Is Joy Possible?

On a spiritual retreat last week, I expected to be inspired by the speaker. While I was not disappointed, the two moments that made the deepest impression on me over the weekend were spontaneous comments that, in retrospect, I believe I needed to hear. The first came from Mother Hilary, a nun, who shared that…

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The Rising Tide

A conversation with my son lined up with what I recently read about home insurance. Home insurance is not a subject that I have given much thought to. I have home insurance, I trust my local insurance agent, and then I tend to forget about it. Our son and his family live along the Atlantic…

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It’s Not Either-or

A trait that seems to be steeped in the human brain is “either-or” thinking. I was reminded of this when numerous university campuses ended this spring semester not with calm graduation celebrations but with protests about the war in Gaza. The majority of student protesters is decrying the treatment of Palestinians in Gaza at the…

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When Small Is Bigger

Although I’d been invited, once I retired as a professor, to march with my colleagues at Franklin College’s commencement, I hadn’t done so for the past few years because of COVID-19. But this year, I robed up and joined the faculty, staff, and students for this yearly celebration. The experience was surreal because I knew…

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It’s All Connected

“It’s all connected.” That’s a sentence we hear frequently, but what is the “it” that the sentence refers to? The connection a friend of mine made recently is one linking undocumented workers at our borders, failed countries to our south, and climate change. That might sound like a stretch, but my friend made a good…

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Inspired By Lincoln

I consider myself fortunate to have lived part of my youth in Springfield, Illinois. Out of my grade-school window, I could see the old courthouse where Abraham Lincoln practiced law before going into politics. When family and friends came to visit, we often took them to see Lincoln’s home or his grave. One of my…

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A Thank You, Not a Goodbye

Being in my mid-seventies, I am facing what everyone my age faces—the increasing number of my close friends dying. The past few years have been particularly marked by grief. Some of my friends died after long illnesses; others died suddenly. It is common to describe all these deaths as “losses,” and, of course, there is…

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PLAY BALL

Perhaps we all have thought at one time or another, “If I have to make another decision, my head is going to explode.” It is true that we can become overwhelmed and worn down when we are faced with one decision after another. Taking a nap can be a good response when the “decider” part…

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Pursuing the Good Life

Once students wrestle with these thinkers, they realize that the secret of living a moral life will never be found on a poster or bumper sticker. Investigating the moral life takes time and effort, and then committing to live morally is the work of a lifetime. Focusing on the moral life—what is it and one…

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The Art Of War

What images come to mind with the word “war?” For much of human history, artists working for pharaohs, emperors, kings, queens, sultans, and tsars portrayed war, especially victorious battles, as glorious moments in history. However, much of how war has been portrayed changed with the advent of photography. Even when viewed today, early wartime photography…

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