Dedicated to the writings of Saint Luke.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Degrees of separation

Six degrees of separation is the theory that anyone on earth can be connected to any other person on the planet through a chain of acquaintances that has no more than five intermediaries. The Hungarian writer, Frigyes Karinthy in a short story called Chains first proposed the theory in 1929.

Yesterday my sister, the Wise Librarian, her husband and my wife attended the Santa Lucia service in NYC. Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations and his wife Nane Annan, his wife were also in attendance. Nane Annan is the niece of Raoul Wallenberg, an honorary citizen of the United States, by Act of Congress. Wallenberg is credited with saving thousands of Jews in Hungary during World War II as secretary at the Swedish legation in Budapest.

My father was a student of Rheinhold Niebuhr, professor at Union Theological Seminary in NYC, as was Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Professor Niebuhr visited my parents at their apartment shortly after I was born.

The fate of Raoul Wallenberg is unknown. Dietrich Bonhoeffer and more than 7,000 other members of the Lutheran clergy died at the hands of the Nazi.

We enjoyed the Santa Lucia service and recognized many of the carols sung in Swedish. My sister speaks Swedish, as did my parents. We also enjoyed a late lunch at a Swedish restaurant. We did not discuss degrees of separation.

Copyrighted 2005


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