Background on suffering from WWI


         Rebuking Plans for Fire from the Sky

         Changing the Moral Climate: Tutu and Assange

         The Forgotten Pandemic

         The Minnesota Connection

         A Personal Experience

         Cautions on Suicide and Sacrifice

          Sermon Thoughts

          Rev. Dr. Kelly Denton-Borhaug articles on Sacrifice-  A Message on the use of Sacrifice

          Rev. Dr. Kelly Denton-Borhaug-Longer Article on Sacrifice 

Additional materials at:

             Suggested liturgy for observing the 100th Anniversary of Armistice Day


               Minneapolis Area Synod - 100th Anniversary of Armistice Day Resources

Current Projects and Topics

Thay-M for a New Foreign Policy

By Deacon Dr. Amy Blumenshine


Our scripture readings for the season of Epiphany connect with peace-making. When we celebrate Jesus’s baptism we remember our own baptismal charge to be peacemakers in the world. When Jesus points out God’s favor to foreigners, his townspeople respond with anger and violence to Jesus. The passing of spiritual leader Thich Nhat Hanh appropriately coincides with the Congressional Foreign Policy for the 21st Century Resolution—and helps us follow Jesus.

During the US war on Vietnam, Thich Nhat Hanh (called Thay) sought to end the violence with audacious non-violence. Then, in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, he came to New York City, and urged Americans to not respond out of anger. Speaking at Riverside Church:

My dear friends, I would like to tell you how I practice when I get angry. During the War in Vietnam, there was a lot of injustice. And many thousands of friends of mine, many disciples of mine were killed. I got very angry. One time, I learned that the city of Ben Tre, 300,000 people, was bombarded by American aviation just because some guerrillas came to the city and tried to shoot down American aircrafts. They did not succeed, and after that, they went away. And the city was destroyed. And the military man who was responsible for that declared later that he had to destroy the city of Ben Tre in order to save it.

I was very angry. But at that time, I was already a practitioner, silent practitioner. I did not say anything, I did not act, because I knew that acting or saying things while you are angry isn’t wise. It may create a lot of destruction. I went back to myself, recognizing my anger, embracing it, and looked deeply into the nature of my suffering…

I was able to understand the nature of the suffering in Vietnam. I saw that not only Vietnamese suffer, but Americans suffered, as well, during the War in Vietnam. The American young men who were sent to Vietnam to kill and to be killed, they underwent a lot of suffering. And the suffering continues even today — their family, the nation. And so, I could see that the cause of our suffering in Vietnam is not the American soldiers. It is a kind of policy that is not wise. It is a misunderstanding, it is fear, that lie at the foundation of the policy. ..

Because I was able to see that the real enemy of man is not — the real enemy of man is not man. It is ignorance, discrimination, fear, craving and violence. And that is why I did not have hate vis-à-vis the American people, the American nation. So, I came in order to plead for a kind of looking deeply, so that your government could revise that policy.”

Unfortunately, his wisdom was not heeded and the US engaged in a Global War On Terror at terrible waste in suffering, resources, lives, and pollutions. “Our foreign policy is broken. For the past twenty years, we have waged multiple catastrophic wars, poured near-limitless resources into the bloated coffers of the Pentagon, sold billions of dollars in weaponry to repressive human rights abusers, and suffocated entire countries through broad-based sanctions. What has this done for everyday people, here or abroad?” asks Congressperson Pramila Jayapal as she introduced the Foreign Policy for the 21st Century Resolution with colleague Barbara Lee, the only member of Congress to vote against GWOT.

“While the status quo has served the interests of the weapons industry well, it has directly undermined the safety of people across the nation, and world. Pandemics, climate crisis, mass inequality, nuclear arms races, attacks on democracy — these are the grave security threats of our time, and not one can be addressed through weapons and war. 

“The Foreign Policy for the 21st Century Resolution calls for the United States to make foreign policy work for everyday people by reining in presidential war power, righting our broken budget priorities, limiting arms sales to human rights abusers, ending the use of deadly broad-based sanctions, transforming the rules of the global economy to put working people and the planet first, confronting the threat of climate crisis through a globally just transition, and more. “

You can work for peace by contacting your Congresspeople and urging their support for this resolution and thanking Rep. Ilhan Omar for her sponsorship. (

I recommend to you this interview with the Catholic priest John Dear on his relationship with Thich Nhat Hanh, from which this excerpt is taken. Dear described their relationship: “Everything was about enjoying everything. You know, while you’re resisting the culture of war and violence, you enjoy life every moment. You live life to the full.”

Dear is quoting his friend Thay:

“John, ‘I just want you to know, I’ve loved Jesus my whole life. And my whole work — don’t tell anybody — is to try to get the whole human race to welcome Jesus’s kingdom of God,’ to which I said, “Well, Thay, I’m just trying to get Christians to practice peace and nonviolence and to teach them all your teachings of compassion and mindfulness and living in the present moment.” And then we laughed.”