May 23, 2020

By the rivers of Babylon— there we sat down and there we wept when we remembered Zion. -Psalm 137:1 NRSV The first time I really engaged the 137th Psalm, I was a sophomore in boarding school. My choir sang a gorgeous setting of Don McLean’s “By the Waters of Babylon,” and something about the deep, unabashed lament stuck with me. Then I looked up the original text McLean drew from and found a couple verses later, How can we sing… Read more

May 23, 2020

Things I know about me: I know how to listen so that you know you’ve been heard. I know that if you are in crisis, I will not let your fists stop me. I know that when I need to, I can outrun three out of four paramedics, two RNs, one other tech, and a unit secretary to reach a naked, bleeding, psychotic patient who is trying to find his way home. Working in mental health during a pandemic comes… Read more

May 16, 2020

Change is coming.  Millennials are no longer the younger generation.  Generation Z is here to stay, and it’s worth paying attention to what they have to say. To date, Generation Z (born 1996 and after) are generally well-educated, progressive, diverse digital natives who are in many ways better prepared to lead our brave, new, technologically-driven world than any of the generations that have come before.  One trend this author has seen that expresses this generational identity best is the willingness… Read more

May 16, 2020

Here are the CDC Guidelines for masking, social distancing, hand hygiene, etc. There is not one Bible verse in existence that would change them. Over the past several weeks, I have watched Evangelical Christians–joined to the MAGA political right–claim that scripture commands them to gather in megachurches. It does not. All the books of the Christian Bible were written long before large Christian churches existed, and the writers would not have had any way to even conceive of what… Read more

May 9, 2020

Deliver me, O LORD      from lying lips,      from a deceitful tongue -Ps. 120:2 Words have meaning. About twenty years ago, I took a year-long statistics and experimental design course that changed how I viewed truth forever. The instructor not only showed us through real-world examples how the same set of data could lead to multiple conflicting conclusions, but also how the way we frame questions—the words we use—can change a respondent’s answer completely. A lot more… Read more

May 5, 2020

“ReOpen” protests seem to be all over the news. Guntoting activists storming state capitals. Thugs in SUVs blocking ambulance access to hospitals. Nooses and swastikas.  Shootings. Assaults. Who are they? Where did they come from? How did they organize so quickly? The answer, it turns out, is completely unsurprising. First, we know these are not oppressed workers rising up in a grassroots effort to return to their jobs. These people drive late-model pickups and SUVs, buy up expensive firearms and… Read more

April 29, 2020

A few years back, I attended a sermon by Reverend Mark Stringer, a Unitarian Universalist minister who later became the Executive Director of the Iowa ACLU. He was talking about community organizing. More specifically, he was talking about the tendency of those who identify as “progressive” to apply political/theological litmus tests, and refuse to ally themselves with anyone who fails. This was before “cancel culture” and the Facebook “unfriend me now” fad we’ve all since come to know, but even… Read more

April 26, 2020

I Snopesed it. I wasn’t looking for facts, because the facts were so unbelievable I knew it couldn’t be true. I was looking for confirmation. Validation. Some sign that there is some sanity left in the world. But that is not what I found. I Snopesed it, and Snopes verified. Under a new initiative by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, American health care providers may now refuse services to LGBTQ (especially trans) patients for religious reasons…. Read more

April 25, 2020

It’s not news that the Evangelical church and America’s political right wing were wed long ago. It’s not news that both gather followers through virulent attacks on “the government,” or “the system,” or “fake news media.” It’s not news that—from climate change to contagion vectors to carbon dating the Earth—they are both rabidly anti-science. I doubt anyone was truly surprised, then, when right wing pastors across the country continued holding services, even in the middle of a global pandemic spread… Read more

April 20, 2020

Imagine for a moment you were born into the one of the first few years after World War II. America was victorious. The troops were home. Your mom had worn your dad’s letter sweater the entire time he was away. Suddenly a “boom” of new babies swept the land as a nation tried to pick up the pieces and live their way into their new role of global superpower. But both your parents had been born into the Depression, and… Read more

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