The Empathy School: We Don’t Choose Where We’re Born

This is the fifth in an occasional series on empathy, titled The Empathy School. I was born in a place I did not choose. So were you. So were we all. None of us chooses where we’re born, to whom we’re born, or when we’re born. Call it random, God’s will, chance, luck, or curse,Continue reading “The Empathy School: We Don’t Choose Where We’re Born”

Refugees Deserve Refuge: Isa and Deo – Free Block 13 – Week of Action

Refugees face unimaginable suffering. And LGBTQ+ refugees face more than most. As many of my readers know, Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya, is one of the largest refugee camps in the world. It holds more than 200,000 refugees and asylum seekers, mostly from various African countries. The LGBTQ+ refugees there have faced savage violence forContinue reading “Refugees Deserve Refuge: Isa and Deo – Free Block 13 – Week of Action”

Dear You: A Black Husband and Father Reflects on Empathy – by Jimmy Friday

This is the fourth in a series of reflections called The Empathy School: reflections on Empathy in today’s world. I’m deeply grateful to my friend, Jimmy Friday, for sharing his thoughts here. This is the third time Jimmy’s words have spoken up from my blog. Scroll back to read more of his thoughts. Dear You:Continue reading “Dear You: A Black Husband and Father Reflects on Empathy – by Jimmy Friday”

History & Hope: Philip C. Kolin’s Poetry Collection “Delta Tears”

Few poets can weave history and hope together with surprising poetic language. But Philip C. Kolin is that rare poet. In Delta Tears, from Main Street Rag Publishing, he succeeds. He has published over forty scholarly books and ten poetry collections in his long career, now as Emeritus Distinguished Professor of English at the UniversityContinue reading “History & Hope: Philip C. Kolin’s Poetry Collection “Delta Tears””

The Empathy School: Frederick Douglass Still Teaches Us

This is the third in a series of reflections on empathy, The Empathy School. The series will be completed in the Summer of 2021. My American Literature students had just finished discussing a particularly brutal section of The Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass. This section detailed how, after the death of one ofContinue reading “The Empathy School: Frederick Douglass Still Teaches Us”

The Empathy School: Steven Leyva Sees Literature as Empathy’s Best Teacher

This is the second part of an occasional series on empathy. Steven Leyva is a poet and professor at the University of Baltimore. He is the author of The Understudy’s Handbook and he is my friend. The other day, I was meditating on the reality that my son and I will never attend the sameContinue reading “The Empathy School: Steven Leyva Sees Literature as Empathy’s Best Teacher”

Everybody Can Serve: MLK Day 2021

Dr. King understood one of Christianity’s most obvious and challenging convictions: the call to serve. In a world where greatness is usually marked by power, influence, and money, Dr. King knew greatness comes from serving others. In fact, one who really takes the call to serve seriously, doesn’t get concerned with greatness at all. OnContinue reading “Everybody Can Serve: MLK Day 2021”

The Empathy School: The Bridge

This is the first in an occasional series about empathy that will be posted here throughout the first half of 2021. Several guest poets and writers will add their ideas on empathy as the series unfolds. I have a distinct memory of my mother teaching me empathy without saying the word. I was probably aboutContinue reading “The Empathy School: The Bridge”

2021: Only Better If We Make It So

My American Literature students are struck my many of Dr. King’s ideas in “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” But one almost always gets their attention. It’s his reflection on the neutrality of time. In one part of the “Letter,” Dr. King remembers a white person writing to him, telling him it’s clear that Black people willContinue reading “2021: Only Better If We Make It So”

A Surprising Darkness

We are living through dark days. Not just the darkest days of the calendar year, but deeply, truly, humanly, these are dark days. The calendar tells us the days will get darker until the Winter Solstice on December twenty-first. So the days between today, December thirteenth, and the twenty-first, will get increasingly darker. The darkestContinue reading “A Surprising Darkness”