The Trail of Memory

37 years ago I spent one month at the Bennion Boys Ranch in Victor, Idaho. It was the first of a total of four summers I would spend there, two as a camper and two as a counselor in my late teens. My parents sent me there, not because I was a troubled kid, but [Read More...]

On Marriage

Twenty-five years ago yesterday, I married my wife, Amy. When we were dating, we did a lot of envisioning. The feeling of romance is very much a feeling, among other things, for the future. We could envision the near future—the wedding, the moving in together, the search for a life together, for financial means to [Read More...]

Love of Reading

Consider this title in both of its syntactical meanings. What does it mean to love to read? What does it mean to read with love? [Read more...]

On Reading and Language (or, notes on what I have learned from literary theory)

There are at least two very important things that I learned from literary theory, especially the sometimes infamous deconstructionist variety. The first is the value of very close readings. There is nothing like a close reading to bring out the richest and fullest range of possibilities in a text. It is really only a means [Read More...]

Nearing Fifty

I guess it must be the approaching milestone of turning fifty, but I am in a meditative mood these days about life. Well, the truth is, I think I have always been a meditative type. I used to write bad poems when I was a teenager that were ridiculous attempts at philosophizing about life (no, [Read More...]

Waiting on the Lord

The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.             Lamentations 3:25 For I have learned, in whatsoever state I am in, therewith to be content. I know how to be abased and I know how to abound: everywhere and in everything I am instructed both to be [Read More...]

The Blessings of Service: Lessons from Guatemala

Service opens the world to us. That, anyway, is what I have experienced in Guatemala where for the past 17 years I have joined a team of eye surgeons about every other year to work in a remote hospital in the highlands among people who are among some of the most underserved by modern healthcare [Read More...]

Anger, Forgiveness, and Community

  I have been blogging here for two years, and throughout this time, I have been chiefly interested in the quest for community. I understand community to be something that is achieved when we find “unity with” (as the word implies) others, be they family and friends, strangers and foreigners or even enemies, as well [Read More...]

Agreeing to Disagree: Political Differences in a Community of Faith

Can people of faith be one even or especially if we aren’t in agreement on politics? In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul exhorts us to be worthy of our vocation as Christians. We do this, he says, by “endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” This unity comes [Read More...]

Mormons and Public Transportation

Recently an article in the Salt Lake Tribune raised the timely question, Is air pollution a moral issue? In it faith leaders from a variety of communities in Utah answered the question from their particular perspective. This is what the LDS church said: “While LDS Church leaders have not spoken specifically to issues of air [Read More...]

Chile Journal #5: The Hope of Nature

Pablo Neruda once said that if you didn’t know southern Chile and the Chilean forest, you didn’t know this planet. He wasn’t the first great poet to be guilty of bioregional chauvinism, of that kind of local pride that tends toward exaggeration and overstatement. But then again, having been here a few times and explored [Read More...]

Chile Journal #4: What Courage Looks Like

“Why were they imprisoned, your parents?” I asked my new friend, Tito, who was introduced to me through a mutual friend, someone in fact who had baptized him into the LDS church some twenty-five years ago. [Read more...]

Chile Journal #3: Serendipity and Second Chances

Twenty-six years ago, I was a student in a study abroad program in West Berlin. This was in the spring and summer of 1988, one year before the Berlin Wall came down. Before I left, I had told one of my Spanish professors of my intention to go to Berlin, and he told me that [Read More...]

Chile Journal #2

It has been an overwhelming week thus far, and it will be hard to summarize the extent of what I have learned and experienced. As I mentioned, I am here to research the context of the period of the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet who governed Chile from 1973 until 1990. During this period, thousands of [Read More...]


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