David Menefee-Libey: Unlike most of us, Jos simply treated people as if they were people rather than either abstractions (what category can I put this person in? do I want to spend time with this kind of person?) or as deflections from ourselves (can we talk about me now?). His usual generous attention bowled over my son Sam, who was probably 8 or 9 when Jos first came by our on-campus apartment. Jos asked Sam about his day, listened to the answer, and then followed up on particular things with genuine curiousity. Most grown-ups don't treat kids like that.
I was thinking about the way Jos had of humanizing really huge and overwhelming issues like the religious/political issues we talked about in the portion he taught of my US Congress class: abortion, euthanasia, freedom of worship, etc. Without diminishing the gravity of the issues at hand, he often found aspects of them which were absurd to the point of silliness. A good joke would often diffuse tension, and we could go on with our often very serious discussion. His seriousness and goofiness were woven together. [Examples at his Culture Wars site, c.f. abortion].