Why the Peace Corps (and Mutual Understanding) Matters

The Republic of Korea or South Korea is special in that it is the only Peace Corps-recipient country to create its own similar agency (KOICA) and because we got there late when the poverty most Americans expect to see in places we send our volunteers was disappearing. They also have more Christian missionaries around the […]

The Spiritual Communist

It may seem strange to talk about spirituality and Chinese communism, but an article posted by a former colleague on LinkedIn recently got me thinking about my days as an economic officer in our embassy in Beijing more than 20 years ago. Back then I often hung out in a crowded, run-down “salon” bearing the […]

Anime and Neighborhood Soul

This past month, Peter Bartholomew, an old acquaintance of mine from my Peace Corps Korea days passed away suddenly. Peter was no ordinary guy, as the attached obituary by Andrew Salmon attests:   Asia Times:  Guardian of Korean Heritage Passes.  It’s long, but very juicy and worth reading, particularly the passage about fights between developers […]

Buddhism Enlightenment Day

Buddhist holidays are a little bit confusing because different traditions recognize different dates, but… The biggest and most important holiday celebrated by all Buddhist schools is called Vesak (Vesakha), along with some other local names. All Buddhist schools agree it’s the Buddha’s birthday.  Two out of the three major lineages recognize it as the Buddha’s […]

A Pandemic of Body-Shaming

During the most locked-down parts of the pandemic, I didn’t write a book, start a new hobby or make bread. I ate a lot of carbs, sewed some masks, and went on a months-long internet deep dive into historical fashion.  To help me face long days of pandemic ministry, the stress of tech problems, and […]

Our Metamorphosis

Cracking the chrysalis is one stage in our own metamorphosis, a Greek word that means transformation.  It feels like we each wrapped ourselves in a cocoon about March of 2020.  We had no idea what was ahead of us.  I wonder when a caterpillar wraps itself in cozy silk, if it understands that the silk is […]

The Two Kens: African American Leadership in Corporate America

A recent article in the Washington Post literally struck home for me. “Two Kens” are featured in an article on the front page of the May 5, 2021 Washington Post: How two Black CEOs got corporate America to pay attention to voting rights.  The article notes in in passing that one of them, Ken Chenault, […]

Eid-al-Fitr

On May 13th, we Muslims will be celebrating our holiday called Eid-al-Fitr.  Eid al-Fitr, also called the “Festival of Breaking the Fast” or Lesser Eid, is a religious holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide that marks the end of the month-long dawn-to-sunset fasting of Ramadan. This religious Eid spans the first three days of the month […]

Thoughts about the Future of Churches/Synagogues/Mosques and Religious Freedom in America

Just as we got ready for Passover, Easter, Ramadan and Norwuz, the Gallup organization raised eyebrows finding that fewer than half of Americans now belong to a house of worship, a downward trend that has persisted for some time. Gallup: Fewer than half of Americans belong to a church or other house of worship (religionnews.com)  […]

Why I am getting the Covid-19 Vaccination

Next week, I will be getting my second Pfizer vaccination shot.  Other than a sore arm for twenty-four hours (that proved to me something actually happened) I suffered no ill effects from the first shot.  I know there are people who are hesitating and even refusing to get vaccinated against Covid-19, and that they have […]