“If I were asked for two words to summarize the habits of the heart American citizens need in response to twenty-first-century conditions, chutzpah and humility are the words I would choose. By chutzpah I mean knowing that I have a voice that needs to be heard and the right to speak it. By humility I mean accepting the fact that my truth is always partial and may not be true at all—so I need to listen with openness and respect, especially to ‘the other,’ as much as I need to speak my own voice with clarity and conviction. Humility plus chutzpah equals the kind of citizens a democracy needs. There is no reason, at least no good reason, why our number cannot be legion.”

~ Parker J. Palmer,
“Healing the Heart of Democracy: The Courage to Create a Politics Worthy of the Human Spirit”


“All I have is a voice
To undo the folded lie,
The romantic lie in the brain
Of the sensual man-in-the-street
And the lie of Authority
Whose buildings grope the sky:
There is no such thing as the State
And no one exists alone;
Hunger allows no choice
To the citizen or the police;
We must love one another or die.”

~ W. H.Auden (1907-1973)


“Simplify. Simplify.”

~ Henry David Thoreau

And finally. This.

This evening I shared supper with a friend I knew first as a parishioner. One who has known love and loss, and has gained wisdom from both.

Our conversation reminded me that straightforward simple face-to-face encounter is life itself. Freedom. Learning. Appreciation. Joy.

As the week to Thanksgiving Day opens, here is a first reason for #gratitude.

One thought on “11.16.22

  1. John , I am grateful that your excerpt from W.H. Auden’s poem “September 1, 1939” ( the day Hitler invaded Poland). took me back to that powerful, still relevant timely work supposedly written in a bar on Fifty-Second Street in NYC.

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