Author: Valerie Freseman

  • The Ecosystem of Gun Violence

    A virus attaches itself to an animal. It can replicate quickly, or it can lie dormant. It does not present as a killer until the symptoms of the illness it transmits are seen, and even then, the carrier of the virus is under no obligation to seek treatment even if the  animal has the consciousness […]

  • Neighbors and Strangers

    Who is a neighbor? Who is a stranger? These are the questions that confront anyone who volunteers for accompaniment work for with the New Sanctuary Coalition. The people I volunteer to accompany to their immigration check-ins are often, at first, strangers to me- people who are navigating the often byzantine system of regulations which often […]

  • Ritual in the news this week: Red socks, Soccer, and Latin Mass?

    What is in the word “ritual”? Lately, the word “ritual” has broadened to include what I would call magick.  The World Cup has some doozies. Here is an entertaining advertisement based on pre-sports rituals of soccer players. Note the appearance of a range of rituals in this Beats World Cup Ad– from the mundane like wearing […]

  • Air Moves Us, Fire Transforms us, Water Shapes us, Earth Heals Us!

      (The Long Beach Boardwalk) I went to Long Beach, Long Island on Saturday, June 14th, hoping to get a chance to hoop and holler and raise my voice to the wind, cheering a runner at the finish line of a grueling 100 mile race. Instead, I got amply blasted by sand and wind, and the […]

  • Religious Constriction – NYTimes.com

    Religious Constriction – NYTimes.com.

  • What Unitarian Universalists can learn from the tradition of Shavuot

      Yesterday and today marks the Jewish holiday of Shavuot. I  was reminded of this when I was speaking to an old colleague of mine at the 92nd Street Y. This holiday, coming about 40 days after Passover,  marks the return of Moses from Mt. Sinai with the Torah. It is one of the two […]

  • Sparks on the Water 2.0

    In the effort to re-tool my blog, I have taken a gander at the UUA’s questions for UU bloggers. Here we go!   1. Why do you blog? What goals do you have for your blog? I wish to explore the questions that concern me- imagination and reason living side by side, wonder, prophecy, and […]

  • A liturgy of complaining

    Hello and welcome back, sparks on the water! This year as I begin my last year of seminary,  I thought I would try to get into the regular habit of blogging again. What has crippled me in the past is the feeling that good writing only comes as a result of passionate inspiration, and not […]

  • 2013 Just Food Conference: Who Owns the Food

    Food Justice: Who owns the food? Food justice is an incredibly complex social issue. At every step along the food chain, moral choices are being made—from who controls seed patents, to which crops are subsidized, to the conditions of workers who serve, process, and harvest the food we eat. When we separate the health of […]

  • Extreme Composting at Union Seminary!

    EXTREME COMPOSTING- brought to you by the Edible Churchyard! If there is one thing that the Edible Churchyard is known for at Union, it’s composting. Composting is the one thing we do that reminds us that even in a city environment, there are simple ways to create a holistic relationship with the sacred earth. But […]