Not mining for catastrophe

Dear Hope Nation, The other day I was in an all-recovery meeting, talking about how one extracts good from evil. That is, how can evil experiences be transformed to lessons, comfort or wisdom? Anyone who’s ever eaten an unripe avocado knows how bitter that fruit can be, yet given time, the avocado is smooth and,…

I'm not there yet

Dear Hope Nation, Since the nights of broken glass began back in April, Hope has taken a whole bunch of steps to try to prevent further damage and to catch the thrower. In addition to using Families in Transitions’ cameras, reporting to the Manchester Police Department and conducting our own drive-bys at unusual times of…

Dear Hope Nation, Another day, another two broken windows. Another day, another senseless attack. Another day, another chance to experience anger and sorrow. Another day, another opportunity to practice serenity. God, grant me Reinhold Niebuhr, the American theologian, wrote Moral Man and Immoral Society, one of my favorite books in seminary. The basic thesis is…

Feedback is always welcome

Dear Hope Nation, I’ve tried my hand at a lot of different kinds of writing, generally with only passing success. From journalism to essays to short stories to poetry to songwriting to novels, I’ve completed some works of which I’ve been proud and a number which I’m just glad to be done with. Throughout this…

Just another bozo on the bus

Dear Hope Nation, Church sanctuaries held wisdom for me as a boy. It may have been wisdom I didn’t understand, and certainly couldn’t apply to my life, but when I went into the sanctuary of the Durham Community Church, I assumed the Reverend Novotny had a pathway to God and therefore some genuine wisdom. I…

The power of optimism

Dear Hope Nation, I started writing a beautiful, wise and insightful letter a little while ago. Unfortunately, it looked at burial practices in Colonial America for three distinct groups: suicides, drunkards and duelists. These personae non grata (“people without grace,” a phrase that is spot on here) could not be buried in the same space…

Playful, yes, but also nutritious

Dear Hope Nation, I’ve always got more ideas to write about than time to do so. While these letters have been, mainly, a pleasure to write each day, they don’t offer the chance to clean my desktop of unrelated ideas, which pile up like newspapers by a vacationing family’s door. Much like my experience with…

Reading books is dangerous

Dear Hope Nation, {At my editor’s request, I’m pointing out that the following is an example of irony, in which the writer actually means the opposite of what she or he writes, usually for humor or emphasis. I have more faith in you as a reader than my editor does. My editor has better judgment…

Not poor, just broke

Dear Hope Nation, “Not poor, just broke.” That’s the title of the first section of comedian/social activist/fruitarian Dick Gregory’s autobiography.  In case the meaning escapes you, being broke means you’re out of money, but you can still hold your head high.  Being poor is a state of mind, a brokenness of spirit, a belief your…

Evidence of Hope

Dear Hope Nation, First and foremost—Thank all of you for your support and donations regarding the broken windows at Hope! The money is huge—more than $5,100 as I write this—and much appreciated. It means we’ll be able to pay for most of the broken windows—freeing up funds for hiring more staff, helping people and supporting…