Kernel of Justice in my Shoe

Lori Kochasnski, ELCA Pastor and Spiritual Director in Pennsylvania

KernalOfJusticeAt one of the events today, I was reminded that if I just take a kernel of my new understanding about the need to work toward gender equality and other goals of justice that is enough to begin implementing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. A a kernel may not seem like that much, until it is stuck under your sock, inside your shoe on a 5 mile hike.

The first event I wandered into today was called, “Happiness and Gender Equality in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.” I have been practicing mindfulness and meditation, and one of the gift mantras practiced is, “May you be happy.” When feeling particularly bad about humanity, I try and practice this exercise by silently offering this happiness to anyone I encounter. This means I offer it to the annoying person on the other end of the phone, the kind woman who held the door for me at the tea shop, and the people I love. I was curious to hear how happiness and this spiritual practice connect to gender equality.

During the session, one of the most important acknowledgements of the challenges to “happy” came, when in answer to a question one of the panelists, Jennifer Olmsted, admitted that, “There are places where happiness is difficult…if you have an empty belly you have a more difficult time choosing happy.” Dr. Olmsted was not saying it was impossible, only more difficult. Sitting there with a belly full of breakfast, I was left wondering why don’t I choose “happy” more often. Continue reading “Kernel of Justice in my Shoe”


From Theory to Imagination and Action

Gina Tonn, Reunion Program Manager, The St. Olaf Fund at St. Olaf College


Just over a year ago I was in New York, and then I went home to Chicago where I was living and serving with the Lutheran Volunteer Corps, and I wrote a blog post called “No more business as usual.” Since then, I have spoken about the concept too, including at my current place of work, St. Olaf College.

One year later in New York and I wonder, do I practice what I preached? Have I carried out the commitment I proclaimed?


On Saturday morning, Dr. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, the Executive Director of UN Women, told the Ecumenical Women delegation that it’s time for implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, and said verbatim that we cannot do business as usual. I hear this and I realize, no, I haven’t really carried out my commitment. I am human and I fall short of expectations. The institutions I participate in fall short.

The pace of change is slow and bureaucracy is complex, but that is no excuse not to listen, not to do what can be done.

What can be done? Continue reading “From Theory to Imagination and Action”