Hardwired for Faith

I had the privilege of delivering the sermon at my house of worship (Unitarian Universalist) on Sunday, July 20, 2014. This was a tremendous opportunity to reflect on what I'm learning at the Boston College Graduate School of Social Work, and share my thoughts with a congregation of people I love. 


Good morning.

If you had a chance to ask me what I was preaching about, and I said something like, “How humans are neurobiologically and evolutionarily predisposed to spirituality, and how this can be demonstrated through brain science; It’s very similar to what we know about attachment theory and trauma theory.” 

I am really sorry. 

I started graduate school this year, and they try their best to make us talk like that.

I will talk about all that a little bit—but I promise I won’t talk like that. 

Mostly, I am going to tell you about discovering a definition of faith that speaks to both my intellect and to my heart. And why I believe that faith—by that definition—guides our healing from despair.

Washington Post: Actually, Miss USA is right

My colleague Lauren Taylor of Defend Yourself! and I wrote an editorial that appeared in the online edition of the Washington Post on Monday after critics blasted newly crowned Miss USA for promoting self defense as a method of preventing sexual assault.

We said, 

"Of course we believe that only one person is responsible for any act of violation: the perpetrator. But we also believe in the power and agency of women. In a dangerous world — in the face of what the American Medical Association has called an “epidemic” of sexual violence — there are things all people can do to increase safety for ourselves and for one another.

This is why we believe the White House was wrong to omit self-defense from its prevention recommendations to college campuses. And why we think Miss USA was right to endorse it."

Read the rest of the editorial here


Unleashing the Superhero Within to Co-Create a Culture of Safety

"...what if the forces that undergird our violent society are woven into the fabric of our culture? What if we are not merely bystanders but co-creators of this culture? Would that not mean that any one of us could pluck a thread--change a belief or a behavior--and begin to unravel it?

To become change agents of this magnitude--to unleash our inner superheroes--we need the courage and conviction to commit to new awareness, habits and skills. We need superpowers. And we need not only to think about these new superpowers but to practice and rehearse them in caring community."

I was enormously proud to be part of the 2014 Grad Talks event at Boston College. Inspired by Ted Talks, Grad Talks--"passions worth sharing"--is a graduate student colloquium intended to build community across academic disciplines. I was one of ten grad students--four from the Graduate School of Social Work--to speak on topics of deep personal interest.