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Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

What was the name of that film
with the actor you like
the one with the hair?
we racked our brains; we remembered at last —
and it all came clear:

an apocalypse small; a relief; a reveal.

What was the name of the law you made
that let you buy people? And places? And power?
What was the lie? Was it then, or today?

For when we remembered the sum of the sin,
it showed us the world as it really had been:

we racked our brains; it all came clear,
and it ended the world
as it was, and had been. …

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Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

This is the time to hold hands. We are down to that minimum grace: to hold hands, tight, one with another, and form a chain of humanity to stand against the losses and challenges our species will face in the coming decades.

Otherwise, these decades are going to be the endgame: the period during which we learn whether the planet will allow us to live after what we have done to her.

My generation of Americans has danced through its history under a virtual veil of glittering, glorious media that helped ensure American hegemony, that bedazzled us and kept us from noticing the ongoing theft of every one of our core human values and liberties (not to mention the substantive wealth of our middle class). …

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Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Maybe some of you are confident, happy gift-givers. Maybe you’ve never had any of those moments of doubt: did I spend too much? Too little? Will they like it? Is it the right size? The right proportion? Can I take it back? Can I get one for myself, or is that just tacky?

If you’ve never worried about any of these things, you may be excused. Please go read something else while we normal people deal with our issues here.

The problem is that we still believe that a gift should bring pleasure to both the giver and the receiver. But in a country like the United States, where we are already surrounded by more material goods than we can keep up with, it becomes harder and harder to hit upon another thing that will be unique or lovely or special enough to be incorporated into the already crowded spaces we inhabit. …

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Photo by Gregory Hayes on Unsplash

Years ago, when I was the pastor of a small church, I wore a button reading, “Jesus is coming — look busy” all during the Advent season. The congregation loved it, since in a small church, everyone truly is especially busy during Advent. In addition to their own family’s Christmas preparations, they were doing the Christmas pageant, the angel tree, the volunteer appreciation dinner, the extra choir rehearsals for those glorious, gut-busting anthems, and the endless potlucks. During Advent, the Christian community is temporarily widened to include anyone with a 9″ x 12″ baking pan or a Jell-o mold.

But all that gaiety only floats on the surface like ripples on a deep lake of loss and longing, and that bright star in the East only illuminates the topmost shimmering layer. We cannot see what’s beneath, for all our faith, and we dare not look. …

Insight’s not always that great a deal

I am supposed to be this writer, this facile, glib, satirical preacher.

And ever since January 6, when fools rushed in where angels have feared to tread for quite some time — I’m talking about a mob of people who thought they could storm the capitol on January 6 and somehow, what, erase the election Trump lost from the calendar and hope no one would notice — I don’t know what in the world to say about it.

Except it was stupid and horrifying and I’m disrupted and can’t think of anything clever to write on the subject that other people haven’t said better. Or more spiritually. …

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Photo by Guillermo Latorre on Unsplash

By now you’ve probably read all you can stand to read about how nostalgic you must be for those holiday gatherings you used to enjoy (maybe you’re not), or what you should do to have your holiday gatherings safely (you probably won’t), and you were just idly websurfing and feeling guilty when this notice popped up.

And here we are, asking the same old question:

Do we HAVE to give thanks when we’re not feeling thankful?

Let the Rev Dr Sparky help you with that — real quick, though, because we’re all being bombarded with messages about how we must feel and think and behave and “Believe!” …

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Photo by Wilhelm Gunkel on Unsplash

So it’s Thanksgiving season again, God. As You know — ah, yes, well of course You know — I mean — ah, nuts. I do that every time, don’t I? Let me start over.

Dear Sir or Madam God: I just want to apologize in advance for the annual torrent of “thanks” you’re about to hear from Your creatures, particularly some of us over-privileged, under-disciplined humans.

Oof. We really crank it up in November, don’t we? All the rest of the year, it’s peeve and pout, but suddenly in November, we’re all competing for Most Appreciative.

And I suppose we have good intentions, and I’m trying to gracious about it — but just between You and me, those “prayers of thanksgiving” still rub me the wrong way. I don’t know how You stand it. …

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Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash

I’ll admit I didn’t think Mr. Trump could accomplish anything worthwhile as president. But I was wrong, and I am humble enough to admit it. (The Rev Dr Sparky is the most humble person you know. Ask anybody. I’m famous for it.)

I’ll be quick, before anyone can figure out whether I am joking or not. Plus, Mr. Trump has had enough words written about him, and I don’t want to add to them unduly. I’m writing this mostly for my friends on the left, hoping they will get some grim pleasure in these ironies. …

Yes, my friends, I know! It’s THAT day! I just had to reach out to the Congregation of the Real World and commiserate, in case it is the End Of The World As We Know It (or, as we who are always in full-on doomsayer mode know it, TEOTWAWKI).

Bless you my children — I know it’s been a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad year. But I’m afraid I just have to reach right in and get confrontational and say something.

Get a grip, people. Breathe in a paper bag, or something.

And read this, please, if you need perspective:

Gratitude Workarounds: Because the Wheel’s Still…

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Photo by michael podger on Unsplash

I’ve been noticing an upsurge in people now referring to themselves as highly sensitive people. Or, even more frequently, they will claim it with full capitalization — Highly Sensitive People.

That’s what Psychology Today says, anyhow, and I suppose I believe them, though I don’t know why these people are running around admitting it. I remember when you’d get beat up for admitting that you were sensitive about anything.

And we seem to have an awful lot of empaths these days, too, which surprises me because when I googled it just now, the definition that popped up said, “chiefly in science fiction.” Plus, it seems to me that a lot of those empaths talk more about how they are feeling than how the other people are feeling, which isn’t how I understand empathy at all. …


Rev Dr Sparky

Preaching courage in the face of absurdity. Editor of Real Life, Real/igion — join us for the newsletter Real/igion for the Rest of Us.

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