Having Bob Chase as a guest in my course on ecumenism proved to be a great opportunity to launch the conversation on how ecumenical engagement expands to include interfaith dialogue and relationship building. Bob’s decade long experience with Intersections provided a rich context for our class to explore the many possibilities that are at hand for deepening understanding and creating much needed interfaith partnerships and alliances. The classroom dialogue was particularly enhanced by his reflections in “Beyond the Comma,” on the tenth anniversary of the tragedy of September 11, 2001. Videos that Bob produced in support of year long interfaith initiatives sparked by that anniversary – “We the People” and ‘shadows,” served to further enrich our learning. I have no doubt that our conversation with Bob will enhance the capacity of our students to engage the interfaith realities of our times with insight and creativity.


Rev. Geoffrey A. Black; Visiting Professor of Leadership and Ecumenical Studies, Eden Theological Seminary

Chase models for us a fresh, path-breaking, and engaging adventure that is always alert to God’s word.

With surging energy, Chase probes the various ways in which God is still speaking in the rough-and-tumble world of war and hatred, humor, and moments of deep joy, mundane meetings and meaningful mishaps.

Whether writing about race, his 9/11 experiences, interreligious cooperation, a severe concussion, or his sensitivity toward transitions, Chase convinces us again and again of the marvelous miracles that abound in our lives and demand to be acknowledged and appreciated. (You can read their full review here.)

Mary Ann and Frederic Brussat, co-founders and co-directors Spirituality & Practice, have been covering contemporary culture and the spiritual renaissance for nearly five decades.


Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality & Practice

Rev. Chase’s interactive session on ‘Beyond the Comma’ was an uplifting call to arms for justice. His book arrives at a moment in history that finds us seeking to make sense of a changing world order giving rise to increasing intolerance and community compartmentalization.  Rev. Chase invited us to pause and reflect deeply with him, through his engaging technique of participatory dialogue, textual, theological, and personal reflections. Together we discussed big global issues – race, xenophobia, discrimination – and how we can overcome self-doubt and use our personal commitments and strengths to speak out and stand up for justice. For our audience of students studying the role of religion in world affairs, the session with Rev. Chase provided powerful evidence that “faith in action” brings distinctive solutions to global challenges, and one voice can build a chorus for change. The session offered timeless insights that are applicable across a wide range of disciplines and causes, while also being very conscious of this moment in history where gun violence and systemic racism are on the minds of young people seeking change. The audience left with practical tools and guidance and a welcome invitation to continue the conversation, as the title suggests, “beyond the comma”!


Melody Fox Ahmed; Associate Director for Programs, Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs; Georgetown University

Recently, I attended an evening of song and story at First Tampa UCC. The program featured Robert Chase sharing readings from his book, Beyond The Comma, and he was accompanied by Fred Johnson who performed percussion and sang. Bob chose anecdotal vignettes from his experiences promoting ‘interreligious’ co-operation and how “God is still speaking”. Between stories, Fred en”chant”ed us with his music. 1st Tampa with Bernice Powell Jackson as pastor, provided the hospitality of a potluck dinner before the presentation. This all made for a “ceilidh” event – a potluck fellowship of story, song, and food.


Rev. Drew Willard; actor, Biblical storyteller

While few of us can manage to be in Pakistan, we can take some good cues from you regarding listening and understanding with no pressure to change and no judgement.  These are skills that can be put to use in most situations, including being faced with others with different basic beliefs and ideas.  Even one person can do that!  Hopefully, enough people will do just that.  We probably will have a better and most loving world if we can practice what you have shown us.  Thank you.

Elsa Seifert; Journalist, Los Angeles

In his workshop with Coral Gables Congregational UCC, Robert Chase challenged a diverse gathering of church members to see life’s “comma moments” as God’s gift for reflection on where life has led us and for discerning significant and meaningful ways to move life pathways forward in positive ways. More than just a lecture, Bob’s session was interactive, allowing for small-group discussion and for full-group dialogues between participants and presenter. Workshop participants left Bob’s session with hope-filled ideas for turning both self-planned and unexpected comma moments into opportunities for enriched and fuller living.

Dr. Ron Morgan; Director of Music Ministries, Coral Gables UCC

What a wonderful evening we had working with Robert Chase at the Soul Cafe in New Hampshire.  We shared the stage and passed the baton as we sang songs and he read from his new insightful book, Beyond the Comma.  The interactive energies he shared carried us as an audience into introspective thought that then led us into a collective hopeful action we could take with us out into the the world. The stories he shared from his experiences in Pakistan are truths I still carry with me every day – that the fierce love of a mother is powerful enough to change the broken heart of a son – even a son who is hell bent on the worst kind of destruction. The world is desperate for change, and the world is desperate for love.  Our evening with Bob reminded me that sitting across a table and drinking tea with those we may misunderstand or fear the most is the first step towards mutual understanding and peace.  We are thankful for his profound work and the sharing of his stories, and we encourage folks to read his book and to see him in person.

Mandee Radford Langley, member of musical duo Alathea

Do we live in “comma” times, open and connected to each other? Or, are we in “period” times, separated and at odds with each other? Drawing on his wide experience, Bob Chase makes a profound case, rich with insight and practical advice, for how each of us can create and embrace the comma moments in our lives.

Tim Crist; member Union Congregational Church

At Bob’s recent book event, I was struck by how wonderfully atypical it was. Bob not only sparked our imaginations with both intimately personal and culturally relevant stories, but also opened up a rich dialogue about being fully present in life’s transitional moments, essentially making each one of us a co-author of the story of “life at the intersection.” That is Bob’s gift: drawing in all voices, experiences and backgrounds and lifting up their value and dignity. And in that same spirit, this gathering was warm, inspiring and conversational. Everyone left feeling we had touched on the big questions of our own lives and the times in which we live, and that what we do next, after the pause, matters. It was like balm for the soul in this moment of political and social strife. Thank you, Bob!


Rev. Jennifer Crumpton, author of Femmevangelical: The Modern Girl’s Guide to the Good News

Karl Barth famously said that preaching should be done with the Bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other.  I don’t really disagree, but your book – and my own experience – suggests that, more than the newspaper, we need to pair the Bible with deep attentiveness to the “ordinary.”  Your writing displays the power of that wonderfully. Thank you for taking on the writing task, a labor of love to be sure, but labor nonetheless.

Rev. John Thomas, former General Minister and President, UCC