posted by Mike on September 15th, 2006

Henri Nouwen: The other morning, one of the Catholic Workers here was using her morning personal time to make a bunch of phone calls on behalf of a very troubled woman who showed up at the door.

As a show of support, and in case I suddenly became useful, I hung around, drinking coffee and skimming Michael O’Laughlin’s biography of Henri Nouwen. This passage jumped out at me:

The contours of Nouwen’s life were indeed interesting. Although he became a well-known spiritual writer, Nouwen did not embrace the lifestyle of a media-savvy author or pundit. In fact, he declined most of the many speaking invitations he received, and he abandoned his academic appointments, first at Yale, then at Harvard, in order to seek a more clearly spiritual way of life. His first radical step in this direction was to immerse himself in the meditative silence of a Cistercian monastery. Later, he went to the Third World to live as a missionary and worked in a shantytown near Lima, Peru.

While both of these experiences broadened his outlook and added new dimensions to his writing and teaching, Henri Nouwen did not find what he was seeking in either of these settings. He longed for some more satisfying form of life and ministry that would ground him spiritually and give him the feeling of having “arrived home.” Nouwen was searching for some place or situation that might offer him intimacy, continuity, and acceptance.

I know how he felt.

Podcasts: Cory Doctorow tipped the world off to Alex Wilson’s great reading of Kelly Link’s The Girl Detective (mp3), which led me to a reading of the also-good Most Of My Friends Are Two-Thirds Water (mp3), which led me to the best podcast I’ve heard in awhile, Sherwood Anderson’s The Dumb Man (mp3). It’s short enough to listen to over and over.

As it turns out, Mr. Doctorow is now podcasting my favorite story of his, 0wnz0red. (Text at Salon.)

Global Guerillas: JOURNAL: 35,000 Private Military Shooters in Iraq?

A surprising stat. From a comment: “This makes PMCs the most important member of the Coalition other than the US in terms of numbers.”

South Bend: Someone asked a friend if he had trouble living in South Bend on the salary his non-profit paid him. His response:

The cost of living in South Bend . . . living in South Bend is like living in a Third World country.

Organization: When I was leaving Worcester for South Bend, someone asked me how I managed to stay organized while moving amongst many different computers.

Now that I’m leaving South Bend, I’m ready to answer: Nothing fancy. GMail + Flickr + Backpack gets me most of the way there. I implement well over half of the Getting Things Done system, doing most of my organizing with an At-A-Glance “Pocket Weekly” planner and address books. My to-do lists are clipped into the back of the planner, the famous Hipster PDA method.


That’s my system. Basically what a million other geeks do.

Fashion: The iPod Shuffle and a pair of American Apparel black briefs make a coordinated outfit.


Published in: Items | on September 15th, 2006 | Permanent Link to “Items” | No Comments »

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