I once worked with a man, we’ll call him Dave because that was his name, who rarely took responsibility for missed deadlines or miscommunication. He always had a reason why he struggled in his work and personal life. His “misses” were inevitably the fault of someone else: “They didn’t give me the right information.” “They made it impossible for me to do my job.” “They are terrible to work with.” “They are the reason why I’m late on this assignment.”

Lone Ranger and TonotoOddly enough, if something did go his way, no one else seemed to have a hand in it. He was a Lone Ranger who didn’t even need a Tonto.

Continue reading #Charlottesville

What’s The Plan?

IMG_20150622_213447I like to play chess. Unfortunately for me, I lose more often than I win.

In an effort to improve my win:loss ratio, I’ve tried to analyze my lack of success, and I’ve come to the conclusion that my losing streak is not due to a lack of awareness of the names of the chess pieces; I know a rook from a bishop, a pawn from a King. I understand their movement; up / down, back / forth, and that L-shaped thingy the horsey does. I even have a rudimentary knowledge of strategy; for instance, you should always try to win if possible.

However, as I’ve read and studied my technique (or lack thereof), I’ve come to understand that I’m missing a few key ingredients to becoming a successful chess champion. They were revelations to me but might come as no shock to you.

Continue reading What’s The Plan?

Biblical Karma

Those who shut their ears to the cries of the poor
    will be ignored in their own time of need. – Prov. 21:13 (NLT)

In his recent article in The Telegraph, writer Stephen King notes, “The Syrian refugee crisis may prove to be no more than a dress rehearsal for what may happen in coming decades.”

Hundreds of boats and rafts used by refugees to cross the Mediterranean in 2016 are stacked at the port / processing center of Pozzallo, Sicily.

The article goes on to predict a major shift in the world demographics as the population of Continental Africa explodes and ongoing civil war and a desire for a better life drives the human migratory patterns of the earth.

Continue reading Biblical Karma

Clubhouse Rules

We were refugees once, not so very long ago. We immigrated to this land in the 1600’s, as refugees of religious persecution, seeking the right to freely pursue our beliefs: A noble goal, for sure, but this refugee story is less than noble.

We sought freedom. We sought safety. We longed for a place to call our own. And soon we were no longer visitors. Soon we owned the clubhouse and we now could made the rules.

We expanded our reach and made our way across the land, driving the Native Americans ahead of us; either killing them systematically or forcing them to inhabit desolate wilderness and forsake their way of life.

Continue reading Clubhouse Rules

A Path to Peace

IMG_20161225_083039_349.jpgIt’s who we are. It’s a part of our DNA, our story, our very nature. Rather than finding peace, we go to war. Instead of seeking resolution, we raise objection. We choose conflict. We gravitate to the powerful. We are attracted to the brave and valiant rather over the diplomatic and level-headed.

War is as old as recorded history. Murder, even before that.

Continue reading A Path to Peace

A Long Winter

Typically, by this time of year, the number of refugees crossing the Mediterranean from the northern coast of Africa would have subsided. Rough waters brought on by winter winds and currents would decrease traffic on the sea. However this year, the rush of immigrants continues at an alarming pace, resulting in a higher number of dead and missing persons lost to the cold waters than ever before.

Continue reading A Long Winter

Grazie, Italia

Italian Laundry.jpg
Italian laundry hangs from a line in the city of Ragusa in Sicily as thousands of refugees enter through its port.

Italy has a long and wonderful history, an amazing culture, and unbelievable food. And in many ways, this place is just like home and these people are just like us. They wake up in the morning and feed the kids. They go to work. They pay their bills. They do their laundry. They nod to one another on the streets. They enjoy sports and cappuccino. In many ways, they are us.

And so, imagine a woman knocks on your door. She says she lives down the street. You don’t know her but she explains that her husband beat her last night and she needs to come in so he can’t find her and beat her again. What do you do? You bring her in, right? Perhaps you call for help or offer her some coffee while you wait. But you don’t tell her to get out and return to the situation that drove her into the streets…do you?

Now imagine if 10 women show up at your door and with tears in their eyes report that they escaped from a home just around the corner. They’d been held captive and abused for years. They fear for their lives and ask for the shelter of your home. You let them in the door, right? You don’t turn them away and say, “It isn’t my problem.”

While we can reassure ourselves that these stories are never going to happen to us, this is the unfortunate reality and terrible problem facing Italy each and every day.

It started small, I’m sure. A boat of 200 showed up on the horizon filled with men, women and children. Some were injured and told stories of war and crime. Others were fleeing abuse and injustice. Some are simply unable to tell their story, the shock is too real on their faces. Italy cannot put them back in the water and ask them to return; that would be inhumane. They cannot simply shift the responsibility to someone else. They take these refugees into their home. They offer them shelter. They do the right thing.

It isn’t easy but it is right.

But more boats came…and they still come. It is estimated that as many as 150,000 – 200,000 people a year have arrived on the shores of Sicily in the past three years alone and there is no end in sight.

Italy continues to go to work, do their laundry, and pay their bills. But now they must process these refugees, attempt to offer housing, food, shelter, and hope. It is an impossible job but they do it anyway.

Despite this terrible situation and the crazy bureaucracy that is the Italian government, I have to thank them for being willing to take in those at their doorstep. It isn’t convenient. It isn’t easy. While others say no, they continue to say yes. As other countries shut their boarders, Italy leaves its door open.

And so, from the bottom of my heart, Grazie, Italia. Grazie.

A Broken World, A Hurting France

The news accounts are grizzly. The video footage is shocking. The loss is tragic. The reasons are inexcusable.

Bastille Day celebrations.

Black Lives Matter marches.

Turkey political unrest.

Police shootings.

Hate crimes. Anger. Pain. Death. Darkness.

Each day the news brings accounts of violence of one against another. Every paper declares the injustice. Every network anchor looks into the camera with sincerity and tells the story of another horrifying moment in our nation’s collective story, our global community’s painful legacy.

We are unable to find a solution but we are able to point fingers of blame.

We have no answers, only excuses.

We can find no common ground, not even common enemies.

When will we ever learn? When will we begin the dialogue?