This week’s reading takes us in a dark and unpleasant direction, but we can get through it if we stay strong and remember that we are a democracy. I’ve included the URLs to find your Senator and Representative in order to make call after call to direct them to assist YOU, since they are there to work for YOU and not the other way around.
I also have started a Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/auryaun. I’m offering a few Tiers of readings there, but as I’ve mentioned in the video, I’m waiving fees for Single Card readings for the first 150 Subscribers to my YouTube Channel. All you need to do is go to my YouTube Channel, Like this video, and Subscribe to my Channel. Then DM me your question and I’ll DM you a reply of your reading If this takes off, I might extend this offer.
It’s been a few months of “lockdown” now, and infection rates continue to rise due to so many people in the USA not understanding (or caring) how infection spreads. Until it touches them personally, they simply won’t learn. For those of us who have been taking the isolation seriously, it’s especially hard, as our isolation often feels meaningless against the actions of these louts who care not one whit for the lives of others and simply go about their day as if they’ll live forever and The Invisible Man In The Sky actually cares about them who care nothing for anyone else.
How does that parse, logically? Do these people truly think they’ll be “saved” when the Second Coming finally happens? Why would they be? Even according to their own scripture they’re the most horrible people in existence. There couldn’t possibly be room in Heaven for these detestable souls.
Those of us who are sincerely trying to not only flatten the curve, but to stay healthy through this pandemic, some of us are starting to show the signs of stress due to the extended isolation from our normal activities. I’m not speaking of myself so much here, as I’m a dyed-in-the-wool homebody and the types of places I wish I could go and hang out just don’t exist. When I first moved to Silicon Valley in the mid-90’s, I had it as a goal to create some kind of artist’s shared workspace, but the more I’d seen about this place, the less it seemed any kind of likely proposition unless it could’ve made $$$BIG$$MONEY$$$. And that didn’t jibe with its purpose at all. It would’ve been more of a creative incubator, a think tank, if you will, but it would’ve taken scads of cash to keep it operational, and I didn’t see myself as CEO of a non-profit having to constantly hold fundraisers and beg for money. Boo.
So, there’s that.
I live in the wrong area to make this happen. Maybe somewhere in Europe, like Berlin, which has a thriving arts community and is still strong in economy. London wouldn’t work, as they’re very tightfisted and have been going the way of the US since the days of Tony Blair. Well, earlier, obviously, but even the “extremely liberal” Tony Blair was very conservative when it came to economy and very hawkish when it came to warmongering (like Obama, which folks tend to forget due to all the genuinely great things he managed to enact in this country).
But I digress, as usual.
I’m writing this post because there were squirrels having breakfast on my porch when I went to go water the plants this morning. I opened the front door very gently, which is what I’ve learned to do in order not to scare any of the local fauna away, and, sure enough, two grey squirrels stood up on their hind legs somewhat guiltily and looked up at me in case I was ready to chase them away. I spoke very quietly and said that it was okay for them to eat, and they went right back to it. I took a bit of a video from my phone which I’ll try to add to this post somehow—though that tends to require three different apps to translate the file to the right format. That doesn’t seem right to me. Whatevs.
Getting back to the actual title of the post, I recently experienced a strange kind of setback that took me by surprise. I’ve been doing pretty well, all things considered. I’m a natural homebody, so the having to stay at home thing works for me. I don’t have many friends, so there’s not been much to miss there. I think I mentioned recently that it has stung that my brother and my daughter have had people to FaceTime with, wishing there was a friend in my life that was close enough to want to stay in touch with me regularly. The friendships I do have are all online and managed easily through social media interactions. Translation: a virtual “like”, “heart”, “hug”, or the seldom-used “comment” have transplanted any IRL friendship. As far as I’m concerned, the friendships are as real as they ever were. Make of that what you will.
I was recently contacted out of the blue by someone I’d dated decades ago. I don’t really know why this person reached out to me, and though I asked, the reason they gave me felt flimsy. Nevertheless, we quickly fell into a pattern of speaking regularly on the phone, something I haven’t done since I switched over to an iPhone in 2012. I love my iPhone, and will never switch back to another platform, but its being an actual telephone has never been its strong suit, so I have become big on texting and social media interactions. Mostly texting, if it’s a person I actually want to be in regular contact with. Speaking on the phone felt novel and exciting again, and I felt on par with my family/roommates, with their regular outside contact (though no FaceTiming for me, sadly).
Always being one to question and wonder and dig into motives, after several days of this (perhaps more like a couple of weeks) I found myself asking this person if they were trying to qualify me as a potential future companion. The answer I received was an embarrassingly long string of the word “No”, with various emphases. Something like, “No, no, no, no, no…NO, NO, no, no, no…oh, God, no…”
I think a simple, “You misunderstand why I contacted you”, or, “Gosh, I’m sorry, but that’s not what I meant”, or, just one simple, “No” would have sufficed.
So that happened.
It’s not as though I’m seeking anything in particular. I’m not. I’m content. During my cancer treatment, I realized that I’d made a miscalculation by choosing to be single, as doing cancer without a companion is truly hard, but I managed somehow. I didn’t have a partner, but I did have my daughter, and one of my brothers was around as well, though he was incredibly busy. I spent a lot of my time in the hospital, anyway, so I guess the extra help I needed when things got really bad was there when I needed it. I didn’t get any visitors, save for when my brother came once after when they tried to clear my small bowel obstruction the first time, and it was such a nice surprise to see him there when I was so sore and could barely move. And my daughter visited me 2 or 3 times and even stayed with me when they thought I had a pulmonary embolism(!). It was a bit harder for her because she doesn’t drive and she had to take several buses to get to the hospital, but her presence was very welcome.
Anyway, I’m pretty content. I’ve made myself be content. This is my life. I know I want to live. I have relationships with my plants, and I talk to them whenever I see them, water them, trim them back—and when I do have to trim them back I make sure to acknowledge the pain that must cause them, but I reassure them that it’s needful because this unhealthy part is taking energy away from the rest of the plant and they will feel so much stronger when it’s gone, and of course I apologize for having to do this thing to them.
Oh, I’ve also started to apologize to any bugs I end up having to kill due to their breaking my rule of not having any bugs in the house. I try to have that rule as a vibration that permeates the space, but sometimes they don’t get the memo and come on in. I’m not okay with taking a life, even a buggy one, so I always tell them how sorry I am about it. There are the rare times it’s possible to relocate them to the outside, where they are welcome, but like I said, it’s rare.
This is one of those coffee-and-scones posts, where you think you’re getting one thing, but I give you a platterful of ALL THE THINGS, so you need to sit down with coffee and a plate of scones just to get through it all.
Back to the heartbreak of silence…after that extremely vocal rejection, which I supposed should have been expected. (I mean, how else could one respond, really?) There followed a series of days of no calls. Radio silence. Huh. Our conversation hadn’t exactly ended on that awkward point, we had talked a bit more and ended on the more usual and banal, “talk to you soon”. I didn’t expect it to be the next day, or the next, as I knew I’d made things weird. This is typical for me, as I feel as though I see things as they are and I say so. Kind of in a Naked Emperor way, if you will. But the days dragged on, and it made me wonder: was this person feeling as though I had exposed them? What was so impossibly embarrassing about me thinking this that they had to cut off all contact? True or not, why would they just not call any more at all, when we’d been talking every day, sometimes several times a day, prior to this happening?
It made no sense. And it made me feel terribly sad.
Eliste finally succumbs to Feronte’s summons, and their assignation takes a shocking turn. Meanwhile, the defenses of the Beviere itself are crushed, while the Exalted within attempt to escape the teeming hoard that is determined to speak with King Dunulas.
There’s a certain manner, a certain niceness, and yet a specific insistence that they do not believe in any sort of spirit/beyond/God principle/scripture, regardless of whether or not they experienced any sort of religious upbringing or had done any kind of spiritual searching themselves at any point of time in their lives.
There are a few YouTubers I can think of, in particular in the home cleaning/home decorating/meal prepping space that come to mind. These are usually women, but not always—there are a few men, but in these instances, they’re more likely to be auto detailing than home cleaning videos. Meal prepping could go either way.
There’s an utter wholesomeness to these videos, which is part of the appeal for me, quite frankly. And yet, they are suspiciously devoid of any religious artifacts in the background, no casual religious magazines or books lying on the coffee table that might catch the eye. No, the makers of these videos want to ensure the widest possible appeal, and I can’t say I blame them. But their sweet demeanor surely is their tell.
It must be. Nobody is that nice and sweet just because these days.
I’ve been trying to write this post since I wrote the last one! Ugh. I took a video of a few places around my home to show you my bird feeders and a bit of my gardening, but then the videos took forever to upload.
Here’s a short video I took of inside my house, just to show you where I spend the majority of my time. I’m a huge homebody, having both clinical depression and general anxiety disorder, and some things that help me from spinning out are doing little things around my house to keep it in order, along with cooking and care-taking.
A Tour of My Home
The plants and the birds are my friends. I look out for them and look after them. I happen to believe all creatures are sentient and aware of what it means to be alive, and my belief extends to the plant world.
I let the main bird feeder in the back patio go empty for half a day, and yesterday morning there were two red-headed finches, a male and female, on the top of one of the front door wreaths, peeking into the living room, as if to say, “Hey, we see you in there. Can you help us out?” My brother thought they might be looking to nest, and that’s a possibility also—though I think it might be rather late in the season for that. I also think my way of looking at it is much more fun.
Thoughts on The World
As you can see, I don’t just sit around and do nothing but complain all the time. I was trying to explain my viewpoint to my daughter, who gets frustrated with me every time it seems I’m passing judgement on a person or expressing distaste for a situation.
I’m a social anarchist. In my ideal world, if I were made President, my first act would be to abolish all laws. I’m far left of Bernie Sanders. I’m left of Ghandi, for cryin’ out loud!
Naturally, I’m also a realist, and recognize that there is both selfishness and stupidity in our populace, along with a healthy dose of insanity, so this wouldn’t work. Therein lies my frustration with this world and the people within it. Any criticisms I spew and subsequent depression or anxiety about this world or life in general stem from this disconnect.
She seemed to kind of get it after I explained it in this way. My most fervent wish for the world is that it could be more cooperative, balanced, and understanding—I include all living things in this testament. But there are simply limits to this at this point in time. Perhaps mankind will end up eating itself at some point. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not.
BLC is an author, speaker, scholar, and global traveler, who holds graduate degrees in Theology & Intercultural Studies from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and received his doctorate in Intercultural Studies from Fuller. He is the author of Undiluted: Rediscovering the Radical Message of Jesus, and Unafraid: Moving Beyond Fear-Based Faith.
I came across a blog post that discussed an interesting, modern take on the Book of Revelations, and more specifically, whether American Evangelicals could spot the AntiChrist. I found the information very intriguing, so please check out his article.
Could American Evangelicals Spot the Antichrist? Here Are the Biblical Predictions by Benjamin L. Corey
Does the Bible predict the future with stunning accuracy as so many in the end-times camp have claimed?
I grew up in the rapture-me-outta-here end times movement, and have spilled no shortage of ink critiquing it– even poking a bit of fun at it. As a theologian I fall into a category of belief that sees biblical prophecies about “the end” as being events that have mostly been fulfilled in the past, but I try to hold that belief gently and recognize I could be wrong.
Many Christians in America have warned me over the years of exactly that, often telling me: “I feel sorry for you, because when the Antichrist comes you’re not even going to recognize him!”
To honor those who have given me such warning, I decided to spend the past week studying the most significant biblical prophecies and descriptions typically believed by my conservative friends to refer the Antichrist. If my evangelical friends are correct, and if it’s entirely possible that the Antichrist is on the global scene today, I certainly wouldn’t want to be the only person in the room who didn’t recognize the Antichrist when I saw him.(Read more)
My mind has been aswirl with various thoughts this week as we’ve been in lockdown for a month now. At least here in Silicon Valley, we can still go for a walk outside. Many places don’t even allow that. Here, they’ve recently added that when you do go out, you must wear a face mask at all times. We no longer know who might be carrying the virus and spreading it to others. And of course, we have large masses of people in Michigan protesting staying inside altogether, which was such a shocker—really, Michigan?!WTF?!
But back to my post. Living in California, I was hearing about how we have food rotting in the fields due to not having workers out there to pick the food. That’s going to trickle-down pretty soon into empty produce aisles at your local supermarket. We also are having shortages in the trucking and shipping industries, which will create shortages of other kinds at stores. This is all so wrong, but it will highlight the main point of this post:
The way we “do food” in America is a holdover from WWII. Our factories retooled, and what we have now is making our population fat and unhealthy. If you look at the statistics, you see the trend start in the late fifties and increase through to the eighties when women began to leave the home and go to work outside the home, requiring more and more convenience foods that are easy to ship, easy to store, and easy to cook. It’s this last that has made Americans some of the unhealthiest people in the world. Couple that with the long commute times due to the housing crisis, and increased pollution due to factory waste, distribution networks, and commuting, and you get a picture of a very damaged America.
There were also corporate conglomerations that took place during this same period that made the billionaire class possible, and purchased the Congress we have now. (They own foods and pharmaceuticals, advertising, news and entertainment. Literally, every aspect of American life.) If I were better at statistical analysis and making graphs, that info would be posted right here –> and you’d see what I see, which is a clear picture of America being this well-oiled business machine, designed to consume and to be consumed by its machines of commerce. We no longer park our cars in our garages, because our garages are filled with “stuff”, and we need storage units to store more of our “stuff”, and shopping is our biggest hobby, and every town and city looks the same, due to all the strip malls with all the same stores.
It’s my hope that through the disruption in our food supply chain we will see the need for our food to be grown sustainably, and that means locally: no more washing of eggs; no more pasteurized milk; no more high-density feedlots. No more corn subsidies. Large agribusiness no longer exists in this country, so we cease the environmentally damaging practices that harm our waterways, groundwater, and air. Food supply is handled at the state and county levels, and it’s assured at those levels commensurate with the population. Which leads me to the housing crisis.
My dudes, we need to fix this. And I don’t know how. Well, perhaps I know how, but I don’t often get much agreement from my local fellows.
There is so much noise out there on this topic, but there seems to be no political will, at least not in Silicon Valley. Here, the actual homeowners keep voting down solutions, worried about their own home values going down. It’s cold, it’s heartless, and it’s cruel. The homeless people aren’t allowed to vote, because they have no address. So they have no say in a matter that affects them so deeply. There needs to be some way that they can be associated with an address, like a soup kitchen, or the County Social Services Agency or something so they can be allowed to vote and be heard.
We also need more affordable housing in general. I’m permanently disabled now, due to my cancer surgery causing an injury that can’t be reversed. It’s called Ani Levator Syndrome. It’s unpleasant. I get a fixed amount each month, and I’m on Medicare. My Medicare premium is taken out of my disability payment before it’s deposited in my bank. In addition to that, I have co-pays and a deductible, of which I wasn’t aware—all of the info I was given literally made it sound like everything was covered except dental. (I desperately need to see a dentist soon. I have at least one tooth that’s getting dangerously close to needing a root canal, and I want to avoid that. I think I have three teeth that require drilling and filling, if not four. It’s been years since I’ve been to the dentist, because it’s so hard on my neck and jaw. I get migraines easily, and lying back in that chair for any length of time is going to be excruciating.)
Plus, since I have no coverage, I’ll be paying cash, and I have no money. I can barely cover my rent now with my disability payment. If I want dental coverage, that would be an additional monthly premium, and additional deductibles and co-pays. On a fixed income. In an area where I can already barely cover my rent.
Now, I’ve always been a bit Bohemian and minimalist, not much of one for collecting “stuff”. I do purges and reorganize my things on a regular basis when I’m feeling like I’m being smothered with too many things. I like order and tidiness. I like my closets and drawers and cabinets to make sense. Not having too many things has also been great because I’ve had to move over and over again. I’ve fully moved around 50 times in my life. I’ve never lived alone, as I’ve never been able to afford an apartment on my own. I have always had roommates in a house or an apartment.
I’ve also had chronic pain most of my life, and my career path has suffered. I’ve lost a lot of jobs due to taking too many sick days. It’s bothered me that my pain wasn’t taken seriously and that I had no legal protections to help me keep these jobs. My reputation also suffered, as I was painted as simply unreliable, and possibly a substance abuser, as opposed to a person who was genuinely ill and struggling.
Okay, I’ve made this all about me again, and that wasn’t my intent—my point was to illustrate how much empathy I have for the homeless, as I’ve been very close to their position many times. I lived in my car for a couple of weeks many years ago. I had a full-time job and a bit of money in the bank. It took me a while to find a place to live that I could afford–and this was in 1986. I was making above minimum wage, working full time in Berkeley, and I to had to move to Palmisia in Hayward which still had gang violence. The commute for me each morning and evening was bumper-to-bumper traffic each way. I rented a bedroom out of a house because that’s all I could afford. In 1986.
Affordable housing in the Bay Area is not a new problem!
The ugly truth is that not enough people care about the lives of the people living on the streets to actually do something for them. They’re seen as misfits to society, drug abusers, users, liars, and thieves. If they are, it’s a reaction to society and the way they’ve been treated. There’s probably a small percentage of them that are incorrigible, but the majority of them are just trying to get by and live as pleasantly as they can. I’ve heard statements such as, “I wish they would go away”, and, “We should give them a bus ticket to someplace else”. Cruel, harsh statements, that take away both the humanity and the agency of the homeless.
We are a society. We are one people. The homeless are a part of this society, and in fact, are a direct result of the way that our society currently functions. It’s our issue to solve, like it or not. Whether it’s through an income tax, a sales tax, a property tax (I like this one), or a combination of all of them, we need to house all of the people in our society. Housing is a basic human right, and leaving these people to suffer is a crime against humanity.
Does this seem like a natural response to you? When the reporter points out the blatant “error”, he spins it as though she’s attacking him. Excuse me?!
This is why “nobody trusts the media any more”?! No, Sir, mistrust of the media is due to the fact that all major media is controlled (in the USA) by four corporations, and so one is forced to invest more time and energy comparing and contrasting what various outlets are saying, as well as trying to stay connected to independent sources when possible.
Secondly, we have a President who blatantly lies. Probably on purpose. There’s no way that a person could lie that much and not be aware of it. He simply doesn’t care. He thinks he is above everything, because Mitch McConnell has had his back this whole time, and they’ve been very creative in their misapplication of the law. So all Mr Cheeto has to do is billy people and yell over them or suggest to a woman of color that she needs to “be nice” (in a weird amalgamation of virtue signaling and dog whistling), and his followers will eat that shit up with a spoon.