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Monthly Archives: November 2007

Most people have heard this phrase before, “it’s all relative.”  Consider these few examples.  What’s suffering to one person may not be suffering to another person; in other words, suffering is relative.  What’s materialistic to one person, may not be materialistic to another person; in other words, materialism is relative.  What’s a human person to you is not a human person to me; in other words, one’s membership in the human family is relative (Peter Singer, a leading bioethicist at Princeton, would be an interesting case study here).  What’s poor to one person may not be poor to another person; in other words, poverty is relative.  One can cite many examples.  However, we run into difficulties when we say, what’s truth to one person may not be truth to another person.  Think about the worst case scenario: if every person embraced and practiced their own version of truth, what kind of world would this be?  In this world, someone may say, what’s rape for you is not rape for me or what’s domestic abuse for you is not domestic abuse for me.  In this world, someone may say, what’s lying or cheating for you is not lying or cheating for me.  Is this what we want: a world in which a basis for truth or right and wrong is relative? 

Oftentimes when we see or hear the words, “mistaken identity”, it is normally related to a person being arrested who fit a description. However, after further review, it is later discovered that is was a case of ‘mistaken identity’ (or the wrong person was arrested). 

On a more lighter note, people have mistaken me for another person’s identity.  Consider these few examples.  Two ladies at a local FedEx Kinkos say I resemble Cuba Gooding, Jr.  One lady went to great lengths on a particular morning to point me out to her mother.  My wife and son say, “please.”  And when I went to Israel in November 1992 some Israeli kids asked me (no kidding): “Are you Michael Jordan?”  Now, I can play a little basketball and my skin is the same color as MJ’s.  I thought about it and the potential money maker this could be but my character convinced me to say no.

One reason I like the fall season is the beautiful array of colors put on display by trees, shrubs, etc.  Another reason I like the fall season is the virtual disappearance of that unwelcomed guest at picnics, other outdoor events, etc. – the fly.  I often wonder, where does the fly go during the fall season?

My wife, son, and I traveled to Lawrence, KS last week to attend the University of Kansas (KU) homecoming events and festivities.  One such event was the homecoming football game between Big 12 rivals KU and Nebraska.  (By the way, we beat the crap out of Nebraska; sweet and poetic justice considering when I was a student at KU, Nebraska then a powerhouse football team would just steam roll us.  Scores like 70 to 0 were not uncommon.  So imagine how ecstatic I was when we beat Nebraska 76 to 39!).  But I digress.  I ask: Considering there were over 50,000 people in attendance, what are the odds of sitting next to a older white lady who shares a common interest in the Underground Railroad?  This is amazing to be sure but it gets better.  I told her that I am reading a book entitled, “Bound for Canaan: The Underground Railroad and the War for the Soul of America”, by Fergus M. Bordewich.  I told her that Bordewich speaks of a sympathetic Quaker named Levi Coffin who is considered the founder of the underground movement’s infrastructure.  This movement – later dubbed “America’s first racially integrated civil rights movement” – would eventually help thousands of slaves escape to their freedom.  How does it get better?  She told me that her husband is a descendant of Levi Coffin!  Amazing, you got to be kidding!  Her enthusiasm and excitement was so contagious.  I listened mostly as she told me of ‘stations’ in Kansas that were used to hide slaves and about the background of her husband’s family (mostly ministers who were vehemently opposed to slavery).  My only regret is that I didn’t get her name and number!  What are the odds!