Author Archives: Rich Neal

Soul ballast and the companions I seek

We need ballast for our souls, moral weight that will stabilize us in the raging political storm. Poetry, as are all the arts, is the main part of that ballast for me. “When power leads man toward arrogance,” President John Kennedy said in 1963 at the groundbreaking for the Robert Frost Library at Amherst College, […]

Yet I will rejoice

It saddens me when a man who has spent the better part of his life embodying the light of transcendent hope loses even a modicum of that hope, a loss to which a friend recently confessed because of what’s happening under the Trump administration. (I will continue to refer to this president primarily as Ozzie, […]

Table manners

Much of what defined the Corinthian church in the first century of the Common Era was disagreement. It seemed as if disagreements and divisions ran through the church like yeast through a loaf of bread. Members were splitting into factions as groups of them followed different leaders with different theologies (1 Cor. 1:11-12). They disagreed […]

Pledging resistance

In the late 1980s I joined the Pledge of Resistance, a group of citizens who pledged to actively resist U.S. military intervention in Central America. Such overt intervention, including an invasion, seemed increasingly likely at the time – covert intervention had been routinely occurring – and our resistance was to be organized around a variety […]

Donald Trump, Satchel Paige, and me

For months I’ve shared with many of you a deepening grief at the storm of destruction Donald Trump and his cronies are wreaking on our nation, its ideals, and the rest of the world. Seeking some firm shelter in which to weather the storm, I remembered baseball great Satchel Paige’s post-game comment to a reporter […]

Like the iris

The iris are coming soon, my friend observed as he posted a photo of their long green spikes and barely opened buds of deep blue. Soon those buds will be in full display, glorious signs of the season. But his anticipation is wrongly placed. The iris, these silent teachers, are not coming soon; they already […]

On being ready

As the pace and chaos of life press harder upon us, as Yeats’s observation that “the centre cannot hold” seems more apt, and as I grow toward my allotted seventy years (or eighty if I am strong), the treasure that is this day, this present moment, seems at once more fleeting and more necessary to […]

Listening in the silence

To pray is to sit in silence until it silences you.

Peace is . . .

Peace is not something you wish for, it is something you make, something you are, something you do, and something you give away.  ~Robert Fulghum

The right words