Monday, November 17, 2008


Yesterday I heard a great sermon by Phil Brochard, rector of All Souls Episcopal Church in Berkeley about trust. You can get a copy of it by e-mailing or maybe check their website: I won’t re-hash it here, but it got me to thinking about whether or not I live trustfully. Do I trust myself? Do I trust the people I am traveling to Iran with? Do I trust my brothers?

Most of the time.

Another way of thinking about trust, for me, is to think about letting go. I have to let go of my fears, let go of my desire to control the outcomes of my interactions, and life transactions. I need to do my best and leave the rest up to God: trust God.

Sometimes trust gets a body blow: I got two of these last week.

The first challenge to trust was the destruction of the Order of Holy Cross Monastery in Santa Barbara. You never know when natural disaster will strike. My mind immediately starts to calculate risks. One can never be too safe; it is a thin line to cross over to “trust nobody” you are never totally safe. Of course I know life is a series of calculated risks, most of which we hardly acknowledge: crossing the road, driving on a free way, taking an airplane ride, which I do continuously without a second thought. Well, I have been having a lot of second thoughts since the fires in Santa Barbara.

The second blow was the report of the racist attack on a migrant worker on Long Island by a self-styled KKK group. They killed him, and left handbills threatening other “non-whites.” A friend attributes it to a backlash against Barack Obama’s election. To live trustfully in a democracy one must believe that people will obey laws and respect each other. Many of the migrant workers on Long Island are men and women I know. They catered the meal after my installation as Minister General last November. Racist attacks spoil the atmosphere of trust and harmony and weaken our society.

So I have taken these incidents as the starting place for my prayers each morning: affirming my trust in God, seeking to open my eyes to perceive the hand of God at work in the world around me. I try to notice the beauty of nature even as I recognize the fires are tragedies for my friends. I marvel at the many friends I have of every race and creed. Crucial for me is not to lapse into all-or-nothing thinking, taking a tragedy and replicating it everywhere in my imagination: “catastrophizing” as one friend calls it. Remembering these things clears my mind; I can sign a petition against racism, I can make calls and try to organize help for Santa Barbara. We are in solidarity with each other in good times and bad.

In God we trust.

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