HOME | ABOUT US | Speaker | Americans Together | Videos | www.CenterforPluralism.com | Please note that the blog posts include my own articles plus selected articles critical to India's cohesive functioning. My articles are exclusively published at www.TheGhouseDiary.com You can send an email to: MikeGhouseforIndia@gmail.com

Friday, August 29, 2014

Happy Ganesh Chaturthi - A Hindu Festival

Today is Ganesh Chaturthi - a day Hindus around the world invoke the icon of Ganesh, a representation of the aspect of God that removes obstacles for the believer. Happy Ganesh Chaturthi to all.

I have been writing about the festivals of the world for over 20 years,  but when I am short on time, I refer back to what was written, which is still good for a non-Hindu to grasp. Full article is at http://theghousediary.blogspot.com/2011/08/happy-ganesh-chaturthi.html


Thank you

Mike Ghouse

(214) 325-1916 text/talk
Mike Ghouse is a public speaker, thinker, writer and a commentator on Pluralism at work place, politics, religion, society, gender, race, culture, ethnicity, food and foreign policy. All about him is listed in several links at www.MikeGhouse.net and his writings are at www.TheGhousediary.com and 10 other blogs. He is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Church turned into 'temple' after 72 Valmikis reconvert to Hinduism

Let people wear whatever religion suits them. The problem erupts when religion becomes political - and the self appointed guardians want to control others. The business of conversion is based on selling a 'superior' product against what they have. That is sheer arrogance indeed, there is nothing wrong with any religion.
Conversion is a good business - some make money or its equivalent (sawab), and some feel good...however, people should have the freedom to believe whatever they want to believe, as long as they don't rob my space, food and loved ones.
Mike Ghouse www.MikeGhouse.net
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Church turned into 'temple' after 72 Valmikis reconvert to Hinduism


Church turned into 'temple' after 72 Valmikis reconvert to Hinduism
ALIGARH: A church with a cross in it that belonged to the 7th Day Adventists overnight turned into a temple adorned with a portrait of Shiva after what some Hindu groups in Aligarh termed the "successful ghar wapasi" (reconversion) of 72 Valmikis who had become Christians in 1995.

There was an elaborate shuddhi karan (purification) ceremony on Tuesday inside the church in Asroi, 30km from Aligarh. Children from the village soon took over the premises and were seen playing in it by afternoon on Wednesday. A cross was allegedly remove from the church and placed outside the gate and a portrait of Shiva installed.

Khem Chandra, Sangh pracharak and pramukh of Dharam Jagran Vivad in Aligarh, said, "This is called ghar wapasi, not conversion. They left by choice and today they have realized their mistake and want to come back. We welcome them. We can't let our samaj scatter, we have to hold it tight. I have told them that honour comes from within the community and not from outside." Chandra added that in the years that followed their adoption of Christianity, he met heads of the eight Valmiki families numerous times to convince them to reconsider their decision.

However, as news of the reconversion spread, tension started building up, with sleuths of the Local Intelligence Unit (LIU) converging on the spot. Some villagers told TOI, on condition of anonymity, that the Shiva portrait had been removed and kept inside the house of a local resident. Anil Gaur, one of those who returned to the Hindu fold, said it was because they were unhappy with the caste system that they changed their religion. "But we found ourselves in no better position among Christians," he said. "As Hindus we had no status and were restricted to doing menial jobs, but even after remaining a Christian for 19 years, we saw that no one came to us from their community. There was no celebration of Bada Din (Christmas). The missionaries just built a church for us in the vicinity where some of the villagers got married. That was all."

Seventy-year-old Rajendra Singh said he, too, was happy to reconvert. "While sleeping outside the church one day I suffered a paralytic attack. I found myself unable to move. It happened last year and since then I have been thinking that it may have been Mata Devi's punishment for abandoning my faith," he claimed.

Osmond Charles, a lawyer and community leader in Aligarh, isn't convinced though. "Ghar wapasi sounds like a conspiracy," he said. "Sometimes we hear 'love jihad' and now we have 'ghar wapasi'. Is this the sign of a Hindu Rashtra in the making?"

Father Jonanthan Lal, pastor at City Methodist Church, said, "The 'purification' pooja took place inside the church which belongs to 7th Day Adventists. Such an activity shouldn't have taken place there. Faith is a personal matter but havan inside a church is not."

Meanwhile, there is a sudden, eerie quiet in Asroi. Villagers hurry inside their houses if they are asked about the reconversion and most say they know nothing about it. The presence of cops has added to their anxiety. "Don't ask anything. I don't know what happened," a young man said, turning away swiftly from a TOI team.

No non-veg menu at Prime Minister Narendra Modi's functions


Firstly, congratulations to Prime Minister Modi for choosing the vegetarian menu, one should eat and drink what one is comfortable with and making that known is good.

Secondly, I question the integrity of the the statement made in behalf of Mr. Modi,  "
PMO respects the individual freedom to have a non-vegetarian menu.." Could the same individual have said this, "The instructions are extended to banquets hosted in the PM’s honour on foreign soil as well. (to have only vegetarian menu)"


Prime Minister should not eat what he does not want to, but should he ask others in foreign nations not to eat what they normally eat?

Pork is prohibited for Jews and Muslims and they should not eat it,  but should they ban the sale of pork to others, who eat it routinely? The answer is no.

India should never follow lower standards of civility like the Taliban Nation or ISIS, instead it should look up to the US Standards where one can eat, drink, wear or believe whatever the hell one wants to believe.

This sounds like the Prime Minister, "The note discreetly suggests that the PMO respects the individual freedom to have a non-vegetarian menu," but the following addition is the work of self appointed supporters of the Prime Minister, also known as chamchas, "but this new protocol may please be adopted while Prime Minister Narendra Modi is in the government."

The civil laws of all nations, be it a rogue or free  have one thing in common - the bad guy goes to prison or gets the chair or beheading, and not his spouse, parents, siblings or kids, he bears the punishment alone. The religions have also laid similar emphasis, that God will punish the bad guy, and not his spouse, parents, siblings or kids.  No one bears others' burden. Hence, no one should impose their beliefs on others. 

During the month of Ramadan, Saudi Arabia, a host to workers of many faiths, shuts down all the eateries in the nation making it difficult for others to eat. Should any one be responsible for your Karma? Or should the individual be responsible for his own karma?  What concerns me is the fanatic fringe in India, and their  battle cry to ban the slaughter and sale of beef to others, the infringement of the rights of others starts here, those are not the signs of civility of nations. 

What you eat should be "your" choice, and no human should have the right to ban what others eat or not eat, drink or not drink, wear or not wear, and believe or not believe. India should not become like the ISIS or Taliban guys, we should take pride in our freedom, and religious people in particular should promote and encourage freedom and not imposition. 

Mike Ghouse

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No non-veg menu at PM's functions
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No non-veg menu at PM's functions

Non-vegetarian food and wine will go from Prime Minister Narendra Modi's menu.

A confidential note from the Prime Minister’s Office has instructed foreign office heads of missions and union ministries to not serve no non-vegetarian food at banquet-dinner or lunches at 7 Race Course Road in the Prime Minister’s presence. The instructions are extended to banquets hosted in the PM’s honour on foreign soil as well.
Vegetarianism will go well with the earlier instructions of the ‘no wine’ rule during raising toasts in state banquets at Hyderabad House in New Delhi.
The note discreetly suggests that the PMO respects the individual freedom to have a non-vegetarian menu, but this new protocol may please be adopted while Prime Minister Narendra Modi is in the government. Meanwhile, the PMO has instructed Air India to stop supply of whisky and wine whenever he is on board Air India One.
In a note to the chairman of Air India, the PMO has stated that the Prime Minister insists that this norm be implemented from his visit to Japan in late August.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Film "Kaum De Heere" banned from Indian Theaters

I have watched this film, and  it is one of the finest films in understanding terrorism. There is a message to the government and to the public, "don't mess with things that are sacred to others." There is a message to the politicians,  particularly the likes of Rajiv Gandhi that Rajneeti is about building cohesive societies and not inciting revenge. There is a message to those who have the ugly majoritarian arrogance that they are superior and all others need to be put in their place .... there is unfinished business out there, the Sikh Massacres is not resolved. The right wing Indians bury their head in sand, but if we don't sit down and bring a resolution to the Sikh Massacre with an apology, justice and accountability of the bodies, the apprehension and pain will continue... You have got to see this film to learn about social harmony.

Indeed, I agree with the censor about the film - it could create violence in some pockets, and my suggestion to the producers is to add a disclaimer at the beginning, then the film would be understood in its context. 

I wish I could write about this film, but you have to see it.

Mike Ghouse

Film "Kaum De Heere" banned from Indian Theaters

NEW DELHI — A government body has blocked the release of a film dramatizing the 1984 assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, which had been scheduled for release Friday, on the grounds that it could incite religious tensions.
Critics said the Punjabi-language film, “Kaum De Heere,” depicted Mrs. Gandhi’s killers in a favorable or even romanticized light. Mrs. Gandhi was gunned down by two of her own bodyguards, who were Sikh; the assassination was followed by riots throughout India in which thousands of Sikhs were killed.
The Central Board of Film Certification, whose approval is required before any film can be shown in Indian theaters, had originally cleared “Kaum De Heere” for release but reversed its decision on Thursday. That reversal came after the Home Ministry called the film “highly objectionable,” according to a report in the Press Trust of India.
“The problem lies in the fact that it eulogizes things it shouldn’t,” Leela Samson, chairwoman of the Central Board of Film Certification, said of the film on Friday. “Like taking the law into your own hands.”
Read more at:


Sunday, August 17, 2014

Happy Janmashtami | Lord Krishna’s birth celebrations.

Hindus around the world are celebrating the appearance of Lord Krishna on this day in 3102 BCE.  In the west Krishna became a known figure with the Hare Krishna movement in the 60’s. Happy Janmashtami, ya'll.

Every human goes thru three major phases of life; birth, life and death.  It is also defined as creation, sustenance/preservation and destruction, and is acknowledged and honored in the Hindu tradition. They see God in each aspect of life as Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Brahma reflects the creator form of God, and Vishnu represents the preserver aspect of creation that inspires one to be righteous, and Shiva brings a finite ending to life. It is a part of the life cycle: every human is born, lives on and finally disintegrates. Much of Hindu philosophy revolves around the preservation aspect of life; two of the most common and well known reflections are in the persona of Lord Krishna and Lord Rama, both incarnations of Vishnu.  It is not multiplicity of God, but multiplicity of his (her or it) role in relation to our lives.

As a Muslim, I see Krishna as an exemplary human, a representation of finite wisdom, a man who I admire, and am inspired by his teachings encapsulated in Bhagvad Gita as a dialogue between him and Arjuna on the battle field of Kurukshetra. It is one’s jihad, the internal struggle to be righteous against the temptations to take revenge, do wrong, and or holding on to one’s angry reactions. At the end do the right thing for the common and universal good, as we all are a part of the large family. In Islamic terms, we were all from the same couple created into different nations, communities and groups and asked to know each other to create harmony and peace.
I am sharing the picture of a Muslim woman with her kids dressed up as Bala (Youth)  Krishna in the City of Varanasi which just celebrated its pluralistic heritage, and I regret not attending the event. (http://foundationforpluralism.blogspot.com/2014/08/varanasi-spreading-inclusive-and_12.html ). This picture has gone viral.

Click on pictures to get larger versions

A true Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Jew or other don’t see each other’s religions as a barrier but a different experience to be in tune with the spirit of the creation. Most people get that right, and a few in each group don’t get it, and sulk in the arrogance of being superior without realizing that arrogance ends with one’s last breath, and no one is superior from that point forward.

This appeals to me a lot when people of different faiths admire each other’s traditions and become a part of it, without being religious. Religion is a personal belief in how an individual relates with his or her creator, the social structure brings people together.  Apparently I was dressed up as Baby Krishna when I was a toddler, and have been blessed to visit his birth place in Mathura.

If you are blessed to have an open heart and mind to stand up for every one of his creation. You will enjoy the life to the maximum. It was my pleasure to take
up  an issue against Russians who wanted to ban Bhagvad Gita (http://theghousediary.blogspot.com/2011/12/bigotry-against-hinduism-in-russia.html) and wrote to the Mayor of Moscow to give back the Krishna Temple land they had usurped and restoration of Krishna Temple in Lahore (http://worldmuslimcongress.blogspot.com/2007/01/krishna-temple-lahore.html) and there is a whole lot more we all can do collectively.

Open your heart and minds, and cherish the celebration s of fellow humans.  Happy Janamashtami!

More about it in my article at Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-ghouse/sri-krishna-birthday-celebration-janmashtami_b_1762997.html

Mike Ghouse is a public speaker, thinker, writer and a commentator on Pluralism at work place, politics, religion, society, gender, race, culture, ethnicity, food and foreign policy. All about him is listed in several links at www.MikeGhouse.net and his writings are at www.TheGhousediary.com and 10 other blogs. He is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Prime Minister Modi's speech on 68th Independence day.

The following piece has two parts, first part is PM's speech on independence day with notes laden with key phrases he used, it was an excellent speech given the exclusive background he is raised with, indeed, he has come a long ways.

The 2nd part shows his lack of inclusivism in his speech - he was raised in an irresponsible exclusivist education system that does not promote cohesiveness. Modi and several Indians are a product of that system, Hindus and Muslims alike. We cannot blame them, but we have to work on changing the system, all of us are responsible. Like he said in his speech to ask ourselves, what am I doing to contribute towards the well being of India? Here is my contribution.


It was a good speech - a comprehensive speech covering most aspects of the nation building.  It is good to hear good Hindi.  The notes were made as I was listening, and this has become a habit of mine to make notes of key words and phrases.  I have not done the grammar or spell check… oddly Modi caught himself with little grammar mistake around 24:15, nice touch, otherwise his language is perfect.

04:50 Mentions a variety of contributors by titles  
17:11 mera kya, mujhe kya ( I have been writing about this mantra )
18:53 Gender equality - demanding accountability from boys
21:10 Ashoka's switch from Yudh to Budh
22:29 Call for non-violence
23:22 Hum ne kya paya -10 years moratorium on communal riots
24:15 Female Infanticide - beton ki aas may betiyon ko bali mat chadayein
        Grammar mistake - budha maa baap, but corrects himself to budhay maa baap
27:12 sports medals - 29 girls brought medals out of 36
28:00 vikas ka ek hi raasta -  good governance and development
32:00 Youth employment and steel manufacturing
34:00 Global thinking
35:00 Emphasized on made in India
37:35 Bhagat Singh hi ki seva nahin hai ( I  have redefined Patriotism and like this)
37:45 Jain Jawan Jai Kisan - seva anna ke bhandar bharna
38:43 call on Innovation, make it here instead of importing ( need infrastructure)
39:24 zero defect zero effect - no compromise no returns and no side effects.
40:36 Change image from saparay to IT professional  - sapna hai - digital India
42:04 Conduct business on mobil phone - digital India ka sapna -
        e-governance, effective governance, IT logon ko jodti hai - digital India
44:06 Tourism - and its multiplier effect.
44:48 Gandagi rukwat hai.... safai ka kaam shuru hoga - commitment  is good
45:45 Gandhi - 2019 Jayanti - gandagi to be gone - happens with janbhagiyadari
46:47 Dignity of women - lavatory - toilet
48:10 My nay gharibi dekhi hai
38:43 Toilet in all schools separate from girls - 
38: 48 spend your money in building toilet in    schools By August 15, 2015
50:00 Opportunities - naya vichar - kai yojnayein -
            Development by area - desh banana hai to gaon say shuru karo 2016
            Adapt one town in each district - to make it exemplary
53:19 Create a model town - blue print will roll out on October 16 - JP Narayan's b/d
55:39 Center and states to make a team
56:20 Puranay ghar ki repairi ke bajaye ek naya ghar banayien
56:50 Nai, nai, nai... new institute ki disha may aagay badhien
58:25 Vivekananda meri bharat mata jaag uthi hai, my meri aankhon say dekh raha hoon
00:00 Ajadi ki jaisi ladai laday mil jul ke laday, tab to hum alag nahin thay...
        gandhi thay sardar thay... ignored Kalam Azad ( he is poor in history)
        Gharibi ko door karien
02:30 Pados ke deshon say mil kar gharibi ko ladien
03:35 challenged to work - pradhan sevak
05:22 Jai Hind

Modi could have done much better. May be it is in not his blood to be inclusive in his language. At the very beginning, when he recited the contributions of a variety of things to the nation, he could have included Sufis contribution along with rishis and munis. Then around 60th Minute he recites Gandhi and Sardar, but does not mention Nehru, because of whom we have a firm and solid democracy, and he does not mention Maualana Azad who lay the foundation for IIT's that shines India. He does mention Shastri and JP, but fails to mention the space program particularly during digitizing India talk, and he forgets Vinoba Bhave’s bhoodan movement during the Kisan segment.

I hope he gets a better speech writer next time, who can paint a fuller image of India and not an adhoori tasveer.

Towards the end when he was saying our nation is the nation of youth, the following song was on my mind… and had to listen to it before I go to sleep at about 2:45 AM

A desh hai veer jawanon ka



Good to hear your wise words, indeed, it was a good speech. Yes, the overall speech was inspiring and uplifting, its more like the state of the union speech. I have a greater interest in India than most Indians living outside India.

What do I want? Nothing but goodness for my country. I may be out of India, but as the saying goes, India will never go out of me. Whatever I write, speak, think or do, it is with the idea that every Indian should enjoy his freedom to eat, drink, wear and believe whatever the hell he or she wants to. I spend an inordinate amount of time on India - this forum Dallas Indians is around for 11 years now, it takes time to keep it, my website http://mikeghouseforIndia.blogspot.com has a lot of information about India... prior to that you know the work I have done. Remember this is all voluntary work and I have nothing to gain but hear rude comments now and then, and positive comments like yours, thank you.  I take them all as my Bachcahy and do not hold any grudge against any one.

Almost every other thing I write always highlights the pluralistic ethos of India in all my work be it Huffington post, Dallas Morning News, radio, tv or my speeches or wherever..


My interest is our social fabric vis-a-vis pluralism - learning to respect the otherness of others. Shame on us, the generations after independence don't know much about each other - whether you are a Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Christian or the other, you know almost nothing about the other, and whatever you know is bad things. There is a flaw in our education system. My Middle school social studies Urdu book had two pages on every religion, I wish it comes back and our future generations are taught to learn about the beauty of every faith.
To understand Modi's deficiency in inclusive language, you will understand it better in one of the most read articles on my blog - Can a Muslim Indian become Prime Minister of India?http://mikeghouseforindia.blogspot.com/2012/05/can-muslim-indian-become-prime-minister.html

Many, but not all Muslims are consumed with their self-interest and focus on their dire needs, it will be a long time before a Muslim could become Prime Minister of India. There are millions of Muslims like me,  to whom, India's interests are prime, but not enough of us at this time to make the change. 

Modi's un-inclusive language is not his fault, he was raised that way. He got many historical facts wrong during his campaign, and he was taught limited version of Hinduism, and not the universal aspect of it, being a Vivekananda fan myself, I am amazed at Swamiji for not expounding on the idea of Vasudhaiva Kutumbukum fully, may be he did not feel the need for it at that time. Had he done that, it would have become a template for RSS, without it, Modi's  India's history does not include any Muslim, Sikh or Christian contributions towards its richness, and as such it does not come in his language. I don't blame him for that, but being the Prime Minister of entire nation, I expect him not only to say, " I am prime Minister of every Indian" but include that in his language, he sets the tone. Our generation was molded by Jawahar Lal Nehru, thanks to him for giving the values of secularism and giving us a stable democracy. Now Modi can put a stamp of Inclusivism and Pluralism on the next generation, he lacks the foundation and some day, I will do my work.

Take a look at our own behavior - If the President issues Diwali Greetings or mentions about India or Hinduism in his speech, we gloat and praise him for his inclusiveness. Don't you think the Adivasis to Zoroastrians and everyone in between will feel buyoed by the recognition?

We have a responsibility to be inclusive, teach inclusiveness, and at the end, each one of us would live a better life and our India wins. Yes, I will continue to monitor Pope Francis, Narendra Modi and Barack Obama, three individuals who can bring a positive change to their respective populations. If we don't speak it, no one will get it.

You might cherish one of my vision of India at: http://mikeghouseforindia.blogspot.com/2014/08/happy-independence-day-india.html
Mike Ghouse committed to building cohesive inclusive societies, where everyone feels a part of the nation building and not excluded. More about him at www.MikeGhouse.net

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Happy Independence day India

My dear Fellow Indians,

Congratulations!  As we proudly celebrate our 67 years of independence,  we must com mitt ourselves to genuinely free ourselves from pettiness, free ourselves from our prejudices towards fellow beings, free ourselves from treating a fellow Indian less than ourselves and we must certainly shelve the arrogance that God favors us and not others.

We must also commit to defend the freedom of others, we must cherish the otherness of others and let every one freely breath, drink, eat, wear or believe whatever suits them, and crush the thoughts of forcing others to behave the way we want them to behave. No one shall be a slave in free India.
An Indian is an Indian is an Indian, period.

As a nation, collectively we are Adivasis, Atheists, Bahais, Bos, Buddhists, Chrsitians, Dalits, Hindus, Jains, Jewish, Muslim, Sikhs, Tribals, Zoroastrians and every possible grouping. We are Brown, Black, White, Yellow and green with envy, magar phir bhi dil hai Hindustani.

Our Motherland is represented by every race, nationality, ethnicity, language, culture and religion. We see God as one, none and many; and in every form; male, female, genderless and non-existent, being and non-being, nameless and with innumerable names.

We are proud of our heritage - a mulch-faith, multicultural, multi-regional and multi-linguistic society, where we have come to accept and respect every which way people have lived their lives. For over 5000 years, India has been a beacon of pluralism - it has embraced Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Baha’i and Zoroastrianism to include in the array of the indigenous religions; Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism. 

We may want to consciously start thinking and acting as one people, one people within a nation and a community and one people globally. It’s like home when we are conflict free.  I do hope each one of us purges any bias towards the other, there is joy in being free from ill-will. Try to be free from it this day forward… free from anything that prevents you from being a part of the whole. 

Our combined philosophies believe in one world ; Hinduism describes the world as Vasudaiva Kutumbukum, the whole world is one family, the idea of Ek Onkar(one) in Sikhism, you are all created from the same couple as Quraan puts it and Jesus embraced every one regardless of who any one is... similar philosophies are grounded in all our religions. 

A few don't follow their own heritage and resort to theivary, loot, murder, terrorism, rioting, rapes, infanticide and other evils that destroy the fabric of the society,  but a majority of every group goes about their own way, living their life with struggles and ease and don't even bother others. We should build upon the 99% of population and not on the less than 1% that does not follow any principles.
On this day, and every day from here forward, make a pledge to yourselves to talk about in terms of we Indians - and not Malyalee, Gujarati, Bengali.... or Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Isaee. Don't expect others to jump and say the same, give them the time and if you are consistent for at least a year, you will see others emulating you.
India led the way to the freedom movement, since 1947 every country has been liberated from colonialism. Indian democracy is a shining example to the world, where the people have peacefully transferred the powers.

We are inherently secular and economically capitalistic. We believe in "live-and-let-live" life style, which is the essence of capitalism.

Through the years we have expressed the highest degree of maturity on handling extreme situations; the more divergent opinions we hear, the larger our heart grows, the bigger our embrace would be and we can cushion more differences. Let’s continue to honor the concept that there is always another side to the story, as finding the truth is our own responsibility. I am proud of my heritage and am proud to be an Indian-American.

Click and enjoy:

Jai Hind

Mike Ghouse
Committed to cohesive societies


Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism
, politics, peace, Islam, Israel, India, interfaith, and cohesion at work place. He is committed to building a Cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day at www.TheGhousediary.com. He believes in Standing up for others and a book with the same title is coming up. Mike has a strong presence on national and local TV, Radio and Print Media. He is a frequent guest on Sean Hannity show on Fox TV, and a commentator on national radio networks, he contributes weekly to the Texas Faith Column at Dallas Morning News; fortnightly at Huffington post; and several other periodicals across the world. His personal site www.MikeGhouse.net indexes all his work through many links.