As an interfaith chaplain, teacher, counselor and social worker for many years Chris Highland has been privileged to hear and experience powerful stories of real lives at the margins of our minds and our communities. A freethinker and former Protestant Minister he has taught at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley and Dominican University of California. He teaches online courses through Cherry Hill Seminary and manages two innovative homes for active seniors. Chris is the author of Meditations of John Muir and other titles on the human relationship with the natural world. His primary website is www.naturetemple.wordpress.com where his essays, photography, poetry and videos are presented. Chris lives in Marin County, California with his wife Carol.
My Address Is a River: A Place to Belong, Closer to Homeby Chris Highland
For nearly thirty years Chris Highland has sauntered the rivers and streams of poverty and homelessness as a teacher, social worker and radical chaplain. His "practice of presence" among people who find themselves stuck on the muddy banks or in the swirling eddies of poverty, despair and addiction reveals something surprising. He discovers gifted ability among those who have disabilities, the meaning of freedom among incarcerated people and a profound sense of home among houseless women, men, youth and children. "Chaplain Chris," as he was affectionately known in the jails and on the streets, faced fear locked into maximum security units of a county jail, faced his own limitations teaching and being taught by persons with broken brains, faced his own need for shelter and attachment to possessions by walking the streets, sharing meals and creating art with good human beings who often possess nothing but what they carry on their backs, and bear in their hearts and minds. He has seen the pained face of America reflected in the churning rivers of humanity and come away with stones of truth and driftwood of insight. My Address is a River is a testimony to the courage and wisdom of society's castaways, neighbors without addresses who are often pushed out of cities, communities and congregations to seek islands of refuge for shelter, stability and sanity. The seventy meditations, reflections and stories contained in these pages are gleaned from the hardcore pavement, steel and cement where this "keeper of the roofless chapel" has been present for hidden but not entirely helpless or hopeless people. Each selection is paralleled by a teaching from a spiritual, poetic or literary source. Enhanced with the author's vivid, black and white photographs of natural waterways, this collection will inspire communities to re-vision and re-open more doors and minds, to create more channels for compassionate action in other towns, on other streets, by other rivers.
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