Long before last week's killings in Charleston, South Carolina, which appear to have been motivated by racial hatred, at least one expert in belief systems wrote that a person's prejudices can be changed.
It's official. On Tuesday, Donald Trump announced that he is officially running for president of the United States. "And we are going to make our country great again," he added. While I agree with his goal -- making America great again -- it will be interesting to see if his running for the nomination takes us along this path.
School is out, Memorial Day is past and summer stretches in front of us. Maybe it's because I live in the South, but summer seems to be a time when everything slows down, as if to pay homage to the heat and humidity that abound. Without the invention of air conditioning, there is not doubt there would be few who would choose to live in the deep South today, at least during the summer.
Selfies, followers, likes and the fascination with celebrity anythings (chefs, decorators, stylists, authors, etc.) are just a few of the ways that today's society focuses attention on individuals. It's not enough to be a great chef - it's better to be a celebrity chef. It's not enough to participate in an event - it's better to snap a selfie of yourself at the event and then post it online for all to see.
It's mid-May and time for celebrating graduations. It's a time to look back on accomplishments and, more importantly, to look forward to new phases and opportunities in life.
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The passage in Ruth 1:16 highlights what it means to belong: "Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God my God."
This was Ruth's response when her mother-in-law Naomi suggested she go back to her own people after the death of her husband, Naomi's son. But Ruth was determined to stay, to be with Naomi.
Thanksgiving week is a time to express gratitude and appreciation and to acknowledge what we are thankful for in our lives. Many of us have Thanksgiving routines and rituals that take us out of the everyday routine of our lives and provide a space for us to slow down, unwind, reflect and give thanks.
Any change requires pain. Whatever we are doing now is easy (we think) compared to change, whatever it may be. Changing is hard. It requires us to think anew, to change our habits, our processes, our language. It's venturing out into the unknown. Without a compelling reason, people will stay the same and not change.
People begin to change only when the pain of what they are doing becomes more painful than the pain of change.
Nobody likes to lose. But defeats can prove advantageous if used as a learning tool. Newt Gingrich lost his first two congressional campaigns, but won his third. Twenty years after his first defeat, he changed the nation with the Contract With America.
No doubt there are thousands, possibly even millions of people like me who are glad that the election season is coming to an end. In less than a week, we will know the outcome of the presidential election (barring recounts).
President Barack Obama may believe he had beaten his GOP rival in Tuesday night's town hall debate, but his 90-minute performance could not make up for his lackluster job performance over the past four years.
In order to win next month, Republican nominee Mitt Romney will have to articulate the reason why the choice for him is right. The choice has to be about more than Mitt Romney, and really about more than President Barack Obama. The compelling choice should contrast the very different futures each man would seek to create. The ability to describe and contrast two potential visions of the future -- one under Obama and the other under Romney -- will likely prove key to who wins.
Ronald Reagan had this linguistic ability, which he honed over decades of work.
The Obama administration's policies are bad. Bad in the sense that the policies are morally corrupting. They take money and control away from people and give them to government bureaucrats, who then decide what should be done. The policies encourage people to be less responsible personally and to rely more on the government.
The challenge for modern-day campaigns is that the rapid speed of the news cycle ensures that new news is created on a daily basis, even when it is not really news. Blame the hunger for something novel and fresh that can eat up time on the 24-hour cable news channels.
The question this fall is clear: Do we want a president who cares for others but is not competent or a president who might care, if he could just show it, but has proved his competence?
One of my mother's favorite sayings is to do the best you can with what you have at the time. She should know.
In politics, where there are more men than women in elected positions, it's easy to get the impression that men matter most. You see them on TV, see their pictures in the paper, hear them pontificating on the issues on TV and radio.
So it may surprise you to learn that women matter more than might be evident. Why? They outvote men.
We are less than three months out from the presidential election. Yes, I know that it seems as if it has already lasted forever, but so far, it's simply been the warm-up.
Here's my first admission: I'm a geek. In school, I was the bookish girl who kept her head down during class and barely talked with other students. A bit of a nerd, geek or whatever other slang word would fit at the time. A voracious reader, I spent most lunch hours during my eighth-grade year reading in the library. It was easier to go there than it was to endure the process of trying to find someone to sit with in the cafeteria.
Our fascination with the Olympics goes beyond the near-perfect performances of the athletes. It also includes their stories. We watch and experience the trials and triumphs of people who fail, who get up and who triumph once again. Possibly through watching how Olympians perform under pressure, we can learn how to perform under pressure, as well.
Two examples stand out in my mind from this week, in women's gymnastics and men's swimming.