A blind spot…

At a retreat this past weekend our students put on a few skits, one of which was a hilarious lampoon of the Duke Catholic Center staff.  It was great to see their creativity as well as their spot on depictions of our foibles.  If we can’t laugh at ourselves, who can we laugh at?  I felt bad for the students however, some of whom came around somewhat sheepishly later that night to make sure that I wasn’t mad at having been the brunt of some good jokes.  It was all good, but I guess in those moments there is always… Read More

If you only knew…

While I have never seen it, I have heard of a television show where various CEOs of large retail companies work at one of their entry level jobs to see what it is like.  In the show, no one with whom the boss is working knows who he/she really is.  It reminds me of an old film from the 1960’s called The Shoes of the Fisherman where the actor Anthony Quinn plays a reluctant pope who while trying to bring about peace during the Cold War, also sneaks out of the Vatican from time to time dressed as a layman… Read More

The Biggest Loser

It is one thing to want to lose weight.  It is quite another to go on national television and share your struggle with the world.  The stakes are high, the chances of winning seem low, and the temptations to cheat on the process or worse, slide back after the fact, are all around.  It would seem that “loser” could be an apt description for much of the show – and that has nothing to do with the weight!  I fear that is the way we too often see ourselves in front of sin.  Before sin, I sometimes feel like the… Read More

Wanna Get Away…

I love the Southwest Airlines commercials that were out a while back showing people in embarrassing situations followed by the tag line “Wanna Get Away?”  I like the ads less for the situations and more for the tag line.  Like you, I do “Wanna Get Away” with some regularity, and yet am not always able.  Often it is enough to get away in my head to go to some place special – some place that means so much and brings joy and peace to my mind and heart.  Do I have you thinking of your place right now? Wanna Get… Read More

He makes the sun rise on the bad and the good

I write this column while on retreat in Assisi, Italy where amidst some wonderful prayer time at the holy places of Franciscanism and wonderful pasta dishes, there have also been some spectacular sunrises and sunsets.  As I have reflected on the sunshine over the Umbrian valley in these days of prayer and contemplation, I am in awe of the glory of God and his goodness to me.  I am blessed and honored to be a follower of St. Francis of Assisi and at times this week have wondered “why me?” How have I been the beneficiary of such a life… Read More

5 Powerful Words

I have only had the privilege of being at someone’s deathbed when they passed away on two occasions.  In both of these moments, they were heavily sedated and died peacefully, not having been able to say anything of consequence in the moments just prior to dying.  Hollywood often paints a person’s last words in the seconds just prior to death as a poignant movie moment.  As powerful an experience as that must be to witness, I would guess that given current medical treatments, it probably just doesn’t happen all that frequently any more.  It challenges us to listen more closely… Read More

A Window on the World

As I write this I am at 40,000 feet headed from Raleigh to Chicago on a Southwest flight.  I am in a window seat looking out at the clouds below and the emerging morning on the horizon.  As many times as I have flown, it still amazes me that technology has allowed us this view of our world.  It is simple and beautiful and awesome all at the same time.  Am I getting a bit too sappy???  Sorry, but perspective is so critical for me lately, given that I am so often prone to lose it.  What is my view… Read More


With the rush of RUSH comes so much emotion – the excitement of being a part of something bigger than oneself, the affirmation of being accepted by your peers, the joy of sharing something with friends, new and old.  That is the beauty of sorority and fraternity life and in its best moments, it is a blessing to the university community.  And then there are those who weren’t invited and the rush of emotions that they feel – those who rushed and were denied and those who didn’t rush because on some level they knew they may not have been… Read More

You’re not the boss of me!

Growing up with three sisters had its advantages . . . the problem is I couldn’t really list any of them then!  In hindsight our lives as siblings were pretty good, and I am even more blessed by the relationships I have with my sisters today, but turn the clock back and I may not have responded so glibly.  It is in those early relational years with my siblings when I adopted the oft-used phrase:  “You’re not the boss of me!” We laugh about it today – we didn’t laugh then! I believe a big part of life is realizing in fact, who is my… Read More

They followed a star…

Out of some unexplainable habit, I daily look to the page 2 column in the Raleigh/Durham News & Observer that gives the latest happenings of the beautiful people.  It usually marks a recent divorce or some torrid allegation, and occasionally some happy talk about the people our culture has dubbed “stars”.  I read this stuff often with little knowledge of the people whose lives are being described, but tell myself that in order to be hip and relevant with young people I probably should at least know who Kanye West and Ke$ha are.  It is hard to keep up –… Read More