Welcome Back, Pigeons!!

The HILLS are alive, with the sound of PeaceBang!!

I abandoned this blog about two years ago so that I could focus on finishing my Doctor of Ministry degree. That mission is accomplished and I graduated on May 21 in a funny hat and with many beloved friends and parishioners present. Thank you for your expressions of support and congratulations throughout the process. I am now the proud owner of a big whomping dissertation called “Covenanting: Ancient Promise and New Life For the Contemporary Church” which I think deserves to be published but you know, I just don’t feel like doing the work to get it to publishers. Maybe later, after I’ve had a few beers and thrown some books down a flight of stairs to release the tension.

The Facebook and Twitter phenomena took off right after I stopped blogging here, so I have been carrying on a lively discussion over at Facebook (as PeaceBang), which I will continue to do. I love the discipline of having to condense my blatherings to a few pithy phrases, which means that I will be blogging here on a less frequent basis than I used to. As I remarked to a crowd of Unitarian Universalists earlier this week at our General Assembly workshop on ministry and social media, I am verbally manic, so this is a health practice for me. No, it really is. If not for all of you I might be in a rubber room somewhere pontificating to the walls.

So this blog will be for the lengthier blatherings. It will be for podcasts and for a nice long coffee or cocktail break, as opposed to the shots of espresso we’re all tossing back as we stand at the Facebook bar. The PeaceBang blog may occasionally even be as long as a dinner party or a retreat as we converse at luxurious lengths about issues facing the Church, the soul, the world, and “RuPaul’s Drag Race, Season 4,” or whatever tickles our fancy. I have such a ticklish fancy, as you know!

My dear friend and partner in crime, the Rev. Scott Wells, has continued to advise me and to construct this blog. I really couldn’t do this without him.


I am home.
I flew home on Air France flight 332 yesterday. I ran into a good friend at Charles DeGaulle airport in Paris and that gave me a fun way to break up the long flight: meeting Marco to share a little bottle of wine back in the flight attendant’s station.

There was a Federal Agent beagle sniffing luggage at Logan Airport, which made me excessively happy. The beagle sniffed my bag a lot, causing the agent to interrogate me about whether or not I had any food in it. No, I told him, beaming at the dog. The agent persisted, kindly: had I recently had any food in that bag, perhaps? Oh sure, I said. I’ve been using this bag for five weeks. I’m sure I’ve had all kinds of food in it. Thank you, said the agent, leading the beagle away. “Good boy!” I called after him (the dog). “That’s a GOOD boy!” He was wearing a darling little vest!

Rali found me easily and we drove into Boston’s green springtime beauty chatting away.

The church bells of First Parish are ringing 9:00 now — ten minutes too soon. We have an eccentric bell. I like that.

Max is snoozing in the next room. I feel so good having him back home again but he is definitely depressed, pining for his friends Milliemoss and Goodwin. Poor Max. I retrieve Ermengarde tomorrow; hopefully she will put some spring in his step again. He does wag his tail when I approach but we are a small pack here and he needs adjustment time. I am so incredibly grateful for my friends Amy and Tim who are his honorary doggie parents. Maxfield loves me very much but he loves them, too, and I worry that he has a better life with them and their menagerie. All those four-legged friends and delicious horse and sheep manure in the bargain. Paradise!
Well, life’s not too rough for him here, either. Either way he’s got it made. I told him about the doggies in Greece and Romania who don’t even know where their next meal is coming from and he sighed and snuggled into me. He knows.

I dyed my hair a pomegranate red this morning. It looks dreadful but it has great symbolic value to me and I like it for that reason. No one else needs to like it.

I am home. Someone asked me on this blog recently what home means to me. Thank you for asking that. On July 5, 1984, I recorded this quote in a book of quotes I was keeping at the time. It’s from “The Wiz,” and is spoken by Glinda the Good Witch:

Home is a place we all have to find, child.
But it’s not a place where we eat or sleep…
Home is knowing.
Knowing your mind, knowing your heart, your courage.
If we know ourselves, then we’re always home. Anywhere.

More on this later. Right now I’m still on France time and need to hit le hay.

At the Musee D’Orsay.


For a few years I have had recurring dreams/nightmares about trying to get to Paris and not being able to, or being in Paris and having trouble getting through to Genie (my dear friend who lives here), or being in Paris and having it be the wrong city. I have wondered what this means. I love Paris, and I love Genie. But there is obviously more. I wonder if her name is a play on “genie” or “genius,” and that dreams where I can’t “get in touch with her” are dreams about needing to be in touch with my daimon or genius. Genie’s last name is… wait for it… GODULA. So there’s an obvious pun there, too, and my unconscious mind loves to send me messages through pun-names. So I suspect that my frustration dreams of not being able to get to Paris, and the heartache I feel in those dreams, are always about feeling an aching inability to “get to” my soul and my God.

“Our hearts are restless until they rest in thee…”

So it seems symbolically powerful to end my sabbatical in Paris, in Genie’s home. She is a treasure of a friend and it is a glory of a city that pleases my every sensibility. I am here, I am telling myself. We are in Paris, my soul. We are in close, loving contact with Genie Godula and with genie and with God. C’est bien.
This has been a stupendous journey, this sabbatical, and I end it happy, overwhelmed with gratitude, soaked in the fascination of new experiences and memories I will savor for years, and deeply re-affirmed in my vocation.

I love that my sabbatical officially ends at Pentecost, when God worked a miracle of fire and language, of understanding and passion. On Sunday, I will attend a free organ recital at the Cathedral of Notre Dame and then, I hope, a Chopin piano recital later in the evening. I want to remember the end of this adventure as beautiful music, humankind’s response to the miracle of being alive and partaking, by constant, emphatic invitation, of the Divine Essence.

May 28, 2009, on the Rive Gauche.