Call It What It Is – Sin

The reports these past few weeks regarding sexual abuse by Church officials and the culture of cover-up to protect the Church has hit many of us hard as we try to imagine the pain and suffering that victims and their families have experienced. I am cautious to call for prayers and outreach for the people whose lives have been so hurt, because I feel as if it seems to be such a limited response. Is this really all we can do? While looking for appropriate responses, I am also compelled to say, “Brace yourself, there is probably more that will… Read More

Recognize the Goodness – A Lenten Letter to Catholic Dukies

I wonder if you realize the difference you are making? I wonder if you appreciate how even amidst your trials and struggles, that the Holy Spirit is at work in you? I wish you could see you from my perspective. I wish you could hear and see what I see. On Ash Wednesday I asked all Duke Catholics to write down your Lenten commitment. While we have placed that stack of cards on the altar for the last 2 Sundays for Mass (and will continue to do that through Easter), I was able to first look through them and read… Read More

An Olympic Lent

It may be fortuitous that the Winter Olympics and Lent begin around the same time. Two seasons where challenge and struggle are melded together for a higher purpose give each an added bonus. Lent can take from the Olympics the evidence that practice makes perfect as well as a never give up attitude. The Olympics can take from Lent that higher purpose can motivate us to overcome adversity far more than accolades that will fade and tarnish. But it is what is unseen in preparation that really tells the tale in the success of these two seasons. We watch Olympic… Read More

Pay me now, or pay me later

Do you budget well? Do you budget at all? As the day draws nearer for the prospect of another threat of government shutdown, it is interesting to consider how it is that not only our government deals with fiscal reality, but also how we deal with it. The United States government has functioned for a number of years now without a budget, preferring instead to opt for Continuing Resolutions (CRs) that keep the machine running. Budgets are hard to devise and even harder to live by. They require honest conversations about wants and needs. They assume mutual respect and a… Read More

Rough Week

I sat through the Duke vs. UVA men’s basketball game yesterday and could barely breathe. The second half in particular was a back and forth affair that was so close, so tight, that it was almost hard to enjoy. But a great game is always enjoyable even when my team comes out on the wrong side of the score. Seeing competitors going back and forth as they push themselves to the edges of their capacity is exhilarating. I wonder if we are willing to examine the areas of our lives that have yet to experience that kind of energy. Maybe… Read More

Tent City

And so it begins again.  What was last week at this time just a strip of Bermuda grass next to Cameron Indoor Stadium, is today a small tent city.  Yes, for the umpteenth time, the students of Duke have claimed their spots in the hopes of snagging even better real estate inside the Cameron Cathedral for the Duke vs. UNC home Men’s Basketball game in early March.  “A tradition unlike any other”, to steal a phrase from another southern grassy plot 2 states south, the carrying out of this ritual is akin to running a marathon or climbing Kilimanjaro. These… Read More

The Good Bye Party

Jesus’ work is complete; it is time to return to his Father.  In any going away party there is usually the reflections on the good times shared in the past, as well as the promise to stay in touch moving forward.  But often, we realize that the relationship will not be the same.  It will be difficult to keep the relationship at the same level when we may not see each other for some time.  It is this dynamic that Jesus is so aware of in this climactic moment of his public ministry.  But his plan for the future of… Read More

A God of Great Promise

So often people make demands upon us: what is expected to be a good friend; a good daughter or son; a good teammate; a good lab partner; a good roommate? Knowing what the expectations are is helpful, but too often we lack the desire to carry them out. We sometimes feel that the expectations do more for the other than they do for us. As selfless as we might want to be – it can be hard to believe that living for others will actually allow us in some way to flourish. Except in the case of Jesus. Knowing that… Read More

Getting In

I am surrounded by people who are applying to get in.  Not only did they apply to get into Duke, but they are applying for internships and summer jobs, for work study positions and Greek life, for jobs and for financial aid.  There are constant applications to get it, as if our entire life is spent on the outside.  Who are the gatekeepers, regulating who gets in and who doesn’t in most of life.  Aren’t these the people to really know?  Or should we look more closely at the gate itself.  What is the structure of the small aperture that… Read More

Dealing with Disappointment

It is so hard to acknowledge disappointment. It comes in many forms: friends who have let us down; experiences that weren’t up to what we had imagined; relationships that fizzled; even a longed for meal that just doesn’t live up to the hype. In any of these situations, we usually don’t confront the person or the situation with our disappointment. Rather we sulk on our own or share the disillusionment with a close friend. I thought this was it, but it wasn’t. Imagine inadvertently sharing our cynicism with the very person who disappoints! This is the reality of these two… Read More