A Nation Commits Suicide: Why We Should Care About Syria

A boy is treated after he sustained injuries from an airstrike in the Sha'ar neighborhood of Aleppo, Syria, on Friday, August 24, 2012.
Photo by Near East Observatory

An Interview with Mindy Belz By Wendy Murray If you are anything like I am, the ongoing struggles with various countries in the Middle East generally and the suffering country of Syria particularly, become too taxing and complicated to get my head around. Feeling helpless and confused, I am tempted to stop listening. Yet I am summoned to try. I hope you feel similar conviction. Thankfully, my friend and colleague, fellow journalist Mindy Belz, not only understands this part of world … [Read more...]

New Year’s Resolution: Change the World

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By Wendy Murray When I wrote my book about Francis of Assisi (1182-1226) a few years back, I couldn't get over what a simple humble man he was and how -- as such -- he managed to change his world. His life carries an echo that reverberates to this day as noted in the wild popularity of the new pope who bears his name. I have identified five attributes Francis possessed that will serve everyone, in any time, who desire to carry an impact on their world. 1. Show Up When Francis … [Read more...]

The Curious Case of Edward Snowden

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By Wendy Murray 2014 began with two major newspapers -- The New York Times and the Guardian --  calling for clemency for whistle-blower, Edward Snowden, who is currently living in exile in Russia. Last summer (2013) Snowden dumped a cache of classified materials into the hands of journalists that documented massive violations of the NSA (National Security Agency) against citizens of the United States and others. At that time I wrote a piece in this blog  supporting him. These are the … [Read more...]

Role of Pastors: Anonymous Survey Jan 2014

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Dear Readers, I am working on a book project and would be very grateful for your feedback about your view of the role of the pastor. I have attached the link to an anonymous survey relating to my research and would be grateful for your honest feedback. Your answers are anonymous. I only ask for complete honesty. PLEASE COMPLETE THE SURVEY ONLY ONCE. Please respond to this post if you have any further questions. I will update the responses once sufficient data has been … [Read more...]

A Worthy Aspiration for the New Year

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3 Meaningful Truths to Embrace Wildly This Year

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By Wendy Murray 1.  Don't Interrupt Talk ought to be sacred because it is so light, so tenuous, so trivial, if you will; so frail and easy to destroy. Cutting short its life is worse than murder; it’s infanticide. It’s like killing a baby that’s trying to come to life. It can never be restored to life … . A good light conversation can never be put together again when it’s broken to pieces; because you can’t get back all the pieces. G.K. Chesterton, in The Paradoxes of … [Read more...]

5 Hopes For the New Year

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By Wendy Murray Dear Friends and Readers, I have been on hiatus from posting and it has been time well spent, though I apologize for the prolonged and unexplained absence from Poets & Lunatics. In the upcoming year I will be writing, as I have tried to in the past, about issues that highlight the complicated humanness with which we tangle while at the same time trying to remain people of authentic faith. I have spent these months in transition, being on the road most of the summer … [Read more...]

Remembering St. Francis of Assisi

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Saint Francis of Assisi died 787 years ago today, and yet he seems more alive than ever despite the passage of time. In the Catholic tradition, this anniversary marks the "Feast Day of St. Francis." Remembering the champions who have gone before seems an appropriate tradition and one which Protestants lose out on. Francis of Assisi is certainly one whom Christians of all traditions ought to know and celebrate. I lived in Assisi when I wrote my book about St. Francis and came to love the … [Read more...]

The Day the World Stopped

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I was writing a book, titled Facing Forward, in September 2001, a memoir related to the uncertainties of mid-life. Then on a bright Tuesday morning, September 11, everything stopped. Uncertainties about mid-life were irrelevant. I joined our country in a collective lament. The world as we knew it ended that day and the world has not been the same since. I include below the concluding paragraphs of the chapter I was writing in the aftermath of  this sad day. In the end I found that -- … [Read more...]

August Lunatic of the Month ~ Josh Weathers Singing “I Will Always Love You”

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Full disclosure: This astounding performance by Josh Weathers of Dolly Parton's I Will Always Love You, sung with all the vocal reach and dexterity of the late Whitney Houston, did not originally take place this month. But the discovery of the video of it did. He tells a lively back story (be patient and listen) about how it came to pass that he learned and memorized the song, with all of its octaval gymnastics, as he sips whiskey before beginning to give it a go. (I commend him for not … [Read more...]