Last week I was sitting in Taipei airport minding my own business, waiting for a flight. Then I looked up, seeing across from me a large box rooted to the floor. Half-dazed with a traveler’s zombie like stare, I focused on the words inscribed: Escape Chute. (There was also Chinese on it, which I couldn’t read. Any… Read More The Escape Chute of the Present Moment
Confinement. A place of limitations, being held back, a lack of freedom. Yet the places of confinement in our lives often yield the greatest creativity. That’s why some of the classics in literature and history have been written in prison. Think of Dr. Martin Luther King’s Letters from a Birmingham Jail, or Nelson Mandela writing a diary and letters… Read More The Confinement that Leads to Writing
I first read this book by the very gifted Annie Dillard in 2003. I had read several of her books at that point, like Holy the Firm, The Living, and her most famous one, Pilgrim of Tinker Creek. But this one on the art of writing deeply challenged me, partly because it was a season in my life when the… Read More The Writing Life
There are only a few places I have visited in the world that had a palpable sense of evil. One was an island off the coast of Gambia, where captured slaves from the interior were held before being transported across the Atlantic or up to Liverpool. Another was last week at the Cellular Jail in… Read More Kala Pani and the Evils of Colonialism
If you have read this blog even a bit, you know my feelings about Mother Teresa. I had the great honor and privilege to meet her twice in Kolkata, in 1985 and 1994. I have written posts about her before, and continue to be deeply inspired by her life and the sisters who carry on… Read More Changing history by creating ripples
One of the Seven Wonders of the Christian world is in Xian, China, the starting point and terminus of the original Silk Road. It is the Nestorian Stele, a 10 foot stone tablet carved in 781 A.D. to commemorate the 150 year history up to that point of the work of the Church of the… Read More The Nestorian Stele of 781 A.D. T’ang China: Our Story in Their Story
I’ve been in Princeton, New Jersey the last few days, giving a lecture at a conference on the history of World Christianity. Yesterday as I walked to the site of the meetings, I came across a yard sign that stopped me in my tracks. It so expressed what I have tried to live by in… Read More No matter where you are from, we’re glad you’re our neighbor!!