By Teak Phillips | firstname.lastname@example.org | twitter: @TeakPhillips
A common mantra in journalism today is engagement. It's a back-and-forth exchange: journalists publish information, readers respond, journalists respond back, readers respond to that response. This commonly occurs on social media because the digital interface is easy and immediate.
The world is awakening in rural Kentucky, and I feel honored to watch. Especially in this place.
As they have for more than a century and a half, the bells of the Abbey of Gethsemani rang bright and early. As they will throughout the week, they summoned me to Morning Prayer and Holy Mass with the Trappist monks and my quartet of friends. The sun won't rise officially here for another half-hour, so only a faint light in the sky is visible out the large wall of windows as we sit down for our silent breakfast.
I love watching the Olympics. While the competition is intense, I am also drawn in by the beauty of the host country, the pageantry of the opening ceremonies, and the stories behind the athletes. This year's games have been more inspiring because faith has been more visible.
Living in the 21st century, it's easy to look back at history and note the advances, disappointments, struggles and difficulties produced by each historical age. We know the significance the printing press had for popular learning and the development of language in written form. We also point to the industrial revolution as bringing about considerable social mobility, transforming family life from an agrarian society to an urban culture. And in our own age, we benefit from the greatest technological progress ever known to people.
In July, I traveled to Serbia, Greece and Lebanon to review the refugee situation now that the borders to Northern Europe are closed. While the flow of people has diminished, it has not ceased. Migration is now largely dependent on traffickers who charge individuals 4,000 to 6,000 euros to facilitate illegal crossings.
One can't overstate how strange and perplexing this U.S. election season has been.
The call to fear and isolationism, the occasional drumbeat of nationalism approaching xenophobia depresses me. Have we heard the whispers of scapegoating of certain people — especially those of a different religion?
I found it so consoling that in the midst of the campaign season, a Sunday Gospel reading in July yielded the parable of the good Samaritan.