Category Personal Reflections

In Defense of Gawkers and Looky-Loos

Local news reports here in Sonoma County  tell us that many people who lost their homes to the October fires are upset that the fire tourist “looky-loos” now descending on the rubble of their streets are adding further insult to the grievous injury they have already suffered. This is an understandable response, and I feel for them.

But it seems to me there is much more to this phenomenon than mere voyeurism, so I would like to offer another perspective.

I do so as someone who did not lose his own home but, like most all residents of this area, know many friends and acquaintances who did. And who, like everyone connected emotionally to this beloved landscape and community, shares in the grief of so much loss.

Within the collective trauma, each person, in the privacy of their own fears and anguish, still has to reckon with their sense of loss, still has to make peace with the images now seared into memo...

Read More

The Conundrum of God As “Father”

The names of God—the idea of the infinite reflected in a nearly infinite number of images and words— was the subject of the day in my church this morning. Following are some remarks delivered there by yours truly.

***

I’ve been mulling the 99 or the 9 billion or however many names of God there might be. But I find myself coming back to what has historically been the most prominent of those names: Father. The male of the species.

The mystics might speak of the alpha and omega, the unmoved mover and the fathomless void, but in everyday parlance among the masses of humanity throughout history God has mostly been: a man.

At his best, a benevolent all-embracing father figure. At his worst: a raging avenger constantly threatening to lay waste to his creation.

This line of thought has been dogging me in the wake of about 9 billion recent news articles...

Read More

Dodging Bullets, Traffic, and the Fire This Time…

You are at a country music festival, the weekend’s final act.

It is late and you are feeling the love.

For the artists, the music, the atmosphere, those you came with, all those you didn’t come with but with whom you are now bound and bathed in a warm bubble of what will surely be a lifelong memory.

Then there are alien sounds, rhythmic but not musical—and not coming from the stage.

Then comes the chaos, the confusion, the sudden mad scramble and cowering amid bullets and falling bodies all around you, blood spattering your clothes (is it your own?), screams of fear, of anguish, and death for 58 people.

And for some reason, you are not among them.

You are alive.

***

You are driving down the three-lane highway with a childhood friend on a sunny afternoon, fast lane.

You need to get off, so you move toward the middle.

A driver in the slow lane has the same idea, same time.

You don’t notice, until you d...

Read More

How Malcolm X and James Brown Secured My Hungarian Identity

I can’t really remember a time when I was not self-consciously of Hungarian heritage. Sure, I harbor a few single-picture early memories frozen in my mind before I had any sense of what identity even meant, but the sauce in which I was marinated from my earliest remembered days was as a child with two parents who had come to the United States from Hungary by way of Germany after World War II.

I grew up speaking and responding to Hungarian right alongside English, and with my parents’ thick accents and European mannerisms and cultural sensibilities, there was no hiding the fact that members of the Hidas Family were aliens arrived on these shores.

And as freshly arrived immigrants who had attained maturity in their native land, my parents faced the typical immigrants’ dilemma: how to blend into the new land and its ways without denying and sacrificing the old.

The horns of that dilemma are nearly imp...

Read More

Reflections on “The Path of Totality”

100 percent is the important and even urgent thing, yes?

The Full Effort, Maximum View, Big Immersion, All-Out Hustle to Achieve the Ultimate, Second-to-None, I’m-All-in-Let’s-Head-to-Central-Oregon!

Pour yourself the Best-Ever of Everything, then keep your radar on for something Better Still.

Never settle, never retreat, and never, ever quit.

It’s “The Path of Totality,” and you shall not have it denied, nor deny it to yourself.

No piddling 91 percent view from here; we are headed for the Path.

***

Truly, the arc of history bends not only toward justice, but toward constant, unrelenting improvement in every human endeavor.

No iPlato 6.6, sporting a best-ever deep-probe camera with which we can take revealing Selfies right into the core of our consciousness and peer more acutely, with greater perception, into Who We Are…

We are the species of “More,” leaving it to those below us to settle f...

Read More