What I’m Reading – Late August.

I try to start each day with readings from the lectionary. I aspire to write weekly poems based on the lessons of the week, but I rarely get to it. So, as I look at the browser tabs open, they include The Lessons Appointed for Use on the Sunday closest to August 31 and on Sunday closest to September 7.

Often, I read lessons from Lesser Feasts and Fasts and then spend time reading about assorted holy women and holy men. In my browser tabs, I found, Martin de Porres, 1639, Rosa de Lima, 1617, and Toribio de Mogrovejo, 1606: Witnesses to the Faith in South America - August 23 and the feast of St Bartholomew – Aug 24.

Last Sunday, Paul referenced “I remember Mama” in his sermon. (See also the Wikipedia article and an episode).

Various stories about the culture wars in Christendom have come across my newsfeed, including and Brief Challenges South Central's Petition to Nullify Oliveto Election. This is contrasted to an interesting lawsuit, A St. Cloud church is suing the city to keep its tiny house.

Also, I’ve been praying for Sisters found dead in Mississippi and thinking about Pub Theology, though I am a bit concerned about their pricing model.

In the broader culture wars, there is an oldie but goodie making the rounds, Russia Wants Bulgarians to Stop Vandalizing Soviet Monuments To Look Like American Superheroes. Someone pointed me to Werner Herzog’sLo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World. It looks like it is well worth exploring.

I also stumbled across Postwaves. I looked at it briefly, but nothing jumped out at me. I should revisit it some time.

My blog post at the National Nurse Practitioner Residency and Fellowship Training Consortium is An Invitation to Digital Introverts It is an idea I hope to explore further.

Another idea that I started exploring is based on what Facebook thinks of your political views. I wrote about this a little bit in Facebook Ads and Robert Burns. There is more to explore there as well.

Another topic I’ve been following has been EpiPens

All of this fed into a blog post I wrote, Express Scripts, Mylan, and the EpiPen.

Two random other links, Bruce Springsteen stops ‘Jersey Girl’ performance for a marriage proposal and OLA Wallingford, which is where we went for Kim’s birthday.

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Fiftieth Birthday

(For Kim on her Fiftieth Birthday)

Half century seems nigh unto eternity
to the young
but to others
fifty is the new twenty one.

Her daily grind was littered
with death and disappointment
but still on the weekends
a young girl
eagerly rode
wild and free
on her loving pony
over back woods trails
in the memories
and body
of a chronically ill mother
as she looked on
to her daughter’s bliss.

In the midst
of all the pain and suffering,
of the mother,
of the daughter,
of the world;
each day
contained the hope
of enjoying the world
God had made
especially for her.

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Choosing Love and Waging Peace

This weekend, my wife will celebrate a major birthday. I had planned on various things to help celebrate the day. After the past few weeks, some celebratory rejoicing really seems to be needed. Every week seems to have included the death of at least one friend or colleague. Each week has been met with news of a friend starting chemo or another moving into hospice.

Both my wife and my youngest daughter suffer from chronic illnesses and, as is often the case, plans have needed to be altered. Having been brought up in the context of American masculinity enabled by a busy and demanding work schedule and compounded by my personal family history, I’ve powered through keeping a calm exterior.

Likewise, on the national political front, I’ve restrained my commentary. The divisiveness and nastiness online is something I do not want to take part in. Instead, I’ve focused on my poetry, hoping it could be an antidote to some of the broken politics we’re seeing. My wife has posted pretty pictures of animals with the phrases Choose Love or Wage Peace.

How do we choose love and wage peace in these turbulent times? I’ve tracked the course of typhoons Lionrock and Namtheun as they hit Japan. I believe that Lionrock passed far enough to the north to avoid issues for my eldest daughter in Japan, but Namtheun is passing to the south and may bring her flooding at the around the same time as Hurricane Hermine hits parts of the United States.

I also thought of her when a band that I follow on Facebook posted their cover of Michael Jackson’s “Will You Be There?” The tune caught my attention. Where had I heard it before? It finally dawned on me. It was in the movie Free Willy which I watched with my older daughters when they were younger. I believe my eldest skated one of her figure skating routines to it.

Hold me
Like the River Jordan
And I will then say to thee
You are my friend

Free Willy came out the year my second daughter was born and I watched it repeatedly with my daughters. It had the tagline, “A 12 year old street kid. A 3 ton orca whale. A friendship you could never imagine. An adventure you'll never forget.” The storyline description is “When a boy learns that a beloved killer whale is to be killed by the aquarium owners, the boy risks everything to free the whale.”

Yesterday, my middle daughter posted one of her latest paintings. She used a knitted canvas made out of yarn my late mother had left. It is beautiful, on many levels.

While my wife and daughter were at the hospital, I contacted various people letting them know what was going on. I sent a long description to the school my daughter attends and while my wife was sitting in the emergency room, she received this message:

“I just wanted to remind you to get a medical note for [your daughters]’s absences. We have a strict attendance policy at the high school and I don’t want [your daughter] to have any attendance issues.”

It must be difficult to work in a job where you encounter great suffering and you are obliged to not show compassion or sympathy, but instead to make sure that policies that are ineffective at best, send the wrong message, and limit opportunities to show compassion are properly followed. It must be difficult to work in a job that precludes choosing love and waging peace.

Our priest stopped by the hospital to visit with my wife and daughter. For those brought up in churches where priests only visit to administer last rights, let me assure you that the latest bout was not life threatening and everyone is on the mend. We go to a church where priests visit the sick regularly, a church where priests, and members of the church actively choose love and wage peace.

When I cancelled the event to celebrate my wife’s birthday last night, we received many kind words. One friend even stopped by to drop off flowers that she and her husband and gotten my wife for her birthday.

It is early I the morning now, a time when I get up to read, study, pray, and write. My wife and daughter are both sleeping quietly and for part of my morning routine today, I am contemplating what it means to look for compassion around us, to see the beauty of God’s creation on a dark rainy day, and how to practice choosing love and waging peace in a culture that discourages it.

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Full Corn Rabbit

Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit, the full corn rabbit. In the Episcopal church, it is the feast day of David Pendleton Oakerhater, a Cheyenne Native American who became an artist and Episcopal Deacon. I read his description in Wikipedia and stop to think about forced assimilation and cultural genocide. I ponder how can we best listen to and honor various ideas from other cultures without practicing harmful cultural appropriation.

At starting point, for me, seems to be recognizing and naming where ideas come from, and learning as much as possible about them. Today, I started off with “Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit”, like I do on the first of many months, thinking back to the old childhood idea of saying that phrase at the beginning of the month to bring good luck. Each month, I try to find some way to tie it into some of my current thoughts, and perhaps because I had been reading about Oakerhater my mind went to the Native American names for the full moons of each month. I combined that to come up with the Full Corn Rabbit.

The Full Corn Moon, sometimes called the Barley Moon is a Harvest Moon. It makes me think of Neil Young’s Harvest Moon.

Yet the Harvest Moon is still a couple weeks away. Today, it is rainy, and there will be a new moon tonight.

This weekend, we will celebrate Kim’s big birthday, assuming that everyone is well enough to celebrate. Fiona has been having another cycle sickness.

What I’ve Been Reading - Mid August

I regularly find articles online that have been recommended by friends, open them up, quickly scan them, and if they are interesting, I leave the window open, figuring I’ll come back to them when I have more time. Then, every so often, I go and see which one remain open and still seem interesting. I sometimes group them together.

Here are some of the links from mid August.

Facebook Public/Private

A Facebook friend asked if people considered posts on Facebook to be public or private. Much of the discussions centered around privacy settings and individual ways of approaching Facebook. Much of my online activity, however, has been focused on advocacy, and I my immediate that was of Facebook, and other social media as a Public Sphere, al a, Habermas. Here are a couple links I came across, worth further reflection:

To What Extent Does Facebook Function as a Public Sphere?

Students’ Facebook ‘friends’: public and private spheres (2009)

Mental Health

A few articles related to mental health caught my attention. It seems as if we don’t think often enough about mental health as it relates to disasters, both natural and man-made, and if we do, we don’t have sufficient resources.

The Latest: Mental trauma apparent on flood’s young victims

Connecticut’s Mental-Health System Is Being Strained by Shortage of State Psychiatric Beds

A different article was looking for health research on Pokemon Go. The article is primarily focused on physical health, but I’m particularly interested in the mental health aspects.
Pokémon Go, go, go, gone?

Social Constructs

I’m particularly interested in the social constructs that shape our lives, and these two articles particularly caught my attention.

The Rise and Fall of an All-American Catchphrase: 'Free, White, and 21'


Giving up alcohol opened my eyes to the infuriating truth about why women drink

Standing Rock and Dakota Access

The politics of climate change meets social constructs. I’ve been thinking about this a lot in terms of Native Americas and history; Wounded Knee Massacre, Little Big Horn, Standing Rock.

Photos Show Why The North Dakota Pipeline Is Problematic

A Tale of Two Standoffs

Tribal Activists Defy Lawsuit, Vow Continued Resistance Against Dakota Pipeline

The North Dakota Oil Pipeline: Derogation Of Native American Tribal Land Rights

The Journey – Politics

This fits into a bigger area of thought for me, the intersection of politics and religion.

Evangelicals for Trump: In Power or Persecuted?

Ignatian Examen: Invite your community to pray, reflect, and discern as Election 2016 approaches.

Breach Repairers
They have an event planned for 9/12, that I’m trying to decide how involved I’ll be with it.

At the other end of the spectrum is
Decision America
They have an event coming up in Hartford on September 1st.

Hartford event

The Journey – Other

Other articles related to faith, religion, and my own spiritual journey include:

The exodus of Fleet Street

This led me to thoughts about the “Estates of the realm”, and especially the relationship between the fourth estate and the first estate. How does this relate to my own journey?

As traditional believers turn away, is this a new crisis of faith?

General – Other

Other stuff that has caught my attention includes
The CLMooc Community

EpiPen’s 500 Percent Price Hike Leaves Patients Scrambling
I’ve already touched on this in some other posts and I expect this will keep popping up for a while.

National park signs in Michigan now sport poetry
A pretty cool idea.

That’s some of what I’ve been reading online this August.

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