• Fred's Blog

    Love & Duty

      As you walk down the hall to my office and look up to the right you will see a sign that says "Do what you love and you will never work a day in your life."  I put it there for a couple of reasons.  First to remind me how much I love what I do – and how little I like jobs.  Second ” because I seem to have more than a few people drop by and disclose they are not doing what they love. I like to have them get a little foretaste of what I am most likely to say before we are finished. I've probably…

  • Fred's Blog

    Can We All Get Along?

    Rodney King died recently and of course his most famous line was out of the riots that followed his beating and arrest. "People I just want to say you know can we all get along? Can we get along?"  While that line has been comic fare for years ” I ask myself that question all the time.  I don't like conflict or confrontation and living in the midst of tension drains me. While some like the action of Israel conquering the land of Canaan” I like the verse that goes "Then the land had rest from war."  That is exactly how I would have things end.  Happily ever after and everyone getting along.  Unfortunately that's not…

  • Fred's Blog

    A Terrible Comfort

    I received a call today from a friend with whom I’ve not spoken in a couple of years.  He has brain cancer and we were talking about the struggle.  He told me about a time last year when he thought he was going to simply give up and die because of all the complications and stress on him and his family.  I asked him why he didn’t give up and his response was a long pause and then “The presence of God.”  I heard the exact same response from another friend with cancer two days ago when I asked him what was keeping him afloat.  Time and again I have…

  • Fred's Blog

    Road Trip

    When the girls were young, I took them on road trips over the Father’s Day weekend. We never made plans. We just headed out in a direction they chose and stopped when we got somewhere interesting. One year, we wound up in Natchez, Mississippi. What the girls forgot was how much I love history and they ended up with me on a double-decker bus tour seeing all the homes and getting a feel for the history of Natchez. I loved learning how it developed from a small huddle of tents on a riverbank in the 1700s to become by 1850 the home of fully half the millionaires in the United States. As…

  • Fred's Blog

    The Rocking-Horse Winner

      In his short story “The Rocking-Horse Winner” published in 1926 D.H. Lawrence describes a young Englishwoman who “has no luck”.  Though she and her husband have expensive tastes neither of them separately or together are able to stay out of the debt necessary to maintain their lifestyle.  They are preoccupied by a sense of failure and as a result the house is permeated by an inaudible but palpable anxiety about the lack of enough money. “And so the house came to be haunted by the unspoken phrase: There must be more money! There must be more money! The children could hear it all the time though nobody said it aloud. They…

  • Fred's Blog

    The Double Lie

    When I was a student at Harvard Divinity one of the most popular stories was one explaining the reason for the fracture in the prominent nose of Paul Tillich’s death mask.  According to the legend the librarian needed a door stop and none being available she took the mask off the wall lodged the nose under the edge of the door and it broke off clean.  We loved that story and told it to all the new students.  Of course, none of it was true.  There was no death mask of Paul Tillich and no librarian.  It was such a great example of the power of a double lie to…

  • Fred's Blog

    Che

      If you go to Cuba today the single most obvious image is that of Che Guevera.  While he has been dead for 45 years an industry has grown up around that single photo.  He more than any other embodies and perpetuates the revolution.   While most of the countries I’ve visited have portraits and posters of the current leaders (especially dictators) plastered on buildings or hung in offices I saw two public pictures of Fidel and not a single picture of Raul.  However fashion photographer Alberto Che’s image has a quality that allows it to signify anything to anyone and most everything to everyone.  Whatever a person wants to see…

  • Fred's Blog

    China in Cuba

      On May 18-24 a group of 15 Gathering participants flew to Cuba.  Most of us had never been and were curious about what is going on with the church there.  All of us were surprised by what we learned and experienced.  I don’t want to write a full report but would like to focus a couple of blogs on some of the highlights. The influence of China has almost replaced the subsidy of the Soviet Union.  I use those words carefully because China is not subsidizing.  It is in a trading relationship with Cuba.  Still as a result of seeing China’s operating pattern in Africa and other places they…