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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

1
Sep

Don’t fall

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Hiking up in the clouds. Lots of mountains here in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park.

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Destination: Bonanza mine. This was one of the mines that was a part of the most lucrative and profitable copper mining ventures of all time. And behind me in this picture are the ruins.

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Fall in McCarthy, AK. The leaves are changing early this year and there is a chill in the air.

28
Aug

Is Everyone a Little Bit Racist? – NYTimes.com

Is Everyone a Little Bit Racist? - NYTimes.com

It isn’t overt racism that is the problem. Most of us deplore it, regardless of our political differences. The challenge of our day is to counter the subconscious racism that has been instilled in our minds over the course of hundreds of years of social conditioning. From the perspective of neuropsychology, our brains are wired to respond to perceived threats. That’s natural. Scientific. Sadly, however, we have been trained to perceive black men as threatening. This is our reality, and we must own it. This article has some interesting facts to consider in this regard.

“Research in the last couple of decades suggests that the problem is not so much overt racists. Rather, the larger problem is a broad swath of people who consider themselves enlightened, who intellectually believe in racial equality, who deplore discrimination, yet who harbor unconscious attitudes that result in discriminatory policies and behavior.”

via Is Everyone a Little Bit Racist? – NYTimes.com.

26
Aug

Glacier hiking

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Near to McCarthy are a pair of glaciers. They are easily accessible. With a pair of cramp-ons, a hiker can hop on top and walk around on the glacier in search of cool little blue ponds and other interesting formations.

18
Aug

Lords of the Ring

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I may have just become a big fan of the Lord of the Rings. I was having a discussion with my boss wherein I was advancing my libertarian/anarchist position: that the centralization of power is a root of all kinds of evil. So it just now dawns on me that this is what Tolkien is doing in his books. Centralized power is represented by One Ring To Rule Them All. The bad guys and the good guys fight to have the Ring. The bad guys want to use the Ring to rule over others and exploit them. They are destructive and want power for the sake of power…..And the good guys?  Why do they want the Ring?

13
Aug

Who Wins in the Name Game? – The Atlantic

Really interesting article on how we subconsciously judge each other based on our names. Instructive to me is the fact that we are conditioned to judge if they have racial-specific names. Again, this all takes place at the subconscious level. So, awareness is key.

From the article: “Teachers tend to hold lower expectations for students with typically black-sounding names while they set high expectations for students with typically white- and Asian-sounding names. And this early assessment of students’ abilities could influence students’ expectations for themselves….”

via Who Wins in the Name Game? – The Atlantic.

9
Aug

Target practice

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I went out for target practice with my friend Dave a few days ago. We took this NRA good ole boy picture, and I faded the color to make it look like 1974. Yes, I advocate for more gun control and law enforcement of gun laws, but I also live in Alaska, and there are many guns in this state.

9
Aug

And Einstein was smart

einstein“Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.”

8
Aug

Want to have a real impact on climate change? Time to become a vegetarian

Between widespread economic disparities, population growth, unsustainable agriculture and climate change, a study partially funded by Nasa predicted that civilization as we know it could be steadily heading for a collapse within the next century – and the window to create impactful change is narrowing. That means millennials are potentially the last generation during which creating meaningful change is possible. But how do we accomplish this?

It’s time to start a dietary revolution.

via Want to have a real impact on climate change? Time to become a vegetarian | Travis McKnight | Comment is free | theguardian.com.

5
Aug

Rugged McCarthy Road gets upgrade amid outcry over public process

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Here’s an article that tells you a bit about my little corner of the world. Someone in the article calls McCarthy the last frontier of the last frontier.” (Alaska’s state tag line is “the last frontier.”)….But just to clarify, I don’t know where the article gets their numbers for a summer population of 25k:  “The McCarthy area has a permanent population of about 45 but swells to about 25,000 with the tourists and workers of summer, according to the local newspaper…” I haven’t seen em….Note: The above photo was taken some time in the middle of the night.

http://www.adn.com/article/20140802/rugged-mccarthy-road-gets-upgrade-amid-outcry-over-public-process

31
Jul

Our Blind Spot About Guns – NYTimes.com

 

A thoughtful piece on gun control…..

If we had the same auto fatality rate today that we had in 1921, by my calculations we would have 715,000 Americans dying annually in vehicle accidents.

Instead, we’ve reduced the fatality rate by more than 95 percent — not by confiscating cars, but by regulating them and their drivers sensibly.

We could have said, “Cars don’t kill people. People kill people,” and there would have been an element of truth to that. Many accidents are a result of alcohol consumption, speeding, road rage or driver distraction. Or we could have said, “It’s pointless because even if you regulate cars, then people will just run each other down with bicycles,” and that, too, would have been partly true.

Yet, instead, we built a system that protects us from ourselves. This saves hundreds of thousands of lives a year and is a model of what we should do with guns in America.

Our Blind Spot About Guns – NYTimes.com.

30
Jul

US is no safer after 13 years of war

 

“We have a whole gang of new actors out there that are far more extreme than Al Qaeda,” says Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, which employs some 17,000 American intelligence collectors in 140 countries around the world.

 

Those who live by the sword will die by the sword. – Jesus

Violence, even well-intentioned, always rebounds on itself. – Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

 

US is no safer after 13 years of war, a top Pentagon official says – CSMonitor.com.

28
Jul

Water

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Once or twice a week, I hike to this stream to get my drinking water (and coffee water). For most of the summer, this spot has a lot of mosquitoes, and I usually rush to fill my water jugs and bottles. But the mosquitoes are clearing out, so today I lingered a bit. It was a nice, sunny day, and I enjoyed this idyllic spot.

26
Jul

Safe Sex

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Quirky inspiration lurks in every corner at the Wrangell Mountain Center workshop.

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.

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