Training to Walk the Camino

Over the last year, I have been training to walk the Camino.   At my age, balance and muscle resilience are key to a successful walk. That, and endurance. I’m now in week eleven of twelve for training.  By the end of this week, I need to be able to hike five hours in hilly terrainContinue reading “Training to Walk the Camino”

The Scallop Shell

Many pilgrims on the Camino tie a scallop shell to their backpacks or on the laces of their boots. The scallop shell is also used to mark the route one is meant to walk on the way to Santiago de Compostela. So, what’s the deal with that? The association of St. James with scallops takes usContinue reading “The Scallop Shell”

Who was St. James?

As I prepare for my Camino, it occurs to me that I should learn a little about St. James the Great whose relics are believed to buried at the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.  500 miles is a long way to walk without knowing anything about the person who has inspired millions to make a pilgrimage toContinue reading “Who was St. James?”

Opening the Gates of Heaven for Ramadan

We are now almost through the month-long observance of Ramadan.  A few weeks ago I came across the following quote: “When the month of Ramadan starts, the gates of heaven are opened and the gates of hell are closed and the devils are chained.”  This hadith from the Sahih al-Bukhari doesn’t mince words.   ItContinue reading “Opening the Gates of Heaven for Ramadan”

Spiritual but not Religious

In my experience the declaration that “I’m spiritual but not religious” is often greeted by a collective eye-roll in church circles.   For many of us affiliated with formal church or faith organizations, it can seem a ridiculous thing to say. What we think we’re hearing is “I’m spiritual but not yet religious.”

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.

Fog Over the Promised Land

Last Thursday afternoon, just before heading home to New York, I stood on Mount Nebo in Jordan and looked west to the Promised Land.  Mount Nebo is where Moses stood at the end of his life, having led the Israelites in the desert for forty years, and died. Today there is a modern Catholic churchContinue reading “Fog Over the Promised Land”

“Do not be afraid…”

Today I find myself in the Holy Land—on a pilgrimage.  This is not my first pilgrimage, nor, do I suspect, will it be my last.  Moreover, this is my 5th or 6th time visiting many of the sites on this trip.  Yet, each visit is a little different.  Each visit challenges and rewards me inContinue reading ““Do not be afraid…””

Twenty characteristics that make a genius

In 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.Continue reading “Twenty characteristics that make a genius”

Servants of God: St. Nicholas & Bishop Paul Jones

On 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 EpiscopalContinue reading “Servants of God: St. Nicholas & Bishop Paul Jones”