THE BERKELEY INCIDENT

berkeley-protestA couple days ago, conservative students at the University of California at Berkeley invited Milo Yiannopoulos to speak on campus. Not-so-conservative students launched a large and noisy protest, calling for the University to cancel his appearance. A few anarchists later joined the protest to add some violence to the mix. The University cancelled Yiannopoulos’ visit. President Trump threatened to withdraw federal funding from Berkeley.

Let’s get one thing straight to begin with: Milo Yiannopoulos is a nasty piece of work. He is an editor at Breitbart News, a major outlet for the so-called alt-right (the White Supremacist movement). He has made a name for himself by viciously attacking women, trans-gender people, African Americans, and pretty much anyone else who isn’t lily-white like him.

Having said that, there are a few points to sort out here:

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The Story Of Max

Caveat: I am an evangelical Christian. This essay is addressed mainly to my fellow evangelical Christians, especially those struggling to find ways to love and accept people whose gender identities sit outside the norm they are used to (e.g., homosexual, bisexual, transsexual). For this reason, I am using language that evangelical Christians will relate to.

The Story of Max

gender_neutral_bathroom_signMax walked into the women’s shower room at the city’s recreation center. When he started taking his clothes off, the several women there quickly dressed and fled.

A few minutes later, just as he was stepping into the shower, two male police officers entered and asked him to get dressed and come with them. When he asked them why, they grabbed him, handcuffed him, and took him out to a squad car stark naked. They booked him for indecent exposure and resisting arrest.

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The Other American Dream

You donstatue-of-liberty’t hear the term “the American Dream” much anymore. I used to hear it a lot. I looked it up on Wikipedia the other day, and found this:

The American Dream is a national ethos of the United States, the set of ideals (Democracy, Rights, Liberty, Opportunity, and Equality) in which freedom includes the opportunity for prosperity and success, and an upward social mobility for the family a
nd children, achieved through hard work in a society with few barriers. In the definition of the American Dream by
James Truslow Adams in 1931, “life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement” regardless of social class or circumstances of birth.

The American Dream is rooted in the Declaration of Independence, which proclaims that “all men are created equal” with the right to “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

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For Everything, a Season

My eye was initially caught by the reflection of the trees on the surface of the near-still water along the opposite shore. But when I looked through the view finder to compose the scene, it was the yellow leaves that drew my attention. Autumn had arrived.

lake-padden-early-autumn

Early Autumn on Lake Padden, Bellingham, WA

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Memento Mori

Memento mori. “Remember your death.” Or, more poetically, “Remember that you are mortal.” In Plato’s Phaedo we hear Socrates say that the proper practice of philosophy is “about nothing else but dying and being dead.” In other words, the inescapable fact of our own mortality casts its shadow over every day of our life.

This sounds awfully glum. But consider this: In his book The Geography of Bliss, Eric Weiner tells of a conversation with a Tibetan Buddhist monk who declared that the secret to happiness is to think about death several times a day. We cannot fully embrace the here and now until we have fully embraced our own mortality.

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Evening Dance

Chestnut_Oak_in_Weiser_State_Forest

The wind moves quietly among

soft-lobed leaves of chestnut oaks,

inviting them to join the dance

held at this time each ev’ning.

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Creativity As Sacred Act

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A therapist I was seeing once asked me, “What nurtures you?” This is a deep question, and it took me the remainder of the week to answer it. Many things nurture me to a greater or lesser degree, but the thing that stands out is “creativity.”

Creativity. Noun. The ability to make new things or think of new ideas. [Merriam-Webster]

Nurture. Noun. The care and attention given to someone or something that is growing or developing. [Merriam-Webster]

Nurturing Creativity. Two words that taken together have two meanings, both of which are true. Creativity is nurturing, and creativity has to be nurtured.

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