Tuesday, July 25, 2006


I have a friend, Pete Mathiessen. Interesting guy. I met him first when he was on his way to South America, hanging out with friends in a group of missionaries from Sanford. Mathiessen's not a missionary, he's a writer and naturalist. He's the guy who wrote The Snow Leopard and a whole bunch of books about that kind of stuff. Very interesting guy.... a Zen master, a truly complete guy. Somebody who touches people. His connection with the missionaries resulted in a successful book... At Play in the Fields of the Lord, which won all kinds of awards and was made into a successful movie. Good stuff. We were chatting about a mutual friend who has been reading Paul Theroux, who is a good friend of Matheissen's. She's a pediatric surgeon, who cuts on kids there at Arnold Palmer Hospital where she is resident, and is involved in a lot of voluntarism. A girl with both talent and money. Good looker too... in one of those Rebecca West sort of ways.

Anyhow, he wandered through the area last week and has got me thinking about adding an audio podcast to the blog. I'm not as cool as Anne Althouse or that Reynolds guy at Instapundit, but it does look like fun. This is really one of those friend of a friend deals. I have a good friend that I share with Pete who is a doctor with Doctors Without Borders who Matheissen visited a few months ago. She recently was doing trauma surgery in Israel. Cutting on kids who have been blown up in the badness that has been happening over there. Well, because of Matheissen, who is an older "grand master" sort of guru these days, she also gives money to one of the Missionary people in Sanford who are involved with translating religious texts into Urdu, and Bantu, and South American languages. This is how an American Zen Master can wind up encouraging a nice Jewish girl to do God's work thru a bunch of Baptist missionaries ... these are the same guys that Mathiessen went with to visit the South American Indians... and found that one of their translators had accidentally transliterated "Jesus" and "Satan" from a phonetic similarity into a direct translation. Oops... and they only caught the error when they were putting the text onto audio tape... after losing several missionaries to Indians who were reluctant to allow living Satans to live in their village compounds. One of the results of that synergy was Matheissen encouraging Paul Theroux, the travel writer who created the African Coast book twenty years later, that lead to a similar set of miscommunications that lead to another good book.... and lead to us talking about how different it is to talk and write. I know, I know... circular at best. But the practical missionaries know the power of putting the sermons and the bible stuff on tape rather than just writing the text down and assuming that the job is done. The spoken word is much more powerful.

At any rate, I'm thinking about podcasting. Got any suggestions?