the concept of "nation" and that includes national borders. Giving the sweeping movements of refugees all over the world, and the coming catastrophes in terms of climate refugees,, borders are just going to be an inconvenience at best and a death trap at worst.

In all actuality, I'm not contradicting the official church position. We don't have to eradicate all borders right now today, but they can be fairly open and fluid. We have a great deal of choice in how we establish, maintain and enforce those borders.

For example, I can go from Ohio to Pennsylvania without much hassle. People long ago made the choice to make it so.  We can make those choices again today in regards to other borders. It's that simple. Other borders can simply be a rubber stamp just keeping track of the comings and going of people but they do not function as a harsh, militant operation. Borders can be anything from a literal line in the sand to the Berlin Wall and everything in between. People who want to justify the concept of borders need to remember there is a huge variety in how borders are maintained in the world.

Some folks may find that to be a radical idea, but honestly it's important to look at the whole historical span here. Nations have only existed in human history for a few hundred years. Our species began as nomadic bands of families and neighbors in hunter/gatherer societies. We spent probably over 100,000-300,000 years like this, depending on when you date the origin of our species (and longer if you include early forms of humans). Most eventually settled into small villages, especially as farming and animal herding became more of the norm 10,000 years ago.  Those villages turned into cities.  Those cities morphed into city-states.  Those states banded together to form nations... that's where we are now... and those nations sometimes band together to form regional alliances.  NATO, the UN, and the European Union are examples of this evolution. All of these evolutions have come with tradeoffs and growing pains. Many nations today look unified on the map but they are anything but unified on the inside.  Old rivalries and turf wars still plague many European nations, for example.  But the important thing is that this trajectory is inevitable. The EU is probably the most evolved such alliance to date but more will come.

So we should look ahead and see the writing on the wall.  This is the direction human society is going.  We can get ahead of the curve and plan for it, especially when human and ecological needs require it.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

10 minutes in the life of a 2.4 year old


10 minutes in the life of a 2.4 year old:

I tried to sit on the couch and drink some tea while Lucy watched some TV. She scolded me: "No! Mommy coffee!" when I tried to drink it. She then tried to assertively snag my tea bag and whirl it around. I prevented the worst of it but we did both did get a tea bath.

I went upstairs to get something and Lucy just HAD to come, so I carried/shepherded her up the stairs. First, she took out some of Andrea’s items from a bathroom drawer and was both playing with them and destroying them. Then zoomed down the hall and relocated some wall stickers in her room.  She put them on different areas of the wall, inside her teepee and even tried to paste them on me. One may still be on the inside of the closet door. She alternately hid in the closet and then hid in the teepee. She grabbed a book to read and decided to slide around the floor with it. She used the book Wonkey Donkey as a surfboard and demanded to go down the stairs that way!!!! I couldn't let that happen, and knew we were in blow up territory as this was a hard “No” and not a something where I could attempt a redirection. She was ornery as I tried to get her down the stairs. She wouldn't entirely cooperate and tried to climb back up the stairs at times. Her anger did come out when we got to the bottom as she threw the book at the dog. Then she hid the book under a kitchen rug—if I didn’t see it happen I would never have known it was there until I slipped and fell. Then she grabbed a hallway throw rug (which was not small) and relocated it down the hall. Then she somehow wedged her tricycle into the living room through the child gate, which I missed seeing because it took place in just a split second and must have involved a feat of strength. Then she fought me on pull-up change, which, of course, she thought was hysterical.

Did I mention that this was only a 10 minute portion of a much longer day??

THIS IS WHY ANDREA & I HAVE RECENTLY JOINED A GYM

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Our Wedding Ceremony

Our Wedding Ceremony
Sunday, July 10th, 2016 - Wild Goose Festival    



1.  Opening Song

Down in the River to Pray (traditional)    

As I went down in the river to pray 
Studying about that good old way 
And who shall wear the starry crown 
Good Lord, show me the way   

Oh sisters, let’s go down 
Let’s go down, come on down 
Oh sisters, let’s go down,  
Down in the river to pray   

As I went down in the river to pray 
Studying about that good old way 
And who shall wear the robe and crown 
Good Lord, show me the way   

O brothers, let’s go down 
Let’s go down, come on down 
Oh brothers, let’s go down, 
Down in the river to pray   

As I went down in the river to pray 
Studying about that good old way 
And who shall wear the starry crown 
Good Lord, show me the way   


2. Welcome   


Good morning. I’m Frank, and I’m the groom!

I’m Andrea, and I’m the bride!

[laughter]

Andrea and I have been coming to the Wild Goose now for three years in a row. One of the first things we do, we developed a tradition. On the first day, we go down to the river, take off our shoes, and just stand there in the river.  And it has a lot of meaning to us. It’s hard to put words to it.  It’s like remembering who we are, something about ourselves, to refresh, to renew, to reenergize, it’s cleansing. And there’s something about the bare feet, in the bare earth, with the living waters around us, breathing in the mountain air, holding each other’s hand, that just takes us back to some point that reminds us who we are... and who we are to each other... and to the community.
 
So it made perfect sense to come here to the Goose to come down to the river and to start our marriage from this place. We also…
 
The ceremony will be conducted by people from a variety of faith traditions, interfaith and Christian, and we figure what better way to witness to the wholeness of the community here than through that. 
 
We just want to get started with a symbolic act of what we do on our first day at the Wild Goose.


3.  River Immersion & Cleansing   

Andrea and Frank both wash each other's feet using water and sand from the French Broad River collected that morning.

 

4. Opening Prayer

Frank and Andrea have come here today to make their commitment public and to repeat their  vows out loud and in the presence of God, community, and creation.       

Let us pray.   

     Dear God,

 As Frank and Andrea embark upon this miraculous journey, may their hearts be lifted up in joy.  May they truly see in their beloved the beauty and innocence in which you created them.  Remove from them any barriers to love. Deliver them to the brightest light where forgiveness is their constant guide and peace their constant friend.  Bless their relationship;  bless their marriage taking place today, and through them, bless the world.  Amen.   


5. Readings 

a. A Reading from the First Letter to the Corinthians   


If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self ­seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.  
 

b.  A Reading taken from Thomas Merton’s ​No Man Is an Island 

A happiness that is sought for ourselves alone can never be found:  for happiness that is diminished by being shared is not big enough to make us happy. 

Love not only prefers the good of another to my own, but it does not even compare the two. It has only one good... that of the beloved, which is, at the same time, my own. Love shares the good with another not by dividing it with him, but by identifying itself with him so that his good becomes my own.

Love seeks one thing only:  the good of the one loved. It leaves all the other secondary effects to take care of themselves. Love, therefore, is its own reward.
 

c.  "The Tale of Two Wolves" - a Cherokee Story

One evening, an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, “My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us all. One is evil. It is anger, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self­ pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other is good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.”

The grandson thought about it for a moment and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf wins?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”
 

d. A Poem by Hafiz - a Persian Sufi Mystic


It happens  
All the time in heaven, 
And some day 
It will begin to happen 
Again on earth ­  
That men and women 
Who are married,  
And men and men 
Who are 
Lovers 
And women and women 
Who give each other
Light 
Often will get down 
On their knees 
And while so tenderly 
Holding their
Lover’s hand, 
With tears in their eyes 
Will sincerely speak, saying,  
“My dear,  
How can I be 
More loving to you; 
How can I be more 
Kind?”


6. Vows 

The time has come for Frank and Andrea to make their promises to one another,   



Frank, please repeat after me. 
     I, Frank, ask you, Andrea 
     To be my partner, my lover, my friend, and my wife 
     To have and to hold from this day forward 
     I announce and declare my intention 
     To give you my deepest sympathy and love 
     I further announce before God and those present
     That I will always seek to see the Light of Divinity within you
     And seek always to share the Light of Divinity within me
     I promise to be true to you in good times and bad 
     In sickness and in health 
     I will love you and honor you all the days of my life 
     May we do God’s work together 
     Sharing all that is good within us 
     With all those whose lives we touch 
     All that I am, I give to you 
     And all that I have, I share with you 
     Whatever the future holds, I will love you 
     And stand by you 
     As long as we both shall live 
     This is my solemn vow.    

Andrea, do you choose to grant Frank’s request that you be his wife?  (I do!)   



Andrea, repeat after me. 
     I, Andrea, ask you, Frank 
     To be my partner, my lover, my friend, and my husband 
     To have and to hold from this day forward 
     I announce and declare my intention 
     To give you my deepest sympathy and love 
     I further announce before God and those present                
     That I will always seek to see the Light of Divinity within you      
     And seek always to share the Light of Divinity within me      
     I promise to be true to you in good times and bad 
     In sickness and in health 
     I will love you and honor you all the days of my life 
     May we do God’s work together 
     Sharing all that is good within us 
     With all those whose lives we touch 
     All that I am, I give to you
     And all that I have, I share with you 
     Whatever the future holds, I will love you 
     And stand by you 
     As long as we both shall live 
     This is my solemn vow.

Frank, do you choose to grant Andrea’s request that you be her husband?  (I do!)   


7.  Song ­

All That I Am (Sebastian Temple) 

All that I am 
All that I do 
All that I’ll ever have 
I offer now to you.   

All that I dream 
All that I pray 
All that I’ll ever make 
I give to you today.   

Take and sanctify these gifts 
For your honor, Lord. 
Knowing that I love and serve you 
Is enough reward.   

All that I am 
All that I do 
All that I’ll ever have 
I offer now to you.   

Take and sanctify these gifts 
For your honor, Lord. 
Knowing that I love and serve you 
Is enough reward.   

All that I dream 
All that I pray 
All that I’ll ever make 
I give to you today.   
   

8.  Lakota Prayer

The following is a Lakota prayer.   

Frank and Andrea, please repeat together after me. 
     Teach me how to trust my heart, my mind, my intuition 
     My inner knowing, the senses of my body, 
     The blessings of my spirit. 
     Teach me to trust these things 
     So that I may enter my sacred space 
     And love beyond my fear 
     And thus walk in balance 
     With the passing of each glorious sun.


9. Exchange of Rings 


 
Please take the rings you wish to give to one another as symbols of the promises you are giving and receiving today.

Let us pray.   

     Lord,  
          Bless these rings which we bless in your name. 
          Grant that those who wear them 
          May always have a deep faith in each other. 
          May they do your will 
          And always live together 
          In peace, good will, and love. 
          We ask this through Christ our Lord. 
                                                      Amen.   

Frank, place the ring on Andrea’s finger, and repeat after me:
     Take this ring as a sign of my love and fidelity 
     In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.   

Andrea, place the ring on Frank’s finger, and repeat after me. 
     Take this ring as a sign of my love and fidelity 
     In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.   

Please join hands.  Repeat together after me. 
     With this ring, I thee wed.

Now that you have stated your intentions before God, the gathered community, and all creation, we pronounce you husband and wife!   

                                                                      Kiss!
 

[Woo-hoo!]


10.  Closing Blessing & Presentation   

Let us pray.   

God, 

Out of this whole world, two souls have found each other. Just like the labyrinth, it has been a journey to this spot. Their journey back into the world shall be together.

Frank and Andrea, may your home be a place of happiness for all who enter it; a place  where the old and the young are renewed in each other’s company, a place for growing and a  place for sharing, a place for music and a place for laughter, a place for prayer and a place for  love.

May those who are nearest to you be constantly enriched by the beauty and bounty of your love for one another; may your work be a joy of your life that serves the world, and may  your days be good and long upon the Earth.

Amen.

Gathered friends, we present to you… Mr. & Mrs. Frank Lesko!

[Cheers! Yay!]


11.  Recessional Song ­ 

You Fill the Day (Joe Wise)   

You fill the day with your glory and your power.  You fill the night with your quiet and your deep love.
  
Run with your head up in the wind 
Run with your head up in the wind 
The wind 
Your head held high 
Your soul an open door 
And breathe the wind that makes you free 
And breathe the wind that makes you free   

You fill the day with your glory and your power.  You fill the night with your quiet and your deep love.   

Stand with your face up in the sun 
Stand with your face up in the sun 
The sun 
Your head held high 
Your soul an open door 
And feel the warmth that makes you free 
And feel the warmth that makes you free
You fill the day with your glory and your power.  You fill the night with your quiet and your deep love.

Lay with your face up in the rain 
Lay with your face up in the rain 
The rain 
Your head held high 
Your soul an open door 
And drink the rain that makes you free 
And drink the rain that makes you free

You fill the day with your glory and your power.  You fill the night with your quiet and your deep love.

Walk hand in hand with one you love 
Walk hand in hand with one you love 
You love 
Your head held high 
Your soul an open door 

And hold the hand that makes you free 
And hold the hand that makes you free

You fill the day with your glory and your power.  You fill the night with your quiet and your deep love.

Beloved musicians!
Wedding party consisting of ministers and pastors
of various Christian and non-Christian traditions.

Basking in the afterglow!


Our original comments from 2016:
 
We did it! Andrea and I got married at the Wild Goose Festival in Hot Springs, NC, on Sunday morning!
This has been a special place for us these past three years. We go “down in the river to pray” (our opening song!) to be refreshed, revitalized, to remember something about ourselves and what we mean to God, community and creation. The Wild Goose is a little slice of Heaven to us, a place where amidst all the brokenness of the world around us, for a short time that Biblical ideal of full unity in full diversity is realized right here on earth, and people radiate in positivity and goodwill. What better place to begin our marriage together! We are so enormously grateful.
We began with a foot washing ceremony, using sand and water from the banks to recreate that river immersion. New life, reconciliation, soul to soul. We were barefoot on the grass the whole time.
We were married by no less than seven faith leaders who all took turns co-officiating and participating in the ceremony! These ministers identify as Baptist, United Church of Christ, Disciples of Christ, Non-Denominational and Interfaith, as well as Episcopal and Roman Catholic priests. It was a blessed assembly. We wanted so much for this wedding to represent the wholeness of all the people of God, and we are so grateful for their presence. We’ll be blogging about the details shortly!
Our ceremony took readings from across the faith spectrum: 1 Corinthians 13, a reading on love from Thomas Merton’s No Man Is An Island, a Cherokee tale (appropriate since we were in Cherokee ancestral lands) and a poem by a Hafiz, Muslim Sufi mystic, which has beautiful passages celebrating love between men and women, men and men and women and women. Our vows were a blend of Conversations with God (a book that has been hugely important to Andrea) with traditional Catholic/Protestant vows woven in seamlessly.
After we took vows as individuals, we recited together a Lakota prayer:
"Teach me how to trust my heart, my mind, my intuition, my inner knowing, the senses of my body, the blessings of my spirit. Teach me to trust these things so that I may enter my sacred space and love beyond my fear and thus walk in balance with the passing of each glorious sun."
- Lakota Prayer
When we found that prayer online, we were both stunned—it was perfect.
In addition to “Down in the River to Pray”, two very old favorites from my childhood arrived right on schedule, and their lyrics were also reflected in the ceremony: “All That I Am” by Sebastian Temple (who you may know as the composer of “The Prayer of St. Francis”) and “You Fill the Day” by Joe Wise. I remember those songs from my Catholic childhood, two brilliant pieces by folk pioneers, songs I have never forgotten.
A friend also “just happened to remember” that she had 20 mini bottles of bubbles in her car, so we were treated to bubbles during the closing song! That’s how this wedding came together—everything was just at the right place at the right time—Andrea’s outfit which we found a couple days before at a local store when we weren’t even looking, the local flower vender at the Festival when there had never been a flower vendor in prior years, and the readings which popped into our minds or on our laptop screens just when we needed them. For the days and weeks beforehand, we were stuck and we were unsure how this would all come together. But the day before the wedding, it all came together.
The only sadness, and it was a big one, was that family and friends could not be there, but we plan to have a reception at home in the coming months.
There are so many people to celebrate—from the musicians to the photographers to the ministers. As more pictures roll in, we’ll do that. In the meantime, I just want to take a minute to savor the moment between us. And realize that I feel ontologically different.
Pictures are still rolling in, and we’ll write more about it in the near future!

Bubbles!
Our rings and our ring bear-er!
Our invitations to guests as well as ministers who wanted to co-officiate
left strewn around the festival!
 
Comments from July 10, 2019:

Andrea and I had only a vague idea that we might get married when we drove down to Hot Springs, North Carolina, for the Wild Goose Festival in July 2016. We had been engaged since January of that year. Even as we starting putting plans together with the festival organizers, we weren’t exactly sure how this was going to go. We were working on vows literally the night before! But it all came together right on time.

In our previous comments, we talked about a few places where everything seemed fall into place. Re-reading that now, we realize that was just a short list! Friends who recorded the event, a professional photographer who just happened to be at the festival for the event, the date, the location, the guests and ministers who saw our invitations left scattered around the festival and responded, our musician friends who were super busy organizing all the festival musicians but still made time for us on short notice, the beloved stuffed animal who was bravely lent to us by total strangers to be our “ring bear” and all our friends and strangers who blessed our wedding with their support and presence… it was all just… perfect. People plan weddings for months or even years and ours came together in just a couple days.


We are really proud of the ceremony we wrote. Andrea's experience officiating weddings sure came in handy! We borrowed from some of our favorite readings and authors. We wanted to affirm all people and all creation. We wanted to affirm all love and all relationships. We wanted to affirm different religious traditions. Most importantly, we wanted to do all this in a way that was true to us.

Most of all, our wedding speaks of our hopes and it speaks from our hearts. It felt like us. It was a deeply personal, transformative, gentle and powerful event. In reading this, you might think with all the readings and the setting that we were being a bit showy, but I would be surprised if anyone present felt that way. It was just us, and this is who we are. It was real and authentic and most of all deeply personal. Andrea and I both traveled long, sometimes hard roads to get there. It was a sacred moment.

The day before, we participated in a Cosmic Mass facilitated by Matthew Fox. It was a divine liturgy that brought us closer to the earth and drew from elements from many religious traditions as well. In a mystical way, we truly felt that our wedding was like another installment in this grand cosmic mass—this eternal liturgy that just keeps unfolding and unfolding through all time and space with many more installments along the way. Some might say our wedding was a rebellious break from religious tradition, but by following our hearts and being true to ourselves, I have never felt more sure of sacramental presence and more sure that we were connected to the deepest, most eternal traditions. I never felt more connected. Maybe you have to break away to realize that deeper connection, as Jesus himself did. Jesus himself shows us how grace is often found most often in the margins, among the castaways and in the out-of-the-way places. And we found it in our wedding. So while some would call what we did a break from tradition, you could also say it was a deeper embrace of tradition than ever.


Click to watch the Video of the Wedding!
NOTE: Video stabilizes after the first few minutes!