Is it war yet?
Doug Muder—whose writing I rely on to clarify complex situations—has no real answers to the question of “Is it war yet?” with Iran.
I wish I believed that people who understand Iran far better than I do had thought all this through, and had a larger strategy. That strategy might eventually go to hell, as our plan for the Iraq invasion did, but at least it would have a chance.
I don’t see how I can have even that amount of confidence, though. Trump himself is anything but a strategic thinker, and he seems to have stopped listening to anyone else. Chances are excellent that killing Soleimani just sounded good in the moment, and that he didn’t think more than a few hours ahead. (The Weekly Sift, January 6)
Jake Morrill compares Trump’s patterns of behavior to the cycle of abuse: building tension, violent episode, reconciliation, and calm.
Coming down from the outburst, the household will often experience a period of calm and normalcy, in which the outburst seems like a memory from someone else’s life, or a completely different time. . . . You’re exhausted from the vigilance. Honestly, it feels better to just let it go. But, even now, faintly at first, you can tell that the tension is starting to build up again, day by day. Just because there’s a temporary break in the hurricane, and you’re catching your breath, that doesn’t mean that the cycle is over. (Facebook, January 8)
Lynn Ungar bakes for her housemate, whose parents are from Iran.
How do you say to your housemate “I’m sorry that the maniacal dumbf&@$ in the White House has gone to war against the country where your parents were born, and where many of your relatives still live. I’m even more sorry if you get racist s@&$ from his racist supporters”? I’m thinking bread pudding is good. The most comfort-y of comfort foods. (Facebook, January 7)
Resilience and hope
Natalia Taylor Bowdoin tutors a young mother who is a refugee from the Central African Republic.
Salmata recently asked me why Americans hike alone in the woods, which she had observed from television. “Aren’t they afraid?” she asked. At first I laughed at her question, thinking it endearing. Then I recalled that, for her, the woods meant exposure to militias and kidnappers and I was reminded of her resilience in the face of vast obstacles and human cruelty. (Augusta Chronicle, January 4)
Bruce Lierman writes about the importance of building resilience.
Resilience is the ability to recover, to bounce back, to find an acceptable quality of life when circumstances change. Resilience is not the same as strength. Resilience is more of mind than body, more of flexibility than resistance.
We’re stimulated to study resilience in part by our growing awareness of climate change and the unavoidable impact it is having on the environment we depend on. Resilience also addresses upheavals in social structure; economic disruption and inequality, mass migrations, loss of privilege and weakening of the systems that protected that privilege. (Bennington Banner, January 3)
Jordinn Nelson Long shares her congregation’s journey to faithful, practical responses to the “nightmare” so many are living.
The truth is that right now, in so many ways, is a nightmare. It’s a nightmare for families. It’s a nightmare for our republic. It’s a nightmare for freedom.
But we also, all of us, have a dream of more love, more freedom, more justice, and deeper community deep in our hearts, burning unquenchable. And we know what that feels like, leaning toward it more and more, because of the accountability of the relationships that it keeps pulling us toward. (Facebook, January 7)
Carl Gregg connects the animism contained in Marie Kondo’s Shinto background to Unitarian Universalism’s first and seventh principles.
The more I think about it, the less silly—and more wise—it seems to me to watch Marie Kondo kneel and bow to greet a new house, tap books to wake them up, or speak kindly to your clothes. Some of these practices—or something like them—may be well worth taking on: whatever helps cultivate a felt sense of reverence and relationship toward all aspects of this remarkable planet on which we find ourselves. From a UU perspective, an Animism for the twenty-first century might look something like a unified version of our 1st and 7th Principles: not only the inherent worth and dignity of every person, but also “The inherent worth and dignity of the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.” (Carl Gregg, January 8)
Helen Rose celebrates love.
Standing beside you on Gay Street
Under your huge rainbow umbrella
I wanted to say,
“Want to make out?”
Instead, I got lost
Somewhere between someday
And your smile. (The Journey So Far, January 4)