Newspaper columns

Moving beyond sentimentality

I once read that if you’re a mother then you have no more claim on humanity than anyone else. I think there’s something to it. Otherwise we’d just idealize motherhood or idolize mothers. I’m also not one of those people who sees a miracle around every corner. But I believe there are some

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Democracy is a trust to constantly work on, or lose

It was one of those inviting spring days and I said, “Welcome to another day in paradise,” to a carpenter friend who was working out front while the sun shone and while we both knew full-well that paradise will be something else entirely. But, you know, on Earth we take what we can get.

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A fine imagination can save your life

I’m no expert, but I’ve been thinking about problems lately. And children. And their stories. You know, there’s that loveable bear, Pooh, exploring the Hundred Acre Wood. And Peter, the boy who never grew up but learned to fly. Or that tiny spider, Charlotte, determined to save her dear

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The truth about truth

Today, for Easter, it’s a good day to consider Pontius Pilate. History tells us that 2000 years ago, under Tiberius Caesar, Pilate was Rome’s fifth governor in Judea, in ancient Israel, the Roman official who sent Christ to his crucifixion. Somewhere nearby was Pilate’s wife who, after a troubling dream, reportedly warned her

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Are we hurting our kids by overprotecting them?

Here’s a story to get us thinking about health and happiness. Boy has serious stomach pain. Mom brings to clinic. Boy checks out fine, but routine mental health screening asks him these questions. “In the last few weeks have you wished you were dead? Have you thought you or your family

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Hijacked faith fuels Trump

An American I know once told me that if your house is on fire then you don’t care much about a firefighter’s faults. You only care that they’ve arrived to put the fire out. Then she explained how Donald Trump was the only firefighter in town who could save America from the fire of itself. I wonder what Francis of Assisi would say.

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It takes courage to get through this life

I know an African, a long-time family friend from Uganda, named Q. He was born in a house with a dirt floor in a closet normally storing things like suitcases. He told me while we drove to Entebbe’s airport. “Mother didn’t want to get other parts of the house dirty,” he said.

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Taking life one day at a time under the African sun

There’s a red dirt road in front of the university guest house where I sometimes sit, in the doorway, barefooted. I watch the African sunrise. And the monkeys. I listen to the birds. Or watch children pass by. They remind me of Hannah, our youngest.

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