Why shouldn't parents be treated as badly as smokers?" asked the writer rhetorically. After all, "children, just like cigarettes or mobile phones, clearly impose a negative externality on people who are near them." Recent events at Columbine High reminded me again of these comments, which appeared in an editorial in the Economist.
A metal door opened, and we were invited in. Draped sloppily in white linen was a body on a table, frozen and immovable. I immediately recognized the feet, and then, after taking a step, I saw the beloved face. I bent over and gave the cold forehead one final kiss. A wind of deep sadness shook my whole body and my eyes welled up with tears.
The most amazing thing about the surrender of the two top officials of the Khmer Rouge regime--which was responsible for the deaths of about 1 million people--never made it to the headlines. The reporters concentrated on the perpetrators' demand to "let bygones be bygones" and on the prime minister's offer to receive them with open arms.
In Joseph and His Brothers, Thomas Mann tells of an exchange between Jacob, who has just seen what he believes is proof of his son's death, and his servant Eliezer. The passage reminds me of two friends who were complaining about God.
His name I have forgotten, but the image of him eating at our table is indelible. Every month on the first Sunday he would make his way from the back country to the city of Novi Sad, where my father was a pastor. A fellow Pentecostal, surrounded by a sea of hostile nonbelievers and Orthodox Christians, he came to our church for communion.
He was sitting quietly, almost impassively, as I talked to a group of people gathered in Zagreb at the launching of the Croatian translation of my book Exclusion and Embrace. The forcefulness and impatience with which he asked his question as he brought the book to be signed took me by surprise. "But where does that will come from, that will to embrace the enemy?"
It was memorial Day, and I was sitting in the church of General George S. Patton. Well, it was not quite his church, but his family had erected a monument to him in the churchyard and smuggled in a stained-glass window depicting an object or two dear to the general’s heart and indispensable for the general’s trade.