A Good Life

A few months ago a man and I were engaged in a conversation. The talk ranged widely over the man’s new book and mine, over asylum seekers to indigenous health, then to my odd affection for running marathons. We visited the Boston Marathon of 2013 and the bombing that brought the event to a halt before I could reach the finish line.

While we talked like old friends, as occasionally happens with an engaging new friend, we were not alone. An audience of tens of thousands listened to us on local radio. Our conversation was coming to an end when the interviewer paused, mused for a moment, shot me a half grin and said: “Howard, I see you as an idealist, a person trying to do good in the world. So I want you to give me an answer to a question I ask myself every day: ‘How does a person live a good life?’”

The interviewer is an awarded journalist aged about forty, a father of young children. He smiled, acknowledging how his question had flown in and landed abruptly in a chat that had satisfied itself with surfaces. Stumbling, I gave a suitably useless answer. I groped for something wise but not too portentous and I came up with something incoherent.

Two months have passed since the challenge of that question. I realise I did have an answer. I have had it for ages. It is couched in religious terms but you could remove the divinity from it and still retain an essence that responds to my radio host. It comes to me from a fellow who lived more than two thousand years ago who had gathered an audience of his own (rather like a radio host of ancient day). His name was Micah. He distilled his understanding of life for his public, teaching them as follows: He hath shown you, O man, what is good: and what does the Lord require of thee – only to do justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with thy God?

A Message from the Moderator on Blog Policy

This is a belated message from the moderator of Howard Goldenberg’s blog.

 

As this is the first time that the moderator (not Howard) has posted on Howard’s blog, I’d like to take this opportunity to welcome you and thank you for your interest and comments.

 

Unfortunately the need has arisen for creation of a set of blog guidelines that perhaps should have been anticipated earlier.

 

Howard spends a significant amount of time and effort preparing content for his audience. He doesn’t get paid for this. He blogs because he likes writing and gets great enjoyment from receiving feedback as well as hearing differing views from his own.

 

Comments from followers with views that are differ from Howard’s or are critical of his opinions are both accepted and encouraged.

 

We support positive and productive discussions and we request that the tone and focus of comments are respectful.

 

Comments that are personally offensive, defamatory or may publicly humiliate the writer or others are unacceptable. Gratuitous personal attacks made under the guise of literary criticism will not be tolerated.

 

Future posts that are offensive, ad hominem or disrespectful will be removed. Repeat offenders will be denied access from posting future comments.

 

In the event that an objection arises to the moderator’s decision, the objection will be considered but ultimately the moderator’s decision is final.

 

I sincerely hope open discussion will continue for all followers of Howard’s writing and that free discourse is not impeded by negativity.

Thank you.