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”

And yet…

I try not to regret much in life.  God knows I have no cause for regret.  I’ve been abundantly blessed from birth.  Just about any white male born in the developed world starts life on at least second, if not third, base in the baseball game of life compared to the rest of humanity.  So regret is nothing but self-indulgence. And yet…silhouette-1082129_640

Continue reading “And yet…”

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”

Servants of God: St. Nicholas & Bishop Paul Jones

Sveti_NikolaOn Wednesday, December 6th, Episcopal Relief & Development, the organization I have the privilege of leading, marks the anniversary of its founding. It also happens to be St. Nicholas Day. That is a happy coincidence and provides an opportunity to reflect on the values that shaped St. Nicholas’ life and inform the work of Episcopal Relief & Development. Continue reading “Servants of God: St. Nicholas & Bishop Paul Jones”

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”

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 Kumari’s Blessing (Part One)

IMG_0730Just short of a year after the April 25, 2015 earthquake that struck Nepal, my daughter and I landed in Kathmandu.  We were there to visit the recovery programs that Episcopal Relief & Development was supporting.  Before leaving Kathmandu to tour the epicenter of the destruction and our work, my daughter and I took an afternoon to visit the Living Goddess—the Kumari—and to receive her blessing. Continue reading “The Kumari’s Blessing (Part One)”

Finding God at Elmina Castle

Each time I approach Elmina Castle on the Cape Coast of Ghana, I am struck by the beauty of its setting.  The Castle sits on a bluff looking out over the Atlantic Ocean. Screen Shot 2017-08-14 at 9.10.59 PM

 Swaying palms. Breaking waves.  Shimmering white sand on an endless beach.  Blazing saffron sunsets.

However, the beauty is counterfeit.  Evil permeates Elmina.

Continue reading “Finding God at Elmina Castle”

The Old City of Jerusalem

Via_dolorosa_JerusalemThe Old City in Jerusalem is chockablock with thin places.

Countless worship and pilgrimage sites for the three Abrahamic faiths are packed within one square kilometer.  

I find it all overwhelming.  For the most part I have not experienced the transcendent power of being in a thin place when I am in the Old City.   

There is one exception to this.

Continue reading “The Old City of Jerusalem”