The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button

December 4, 2021

Faces #13

December 3, 2021
Photo by Prince Akachi on Unsplash

Ljubljana, Slovenia

December 2, 2021
Dragon Bridge
Bob Humphrey

Au Lido

December 1, 2021
George Barbier

The Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library


Deconstructing Prayer (Part 2)

November 30, 2021
So, what are the kinds of prayer that do “work” for us? This is what we came up with:

*Alignment prayers – This is when we sit in silence and “know” God’s presence; becoming in tune with the Divine to see what God is already doing in the world around us, and within our own life. Sounds like: “…..” [silence]

*Letting go – When our prayers revolve around surrendering our need to control, or coerce, or manipulate God, or reality, or anyone else. Sounds like: “Yes, God…” or “Your will be done.”

*Gratitude – When we simply stop and thank God for every simple blessing, small miracle and beautiful sunrise/sunset we experience each and every day. Sounds like: “Thank you God for…” [fill in the blank]

*Empathy – This is when we enter into the suffering and sorrow of another person simply because we realize that God’s heart also breaks for those who suffer and weep. Sounds like: [insert sounds of weeping here]

*Transformation – When our inner tuning fork resonates with the heart of God and we simply rest in the process of being transformed – slowly but surely – into the image of Christ. This could involve an agreement with the need for us to ask forgiveness, or to receive mercy, or to show mercy to others or extend forgiveness to those who have harmed us. Sounds like: [groanings that words cannot express]

Deconstructing Prayer

November 29, 2021
Well, based on a recent conversation I had with some of the beautiful people in our Square 1 community on this topic, here’s what we determined.

Kinds of prayer that don’t “work” for most of us:

*Begging prayers – Prayers that plead with God to care as if God doesn’t already care. Sounds like: “God heal my friend, please rescue my friends who are in trouble,…”, etc.

*Prayers that substitute for action – This is when we fire up a prayer asking God to do acts of kindness to others so we don’t have to stop and do anything compassionate ourselves. Sounds like: “God bless that beggar on the corner as I drive on by…”

*Wish list prayers – When we just pray for God to give us things we want. Sounds like: “God give me a new job, a new car, a new blessing…”, etc.

*Identity-swap prayers – This is when our prayers assume that God only cares about the things that we also care about. Sounds like: “God please let my favorite team with the championship…”, etc.

Townscape. Women Soliciting Travellers

November 28, 2021
Utagawa Hiroshige

Evangelical Maga Values

November 27, 2021
A decade or two ago, no one had trouble figuring out what White evangelical Christians wanted from the federal government. 

But social policy is no longer at the heart of the agenda of the demographic. Instead, it has become nearly indistinguishable from the MAGA movement. 

So what, then, do these voters want? Many essentially see politics as a great battle between White, Christian America and the multiracial, religiously diverse reality of 21st century America. They want someone to help them win that existential fight. Government is there not to produce legislative fixes to real-world problems but to engage their enemies on behalf of White Christianity. 

In this context, White evangelical Christians’ attraction to the thrice-married philanderer Trump is understandable, as is their support for the cruelest immigration policies (e.g., child separation) and the anti-Muslim travel ban. It’s all about race and religious identity, not policies founded in Christian values and certainly not about finding a role model for civic virtues. Trump was determined to protect White evangelicals against people of color and the decline in Christian identification; that was all they could hope for in a politician. 

Virgin And Child: Cartoon

November 26, 2021

Buffalo Grain Elevators

November 25, 2021
Ralston Crawford
 Smithsonian American Art Museum 

Right Where I Belong

November 24, 2021
Brian Wilson and Jim James
From the film Long Promised Road

The White Ballet

November 24, 2021
Everett Shinn
 Smithsonian American Art Museum 

The Game

November 23, 2021
Scott Coley


November 23, 2021

29 Washington Square

November 22, 2021


November 21, 2021

Rittenhouse As Hero

November 20, 2021
For years now, the so-called "alt-right" — or what one would traditionally call the fascist right — has been casting around desperately for some hero to rally around, a figurehead to tempt more people to transition from just being generic right-wing trolls to people who are ready for open violence. Nothing has really taken. 

The problem for fascists is that their recruitment and publicity strategy depends on being able to successfully portray themselves not as the aggressors, but as reactors. Authoritarian propaganda always relies on a narrative that casts the right as acting in "self-defense" or out of "chivalrous" intent, whether it's Nazis portraying the Holocaust as a corrective to a supposed Jewish conspiracy or the KKK defending lynching as necessary to protect white womanhood. 

What the fascist movement needed was a situation where there's some wiggle room to say the violence was defensible, and in Rittenhouse, it appears they have a live one. 

There's a reason this case captured the public imagination. It's the reason why so many on the right are so ready and eager to turn this adolescent weirdo into a folk hero. The authoritarian right clearly sees him as useful to tell the story they want to tell, one where the nation is under threat not from rising fascism or an ongoing pandemic, but from out-of-control "woke" leftists who need to be put down with violence. It's a lie, but one that they need very badly. Rittenhouse, they clearly believe, is the key to selling that lie.  

Crossing To Jerusalem

November 20, 2021
This is our great migration
Our mountain and our stone
Turning ourselves inside-out
To find we're already home
This is our deal with the sinners and saints
The law and up above
We'll be crossing to Jerusalem
With nothing but our love 
Rosanne Cash and John Leventhal
Performed by Rosanne Cash
From the album She Remembers Everything

Love Is A Game

November 19, 2021
Adele Adkins & Dean Josiah Cover
Performed by Adele from the album 30

Lay It All On Me

November 18, 2021
Leslie Mendelson
From the album If You Can't Say Anything Nice...