Hope is not naïve am going to quote myself, that is, my op-ed in the St.Cloud Times on the last Sunday of September. It again proclaims hope, continuing the theme in my recent blog posts:Never before have so many white Americans noted the unfairness to Hispanic immigrants who work outside, while smoke and record temperatures keep more fortunate people inside. Never before such awareness of racial injustice, of income inequality, of all suffering, fellow human beings.Bruce Lipton says, “The chaos we’re in is a necessary stage in human evolution.” I believe this. Hope is necessary and it is realistic, not naïve.Now that President Trump is in the Walter Reed Medical Center being treated for the coronavirus, have we reached the apex of our country's chaotic year? We can't know what will happen, but it tells me more insistently that we can trust unseen forces to sort order out of the chaos that, to many, seems to be engulfing us. It will not bury us.

Staying sane during crisis

I stay sane by focusing on hopeful things happening, not on the bad news that is creating a rise in anxiety and panic attacks. If we take the long view, we can see evidence of human flourishing. Dawson Church, PhD, a researcher and science writer,lays it out. His writing in Unity magazine shows that, as a species, we are becoming more compassionate. Hard to believe? Here are some of his words.In 1800, child labor was not controversial. In the coal mines of Britain, 8-year-olds pushed heavy tubs inside underground tunnels. Sweating and breathing black coal dust, they emerged from the pits black with grime. they died young.Then we changed our minds, and in just a few decades, child labor was banned. We're in the process of changing our minds about the legalization of drugs. About doctor-assisted suicide. About the death penalty. About gay marriage. About gun control, About racism. About universal health care . . . each of these historical changes involved people becoming more compas…

Virginia Woolf & Tulsa Massacre

Response to Virginia Woolf & Tulsa Massacre, August 13, 2020
Readers of "Virginia Woolf & Tulsa Massacre" (below) joined me in admitting ignorance about the massacre—white Americans killing 300 African Americans. Samples:
After all my years of studying history (elementary, secondary, undergrad and grad levels) I have to admit that I was woefully ignorant of the treatment of blacks . . .
If we who have had what we thought was a “solid” education have such blank spaces in our knowledge, I am not surprised that many Americans are ignorant of the terrible things done to people of color.

Lois Thielen:
The fact is, so much history is buried or not accurate or biased.  Think back to our school history books.  They were basically propaganda.
I try to do better in my own writing of history.

Poet Larry Schug:
Thanks, Jeanette.  It amazes me to learn of the history we were not taught. . . . We writers have a special obligation and opport…

St. John Lewis

JULY 22, 2020
“Donald Trump is not my president,” said John Lewis. I rejoiced because that is how I felt. I felt validated hearing it from a person of unquestioned integrity—John Lewis. The words “president” and “Trump” do not fit together as one phrase; the office is respectable; the current holder is not. I hate saying or writing “President Trump.” It seems wrong.

Some years ago I turned on the radio to an interview that struck me as unusually fine and wondered who the inspiring speaker was. Ever after, I have recognized John Lewis’s voice after hearing only a few words.

Lewis preached love and forgiveness. Nothing remarkable about that, but John Lewis modeled them in remarkable ways. Elwin Wilson physically attacked Lewis when Lewis was marching for civil rights. Wilson was gleeful in his frequent attacks on Negroes. Lewis forgave him. Trent Lottdeclared that civil rights turmoil could have been avoided if racist Senator Strom Thurmond had become president. Lewis forgave him.

The d…


Racism in Catholic history, June 24
Guest columnist John Chuchman thought a bit about Catholic Church history.
In the 15th century,  the Catholic Church became the first global institution  to declare that Black lives did not matter.
 In a series of papal bulls  beginning with Pope Nicholas V's Dum Diversas (1452)  and including Pope Alexander VI's Inter Caetera (1493),  the church not only authorized the perpetual enslavement of Africans  and the seizure of non-Christian lands,  but morally sanctioned the development of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. 
This trade forcibly transported  at least 12.5 million enslaved African men, women and children  to the Americas and Europe  to enrich European and Catholic coffers. 
It also caused the deaths of tens of millions of Africans and Native Americans over nearly four centuries.
In the land area that became the United States,  the Catholic Church introduced African slavery in the 16th century  long before 1619.  In fact, at various moments in American …

Grandparents saving the world

Grandparents can be a powerful force for building a stable society. My appreciation for this rose when I watched my sister-in-law Marilyn, a master grandma, at work. She was hosting me for a few days and apologized that she had to babysit her granddaughter. I looked forward to it because I’d already pegged her as a master grandma.

I had heard her telling stories about her grandchildren and enjoying their personalities. She watches them interacting together and vying to get their way. Traits of each are astutely displayed in her accounts—the introverted scholar wearing glasses, the more physical ones, the feisty ones, the ones needing certain types of attention.

Grandma’s love for them is unquestioned, impartial, and immense, but she’s no pushover. Her knowledge of child psychology comes out in stories of adults giving in to child pleading, with the sure result of future trouble.

Aella, nearly two, the youngest and only girl, is not intimidated but establishes her place among her older…

A pet peeve
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…