Newspaper columns

2019 April

Life’s rich comedy and God in unexpected places

2019-04-20T16:00:20-04:00April 20th, 2019|Categories: Newspaper columns|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

The comedy of life, the absolute comedy, is that the God of this weekend, the one who walked and slept and bled and cried and, sure, laughed among us, is still found in the most unexpected places. This comedy is different than the comedy of, say, Saturday Night Live.

2019 April

If you die in space, are you alone?

2019-04-09T10:00:47-04:00April 6th, 2019|Categories: Hamilton Spectator|Tags: , , |2 Comments

It was a question after dinner. The kids asked me. “So, Dards, if it were possible, would you rather know exactly how you’ll die, or when you’ll die?”“Hmm,” I said. (Always a good response for such questions.) “I don’t know.” (Even better.) What I know is that, like many others, I’d rather not die alone. Imagine dying alone

2019 March

Hey, let’s talk about sex!

2019-04-08T21:23:51-04:00March 23rd, 2019|Categories: Hamilton Spectator, Newspaper columns|Tags: , , , , |6 Comments

In a few days the children’s mother and I are at a marriage retreat. It’s our first since I can’t remember when. The invitation, by fluke, came a day after I was propositioned to have an affair. Now, in this space, I don’t talk much about it, sex and all. This is because Mennonites didn’t even know what sex was until 1985,

2019 March

Now I lay me down to sleep …

2019-03-27T11:02:57-04:00March 9th, 2019|Categories: Hamilton Spectator|Tags: , , |0 Comments

The beauty of sleep is that you don’t need to think about it. Thinking just gummies it all up. No, you simply relax. You let go. You lay it down, all the cares of the day and all the cares of the world.You lay yourself down and surrender to what’s larger than yourself: the night. Even a child can do it.

2019 March

The strange charm of Captain Amon and Hockey Uganda

2019-03-27T10:22:33-04:00March 2nd, 2019|Categories: Hamilton Spectator, Newspaper columns|Tags: , |7 Comments

The charm, the absolute charm, of Captain Amon is that he’ll appear at your doorstep in East Africa at the most inopportune times.You’ll be having a bite to eat, or a nap, or a shower, and there it is, the knock on your guesthouse door. “Mr. Thom? Hello, Mr. Thom? Mr. Thom. Are you there?

2019 February

The fragrance of (my) life

2019-02-16T07:58:28-04:00February 9th, 2019|Categories: Hamilton Spectator, Newspaper columns|Tags: , , , , |9 Comments

So I'm in the middle of Africa dining with a colleague and he declares, "That's great news about Jean. Congratulations!" Out comes his phone and all the details and I'm in the dark and feeling rather sheepish about it. My bride, the children's mother, in her natural humility, hadn't told me of her recent recognition as a Canadian

2019 February

Learning at the school of life

2019-02-01T17:15:56-04:00February 2nd, 2019|Categories: Hamilton Spectator|Tags: , , , |4 Comments

Andrew Thomas is the little boy who smiled and played with my hands the first time I met him outside the university guesthouse where, these days, I have my meals. There, from your side of the ocean, my own children, along with their mother, watched and said hello to Andrew through a video screen.

2019 January

Servant-leadership is vital for UCU’s ongoing success

2019-03-27T10:32:26-04:00January 28th, 2019|Categories: Newspaper columns, The Standard|Tags: , , |0 Comments

“We are suffering. We are all suffering terribly.”This is what she said. I could see it in her face. Others told me the same. It was here at UCU. I listened. I was saddened. Disturbed. My heart broke. This is not how it was meant to go. Nobody saw this coming.