Category Archives: Personal

Renegade Quaker Theology: My Breaking Point – Summer 2011

 September 7, 2011: Cheering for God in the Reagan Library

In my last paid job, at a Quaker peace project next to an enormous military base during the height (or better, the depths) of the Iraq-Afghan wars, I spent a lot of time looking for spiritual resources for that work, and the life that went with the job. For a long time it seemed pretty hard to find any. I read a lot of academic theology and other “spiritual” works. With a few notable exceptions (to be dealt with in future posts), for a long time it seemed pretty hard to find more than an occasional nugget; too much was weak tea or thin gruel.

But then, in early September 2011, after watching a televised Republican presidential candidates’ debate, hosted by the Ronald Reagan Library in California, I abruptly realized that in fact I had found some, and they had crystallized into convictions.

Continue reading Renegade Quaker Theology: My Breaking Point – Summer 2011

So, How’s Your Friday Morning Going?

The remnants of Ex-Hurricane  (now Tropical Depression) Nicole are passing by. How do we know this? Here are clues:

1. 9:45 AM, the radio squeals its alarming BEEP!” And do we have a basement? No.

 

2. 10:15 AM: Sunshine, and our Cosmos blooms have cutesy raindrops on the stems.

Continue reading So, How’s Your Friday Morning Going?

An Election Day Refuge From Campaign News & Punditry

Don’t get me wrong, Friends: of course I’m following the voting day news.

But so is everybody else. And my oft-repeated opinions sound too much like those of the other pundits who are sagacious enough to agree with me. So I’ll give them a rest for now.

Not to mention that the Fair Wendy left for her fateful poll worker stint well before dawn, and will likely be there til after the full moon rises again tonight.

Speaking of which . . .

So here, today, a promise: no more election talk, until maybe sometime tonight, when there are real results to begin chewing over.

The alternatives will not all be serious, nor all frivolous. Because  there are other things to think and talk about, for at least these few hours.

For instance, it’s been way too long since I repeated my warning to the world about that burgeoning threat looming over us, namely,

The Normalization of KALE:

 

Kale hummus? They’re kidding, right?

Evidently not. I’m not sure if these are the same corporate vampires who brought us this other shocking entry . . .

 

 

. . . But I suspect so:

No, just no.

Yet there’s more:

No, really?

Yes, really. (Though I did not actually have to face this concoction with cherries IRL, but just this package made me queasy enough.)

And then there’s . . .

These babies would likely be enough to spark an international incident, what with Italy having just installed an assertive extreme rightwing  government. But at least they don’t have nukes.

I could go on. But as this investigative strip discloses, there are now kale-groomers on the loose. Where will it all end???

Hope Fatigue? Is there a remedy here?

[NOTE: I’m usually dubious about self-help lists. But maybe some readers will find this one helpful.]

8 ways to feel less anxious about things beyond your control


Washington Post — Sept. 13, 2022

Hope fatigue is the latest mental health challenge therapists are seeing
By Lesley Alderman, LCSW

Lesley Alderman, LCSW, is a psychotherapist based in Brooklyn.

One of my patients showed up at her virtual psychotherapy session last week looking tired. She had always been ambitious and concerned about injustice. During this session, she sighed when talking about a meeting where her colleagues complained about unfair treatment. She said: “I don’t know why they bother getting upset, when it feels like nothing matters.”

I like taking photos In The Yard

I was concerned by her disengagement. But then a colleague sounded similarly worn down. She had spent the pandemic helping her third and fourth graders with remote school while trying to keep her small business going. She confided to me: “I haven’t followed the war in Ukraine at all, I simply don’t have the bandwidth.”

To an unusual degree, people are weary.

During the spring of 2020, just as the pandemic started, the question my patients asked was, “when do you think things will go back to normal?” Now, no one talks to me about a return to normal. There’s an unspoken recognition that the chaos we are experiencing might be with us for a long time.

Patients who had been concerned about national and world events and visibly frightened during the pandemic, now seem exhausted. The murder of George Floyd was horrific, and mass shootings are increasingly common. Now it feels like we are all in a relentless game of whack-a-mole, but in this case the rodents are existential threats.

I’m noticing that many of my patients are experiencing a deficit of optimism, and are overwhelmed about important issues that are beyond their control.

I’m calling it “hope fatigue.” Continue reading Hope Fatigue? Is there a remedy here?

Another Holiday Story: Playing the Lottery

Playing the Lottery

Winter 1969, Boston. I was driving a cab at night, while attending Harvard Divinity School. I had run through some scholarship and loan money, and needed cash. But I also thought it would be a good experience for a wannabe writer.

When I turned my cab onto St. James Street downtown and saw the kid in front of the Greyhound Bus depot signaling for a taxi, I knew my time had come.

It was nighttime in Boston, the winter of 1969. Cold. Icy. I was a Harvard graduate student with a pregnant wife. We needed money, and the cab companies always needed drivers. The cabs were junk heaps, the pay was lousy, the darkened city was a jungle. But the jobs were there, and so was I. And so, at that moment, was the kid, turning up the collar of a thin jacket against the bitter wind.

It was only about two-thirds of a block from the corner to the bus station, but in the few seconds it took to drive that distance, I went through a whole internal dialogue, something like this:

Go ahead, pick him up.

I don’t want to. Continue reading Another Holiday Story: Playing the Lottery