It’s sunny and 70 at Chapel Hill. I’m speaking to Project Compassion, an advocacy group for end-of-life issues, on an unlikely trinity of oxymorons—the good death, good grief and the good funeral. “What,” most people reasonably ask, “can ever be good about death or grief or funerals?” The 150 people in this room understand.
The attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, constituted an attack not simply on America but on the modern world order. One of the proud towers of the modern world is confidence in reason—not in the human power for reason (the ancient world celebrated that power) but rather the powers acquired through reason. Modern science yields technologies that benefit humankind.
The news from Colombia is mostly bad. The number of people forced to flee from their homes and find makeshift shelter has increased from about 2 million in 2001 to nearly 3 million today. They flee both from the armed conflict and from having their farms sprayed with poison from airplanes—a futile attempt to eradicate the production of coca, from which cocaine is derived.
Dear Derek: In my last letter I commented on how casually I said yes when Mom asked whether we should agree to have you come into our home as a foster child. A simple decision on a busy day, and it has shaped the rest of my life—and yours. This is worth our thinking about together.
"I was searching for several years before I became a Muslim,” says Abdus Salaam, a marketing specialist from Birmingham, Alabama. “I was baptized during this time in the Church of Christ. But I had questions. What bothered me were the white pictures of Jesus and Mary. In Islam we have no pictures, not even of the Prophet Muhammad.