*NB. Plug in just about any other parenting choice within the range of normal and non-abusive practices, and this entire rant applies. This just happens to be the topic that pushed itself forward today. Can we get something straight, moms?   Women who ask for epidurals and other pain relief during childbirth aren’t wimps or control freaks. They are individuals with their own experiences, priorities, and perspectives who are facing birth in the way that works for them. It isn’t… Read more

This is a clearinghouse post for interesting, data-based links I run across online. There’s a lot more heat than data on gun control, especially for my US-based friends. This is my small contribution to enabling real conversation. Effects of Policies Designed to Keep Firearms from High-Risk Individuals https://www.annualreviews.org/doi/full/10.1146/annurev-publhealth-031914-122516 An analysis of studies conducted between 1999 and 2004, by public health and gun violence researchers Webster (Johns Hopkins) and Wintemute (University of California). Excerpt: Finally, it is surprising that prior studies… Read more

I loved Mr. Rogers when I was a child.   Simcha has a lovely reflection up about Fred Rogers. She says that, when she was younger, she felt uncomfortable with his show. She ridiculed it as boring and resented the familiar way Mr. Rogers spoke to his audience. And, Simcha says,  I couldn’t deal with his face. I just didn’t want to look at it. He had that smile of extreme simplicity that you see in people who have gone… Read more

 It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we. — GK Chesterton, Orthodoxy… Read more

The New Republic, musing over the political Right’s embrace of Donald Trump and his libertine lifestyle, concluded Wednesday that, It’s easy for liberals to decry the hypocrisy of Republicans, the putative party of family values, embracing Trump as its avatar. But there is no real hypocrisy here. The core value is patriarchy, which can take different forms. There is an older patriarchy which wears the mask of chivalry, and offers women protection in exchange for submissiveness. But the age of… Read more

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole world should be enrolled. This was the first enrollment, when Quirinius was governor of Syria. So all went to be enrolled, each to his own town. And Joseph too went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth to Judea, to the city of David that is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who… Read more

I feel like I’ve been going a dozen different directions this Advent, trying to be ready for the holidays and catch up on everything neglected while I was focused on immigration stuff in November. Then, in the midst of this nuttiness, we added a new layer of crazy and brought home a puppy. I’ll be honest–I was enthusiastic about getting a dog, but not particularly excited. That sounds confusing, doesn’t it?  It’s really fairly simple. I am not a dog… Read more

  1. Thoughts during the Santa Claus Parade Good riddance, November! December already? Ack! 2. At The Personalist Project I muse about identity and community. 3. Good things about December Sinterklaas comes soon. Time for speculaas! 4. Buy my stuff, please? Order my clay characters! Discount code:  STNICK. 5. Thought inspired by Pence-rule debates Schmoozing workplaces discriminate against people I’d trust. 6. I love my weird kids Christmas Lego competition entry: “Alien Santa Auditions.” 7. On navigating boundaries and generousity Give… Read more

My sister-in-law says I don’t understand the “Quick” part of “Seven Quick Takes.” She’s probably…no, she’s definitely right about that. I always have more to say than I thought I did. That said, I will attempt to be brief and stick to a few brief thoughts from this past week. — 1 — Whatever is Good I love these word-clouds, and I use them as a sort of self-check–where has my mind been? What have I been writing about? Where… Read more

Yesterday, I ranted briefly about “Men Behaving Badly to Get Their Rocks Off.” The big story today is about a fellow (now former) Patheosi who falls inside that category, having abused his position in the Sick Pilgrims community to gain access to and exploit vulnerable women. A lot of commenting on stories like this turns into quibbling over the nature of the allegations–is this assault? Is it exploitation? Is it icky-but-perfectly-normal “seduction”? Are these the actions of a sexual predator… Read more

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