This week we sent a one page intro of ourselves to the Sisters in Dili and got this back by return mail. Notice that we sent them our glamour shots. The difference between the images and the reality is going to be something of a shock. We have aged substantially since that left one was taken. We were told that the introduction that we sent was put up for everyone to see. We put ours up on the bulletin board in the VOICA kitchen. It will help keep us on track in the midst of multiple distractions.
And now for something completely different….
I am a sometime fan of Krista Tippett’s radio program Speaking of Faith, regrettably renamed Being recently. Picking through the archives you can occasionally come across a real gem. Two of my recent favorites were her interviews with Ellen Davis (OT prof at Duke)and John Paul Lederach (Peace Studies prof at ND.) Strong programs from the more distant past include interviews with Jean Vanier, Jaroslav Pelikan, and Paul Elie.
This week’s program is a home run and I strongly encourage you to hear it if you can. A repeat from June 2009, it airs today but can be found anytime on the Internet. The guest is Xavier Le Pichon, who is totally impressive. He is a devout Catholic and a world-class scientist, credited with being the first to articulate the science of plate tectonics. That is all well and good but that doesn’t really set him apart from, say, Francis Collins or any number of Christian scientists from the past. If you look him up on Wikipedia, there is no mention of of the formative influences in his life – daily Mass and serious prayer – or the seismic shift <joke> that occurred. He basically left science for a time and was profoundly affected by working with the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta and connecting with Jean Vanier and Fr. Thomas Philippe. He and his family have lived for decades in intentional communities such as L’Arche and La Maison Thomas Philippe. These experiences have been internalized, synthesized with his science, and find expression in ideas that are quite intriguing and which are the focus of the interview. Central to his thought is an evolutionary view of human ethical development (remember the Axial Period?) and the notable fact that weakness and frailty are basic characteristics of human nature. His ideas won’t scratch all of your itches probably, but they bear some extended pondering and maybe some re-thinking on our part. The site links an essay he wrote, Ecco Homo, in case you are interested in more depth. By the way, I almost always listen to the non-produced version of the interview, even though it is longer. Look for a link to download it as an mp3 file. [posted by David]