Showing posts from September, 2019

Cultivating virtue

Virtue does not magically appear in a person. Virtue is excellence intentionally cultivated through developing a particular habit or set of habits, e.g., integrity, truth telling, or courage. Former Navy Seal and bestselling author Eric Greitens in Resilience: Hard-Won Wisdom for Living a Better Life (Buena Vista, VA: Mariner Books, 2016) identifies five variables that go into training of any kind: frequency, intensity, duration, recovery, and reflection. Athletes, musicians, and others who have developed an excellence will appreciate the importance of each of the five variables: Frequency is important because we learn through repetition. Our bodies and minds and spirits need to adapt between each practice. Intensity is important because we grow only when we push ourselves beyond the boundaries of our past experiences. Duration is important because we need to train as long as necessary for our bodies, minds, and spirits to adapt to our work. Recovery is important be

Justice and jury duty

Several weeks ago, the State of Hawaii selected me for jury duty. After three days spent waiting and observed, I, along with fifty plus other jurors, was dismissed. The jury had been empaneled without requiring our services. The process evoked several musings. First, the number of persons in the jury pool who expressed their displeasure with being called to serve disturbed me. Juries constitute a vital check on the power of prosecutors and the judiciary. Without juries of citizens – one’s peers – the criminal justice would become the exclusive domain of professionals. Invariably, systems relegated to professionals tend over time to abuse their power. They may opt for shortcuts to expedite outcomes, including infringing upon individual rights. This well-intentioned infringement is amply documented in the pressure on prosecutors and public defenders to plea bargain as frequently as possible to avoid the costs and time jury trials entail. In short, occasionally serving on a jury

With whom will you dine?

A man “organized a dinner at his church to raise money for famine relief in Sudan. About 80 people signed up to come. He had tables set for various-sized groups – as small as six, as large as 15. People came in and took seats at random. Then the servers came out. The smallest tables were served first. They received an abundance of rich, sauce-laden food, hot, tender, tasty. The servers were polite, attentive, quick to bring more food at the slightest indication that it was running low. They were quick to do the guests’ bidding, and usually anticipated their wishes. “Next, some of the larger tables were served. Theirs was a sparse, messy, bland meal. The few dishes were brought out in no particular order. The servers were curt and hurried. There were no seconds. “Two of the largest tables were served second to last – after the few guests at the first tables had already had all they could eat and their dinner plates, piled with uneaten food, were whisked away and replaced with

The Crash is Coming

A friend sent me this email which links to the Crusty Old Dean bewailing the continuing numerical decline of The Episcopal Church (TEC): The Crusty Old Dean is at it again: Most of what he writes, makes sense to me. But until at least 20% of the TEC power structure agrees with his ideas, nothing will happen. I say 20% because it’s the minimum for voices dissenting from the status quo to compel attention to their views. Of course, there is a gap in time between 20% and 50.1% but we have to start somewhere. In response, I wrote that I’m becoming increasingly pessimistic about Christianity in general and the Episcopal Church in particular: ·        The quality of leadership continues to decline, a decline compounded by some dioceses creating local alternatives to seminary (my anecdotal assessment); ·        There appears to be no increase in the number of congregations that are actually growing;