A hundred days ago, Hamas unleashed their attack on Israel. In response, Israel has been carrying out reprisals on the Gaza Strip. And the war is spreading throughout the region, so that the U.S. and other countries have sent warships to protect shipping in the Red Sea. An initial act of violence led to an ongoing violent reaction, which in turn is leading to violence spreading even further….
Many years ago, the science fiction author Isaac Asimov had a character in one of his novels say, “Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.” This pronouncement by a fictional character is a gross generalization subject to all kinds of exceptions (think about Ukraine). But there is a truth underlying this fictional pronouncement, and that is that violence does tend to beget more violence, so any use of violence can suck you into a vicious circle of more and more violence.
This was part of the genius of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and his principle of nonviolence. It’s something worth remembering as we celebrate his birthday tomorrow.
“…Space is so terrible that in order to be a better option than Earth, one calamity won’t do. An Earth with climate change and nuclear war and, like, zombies and werewolves is still a way better place than Mars. Staying alive on Earth requires fire and a pointy stick. Staying alive in space will require all sorts of high?tech gadgets we can barely manufacture on Earth….”
Over at Caute, Andrew James Brown commemorates the 75th anniversary of the Tokyo Kiitsu Kyokai, or Tokyo Unitarian Church, by translating an early document about the history of the congregation. One sentence that caught my eye: “The Unitarian movement in Japan had been quite active during the Meiji and Taisho eras but gradually declined due to various circumstances, although it didn’t completely vanish.”
Japanese Unitarianism (or more accurately free religion) died out in the late twentieth century. Brown’s post is a fascinating look into the history of this now-gone movement.
Beacon Press has published a pamphlet about banned books. You can download a PDF here. I picked up a hard copy at Harvard Book Store in Cambridge, Mass. — presumably when bookstores buy books from Beacon, they receive some hard copies of the pamphlet.
The best thing about this pamphlet is not the infographics or text — it’s the QR code that links to some Beacon Press ebooks. These ebooks are free for people who have any difficulty obtaining them, which presumably means schoolkids.
If you’re not familiar with Beacon Press, it started as a Unitarian Universalist (UU) publishing house, got spun off as an independent publisher, but still retains its UU connections.
This isn’t humble-bragging, this is outright bragging. My photo of the Cohasset Meeting House is in the latest issue of Classicist (no. 20), the peer-reviewed journal of the Institute of Classical Architecture and Art. Not that my photo was peer-reviewed; the photos in this issue are merely illustrations for the peer-reviewed material. Still, I guess all my hours in art classes weren’t totally wasted.
“…we set out to look at the stock market and ask cui bono: who benefits? We now have our answer. In the United States, the stock market takes wealth (and income) from the many and hands it to the few. Now, I’m personally not surprised by this pattern. But I suspect that for many Americans, the detrimental nature of stock-price gains might be shocking. In particular, I’m thinking of members of the professional class — the folks who are not rich, but who still devoutly read Bloomberg. My guess is that when stocks go up, these folks cheer. Funny. Unless these professionals are in the top 4% wealth bracket, the evidence suggests that they’re celebrating on a sinking ship.”
I suspect that the younger you are, the more likely you’ll be to feel that Blair Fix is correct. If you’re in Gen Z, for example, you already know that the majority of your generational cohort will have less wealth and lower income than the Baby Boomers. The only people who seem to be offering explanations for your economic reality are either people like Blair Fix on the one hand, or people like Donald Trump on the other hand.
Carol and I got the latest COVID booster on Monday evening.
By mid morning on Tuesday, I had a headache. Carol texted me saying, “So tired.” After my last meeting ended at 2:30, I went home. We spent the day on the couch, went to bed at 8:30, and slept twelve hours. This morning we’re both back to normal.
COVID is here permanently. Which means we now have to plan for a booster sick day at least once a year.
From the news story “Coast Guard opens Titan implosion probe,” in USA Today, June 27, 2023: “OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush, who was piloting the Titan when it imploded, had complained that regulations can stifle progress.”
My younger sister was awarded her second master’s degree today. She now has twice as many master’s degrees as either of her siblings. So that must mean she’s twice as smart as us.
Partway through the ceremony, I realized that it felt a little bit strange attending an in-person ceremony like this. There are fewer and fewer in-person ceremonies any more. Plus, during COVID we just didn’t have in-person ceremonies, so we’ve gotten out of the habit of
I also thought about how much technology has changed in-person ceremonies. We were sitting way up in the top balcony in the auditorium where the ceremony was held, but we could text with my sister. And the program was online. And when you got bored partway through — it took more than two hours for every graduate to walk across the stage — you could look at your cell phone to keep from being bored.
(Of course, being a minister I began thinking about how all this applies to in-person Sunday worship services: they feel a little bit strange, we’re out of the habit of doing in-person ceremonies, technology has changed things.)
Anyway. Congratulations to my sister, who is now officially twice as smart as I am.