I was brought up in the Catholic religion by my Spanish mother, but I never stopped trying to be united with the tolerant and generous religion of my father and of my Hindu ancestors. This does not make me a cultural or religious “half-caste,” however. Christ was not half man and half God, but fully man and fully God. In the same way, I consider myself 100 percent Hindu and Indian, and 100 percent Catholic and Spanish. How is that possible? By living religion as an experience rather than as an ideology.
The only college paper I saved was written when I was a sophomore. Dated “Thanksgiving 1946,” it turned up a couple of years ago in my files. My assignment had been to “picture what you’ll be like and what you’ll be doing in January 2000.” My essay was, of course, jejune and is, of course, embarrassing, but since January 2000 has come, here goes:
I’ll always remember the day last July when John Henry Newman’s beatification was announced. My family and I were en route to Heathrow Airport, barreling along in a van driven by my fearless godmother, who had promised we would not miss our plane. Her mobile phone signaled a text message, and from where I was sitting, clutching my seat, I had the chance to read it aloud.
Barack Obama promised to practice a different kind of politics, a politics that would stick to the issues. Yet his campaign has produced an ad that shows an old photo of McCain, wearing an out-of-style suit and large glasses, in an effort to convey the message that McCain is an old, out-of-touch man, someone who doesn’t even know how to use the Internet or even send an e-mail message.
Earlier this year the Fox network, showing either the effects of the writers’ strike or the signs of social decay, offered a gem of televised exploitation—the kind that repulses you but you can’t help watching.
In June 1933, less than six months after Hitler assumed power in Germany, Karl Barth argued that it was important to do “theology and only theology—as though nothing had happened” (Theological Existence Today).
According to a recent Bloomberg News survey, researchers for the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine asked people to answer two easy questions: How tall are you? How much do you weigh? After considering the responses, researchers concluded that people lie. Gender differences play a role: Women want to be lighter, and they lie about their weight.
"I have a philosophy about life,” a friend said recently. “The world would be a much better place if people took a moment to let people know about the positive impact they have had on others’ lives. Too much time is spent on negativity. The good in people simply isn’t recognized; too often it is taken for granted.”
For more than 20 years now, I have been in the business of telling the truth that is public. In sermons, Sunday school lessons, prayers alongside hospital beds and ten-minute speeches to the Rotary Club, my job has involved mining some nugget of truth that will ring true for all within the sound of my voice.
The other day I was sitting in a coffee shop and couldn’t help overhearing an interesting and intense debate on the other side of the room. An older gentleman was trying his best to aid an inquisitive college student who had some hard-hitting questions. She asked about scripture, about authority and about the church. One question kept popping up: “What is the difference between truth for you, truth for me and truth with a capital T?”
A. M. Stroud III, a former prosecutor in Louisiana, expresses regret for the role he played in sending Glenn Ford to death row in 1984. “I was 33 years old. I was arrogant, judgmental, narcissistic and very full of myself. I was not as interested in justice as I was in winning.” Stroud says he presented dubious evidence from a forensic pathologist, precluded black jurors from the trial (Ford, since exonerated, is black), and ignored the fact that the appointed defense attorney had never before tried a criminal or capital case. “I . . . hope that providence will have more mercy for me than I showed Glenn Ford,” Stroud said in a letter to the editor of the Times of Shreveport. “But, I’m also sobered by the realization that I certainly am not deserving of it” (ABA Journal, March 25).