Ferguson, Martin Luther King, Jr. & Being Honest About Protest


It's late - very late. It is the second night of protests in Ferguson, Missouri. It is the second night of reaction to the Grand Jury verdict not to indict Officer Darren Wilson for the shooting death of Michael Brown. The protests last night devolved to riots, looting and arson. Tonight the protests have spread to other major metropolitan areas. And the nation watches anxiously. This post is not going to discuss the guilt or innocence of Officer Darren Wilson. The legal system has spoken th … [Read more...]

The Pope, Conscience & the Clattering Train


It was April, 1935. And Winston Churchill, a lowly Member of the British Parliament, was beside himself. After all, the German Fuhrer had done it again. After being in power for a little over two years, German Chancellor (and de jure Dictator) Adolf Hitler had baldly & brazenly told his British counterparts that the German air force (the existence of which was outlawed by the Versailles Treaty of 1919) now equaled the British Royal Air Force in size. But Churchill's frustration wasn't so … [Read more...]

First Reconciliation & An Encounter with “An Absolute Beauty”


I'd never been to a retreat like this. This would be my first. I guess that's not surprising given my late arrival to Catholicism, converting only four years ago. But now, my oldest daughter (a second-grader) was about to take part in her First Reconciliation. So I found myself on Saturday morning arriving with my wife and daughter at our church's retreat to prepare for this Holy Sacrament. Starting us off, the deeply thoughtful yet puckish Director of Children's Faith Formation, Andrew Allen, … [Read more...]

On Flannery O’Connor, Brittany Maynard & the Eclipsing of God


It was 1951 and she was much too young to be so sick. Much too young. And she had her suspicions about what it was. The fevers. The drenching sweats. The profound fatigue and the joint pains - oh, the joint pains. She had her suspicions. After all, Flannery O'Connor had seen her father endure something like it before her...and he died one month into his forty-fifth year. Years later when she fully grasped that she too had the mysterious yet ravaging rheumatologic disease, systemic lupus … [Read more...]

When Ebola, Public Health & Politics Collide


 "We must always tell what we see. Above all, and this is more difficult, we must always see what we see." -Charles PeguyHelp me understand something.The virulent Ebola virus which once seemed forever vicious, yet aloof in the heart of Africa, is now here in America. On a federal, state and local level, government, public health and medical authorities are grappling with what we know and what we don't know about managing this virus' impact on a person and its threat to a society. … [Read more...]

On Ebola, Uncertainty & Imperfection


We crowded into a small room at my internal medicine clinic and looked at each other. Some decisions had to be made. Soon. We were charged to answer one fundamental question: What would we do if a patient suspected of having Ebola were to walk in our clinic door? As simple as it may seem, this is an incredibly complex question. It requires considering the well-being of the patient, the risk to other patients exposed to him (or her, but I will use him for simplification) in our waiting room, and t … [Read more...]