September 17, 2018

THE HABITS OF THE MIND Infinite curiosity The mind never rests….. Searching and probing, The better, the best. Imagination’s fantasies Transforming the real Infusing emotion Into things that do not feel…. The tears of a tree The smile of a sun Worry lines on a rock Drooping flowers, undone. But motion is not emotion Nor brightness a smile A wind is not a spirit A stream has no guile An active observer Transforms every scene Reads his own thoughts Into… Read more

September 16, 2018

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September 15, 2018

WAR’S WISDOM They say there is no wisdom They say it isn’t so, They stir up rainy weather But then it starts to snow. Poor prognosticators Pungent pundits too They trust their own predictions But don’t know what to do. The politics of fear, And self protection reign As if killing all our foes Was possible and sane. We alienate our allies We say we’ll go alone We ignore prevailing wisdom And enter a war zone. And no one’s even… Read more

September 14, 2018

Politics, as Ben Franklin said and practiced it, is the art of compromise. It is a working toward the best that can be done given a variety of views on any given complex subject. It’s not about posturing, or pandering to special interests, or pretending to be a defender of the truth. It’s about doing the most good that can be done under the circumstances. Franklin not only knew this, he was a successful politician on behalf of his fledgling… Read more

September 13, 2018

Ben Franklin maximized the potential of maxims. He added lots of adages. He was proverbially good at proverbs. He coined the aforementioned aphorisms. And Poor Richard’s Almanack was full of them. Now the thing one needs to know about proverbs or adages or maxims or aphorisms is that under the right circumstances they are often true, true enough to be reasonable generalizations. But they are certainly not always true. It is not always true that ‘if you train up a… Read more

September 12, 2018

There are, at most only a handful of detailed biographies of the Founding Fathers that can said to be world class. Walter Isaacson’s Benjamin Franklin, An American Life (2004, 586 pages) is one of them. Meticulously researched, fair to a fault, and beautifully written, this is the way biographies should read. What one learns is that Ben Franklin is the person who did more than anyone else to help give birth to our country. He was the elder statesman with… Read more

September 11, 2018

Ever since Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, which came out in 1989, I’ve wanted to come to Petra. And the main reason tour groups go there is not any of the things I’ve already shown you, but of course the so-called Treasury building. So as we conclude this series of posts… let’s go see it. But in fact, this building was not a treasury at all, but rather likely the beautifully carved tomb of King Aretas IV, whom Paul… Read more

September 10, 2018

Even for those who don’t follow the red line to the end and climb up to el Deir, there is much to see on the ground level…. For example, here is the ancient theater, carved right out of the sandstone…. There is also the colonnaded street where the original shops were, and where today there are little coffee and cold drink shops…. for instance under this tree…. One can also go down the street and see the ancient temple….. just… Read more

September 9, 2018

There is far too much to see at Petra, to do it all in part of one day, even a long day. As many times as I have gone, I had never climbed the mountain to the el Deir Monastery. And it is a considerable climb to say the least—–850 big steps, often uneven, and on a winding track. Not for the faint of heart, or those lacking balance. Not far up the mountain is a secret rendezvous place— called… Read more

September 8, 2018

We will end this pictorial odyssey by visting one of my favorite places to visit— Petra, where it is probable Paul got in hot water for sharing the Gospels soon after his conversion (cf. 2 Cor. 12). Petra is the capital of the Nabatean kingdom, which was considerable in the NT era. There were a series of kings all named Aretas, and the one Paul ran into was Aretas IV. The Nabateans were not Jews, but they were Semites and… Read more

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