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Showing posts from November, 2009

Thanksgiving Paradigm Shift

Thanksgiving Day and paradigm shifts. I got to thinking about the connection between the two when I read the following sentence: “Do you realize that OK looks like a little stick figure man, sideways?” At first I didn’t know what the writer was talking about; I’d never seen OK as a sideways stick figure before. But sure enough, if you stare at it long enough and think, “sideways stick figure,” something in your brain shifts and bam, all of a sudden the stick figure appears. Except of course it doesn’t appear…it’s always been there. It’s just that my brain, in 48 years, had never seen it that way before. And now each time I see OK I see a little stick figure man on his side. That’s called a paradigm shift. The term “paradigm shift” has suffered from overuse, but it’s an important concept with solid roots: I remember hearing it for the first time in a philosophy class in college, when we were studying Thomas Kuhn, who coined the term. Kuhn’s argument was that advances in science are not

Reasons for Thanksgiving

With the conclusion of this week, we’re moving into what many people consider “Thanksgiving Week.” Personally speaking, it’s great timing. The word “thankful” means “full of thanks,” and I’ve been feeling particularly grateful -- full of thanks -- lately. Let me name a few: First, as most of you know, tomorrow we have the honor of conducting the funeral service for Bob Twigg, who died Monday night after a long and valiant fight against lung cancer. I’m grateful that I got to know Bob well over the past five or six years. I’m grateful for several long conversations we had when we spent a week together in New Orleans doing Katrina relief. I’m grateful for the way he lived his life, and even for the way he died -- consciously choosing to “live, laugh, and love” as much as he could, each day, every day. And I’m grateful, as Bob was, for living in a free country. As I’ll probably say tomorrow in the homily, one of the things his wife BJ told me in planning the service is that “Bob loved