“Yule Blood,” republished from Walhydra’s Porch, 12/23/2008

Banner: Bright red Yule bow against black background.

Note by the Amanuensis: Around Winter Solstice 2008, we were in the early throes of the global financial collapse that persecuted many people in the many ways over the next decade or so.

At Winter Solstice 2023, we are in the early throes of a global war.  We might as well call it that, since every part of the world is impacted by the brutal wars going on every where else.  And since climate collapse likely will stir more and

Continue Reading

Sustaining the real presence of community on Zoom

Meeting for worship on Zoom

Excerpts from “A Jewel in the Lotus: Buddhist chaplaincy includes compassion and ‘skillful means,'” by Chris Berlin, Harvard Divinity Bulletin, Autumn/Winter 2020


Chris Berlin, is an instructor in ministry and spiritual counseling and the denominational counselor to Buddhist students at Harvard Divinity School.  With his colleague Cheryl Giles, he teaches the course Compassionate Care of the Dying: Buddhist Trainings and Techniques.

The course interweaves teachings in the Buddhist view of impermanence and death with

Continue Reading

Dismissing essential workers as “heroes”

"USDA subcontract staff boxing multiple-week supplemental food boxes for children in rural locations," by Lance Cheung

We Are All Called to Be ‘Heroes’,” by Elam D. Jones (Harvard Divinity Bulletin, Autumn/Winter 2020, 19-21)


In “We Are All Called to Be ‘Heroes’,” Elam D. Jones explains why he is wary of the popular pandemic practice of calling essential workers “heroes.”

I have come to understand that the label “hero” and how it has been employed in the United States to refer to essential workers not only generates complicated and ambiguous feelings

Continue Reading

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

Continue Reading

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

Continue Reading

William Stringfellow, Part 2: “The Fall” as metaphor for American political reality

"We the People" text from the US Constitution

Last week I posted excerpts from the preface to William Stringfellow’s 1973 book, An Ethic for Christians and Other Aliens in a Strange Land.  Central to Stringfellow’s argument is his assertion that Americans are “grossly naive or remarkably misinformed” about the biblical concept of “the Fall.”

Christian ideology, in particular Protestant Christian ideology, has dominated the nation’s distorted self-image and consequent hurtful policies and culture from the beginning.  The churches project “too mean, too trivial, too narrow, too

Continue Reading

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

Continue Reading

Site Footer

Verified by MonsterInsights