Category Religion

A Dream of My Brother From the Great Beyond

My older (by three years) brother will have been gone 14 years this September, felled shortly after he retired at age 62 from a rare, always fatal brain syndrome known as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD). There’s not a day goes by that I don’t think of and miss his presence in my life. Fortunately, he pops up in my dreams intermittently, always in some strange circumstance (dreams being what they are), but often gratifying nevertheless for the touchpoint they add up to, the real-seeming encounter in which he is alive to me for those moments, moving once again through space and time as a physical presence—until I wake up.

I’ve written here before about the often riotous imaginings of the dream world, the caution against trying too hard to drag them into our current waking life via some great literal “meaning” we can apply to become better, happier persons, all the wiser for our visitations from the Great B...

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Alexei Navalny Yields Not to Temptation…Can It Inspire the World?

It was with a mixture of respect, awe, and incomprehension that I met the news of Russian dissident Alexei Navalny’s decision to return home in January 2021 to face near certain arrest and imprisonment at the hands of his nemesis, the dictator Vladimir Putin.

Navalny had been in Berlin, where he had endured a long hospital recovery after all evidence pointed to Putin’s security force having poisoned him the previous August with a chemical nerve agent.

Such attacks have been almost standard operating procedure for Putin, used repeatedly to eliminate or at the very least severely debilitate any antagonists whom he decides have drawn enough support from the Russian people to pose a threat to his rule.

If we applied (Jesus’s example) to Navalny’s martyrdom, we’d liken him to ‘paying’ for our own sins of indifference, ignorance, and cowardice in failing to work as hard and risk as much as he did...

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State Marries Church At the Alabama Supreme Court

The mid-February decision by the Alabama Supreme Court to overturn a lower court ruling and allow a wrongful death lawsuit to proceed against a hospital that left an in vitro fertilization facility unsecured, leading to the breakage of frozen human embryos conceived and stored in the laboratory, hit like another howitzer in the long-running war over abortion rights.

There were two stunning aspects to the case that set the commentariat wires buzzing.

One was the court’s determination that embryos, conceived in a petri dish meetup of sperm and eggs, gestated for 5-7 days and then frozen for later implantation into a womb, meet all the criteria of human children while in that frozen state.

Plenty to talk about there—including the fact that such an embryo, called a “blastocyst,” is comprised of between 100 to 120 cells, totaling one-tenth of a millimeter. (A millimeter is ...

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Brilliant Songs #42: Duke Pearson’s “Cristo Redentor”

If I’m drawn to a piece of music, it usually begins to spin its magic on me in the first few notes. Doesn’t matter the genre or era, and doesn’t always require that I be listening closely at the time.

Maybe the radio or Spotify will be on low volume and I’ll barely hear a melodic snippet or phrase or emotional lilt and the next thing out of my mouth to whomever is close to the dial is, “Can you please turn that up?”

And so it was a few weeks ago when somewhere—so many inputs, such cluttered memory—the late trumpeter Donald Byrd’s name appeared on an exotically named tune called “Cristo Redentor.” Byrd’s was the first recording of the song in 1963, and it still reigns as the definitive version. It was written, however, by his pal and collaborator, the composer and pianist Duke Pearson. And as you’ll see and hear evidence of below, the song does right by a wide variety of practitioners.

…a song that tran...

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Dogma Be Gone! A Brief Rant

Look, it’s not about the dogma!  Uncertainty abides! There is no countering the dazzlingly complex nature of all existence, from the lowliest ant (have you ever read up on ants, OMG!), to the far reaches of creatureless space, where we have somehow managed to employ our brains to send rocket ships careening along, loaded up with computers and sensors gathering information that gets translated into digital data which is…what, exactly?

Do you know? I don’t, not really!

But here’s one thing I’m certain of and would bet my life on regarding the why’s and wherefores and whereto’s of this world: It’s not about the damn dogma!

It can’t possibly be about the damn dogma, areyoukiddin’me?

The world is too big, and it overflows with stories about how it got here, who made it, for what purpose...

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