Archive | humanity RSS feed for this section

Finding God- 1

When I was in the ministry, I attended a dinner party given by a Jamaican couple who belonged to the church.  They were sophisticated people, with a wide variety of friends, and that night one of the guests had a problem with the idea of God.  I was holding a bacon-wrapped chestnut in one hand […]

Continue reading

The Death Problem

Death has a PR problem in our culture.  Americans tend to view death in a negative light, as something to escape.  We picture a dark, hooded figure, pointing its crooked finger toward another victim, gathering souls for judgment.  We isolate the dead behind fences, in holding pens for the dearly departed, and turn their disposal […]

Continue reading

Coconut Island

Once upon a time there was an island.  On this island there was a group of people known as the Vespuccians.  They lived at relative peace with each other.  Like people everywhere, they had squabbles, but they were united in their love for one thing- coconuts.  They ate coconuts and wore coconuts.  They drank coconut […]

Continue reading

Murderers

The string of homicides gaining national attention over the last few weeks have caused me to reminisce about the murderers I’ve known.  Working in an urban outpatient clinic for substance abusers caused me to meet more than a few.  A majority of the people who walked in our doors were in trouble with the law, […]

Continue reading

Truth Is Always Painful

When I counseled drug addicts, I frequently dealt with people who had lost all sense of direction.  They couldn’t tell up from down, or good from bad, and lied so often that the truth was no longer clear even to them.  Did Bill really see that movie or was it simply an excuse he gave […]

Continue reading

Is That A Gun Or Are You Just Glad To See Me?

German police fired a total of 85 bullets in 2011.  49 were warning shots.  With the rest, 15 people were wounded and 6 killed by police countrywide for the entire year.  As a contrast, in the U.S. in 2011, 84 shots were fired by police at a single murder suspect in Harlem.  90 rounds were […]

Continue reading

Dealing With Blindness

As an archer, an arrow.      –The Dhammapada Sometime towards the end of my first marriage, I tried to play the stock market and lost my shirt.  I didn’t know what I was doing.  It seemed like a way to augment my salary as a pastor.  I never took a vow of poverty, after all, but […]

Continue reading

The Things We Imagine

Two chimpanzees mauled an American graduate student in South Africa last month.  He was leading a tour of a jungle refuge filled with our closest animal relatives.  Tragically, he stepped inside a restricted zone, violated chimpanzee territory, and they defended themselves.  The young man is missing fingers and toes, one testicle, hunks of arm flesh, […]

Continue reading

Highway Anthropology

I have just returned from a 3,000 mile trip to catch fish.  I drove 1100 miles to a friend’s house, from where I rode another 650 miles to an outfitter and back, and then another 1400 miles as I visited more friends on the way home.  At such distances, a couple hundred miles no longer […]

Continue reading

Living In Oz

Two monks were arguing about a flag. One said, “The flag is moving.”   The other said, “The wind is moving.”  A sage happened to be passing by. He told them, “Not the wind, not the flag; mind is moving.”  – a Zen koan Freud said that society is a universal human fantasy.  The nations, […]

Continue reading