Dixie Darr

First the Bad News

In Learning, Resistance on July 26, 2017 at 6:05 am






We talked about the good old days when the news consisted of more than whatever atrocity the man in the White House committed that day. You remember. Last year. Before DJT.
One friend said she wondered if the mainstream media doesn’t go too far in trashing him, thereby turning off his supporters even more.
I said I didn’t think they were “trashing” him, just reporting the truth, and the truth is that he and his fellow republicans keep doing some truly despicable things.
Someone said he knew other things were still happening in the world, and he wants to hear about them.
I’ve been thinking about it. I do that sometimes—speak first, think later.
So I paid close attention to ABC News tonight and found this: The first seven minutes of the newscast focused on whether or not Trump will fire Attorney General Sessions and on Senator McCain’s return from brain surgery to vote to take health care away from tens of millions of people. Okay, that last part is my editorializing.
In the six minutes before the commercial break, they covered five stories, including a child’s death at a summer camp, a company that’s microchipping its employees and the future of microchipping for things like medical records and passports.
After the next break, they had a story about the death of a baby orca whale at Sea World. One minute and another break.
Next came five short stories in two minutes before the last break.
America Strong, a final inspirational story, featured the rescue of a pet dog from a fire in Bakersfield CA and how a group of Girl Scouts raised $2400 to buy special pet oxygen masks for every fire station in the city. Notably, this was the only positive news presented in the entire show.
While Washington politics dominated the first and longest slots, ABC News did present several other stories, albeit briefly. They could have easily spent less time on the political crap (more editorializing) and either lengthened the other pieces or added more.
My concern at the end of the show, though, dealt with how, except for the final signature feature, all the news was negative. No wonder we’re so depressed. I know that good things happen every day; why are they not considered newsworthy?
To counter all this negativity, I started following the Good News Network. I can see their uplifting stories every day, and on the weekend I watch CBS News Sunday Morning. That’s always good news. Too bad it’s only on once a week.

Reading Roundup

In Books, Learning, spirituality on July 25, 2017 at 7:23 am

Here are the books I’m currently reading. I never read just one at a time.
Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew Sullivan
A mystery set in a thinly disguised Tattered Cover Bookstore in Lower Downtown Denver, one of my favorite places. This book has everything I love: a bookstore (the best one ever), Denver, quirky characters, an imaginative mystery, and terrific writing. I’m about a third of the way through and trying to balance my wanting to know what happens next with my desire to go slowly and make it last. He can’t write his next book fast enough to suit me.
The Year of Living Biblically by A. J. Jacobs
A secular Jew, Jacobs decides to explore religion by taking a deep dive into the Bible a year trying to obey all of the 700+ rules documented there. One of my favorites is his difficulty in finding clothing that doesn’t mix fibers. He also carries pebbles in his pocket looking for an opportunity to stone an adulterer. The often contradictory and nonsensical rules lead him to a funny and thoughtful spiritual journey. I first read this when it came out ten years ago and chose to reread it (this time on audio) to accompany the next book.
A Year of Biblical Womanhood by Rachel Held Evans
This is not an instruction manual.
Evans, raised in an evangelical home in Dayton, Tennessee, site of the Scopes Monkey Trial, now writes progressive Christian books and blogs. Using humor and compassion, she explores Biblical heroines and wrestles with passages that encourage misogyny and violence against women. I just started reading it on Kindle and look forward to accompanying her as she remains silent in church (some advice I definitely won’t be taking) and moves into a tent in her yard during her “unclean” times.
Real Artists Don’t Starve: Timeless Strategies for Thriving in the New Creative Age by Jeff Goins
I’ve followed Goins’ career since he came to prominence through his blog several years ago. This is just the sort of book I ought to like, but I’m finding it a difficult slog. He has some good ideas and an interesting perspective although too much of the book is rehashed from other books I’ve read and liked more (see Austin Kleon). He comes across just a little too earnest and humorless for my taste. I may manage to make it through before its due date only because it’s a short book.
There you go. What are you reading?

I’m Not There Yet

In Church, Learning on July 24, 2017 at 5:30 am

Forgiveness is not my strong suit. Holding a grudge is more my style, which is definitely not the Christian way to behave. Let me illustrate.
Last year, several people from my high school class (50+ years ago) friended me on Facebook, and I soon discovered many of them were right wing nut jobs. Is that language too prejudicial? Well.
One guy hated President Obama—all the RWNJs did—and the worst thing he could think of to belittle him was to say repeatedly “he pees sitting down.” I responded, “Steve, if you think it’s a horrible insult to call someone a woman, I sure hope you don’t have a wife or daughters.” He sneered and called me a “Liberal!” I said, “Thank you for noticing.”
See how sweet I can be?
One of the women had emailed me a few years back to ask for my email address.
Theirs is the level of intellect I was dealing with.
It only took my pointing out the error of their ways a few times before they unfriended me. Oddly, I didn’t cry.
After the election, the tears came. I was grief stricken and heartbroken as were my friends and family. I know we’re supposed to forgive, but I cannot forgive the people who voted for the monster in the White House. I’m not there yet. As I write that, I think the “yet” is inappropriate because I don’t know that I’ll ever be there. The damage they’re doing to our country will last for decades, probably longer than I will last.
I looked up forgiveness to make sure I understand it correctly and found this little tidbit. “God does not forgive people who are guilty of willful, malicious sin and who refuse to acknowledge their mistakes, change their ways, and apologize to those whom they have hurt. (Proverbs 28:13; Acts 26:20; Hebrews 10:26) Sounds like Trump supporters to me.
Even without forgiving them, I can refuse to be consumed with anger. That’s hard because while I’ve forgotten most of the early atrocities committed by Donald and his cronies, they dream up new outrageous acts every day, several times a day.
I can barely let go of my rage about one thing before the next occurs. Does anyone know a trick for a rolling, relentless forgiveness without ceasing? I could use some help here.
Solace comes in my friends, my books, and my church. Without them, I just don’t know how to get through this.