CommonPlaces Breaking60 TravelingNotes UU Exploration Belief and Practice


Five years ago, I gathered an unplanned collection of essays, meditations, sermons, poems, aphorisms, and recipes, entitled CommonPlaces. At that time, I thought that it was just a phase I was going through. However, two things have happened since 1994: first, CommonPlaces has been widely read and I have received and continue to receive comments, both critical and congratulatory, about it and, second, the words continue to come.


Meanwhile, life keeps on keeping on. I continue to walk, garden, cook, read and, more and more often, to teach and preach. While my academic career ended in 1993, I find that well learned habits persist: following one's interests and asking, always asking.


And then I turned 60. When I was young, I had been very ill for a long period and did not look far ahead. I had been much more interested in whether I would grow up, have a girl friend, work at a job, get married and have children than I was in wondering about mid-life and beyond. Thus, never having expected to reach 40, let alone 50, I reached (or "broke") 60 with a mild sense of surprise. How did I get here? What is going on? Why don't I feel "my" age?


Perhaps, because I am so busy. Now, slightly or modestly retired, hoping to become mostly retired in the near future, I don't know how I ever had time to work the 60+ hour weeks of my past. And having gone beyond working by necessity, I now feel a strong pull ahead.


In the past two years, I have had an insistent and repeating call to personal ministry. Perhaps when we meet next I'll be able to tell you more about it than you may gather from reading Breaking60.


60 now seems rather to be a speed than an age or a milestone. The journey stretches on with bright promise. Here, then, are some more dispatches from a traveler, out there, working without a net.


Jonathan Black

King of Prussia