Thursday, December 12, 2013

Recent Travels

I just got back from Korea

While there I delivered a scholarly paper at the invitation of an Asan University, and then spent a day in meetings in Seorak

I did manage a bit of time with friends up the mountains

Just before that I was in Luxembourg and Slovakia (mostly for meetings and teaching)


Now I'm back preparing for the holidays, and trying to keep our projects moving forward

Saturday, November 30, 2013

On the Geneva, Iran Nuclear Accord

Give the Geneva Iran nuclear accord a chance
Despite the doubt and skepticism, there is strong reason to give the nuclear deal with Iran a chance.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Values in Knowledge Foundation and Inter Religious Federation for World Peace, Efforts in November, 2013

During the early weeks of November 2013, IRFWP director Frank Kaufmann spent time in Europe pursuing projects and relationships to advance the work of the Federation

Jean Claude Hollerich, Archbishop of Luxembourg

Alain Nacache, Chief Rabbi of Luxembourg

Here is a synopsis of the journey

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The German Language's ability to express the inexpressible

From the New York Times 

The audio instruction: Listen to new words pronounced in all their Germanic glory.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Francis calls for mutual understanding between Christians and Muslims in letter to Al-Azhar

The Al-Azhar University in Cairo – considered one of the most important centres of Sunni Islamic learning  – has announced that Pope Francis has sent a personal message to the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmed Al Tayyeb. The most important Catholic website in Arabic,, published the communiqué issued by Al-Azhar, which mentions that a meeting took place yesterday between Al Tayyeb and the Apostolic Nuncio to Egypt, Mgr. Jean-Paul Gobel. During the face-to-face meeting the Nuncio delivered the message of wishes Pope Francis sent to the Muslim world for the end of the month of Ramadan, along with a personal message from to Pope to Al Tayyeb.

 According to Al-Azhar, in his message the Pope stressed the Vatican’s respect for Islam and said he hoped every effort would be made towards achieving “mutual understanding between the world’s Christians and Muslims in order to build peace and justice.” 

Monday, August 26, 2013

Boko Haram, Brutal Violence in Northern Nigeria

New, more gory details have emerged in what was reported first as the killing of 35 Muslim worshipers and the wounding of 14 last week in the town of Dumba village in Borno State, Nigeria.
News of the tragedy was slow to emerge because area is remote and because internet and phone lines had been cut off by authorities in the attempt to disrupt the activities of the group Boko Haram, suspected of the perpetrating the massacre. It was the second such incident in this month.
This morning’s report now indicate that 44 victims had their throats slit, and the remaining victims had their eyes gouged out.  The official of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), speaking on the condition of anonymity explained that the group adopted this method of killing as a strategy to avoid sound from gunfire which attracts security forces.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

On Handwriting

Found this today.

No idea if it's true, but an interesting read anyway


If letters slant to the left: Indicates introspection and a lot of emotional control.

If letter slant to the right: Reveals a person who’s outgoing, friendly, impulsive, and emotionally open.

If letters are straight up and down: The sign of someone who’s ruled by the head, not the heart.

Letters that slant in more than one direction: Indicates versatility and adaptability.

An erratic slant: Usually means a lack of flexibility.

Heavy pressure writing (like you can feel the rib made on the back of the paper): The writer is agitated.

Moderate pressure (the writing is dark, but you can’t feel the rib on the other side of the paper): Shows ability to deal with stress.

Light pressure: Indicates someone who seems to take life in stride.

Tiny letters: Indicate the writer is has somewhat low self esteem but is intelligent.

Small letters: The hallmark of quiet, introspective types – they’re generally detail- oriented and have good concentration.

Large letters: Sign of a confident, easygoing individual.

Huge letters: Indicate someone who’s theatrical, usually loud, and needs to be the center of attention at all times.

Wide letters (their width and height are about the same): The mark of someone who’s open and friendly.

Narrow letters: Show someone who’s somewhat shy and inhibited but very self- disciplined.

Letters that don’t touch: Indicate an impulsive, artistic, sometimes impractical free thinker.

Some letters connecting: Means the writer’s personality blends logic and intuition.

All letters making contact: The sign of someone who’s highly cautious.

A curved first mark: Shows a person who’s traditional and plays by the rules.

A straight beginning stroke: Reveals someone who’s rigid and doesn’t like being told what to do.

A final stroke straight across: The writer is cautious.

An end mark that curves up : Reveals generosity.

Perfect penmanship: The hallmark of a communicative person.

An indecipherable scrawl: Indicates a person who’s secretive, closed-up and likes to keep his thoughts to himself.

New Articles on IRFWP site

Religions cooperate to help Kenyans

Fractious religious groups in this East African nation are uniting to tackle alcohol and drug abuse, amid concerns the substances could wipe out a cross section of the younger generation.From Sunday schools to Islamic madrassas, the groups are providing preventative education, public awareness and life skills training. Some also offer addicts rehabilitation and psychosocial support.

Why are interfaith groups struggling?

The Interfaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington is known as one of the country’s early multi-faith groups, and its executive director’s nickname is the “dean of American interfaith.” Yet as it approaches its 35th anniversary in November, the group is fighting for survival, down to two full-time staff members and facing more than $100,000 in debt.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

August, 2013 visit to India

I spent 10 days in India the beginning of August.

At first I presented a paper to the conference hosted by the Swami Narayan Sampraday at Akshardam in New Delhi

I then spent several days at the Radha Raman Temple Ashram in Vrindavan with Shri Shrivatsa Goswami and his family

I had a brief visit to a magnificent marble inlay gallery of Dinesh Chand Bansal near Mathura

Shrivatsa and I stopped at the tomb of Moghul emperor Akbar on the way back home

I briefly stopped at Gobind Sadan, founded by Baba Virsa Singh, to visit devotee and author Mary Pat Fisher

Here below are some images from my time

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Anton Chekhov on the 8 Qualities of Cultured People

by  Maria Popova

“In order to feel comfortable among educated people, to be at home and happy with them, one must be cultured to a certain extent.”

What does it mean to be “cultured”? Is it about being a good reader, or knowing how to talk about books you haven’t read, or having a general disposition of intellectual elegance? That’s precisely the question beloved Russian author Anton Chekhov, born on this day in 1860, considers in a letter to his older brother Nikolai, an artist. The missive, written when Anton was 26 and Nikolai 28 and found in Letters of Anton Chekhov to his Family and Friends (public domainpublic library), dispenses a hearty dose of tough love and outlines the eight qualities of cultured people — including honestyaltruism, and good habits:

Read the entire article here

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Lectures at D.O.N.E. May, 2013

D.O.N.E (Development of New Environments) is a European based youth leadership program.

Participants grow through service, spiritual regimen, seminars and education, and fiscal and life-style responsibility and self-sufficiency.

The program trains participants to forge and develop cross cultural competence and relationships through travel and interpersonal collaboration in all areas.

I have been blessed with the opportunity for the past many years to teach during the classroom education component of the program.  I teach on self-development, family and social harmony, environmental sensibility, and self-sufficiency.

This year my son Frone is in the program.

Here are a couple of shots taken at the end of our studies this year:

Just prior to my time teaching, the group toured Israel and Palestine on a peace and service mission.

Here is a lovely video of their travels in the Holy Land

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The most and least Christian states in America

A study measuring religious bodies in the United States called the, "2010 U.S. Religious Census: Religious Congregations; Membership Study (RCMS)" was recently released by the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies (ASARB). The most comprehensive study of its kind, it provides detailed county-by-county information on congregations, members, adherents and attendance for 236 different faiths groups. (The survey differentiates between specific denominations within the same tradition.)
The researchers found Utah to be the most Christian* state with around 78 percent of population identifying as Christian adherents. The researchers found Maine to be the least Christian state with only about 27 percent identifying as Christian adherents.
most least christian state

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Technology and ethics

Tech changes affect three areas. Individuals acquire greater independence and reach.  The locus of power shifts accordingly. And traditional buffers between discordant groups dissolve.  These developments call for new structures for moral development, and the radical reassessment of human organization.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Symposium to Honor Pioneering Bible Scholar, Daniel Patte

On April 6 scholars gathered at Vanderbilt University to celebrate the illustrious career of New Testament Scholar, Professor Daniel Patte.

I was one of the presenters on this occasion. 

Here are some of the documents for the symposium

Here are some images from the weekend. 

The first of them are pictures of the Scaritt-Benett campus where the visiting scholars for the symposium was held.  Scaritt-Benett was once a United Methodist Seminary, and is now run by the denomination as a conference facility.

A couple of pictures are from a stroll around one evening, and the final ones are from the symposium itself


I published a popular article on the symposium as well