Thank you, Daniel Ladinsky

To get a blog name without a number in it, I needed an unusual phrase, so I turned to Hafiz. Here are a few lines excerpted from his poem “A Golden Compass” translated by Daniel Ladinsky in I Heard God Laughing.

Come, join the honest company

Of the King’s beggars —

Those gamblers, scoundrels and divine clowns

And those astonishing fair courtesans

Who need Divine Love every  night…

Who can aid you

In this Blessed Calamity of life…


Look at the Perfect One…

He Spins and Whirls like a Golden Compass…

To show this dear world

That Everything,

Everything in Existence

Does point to God.

Giving Thanks Alone

Thanksgiving, ideas for how to do it differently in 2020.

Be like the settlers

The settlers crossed the ocean knowing they faced a frightening wilderness.

Go out into nature, even if you are fearful of doing it alone.

Take a walk, or if you can’t, take a drive.

The settlers were seeking religious freedom.

Find a way to connect with a higher power on your own.

Pray, sing, drum. Read something inspirational.

Don’t be like the settlers

They did not show their appreciation to those who had helped them.

 Write a thank-you note to someone and show some love!

They spread diseases that killed their neighbors.

Encourage others in their safe choices.

English settlers gave thanks for surviving in a time of hardship. Half of them had died in their first year.

This year has not been easy, but consider what the settlers faced: cold, famine, illness, back-breaking labor, missing their families back home in England. Give thanks for what you do have, and find something you can do for those feeling grief or uncertainty. And make a feast!

What is Baptist Sharia Law?

Roy Moore won the Republican Senate primary in Alabama yesterday. It is reasonable to assume  from his past actions that whatever Southern Baptists consider a sin, he would want to outlaw. I believe he would try to enact his repressive brand of fundamentalist Sharia law. (Religious law practiced in many Muslim countries, similar to Israel’s legal system.)

Here are some of the things that Baptists consider a sin, and that Moore would want to make laws against as a US Senator.

  • Gay marriage, gay adoption, gay kissing and holding hands, anything gay.
  • Sex outside of marriage for ANYONE including committed couples living together.
  • Using intoxicants, including ALCOHOL, whether of legal age or not.
  • Gambling. No more casinos, lottery tickets, even fantasy football.
  • Women in leadership; Southern Baptist churches don’t allow female pastors.
  • Teaching science, especially biology and earth sciences.

Here are some of the things that are now illegal that Baptist Sharia Law would legalize.

  • Domestic abuse. It would be okay to physically punish your wife and children.
  • Slavery. They split from other US Baptists because they believed slavery was okay.
  • Wanton destruction of nature; humans should dominate the earth.
  • Discrimination against people deemed to be sinners, especially those of other religions.
  • Torture, rape, and ethnic cleansing, which just follow the examples in the Bible.

Basically, all the things social conservatives want, they want in extreme. They believe every word of the Bible is divinely inspired and the literal word of God. Thus, all humans are inherently bad because the first woman (created out of a bone from the first man a mere 6000 years ago) was led astray by a talking snake. Because of this, we will go to Hell when we die, a place where torture, including never-ending burning alive, is perpetually inflicted on non-Baptists. Or at least those who don’t accept that Jesus died to save us from this fate.

A vote for Roy Moore is a vote for the American Taliban. Not going to vote against him is a vote for the American version of religious  fundamentalists ruling our country.


Do you believe everything your parents believed?

“Children are not born hating other people because of their skin color.” This is fine as a statement of hope that humans are not genetically encoded for hate and violence. It is not okay when followed by “They learn it from the adults at home” as a way to blame the parents.

There are many ways to learn hate; it is ubiquitous in our culture. Children learn it from other children. Just think of the “mean girls” phenomenon. It would not be an issue if the mean girls were not also the most popular girls in school.

They learn to hate from people in their neighborhoods, in their churches, and from the media. There is one popular TV series that shows someone being tortured nearly every week, as entertainment. Talk radio is more entertaining than NPR for most people, and kids are easily taken in by it. Propaganda is more sophisticated than ever before, constantly insinuating itself into the Facebook and Twitter feeds of all of us. There are many ways for children to learn to hate.

I know there are racist children of racist parents. I also know good people have come out of horribly cruel homes, and that loving homes sometimes inexplicably produce kids full of hate. Don’t you understand how heartbreaking this is for their mothers and fathers?

My child is not a Nazi or a Klan member, but he certainly doesn’t see eye to eye with me on every issue. It is impossible to force your child to believe the way you do. How many evangelical Christian parents have tried to do this with the sad result that their children refuse to talk to them anymore?

Stop heaping the blame on the parents. They are broken-hearted already.

What bothers me most about Charlottesville

Outrage over the Klan and Nazis and other white supremacists marching in Charlottesville turned out to be mostly yet another excuse to bitch about what a pathetic president Donald Trump is. Trump is not the real issue here, hate is.

The overt racists my age and older are dying out and have been for some time. What really bothers me is seeing the young men so avidly spewing hatred. Maybe it’s because they are the age of my son and his friends, who also like to wear Polo shirts and khakis.

For as long as I can remember, that is, since the 1960s, young people have been in favor of civil rights, gay rights, feminism, and environmentalism. Over time, straight, white youth seemed to be less politically involved. Now here is a movement full of younger folks, and they turn out on the side of evil!

Lots of problems were brought to light in Charlottesville. Here are a few:

Politicians instigating hate

Open carry gun laws that can help facilitate a race war

Apathy over police brutality, most but not all of which is directed toward black men

Radicalization of young men by terrorist groups.

America has come a long way toward civil rights for all, but the old hatreds and divisions remain (mostly) below the surface. I know how to deal with the same old, same old, but the sight of hundreds of young men in their twenties shouting the N-word in the streets and saluting the Nazi flag is new to me and, frankly, very upsetting.

Can you see your own children behind the screaming faces? Better yet, can you see yourself there? I am not ready to forgive yet, but maybe this is the dawning of compassion.

It is easier to look at pictures of Nazis in uniform than polos.