In about a week, thousands of children will dress in costumes and assume an alter ego. On Halloween, they will dress up as movie characters, sports celebrities or scary figures. While trick-or-treating is fun, everyone knows this is a once-a-year chance to pretend to be something they will never become.
In our contemporary culture, human interactions are often transactional and impersonal. More and more, we fill out online forms to record who we are and use anonymous surveys to find out who we are becoming. For just one example, we Google others, and without ever meeting them, find all kinds of information about their demographics and social behaviors. Our personal and group identities have become so measurable and accessible that others make all kinds of accurate predictions about our lives.
To address the bishops of the U.S. mission dioceses on the topic "Economic Structures and Poverty," I spent a month poring over 300 pages of articles and reports, and I ended up reconnecting myself to some stark statistics and opening my eyes to some needed responses by us as a society.
I am settling into my cramped seat in a small aircraft when I smell it: the nauseating odor of fried food in close quarters. I turn, ready to glare, when I see that the culprit, a middle-aged man, is bowed in prayer over his meal, hands folded, eyes closed.
All is forgiven. I am a pushover for religious witness. As a person of faith, I welcome the expressions of others on their faith journey, whether my own tradition or another. I like to see people seeking God.
When two 20-somethings slung a wire across rooftops in Boston, they were hoping to hear each other's voices transmitted across that line. It worked, and they did, but in the process, they also picked up a far more exotic sound: powerful radio waves emitted from the sun.
Alexander Graham Bell was 26 and working in a fifth-floor attic when he spoke those famous words into a mouthpiece: "Mr. Watson, come here, I want to see you."
The message to his assistant was transmitted, Bell wrote in his journal: "To my delight he came and declared that he had heard and understood what I said."
By Joseph Kenny | firstname.lastname@example.org | twitter: @josephkenny2
Football players at Christian Brothers College High School in St. Louis recently joined the national conversation on prejudice, race relations and social justice.
The topic affects all of us, their coach said, and the players courageously came together to talk about a difficult subject.
The best part was that the players, who represent diverse ethnicities and backgrounds, came away feeling better because they opened up about the topic. They also felt it brought them together, and they put out a message of the need for unity.