Your quality known among your enemies

It’s a powerful scene in the movie Kingdom of Heaven, in which newly-minted Christian knight Balian (Orlando Bloom) releases into freedom ‘Saracen’ knight Imad ad-Din al-Isfahani…on account of his quality.

Balian had fought and defeated what he thought was Imad’s master, over a horse found on the master’s desert plot. Balian ordered Imad to take him to Jerusalem, but then released him and gifted him the horse.

“Your quality will be known among your enemies, before ever you meet them,” Imad says, before riding off.

He recognized the goodness (or at least capacity for mercy?) in Balian.

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Hindu temple story wins National Headliner, Religion Reporting Award!

UPDATE: This story also won first place Radio or Podcast Religion Report of the Year from the Religion Newswriters Association (RNA)!!  I am humbled and honored to have won this award, and to have been welcomed by the Hindu community in Trimbach to share their temple and puja with the world.

A bit of good news on this Friday evening: my story profiling the first stand-alone Hindu temple in Switzerland as won a third place National Headliner Award!  The awards were announced today by the Press Club of Atlantic City.

As readers of this site might already know, my previous station was sold and turned into a commercial, local station, focusing its resources on sales instead of journalism, leaving me to rediscover my homeland.  Despite this, our work produced before the sale–and my inevitable exodus from Switzerland–is still eligible for some awards.  This temple story is a version of a WRS story I expanded for Deutsche Welle, which distributes some program offerings to US public radio stations…hence my eligibility in this US prize!

Horns and drums are used to purify the air in this newly inaugurated Hindu temple in Trimbach—about halfway between Zurich and Basel.
Listen to the story from Deutsche Welle

Awards are, of course, not the most important thing in life.  But given that WRS as I knew it is no more, this recognition from my peers is a nice tribute to work done in my former life.

Reflections on a falling crucifix

CBS

I’d like to begin this post by expressing my regret that, after enduring the pain and emotional exhaustion of a wife battling cancer, a man lost his leg in an accident involving a falling crucifix.  I begin with that expression of regret because I want to be clear that I don’t bear any negative feelings toward the man described in this CBS 2 story from New York

It was tragic. 

But in reading this story I was presented with a few theological considerations, perhaps prompted by poor or unclear writing: “David Jimenez believed his devotion to a crucifix was responsible for his wife being cured of cancer,” it says.  This sentence infers the man had a devotion to a particular object, a crucifix.  And in his desire to show reverence for that object, it dislodged and crushed his leg.  What is this story saying, or not, about faith, and about God?

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