As Doug Muder looks back over the past ten years, he labels them “the decade of democracy’s decline.” It’s a sobering read, with a glimmer of hope in the last paragraph:
Trends are not fate. George Orwell once wrote: “Whoever is winning at the moment will always seem to be invincible.” So it is a mistake to despair. Trends often reverse right at the moment when they seem most unstoppable, and often the reversal is only apparent in hindsight. But it is also foolish not to notice the trend, which for the last ten years has run counter to democracy, particularly in the United States. (The Weekly Sift, December 30)
Carl Gregg, who reads an extraordinary amount each year, compiles a list of the top ten books he’s read this decade—books that “transformed my way of understanding of the world (or my way of being in the world) in a significant and lasting way.” (Carl Gregg, December 28)
Barbara Stevens suggests that we be gentle with ourselves as we move into the uncertainty of the new year.
Patience, acceptance, tenderness, and faith in ourselves and in life is what allows us to grow and become. Transformation happens when we look inside, understand our emotions, and take care of them. . . . When we know ourselves, and when we accept that self we see, we can behave according to the values we know are right and good and kind. (Universalist Recovery Church, December 28)
For those who want to drink less in 2020, Alix Klingenberg has created a survival guide for the first two weeks without alcohol.
To quit drinking in a world that tells you over and over again that it’s the only way to have fun, is a rebellious act. Be a rebel in 2020. (Highly Sensitive Extrovert, December 27)
Jake Morrill begins a conversation with the question, “What’s a change you’ve made that’s really improved your life?” (Facebook, December 28)
James Ford’s celebration of the new year with fellow members of the Zen community included a small potluck feast.
[Everyone] got enough. That felt really, really important to me.
The group was small, fewer than twenty of us. But we included people of Asian, European, and African descent. And, I really felt we stood in for the whole of this hurt world.
And, it reminded me of how there are gatherings, small and larger, around the world of people dedicating and rededicating lives to hope and possibility. (Monkey Mind, January 1)
John Beckett turns to Tarot as a way to imagine the upcoming year.
[This] year’s emphasis is on us: our dreams, our fears, our willingness to work diligently and effectively, and our commitment to fight for what is right with all the weapons at our disposal, both mundane and magical. (Under the Ancient Oaks, January 1)
Kim Hampton once again urges white ministers not to preach King on King Sunday, suggesting a wide range of alternatives.
On a totally different track . . . 2020 is the 100th anniversary of the formation of the Negro Leagues, so you could talk about race in sports or how baseball has gone backwards when it comes to the numbers of Black players/managers/front office staff and fans.
There are so many options to choose from. So, white minister friends, do everyone a favor . . . DO. NOT. PREACH. KING. (East of Midnight, January 1)