From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent bear it away. ~ Matthew 11:12 The Violent Bear It Away is one of the less-hyped works of Flannery O’Connor, but this is easily my favorite work of the great Southern Gothic writer. A young boy was raised by his great Uncle, a former inmate at a mental asylum and self-anointed “prophet.” The Uncle raises him to be a prophet, but when the great Uncle dies, the boy is in his teens and must decide the course of his life. While drawn to the exotic and dramatic elements of a prophetic calling (e.g., calling fire down from heaven, etc.), he greatly fears prophetic poverty, most notably the hunger he senses from his Uncle, who longs for the Bread of Life to satiate his spiritual deprivation.
“I grew up playing in the woods, floating coolers of beer down a river, shooting off fireworks, just generally raising hell, all that kind of stuff,” said Neely. “Things most people would consider a part of redneck culture. We’re trying to acknowledge the ways we’ve made mistakes and bought into white supremacy and capitalism, but also give ourselves an environment in which it’s OK to celebrate redneck culture.” There are several commonalities between the far left and the far right – including a disdain for liberals – but the biggest divide is on the topic of intolerance.
The United States is a Christian nation, and we are the greatest nation on earth…at least if measured in terms of how much gross revenue made from the sales of weapons. In all seriousness, though, most of these sales of weapons go to “developing nations,” which means that 1) the weapons do great harm, landing in the hands of tyrants and war lords in unstable countries and 2) these weapons can more easily find their way into the hands of terrorists. Karma, though, what goes around comes around. You reap what you sow. We create the terrorists that we so greatly fear and that cause us to enter ill-advised, unwinnable wars that divide us, cause us to go into great debt, and further destabilize the world. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/26/us/politics/united-states-global-weapons-sales.html?smid=fb-share&_r=2
To get along with each other, we must respect one another. There is not shortcut. In this era of “nationalist” enthusiasm, in this Trump-world where people are viewed with suspicion because they are of a different religion or nationality, of a different gender or race — it’s important to remember that surrounding yourself with people who look and think and act just like you is no guarantee that you will be more safe, more secure, or free from conflict. Peace is not won through purging ourselves of those who are different, it comes through a maxim that I saw on display most notably in my travels through Alaska: live and let live. It’s simple. It’s basic. It’s respect. I was reminded of this reading a bit of wisdom from Zadie Smith: Racial homogeneity is no guarantor of peace, any more than racial heterogeneity is fated to fail Here’s an extended quote from the New York Review (Dec 22): “I don’t think I ever was quite naive enough to believe, even at twenty-one, that racially homogeneous …
Scott, 43, never raised or pointed the gun, according to the prosecutor, but Vinson felt he posed an imminent threat because he ignored orders to drop it and stared at them in a “trance-like state”. Is this really the kind of nation we want to live in? Where officers have a license to kill with no accountability or repercussions? Source: The Guardian
How I rate it: 4 of 5 stars What I liked: The main protagonist Lisbeth Salander. She is intriguing, combative, and unyielding, something of a rage against the machine dynamic.
How does one rage against the machine but retain the monastic compassion of Gandhi? How does that work? Suggestions are welcome.
To defeat Trump and the movement he represents, I’d vote Clinton without reservation, even given all the compromises and ethical conflicts that I’ve discussed; but a vote for Clinton will not stop Trump.
All violence is not created equal. One day we hear of yet another black person killed by a cop and the next we read of a black man ambushing police officers. Many of us feel comfortable denouncing both as equally tragic: at the end of the day innocent people died and we mourn all loss of life. It’s a travesty that a black man was killed and an equally terrible thing that officers were killed. To me, though, this can’t be the final word. It’s not an apples to apples comparison.
I suppose I remain hopeful on principle. Or perhaps that’s another lesson from nature. One might have faith to move mountains, or one might have faith like a glacier, which moves slowly, carving valleys and leaving mountains in their wake.
And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all…for thy merchants were the great men of the earth…And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth. ~ Revelation 18:21 (KJV) Cormac McCarthy’s The Road is a novel that never ceases to rattle me, even at the mere mention of the title. Forgive me, as I must use a word wrought with overuse, but there’s no other word I can think of right now, seeing as it’s my writing warm up time and I’ve only had my second sip of coffee, but the novel is haunting, haunting in the sense that a presence hangs over the narrative. There is the most obvious presence, which is the wife of “the man” (these characters have no name, only “the man” or “the boy”). She visits him in dreams and …
“A little child can’t give herself the experience of her own prciousness. She has to see it mirrored in her mother’s eyes. But what if the child looks into the mother’s eyes and no one looks back?..This is the trauma story.” – James Finley, Ph.D, spiritual teacher and psychotherapist for trauma victims, from Transforming Trauma.
Several years ago I spent some time volunteering at a county jail. I was able to see first hand how our current incarceration system makes people worse. It is worse for the offender, worse for their kids, worse for society when the offender is released. Here’s hoping that we can work toward restorative justice and not punitive justice. The trend is born of a dark flipside: The US, with 5 percent of the global population, now houses 25 percent of the world’s inmates, the majority of whom are incarcerated for nonviolent drug offenses. Historically, conservatives have pointed to dropping crime rates during the past 20 years as evidence of the effectiveness of the take-lots-of-prisoners laws ushered in during the Reagan presidency and formalized in the 1994 crime bill. But experts say the relationship between prison populations and crime rates is a tenuous one.Research shows that the prison population growth has only had a marginal impact on the dropping crime rate, says Professor Deitch. This realization has come as the public has more broadly begun …
A very short article that puts some things in perspective regarding the insane status of football stars (and those who profit from the biz): “Now, after the AP’s report that the NFL received and sat on the video of Ray Rice’s elevator altercation, people are talking about what Commissioner Goodell needs to do to salvage football’s reputation. But I’m sort of confused what we’re salvaging here…Salvaging football’s reputation has been the problem all along. “Think of the program” is the kind of thinking that protected Jerry Sandusky far too long. Protect the reputation. Protect the illusion.This is a pretend-game. Obviously. All sports are pretend-games. Nothing is more deadly serious than things that are ultimately, like football, frivolous. You pretend that things that don’t matter, matter — white lines on turf, a brown leather ball. You pretend that things that do matter — real lives, real people, a woman stunned and groggy in an elevator — don’t.” There’s nothing wrong with sports, fantasy, illusion, fiction, and virtual reality. But when they assume the status that the football …
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.