Posted: March 24, 2014 by Mark Putnam
Sometimes I ask friends and colleagues, who have spent significant portions of their lives working among those in poverty in developing countries, a single question: “If you were to bring friends from the community you are serving to the United States, what would they find most surprising?” The answer is almost always the same. “A grocery store.”
Mark Putnam | 10 Comments | Posted: March 3, 2014
Most of us would agree change is inevitable. Some see it coming. Others eventually acknowledge change by looking to the past to interpret a new reality in the present. A few look bewildered and simply ask, “When did things change?” or ”Why did things change?” or “Who changed things?”
Mark Putnam | 5 Comments | Posted: January 20, 2014
As a young kid, the emerging fast-food restaurant was a marvel. Predictable food I liked (a lot…in fact, too much), could be packaged and presented to me in a convenient manner, and was cheap enough that my Mom found it less of a hassle than making me lunch. Could it get any better than this?
Mark Putnam | 3 Comments | Posted: December 19, 2013
There was a small town park that was wide open to the river and yet had a nice steep hill set well back from the river’s edge. It was perfect for sledding. It was a not a long slope. The elevation dropped quickly and then provided a flat area for draining the momentum of the ride.
Mark Putnam | 12 Comments | Posted: November 27, 2013
Most are familiar with the old story known commonly as “The Blind Men and the Elephant.” The tale is traced to the Indian Subcontinent from where it spread across many regions, cultures and religious traditions. Much later it was popularized in a poem by the 19th century American poet John Godfrey Saxe I (June 2, 1816 – March 31, 1887) bringing the story more prominently into the narrative of western culture as well.
Mark Putnam | 12 Comments | Posted: November 4, 2013
Hit well, and life will reward you; miss, and there are sanctions. It’s simply reality.
Mark Putnam | 4 Comments | Posted: October 9, 2013
We make government work. He suggested that what we do in the roles we play is the essence of democracy. His words penetrated through the necessary articulation of rules of governance to remind me of the role of citizen. With a new frame of reference, I began to interpret the comments each of the speakers offered with greater attention to the role, rather than the rule.
Mark Putnam | 14 Comments | Posted: September 10, 2013
We are an impatient society. Perhaps it has always been so, but as I read about our history I continue to be impressed by the foresight and commitment of leaders who assumed they were building for something more than their immediate needs and interests.
Mark Putnam | 11 Comments | Posted: August 9, 2013
Arrogance is short-lived in travel, however. We all remember times when we wished we prepared differently for circumstances we didn’t fully understand.
Mark Putnam | 8 Comments | Posted: June 26, 2013
Could we, in 2013, articulate the deep philosophical notions embedded in the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution, and the Bill of Rights? Would it be possible for a national leader to step forward in a time of great grief and tragedy and craft the mournful and yet healing words for the Gettysburg Address? Would there be sufficient depth of understanding about literature, history and culture for an activist to expand our vision of the future through an “I Have a Dream” speech?