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Showing posts from February, 2012

In It But Not of It: The Art of Detachment at Work

Christians routinely say they are in this world but not of it. Zen Buddhists talk of the art of detachment, of not being attached to any particular outcome. I'll have to learn to embrace both of these notions in my work life, at least for a while.

I thought American workplaces had advanced beyond the rigid hierarchical practice of emotionally flogging and demeaning your subordinates and publicly criticizing your predecessors as incompetent just because you can. What was I thinking? Clearly they haven't, and my workplace has, in the last five months, joined this race to the workplace morale bottom, so much so that there's a race to the exits among those who can retire.

After speaking up to my immediate superior in what I can see now were far too polite exchanges, I finally had it and escalated my complaints up to the next level in concert with a few of my colleagues. I knew that by speaking up and speaking against someone higher in the hierarchy, I was going to have a proverb…

Whitney Houston: A Child of God Called Home

Whitney Houston's passing has left me without words to say how I feel.

It's easy to think of her loss in terms of it being a premature dimming of an extraordinarily bright star in the music firmament. But we forget she was somebody's mother, somebody's daughter, and, most of all, a child of God who struggled and was deserving of grace and mercy, just like you and me.

I don't want to speculate on how she died. I'd rather remember how she lived when she was at her best. And, to my mind, she was at her best when she was singing songs of praise. For all the people who love her version of "I Will Always Love You" as her best song, for me, my favorite Whitney Houston song is "I Love The Lord" from the soundtrack to "The Preacher's Wife." Even as she's acting you can tell she felt that song from the depth of her heart, and her voice just soars like an angel when she sings it. Only God could have created a voice like Whitney's. T…

Read "The Warmth of Other Suns" for Black History Month

Ah, Black History Month is upon us! I won't go into the usual schpiel about how it's the shortest month of the year. Black History Month is what you make of it. And this year, I'm encouraging you to read "The Warmth of Other Suns" by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Isabel Wilkerson for Black History Month.

Why? Because if you have at least one Southern African-American parent or grandparent, no matter where you were born and raised, you will understand them better.

"The Warmth of Other Suns" chronicles the Great Migration -- the migration of over six million African-Americans out of the South from the turn of the 20th century to the 1970's. Focusing on the stories of three migrants, Ida Mae Brandon Gladney, George Swanson Starling and Robert Joseph Pershing Foster, Wilkerson interweaves demographics and historical facts about life in the Jim Crow South and the lives of the migrants after leaving the South with the stories of Gladney, Starling and Foster…