Steve McEllistrem

The Devereaux Dilemma

Author Archives: steve-mcellistrem

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You Can’t Go Home Again

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Recently, I decided to re-read You Can’t Go Home Again, Thomas Wolfe’s classic, and as I was working my way through Book VI, where George Webber is preparing to depart and then leaving Germany in 1936, I found parallels to … Continue reading

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Not Enough Money in the World

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We all want our government to pay for certain things. Those wants are different for different people, but we all want government to pay for something. The problem, however, is that there isn’t enough money to pay for all the … Continue reading

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Quid Pro Quo

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There’s been a lot of talk of quid pro quo lately and I think it’s worth discussing because it’s prevalent in our society, albeit rarely formalized. With Trump and Ukraine, for example, it’s pretty clear that there was a quid … Continue reading

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Weakness as Strength

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Weakness as strength is a Taoist thought. Lao Tzu said, “Nothing in the world is weaker than water but against the hard and the strong nothing outdoes it.” And Wang Tao said, “Eight feet of water can float a thousand-ton … Continue reading

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Giving Up

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When is the right time to give up? When is it okay to stop banging your head against the wall? Well, if you’re literally banging your head against a wall, I’d say you’re allowed to give up pretty much immediately. … Continue reading

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Along the Path

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Which begins at the edge of the parking lot Easing me into wilderness Conveying me from almost prairie Into something like wooded seclusion Where I’m surrounded by oak and ash and maple sunlight dappling the ground Viceroys commingling with grasshoppers … Continue reading

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Shared Sacrifice

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We are all capable of great goodness, and yet we are all complicit in the killing of our neighbors. Everything we do, in some way, harms the world and the people around us. We buy soap, which contains chemicals that … Continue reading

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What is Good?

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What does it mean for something to be good? It seems pretty simple on the surface. Everybody knows what “good” means, right? Except that it’s actually a pretty difficult question to answer. Philosophers have struggled with it for centuries. The … Continue reading

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The Gold Doubloon

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You might not believe this but I found a gold doubloon the other day – an old Spanish coin dated 1537. It had been dented by a musket ball fired at Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor. How do I … Continue reading

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Our Faith Is Our Downfall

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Most of us believe strongly in either God or Science. A few of us believe strongly in both. That ought to be a comfort, but it really isn’t. Christians see the world through the framework of the Bible, Muslims through … Continue reading

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