Possibly the Greatest Threat to the Republic

In two devastating and frightening sentences, Hendrik Hertzberg's most recent contribution to the New Yorker's "Talk of the Town," reflects on a Washington Post series by Barton Gellman and Jo Becker as well as the work of the New Yorker's Jane Mayer, and summarizes what we are stuck with, its irony, and its horror."...(F)or the past six years, Dick Cheney, the occupant of what John Adams called 'the most insignificant office that ever the invention of man contrived,' has been the most … [Read more...]

As In Dreams

...As in dreamsbehind high doors there is nothing,not even emptiness.As in dreams,behind the face that looks at us there is no one.Obverse without a reverse,one-sided coin, the side of things.That pittance is the boontossed to us by hastening time.We are our memory,we are that chimerical museum of shifting shapes,that pile of broken mirrors.(Jorge Luis Borges in Cambridge, found in the prefatory material to Robert Langan's Minding What Matters: Psychotherapy and the Buddha Within) … [Read more...]

Bastille Day

I find Bastille Day well worth marking. Together with the Fourth of July it is one of the great markers of the beginning of a more or less genuine republicanism within human affairs. Prior to this the idea was limited to very small states, I think immediately of Athens & such mercantile oligarchic experiments like Venice. And even the big one, Rome, was never anything more than an oligarchy where the people's "vote" were by blocks and had little direct consequence, and even that very limited … [Read more...]

Spirit & Soul

I was reading Hafidha Sofia’s blog Never Say Never to Your Traveling Self, where she asked for definitions of a list of terms like spirit, soul & psyche. It fired me up & I responded. Now I’ve thought perhaps it worth while to massage that reflection a bit and post the result here.I limited myself to reflecting on soul and spirit rather than her whole list of terms. Now, I’m not particularly interested in spirit or soul seen as somehow separate from who we are in and of our bodies. And sp … [Read more...]

Milwaukee’s Tea, that is Beer Party Protest

Thanks to Beer Therapy for this breaking news from our former home town. I'm glad to find a connection between Boston & Milwaukee, although I have to admit this isn't where I thought it would happen...Wisconsin brewers stage old-fashioned protestJuly 11th, 2007A group of Wisconsin brewers blasted open barrels of beer on the docks of the Milwaukee River in their own version of the Boston Tea Party. They did this to protest a proposed bill they said would create complications for startup … [Read more...]

Pretty Good Advice

Considering the pope's statement, and how frequently any person is told people have not been kind about you, perhaps it would be good to turn to old Epictetus for counsel:If someone has just told you that so-and-so is saying something bad about you, do not try to justify yourself in the least with regard to what has been reported to you; only answer: "He must not be fully informed about all the other things that could be said about me; otherwise he would not have limited himself to that." (from … [Read more...]

Certainly Glad This Has Been Clarified

Today Pope Benedict XVI has announced Jesus established one church, and hey, Orthodox Christians, Mormons, Baptists, Quakers, Presbyterians, Episcopalians and (Christian) Unitarians, it isn't yours... … [Read more...]

Concluding Thoughts on Summer Vacation

As prols for many years, Jan working as a typesetter & me as a glorified clerk (I had the title buyer much of the time) in used and antiquarian bookshops, we never had a proper vacation. Just didn't earn enough money to do such a thing. It wasn't until we moved into the professional ranks, more or less, with Jan earning her librarian degree & me the MDiv, did we ever take actual real vacations.Let me tell you, we didn't know what we were missing.Not only does it really allow people to … [Read more...]

When Our (Zen) Teachers Fall Short

I recently received a letter from a Zen student who was deeply hurt and confused by the recent rift within his community, where the senior teacher renounced a couple of dharma successors, an event he somehow felt his community would be above. He asked for my input. I answered and then thought perhaps it could be useful to others. So, here it is, slightly reworked as a more general observation...Dear friend,Thank you for the courage to reach out for another's thoughts on this situation. But what … [Read more...]

Unitarian Universalist Buddhist Conversations Continue

I was reading Jaume de Marco's English language blog and wanted to point out to all three of my readers that he has written some very interesting things on the Unitarian Universalist Buddhist encounter, what it means for each tradition, what it doesn't mean for each tradition, how they mesh and how they don't. Somewhat connected to this Jaume says some very compelling things about what Unitarian Universalism is. I find I agree with lots of it (and therefore think Jaume is very smart). I hope … [Read more...]