Monthly Archives: October 2020

As We Forgive Our Debtors

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Which came first: the chicken or the egg? That famous question presents what is called a causality dilemma.  We know that all chickens are hatched from eggs, and that all chicken eggs are laid by chickens.  So which is the cause and which is the effect? Aristotle, writing four centuries before Christ, admitted he was stumped.  He concluded that the… Read more »

Forgive Us Our Debts

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I’ll never forget the day a man who had been attending our church for 20 years finally decided to become a member. What struck me most was his reason for waiting so long.  “All these years I hesitated to become a Christian because of the Lord’s Prayer.  Jesus tells us to forgive our debtors.  I figured that if I applied… Read more »

Daily Bread

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A feature film proved to be the ultimate recruiting tool for archaeology. Thousands of fans of Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) dreamed of becoming the next Indiana Jones – the fedora-wearing, bullwhip-cracking adventurer who fends off scheming Nazis, slithering snakes, and ancient curses to recover the world’s most priceless artifacts. Real-life archaeology is considerably less dramatic.  In 1897, two… Read more »

Thy Kingdom Come

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In 1967, when FBI agents closed in on James Robert Ringrose, one of America’s 10 Most Wanted criminals, he was ready. He presented them with a Get Out of Jail Free card from a Monopoly game.  Nice try.  But that’s not how it works.  Monopoly fans are well-acquainted with the orange card from the Chance pile and the yellow card… Read more »

Hallowed Be Thy Name

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When it comes to receiving meaningful names, some of us are winners.  Others are losers.  Then there’s the family with both a Winner and a Loser. In 1958 Robert Lane and his wife, who lived in public housing in Harlem, New York City, became parents of their sixth child.  Dad, in a joyful mood, decided to name his little boy… Read more »

From a Distance

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In 1985 Julie Gold, an administrative assistant who dabbled in songwriting, came up with lyrics and a melody that she thought sounded promising. None of the artists or record companies she contacted, however, thought it was worth recording.  A year later she asked “folkabilly” singer Nanci Griffith to assess whether her work had potential.  Griffith was so impressed that she… Read more »

Continental Divide

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A humble building known as the Abbot Pass Hut is one of the Western Hemisphere’s most intriguing structures. It was constructed 98 years ago as a shelter for mountaineers attempting to scale either Mount Victoria or Mount Lefroy, two of the higher peaks in Banff Provincial Park in Alberta, Canada.  The hut continues to serve as an overnight waystation for hikers… Read more »

The Healing Voice

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Maya Angelou’s life did not have a hopeful beginning. At the age of eight she was sexually abused and raped by her mother’s boyfriend.  Maya told her brother what had happened.  The boyfriend was apprehended.  Incredibly, he was jailed for only one day.  But four days after his release he was murdered, almost certainly by Maya’s uncles. The trauma of the rape now… Read more »

A Thousand Generations

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How much is a trillion? A trillion is the number one followed by 12 zeroes.  Mathematically, it represents a million millions or a thousand billions.  If you stack a trillion one-dollar bills on top of each other, the stack would be 68,000 miles high – one third of the way to the moon.  If you count off a trillion seconds, one at a… Read more »

You Need a Do-Over

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City Slickers is a film about three Manhattan men, lifelong friends, who are wrestling with the harrowing approach of middle age.  Together they head out West in the hope of finding adventure (and maybe even themselves) by participating in a cattle drive.  One of the characters, named Phil (played by Daniel Stern, wearing the white hat), has recently seen his… Read more »