I would read this article later.

No, I don’t mean that you should read it later, I mean I personally would place it into my Instapaper queue and come back to it (maybe) much later. It is a problem that I have been running into a lot lately. I am actually so behind in my reading that I canceled my subscription to The Magazine since the articles I am in the middle of reading therein are coming out for non-subscribers to read for free. Don’t get me wrong, I intend to catch up (someday), but for the time being, I’m drowning in reading material.

Drowning in what I would call junk” is endemic of quite a few areas of my life though. I wish I could just click a link every time and simply read-it-later, so to speak; queue up the things I would prefer not to deal with at the moment. Instead, it is reading that has taken a back seat to all the other things that are constantly vying for my attention. Yard work, cleaning the house, work, emails, bills, family, friends, etc.; if only there was a way to save each of these things and others to the read-it-later list of my life. The question consistently comes to mind, Would I ever actually get to any of these activities or would they simply continue to pile up?”

In addition to online reading activities, I have a project that I am currently in the midst of: to read all the paper-based books in my house and get rid of them. Although this project has been taking quite awhile to complete, the timeline of Lexi’s pregnancy has provided the much-needed push to execute. In the hope that Lexi and I will minimize our lifestyles prior to the baby’s arrival, we have been donating much of our junk” to Goodwill, so as to ease the transition. 

However, I have slowly been adding to the reading list—whether to the front or back—items I would much prefer to read. What is the recourse for an ever-growing reading list when you personally have less and less time to read what is already encompassed there? Start over? Pare the list down without true execution? What does it say about me if I don’t follow through? What does it tell my future children? Am I giving too much credence to a random project that is deeply-rooted in my neuroses and obsessive-compulsiveness?

Herein lies the issue: junk” has a physical connotation that is unfortunately no longer valid in my personal situation, as I now have more digital junk” than I ever thought possible. Another project that I took on and finished last year was the digitization of all of my CDs (if I hadn’t already) and DVDs in my collection. In other words, I have a hard drive with Terabytes (yes, you read that right; no, that is not a typo) of media on it. While the transition to digital media has been great, as it gives us more space where there would otherwise be boxes and boxes of various optical discs, the question has now become do I really need all of this digital media?”

Email is another situation about which many Internet personalities have lamented, especially recently. While I have email basically under control at this point due to perseverance, time, and an iOS app, called Mailbox, email as a whole is another source of information that gets out of control too often; how apropos that email would further use the term junk” to denote much of the email that many individuals receive. Perhaps I will have to discuss my recent inbox clearing activities to assist others in such de-cluttering.

I have discussed my use of Instapaper at length on a variety of social networks and blogs and it is great. The ability to save articles for later reading has been a fantastic experiment over the years regarding my long-term interest in certain subjects. Unfortunately, with the aforementioned digitized media, I am left with more than a list of items that I need to read at some point. I now also have items to watch, items to listen to, and items to organize, not to mention the storage concerns; two steps forward, one step back.

As stated above, I hope that someday I will feel caught up and in control of all of the junk in my life, whether digital or physical. For the time being, I simply take each day one queued item at a time, reading, replying, donating, and so forth.

Read, Think, Share, Repeat

The Challenges of 2020

TL;DR: Follow this link.

One of the craziest things about Christianity during the protests of the last few weeks is the fact that there are churches out there not discussing the issues honestly, not taking the time to have the hard conversations, not devoting their Sunday services to betterment of the world and people around them. If you’re church isn’t talking about racism right now, if they don’t mention that black lives matter, instead focusing on platitudes that equate to the all lives matter” sentiment, it is time to start looking for a new church.

My wife and I meet with my home” church virtually via Zoom since the pandemic is still a thing. Kimball Avenue United Church of Christ & La Iglesia Episcopal de Nuestra Señora de las Américas (KANSA, together) combined in a collaborative way to create a single denomination focused on the needs of their community. They follow Christ together toward the vision of love, reconciliation, peace and justice. The justice looks like the demolition and rehabilitation of an old church building and its grounds into a community garden and labyrinth open to all who seek peace through contemplation.

I give this elevator speech to mention that COVID has not been kind to faith communities in general. Budgets have been slashed, funding and grants have been cut, and congregations in need are also working to serve those in need, who are less likely to be able to financially support their church in these times. KANSA in one of the good ones. They speak truth, they have the difficult conversations, they preach in a loud voice every Sunday that black lives matter, that racism has no place in the church, that the LGBTQ community deserves respect and support, and that Jesus was a social justice warrior, who fought for the least of these no matter who they were, where they were from, what they looked like.

In fact, Jesus was most harsh to those who had the means to help and decided not to answer the call.

These systems of oppression we are protesting have been around a long time; they have screwed up a lot of lives, they have been the reason for revolution and the downfall of entire civilizations, they don’t work. We need to find a better way to live by supporting each other. And support has to come in systemic, social, financial, and political ways, both national and local.

I am not local to KANSA anymore, but I support their mission, the way that mission manifests in the world, and the simple fact that they follow Jesus no matter how ostracizing that position can be at times. Which brings me to the point:

Thanks to a $10,000 matching gift’ from an anonymous donor, the challenge has become an opportunity. Over the next two months, we plan to raise at least $10,000 to meet the challenge. Through August 31, 2020, every donation we receive toward our 2020 Challenge” no matter how small or how large will be doubled by the matching gift.

KANSA is hurting financially and needs support, they do good work and are unabashedly progressive in their approach to our world. Donate now and see your contribution matched to keep one of the good ones fighting the good fight.

Thank you for your consideration.