The Drunk Fare, The Science of Climate, and Barabbas (A Weekend Review)

The Weekend Review was a staple of my blog for a season, but my efforts to bring you the best stuff of the week every Saturday have gone the way of good intentions, or the dodo bird, or the tyrannosaurus. Intentions fail, I suppose. This week, I’m trying to revive those intentions. Why? It was a really good week for really good content.

LINKS

Who needs scientists when you have ideology? Who needs expertise when you have high-school bravado? This is the subtext of this week’s New York Times article, “Climate Science Meets a Stubborn Obstacle: Students.” Whether you believe in climate change or you are a climate change denier, this article is worth the read.

The Biggest Uber Tip I Ever Got (or, Money Isn’t Everything) is, perhaps, my favorite of Shawn Smucker’s #RideshareConfessionals. In his piece, Shawn, an Uber driver and writer, shares a sort of Trumpian, slice-of-humanity rideshare tale. Do not miss it.

I wouldn’t normally share a book review, but Emily Freeman’s review of Russ Ramsey’s Struck is worth the read. It might be a perspective shifter.

I might have had too much fun writing this. If the 15-year older version of myself shared advice with the me of today, would I listen?

Do you know about The Justice Conference? Follow the #Justice17 hashtag on Twitter and learn along.

MOVIES

Amber and I saw Wonder Woman. It was powerful, strong, and maybe most of all empowering. I’m not a huge fan of the big blockbusters, but this one pushed all the right buttons. Sure, there were a few logical gaps, some geographic ones, too (how did the island of the Amazons stay hidden from all those cartographers? Really?). Sure, it was still a little violent for my taste. All in all, though, it was a gem of a movie, one that teaches us the power of a woman and the power of love.

BOOKS

I stumbled across this gem in the local bookstore. It’s a novelization of Barabbas’s experience in those post-death days of Jesus. The double (and sometimes triple) entendre throughout the book is masterful. Find a used copy out there on the net. You’ll be glad you did.

MY FAVORITE PHOTO

Learning the royal game. #chess #gameface

A post shared by Seth Haines (@sethhaines) on

MUSIC

Enjoy the music of Agnes Obel. This song has been on repeat all week.

 

***BECOME A PATRON***

Do you like the content here or in my Tiny Letter? Then I’d like to invite you to join my Patreon community. What is Patreon? It’s a way for you, the reader, to become a patron, a person supporting the arts (my art to be precise), and receive behind the scenes content in return. What kind of content? Here’s a taste:

Visit my Patreon page for more information. And, if you enjoy this website and haven’t yet signed up for the bi-monthly Tiny Letter newsletter, feel free to sign up below.

powered by TinyLetter

 

Want to receive my updates in your inbox? Click here. Also, follow along on Twitter and Facebook.

10 Ways to Make The Most of Time

1. In a podcast interview, I was asked what advice I might give the 25-year-old version of myself. “I guess I would have said, ‘self, take yourself less seriously.'” I suppose this is to say, I would have cautioned him (me?) to take himself (myself?) less seriously. (You follow?) Would that me have listened to the present me? Probably not. I already had the law and the prophets.

1a. This is a confession.

2. If the 15-year-older version of me comes riding into town on a horse-drawn time machine, if he comes to my house and rings my doorbell, if I answer and the fabric of all space and time does not unravel on the spot (as if a meeting of my minds might cause such an apocalyptic breach) what would he (the 15-year-older me) say to the me of today? (You follow?) Probably this: “Don’t take yourself so seriously.” Would I listen? Probably not–the law and the prophets and all of that.

2a. This is confession#2.

3. Today I’m making an attempt to heed my own advice. My current me is writing to my current me. (You follow?) This is what I’m saying:

“Today, listen to the birds. Walk around the block. Spin an old record. Eat local bread, maybe a piece of chocolate. Read a frivilous chapter in a frivolous book. Burn incense. Pet a puppy. Say something unintelligible. Gibble-dee wok the corduroy. Have fun in the garden. Do these things because time is not something you own, it is something that sneaks up on you in the end.”

***BECOME A PATRON***

Do you like the content here or in my Tiny Letter? Then I’d like to invite you to join my Patreon community. What is Patreon? It’s a way for you, the reader, to become a patron, a person supporting the arts (my art to be precise), and receive behind the scenes content in return. What kind of content? Here’s a taste:

Visit my Patreon page for more information. And, if you enjoy this website and haven’t yet signed up for the bi-monthly Tiny Letter newsletter, feel free to sign up below.

powered by TinyLetter

 

Want to receive my updates in your inbox? Click here. Also, follow along on Twitter and Facebook.

Justice and Mercy in the Disposable Marriage Era

1. This is the scripture du jour: “what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” It’s been the scripture of the decade, perhaps of the millennia, and it’s made its way into our collective consciousness. Thousands of bloggers cite it each week. Preachers spur you to action with it. I saw it on a tattoo a month ago, with a minor artistic variation on theme–act justli, love merci, and walk humbli. (It was, I think, the tattoed’s attempt to embody the text, to say “justice, mercy, and humility start with I,” a statement which my inner grammarian rejects.)

Justice and mercy–they’re the darlings of our moment. (Humility seems to get the short shrift.)

But consider this: there is justice; there is mercy; then there is only the mere idea of justice and mercy.

2. I’m on the precipice of my fortieth year (a vertigo-inducing precipice to be sure) and so, I’ve now lived through a trend or two. Among them are these: the plastic and pink 80s; the grunge era; the back to the Back To The Land Movement; the sustainable everything decade; the new social justice movement; and the era of gnarly, unkempt beards (there are, of course, hundreds more, and some of these certainly intersect). In this–the year I cross the threshold of middle age–I feel as though I’m living through a new trend: the Disposable Marriage Era (let’s call it the DME).

(2a. That is not to say that there aren’t some very good reasons for couples to call it quits (and I know, I know–this is such an un-Christian statement). I’ve seen marriages in which the men abused the women (run, run, run, I’ve said). I’ve seen marriages in which the women abused the men (run, run, run, I’ve said). Cheaters have done what cheaters do, and how can any man tolerate that sort of pain? You may have lived through this sort of situation, and of course, this is not what I’m invoking when I write of the DME. There are reasons to head for the hills, to leave a marriage behind. Even the scriptures seem to indicate as much.)

3. The confluence of the Justice movement and the DME are a curious thing. After all, what could be more just than honoring your spouse? What could be more merciful that practicing forgiveness and walking into the light of the vows you made all those years ago? (Walking into vows is a continual, sometimes harder-than-hell practice.) What could be more humble that being splayed at the feet of your bonded lover? And yet, why do the marriages of the modern faith-bearers (sometimes justice seekers) fall to the firing squad of the DME?

4. I’ve heard it over and over again–I deserve to be happy or We’re both such different people now or I just need to be who I am. I’ve heard it out of one side of folks’ mouths, while out of the other I’ve heard these things–Buy fair trade fabric or Engage racial reconciliation or Love the orphan.

Happiness–as if that’s the highest ideal.

Change–as if our vows don’t follow us.

Self-actualization–as if we don’t lay some of that aside at the marriage altar.

5. So many of us work, work, work to reconcile the land, the races, society to the orphan, and these are good, noble, virtuous things. These things embody acting justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly. But what could it look like if we treated marriage as a justice issue? How might we embody marital reconciliation even as we work to reconcile the land, the races, society to the orphan?

What if we asked the same questions of our marriages we ask in the pursuit of justice and mercy:

Am I (are we) versatile? 

Is our marital course sustainable?

Are we creating something lasting, something with longevity, perhaps something permanent and beautiful?

This, I think, might be the way to draw us from the DME and into something with sticking power. It might turn our mass-produced and plastic vows into something more elemental, more life-giving, more human.

 

***BECOME A PATRON***

Do you like the content here or in my Tiny Letter? Then I’d like to invite you to join my Patreon community. What is Patreon? It’s a way for you, the reader, to become a patron, a person supporting the arts (my art to be precise), and receive behind the scenes content in return. What kind of content? Here’s a taste:

Visit my Patreon page for more information. And, if you enjoy this website and haven’t yet signed up for the bi-monthly Tiny Letter newsletter, feel free to sign up below.

powered by TinyLetter

 

Want to receive my updates in your inbox? Click here. Also, follow along on Twitter and Facebook.

A Non-Anxious Presence

Here is the thought I can’t seem to shake: we are a people aflutter, flitting from hate to hate, from conflagration to conflagration, from anxiety to anxiety. We are a people on fire–skin, heart, solar plexus, brain, everything. Is it any wonder? The world is on fire, and we take that fire by contact.

Twitter, Facebook, the local coffee shop, every small group at church, the conversation on aisle 6 at Kroger–everywhere I go, the people carry political anxiety. Russia, Paris, North Korea, North Carolina, Covfefe (huh?). In the news, another black man’s house is defaced because he was a black man with an extravagant house (aren’t the small-minded prone to burn down every holy place?). Before I can process the politics, the house burning, CNN streams images of people attacking people–men attacking women, race attacking race, straight attacking gay–and now my head whispers to my inner ear.

“Humans are intent on burning each other down.”

To continue reading, sign up for my TinyLetter below.

 

***TINYLETTER***

Want to receive my bi-monthly TinyLetter? Sign up below. I think you’ll love it.

powered by TinyLetter

 

 

Want to receive my updates in your inbox? Click here. Also, follow along on Twitter and Facebook.

The Telepathic Man

Yesterday, an older gent said, “Young fella, you know you don’t have to save the world, right? Peace, peace, peace.”

I didn’t respond, but in the recesses of my noggin, I said, “older fella, thank you. How did you know I needed to hear that?”

The older gent must’ve known my thoughts because he said to me (without moving his mouth), “young fella, I’ve been a young fella before, too. It’s the trying to save the world that put this crook in my back and this cane in my hand. Peace, peace, peace.”

Again, I was silent and a bit mystified, and he musta picked up on it because while I was staring at him, eyes wide as moons, he said more words, words I’ve heard on a thousand Sundays, but this time he says them all telepathic-like, and he winks, and somehow that gives the words heft and meaning. He says to me, “stop striving. You ain’t God, or a god, or demigod, or even some kind of nano-Bono.”

It’s the nano-Bono thing that got me, if I’m honest. And so, I looked at him all bumfuzzled and smiled.

I love that old gent, with the crook and cane that is somehow a comfort. His wisdom is older than the dirt under my fingernails. It’s better than my best intentions, too.

And so, in light of his instruction, I leave you with the same encouragement: peace, peace, peace; in all things peace.

 

***BECOME A PATRON***

Do you like the content here or in my Tiny Letter? Then I’d like to invite you to join my Patreon community. What is Patreon? It’s a way for you, the reader, to become a patron, a person supporting the arts (my art to be precise), and receive behind the scenes content in return. What kind of content? Here’s a taste:

Visit my Patreon page for more information. And, if you enjoy this website and haven’t yet signed up for the bi-monthly Tiny Letter newsletter, feel free to sign up below.

powered by TinyLetter

 

Want to receive my updates in your inbox? Click here. Also, follow along on Twitter and Facebook.