Holy Chaos

I begin by laying the groundwork for our shared labor with definitions, as defined by Merriam-Webster and me.


  • exalted or worthy of complete devotion as one perfect in goodness and righteousness
  • having a divine quality, venerated as or as if sacred
  • My definition: the connection to that which is beyond. The sense that something is more significant than a moment; the realization that “surely, God is in this place.”


  • a state of utter confusion, the unorganized state of primordial matter before the creation of distinct forms
  • the inherent unpredictability in the behavior of a complex natural system (such  as the atmosphere, boiling water, or the beating heart)
  • My definition: an anxiety-producing feeling of instability, disorientation. When things are moving so fast, it is challenging to step back, think, breathe, and gain perspective.


  • belief and trust (in something sacred, for example, God)
  • belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion or a system of religious belief
  • firm belief in something for which there is no proof
  • My definition: a deep trust and practice that points us toward God. Faith is concerned with the systems, theories, and rituals that undergird and define a religious belief or practice. Ultimately, for me, faith looks like actions that are grounded in a deeply held belief and commitment to core values or religious teachings, I am less concerned with what your religion is and more concerned with what your religion does. How do your religious beliefs shape the way you move through the world?


  • the art of science of government
  • the competition between interest groups or individuals for power and leadership
  • the total complex of relations between people living in a society
  • My definition: the art of navigating life together. This art included negotiation and decision making to determine the rules and boundaries that support shared experience in personal and public realms. 


  • occurring, made or acting upon every day
  • My definition: concerned with the everyday commitment to particular actions. Grounded in resilience and the pragmatic necessity of the long-haul, persistent, recurring needs of living


  • strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties
  • affection based on admiration, benevolence, or common interests
  • warm attachment, enthusiasm, or devotion
  • unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another
  • My definition: a relationship that is mutual and generative, and moves toward justice in the world. Through nurture, love happens between people; in families and chosen families; with neighbors and communities; between strangers; in cities, states, countries, and political systems.

Peace does not mean

to be free of noise, trouble or hard work,

but to be in the midst of those things

and still be calm in your heart.

Unknown Author

From “Holy Chaos: Creating Connections in Divisive Times” by Amanda Henderson – Chalice Press