For at least three days running, thunderstorms with heavy downpours came through late in the day. Sitting out of the deck during those evenings, feeling the growls of rolling thunder, is magical. Watching bolts of lightning strike somewhere nearby, followed by explosive, bone-jarring claps of thunder, delights me. I feel both fortunate control my circumstances, enabling me to see and feel the weather burst into existence around me. But the vastness of the sounds and the massive power contained in every flash of lightning makes me feel tiny and insignificant. Seesawing back and forth between a sense of control and a feeling of absolute powerlessness is frightening, but it makes me giddy, as well. I am passionately in love with the extremes of weather and permanently timid in their presence.


I very rarely go to my Twitter account because…well…I probably have never learned how to configure my feed to satisfy my interests. Now, suddenly, Meta introduces Threads. The idea that Twitter‘s owner, Elon Musk, must face another threat to a business that appears to be succumbing to Musk’s self-defeating decisions has some appeal. But will Threads have an appeal to me that has, thus far, eluded Twitter? That remains to be seen. First, I have to develop sufficient interest to download the app; that may be a few hours—or a few months—from now. We shall see; we shall.


In a shade more than four hours from now, I will host a retreat at my house for the board of my church. This will be the first church board meeting over which I will preside. But it will be quite different from typical board meetings, in that it will be more of a blue-sky planning session than a formal meeting…but it will have a few more formal elements. Tomorrow, I will deliver comments about the challenges of change and about the ideas that successfully emerged from today’s meeting. Yesterday, I accompanied friends and fellow board members to deliver a check to the recipient organization of last month’s Share the Plate collections. In a matter of days, I have become immersed in church-related activities. It is part coincidence and part preview of the days and months to come. In my new role as president, I will be devoting more of my time to the church than has been the case in the recent past. I anticipated that. But expectations and reality sometimes look very different.


The Dutch government has collapsed, leading to the requirement for new elections in the coming months. The problem revolved around the inability of the four-party coalition government to reach agreement over immigration policies. Globally, immigration issues increasingly are creating friction between groups that view migrants from widely different perspectives. On one side of the issue, the primary emotional driver of the controversy is compassion toward the migrants and the problems they face that prompted their need/desire to migrate. The other side is more fearful of the problems that migrants bring; its compassion seems focused more on the people who will be affected by incoming migrants, rather than the migrants themselves. Because my philosophy is more closely aligned with the first position, I am concerned about migrants’ problems. But I understand the fears and more positive motives of people who disagree. If leaders who command the respect of their respective followers would truly attempt to reach compromise, the urgency of the issue would diminish considerably. Yet solutions are needed…urgently. Issues like those that brought down the Dutch government are playing out all across Europe (and, by the way, the USA). Solutions really are needed…urgently. I say again, solutions really are needed…urgently. Compromises, therefore, must be made. Hard and fast positions lead to failure. Flexibility leads to acceptable solutions.


I have bounced around quite enough. Now it’s time to get serious about the day. I wish you were here.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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