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Patience is an act of compassion

When we sit in silent prayer or meditation, patience is the essence of the activity. It requires patience to sit, and the more we sit, the more patient we become. Whatever is your spiritual practice, whatever keeps you centered and grounded on a daily basis, patience is the key.

We learn patience. This learning of patience, though, is also growth in compassion and love.

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The Disposable Ones

It’s going on seven years now, since I visited the Nazi concentration camps. I’m still processing, as you can imagine. What surprised me in my visit was how viscerally the physical visit to the actual place affected me. Reading about genocide is something of a traumatic experience. (It is possible that one can suffer from what is called “secondary post-traumatic stress syndrome.”) Visiting the concentration camp sites, though, even 70 some odd years after the Holocaust is traumatic in a way that I’ve not quite been able to understand. There’s something about being there, in that place, that resonates in a deep way, in a way that you don’t get when you read about it in a book.
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Hand to the plow

“No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” – Jesus in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 9

And perhaps that’s why the kingdom of God is, in a very important sense, not yet upon us. There aren’t many of us who have truly put the hand to the plow and not looked back. But, of course we look back! In this sense, are there any of us who are truly fit for the kingdom of God? Probably not. Still, if you are like me, then you have some sense of what it is like to be captured by the beauty of a vision of a better world, of a more free and peaceful culture.

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On taking the direct approach of Jesus

Recently I’ve been studying quite a bit on that Jesus dude. A prophet, Jesus was. Yet, interestingly, he didn’t use the typical ‘Thus says the Lord,’ or ‘Hear the word of the Lord’ rhetoric that characterizes many prophets in the Jewish tradition. Jesus didn’t appeal to his hearers on the basis of having a direct line to God. He didn’t say, “Yo. Listen to what God told me.” His prophetic approach was to overturn tables or to speak directly to the powerful.

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Recent Articles

24
Jul

Writer’s Workshop @ Wrangell Mountain Center

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A bit of a break from the hectic summer work schedule. I’m thoroughly enjoying myself at a writer’s workshop. This picture was snapped while we were discussing an essay from the New Yorker by Adam Gopnik, “The Death of A Fish.” Tonight is the Word Jam. Open mic style. Yours truly will be making his first spoken word appearance. 

22
Jul

Experience

“We can misuse only things which are good.” — Montaigne.

A quote I came across in some required reading I am doing for a writer’s workshop here in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park. Montaigne is defending writing about one’s personal experience in an era that frowned on such a practice.

21
Jul

Lodge dog

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This is our lodge dog, Dynamite.  She’s about 80 or 90 in doggy years. A former sled dog, she is retired now and slowly wanders about town looking for friendly people to pet her and give her food. Despite the fact that her hips are bad, you can sometimes catch her running laps around town with what I can only describe as a smile on her snout.

15
Jul

The best of capitalism is over for rich countries | The Guardian

Populations with access to technology and a sense of their human rights will not accept inequality

“…Now imagine the world of the central scenario: Los Angeles and Detroit look like Manila – abject slums alongside guarded skyscrapers; the UK workforce is a mixture of old white people and newly arrived young migrants; the middle-income job has all but disappeared. If born in 2014, then by 2060 you are either a 45-year-old barrister or a 45-year-old barista. There will be not much in-between. Capitalism will be in its fourth decade of stagnation and then – if we’ve done nothing about carbon emissions – the really serious impacts of climate change are starting to kick in…”

The best of capitalism is over for rich countries – and for the poor ones it will be over by 2060 | Paul Mason | Comment is free | The Guardian.

15
Jul

McCarthy Creek, Alaska

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A random bench sits by the river, the McCarthy Creek. However, the creek is way too badass of a river to merely be a “creek.”

This particular bench quite clearly spent her professional career as a seat in someone’s car or truck. After the car or truck stopped running, she retired. To sit and enjoy the peace and quiet with the occasional visitor. Like myself, someone who has come to enjoy an enriching phone conversation with an old friend.

13
Jul

Holacracy

HOLACRACY ADVOCATES ARGUE THAT CENTRALIZATION OF POWER SUFFOCATES INNOVATION

What is holacracy?

Holacracy is management by committee with an emphasis on experimentation. The CEO formally relinquishes authority to a constitution and re-organizes everyone into decentralized teams that choose their own roles roles and goals.


Zappos just abolished bosses. Inside tech’s latest management craze. – Vox
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11
Jul

Sacred Expectations

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When you reach a point in life where all you can do is bow, you should do it.
~ Zen proverb

23
Jun

10 Tips for a Zero-Waste Household — YES! Magazine

 

“What we discovered along the way is that the benefits of the zero-waste lifestyle go well beyond the obvious environmental impact. It has not only made us healthier (since the healthiest foods do not come packaged), but it has also saved us a great deal of money. Most importantly, we now have more time to do the things that matter most to us, like spending it with our kids.”

10 Tips for a Zero-Waste Household by Bea Johnson — YES! Magazine.

 

18
Jun

Here Comes Generation Z – Bloomberg View

Interesting to me that according to the graphic in this article, I am a Millennial. By most reckonings, I’m a Gen Xer….Am I Gen X?….Or Gen Y?…..Gen X?……..Gen Y?……..For tweeners like me, maybe a new label: Generation YiXs! Watch out, yo…..But anyway, interesting article on the next Generation: Gen Z.

Here Comes Generation Z – Bloomberg View.

15
Jun

Free markets: a grain of truth

Back from Africa. Here in Alaska. So far. So good. So great, in fact.

The job is great. I am in a new place, working as the office manager for a small, independently owned business. The town of McCarthy. Year round population: 22.

I’ve been doing a bit of research for the purpose of doing a bit of writing for the purpose of a six day writers workshop here in McCarthy. The workshop promises to be promising, with some talented folks collaborating to lead the dance. So I’m trying to pull together some good pieces. They will, I hope eventually wind up in the book I’m writing.
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11
Jun

Ranchers Want Our Public Lands for Their Livestock, and Want the Govt. to Stick It to Wild Horses and Taxpayers | Alternet

Ranchers Want Our Public Lands for Their Livestock, and Want the Govt. to Stick It to Wild Horses and Taxpayers | Alternet.

A month or so ago, I was having dinner in South Dakota with some old timers. There was a nice old western gentlemen sitting on the other side of me, a few seats to the right. Nice, that is, until politics came up, at which point all hell couldn’t stop the anti-government rants. He was particularly enamored by Cliven Bundy, a rancher out west who refuses to pay taxes. He grazes his cattle on public land and will not pay the token, de minimus amount that the government requests. According to this article, the cost of maintaining the public lands (so that anti-government folks like Cliven Bundy can graze on them) costs tax payers $123 million per year. Plus, the ranchers have a bee in their collective bonnet – er, cowboy hat – because there are (by their estimation) too many wild horses on the public lands. Removing these horses will cost millions more, and, of course, what the hell do you do with them?
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6
Jun

Review of Savages by Don Winslow

Savages (Savages, #1)Savages by Don Winslow
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The ending surprised me. I enjoyed reading the novel, but that ending, man. Woah. After finishing the novel, I get this Great Gatspy feel. Winslow performs something of a deconstruction of the life of the privileged and powerful….I listened to this via audible.com and enjoyed Winslow’s snappy, hip, minimalistic prose. A good read with a gripping conclusion.

View all my reviews

9
May

The problem of God

We haven’t yet solved the problem of God,” the Russian critic Belinsky once shouted across the table at Turgenev, “and you want to eat!”

6
May
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Rock City, popcorn, and a big large cup of tears

Let me clarify that this blog post is not about church-bashing. It’s not really even so much about church, actually, now that I think about it. (So, if you are one of my non-believing friends or family, you can safely continue reading.) My original intention was to write about my experience at a Columbus church last Sunday and contrast it with my own interpretation of Jesus and how it inspires me. This would involve a bit of criticism, yes. But it would be in a spirit of generosity. And it wouldn’t be about church-bashing. I respect that different people go to different churches, and I respect that choice. If a particular church is working for you, then, yo. Go for it.

But this post has to be more than that. My story of attending this church is about something much deeper and more personal. Really, it’s a story about the broken heart that I brought back from Africa.

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3
May
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It ain’t natural

Their women exchanged natural intercourse for unnatural, and in the same way also the men, giving up natural intercourse with women, were consumed with passion for one another. – Paul in his Letter to the Romans

Does not nature itself teach you that if a man wears long hair, it is degrading to him, but if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For her hair is given to her for a covering. – Paul in his First Letter to the Corinthians

My theology of homosexuality is described thusly. That being gay was considered by biblical authors like Paul to be “unnatural” and as such was wrong. But there were other things considered to be unnatural as well, like having long hair, or having women as equals and as leaders. Likewise, slavery was also considered natural by many ancient worldviews.

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