9/11: A Loss of Innocence?

11

Reflecting on the events of 9/11, one veteran journalist called the events of that day "a loss of innocence."  According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the primary connotations of the word innocence (from the Latin, innocentia) are:1. Freedom from sin, guilt, or moral wrong in general; the state of being untainted with, or unacquainted with, evil; moral purity.2. Freedom from specific guilt; the fact of not being guilty of that with which one is charged; guiltlessness.3. Freedom from … [Read more...]

How is it with your soul?

how with soul

This week marked the beginning of a new academic year.  As in years past, I have spent a few days describing the nature of our spiritual formation program to new students.Over a decade ago the program looked very different from the one we have today.  We relied on outside facilitators.  The student experience varied greatly.  And oversight for the program was assigned to someone whose primary responsibilities lay elsewhere.  The program was also required for certain degree programs, but no one … [Read more...]

The “Life in the Real World” Excuse

Excuses

I work in both churches and the academy.  And, from time to time, people will preface their response to something I’ve said with the words, “Well, if you worked in the real world…”Frankly, all those comments demonstrate is how little people know about the church and the academy, where (as the saying goes) “the politics are so dirty because the stakes are so small.”  Both institutions could really afford to be a little less real, if by “real” what you mean is nasty, divisive, back-stabbing, gras … [Read more...]

Sleaze, Slant, and Assassination

Sleaze, Slant, Assassination

The New York Times can’t stop reporting on “The News of the World” debacle.  They run two or more “news” articles a day and throw in an editorial --- just in case the editorializing isn’t finished.  They devoted only one article to the work of American Bridge and stuck to “just the facts.” Aaron Fielding quietly stalks his prey — Republicans — with his video camera, patiently waiting for a political moment worthy of YouTube.  At 27, he is a full-time “tracker” for American Bridge 21st Century, a … [Read more...]

Signs and Wonders

Signs&Wonders

Nothing I said in What God Wants for your Life got me into more trouble than the chapter on signs and wonders:Don’t you believe in miracles?Don’t you believe that God is active in the world?Don’t you believe in the power of prayerYes…but I don’t believe that signs and wonders are necessarily indicative of the will of God.  Sometimes the exceptional is just exceptional.For example: I made a major move in employment some years ago --- prayerfully, I might add --- on the basis of what I fe … [Read more...]

The Casey Anthony Trial

CayleeAnthony

News of the Casey Anthony trial has been hard to avoid.  Every major news outlet has devoted space to it.The BBC World News Service ran an article just moments following the verdict in an effort to account for the reasons this trial had received so much attention.  In summary, here are the reasons offered by Washington correspondent Tom Geoghegan:One, given the elements of the story it was too big to ignore.Two, the story had “’cultural equity.’”  Once the media decided to cover it there wa … [Read more...]

God is not on our side

Binary

We were on a mission to find Indian Food at one of our favorite restaurants and en route we were listening to NPR’s “Fresh Air.”  Terry Gross was interviewing Nick Paumgarten and we caught the conversation midstream.Paumgarten was talking about on-line dating and observed that one of the random indicators he had found of potential marital bliss was whether or not a couple agreed on their like --- or dislike --- of horror films.  What about you, he asked Ms. Gross.His host was diffident and re … [Read more...]

“Oh, Wow!”

oh wow

Our grandson, Henry, has found his first words.  (Actually, he is working on others now as well.)  But the first ones were, “Oh, Wow!”  And they are almost always accompanied by a little hand pointing at something --- the picture of sheer delight and wonder.  The experience of watching him respond to the world around him has reminded me of some important truths:All too often the journey into adulthood is one of accumulating cynicism.  The “Oh, Wow!” moments of delight and wonder give way to “Oh … [Read more...]


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