Eloquent Roundup, Week 1

Earlier today, I was reading the Tools and Toys weekly roundup and thought it was a really good idea. In addition, I realized that I often have time to tweet about articles, but I don’t always have time to sit and write a blog post about them. Those two things came together like a shock and I decided to gather my thoughts about various articles/books/etc. that I have read and each week post a postmortem, commenting where necessary and letting a block quote or title stand on its own elsewhere. I think this will also allow me a twofold path toward accountability for continuing to read and for consistent frequency of posts on this site. All in all, the variety that will present itself will be natural and organic, connected to what I read and do, which one week may be mainly book reading and another week may be recipes. Consider this Week One of an ongoing series of what I am calling Eloquent Roundups.1

Books I’m currently reading:

Recently completed books:

This week’s articles

This week, I read a great article about the worldwide use of coal as a power source and its future with carbon capture and storage (CCS) in Wired (originally read in print, April 2014 edition); about a Icelander brilliantly fundraising out of his kitchen window with coffee; a discussion of practices—or lack thereof—in long term SSD storage; how the US is practically an undeveloped country in terms of parental leave at the birth of a child; and the fact that the importance of reading is higher than ever, as our brains atrophy, looking at screens.

One other thing of note for this week, the Dane County prosecutor announced that he will not be prosecuting the police officer who shot and killed Tony Robinson earlier this year, so I also read a number of articles prior to the announcement and reactions after the fact; one of the reactions was particularly poignant.

  1. Being that this is the first week and I literally came up with this idea a few hours ago, I will only be listing the articles I read. Future posts within this series will come with block quotes and my personal thoughts and comments.

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.