Mobile Phone

I was a late-comer to mobile phones. Part of my resistance was to telephones, generally. A disembodied voice does not give me sufficient clues about the information I am receiving or a response to what I have said. Phone calls often leave me more dissatisfied than not. Early on, there was also a concern about being interrupted as my Enneagram 5 (Investigator) does like solitude.

I’ve now had several mobile phones (favorite was the Blackberry with its Qwerty keys). My current iPhone Xs should hold me for quite some time. That is, of course, unless Blackberry makes a comeback.

As an Investigator, I do make a fair amount of use of the web connectivity that comes with modern mobile phones. To have this capability, the manufacturers need to pack more and more into a confined space. For a small item, the apps don’t add any weight, but the hardware to run them is constantly being added to. Smaller but heavier seems to be the order of the day.

I have noticed that when I take the iPhone and its holster off my belt, I am not only lighter (a lighter physical burden to be borne) but brighter (relieved at not being responsible for being on-duty).

So much material is packed into such a small space, the phone has a gravitational field all its own. Yes, the phone becomes an object to orbit around rather than simply being a tool with a refined skill set.

Questions of accountability and addiction come to mind. Where is the loco of contra? Is turning the phone off good self-care or a betrayal of social norms to be available 24/7 and prefer quick answers/memes to a considered response?

Mobile phones seem to be energizing to many, but not for me. I’m glad to turn it off at night and delay turning it on in the morning. I don’t appreciate how the phone’s natural desire to be of service plays into my natural sense of being the center of the universe and need to be available. I cherish time enough to join the deer, coyotes, and buffalo in roaming ranges.


Species come with boundaries, limits that keep it definable. At the edges, there is a wondrous grouping of interspecies. These do not continue within the species and so remain separate. The boundary still holds.

There are variants within a species that continue along on the family’s recessive side, awaiting a triggering.

Within a species, its health lies in continuing to meet the realities of its context. A sufficient number of variants is needed to meet the contingencies of a changed reality. An analysis of the range of a species is important to have a sense of the variety of variants expected. The smaller the variety, the smaller the range, and vice versa.

Within the human species, there is a variety of both variants and the tools they develop. The range is large and increasing to the point of extending to planets previously claimed to be alien.

Even as there are genetic boundaries to be respected, social and cultural systems set up additional limits called classes based on artificial constructs or definitions—race, economic possession, and raw power.

A human species’ health requires a vitality within its variants that can continue to assist the whole. Honoring the boundaries of genes and the reality of larger contexts that limit species requires dissolving social and cultural discriminations that constrain the gifts needed to respond to a changing environment. Using all the gifts available brings new strength and flexibility. Restricting any of the gifts brings weakness and fragility.

Needed: a valuing of those adjudged least and worthless. They hold the proverbial fountain of youth that contributes a new response to repeated histories again being forgotten.


engage in
to discern
be as profound
a witness
the morals

This is a sentence reformatted as an outline for part of your meditation time. It is taken from Methodist Morals: Social Principles in the Public Church’s Witness by Darryl Stephens [p. 198]. The book is priced as a textb00k. It is an excellent reflection on the intention and possibility of an evolving document on Social Principles that is available through an interlibrary loan.


It isn’t easy to come up with a slogan amid instant memes. This came to mind as I thought about an encouragement-to-vote sign for the front yard. A first thought was:

Coming Apart?
Coming Together?

A second thought was:

First, consider a common good
Then, add a personal good

Third and fourth thoughts came and went.

Every meta-type approach folded under the weight of differing analyses and understandings of the direction the nation is heading versus where one would want it to be going. Likewise, with an ability to distinguish any value beyond the immediate and personal.

Going the other direction of advocating for a particular candidate heightens the divisions among us and measures everything by its shortest term effect.

No wonder there are so many who simply won’t vote. It hurts the brain and soul to consider the state-of-affairs we are in and doubles that to consider what it will cost to admit our systems have betrayed their stated intention. There is no social contract for mutual care or a definition of a common good.

I doubt that I’ll come up with a sign before November 3. This will worthy of a confession that I did not do even the first layer of work to elect those I thought would slowly stitch us back together or facilitate a transition from exclusion to inclusion.

Much preliminary work needs doing to reteach thinking and recognition of false equivalencies and other logical fallacies. Right now, allusion has become illusion—help heal all “usions”.


I appreciate the public theologizing available at Their latest conversation was about Empire. A book referenced may be of interest to you — Caste: The Origins of Our Discontent, by Isabel Wilkerson.

Of note is how an Empire and its representatives will use everything at its/their disposal. This includes me and you and every form of faith. No practice will exempt anyone from being a tool of the Empire. That same Empire will use even resistance to the Empire for further genocide, slavery (by various names), and conquest. Whether resistance is passive or active, those who participate will be publicly lynched (hung on a cross) as a warning not to follow that way or privately incarcerated in solitary confinement (left in a deep, dark, dank dungeon).

One of the techniques of Empire is to work through innocence. Individuals can comfort themselves by considering their goodness is on a higher moral plane than any injury caused by Empiric structures. Secure in their innocence, they do not have to stoop to politics of resistance in homes or on the streets. Even if the structures of an Empire are blatantly obvious in their hurt of peoples and creation—individuals can claim a benefit of relative safety by not raising questions or visions of a compassionate future of common good. Empire is freed to promise one benefit or another in return for safety (law and order), only to abrogate that whenever it suits the Empire or those representing it. People and places will continue to be caught and destroyed if they should stray beyond the limit of being of utility for expansion (gaining more land or capital for a ruling few).

In the end, every Empire falls. Fantasies of eternity dance in Empire’s heads. Whether it is Manifest Destiny, American Exceptionalism, or a final Nazi Reich, Empires project a strength they do not have. In the end, Emperors are naked power-grabbers, and each dies.

Empire desires its subjects (who think of themselves as citizens) to live in personal innocence (plausible deniability that they have agency) and public fear. “Fear Not” is an antidote to Empire.


passive stationary
vertical resistant
to wind and rain
some insulated
some not

none of which
exempt them
from dust and dirt
and spiders and tornadoes
smudging and breaking
a first transparency

it’s fall again
to prepare
for winter overcast
cleaner and squeegee
found used put-away
whew and bring-it-on


Birds here have been going a little nuts (berries). Robins, Cedar Waxwings, and other related species flew into and out of a berry bush the backyard this last week. Now they are doing the same with the crab apple in the front yard.

They have lost their usual flight skills and pathways. Sitting under the awning of a deck swing set is not safe. The bird’s flight controller has called in sick. Multiple birds try landing at the same place and time. Life on the swing is particularly serious as they lean in all directions, with no flight plans filed, just “Yee-Haw! Off we go!” No time to pull-up, so through the swing set they go.

Talking in the driveway is an exercise calling for hazardous-conditions pay. Apparently, flying between conversation partners is good fun when you’re a bit loopy from over-ripe berries and fruit.

In theory, this frantic behavior will have some benefit from a coming migration. For now, the birds make for enjoyable physical comedy.

Well, except for the dozen or so who hit the house and windows. They disregard such limits in the same fashion as other bird brains dismiss how viruses work. Unless the neighborhood feral cat has gotten a casualty or two, I only know of one fatality.

A wing and a prayer is as fragile an analysis and strategic plan as is available. It is a very fine line between loopy and dead.

New Book Released

I have just published a new book: Struggling with (Non)violence, by Julie Marie Todd.

Cover of book --


Julie is the John Wesley Iliff Senior Lecturer in Justice and Peace Studies at the Iliff School of Theology and was one of the three founders of Love Prevails. As a scholar-activist, Julie grounds her studies in the real world and reflects and analyzes situations, actions, and effects to guide actions. This book is particularly pertinent in today’s United States as violence is escalating on a personal level as well as structurally (legally, politically, and economically) and culturally with the rise of militia groups.

(Non)violence is one of many ways to address the reality and presence of violence. Sometimes it is used as a moral rule that informs personal responses. It is sometimes just a bumper-sticker that lets structural and cultural violence continue unchecked. The book asks if (non)violence is the only way to “love an enemy” or if it is “effective” in the specifics of a given violence.

By ignoring the complexity of what constitutes violence, the (non)violent thought and praxis represented by white, liberal Christians in the United States falls short. In this book, twelve scholar-activist interviewees share perspectives and effective practices that destabilize traditional rationalizations of violence, including those from the institutions and practices of a dominant Christian theology.  

The author calls on communities committed to (non)violence to invest in a model for social change which:







The Interviewees: Rita “Bo” Brown (B♀), Ward Churchill, John Dear, Vincent Harding, Dolores Huerta, Derrick Jensen, Kathy Kelly, Alice Lynd, Staughton Lynd, Katherine Power, Sarah Schulman, Akinyele Umoja.

I hope you will join in the discussion of (non)violence with Julie and the interviewees.

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The book is currently available through Julie’s website []. It is working its way through the internet and will be available through other providers at a later time.