Dog Whisperer ...Whispers of Peace

There is a TV show I would like to applaud. It's called the Dog Whisperer and stars Caesar Milan. Milan is a skilled dog trainer and more... He teaches dogs how to be dogs and people-how to be people. His approach to life is a delicious combination of common sense , pack psychology, and a little Zen philosophy. And it works wonders on both canines and humans! In minutes people and dogs shift their mind set and their behavior resulting in a much happier and relaxed way of being. Amazing!
What can we learn from this about our society and our urgent need to " learn the ways of peace'? Just tonight I was asked to visit a church to speak with the choir about how to encourage congregations to sing. I mentioned the Dog Whisperer to them and before long we were discussing the parallels between Milan's work and that of a choir working with a congregation. There are common principles which underlie both. How to encourage a congregation to sing ? What do they need? How can we effectively lead a congregation in singing? How to give a congregation what they need so that they might enjoy singing in church?
In our search for peace perhaps we can learn something from the animal kingdom and those who are especially sensitive to the ways of the beast.

Stefan Andre


At the Inter-Faith Trinity Conference on Religion and Violence

Dear Friends,

It was a great gift for many last week when the Trinity Conference on Religion and Violence presented four internationally known scholars who spoke on the relationship of religion and violence. What was especially meaningful was that each speaker came from a different religious tradition and spoke from a deeply personal perspective...one born out of years of experience and struggle. Present were James Cone, Suzannah Heschel, Tariq Ramadan, and James Carroll. As we sat and listened one theme came through again and again and again. Each religious tradition contains both the seeds of peace and the potential for violence. How we interpret and apply our sacred texts is what makes the difference.
For me , it was a hopeful moment when we all sat and simply listened to one another. We listened and sought to understand the other. Can we, in our different religious traditions ,come together to listen, to pray, to sing and dance the dance of peace? Can we meet often to deepen our common purpose, celebrate our differences, and nurture our growing friendship?

In the Hope of Waging Peace,
Stefan Andre


Flight into Egypt Then and Now

This morning as I listened to news from around the world I heard of the thousands of people from Gaza who are " flooding across the border into Egypt". It is clear that these people are not just " flooding" but that they are also fleeing. Their flight is from a situation of suffering and violence - a closing of borders by the Israeli government and military that makes life in Gaza a degrading scramble for food, water, fuel, and other basic resources. The Palestinians in Gaza fear for their lives and the lives of their children as their imposed poverty increases day by day.
In this very complicated situation which defies easy solutions it may be helpful to remember that there was another time not too very long ago when a group of people from this region ( albeit much smaller) fled from a situation of violence and suffering and threats from the government and " flooded" across the border into Egypt. Their names- Mary, Joseph, and Jesus. At that time an angel warned Joseph in a dream to cross the border into Egypt to save the life of one small child - Jesus. Perhaps that same angel is guiding people today as they follow in Mary and Joseph's footsteps and like them they will save the life of one, two, or maybe two thousand children.

Stefan Andre


Speaking of Peace - A New Blog for Encouraging World Peace

Dear Friends,

Peace to You! Can we imagine a forum for people all over the world to share every day examples of peace and peace-making ? Stories from our lives that encourage one another and inspire us in our journey toward that blessed shalom/salaam we all desire. There are so very many stories from the media that seem to focus on the negative, and those things that discourage us . Why not create a specific blog that would work in the opposite direction?

So, I invite you to come to this blog SPEAKING OF PEACE and share your thoughts, your stories, your every day experiences that will inspire us all to go deeper and further in our common journey toward peace.

In the joy of peace-making!

Stefan Andre


Voices of the Angels...

Walking into San Juan Bautista Mission Church here in California is walking into the rich layers of our American histories. The sights , the structures, the textures all speak of centuries of prayer, of relationship ... in diversity, in struggle , in beauty, and in peace. In the silence you can hear so much that has been and still is. As I stood and listened, along with about thirty or so other people, out of the silence came a sound, a voice. In melodies and syllables that were new to us all this voice poured blessing after blessing. Truly it was a voice that filled the space and all who were present... a voice that came from centuries before and somehow at the same time deeply present. All of us listened. Many of those who were standing sat down or knelt in response to this voice. Many closed their eyes so as to listen and receive this voice more deeply. This was no imaginary voice. This voice came from a woman standing in the church with eyes closed in prayer. Her name is Shannon White Eagle. She is the voice on many a CD from a new organization called Voices of the Angels based here in California. At that moment, which seemed to be timeless , she was also our deepest voice.

In Peace,
Stefan Andre


In Gratitude and in Friendship...

Dear Friends,

I want to express my sincere gratitude to the many people in the Bay area in California whose warm welcome and deepening friendship encourages and inspires me. How can we ever hope to be our true selves and walk into the future with integrity except in the arms of true friends?

So, as we begin this New Year together may we extend our welcome and friendship to more and more people , to all beings, and to this lovely earth .

Looking forward to being with you again very soon.

Stefan Andre Waligur