Friday, May 17, 2024



Recently, I have been thinking a lot about time. Now, at the age of eighty and in the autumn of my life, I imagine this is a normal and natural thing to do. I have been most fortunate to have had a long, full, and happy time in all these decades since I came into the world on a hot and humid day in the Pensacola Maternity Home. In fact, I have lived so long that some of my early books have become relics. Just a few days ago, an auction house in London auctioned off one of my books, long out of print, for twice the original price. While I got no money from this, I did get satisfaction that, in time, the six books I have published were still sought after. For an academic historian, this is reward enough.

For now, however, we must focus on the near future rather than on the past. There is a highly active calendar looming that will carry us to the end of the year. There will be one momentous event after another for the next six months. We cannot stop these events from happening but we can control our interface with them and our reactions individually and collectively. I suspect this will be the most challenging year for most of us in a very long time.

Here is my "refrigerator list" of the outstanding events ahead:

MAY 18 --- Ordination of the Rev. Ross Tortora to the priesthood, Grace Church Cathedral, Charleston. (my wife and I are big fans of his sermons that we catch on livestream from Grace)

UPDATE. May 18, noon. Glorious service of ordination, beautiful, inspiring, uplifting. This is a great way to begin our eventful journey in the next half-year. May the Holy Spirit remain with us all as we remain with each other in this perilous time.

MAY 19 --- Pentecost Sunday. I have a new red shirt to wear for "red Sunday."

JUNE 23-28 --- 81st General Convention of the Episcopal Church, Louisville KY. This will include the election of a new presiding bishop.

JUNE 27 --- First debate between former president, Donald Trump, and current president, Joe Biden.

JULY 15-18, the Republican national convention, Milwaukee.

JULY 26-AUGUST 11 --- The Olympic games, Paris. What could be better than the world coming together in the most beautiful and charming city in the world. This should be the great uplifting event in an otherwise heavy and anxious year.

AUGUST 19-22 --- The Democratic national convention, Chicago. 

SEPTEMBER 10 --- The second presidential debate (see June 27).

NOVEMBER 5 --- National election in the United States. Election of president, the House of Representatives, and a third of the Senate plus many local offices. Whatever happens, there is common expectation of civic unrest to follow.

NOVEMBER 21-23 --- 234th annual meeting of the Diocese of South Carolina, in Hilton Head.

Whew. What a packed half-year ahead! As I have said repeatedly on this blog, we should all be greatly concerned about the national election, in November. It will determine which of the two tectonic plates will override the other---revolution (continuing the evolution of democracy) or counter-revolution (fascist assault on democracy). What this boils down to is whether we continue to develop as a multi-racial democracy or revert to white power control. Right now the polls show the race a toss-up. I am hoping for the best and bracing myself for the worst (and I have studied enough history to know how bad the "worst" can be).

Yet, life goes on and we must go with it. Fortunately, we have the Olympics in Paris this year. It will remind us of the best of humanity. However anxious, frightened, and disappointed we may be as events unfold this year, we must always remember the big picture of the order of God's universe and the small picture of humanity's quest of a better world of Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité.

Le pont "Alexandre III" sur la Seine au coucher du soleil.