Old South pride

Here is a message from John Edgerton, the associate minister at Old South Church.

This is where I was baptized. This is where Dominick and I said our wedding vows. This will always be my spiritual home, and I couldn’t be more proud of the people, like John, who create this community of faith.

Hello beloved Old South,

I’m writing to let you know that earlier today I was arrested in Washington D.C. as a part of an act of civil disobedience resisting a repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Clergy from many faiths, health care professionals, and people who have their insurance through the Affordable Care Act came together for a peaceful, disciplined, non-violent act of resistance.

I want to give an account of why I did this, because I am indeed accountable to you as one of your ministers. I do a great deal of work to reform the law without resorting to civil disobedience. So why engage in civil disobedience now?

First, because members of Old South stand to be hurt. Members of our church may lose their health insurance, or have pre-existing conditions once again serve as a basis for denying them health coverage. To simply roll back the Affordable Care Act, without a careful plan for how to replace its life-saving protections, is staggeringly irresponsible. Members of our church will be hurt. Our families will be hurt. Our children will be hurt. When I joined Old South church I promised to resist oppression and evil, today’s action is in keeping with that promise.

Second, I took this action because I was invited to do so. We are living in extraordinary and dangerous and uncertain and frightening days. People who I care about asked me to stand with them in fighting to protect their health care, so I said yes. I do not believe this is the time to worry over whether I can take on all the possible fights facing us. There will be many times in the coming months when people of faith are called to stand with the vulnerable. And when the vulnerable call us to stand with them, theirs is the voice of Jesus Christ bidding us to follow Him.

Finally, I took this action because I have hope that it will make a difference. As a Christian, I believe that people who have made a mistake can change. I believe that the past does not dictate the future. I believe disciplined and loving non-violent action can change people’s hearts. I believe that Congress may still choose to do the right thing and find political compromise that will allow the critical life-saving protections of the ACA to remain in place. This was an act of hope, grounded in love.

I would like to ask a few things of you.

First, I ask for your prayers. I am not sure at what time I will be released from jail, and I covet your prayers.

Second, if you would like to be supportive of what I’ve done, please come to the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization meeting on Thursday at Bethel AME at 6:30pm. RSVP to me if you can make it. We are organizing on a state level to protect health care and your presence will help ensure our state officials do everything in their power to protect our health care. We have a strategy to help protect health care. Today’s civil disobedience is part of it. Thursday’s GBIO action is a part of it. Scripture calls us to be wise as serpents and as innocent as doves. Thursday’s action will help us shine up our scales on issues of health care, criminal justice reform, and affordable housing.

Lastly, if you disagree with what I have done, please write to me and tell me why. I promise I will read it carefully, and write you a thoughtful and considered and personal reply. Our congregational polity does not demand that we agree on everything, but it does call for us to remain in relationship across all our differences. Our political environment is so toxic right now that political disagreement can seem certain to break relationship. I commit to doing what I can to behave differently, to try to live up to the scriptural admonition that “if it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with all people.”

I honestly do believe that we are living in remarkable times, times when the moral voice of the church is needed more than ever. If in this action I have erred, I hope that I have erred on the side of foolhardy love.

It is my honor and privilege to be yours,

John Edgerton
Associate Minister
The Old South Church in Boston

seaweed salad

My mom came to visit us in Boston last week. We had a great time!

We walked through the MIT and Harvard campuses, explored the Back Bay and shops on Newbury Street, and toured the MFA and MIT museum.

There were a lot of first-time experiences for my mom: Flying solo! Taking the subway! Eating a seaweed salad!

Here are some photos from our adventures:


Harvard Yard. Mom loved the chairs!


Widener Library.


MIT – Stata Center.

IMG_7255 IMG_7257

Seaweed salad and sushi at Thelonious Monkfish!

IMG_7282 IMG_7287MIT Museum

new york times

On July 4th, Dominick and I were hiking up Mt. Cardigan to our AMC high hut base-camp. Even though the scenery was absolutely breathtaking, he was preoccupied. He was worried that his editors would be unhappy with the quality of his work.

Earlier that day, he made some photos of Hillary Clinton at a small town parade. This was no easy task. He was dragged along in a rope lasso with all the other press professionals. Though cumbersome, this method was preferable to the campaign’s original plan: to put all the press in two barricaded pens on the parade route, allowing access at only those two points. A former White House photographer was pushed around by some junior campaign staffer. Another photographer shot parts on his iPhone, because he had better access that way.

Dominick described the assignment as “a matter of millimeters and moments.” That is, if you’re off by a millimeter, in time or distance, you’re not making the right photo.

Despite the difficulty of the assignment, Dominick made some wonderful images. One of them was selected for the front page of the New York Times Sunday paper.

This is an awesome achievement, and I’m so proud of my husband!

As always, you can see more of his work at:

oh, shenandoah

Dominick and I had a wonderful time exploring the Shenandoah National Park, celebrating our first wedding anniversary. We also enjoyed the Look3 photography festival in Charlottesville, and both came home inspired and ready to take on new work. Here are some photos from our adventure:

Skyline Drive

Skyline Drive. We picked up Steve (AKA Leviticus). Good hitch-hiking karma.

fog in the moutains

Fog in the mountains.

Doyles River

Doyle’s River trail.

Nothing like a 13-mile hike to bring you together!

Nothing like a 13-mile hike!

the golden corral

Last week we visited Dominick’s grandparents, Emory and Esther, in Georgia. They recently learned that Emory has cancer. They were meeting with their doctor to get the scan results (to see how far it had spread), and to discuss treatment options (if any were viable).

Emory is a man of few words. He likes life’s simple things, and most of his conversations are about just that. He told us a wonderful story about seeing their neighbors’ horses in the night:

“I went out over there where the ground dips and I didn’t make a noise. Then I heard clop-clop, clop-clop, clop-clop.” (He gestured a slow, gentle rhythm for the horses’ hooves.) “And I looked and looked and finally I could see just the bare outline of two heads looking right at me. So they ran over the whole field in the pitch dark to come see me, because they knew I usually gave them carrots.”

Esther is much more talkative. She’s a classic southern lady. I use that word, ‘lady,’ very deliberately. Not everyone has the right manners to merit the word. She praises God at every opportunity. This is what complete thankfulness looks like:

“When we married, I asked God to give us just 10 years, and now He’s given us nearly 15 wonderful years together. Isn’t that amazing?”

Yes, it sure is.

Well, they found Emory has stage 2 cancer, and he started chemotherapy that same day. Emory sat in a big recliner, and his only complaint was boredom. Afterwards, he said he wanted lunch at the Golden Corral. (This is a buffet restaurant with an abundance of fried food – the Ponderosa of the South. We’d successfully dodged eating there before, but this time we heartily agreed. We’d go wherever Emory wanted to go.)

During lunch, Dominick told Emory his new favorite joke:


Why don’t you ever see elephants hiding in trees?


Because they’re really good at it!


My sister wants me to test my niece’s vocabulary when we visit later this week. So I borrowed a PPVT (Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test) from the Harvard lab. It’s a standardized measure of vocabulary that we often use with kids. Today I realized I never grabbed a score sheet. The score sheet lists the target (correct answer) for each item.

Then, flipping through the pages, it dawned on me: I’ve administered this test so many times that I’ve simply memorized the first ~150 targets!

Maybe this isn’t as impressive as it seems. Each item is a page with 4 pictures, and the target is the name of one of them. Regardless, I’m still feeling a bit proud of my standardized test skills. Though I’m not so great at taking them (ahem, looking at you, GRE…) at least I can administer them!