Posts

A pet peeve

http://s411101314.onlinehome.us/beyond-parochial-faith
To be honest, the only connection between this writing and spirituality is that I'm confessing a feeling that roils me every time I hear people abuse language, people who should know better—professional writers and speakers. They're the ones who commit this sin. 
I have yet to meet “in terms of” in a sentence that needed it. I wish it had never entered the English language. In most cases, “terms of” is witlessly added to in and should simply be deleted. Almost always it signifies nothing but a lack of precision. 
“This nation faces a crisis in terms of health care.” Cleaned of the meaningless words, it says, “This nation faces a crisis in health care.” “Where will they take the country in terms of foreign policy?” More pleasing, “Where will they take the country in foreign policy?” 
Readers can easily clean up the following: “The government plays a part in terms of education. If it gives less money in terms of grants you have…

Goodness in COVID 19 crisis

The disaster keeps triumphantly surging as states and D.C. struggle to control it. Harvard Professor Ken Rogoffwarns, “We are going to see a recession, at least in the short term, the likes of which we have not seen at least going back to World War II. . . . We're in a war. . . . I would have no problem with the government debt magically going up $5 trillion in the blink of an eye, . . . This is an emergency.”
In addition to the economic war, we have to win the psychological war. COVID 19 can threaten emotional stability, our faith in ourselves and our universe. Still, within every dark moment rest points of light, and I intend to make some known. 
Disasters have a way of inciting extraordinary kindness and courage. A “mysterious, erotic, enveloping sense of possibility and communion” emerges in disasters, says Rebecca Solnit, who was interviewed by Krista Tippett on On Being this morning.
During Hurricane Katrina, mainstream media believed and broadcast vicious, made-up stori…

The good of COVID 19

http://jeanetteblonigenclancy.com/
When faced with an overwhelming concern—now the COVID 19 pandemic—I look for the silver lining. In the face of realistic fears—economic fallout, hospitals overcrowded and short of supplies, health care workers at risk, and, I believe, the less serious fear of dying—here are silver linings I see coming with the COVID 19 pandemic.

I’m not a scientist but it occurred to me that worldwide emissions of greenhouse gases must have dropped drastically, mostly by a drop in air travel. Going online, I learned my guess was right. It’s estimated that China, the worst emitter of carbon, experienced a 25% cut in emissions. The 2008 recession also drove down emissions. Some of this good effect will be offset by increased home energy use.

I’m hoping physical scientists, social scientists, and political scientists will learn some things from this lurch in world affairs, ways to help the world fight climate change and other threats to the planet’s inhabitants.

Another…

Sexploitation

March 8, International Women's Day
and the whole month of March is Women's History Month. In celebration, Time magazine devoted an issue to 100 women of the year with short summaries of each.

Luminaries known are joined by women unknown to me that I feel I should have known about.
Just one—Recy Taylor—helped to shape Rosa Parks, known for her courageous refusal to surrender her seat on a bus, thus sparking the civil rights movement. Years earlier, Recy Taylor was gang-raped by white men and refused to stay silent. Despite death threats and firebombing of her home, she insisted on prosecution. Rosa Parks was sent by the NAACP to investigate. Find the story in Time's stellar issue.

Super Bowl Halftime ShowSexploitation

I never watch the Super Bowl, biased as I am against pro sports, which I hold responsible for many problems in our country. I still can’t say who won because I don’t remember names of teams. They mean nothing to me. But “everybody” was talking about the half t…

How Not to Despair

http://jeanetteblonigenclancy.com/
There is much to despair about—the planet heating up, inundating cities and island nations; humans continuing to aggravate climate change; unprecedented income disparities; nuclear threat; military arms races; forced global migration; corrupt political leaders . . .

I struggle to avoid crippling worry and contempt for some American voters. After the impeachment of Trump, 49 percent approve of his job performance as president.
It floors me.

Did they not pay attention to evidence of his guilt? Or don’t they care that the president of the U.S. tells a foreign power to meddle in our election?

You see, I waste time trying to figure out the minds of voters. I wonder: Why don’t people care about his lies? His sexual assaults? His verbal assaults on desperate asylum seekers, on all people of color, all critics of himself?
Don’t voters care about corruption in his administration? Its withdrawing of protections for consumers, for clean water and air, for stude…

In Memory Of

. . . my high school and college classmate, Hazel Ehrnreiter Howes. Her husband Ron tells the story.

When Hazel was diagnosed with cancer this past Spring, all plans for travel were put away, we moved into the family lake cabin, making those 40 mile one-way trips to see the doctors. Tests and more tests, radiation treatments, a trip to the Mayo Clinic, where three doctors told us thyroid cancer was normally slow-moving, but this one was especially aggressive.

When a CAT-Scan revealed a new mass that wasn't seen in the one taken just a month earlier, Hazel was hospitalized and radiation treatments were to begin again. It was at that point that common sense stepped in, with the medical team admitting they couldn't get ahead of this one, recommending Hazel be transported back to our cabin by ambulance.  
A hospital bed was set-up in the living room with a good view of the lake, and nurses came in to help us attempt to keep her comfortable. I asked the doctor, "how long", a…

Non-Sexist Talk

In a StarTribune article analyzing the New York Times “1619 Project,” Katherine Kersten wrote,
Man’s seemingly boundless capacity for inhumanity to his fellow man  is one of history’s indelible lessons. It is typical male-centered language, using “man” to mean “also women.” For centuries women have been expected to accept this without minding it. I mind it. So I revised it:

Humanity’s seemingly boundless capacity for inhumanity to fellow humans  is one of history’s indelible lessons.
I’m pleased that the StarTribune published my letter with this revision and publishes my other feminist letters. I thank them and other media for helping to correct what I call sexist language.

The following passages come from a book that I find thoughtful and nourishing, but irritatingly full of he-man language. I revised it and challenge men to include themselves in the woman-centered language:

The soul represents that part of womankind  that forms and cushions her living  and brings her extraordinary …