Cold Winds, Warm People


Those of you who know me well know that I avoid the cold as much as possible. But of late, I’ve not been particularly successful in keeping the chill from my bones. Good morning from Contoocook, New Hampshire where it is about 5 degrees. Okay, I may be exaggerating, but not by much. The picture above is from Park City, Utah where I was earlier this month. The wind off Lake Michigan in Chicago mid-month was also pretty bitter. And next week I’ll be in London, Ontario. I checked the forecast for this venture today… brrrr.

But the amazing thing is that I get to visit places with names like Contoocook. And, better yet, I get to be with people again. Currently I am at an Orthodox retreat center with seven Korean Methodist pastors and a very friendly Greek chef who makes Mexican food. Today at lunch I found out that the name (his name) Nikolaos / Nicholas comes from the Greek for “conqueror of people”—which he is but only by way of his charming personality and excellent cooking. I have really enjoyed meeting with groups on Zoom throughout Covid and I hope to continue to do that, but this is the kind of thing that really brings a smile to my face. Worth dealing with the frigid temperatures.

May your week be filled with the warmth of new friends and trivia you never knew before!

Meanwhile, a few Lenten recommendations:

- In this season when everything is all about the number four, two books I’ve read of late and really enjoyed: Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals by Oliver Burkeman. It’s the best book on managing yourself in time that I’ve read, well… ever. And then The Forty Parables of Jesus by Gerhard Lohfink. Fascinating exploration of Jesus’ teaching style. He is making me re-think and broaden my definition of parable. Really helpful both for catechists and preachers.

- Soon we’ll hear the reading of the passion again with Pilate’s haunting question: “What is truth?” With all that is being discussed about “fake news” again in relation to the Russian government and our own upcoming U.S. mid-term elections this fall, it would be a great time for book studies of Let’s Talk about Truth. The book is currently on super sale at Ave Maria Press for $5/copy. Also makes an excellent Holy Week gift for the preachers / teachers in your life.

- On April 11th at 5:30 ET, I’ll be doing a lecture for Albertus Magnus College in New Haven, CT on “Truth in All Its Dimensions.” This lecture will be livestreamed and free to attend. For more information and to gain access to the link, click here.