Monthly Archives: October 2023

Tricks, Treats, and Tombstones

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To listen to today’s reflection as a podcast, click here So why are cemeteries such scary places on the last day of October? Historians believe that Halloween is the semi-Christianized version of an ancient Celtic festival that spanned October 31 and November 1 called Samhain (pronounced SAW-win) which marked the beginning of winter. Celtic lore suggested that during Samhain the boundary between the world… Read more »

Future Hope

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To listen to today’s reflection as a podcast, click here According to a recent edition of Smithsonian Magazine, it “stands as the single most important piece of 20th century futurism.” The authors weren’t talking about Brave New World, 1984, The Hunger Games, Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, or one of Israeli historian’s Yuval Noah Harari’s hair-raising prognostications.  America’s most memorable glimpse into the future was… Read more »

Head Games

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To listen to today’s reflection as a podcast, click here It was a strange interview. A young man, hoping to serve as the naturalist on the 1831 voyage of the H.M.S. Beagle as it surveyed the coastline of South America, sat before British Captain Robert FitzRoy. FitzRoy was impressed.  This candidate seemed both bright and congenial.  But something was wrong.  It was the young… Read more »

Smarter, Faster, Better

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To listen to today’s reflection as a podcast, click here “Efficiency is the hope of democracy.”  That was the gospel according to Frederick Winslow Taylor, the founder of the Scientific Management movement that swept America early in the 20th century. Taylor was absolutely convinced that America could work smarter, better, and faster.  And he was just the man who could make it happen. In his… Read more »

Behind the Mask

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To listen to today’s reflection as a podcast, click here In The Princess Bride, Westley, the humble Farm Boy, returns to reclaim Buttercup, his true love. But he no longer looks like Farm Boy.  He is wearing a black mask and introduces himself as the Dread Pirate Roberts.  In short order, however, we learn that Westley is not the real Dread Pirate Roberts.  He’s… Read more »

Four Minutes and 21 Seconds

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To listen to today’s reflection as a podcast, click here When the animated film Up arrived in theaters in 2009, audience members expected to be enchanted by Pixar’s movie magic. What they didn’t expect was one of the most poignant depictions of marriage ever seen on the big screen. It lasts four minutes and 21 seconds.  No words are spoken.  No words need to… Read more »

The Self-Esteem Dream

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To listen to today’s reflection as a podcast, click here Sociologist Jean Twenge recalls the moment about 20 years ago when her nephew received a trophy. At two feet tall, it was pretty spectacular.  Three words were prominently displayed: Excellence in Participation.  In her book Generations, Twenge charts the post-World War II birth of an American cultural revolution – the notion that children will… Read more »

God’s Exchange Policy

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To listen to today’s reflection as a podcast, click here In the summer of 1995, 26-year-old Cheryl Strayed solo hiked 1,100 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail. The PCT traverses some of America’s most daunting wilderness areas.  Cheryl strode from the Mohave Desert through the Sierra Nevada Mountains to the Cascades of the Pacific Northwest. Her adventures are documented in her best-selling memoir Wild:… Read more »

Growth That Lasts

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To listen to today’s reflection as a podcast, click here There’s no such thing as instant landscaping.  But the Bradford pear sure seemed like an exception.     This fast-growing tree with lush green leaves – native to Vietnam and China – was introduced to the United States in the 1960s.  Lady Bird Johnson, the wife of then-President LBJ, was widely acclaimed as an environmental… Read more »


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To listen to today’s reflection as a podcast, click here Halloween is our annual reminder that there sure are a lot of M&M’s in the world.  Although the powers-that-be are reticent to share specific numbers, it’s conservatively estimated that at least 400 million multi-colored, candy-coated chocolate buttons emerge from Mars Inc. factories every day. M&M’s were a wartime invention.  In 1941, Forrest Mars Sr…. Read more »