I think – maybe, not sure – that summer ended yesterday in New York City. The light seemed different – more indirect, more blue than yellow.

Nowadays, I don’t have neat markers for time, like the closing of my childhood swimming pool on Labor Day or back-to-school excitement. There just comes a day when the balance shifts from hot to warm, from long days to not-as-long.

In fact, I find I don’t have neat markers for anything. When is enough money enough money? I don’t know. When does worry yield to peace? When does serenity replace frustration? When does a relationship go from acquaintance to friendship? What does enough sleep feel like? I don’t know.

Certainty is elusive, and those who crave certainty are doomed either to disappointment or to delusion. Disappointment when they can’t have what they want, delusion when they think they do have it.

Better, I think, to approach life with a mind and heart tuned to catch nuance. Ah, the air does smell different today. Something is changing. Ah, that person no longer seems so aggravating to me. Something changed. Ah, I feel hopeful, not because conditions changed but because something else, maybe in me, changed.


Q: Are Christians more moral than non-Christians?

A: I don’t see any direct correlation between religious identity and morality. Baptism by itself doesn’t ward off evil impulses. Neither does church affiliation. Moral behavior seems to flow from an active faith – that is, from love of God, love of neighbor, and an awareness of both self and other as created by God. All major religions have a vibrant ethical center, and when freed from extremism, those ethical centers tend to be alike. The challenge, then, isn’t to find the perfect religion. The challenge is to live into faith itself.