Princeton University Religious Life

This Is Here

This Is Here

            In 2006 I organized a trip to Tibet for students, staff, and faculty at the university I was then serving in Chicago.  We were there to learn about religion, human rights, and social change, and were hosted by a wonderful tour company that was owned and operated by Tibetans.  One day we visited the marvelous monastery called Drepung, outside the capital Lhasa.  The word “drepung” means, essentially, “rice pile,” and indeed the whitewashed low buildings built into the side of the bare brown mountain truly looked from a distance like piles of rice.  Just down the

All Will Be Well

All Will Be Well

            “All will be well, and all will be well, and all manner of things will be well.”  So wrote the mystic Julian of Norwich; she was the head of an order of nuns in England some 8 centuries ago.  “All will be well, and all will be well, and all manner of things will be well.”  Her words capture beautifully the spirit of both of our readings for today, Psalm 23 and Revelation 7.  They, too, are words of assurance and comfort. 

While It Was Still Dark

While It Was Still Dark

            The heartbreaking thing is that the week we’ve just been through is really so ordinary.  People were blown up as they checked in at their airline or as they took the subway to school.  An army raided a town and took more girls as sex slaves.  A family watched their beloved child waste away and die because even basic medical care is not permitted by those who have forced them into an internment camp.  Someone walking down their street from the grocery was hit by a stray bullet.  Someone else – m

Citizens of Heaven

Citizens of Heaven

Human communities are complicated.  Christian communities are complicated.  Academic communities are complicated.  Paul the Apostle was writing to a very complicated community of new Christians in Philippi.  Some were interpreting the radical freedom they had in Christ as giving them complete license to eat, drink, have intimate relationships, and live in any way they wanted.  Others were interpreting the Gospel as a binding set of rules, and were stultifyingly strict in what they considered an acceptable diet and lifestyle.  They saw in their new faith, more than anything else, a binding s

Charity and Justice

Charity and Justice

Some years ago a student came to speak to me about many things.  He was a Christian, very devout.  Our conversation turned to the suffering of so many people across this country and around the world who live in poverty.  We spoke about what our faith means in terms of our commitment to those who are poor.  We talked about what comprises a life of dignity – that it isn’t large houses and fancy cars but a good education, sufficient nutritious food, healing health care for whatever health challenge comes anyone’s way, the opportunity to choose a profession to which one feels called and to be t

Shining Faith

Shining Faith

Today is the last Sunday before the beginning of Lent—Ash Wednesday is this coming Wednesday (unbelievably!)—and so, as every year, the Biblical texts that we are encouraged to consider are those of Moses’ shining face after his interview with God and the shining splendor of Christ as he is transfigured before three disciples on a mountaintop. Before we descend, down the mountain into the valley of real life and the real spiritual reckoning of Lent, our liturgical journey takes us to the shining heights of Mt. Sinai and the Mt. of Transfiguration, so that we can fill our spiritual gas tanks, as it were, with a peak experience, a reminder of our destiny, to fuel us for when the valley path becomes a challenge.

Created for God's Glory

Created for God's Glory

Have you made any New Year’s resolutions? I have, and in an act of total cowardice I’m not going to tell you what they are unless and until they eventually become demonstrably successful. I must say, though, that I was prompted, in writing this sermon, to think more expansively about New Year’s resolutions - to take them beyond the health/wellness/self-affirmation categories where they have always resided for me (that is to say, what I look like and how I feel about myself) and to broaden them into who I am. It’s not about going to the gym; it’s about being a Christian.

Viper? ME??

Viper? ME??

           It has been four Sundays since I’ve been in this pulpit, as we’ve enjoyed the Gospel preachments of fellow staff and a guest.  On Princeton’s campus, a lot has happened since then.  As you may well know, a group of students held a sit-in in the University president’s office.  They, and their supportive friends elsewhere in Nassau Hall and camped outside, demanded a variety of actions from the senior administration, including designated space within the university’s multicultural center for specific affinity groups, cultural competency training for faculty, and the removal of the

Love Hurts

Love Hurts

            Five years ago, when my husband moved to serving a church in Philadelphia, he enjoyed getting to know the other clergy in the neighborhood.  One particularly fine colleague was the pastor of the Mennonite church in the area, and recognizing the breadth of the Mennonite tradition my husband asked her, “So, what kind of Mennonite are you?”  To which she replied with a smile,

A Way Out of No Way

A Way Out of No Way

            Earlier in the week, I gave this sermon the title “A Way out of No Way,” with the intention of preaching about Hannah, and her release from a situation of such suffering, and from a dead end place where all she was really supposed to do was to resign herself to her own (admittedly undeserved) fate.  I will preach that message this morning, but what I couldn’t have known last Monday when this bulletin went to print is that Parisians would be so brutally attacked this weekend – people listening to music, dining out, headed to a soccer game, walki