Interstellar Space

Living as I do in an urban environment, it is not usually possible to see many, if any, stars on a regular basis.  Fortunately, my work takes me off the beaten path to places where there is little ambient light to obscure the night sky.  

Most recently, I found myself in the desert of New Mexico at the Benedictine Abbey of Christ in the Desert on a silent retreat.  There, after the sun had set, the heavens blazed.

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Continue reading “Interstellar Space”

Rumors of My Demise…

405px-MarkTwain.LOCMark Twain’s quip about reports of his death having been exaggerated is one of my favorites.  It might fairly be applied to this blog.

When I started the blog over a year ago, my intent had been to post once a week and, for the most part, I sustained that pace…until I couldn’t.  And so, towards the end of June, I lost momentum and stopped. Sometimes that happens.

I spent a good bit of the summer nagging myself to start writing again.  Nagging oneself—or anyone for that matter—isn’t really a strategy that inspires motivation.

But then a letter arrived in the mail…. Continue reading “Rumors of My Demise…”

How Democracies Die

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How Democracies Die
By Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt

Let me confess up front:  I have not yet read this book.  I’m screwing up my courage to do so.  However, I’ve heard just enough about it to be extremely concerned and intrigued.

The authors argue that in recent times authoritarian leaders have actually come to power through democratic processes.  The good old days of military coups seem to be a relic of the past.

Once in power, these leaders all share four common traits: Continue reading “How Democracies Die”

Juneteenth

Today, June 19th, marks the anniversary of the day Texas abolished slavery in 1865.  Several states, including Texas, recognize it. The Federal Government has also recognized “Juneteenth Independence Day,” although it is not an official Federal holiday.

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Perhaps of more consequence, Apple added Juneteenth to the list of official U.S. holidays this year.  I’m embarrassed to admit that while I had a vague sense of Juneteenth, it wasn’t until it popped up on my phone that I started to pay attention.

So I dug deeper… Continue reading “Juneteenth”

Marriage

IMG-0835As Martin Luther wrote, “There is no more lovely, friendly, and charming relationship, communion, or company than a good marriage.”  

I couldn’t agree more.  And not just because my wife and I are about to celebrate our 27th wedding anniversary, I promise.

The fact of the matter is that I’m a big fan of marriage.   Continue reading “Marriage”

O Canada!

220px-Flag-of-Canada-Vanier-ParkLast week I had occasion to be in Toronto on business with a colleague to attend a meeting with our colleagues at the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund of the Anglican Church of Canada.

As we gathered to start our meeting, our host began by acknowledging the original inhabitants of the land upon which we were meeting.  He spoke a little about the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation, the Haudenosaunee (Six Nations or Iroquois Confederacy) and the Huron-Wendat.  For me, it was a startling and embarrassing moment. Continue reading “O Canada!”

Fulfilling God’s Dreams

IMG_2399One of the great and humbling honors of serving Episcopal Relief & Development is the opportunity I have to visit our work around the world.  

In April, I led a pilgrimage of friends and supporters to Zambia to learn about our work with children.  

For the last several years we have worked with the Zambian Anglican Council Outreach Program (ZACOP) to establish nearly 70 Early Childhood Development Centers across the country.  

We’ve focused on the most vulnerable children—those impacted in one way or another by HIV/AIDS.  To date we’ve served over 10,000 children. We’re scaling the work up over the next three to five years.  

What I love about this program is that it speaks both to my head and my heart.

Continue reading “Fulfilling God’s Dreams”

God’s Jewels

alcyonewebsterikeulemansAnyone who knows me will attest that I am fundamentally a city person.  Having lived in New York City on and off for over 30 years, my instincts are well-honed and distinctly urban.  I can emerge from the subway and my sense of direction is intact. I know the most likely corners on which to catch a taxi during rush hour.  My knowledge of animals is limited to the best kinds of pets for apartments.

So, when I recently found myself on safaris in Zambia and Botswana, I was out of my element.  Unending open space. Myriad shades of green. Where do you even begin to look?

It was disorienting.

Continue reading “God’s Jewels”

Marwan’s Story

Marwan and I met when I was in Jordan earlier this year visiting Syrian Refugee Camps.  He stuck out right away because he was the only male teacher amongst several dozen female teachers.  Moreover, as I watched him teach, I was struck by his energy and joy.

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After observing him teach, we had lunch together and I heard his inspiring story. I’d like to share it with you.

Continue reading “Marwan’s Story”

One billboard outside Sandusky, Ohio

Each year my wife and I attend St. Bartholomew’s three-hour Good Friday service.  Each year I wonder how on earth I will sit through three hours of music, extended periods of silent prayer, readings on the seven last words of Christ, and a homily on each.  Each year the time disappears. Continue reading “One billboard outside Sandusky, Ohio”