The Importance of Hope


When I teach the period of Soviet history between Khrushchev’s retirement and 1985 or so, I tend to sum it up as grey. Brezhnev, Andropov, their successors kept watch over a grey country where concrete was the building material of choice, where the snow turned grey in the cities, where conditions slowly grew worse as things went unrepaired or were patched and mended but not really replaced. Individuals fared better, or worse, and had their own stories with color and joy, but as a collective whole? Grey.

Why grey? I’d argue that grey is what is left when hope goes away. Continue reading

Musings from the Driver’s Seat

How long can a gyre in the middle of the intersection last? A chunk of firewood sat in the middle of the intersection for six months before someone finally stopped and removed it. It sort of swirled around and around, but never moved, like a patch of stagnant water or air. I saw it twice a day for months and the log sat there, despite it being the crossing of a major road and a state highway. Sand joined the log in winter, forming a little pale swirl in the middle of the road, but never went anywhere until early April, when the log and its surrounding detritus disappeared. The debris from a minor wreck have taken their place. Continue reading

Live Forever? Oh Heck No

Mom and Dad Red were watching a documentary about the Amur River the other night. I was listening with half an ear, trying not to add commentary, and reading a book about a different Chinese river. One of the commercials was an advertisement for a program about what if humans could eliminate all the things that keep us from having physical immortality. My first reaction was to mutter, “I’ve read that book. It was depressing.” My second was to recoil from the mindset that would find physical immortality so desirable. Because to me it suggests a world that gives up on the idea of an eternity, and focuses on the material alone. We’ve seen that. It gets ugly, very quickly. Continue reading

What Purpose Government?

Welcome Instapundit Readers! thanks for Stopping by.

After reading the news yesterday about the French students and others who have decided to protest the presidential election no matter who wins, I started thinking about why. Granted, these are people who do not like any of their options in the run-off, but when you look at the protests and “protests” in France and in the United States, their arguments come down to one thing: the government is not doing what they believe it should.

In other words: what is the duty of government? What is its overarching purpose? Continue reading

The Time I Didn’t

A minister I like has a saying that you need to be very careful about distinguishing the promptings of the Holy Spirit from the churnings of indigestion. I’m not certain if it is something from the Divine, or my family’s touch of Second Sight, or what, but there are times when I’ve gotten a very strong sense from outside of myself that I really, really do not want to do something or go somewhere, or take a certain route at that very moment. And there have been times when I’ve been pushed by that same sense to do something, usually something I’m not comfortable about but that turns out for the best. But there was one time I didn’t do what I was moved to do.

I had not thought about it for many years, until I was driving home from worship and turned on the radio. It was the last two verses of “Walking in Memphis.” I’m not sure why that took my memory back to that concert, unless it was because the narrator talks about going to a club and being asked to perform. The lady pianist “asked ‘Are you a Christian, Child’ and I said, ‘Ma’am, I am tonight’!” Continue reading

Yom HaShoah

Today, at sundown, begins Yom HaShoah. It is the day set aside on the Jewish calendar to remember the Shoah, the Holocaust. The thing “the world” swore would never happen again, a promise that failed to take into account human tribalism and the excuses that history provides to people who want to do evil acts in the name of “righting past wrongs.” Continue reading

Choral Stillness

After a concert, or an especially good rehearsal, I find I can’t listen to other music for several hours. Certain compositions and performances set up a resonance inside me, for lack of a better word, echoing and reverberating. A stillness lingers, a song-shaped silence that allows nothing to disturb it. To turn on the radio in the car seems, not a sacrilege, but something almost as unwanted. Continue reading