Blog Posts

The pain of witnessing & the action of caring

11/23/2020 Poor People's Campaign caravan in Topeka KS

care (v.)
Old English carian, cearian “be anxious or solicitous; grieve; feel concern or interest,” from Proto-Germanic *karo- “lament,” hence “grief, care” (source also of Old Saxon karon “to lament, to care, to sorrow, complain,” Old High German charon “complain, lament,” Gothic karon “be anxious”), said to be from PIE root *gar- “cry out, call, scream.” —Online Etymology Dictionary

Our hyper-connected media world forces us all to wrestle with an extra layer of emotional suffering: that

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“Walhydra peeks out from under the bed” – from November 21, 2016

When my mother went into skilled nursing care with Alzheimer’s dementia, my grouchy alter-ego Walhydra crawled under the bed, saying, “How can I writing sarcastic humor when real life is shutting me down with grief and depression?  It isn’t funny!” Mom died in January 2011.

This post is the next to last one from my blog Walhydra’s Porch. It was written after a certain national catastrophe that may still have consequences a generation from now.

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“Faith and practice” versus “membership”

View north from Asheville NC on the Blue Ridge Parkway

I think modern Quakers and people of other religions have a lot of confusion about what “membership” means.

I am a “convinced Friend” because in my faith and practice I choose to follow the Quaker way of worship, decision-making, and witness in the world.

I am a “member” of a particular Meeting if I have chosen to take responsibility for the support and well-being of that particular Meeting.

By analogy, one can be a Muslim or a Jew or a

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Claudia Rankine: Uncomfortable conversations

Just Us: An American Conversation, by Claudia Rankine (2020)
Excerpts from Ismail Muhammad’s  review in The Atlantic


In 2016, African-American poet and scholar Claudia Rankine was not sure that her Yale students “would be able to trace the historical resonances of Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant demagoguery.”  She wanted them to connect the current treatment of Mexicans and other Hispanic people with America’s 19th century treatment of Irish, Italian, and Asian immigrants.

It

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William Stringfellow, Part 6: The human vocation

Continuing my series on Stringfellow’s An Ethic for Christians and Other Aliens in a Strange Land (1973).


Epigraph

The Gospel of Mark frequently demonstrates the typically human ways in which Jesus’ followers misunderstand his words and deeds.  One pivotal story that speaks to William Stringfellow’s concern about modern American Christians and other people of faith is usually titled “the transfiguration” (Mark 9:2-8, New New Testament).

2 Six days later, Jesus took with him

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Sissy polio boy, 1955

I spilled tomato juice on my
flannel shirt my
first year in kindergarten
in a new town with
kids I didn’t know

and they laughed.
It felt like they laughed
at me but
who knows?

When at age four you’ve
just spent weeks in a hospital
and months taking
hot baths and castor oil

but they tell you how lucky
you

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William Stringfellow, Part 5: “Babylon & Jerusalem as Events”

Continuing my series on Stringfellow’s An Ethic for Christians and Other Aliens in a Strange Land (1973)

Events in Sacred Story

It is worth repeating that in William Stringfellow’s language of biblical discernment, “nonempirical” connotes belief systems based on abstract concepts and notions, whereas “empirical” refers to the actual experience of biblical teachings working themselves out in the world.

The Bible is a sacred story collection.  Contrary to our modern Western notions, sacred story is about

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Gardening

How can a virus travel
+++and not love?

Or are we not now all infected
with shame
+++at our human nakedness?

We don’t want to know our own evil
so profess good, pretending
+++to smile without hurting.

So painful.

The Tiananmen butterfly warns us:
cyclones we’ve stirred with our grasping
+++While the world shudders.

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