An Ancient Christian Epitaph

Here rests C. Pompeius Trimalchio Maecenatianus. The rank of sexvir was given him in absentia. While he could have been a member of all the clubs in Rome, nevertheless he didn’t want to. Pious, strong, faithful, he rose from little, left behind three hundred sesterces, and never listened to a philosopher.

Favorite Bad Amazon Review

This is now my favorite 1-star book review on Amazon. It’s a review of R For Dummies, a book on the R statistics programing language:

If you’re looking for a book to explain the letter “R” to you, keep looking, this isn’t it.

I hope that person eventually found what they needed.

The Body Just Quits

We left Accra, Ghana at 2300 last Saturday night. After thirty hours of traveling, we arrived in Oklahoma City. Monday night, I had to go visit my father at his hospital. Tuesday and Wednesday, I taught a Bible study on forgiveness at First Baptist Church, Sparks, OK. Thursday night, I had my three hour political philosophy class. Finally, on Friday, I came down with a stomach bug, for which I should be thankful — I went to bed and slept for eighteen hours.

New Friends

We met some very interesting people during our stay at the Ullikana Inn in Bar Harbor, Maine. There were two couples there that, generally with some other couples, return every year. Before dinner, everyone met for some refreshments, during which they told about their usual evening activity at the inn. Evidently, the first time that the couples had been at the inn together, they found themselves in that room making the sort of small talk that people do when they don’t really know each other. Then, one asked, “What should we talk about?” Another answered, “How about what happens to you when you die.”

After telling us this, one turned to me and said, “You bring the topic this evening. The only rule is that it has to be controversial.” Given that the Slender Man violence had been in the news, I asked if artists and writers had moral obligations that should govern how and what kinds of art are made available to the public. It was a very lively conversation that lasted more than two hours. Friends from different backgrounds, all discussing a controversial topic, with no one taking offense—it was a wonderful time.

MH17 and Gaza

Today, we learn that 298 people were killed when Malaysian Airlines Flight 117 was shot down over Ukraine. News sources also report that Israel launched a ground operation in Gaza.

For all who live in fear, we pray.

Christ have mercy.

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving should be an opportunity for reflection, not for the gluttony and sloth that has become the norm. One of my favorite Thanksgiving traditions to share the latest world hunger statistics with my Introduction to Philosophy class. I then urge the students to spend the break reading Ron Sider’s book, Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger.

This past week reminded me of how fortunate I am to be able to share my time with both students and colleagues. May their time away from campus this week be filled with rest, joy, and a renewed sense of God’s gracious love.

Bob Feller (1918-2010)

Bob Feller, who pitched for the Cleveland Indians from 1936 to 1956, died Wednesday in Cleveland. In Alan Schwarz’s 2006 book, Once Upon a Game: Baseball’s Greatest Memories, he spoke of his decision to leave professional baseball after the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor and enlist in the United States Navy.

A lot of folks say that had I not missed those almost four seasons to World War II — during what was probably my physical prime — I might have had 370 or even 400 wins. But I have no regrets. None at all. I did what any American could and should do: serve his country in its time of need. The world’s time of need.

I knew then, and I know today, that winning World War II was the most important thing to happen to this country in the last 100 years. I’m just glad I was a part of it.