I walked through the cemetery today. I often do. It was me and the cold and the wet and my old umbrella. The umbrella is covered in deco of old newspaper headlines: the Jays won the World Series; Gorbachev was dismantling the USSR. My umbrella and I blew around like the news
(The UCU Standard - Monday, May 23, 2016) MUKONO, UGANDA ✦ It was in Canada and we were at a campy lakeside retreat, and it was a beautiful summer day and a gaggle of children were playing outside the large window near where we ate. My daughter, that is my adopted Ugandan daughter, Hannah, looked at me with a tear rolling down her cheek. I asked her what was the matter, and, looking down in shame, she said, “I’m the only black person here.”
(Christian Courier, October 12, 2015) MUKONO, UGANDA ✦ They’re out there, people who’d say that they don’t believe in hell any more than they believe in heaven, but you can never be sure what anyone really thinks about these sorts of questions because you can hardly expect anyone to be honest with you when they don’t know how to be honest with themselves. Your neighbour might say that it’s nothing but malarkey – heaven, hell, God, the devil, the entire lot of it (this is the 21st century, after all) – but he’d tell you that he doesn’t believe in gravity, yet his disbelief doesn’t run so deep that he’d actually step off a tall building.
(Christian Week - April 2015) MUKONO, UGANDA ✦ It’s easier to kiss a lamb than a lion, I suppose, even though I’ve personally never tried to kiss either. Even in Africa all these years, I’ve never been that close to a lion.
(The UCU Standard - March 19 - April 5, 2015) MUKONO, UGANDA ✦ As a boy I hoped for, and believed in, small and foolish things that at the time seemed big and sensible enough. Now I hope for things that are big and sensible enough to my children, even if I think they’re small and foolish to me.
(The Hamilton Spectator - Saturday, December 20, 2014) ISTANBUL, TURKEY ✦It was a Sunday, the first day of Advent, en route from Hamilton to my African home, when I toured the Old City here, a place where religions and cultures and empires have collided for centuries. This is when my guide for the day said what he did. I had asked him about some historic notes and holy relics in the Topkapi Palace Museum, items identified as thousands of years old from ancient Israel, but looking dubiously more modern and Ottoman-like, when he told me as plainly as if he was giving the weather report that, "It's all mythology anyway. Whatever you believe is true, that's the truth."
(Christian Week - December 2014) Today in the food court there was a piano. The pianist, wearing a red Santa hat (naturally), finished “Jingle Bells” through the dull roar of shoppers, their winter coats unzipped, hats aside, while they sat and talked and ate KFC or New York Fries or whatever they happened to have. Then a young woman, scarf thrown loosely over her shoulder, stood and put her cellphone to her ear. Strangely enough, she sang into the phone. And her voice, somehow, melodious and majestic, carried through the entire food court. Brows raised. Heads turned.
(UCU Standard - Monday, November 17, 2014) MUKONO, UGANDA ✦ It’s a risky move, of course, to open up your Sunday morning message to questions. You never know who might ask what. But this is what happened last Sunday. The minister who I listened to had a post-sermon question-and-answer session and a woman stepped forward with what they call a show-stopper. Her voice quivering, she asked rather plainly and desperately, “So just how do you get saved?”