Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A two way street

A bigot is a person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices, especially one exhibiting intolerance toward those of differing beliefs. The predominant usage in modern English refers to persons hostile to those of differing race, ethnicity, religion or spirituality…


Dear Facebook friend who posts provocative statuses and who shall remain anonymous:

This is a shot in the dark but, I’m guessing you might be so angry about opponents to gay marriage because you are secretly gay. Just so you know, if you are a closet homosexual I would not care. If you wanted to get married to a guy in New York, I would not care.

If you want to know the truth, I am happy for my other friend who lives in New York who is overjoyed at the prospect of being able to be married now…and for other friends of mine who would like to seal the deal legally but have not been able to…honestly happy for them…

I’ve been in countries where parents kill their children for being gay, such as Ethiopia…

I think that’s more sinister, obviously, than gay marriage.


The LDS Church has gotten a lot of flak about its stance on Proposition 8.

Personally, I find the published statement “marriage is defined as between one man and one woman” ironic since historically we are the only ones who have practiced nontraditional marriage in the US (one man married to many women), illegally to boot.

So I understand if you disagree with the traditional definition that one man and one woman makes a marriage, but…

Responding to perceived bigotry with hatred doesn’t really solve anything, does it?

I’m LDS and I would support your decision to be gay.

I’m not so sure you could say the reverse. (I’m gay and I support your decision to be LDS.)

Respectful dialogue is needed by both parties on sensitive issues.

Bigotry can be a two way street.

“Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.” – Maya Angelou

Monday, June 20, 2011

To be clear

Because of a previous blog post, someone wrote me and said, “I have to agree with you. Blacks are cursed by God.”

Thank you for writing, so I can clear up what must have been a misunderstanding. What I said was a minister we know believes that.

I don’t.

I don’t know why Africa has so many problems, but I don’t personally believe God would curse an entire continent.

Instead I believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s, or anyone else’s, transgressions (AofF 2)

African Americans and those with dark skin around the world have proved over and over again they have equal potential of being just as successful as anyone else.

I believe in being color blind and I believe God is too. In fact, I picture Jesus as having much darker skin than is normally portrayed in paintings—after all, he was Middle Eastern.

Religion has a very sad history of reinforcing racism. I want to distance myself from that. It embarrasses me.

I do not endorse anyone who has ever stated that people with black skin are inferior, interracial marriage is sinful, or racial prejudice of any kind is acceptable.

Just to be clear.


My friend from Sudan, K.G., one of my favorite people I met in Cairo.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day

Let me tell you three things about my Dad that I hope I will be able to emulate as well as him one day:
Unconditional love: I know not everyone gets to experience unconditional love in their lifetimes. I know that whatever I did, my dad would love me. I could kill somebody and he would still love me. That’s very powerful. I wish that everyone could have that kind of support in their lives.

Humility: My dad might be surprised  but I think of him as a humble person. He has been a wonderful influence in a lot of people’s lives and he has given generously to so many but he does it behind the scenes and without expectation in anything in return. Nor do I believe that he sees himself as special in that regard, but I do.

Soft-hearted: I love that my dad is a softie. I love that he cried with us kids when our dog died. I love that he is empathetic and kind. I believe that is why he so often is called in our church to work with widows and other people who are in rough situations. He is not quick to condemn and he is someone I could always confide in if I knew someone needed help.

Thank you Dad for your example. I hope I can be an example of these traits to others as you have done for me.

Friday, June 17, 2011

I need your feedback

Please vote: Do any of these sound promising for a new travel/business website?

I’m looking to capture a crowd who wants to travel permanently and make a living—a good one, not just scraping by--while doing it. I’m going to make business cards with this website on it for every time someone asks how they can do it too. And eventually write an ebook on travel-related how-tos and sell it on the website. So with that in mind, do any of these catch your eye? Any of them seem like a bad idea? I’m open to other names too! As soon as I pick the domain, I’ll start the design and get moving so everything will be in place for the NYC internet marketing conference in August.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Why visit Africa?

Despite all of its problems, Africa, for me, is addicting.

I know I’ll want to come back.

Here is one reason:

When you go to Europe, everything is polished and perfect. You know exactly what to expect. You know the experience you’re going to have and nothing is going to be that bad. You’re not ever going to be in a traffic accident—not when you take the metro and not when traffic is so orderly. The worst that will happen is you will get pickpocketed, or that it will snow. You’re not going to get food poisoning. You’re not going to hold your breath as you carreen around narrow corners in an overstuffed minitaxi passenger van. The architecture will be beautiful, and people aren’t going to disturb you. Everything is going to be…perfect.


And everyone knows perfect can be boring.

Africa does its own thing and anything can happen. Whether it’s the side of the bus bursting off and falling into Jacob’s lap, or walking in a madhouse of a market where people are selling insects to eat, or experiencing overwhelming and powerful smells that have never greeted your nose before, or making friends who are sure in America there are no such things as lakes, Africa is a surprise.


I like surprises.

I like Africa.

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