(Christian Week - March 12, 2014) KAMPALA, UGANDA ✦ By now you’ve heard plenty about Uganda’s new toughened laws on homosexuality, the news that spread to the West with the fanfare of a dark sporting event. Even short of jail—terms range from seven years to life—it’s a new day of survival in a horrible state-sanctioned chill. Several weeks in, like so many things in developing nations, it’s hard to know all that’s happening. Was that murder really a robbery gone bad? And that street beating? Why did she really lose her job? Many things simply don’t make the news here in Uganda.
(Christian Week - February 2014) KAMPALA, UGANDA ✦ If you’re too busy to read this, just ignore it. I mean, really, I understand. We’re well into 2014 and there’s some serious new clinking and clanking that likely needs your attention. Yes, in our brave new distracted world, the one that never really turns off anymore, (I was recently in a funeral in Uganda where the cell phones rang and rang and rang), it’s a fresh year to slip further into it, this new place where it’s hard to know what – and who -- is real.
(Christian Week - December 2013) DAEJON, SOUTH KOREA ✦ It was on the tenth floor café of a mega-church of 10,000 in this South Korean city, beside a floor-to-ceiling window, where a young man greeted me with a “sir,” and oh, by the way, did I have a word for him, any nugget, anything to help his future? He knew I was involved with a missions’ conference some floors below and his spirit was so genuine – this is the beauty of Korean culture – that I was and wasn’t surprised when he asked particularly what I thought “success” was.
(Christian Week - October 2013) KAMPALA, UGANDA ✦ The thing about marijuana is that it stinks up the joint and brings images of barefoot hippies and stoner movies and general rebellion, none of which is very attractive to the clean-cut religious crowd. The sorry thief on the cross? A pot smoker no doubt. Probably a dealer. But the times, they are a changin’.
(Christian Week - August 2013) HAMILTON, CANADA ✦ It was a summer Sunday and communion was finished and so was the sermon and they stood, both of them, old and gray and a little stooped. And we all clapped for some time to say 'congratulations' and 'thank you,' too. This, in a Hamilton church, a moment to show that even after 60 years of marriage you can still stand as man and wife and smile at the world, and smile with the sort of lines that show old things like truth all over your face. It's something to think about as marriage hits hard times.
(Christian Week - June 2013) KAMPALA, UGANDA ✦ The Lord is my Shepherd, the Psalmist wrote, and I lack no good thing. The waters are still and I’m not afraid. How can I be? My cup overflows with goodness and mercy. Even when nothing goes my way and hell itself threatens, I’m at peace with myself and the world. I am, for lack of better words, happy. Of course, we’re not happy. Not really. This is the very nature of it, this life, this nagging feeling that there has to be more. We’re created in the depth of our cells to feel this uneasy yearning, because this world, after all, is not the end, not our real home as much as a fleeting shadowland.
(Christian Week - April 2013) KAMPALA, UGANDA ✦ Jesus wept. Not long before he set his face like flint toward Jerusalem and the cross, he wept. Why? Surely he knew how it would all end, how he'd resurrect Lazarus, who lay nearby so cold and dead; how this miracle would foreshadow his own final triumph over the grave. Was he playing his audience? It's a scene with at least some strangeness. Here's another.
(Christian Week - February 2013) KAMPALA, UGANDA ✦ There was an old man with a secret. And there was a police cruiser and fire truck and ambulance, large with red lights in the darkness in front of the man’s house. And my children held my hand and looked up and asked me questions. What could I say?