Monday, June 29, 2015


    While summer visitors jam our coastal village, we can all find emotionally nourishing scenes, sounds and peace.

   The affairs of life can sometimes smack you in the jaw in one moment and in the next excite your most joyful imagination.  So it was a couple of days ago.
    He was wedged between his octogenarian mom and his wife, waiting for the concert to begin. One of the most popular guys in the village, a long time resident and respected craftsmen, there were a couple of people in front of me chatting with him. 
    "Hi Tom how are you. I saw Lana earlier," he said smiling sitting, his hand resting on a walking stick.
     "Last time we chatted you were waiting on a diagnosis," I prompted.
      "It's bad. I have ALS. Do you know what that is?"
       "Yes," I winced, "Lou Gehrig's disease."
      "It's awful. It's just a horrible disease, but right now I'm happy and enjoy everything. Plus I'm too busy to be depressed."
      "Yea, he's working too hard not to be happy" his mother said smiling.
     This is a man who's family has experienced trauma, tragedy and death in larger portion than seems fair.  Through it all he and his irrepressible wife continue to beam a joy at living and devotion to work and cause.
     Hearing his diagnosis seemed horrible, even crushing. 
     As I turned after finishing our conversation with an obligatory though sincere but still impotent "you'll be in our thoughts and prayers" I spotted another friend.
     This fellow is probably the most energetic, fit specimen of manhood I know. Not a nano bit of body fat, buffed, muscular and as smart as he is in great shape, though he is fighting a deadly disease and has been for at least a couple of decades-but he's unlike anyone else.
     In all truth he is an experiment and cannot discuss nor publish specifics. It is an almost miraculous story and includes treatment protocols that are every bit as fascinating as science fiction.
     He has helped advance medical science by being a human test subject and the recent advances could have been written by Issac Asimov or Philip K. Dick. 
     He is without a doubt an incredible human being and I have found him to be one of the most inspirational people I've know.
     Within five minutes the roller coaster of life left me a bit drained.  Despair in learning of a terrible diagnosis and then another update from the future, dazzling with prospects of "Star Trek" style treatment and healing. But each "scenario" is a personal face and real story. Two good men, two bad diseases, two futures. And selfishly I thought of my younger brothers, both struck down in young manhood and the lives they did not get. I can make no sense of such narratives, but to seek shelter in the bromide that health is everything and that we should indeed be grateful for each moment. And we should celebrate life. 
      Life is so precious as to not spoil and to protect. Life itself and the resources of our life on this blue planet need vigilant protection. As Californians the four years of drought are teaching us. We can still be smarter in how we use water, how we conserve, save and harvest. Even as diligent as the state has been, there are technologies, applications and enforcements that are needed to help us live more wisely.

       Freedom is also precious as to not spoil and to protect.
The Supreme Court's decision that all people are entitled to the dignity to marry the person they love is an affirmation of what some Christians have been approving in their denominations, though not without decades of opposition. 
   And now the evangelical Christian right, personified by people like Ted Cruz, must face a new reality. It seems  they are stuck on the idea that an LGBT person is someone or something less than they themselves. Some of these evangelicals say LGBT people are "sinners," because of who they are or who they love. I heard a right wing Dallas preacher talking about his "Almighty God!"  It was as shrill as a radical proponent of sharia law. 
       All through this gender and sexual identity debate  those who were denied full freedom and protection of law sought just to have the rights due all people. Those in opposition seem stuck on the act of making judgements. It is as though to impose a morality on everyone and doing so as the only true interpreters of religion. Reminds me of Isis, or Wahhabists, or when Catholics and Protestants were at war, or Sunni and Shia, or how the Christian church banned or persecuted Copernicus and Galileo, or how Massachusetts  Christians conducted witch hunts and executed 20 people and on and on. 
       Civil law, as imperfect as the process may be, is for the good of society. Spiritual law on the other hand is for the good of the individual heart, as imperfect as we may be. We do not want or need a theocracy in the US, but that is route the Ted Cruz mind set seeks to chart.
     As noted before, the eminent theologian Walter Brueggemann  says "When you think you know the mind of God, you are on a slippery slope."  Now the court has ruled how do we protect ourselves from those who would put us on the slope? 
     Religion has been too frequently weaponized. History is a litany of how religious people have done horrible things, imposing their view, stirring up movements and mob mentality and making judgements--- like those who executed a rabbi named Jesus.
     See you down the trail.


  1. Rumination comments from a great leader: Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere! Martin Luther King

  2. I had an e-mail exchange last week with a gay friend of mine. He's one of the finest broadcast engineers I've known, a retired VP of CBS radio. He's had a long struggle with his Catholic faith and it's condemnation of him. He has found solace with Anthony and a small congregation of the American Catholic church. His new Catholic faith is all inclusive, led by a former priest who is happily married. The congregation is made up of all kinds of former Catholics, who were made uncomfortable by the strictures of the Roman Church. As he says, we are more like the original Christians, the abused, the shunned, misfits, mavericks and others all welcomed in this small church. He laughed and said, "by popular vote we have our Mass in Latin, because we can.

  3. The Master had direct comments regarding judgement and love. These words of wisdom are still applicable for all of us including any modern day Pharisees who still want to pronounce condemnation and judgement on those among us.

    Luke 6:37 Do not judge and you will not be judged. Do not condemn and you will not be condemned. Pardon and you will be pardoned.

    Romans 12:10 Love each other with genuine affection and take delight in honoring each other.

    John 13:34 A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.

  4. Conservatives would have us believe that this judgement is an attack on religion, yet no religious institution will be compelled to marry same sex couples. This is about equality under the law, not in the eyes of God which no one can know anyway.

  5. I cannot take Mr. Cruz seriously, as I cannot Huckabee or others of that ilk. I imagine what the US would be like under their rule. Ronnie R. didn't teach me the lesson well enough, so perhaps I need to take them more seriously. I feel really fucking sad about that, that there are enough people out there to support make them feel they spoke for even a small percentage of the US.

    We're headed for a time unlike me or my generation (you might be at the far left, young, of that spectrum) has seen, weather, deprivation, and social changes.

    I find little to explain or comfort people in history or religion. It's chaos folks, it's happenstance, chance, whatever.

    Life, it's protection, our path through it, are well said in your piece here.