Recent Posts

Two Tries for Small-Fries

When I went back to college after my mission, I decided to fill my Phys. Ed. requirements with a volleyball class. I had played the same game most Americans have played that we generously call volleyball, where the only thing more lacking than knowledge of the game is talent to play it. I remember my first volleyball experience being at a family reunion where the only consistent rule was “two tries for small fries,” meaning if a young player missed a serve, he got a second chance. I liked this rule, being a small fry at the time. In my teens I played in some more competitive, competent games, but never seriously. So I decided to take a beginner volleyball class. (more…)

America’s Religion of Wealth

In the New Testament, there are two occurrences of the word wealth: a silversmith of Ephesus said to his fellow idol-makers “. . . ye know that by this craft we have our wealth” (Acts 19:25); and from Paul to the Corinthians, “Let no man seek his own, but every man another’s wealth” (1 Cor 10:24). It is interesting to see these two statements juxtaposed onto America today. Our idol is wealth itself, the accumulation of which has become the American Dream. Whereas seeking another’s wealth, or the prosperity of another, is seen as anti-American. (more…)

Some questions for Sen. McCain

Sen. McCain,

1. Why was it necessary to suspend your campaign; can you not do two difficult things at once? The presidency is a tough job that will require you to juggle many important and urgent things at any given time; should we assume from your suspending your campaign that you cannot do this? We all understand prioritizing, but we feel that hearing your thoughts on foreign policy is a very high priority. (more…)

“The Summer of 1787: The Men Who Invented the Constitution” book review

Last week I finished a new book called The Summer of 1787: the Men Who Invented the Constitution by David O. Stewart. The author does a good job of weaving together vignettes of the Framers, notes on the contemporary situation, and the actual goings-on in the Convention. I came away with more knowledge, understanding, cynicism, hope, and respect. (more…)

McCain Sells Out

When Sarah Palin was chosen as Senator McCain’s v.p. candidate, I wondered why, with all the capable people in the pool of potential candidates, he would choose a novice governor from a small, solidly-red state. I think I have figured it out—and it’s ingenious. (more…)

“John Adams” book review

I just finished John Adams by David McCullough. What a fine rendering of a great, courageous, intelligent man! To begin with, the book is very well written and readable; McCullough does a great job of making a compelling story out of facts, quotes and dates.

But the treasure he uncovers for the readers is incredible. A little-known, one-term president squished between Washington and Jefferson comes to life as a giant of his time, at least equal to his presidential bookends. (more…)

George Orwell’s “Notes on Nationalism”

I recently read the essay “Notes On Nationalism” by George Orwell. Below are some of the more relevant passages, illuminating because of their applicability 60+ years later.

Orwell gives the name “nationalism” to an attitude or approach that he describes. It is beyond pride in one’s country or patriotism. It is a pathology that I thought was a rather recent invention. But judging from the statements below, it was abounding in his time also. He wrote this during WWII. And I think much of it correlates to a situation of war, because I see many of the attitudes he criticizes as having increased since September 11, 2001. (more…)

Great Balls of Fire

Ninth grade is not the easiest time in the average boy’s life. I say this just in case there is any above-average boy out there for whom ninth grade was spectacular. Suddenly, everything goes on your permanent record and your transcript, your voice is cracking, your skin is erupting, your body’s doing whatever it wants and never in the right proportion. I literally remember at 13 years old saying to myself, “this life thing is getting hard, but it’s got to get easier”—sucker! (more…)