I’ve had a few memorable dreams over the years, but never before have I woken up at 5.30 AM and thought to myself: “Wow, that was something.” I had such a dream recently and think it is worth sharing.

My dream began when I had just dropped my kid off at a care center and had an hour to visit a former diplomat at his office as part of my research project on how wars begin.

I walked into an office building and found my way to where he worked. It was a space with a small foyer in front…

Today, it has been one year since we canceled our spring break plans because of the Covid outbreak. Little did we know that it would only be the first of many cancellations and that we would be staying at home for a whole year. No visits. No visitors. One overnight trip. That’s our year in a nutshell.

My wife and I have underlying conditions. That is why we were careful. We weren’t paralyzed by fear. In fact, we often thought about breaking our routine. Last spring, for example, then during the summer, and in the fall, we started toying with…

For most of my life, I have been acutely aware of the significance of Martin Luther King Jr. as a historical figure. The more I read, both by him and about him, the more significant he becomes. He was not a perfect man by his own admission, but his life and work present us with an aspirational tale. If we follow in his footsteps, we can do more good and work towards brotherhood.

In preparation for MLK day this year, I read a number of quotes from his speeches and books. …

I published my first book in October 2001. Since then, I have written a total of 30 books in two languages, including two novels. I am by no means a literary giant. Rather, I would describe myself as a prolific and industrious writer. Here are ten of the most important lessons I’ve learned in the process.

1. Writing is Difficult

Writing is difficult, it requires practice, and there are no short cuts. The only way to get better is to work at it.

2. Writing is Rewriting

Rewriting is the difference between amateurs and professionals. Amateurs write a piece and say it is ready. Professionals only feel like…

2020 was awful. We all want to move on from it as quickly as possible. And yet, as much as we all want to greet the new year with as much positivity and hope as we can muster, it is both prudent and realistic to admit that challenges await and we are faced with difficult questions.

  • How does a divided country heal?
  • How can we save as many people as possible while we wait for the vaccine to work?
  • What about the climate crisis?
  • Poverty?
  • Racial disparities?

The list goes on.

Where do we begin?

A Good Starting Point

There are no easy answers…

Recently, I listened to a Dr. King tribute show on NPR. All the interviewees were people who’d know Dr. King personally. Out of the many inspiring stories they shared, one struck me as particularly relevant to our times.

A Spiritual Malady That Must Be Avoided

It was Dr. King’s refusal to harbor feelings of anger and hatred, even when justified, which got my attention. According to a close friend—who had also read through most of Dr. King’s unpublished sermons—this was a reoccurring theme in the reverend’s life. …

As a student of theology and psychology, I can tell you that there are very few agreements across the board. The one thing I’ve found that everyone agrees on is that human beings are imperfect. Knowing that, we should probably never idolize other people… but we do… and there is a real cost to that.

Believing in Ideologies vs. Idolizing People

Recently, I was explaining to my son the difference between populism and political ideologies. …

Is there more divisiveness in the world now than at any other time in history? That question is nearly impossible to answer. That said, most people I talk to feel that divisiveness of all sorts, political, theological, racial, and personal, has become a sustained part of their everyday life, even if they don’t want to participate in it. The question then becomes: How do people respond to such sustained divisiveness?

Common Responses to Divisiveness

The following is a sample of common responses.

Apathy: Some people tune out and become apathetic. “It’s not my problem,” they exclaim. Yet, they are not immune. …

Mohandas K. Gandhi (1869–1948) was a towering figure in history. He lived his philosophy of nonviolent resistance (satyagraha) to the best of his ability. His approach, which grew into a full-fledged ideology with many specific tenets, was primarily based on acts of self-control, developing peace from within, and standing firm when it came to righteous convictions, never at the expense of others but always at one’s own expense. He preached that satyagrahis should never hate the doer, only resist the action, and that no human being was beyond redemption, repeatedly stating that:

“It is easy enough to be friendly to…

Gudjon Bergmann

Icelandic-American author, bridge-builder, interfaith minister, and amateur musician. Learn more at www.gudjonbergmann.com

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