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what did you do in the pandemic?

What Did You Do in the War, Daddy? is the title of 1966 movie, playing off the question adolescents were then asking WW2 veterans. Today’s events and risks pale in comparison. Still, the day may come when youngsters demand to know, 'What did you do in the pandemic?'

God bless and protect our health care workers, truck drivers, grocery store workers, manufacturers, delivery people, and so many others. If our garbage collectors ceased going to work we’d soon be dealing with worse than coronavirus.

What are you doing in the pandemic?
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strange new normal

Welcome to our strange new normal. Chaos has a way of reordering reality; that’s the claim of Nomadic Learning—builder of digital academies around the world. They claim that reordering how we operate opens doors to new opportunities and mind-sets.

This spring Americans are being pried out of a cultural habit more than a century old. In our new normal, the office is no longer the primary location where white-collar work gets done. Perhaps a million newly remote employees will discover that productivity, innovation and creativity are stronger when the office is abandoned.
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deadly virus

December 30, 2019 Dr Li Wenliang, an ophthalmologist at Wuhan Central Hospital, alerted colleagues via WeChat to the sudden outbreak of a unique virus, soon to be identified as COVID-19 … coronavirus.

On that very same day following a secret trial, a Chinese court announced the government’s previously determined punishment for Pastor Wang Yi. (China does not have an independent judiciary, courts are extensions of the Communist Party.) Pastor Yi was sent to prison for nine years; his crime "inciting to subvert state power" (preaching the Gospel) and "illegal business operations” (leading a house church).

These two events are, in all likelihood, coincidental. But, what if they aren’t?
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in memorium

We were gathered to honor and remember the life of Steven, who was 61 years of age when he died December 10, 2019. Steven was the distant one in the family.

I met him through his sister. For me it was love at first sight. For her, it took about a year. Another year later we were dating, most weekends I drove a beat-up VW 100 miles from college to see her. I drove that car into the ground, literally. The engine blew up on the highway a few miles from her home. Her father offered to help me tear down the engine to investigate if it could be fixed, but I'd have to get my broken VW into his garage. How to transport a broken down car six miles when you have no money?
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letter from jail

I prefer getting my history from original documents. Many people speak about the Constitution without bothering to read the Constitution. People often speak about Jesus without having read the Gospels. On Martin Luther King Day I like to read, and occasionally listen to, his words. (Hope Community keeps on our Podcasts / Classics page Dr King’s sermon, “Why Jesus Called a Man, a Fool.”)

In 1963 while jailed in Birmingham, Alabama, Rev. King wrote longhand his response to a letter of concern and caution he received from eight white religious leaders. Here are some excerpts:
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holy night on pbs

Before Christmas slips away a video recommendation. In 2015 PBS produced The First Silent Night, a documentary of the history of the “world’s most popular carol.” If like me, you suspect PBS is anti-Christian, prepare to be shocked.

The documentary historically and reverentially recounts how two impoverished young men, Joseph Mohr and Franz Gruber, collaborated in a small village chapel. In one day they united Gruber’s music to a poem Mohr had been working on for two years, creating the classic carol describing the meaning of Jesus’ birth.
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holy days

The Holidays have become a celebration of materialism.

Think on it. The season begins with a feast, continues through a whirlwind of parties and events, then culminates with a gift extravaganza. The season concludes with a boozy farewell to the year accompanied by vague hopes for a better next year.

This is what the Holidays are. This is not what they were meant to be.
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gratitude nurtures thriving

Psychotherapist Amy Morin says mentally strong people choose to exchange self-pity for gratitude. She identifies seven reasons to be thankful.

1) Gratitude increases relationships. A 2014 study in
Emotion found that thanking a new acquaintance makes them more likely to pursue an ongoing relationship with you.

2) Gratitude improves physical health. A 2012 study published in
Personality & Individual Differences found that grateful people experience fewer aches and pains, and report feeling healthier than do others. Not surprisingly, they're also more likely to take care of their health. Read More…

questions and christianity

Nones, people who choose not to identify with any religion, are the fastest-growing group in America’s religious landscape. The American Family Survey reports their numbers increased from 16% in 2007 to 35% in 2018. According to Pew Research 44% of Americans aged 18 to 29 identify as Nones.

In post-Christian America, young adults are likely to feel social pressure to identify as a None. But Nones are not only driven by culture. Things about Christianity, as they perceive Christianity, drive them away. According to Pew Research they “question a lot of religious teachings” (60%) and, “don’t like positions churches take on political/social issues” (49%).
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four levels of love

During the Middle Ages the ideal of personal identity slowly, haltingly emerged. Historically individuals identified not as individuals but as part of a group—some tribe, clan, family, etc. This self-identification necessitated submission to the group’s will as determined by its leader(s). Such submission was commonly manifested via arranged marriages, unions arranged for the benefit of the group.

One way increasingly common individuality rejected group identification was the pursuit of romantic love. Love became identified with passion, and developed into the cult of courtly-love; pursued by knights and courtiers, and celebrated by troubadours. But passionate love was often manipulated for eroticized conquests. Love was popularly championed as relational and personal, but increasingly became about scoring; a perspective that continues today.
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doing the most good

During the past twelve months over 50,000 migrants have been apprehended on a 126-mile section of the Mexico-USA border called the Yuma Sector. After an apprehension, border agents collect biometric data, check for criminal histories, and provide a medical screening. After that, hundreds of migrants are freed each week with temporary legal status as they await their day in immigration court.

These releases are overwhelming border communities. Yuma, a city of 104,000 in southwest Arizona, is so flooded with migrants that Mayor Douglas Nicholls declared a state of emergency.
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giving up darwin

1991 Oxford University Press published Mirror Worlds by Yale computer science Professor David Gelernter, in which he accurately forecast the coming of the World Wide Web. 2019 the Claremont Review of Books published an essay by Prof Gelernter in which he bemoans the failure of Darwinian evolution.

“Darwinian evolution is a brilliant and beautiful scientific theory. Once it was a daring guess. Today it is basic to the credo that defines the modern worldview. Accepting the theory as settled truth—no more subject to debate than the earth being round or the sky blue or force being mass times acceleration—certifies that you are devoutly orthodox in your scientific views.”
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