Vivian Gornick on “the ever-enlivening fellowship of suffering”

The following excerpts are from “Why Some of Us Thrive in a Crisis,”
by Vivian Gornick, in The Atlantic, June 2020, pp.18-20.


Vivian Gornick has observed a wide-spread phenomenon in the midst of the pandemic: “Loners who sped into public service faster than altruism could explain. These were people who trusted no one, joined nothing, signed nothing; yet here they were making masks, checking on neighbors, bagging groceries.”

As she delves into

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William Stringfellow, Part 1: Against interpreting the Bible for the convenience of America

The following is excerpted from the preface to An Ethic for Christians and Other Aliens in a Strange Land , by William Stringfellow (1973).


“My concern is to understand America biblically…. The task is to treat the nation within the tradition of biblical politics—to understand America biblically—not the other way around, not (to put it in an appropriately awkward way) to construe the Bible Americanly.

“Th"An Ethic for Christians</a></p><a href=

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It’s about us, not the police

Primary Border Fence with Mexico (BBC World)

If we are concerned about use of force by the police, then we need to shine the light on the depths of our own brutality, brutality that we have projected onto them over the past century or so.

As America has become urbanized, we have handed over more and more responsibility for maintaining civil society to the “rule of law” and the “arm of the law.” Increasingly, instead of doing the personal work of neighbors and community, we

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The personal, not the political

Prosperous couple & bag lady on a bench

There is nobody on the planet, neither those whom we see as the oppressed nor those whom we see as the oppressor, who doesn’t have what it takes to wake up.The Pocket Pema Chödrön (156)

Human change is always personal, not political.

Yes, all social concerns are in some way “political” concerns (Greek politikos, from politēs “citizen’,” from polis “city”). But our feelings about a concern are personal reactions to the concern, not pragmatic steps toward remedies. And

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“Howling” – November 7, 2009

Introductions: Mom died with Alzheimer’s in 2011. In Fall of 2009, we had moved her from assisted living to skilled nursing due to fall risk and escape seeking. Howling,” from my blog Walhydra’s Porch on 11/9/2009, tells of our last coherent conversation about death.

Quill & InkWalhydra is one of my storytelling alter-egos: a grouchy old witch unhappily reincarnated as a gay male would-be writer.

When things with Mom got

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Mood

When I
get up on the wrong side of the bed
and there’s a wall
+++there,
Can I
notice the impact of the wall,
+++observe the feelings,
+++sense aches,
without seeking a cause?

Without indulging my
+++self
by sinking and wallowing?

Warning sign: "Danger, bad mood area"

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Fouling the public sphere: Can I avoid causing social media harm?

Blue Water Lily" by Mike Shell (8/3/2018)

I’ve pondered for years the dilemmas of using social media.

Quill & InkThere I find ready communication with long-time friends, who rarely use email any more. There I can easily share information, uplift, and humor with a broader readership. Yet there I am also drawn down into the anger, resentment, and despair that seems the default setting for our culture.

How does one discern a way to positive engagement with what is

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