The Cup Of Silence

Love Thy Neighbor: A Story Of War
January 21, 2008, 5:35 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized


Carl’s Place is a hole-in-the-wall bar in the historic Sherman Hill neighborhood of Des Moines. When you walk in the front door of the building — that has no visible sign confirming you are actually at Carl’s Place — the bar to your left, some chairs and tables to your right, a pay-and-play pool table is just around the corner, and a poker table sits dead ahead. Its smokey, when its busy. Smokey like the train from Mostar to Sarajevo.

I arrived at Carl’s to unwind with some of my new co-workers from Raccoon River Brewing Company, or “The Cooner” as I affectionately call it. It was Sunday, and we opened the restaurant for a private party, as the Cooner is typically closed on Sundays.

My new co-workers are the artistic,  intellectual types that one would hope to meet at a state school in Austin. They are outgoing and genuine. In such an intimate setting, I was asked to list my interests, hopes, goals, and dreams. I told them about my interest in Film, how I desire to make a film about Bosnia, and that I am not sure how to do it. How I am not so sure I am supposed to know “how.” I told them about my trip to Sarajevo, and how forming it was.

That night I conversed with Emily.   “I have a book I want you to read. Its about Bosnia,” she said, after I had consumed a couple Newcastle Brown Ales. “I read it about ten years ago.” “It made me cry.”

A week or two later, Emily showed up with the book Love Thy Neighbor: A Story Of War by Peter Maass. Very interested, I thanked her.

This is by far my favorite book I’ve read concerning the war in Bosnia. Maass worked in Banja Luka, Visegrad, Sarajevo (including Grbavitca), Srebrenica, Split, Geneva, and Belgrade. He covered the war from 1991 to 1993. He interviewed people from every aspect of the conflict, conversing with the confused Serb teenager who fireed heavy artillery in to  Sarajevo while his parents were living in the city, the Doctor who performed around 1400 amputations in Srebrenica without any anesthesia or antibiotics, and Slobodan Milosovic, when the war criminal was only giving a few interviews a year.

Peter Maass crosses the boundaries of journalism, giving insight into his dreams, nightmares, personal thoughts, concluding with an epilogue that struck a deep chord in me. He doesn’t hold back in condemning the world’s Western leaders and organizations who failed the Bosnian people, allowing genocide to occur in Europe’s back yard.

Love Thy Neighbor: A Story Of War has inspired me more than I fully understand.


For The Love Of The Seasons
January 5, 2008, 3:30 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized


I have a peculiar attachment to the American Midwest.  Iowa has four distinct seasons, each bringing its own affirmations of life. Fall is aesthetically my favorite season. I love summer for its lightheartedness, time for camping, grilling in the back yard, and Cubs baseball. Winter’s snow reminds me that everything dies. Our time here is short. I have been made as white as the powder on the ground. Spring, ah yes spring. Warm-blooded birds return to this place. the grass becomes green. The rain in April, early in the morning,  enlivens an aroma in the air that is indescribable.

Winter is the time of year when people become resolute.  I have decided to celebrate the liturgical, or Christian calender. I love seasons, and I love how we as believers have seasons throughout the year that celebrate Christ. It has helped me focus and meditate on God, His desires from my life, and my desire for Him. I have been refreshed in reading about the significance of each season, and celebrating them with distant brothers and sisters.

So tomorrow brings the end to Christmastide. The Feast of Epiphany is the celebration of Gods revelation of Himself in human form, to us. Praise you Lord!