My Saturday Morning

Feb 6

In: Fly fishing, Personal


Serving the Vulnerable in Tanzania

Feb 5

In: Personal, Philosophy, Social justice, Spiritual

Living in Tanzania. That’s what Stephen Pope is doing.

After graduating from Roxbury Latin, Boston College, and working for a few years, he is now serving as a Maryknoll lay missioner in Tanzania.

I just stumbled upon his blog, in which he has started to chronicle his experiences. It’s a fascinating read.

After a few searches, I’ve learned that Stephen is working at a school for children with disabilities. Here is the description from the Maryknoll site:

The most vulnerable of East Africa’s millions of at-risk children are those with disabilities.  Traditionally regarded as a family disgrace, or even as a sign that a family has been cursed, many of these children are cast aside by society–and sometimes by their own parents, who are unable to provide them with the degree of care that they require.  Rarely do disabled children in Tanzania have the opportunity to pursue even a basic education.

“Literally you are barred from coming to school if you have a disability,” says Maryknoll Lay Missioner David Rosser, a certified teacher with a concentration in special education.  But at Huruma School for Children with Disabilities in Mwanza, Tanzania, kids with special needs are embraced as human beings who also have gifts to share.

As special education advisor at Huruma (which means “compassion” in Swahili), David sees students who are blind, deaf, autistic, epileptic, paralyzed, or developmentally disabled as unique revelations of the Word Made Flesh – the utterly vulnerable Christ Child in our midst.  David and Huruma staff help Huruma students get the education and support services they need so that each may develop to his or her own full potential.

What Stephen is doing certainly is counter-cultural. I suspect the experience will change him and the many people with whom he is meeting and working.

No O.J.T.

Feb 1

In: Movies / TV, Politics

Something is happening in America.

The Iowa caucuses are today and the gun has fired officially for the presidential election. This cycle was supposed to be about Super PAC funding pushing establishment-friendly candidates to the forefront.

Instead, on the left and the right, Sanders and Trump are thus far out-polling Clinton and Bush. Sanders features a grass-roots funding movement and Trump is funding his own campaign. And their visions for America are pretty extreme.

I’m writing all this because Mrs. T. and I this weekend saw The Big Short. It is an interesting and entertaining movie about the 2008 financial crisis, and how unfettered capitalism led to the meltdown of banks which U.S. taxpayers then bailed out.

It’s no wonder that people today are angry and feel that the system isn’t very transparent and is perceived as “rigged.” It’s no wonder that many citizens who aren’t usually politically active have become so in this election cycle.

I think a thorough debate and airing of ideas is healthy, good, and needed. I don’t support either Sanders or Trump. I think H. Clinton is by far the most capable candidate running. I wish Michael Bloomberg will run for President (the New York Times has reported he’s thinking about it).

My ideal candidate for the next “CEO of the U.S.” is someone who has been CEO of something before. So, that’s why I lean towards governors and people with prior leadership experience. I don’t believe in on-the-job training for such an important position. No O.J.T.

This will be an interesting election cycle.

Samuel Battle

Jan 18

In: Personal, Race

(New York Times)

Honestly, I today have struggled with this question: how to commemorate MLK, Jr. Day?

It’s been a day of driving back from our ski vacation, unloading luggage, going to the gym, doing laundry, and preparing dinner. All today, I kept thinking whether I was doing “the right thing” to remember a very brave and revolutionary person.

But, then, I read a New York Times article on other brave African-Americans and read this quote:

I would rather have honesty and character than prestige and wealth.

I love that quote. It comes from Samuel Battle, New York’s first African-American police sergeant. His obituary, with more details on his life, is here.

So, I decided to write this post to commemorate better all for which MLK, Jr. stood. Heroes are everywhere. We just have to look.

In the Beginning

Jan 17

In: Family life, Personal


After whooshing and swishing down some trails this morning at Killington, we passed through the beginners’ area as we headed to the lodge for lunch. 

I smile every time we do so. Many years ago, when I was 22, my first ski runs were in that area. It was extremely painful and exhausting, but I had a great time. 

I was part of a young adult Bible study back then. About two dozen people. All of us were a year or two out of college and belonged to all sorts of Christian denominations. 

It was really fun. We talked about various parts of the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures. We also did social events on the weekends. The group eventually grew to about 50 people. 

So, there was a weekend ski trip to Killington, and knowing nothing about anything about skiing, I went along. 

I remember Matt McIlwain cooking a huge and awesome pasta dinner for all of us. I remember a sauna room. I remember everyone being so energetic and positive about everything. 

To this day, some of us stay in touch. Matt is now a senior partner at Madrona Ventures, and he and I were on the same panel a few years ago. Jon McNeill is now Tesla’s head of global sales, and we periodically ping each other. 

And, a young lady and I started dating a few months after that ski trip and are now married.

Time flies.