A place in social history

By Roon Lewald

Philipp Roesler

Philipp Roesler

Proving how perilously close success is to failure in politics, the swift rise of Guido Westerwelle to power as Germany’s first openly gay vice-chancellor, foreign minister and party leader has ended just as quickly. As reported in “Coming Strongly” late last year, Westerwelle’s marriage last September to Gerhard Mronz, a prominent sport events manager who had been his publicly acknowledged lover for several years, was a notable step forward for gay social normalization. The low-key public reaction to a wedding that would have been legally meaningless and both socially and politically suicidal only a few years ago also burnished the country’s international image by showing that liberal democratic values are here to stay in Germany. (more…)

July 4, 2011 at 3:34 am Leave a comment

Doubt, Uncertainty and Belief

A sermon on John 20:19-31 preached at Trinity Episcopal Church, Hamburg New York , on the Second Sunday in Easter, April 7th 2013.

I am a bit of a doubter.  Actually that’s a lie.  I am a big doubter.  If this were an Doubter’s Anonymous meeting, I’d probably say “Hi, my name is Blane and I’m a doubter.”   There are some things that I just have a hard time believing in.  And there are other things in my life that, if I hadn’t experienced them for myself – seen them with my own eyes, witnessed them for myself – I would never have believed them if someone else had told me it were so. (more…)

May 19, 2011 at 3:29 am 1 comment

Martin Luther King of Georgia

January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968

We have flown the air like birds,
השכלנו לטוס באוויר כמו ציפורים
حلّقنا في الهواء كالعصافير

We have swum the sea like fishes
השכלנו לשחות בים כמו דגים
سبحنا في البحر كالأسماك

But have yet to learn the simple act
אך עדיין לא למדנו את המעשה הפשוט….
لكننا لم نتقن بعد، تلك المهارة البسيطة ….

Of walking the earth like brothers
של ללכת על האדמה כמו אחים
أن نمشي على الأرض كالأخوة

Words by: Martin Luther King Jr.
מילים: מרטין לוטר קינג הבן
من أقوال:مارتن لوثر كينج

January 13, 2011 at 10:00 am Leave a comment

2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how my blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

About 3 million people visit the Taj Mahal every year. This blog was viewed about 29,000 times in 2010. If it were the Taj Mahal, it would take about 4 days for that many people to see it.

 

In 2010, there were 9 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 104 posts. There were 23 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 4mb. That’s about 2 pictures per month.

The busiest day of the year was March 28th with 192 views. The most popular post that day was Nigel High School Reunions.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were facebook.com, mormonsformarriage.com, bsg8.org, search.conduit.com, and mariaozawa2u.blogspot.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for alice in wonderland, mount athos, braaivleis, margot käßmann, and sadf.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Nigel High School Reunions February 2007
154 comments

2

Parable of the Good Samaritan – an exegesis November 2007

3

Saint George’s Home for Boys 1915 – 1991 January 2007
159 comments

4

Alice-aus-dem-Wunderland May 2009
1 comment

5

Pilgrimage to Mount Athos July 2010
4 comments

January 3, 2011 at 7:52 am Leave a comment

Tales from Twente: When is a Steak a Steak?

By Dina Ann Boessenkool

You know you live in the Netherlands when people don’t know what rump steak is!  Or sirloin steak, for that matter.

When we first came to live in Almelo, I was quite bewildered by the meat counters in the Dutch supermarkets.  Yes, it was meat, but what kind of meat?  A roundish blob of packaged meat labelled “steak” didn’t tell me much.  So, with high hopes, I used to read the cooking instructions on the back. And ended up with something resembling leather.

Then I discovered frozen imported “rump steak” at the Aldi and Lidl supermarkets.  It had the texture of rump steak, only the pieces were quite small.  I  can recognise and buy fillet steak, known as ossenhaas or tournedos, as well as  ribeye steak and entrecote steak – and that’s where it ends. (more…)

December 29, 2010 at 5:02 am Leave a comment

A Christmas Crèche

By Roon Lewald

And she brought forth her first-born son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger: for there was no room for them in the inn.

And she brought forth her first-born son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger: for there was no room for them in the inn.

Advent is here again, and the unusually persistent snow we’ve been having here in Bonn in the climatically moderate Rhineland has added a festive white touch to the view from my living room window. I have therefore set aside my work as a freelance translator for a while to indulge my creative hobbies. The first thing I did was to design my own Christmas cards, thinking that something has to be done about the commercial degradation of what has been the greatest festival of the Christian calendar for over 2,000 years. Because if I see one more card or window display wishing me a happy “Xmas”, I shall track down those responsible and give them an earful. Who is or was this faceless “X”? How did he, she or it usurp the originator Christ from the name of the feast day that once celebrated the birth of the Son of Man, and now marks only the biggest consumer spending spree of the year?   (more…)

December 8, 2010 at 7:53 am Leave a comment

Advent: Time for Sowing

By Roon Lewald

Funeral Dirt

Funeral Dirt

It’s the first of the four Advent Sundays, when folks here in Germany light the first of four candles on their Advent fir-branch wreaths and get into the pre-Christmas spirit. Even agnostics can’t help reflecting on the meaning of it all on a quiet Sunday evening when Christmas-minded people take a short break from their gift-shopping labours before plunging back into the seasonal shopping rush again on Monday (illuminations are already up and Christmas markets are booming in the city centers, and Germans are again spending this year as if the recession never happened.)  With new terror scares vying with the global economic crisis for attention, the news is so depressing nowadays it’s hard to believe that there’s any room left in the world for the human love, friendship and compassion we hear so much about at Christmastime. I can only draw comfort from the knowledge that many people like myself are at least linked to other individuals by such bonds.

In this mood, I was reminded of a short story by a South African author named Charles Bosman. (more…)

December 6, 2010 at 3:18 am 2 comments

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