Monday Required Reading

1. What Happens When No One Invites You to Their Pandemic Pod?

“We have lost the everyday distractions — the small talk at the school drop-off and pickup line, the banter at the office, the often tedious networking events. ‘We were able to avoid the fact that we were lonely before this because we could stay busy with a whole bunch of people.'”

2. Trends in anxiety among adults in the United States, 2008-2018: Rapid increases among young adults.

“The results from this study suggest poorer mental health in the US in terms of increasing anxiety overall and among most sociodemographic subgroups over the past 11 years. These findings should be considered in conjunction with other data that show increasing mental health problems of other types (e.g., depression), as well as the role of anxiety as a precursor to or indicator of severity of co-occurring mental health problems. Focusing resources on reducing anxiety, especially among young adults, is a cost-effective clinical and public health approach to stemming the tide of this problem; this would set the foundation for a healthier society in the future, as young adults age and adolescents reach adulthood.”

What resources mores specifically? 

3. Sea swimming is ‘amazing’ for mental health and menopause. Thanks to the Good Wife’s example, in the spirit of that video, I floated on my back in the Salish Sea near dusk last night despite less than ideal conditions. I can attest to the mental health assertion at least. And shouldn’t it be womenopause?

4. 8 Strategies to Improve Participation in Your Virtual Classroom. Teaching on-line makes me anxious! One week to go, wish me well.


We All Have Fears

The Rev. Melanie Wallschlaeger, Director for Evangelical Mission for the Southwestern Washington Synod.

“We all have fears of some kind. We can also have these fears in our lives as congregations. . . . We can have fears about the future, fear that our congregation will die, or not be relevant. Do we fear what our congregations might look like if they become more welcoming to our neighbors? Do we fear what our congregations will look like after the pandemic? Do we fear what our congregations might look like if others come and join us and help make decisions, and bring their gifts?

When we think about our congregational ministry, when we think about worship, will an openness to gifts of diversity in our congregations change what I feel is most precious? Will it mean we sing songs I don’t know or like? Does it mean I will lose what I know and hold most dear or value? Will I lose my place of privilege if we welcome others? Am I afraid of the future at this moment because it’s largely unknown?”

My sense of our congregation is yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes. Major props to Wallschlaeger for asking the exact right questions.

Related. Last night on NextDoor (please remind me, why am I still a member?) someone reported on a Black Lives Matter protest. Since NextDoor has no journalistic standards, a certain hysteria quickly set in. Some of the numerous commenters said they regularly check the online County police scanner to learn what bad things are happening before leaving their home.

Let that sink in.

One of two things is true. A mostly unfounded epidemic of fear has descended upon the land or I’m dangerously naive of the many risks to life and limb.

When Families Fray

From Steve Mnuchin Tried to Save The Economy. Not Even His Family Is Happy.

“Robert Mnuchin’s wife, Adriana, has reminded people that she is not Steven’s biological mother. (The couple married when he was a toddler.) She reluctantly attended Steven’s 2017 wedding to the Scottish-born actress Louise Linton. Ms. Mnuchin pretended her arm was injured in order to avoid having to shake hands with Mr. Trump, according to her grandson Zan Mnuchin Rozen.”

Saturday Required Reading

  1. Exercise May Boost Your Vaccine Response. Not exactly groundbreaking, still, I should prob start working out.
  2. I Don’t Know If My Relationship Will Survive The Pandemic. “Forced to live in close quarters without access to any outside support or reprieve, overwhelmed by the additional parenting responsibilities and unable to access any kind of affordable child care, we were fighting more and understanding each other less.” Whew, I have nothing but empathy for the people Campoamor writes about.
  3. Jerry Falwell Jr.’s Departure Brings Relief on Liberty University’s Campus. “We almost had a monarchy, but you don’t see that at any other university, where presidents are chosen based on their skills and abilities,” said Tavia Bruxellas, a senior who is president of the student government Senate. “Everybody just sees Liberty as this big Republican university, and students are really tired of that.” Here’s hoping the country is sufficiently anti-monarchy in two months time.
  4. University of Pittsburgh announces required course on racism for incoming students. “It’s forcing you to rethink your own habits and your own behavior, the things you’ve come to view as normal,” said Ottley, a neuroscience major. “Students take history classes; they take culture classes. That doesn’t always mean they’re looking at how colonialism affected you, how history has transcended and repeated itself.” I would humbly suggest the requisite introspection content like this requires can’t be forced. I even wonder if requiring the course may detract from it’s potential positive effect. The greater curricular challenge is to design the course so that its value is self-evident to a vast majority of students and they want to enroll in it.
  5. Teacher turns desks with shields into tiny trucks to make first graders comfortable with social distancing.
  6. Why There Are So Few Moderate Republicans Left. And Democrats. Doesn’t bode well for our future.

“I Don’t Think People Understand, Especially White People”

Robert Horry shares raw, emotional conversation he had with his son about Jacob Blake.

“And I tell my kids all the time, I say ‘dude, I don’t care what’s going on, because at the end of the day, I want you coming home to me. If you have to lay down on the ground and they can kick you, beat you – at least you’re going to go to the hospital, you’re going to come home to me. Whatever they say to you, don’t take it upon yourself to let that rage you have against that cop come out. Because he has the gun. He can end you.”

Don’t Hate Us, Cause You Ain’t Us

You have to forgive Pacific Northwesterners for feeling like the belle of the ball this time of year. We take it on the chin for eight months and then make up for it with the best weather imaginable especially in July and August. Temps in the high 70’s, a few clouds, cool mornings in the 50’s. Basically, nirvana.

This pic of the Good Wife and me is from Boston Harbor Marina, the end of the road in North Olympia. What you don’t see is the demolished soft-serve ice cream cone. Cheap, but very nice date.

Weekend Required Reading

  1. Money for nothing: German university offers ‘idleness grants’. Forget the MacArthur Genius grant, this is the one you want because these are the best grant questions of all time. “The application form consists of only four questions: What do you not want to do? For how long do you not want to do it? Why is it important not to do this thing in particular? Why are you the right person not to do it?”
  2. China restaurant apologises for weighing customers. What possibly could go wrong?
  3. Born to Be Eaten. What’s at stake in the fight over development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge? A caribou herd, and a culture that relies on it.
  4. Where Did BIPOC Come From? Just when you thought the humble blog couldn’t be any more woke.
  5. Joe Biden’s Secret Untapped Weapon. “By some estimates, nearly 60 percent of eligible Latino voters in battleground states, who tend to view Mr. Trump unfavorably, will sit out the 2020 election. Rallying these voters — most of them young, most of them hostile to Mr. Trump — will be vital to capturing the White House.”
  6. Senator yells ‘f—, f—, f—‘ on live television during DeJoy testimony as Congress still learns how to use videoconferencing tech. You cast the first stone, I’m certainly not going to.