What was your inspiration for the Middle Project?
My husband John and I were on vacation watching C span and were intrigued by the ways college students were being acculturated to a way of being. Resisting labels here, the agenda was not open, affirming, justice-seeking or multicultural. We have a fantastic congregation at Middle Church and we wondered about turning our educational programs and our justice works up a notch. The Middle Project is the result: an institute that trains ethical leaders for a just society. We offer an annual conference for clergy and laity, we train young adults about ethical leadership in their careers. And we are developing that kind of training for teens.
Who have been the important role models in your life? How have they shaped you?
Role models: Martin Luther King, Jr. activated my activism. My call to life not just ministry is to work for racial reconciliation, for economic justice, for peace. Toni Morrison and Alice Walker along with King...the power of words, especially story, to heal the world.
Of all the figures in the Bible, with whom would you wish to spend a day, and what would you hope to learn?
Of course Jesus. What a character! I would love to have Shabbat dinner with him, recline at table and hear about the lost years and about his last year. Wish I could interview Mary right after her talk with Gabriel. Why did she agree? Why say yes?
What books have most shaped your thinking? What are you reading now?
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison. By the Light of my Fathers Smile by Alice Walker. The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin. The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabelle Wilkerson. Just started A Reason to Believe by Governor Deval Patrick.
What in your view is the greatest challenge facing people of faith today?
People of faith need a grown-up relationship with Grown-up God. Too many horrible hateful things done in the name of religion. We attribute evil acts to God and project our brokenness onto God. We need to own our light and our shadow. And love one another. Period.