• Fred's Blog

    The Inconvenient Elder

    The creation of wealth often spurs an unexpected reaction in the next generation. During the 12th and early 13th centuries there was something of an explosion of both wealth and the formation of informal orders within the Catholic Church. One of the reasons for the founding of these monastic communities was that a generation of young people were turning away from the excesses of their wealthy parents. The son of one of those nouveau riche, Francis of Assisi, was raised as a spoiled and privileged young man. Imprisoned for a year for being on the losing side of a war with a rival city, his friends noticed a change. He found a little abandoned…

  • Fred's Blog

    Is God Out to Lunch?

    Is God Out to Lunch? Toward the end of Bryan Stevenson’s book, Just Mercy, he writes of a time at the close of a difficult case that he returns to his law office discouraged and wearied by the fight for justice for a wrongly condemned person facing execution: “The lack of compassion I witnessed every day had finally exhausted me. I looked around my crowded office, at the stacks of the records and papers, each filled with tragic stories, and I suddenly didn’t want to be surrounded by all this anguish and misery. As I sat there, I thought myself a fool for having tried to fix situations that were…

  • Fred's Blog

    I Am Your Worst Nightmare

    I turned 70 in July – as did 3 million others born in 1946. That means I can start collecting all the good stuff owed to me – like deeper senior discounts, Medicare, full Social Security benefits, people giving me their seats on the subway and getting my luggage into the overhead bins on planes. I’m the stereotypical Boomer in that I demonstrated against the Vietnam war (my draft number was actually #1), grew my hair long, owned and operated a coffee house for a short time, and demanded everything in my world be changed to accommodate me. I was strident, spoiled, obnoxious and shouted more than I listened. Every…

  • Fred's Blog

    Lost and Found

    [vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text] Early on the morning of July 15, 2005, a young man stepped over the guard rail and stood on the edge of the Cold Spring Bridge in Santa Barbara, California. He was spotted by Ken Rushing, a local deputy sheriff. Ken said at the time, “He gave me a thousand-mile stare. He basically looked right through me.” And then the young man leaned back and just faded away into the fog-cloaked gorge below. Andrew Popp was a 6’9″ basketball and volleyball star who had recently graduated from San Marcos High School. He was a fine athlete and excellent student. Prominent universities were pursuing him, and his future was, seemingly, bright.…

  • Fred's Blog

    Cast All Your Cares

    Every creative person I know has something we call “the inner critic.” It is that voice inside your head that sabotages and undermines all your efforts with questions and demands like, “You are stupid. No one cares about this. You will fail so why try?” The inner critic is not the same thing as an overactive conscience. It is not even a moral guide. What most distinguishes the inner voice from a conscience or guide is its degrading, punishing quality. Its demeaning tone tends to increase our feelings of self-hatred instead of motivating us to change undesirable actions in a constructive manner. It is the part of us that is turned…