Swimming in the Christian Waters (or: Beware, You May be a Humanist)

Let’s say you find yourself living in, oh, let’s say the United States. It’s a country where something on the order of seventy-five percent of the population claims to be Christian. Let’s say you don’t believe in any other religion, either: you aren’t Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Sikh, Baha’i, or any other of the myriad religions [Read More...]

Ideology

The government has come screeching to a halt because Speaker Boehner, under pressure from the Tea Party Republicans, will not allow the House to simply vote up or down on a continuing resolution to fund the government. (Since having an actual budget has bizarrely gone the way of the politically impossible.) Unless the Democrats agree [Read More...]

Rejoice?

First, gather friends and family. Together, build a structure with at least three sides. Roof it with bamboo or cornstalks, anything you can cut from the ground. Remember to leave spaces where the stars can shine through. Dwell in this place for a week. “Dwelling” includes eating, talking, singing, napping, reading, relaxing, entertaining, all that [Read More...]

Seeing, from the Cheap Seats

There are gifts that come of breathing, that come of blood driving through veins,   no charge. Just being.    One is the noise of existence.  Another is when the noise stops.   After the theater  of the self has closed;  after the season of the self  goes to reruns, music    begins, slow, silent.  [Read More...]

The Endless Seconds of Good

I was feeling a little shaky earlier this week, and it took me a few days to sort it out. I could point to this or that as the reason, but really I know a big part of it is that on Monday morning, there was another shooting. This time the shooting was in a [Read More...]

Autumn Light, Surprise

So, evening fell on you, didn’t it? And you did not know   what day. Did not know what had broken. You had   not expected it to have gone so far, the year. Did not   expect to have rounded again from light to dark on   this day. And it’s surely some saint’s [Read More...]

WTF?

Really, WTF? Has people shooting at strangers become a sort of national pastime? Are we supposed to get used to this? Worse yet, have we gotten used to it? Really, what am I supposed to say? Once again we are in that place of knowing that people have been killed and injured for no apparent [Read More...]

Who’s In and Who’s Out of Institutions (and the immigrants between)

The British social anthropologist Mary Douglas had this to say about institutions: Inside a religious body you get sects and hierarchies, inside an information network you get bazaars and cathedrals, it is the same, call them what you like. They survive by pointing the finger of blame at each other. That about sums it up, [Read More...]

A Better Choice

It was a few days after the 9/11 tragedy. We had done our best to shelter our not-quite-three-year-old daughter from the constant onslaught of images on the news, but there was no way to censor things entirely, particularly our conversations as the tragedy unfolded. How could this happen? Who would do such a thing? How [Read More...]


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