California Attorney General, Rob Bonta (official)

Several years ago, while working with the Alliance for Boys and Men of Color through PolicyLink in Oakland, California, I had a front row seat to the inner workings of one of the most exciting times in California politics.  This meant that I got to cross paths with everyone from both Governors Jerry Brown and Gavin Newsom (as Lieutenant Governor) as well as Kamala Harris (as Attorney General) Oakland Mayor Jean Quan and California Attorney General, Rob Bonta, who at the time represented my Assembly District in Oakland.  What struck me about AG Bonta was a combination of earnestness and accessibility.  Having witnessed him in listening sessions with local youth, I got to experience how well he listened, how much insight he had and the fact that his deep, deep compassion for human beings sits at the center of his political and legal mind. Maybe this is because of his background as an immigrant and a person of color; maybe he learned this in school.  Regardless of any personal opinions one may have about his political dealings, Rob Bonta is someone I have personally witnessed as a straight up good guy.

Ron DeSantis however, is another story.  I do not know him.  I’ve never met him.  I’ve never seen him publicly interact with anyone who looks like me (in fact, I’ve never seen him interact with anyone who wasn’t white).  His policies are atrocious and bigoted with little rationale beyond scoring conservative political points.  Inclusive of his many short comings, I find great irony in his resistance to the history of race and oppression being taught in Florida schools because so much of that history intersects with the different forms of human trafficking.

Only the most ignorant of people would not be able to understand that the coerced and or forced capture and transportation of human beings against their will or without their knowledge for profit (monetary or political capital) is literally trafficking.  This is what happened to enslaved Africans; it is what happened to Jews during the Holocaust; it is what happened to Native children removed to “Indian Schools”; it happens to vulnerable women and children around the world and more.  Shockingly, it is what is now happening with migrants entering the US at the southern border.  DeSantis, and equally culpable migrant runner, Gov. Greg Abbott will deflect from the truth of their actions, stating that they are somehow acting in these people’s best interest by moving them along to “sanctuary cities”, but the truth is that if you put someone in a bus, or plane against their will, or without their full understanding of where they are going, it is an act of kidnapping.  If there is financial compensation involved, it is an act of trafficking.

DeSantis and Abbot do not condemn these actions and they’ve tried to distance themselves from the facts, but the paper trails lead, most pointedly to DeSantis and his Florida government.  Although I recognize that we are a country of laws and that one is innocent until proven guilty, no one asked the migrants who have become pawns in this disgusting political show and I somehow believe that the laws of the land that entitle DeSantis to a full investigation should not outweigh the laws of humanity or human decency.  His involvement in any part of this display needs to disqualify him from any public office, let alone the Presidency of the United States.

If DeSantis is willing to participate in this kind of action, what’s to say he won’t try to cook up something just as draconian for transgender people in Florida…or worse as President for the country?  What’s to stop him from locking up women seeking abortion care and shipping them off to Minnesota?  If you teach CRT will you be packed off to New Zealand?  Will he bus Mickey Mouse back to California?

Rob Bonta, besides being a good guy is also a brilliant and highly detail oriented legal professional.  I trust that he will put his Yale degree to better use than DeSantis is putting his.  I also trust that he will blend that technical knowledge with his lifelong commitment to justice and humanity. He will find the legal facts but he won’t forget the people impacted by them.  The lottery of birth location is challenging to witness here because if anyone should be able to run for president its Bonta and not DeSantis.




Several years ago I basically dropped off of social media.  I needed to do this for my sanity.  I had entered into parish ministry and although I’ve long been an advocate of ministers engaging in social media, I found that the algorithms that allow social media to be such a boon for some were becoming deeply toxic for me.  For whatever reason, the algorithms picked up on the extraordinary amount of loss of friends and colleagues in my life and it decided that I wanted to see and hear nothing but news and information about death and dying.  Every time I opened a different app, the news at the top of the feed was about death; advertisements were about therapy and loss, it became overwhelming.

So I left.

Well, I’m going to make something of a comeback for 2023.  I realize now that part of what made it so hard was the technology but more importantly part of the challenge was how I was receiving what the technology was giving me.  While functioning in “parish minister mode”, I felt like it was my responsibility to answer to all of the death and dying that kept coming my way.  Granted, part of this is just who I am as a result of my upbringing (which is a whole other story) I’m someone who always feels responsible.  Yet, what has come clear to me since leaving the parish in August and launching into an entirely new phase of academic study and diving deep into my intellectual thoughts is that the world isn’t my fault!  Who knew?

I’m not alone.  Ministers of all stripes regularly talk about self care and boundaries and intention, but we rarely actually do anything about any of it.  Too often, most of us spend much of our time feeling like the world is our fault.  Regardless of our personal theologies we take on this mountain of responsibility and then have no clue as to what to do with it.  This is part of why I’m coming back ‘online’. I realized that I’ve got some stuff to share that could help my colleagues and others who are part of the vast network of caregivers, support, pastoral ears, etc. who all feel like the world is our fault.

Over the next couple of months, I will relaunch my official website.  Nothing extravagant or super fancy (shout out and deep gratitude to the folks at DEV especially Rachel!) but a place where I can be found besides this blog.  I plan to also produce content here and in other platforms that will take a more pointed look at what sits behind the word “Spirituwellness”.  My hope is to return to some of my roots.  I embarked on ministry and started this blog because being a healer of bodies (massage therapy, fitness, Reiki) wasn’t quite enough.  I wanted to engage people around what they felt gave their lives meaning.  With five years of pastoral training and five years in the field, plus my prior studies and work with embodiment, I feel ready now to actually do what I intended from the beginning.

I’m also planning to test the waters of podcasting.  I’ve always loved the interview/conversation format and with some new tools I will be acquiring this month, I think its time.  All of this to say, look for me again on Instagram, LinkedIn and (ugh) Twitter.  I may even poke my head out on Facebook again (maybe a little Soundcloud and YouTube as well).  I’m giving social media a second chance.  See you again soon in the new year!