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A riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma...

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    A Letter of Recommendation

    A Letter of Recommendation

    When you reach a certain age, you begin to get requests to write letters of recommendation. For college applicants, for award seekers, and, in my case, for those seeking to become a Fellow in the AIA.

    These letters can devolve into a formula: state your bona fides, recount the seeker’s, and give a pithy, defendable, honest endorsement.

    What do you do when someone asks you for a letter to endorse his effort to become an agent of faith in God in Chaplaincy, when you are a profane jackass rustic in the ways of Divine understanding?

    Well, without a name, I did this. And…

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    Nothing Means as Much

    Nothing Means as Much

    It’s the Super Bowl, 2018. Perhaps a billion humans are linked to it. In the stands, 80,000 humans are next to you in full expression. Real things happen, and some are unheard, despite the billions of ears and ears.

    11 men stand alone on one side of a ball, while on the other side another 11 men gather. Those first 11 men have done this many times before. They have won this game many times before. They have been better than those in the other cluster many times before. This group is led by a person who is older than everyone else…

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    Prohibition (Mostly) Does Not Work

    Prohibition (Mostly) Does Not Work

    Being one of those Baby Boomer antiquaries, I was caused by (and witnessed) a unique cultural evolution. No, not the 60s. It began with Prohibition, which was tried on my parents’ generation and was an epic fail — its genesis was unassailable and its failure inevitable.

    Before the Industrial Age, hard cider was relatively safer to drink than well water, so many were drunk soon after waking. Drinking (and smoking) were just things people did amid the chaos of our 19th century culture, until it became clear that drinking simply killed people. Then, Prohibition became the cause of Saviors. And their…

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    Snow Blowers Are Of The Devil (Blue Jeans Too)

    Snow Blowers Are Of The Devil (Blue Jeans Too)

    We live in a time of raging technology. Everything is changing as the microprocessors are taking everything over. A couple of centuries ago a group called the Luddites simply rejected technology beyond what they knew back when the microprocessor was called the steam engine. Luddites smashed machines to retain control. It didn’t work. Technology won. Everything changed.

    In a similar way, I think technology has become a public crisis once again. Not since the advent of The Machines has our culture convulsed as it is now with the advent of the pervasive robot. I know this personally because I…

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    Yule Is Not About the Virgin Birth

    Yule Is Not About the Virgin Birth

    ‘Tis the season of Yule: a season that has become, for many, filled with nihilistic self-debauchery set to the fraudulent timing of Jesus’s birth.

    Yay.

    It’s bad enough that we feel powerless amid a cascade of moral, political and cultural ambiguity of the last few years, but this time of year there is a delirious “Party On” wave as well. Whether a Wiccan Yule or a Hipster SantaCon, the Solstice Season doubles these days as a kick-off for our latent human cynicism amid Christmas. Maybe part of all the ennui is the simple truth that Christmas is not really a birthday, it’s…

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    THE Game

    THE Game

    Football is in High Season right now. It’s become enmeshed in headlines: kneeling, concussions, NFL attendance are all loudly flamed. But it’s also the time of championships, pro playoff debates and season-ending “rivalry games.”

    I find an odd connection with the sport of football and faith in religion. Quite personally, for me, there is an intimate connection to the sport. I played, coached, and one son played all the way through college. The scale and hype of Big Time Football leaves me cold. But similarly, for this Cradle Episcopalian “Churchman,” church and churchiness leaves me cold, too.

    However, the love I feel…

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    Holidaze and the Prime Directive

    Holidaze and the Prime Directive

    ‘Tis the season. The crush to sell-sell-sell for Thanksgiving starts the swirl of marketing that’s a buzz kill for many, if not most of us.

    I look at the Starbucks cup on Nov. 1 and I cringe.

    The essence of our humanity is distorted when it’s objectified in order to market product. The new Starbucks cup is simply lame. It only gets worse for many of us. It’s a boring cliche to moan about the WalMartization commodifying the Holidays, but assumptive pandering to our base instincts to sell this year’s Pet Rock is depressing.

    Perhaps it’s because our tender parts are grotesqued by…

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    When Death Happens To The Unknown Next Of Kin

    When Death Happens To The Unknown Next Of Kin

    My 67 year-old brother-turned-sister had retreated into work over the last 15 years. She was a bus dispatcher, but was, by all accounts, totally dedicated to being “at work”. No friends outside of the office, no hobbies.

    So when she told her co-workers that she was going home after a morning shift to return for the night shift to “Do some things at home” it was unusual.

    She never returned. They found her body, in bed, on Monday morning.

    I wish it was a surprise. I wish I could say I now will miss her. But we had not spoken since I was…

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    Jesus Has Left the Building: Architecture and Artificial Intelligence

    Jesus Has Left the Building: Architecture and Artificial Intelligence

    “God is in the details” is reputed to have been uttered by architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe back when Mid-Century modern architecture made the idea of “expressive” details sexy to the world of architecture. Now the mention of God in architecture is a little “off” for most of my fellow architects. Like most in the over-educated 21st century “elite” demographic, my people are pretty secular, often beyond agnostic (yes, I am an architect).

    The increasingly common public perception is that religious architecture can be appreciated as God-blind aesthetics, not manifesting soul-grabbing faith. In Spain the Sagrada Familia church is seen…

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    Revenge of the Puritans

    Revenge of the Puritans

    Whether God is in your life or not, you know you are going to die here on Earth. Mortality is as common and constant as sunrise and sunset. But we, the folks who gave you Stonehenge, rage against the fading light. Duh.

    There are options. You can choose to live for you. You can be grateful for the things you have been given, especially life itself, and be “mindful”. Or you think there is a much Greater Truth, that you are part of it, and that there is a transaction it offers—more than just a gift. For some…

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    The Lord’s Football

    The Lord’s Football

    It’s the end of summer. It’s the beginning of the fall academic sports season. But it is yet hot, humid, and athletic bodies are in full assault. No matter the sport, it’s preseason. It’s a time of shock, sweat, blood, swelling, and stiffness. It is a time no old athlete forgets, and most wince at the memory. Those engaged are without perspective—they are all coping amid the pain.

    Panicked reports abound of summer practice deaths, concussions, fatal lightning strikes and the bemoaning of the depletion of teams by one-sport athletes are common to the point of cliché. Not so…

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    Football At Last: A Preseason Preview

    Football At Last: A Preseason Preview

    NFL preseason games start next week….

    The airwaves are crackling hype at the advent of NFL team summer camps. Every year, about a million young men and a hundred or more young women play tackle football at every level. They’re all starting the season about now. 

    Fewer than 2,000 of those players are in the National Football League. The NFL is a forced marriage of sports and show biz, but it’s our only national platform for those of us who are hopelessly devoted to a sport that changed our early lives. Having played, coached, and been a part of a son’s…

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