Sunday, March 06, 2005

The Mix

I just got back from Senegal which explains the lack of recent posts.

I'll write up some thoughts on the trip in my "essay" blog in the next few weeks (Hieronymus Blog

Some notes on what's been what:

Denver hosted the 2005 NBA All-Star game, and I left for Africa the day after the game. I got to the airport in the morning and noticed lots of very tall people walking around and realized this was the NBA crowd heading home. I ended up talking with a couple of players including Julius Erving, an all time NBA great who played with the Sixers.

I'm not big on heroes. But I've especially enjoyed watching a few special players over the 35 years I've followed the NBA closely, and "Dr. J" is one of them. He and his family were on the same flight I had to Cincinnati and I ended up sitting right next to them in the boarding area. He's much older now than the youthful images I remember, so I actually started talking with them before I realized who he was. Nice people.

I had a chance to talk to them for a while before a bunch of dads and their kids who eventually recognized him congregated looking for autographs. It was sort of sad to watch. I've never really understood the need for autographs or heroes. But he handled it very gracefully, which is the main quality I remember about his hoops.


I always try to avoid coming back from an overseas trip into a mid-west airport, but sometimes it can't be helped. Since 9-11 the security people in that part of the country are especially enthusiastic.

This time I landed at the Cincinnati Airport which is actually in Northern Kentucky.

During past trips I've been stopped and my baggage searched many times. The countries I normally visit aren't the usual vacation destinations for Americans.

In spite of that the customs and immigration people around the country are usually friendly and sympathetic.

But not if you land in the midwest. Or at least, not in my experience.

This time a young woman took my passport and various forms and looked confused.

She said to me, with a straight face, "Senegal's not a place Americans go."

"Uh, well, that's where I went, " I said.

It went downhill from there.

Happily, I made my connecting flight to Denver on time after aggressive questioning and the most intrusive kind of search through my baggage.

Welcome home!


I've been thinking for a while about a shift I'm seeing in the way people think and feel about moral and ethical decisions. I'll try to write something more serious about this at Hieronymus.

It seems to me that an ethic of self-improvement has replaced a committment to obeying a moral code. That change seems as true among Christians as among any group in the culture.

If anything, it seems like the ethic of self-improvement is an even harsher task master than the old moral codes.

Maybe that means it will lead people to grace better and quicker. I hope so.

This shift is so obvious to me that I'm sure other people have commented on it. I'd love to hear any thoughts about it or about any references you've come across.


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