Saturday, April 17, 2010


I promised you Thailand. I gave you the brief version, which you took well considering.


Thai mountains climbing above a flat plain marked by houses, temples, road. I'm on a moped, my helmeted head laid against the handlebars, my body hugging the seat, throttle open, little wheels spinning. Monkeys staring. Monks in orange robes. Piles of coconuts bigger than a house blurring by.

How fast can you go on a moped? Not that fast but fast enough.

We're looking for a cave: climbing steep steps up the side of a mountain, passing German septagenarian tourists who should not be out in the heat, talking about developing awareness of your inner life with a young man, recently married, zealous to follow God and make a difference, living in the middle of culture shock.

How deep into the earth do you have to climb to find yourself?

Can you see:
We're throwing people -- all kinds of people, young and old, men and women, children, well-dressed or properly-attired -- into the pool. I haven't done this since I was a kid. For some reason it's what expatriates do when they're on retreat. We always threw the general director in back then. The same thing happens now, about 30 years later. I join in. A young child singlehandedly throws adult after adult into the overchlorinated, blue liquid. Even a grandpa gets tossed in -- I asked his permission, which he solemnly gave me first.

What kind of baptism welcomes all ages and requires no solemn vows?

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