Evasive confessions, elusive healing

Years ago I read "Blue Like Jazz" by Donald Miller which had become somewhat a cult classic (and later a movie) among young evangelical Christians. One of the most memorable and provocative stories from this memoir was the story of small group of Christian students setting up a sidewalk confession booth at Reed University campus…Read more Evasive confessions, elusive healing

The surreal reality called Putin’s Russia

Why call it 'surreal' when it is very real and even dear to millions of people? It continues to look and feel surreal to me 'on the outside looking in' or 'looking over the neighbor's fence'. Metaphorically speaking. This week I watched a documentary "Putin's witnesses" by an exiled Ukrainian/Russian filmmaker Vitaly Mansky who now…Read more The surreal reality called Putin’s Russia

The Valentine’s rose from my unlikely friend in San Francisco

I had not thought of Wayne in long time... or the things experienced in San Francisco. But yesterday these special and very significant memories came back so vividly. It happened while listening to a group of young foreigners, mostly American, who are spending time in Rīga. Not only to experience this beautiful city but also…Read more The Valentine’s rose from my unlikely friend in San Francisco

Crossings that change direction

"Some people cross your path and change your whole direction"... Looking at these words written on a wall in front me while sitting at the most popular coffee shop on my grandmother's street. (btw, this franchise is called Hedgehog-In-The-Fog in case you are looking for a cool place to hang out with friends in Rīga)…Read more Crossings that change direction

In the church this side of the barricades

In January expect a real winter in Latvia. Icy sidewalks, snow piles, slush, messy driving... this time of the year I walk the streets of Riga watching every step and practicing good balance. January with its cold temperatures is also a month that brings memories from 1991. Every year Latvia commemorates January 20 and The…Read more In the church this side of the barricades

Wrestling with the antisemitism of the past and of the present

I have wanted to write this for a while but kept postponing... and tried to understand why?! One of the simple explanations is that it is extremely difficult to write about national shame, inhumane ideologies, ordinary people with extraordinary hatred or indifference. It is difficult to say something about all of this without too many…Read more Wrestling with the antisemitism of the past and of the present

Beating the swords into plowshares? One day…

Today is centennial Armistice Day in western Europe and around the world to mark the end of World War I (1914-1918). 100 years is quite the landmark! In Latvia November 11 is named after Lācplēsis who is a national, but fictional hero from an epic poem. He fought for freedom from the evil forces, in…Read more Beating the swords into plowshares? One day…

Ask Latvians about the Corner House and take time to listen

This museum  - the former KGB headquarters in Rīga - is not for the disinterested or the deeply traumatized by Latvia's totalitarian past. In the first group, you quickly realize that this is a very somber space. Every room has soaked up fears, tears and witnessed intimidation, humiliation, broken lives and tortured consciences... For the…Read more Ask Latvians about the Corner House and take time to listen