Twenty characteristics that make a genius

Leonardo_da_Vinci_LUCAN_Hohenstatt_20_Uffizi_copyIn keeping with my desire to observe Advent by seeking out beauty (see my November 28th post) and my fascination with Salvator Mundi (see my November 14th post), I just finished reading Walter Isaacson’s masterful and insightful biography of Leonardo Da Vinci.  

Isaacson concludes his book by identifying twenty characteristics that make a genius.  Isaacson has given this list some thought, having written biographies of Benjamin Franklin, Albert Einstein, Steve Jobs, and now Leonardo.

So what does it take? Continue reading “Twenty characteristics that make a genius”

Five Advent Lessons

IMG_3750This Sunday, the First Sunday in Advent, will mark a new liturgical year. We tend to gloss over that in our culture, focused as we are on the big event: Christmas Day. However, Advent is one of the places where one can feel God at work in the world. Here are five ways to make space for God during Advent. Continue reading “Five Advent Lessons”

Salvator Mundi

IMG_1870 2On Wednesday morning I met Christ on my way to work.  If you want to catch him, he is currently at Christie’s auction house in New York City until Wednesday, November 15th at noon.  After that no one knows where he will go.  Stop by if you have a chance. Continue reading “Salvator Mundi”

Finding God on the other side of Halloween

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Let us stipulate that God seems very far from the commercial extravaganza that now surrounds Halloween.  I am much more likely to find God on the other side of Halloween, on November 1st, when we observe All Saints’ Day.   All Saints’ Day is a day to remember all of the saints who have passed through our lives into the next. Continue reading “Finding God on the other side of Halloween”

Binge Watching for God (Part Two)

Last week, I explored the role that God plays in the lives of four of the five 30-something Orthodox Jewish Jerusalemites in the Israeli television series Srugim.

AngelThis week, we learn what the angel that God sends to Amir has to say.

Continue reading “Binge Watching for God (Part Two)”

My 25,000 year-old friend

Earlier this year I visited the Peche Merle caves, known for their prehistoric drawings, in the south west of France.  Little is known about the purpose of the Peche Merle cave paintings.  There is some speculation that they were used in sacred rituals. 

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So, as I made my way down into the caves and along the paths, I was prepared to enter a thin place. Continue reading “My 25,000 year-old friend”

The Water and Sanitation Mystery (Part Two)

In last week’s installment of “The Water and Sanitation Mystery” my colleague
IMG_0594discovered that, to his alarm, the project had not gone as planned. Household latrines had not been built and the one public latrine that had been built was not in use.  Most concerning, however, the community was not capturing and protecting its clean water supply.

Trying to get to the bottom of the mystery, my colleague convened a meeting of the community Water and Sanitation Committee, whose responsibility it is to manage the project.  

To them the explanation is obvious. Continue reading “The Water and Sanitation Mystery (Part Two)”

The Kumari’s Blessing (Part Two)

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Author’s note: The second part of this story reminds us that, even after the most terrible of disasters, we can find hope and healing. I hold onto this as we count the losses of the most recent series of tragedies we are enduring.

The morning after we received the Kumari’s blessing, my daughter and I set out to visit the epicenter of the massive earthquake that struck Nepal on April 25, 2015.  The memory of the Kumari’s gaze calmed me as we sat in traffic making our way out of Kathmandu. Continue reading “The Kumari’s Blessing (Part Two)”