Listening Across Difference – We’re All in This Together, Pt.1

“We’ve been majoring in the minors instead of the majors. We can get back to the little stuff.  Right now we need everybody together to deal with the big things.”  Tommy Business Consultant, Baptist Church leader, Republican Kerrville, TX  In the next few days, I’ll meet with two talented and otherwise fabulous grad students who have volunteered to help me with the ethnographic coding and analyses of all of these interviews.  While… Read More

The Hundredth Day. Activism: Conservative, Liberal or Effective

April 30, 2009 was the 100th day of the EX:Change.  It was the 101st day of the Obama Administration.  By then, the word change was a bit less consistently electric as a rallying cry.  The desire for unity, confidence and possibility had not vaporized but the everydayness of life had damped down the enthusiasm.  As the months stacked themselves into a year the word continued to echo inspiration but it also fell into… Read More

Community: A Change from the Disconnect

  It is very counter culture in a weird way to talk about all of us being good friends and helping each other. Rabbi Ariel Stone I’ve just watched a man in his 60’s, I’d guess, getting on his bicycle.  Earlier he came into this café, his body bent nearly to 90 degrees, maybe 110.  He used a cane to walk.  He ordered, took his breakfast roll and coffee and left.  Maybe… Read More

Spirit & Faith

“We change up above, on our surfaces, but there’s that underlying constant that travels through all the changes. It’s something I don’t really have the words for.  The only concrete thing I have, which isn’t concrete at all, is that deep soul feeling.” Lauren Kraakevik It’s an overcast but warm spring day in Portland, OR.  I’m back down the street in the corner Starbuck’s where the staff have been so consistent in cheering… Read More

What’s in a Name?

“Know what that word, change, means.  Know what this time means. Our getting together this morning to talk, what does it mean?  Do you know what we are doing?  What is in the journey?  Where are we going?” Dr. Dapo Sobomehin This morning I had my annual dental appointment.  You know, the one involving really sharp pointed hooks for scraping and poking, and the tiny rotary buffer dipped with clayish and vaguely peppermint tasting… Read More

Easter and Reaching Across the Aisle

Yesterday a friend sent a text.  Charles is a Mandan-Hidatsa Indian from North Dakota who has for years been the lead public relations executive for a local non-profit.  He was asking if I knew of Easter celebrations in town.  Then there was Mike’s status update on Facebook.  Mike is Jewish and he was wishing all his Christian friends “a wonderful and redemptive Easter.” This morning in a small gathering, Julie, a mom… Read More

Voices in the Change: Health Care Reform

“The principle of taking care of our children is vital.   I can’t accept that we wouldn’t want to take care of our own children. As a country, they are our children.  They  are our future. If we take care of them, we’re making our lives better.” Rudy Suwara San Diego, CA 03-21-2010 “And now the House is coming into session.  Thanks for being with us.” CSPAN commentator “The long waiting is over. … Read More

American Connections

“It’s as old as humanity itself.  Literature is filled with stories about the warriors who come face to face and discover that they’re actually destroying themselves.”  Andy Walton This morning I had separate conversations with a sustainable energy professional, a poet, a Starbucks barista, a wildlife biologist and an ex-offender. All are Americans.  All spoke of matters central to their lives. They were regular conversations, nothing special.  The kind of chit chat… Read More

Change and Topography

Last year by this date, the EX:Change project had taken me, via Mini Cooper, across about 5000 miles.  That’s a lot a lot of miles…and I was only half way. Already and more times than I can begin to recount, I’d been swept into that American road trip bonus:  The mix of surprise and awe at another unfolding of landscape – even the stretches I’d seen so many times before.  The land of this country… Read More

Tigers and Valentines

“I tell you the more I think, the more I feel that there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people.” Vincent van Gogh So, love is the thing I haven’t wanted to write about.  Maybe it’s not even appropriate for this blog.  Actually, I’ve given some thought to that possible inappropriateness and decided to reject it. The whole motive for the EX:Change project and its road trip can be boiled… Read More