It feels like surreal times. On more that one occasion I’ve been sitting alone, lost in thoughts that range from essential survival to entirely trivial, and had to squeeze my eyes shut and shake my head, letting some of the realities of our current times out of my brain. News is increasingly bizarre and entirely troubling and we can’t ignore it as much as we’d like.
This week, just after the conviction and sentencing of the twisted, misguided and small-minded young man who killed nine people at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina… I was reminded of the eulogy that President Obama gave for senior pastor and state senator Clementa C. Pinckney. I relistened to the entire speech here, but THIS is the most powerful part of that speech in my opinion:
“When there were laws banning all-black church gatherings, services happened here anyway, in defiance of unjust laws. When there was a righteous movement to dismantle Jim Crow, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. preached from its pulpit, and marches began from its steps. A sacred place, this church. Not just for blacks, not just for Christians, but for every American who cares about the steady expansion — of human rights and human dignity in this country; a foundation stone for liberty and justice for all. That’s what the church meant.
We do not know whether the killer of Reverend Pinckney and eight others knew all of this history. But he surely sensed the meaning of his violent act. It was an act that drew on a long history of bombs and arson and shots fired at churches, not random, but as a means of control, a way to terrorize and oppress. An act that he imagined would incite fear and recrimination; violence and suspicion. An act that he presumed would deepen divisions that trace back to our nation’s original sin.
Oh, but God works in mysterious ways. God has different ideas.
He didn’t know he was being used by God. Blinded by hatred, the alleged killer could not see the grace surrounding Reverend Pinckney and that Bible study group — the light of love that shone as they opened the church doors and invited a stranger to join in their prayer circle. The alleged killer could have never anticipated the way the families of the fallen would respond when they saw him in court — in the midst of unspeakable grief, with words of forgiveness. He couldn’t imagine that.”
– President Obama’s eulogy for Clementa Pickney I will miss President Obama’s grace and generosity of spirit as our leader.
• See also, NPR’s exit interview with President Obama
• I’ve read a lot about football concussions lately. It’s a big deal: What Happened Within This Player’s Skull?
• Still we’ve got to take in the good. How To Build A Happier Brain
• This Billy Barr is a gem of a human. Live the way you want, and see it all (even if that just means you’re bored and tired of cutting wood.) The Hermit Who Inadvertently Shaped Climate Change Science
• Podcast alert: The Lively Show, the latest episode is Quantum Living: Why we don’t have to work as hard as we think. Wait, what!? The Lively Show is a positive, inspiring, honest listen… and it’s not about murder. I listen to a weird amount of podcasts about murder and this is not one.
• Similar to the Mark Burnett article I posted last week, this week something on Real Housewives creator, Andy Cohen. Like Burnett, he didn’t invent the our culture, he just predicted it. Once again, reality creators at the helm of the stories we intake: Living in Andy Cohen’s America (Also.. no shade, I’ve seen all the housewives.)
• For the pockets alone, glory be: I wore men’s clothes for a month and it changed my life.
• Here’s what I ate one Saturday morning stuck in standstill traffic on the interstate. Kept me from eating fast food french fries which is a small miracle, obviously. Yum Butter Sunflower Seed Butter
• A delicious and edible kitchen project for the week: Shrimp Tempura Sushi Burritos.
• I love this from Food52: The Classic Soup Combination You’ll Riff on 100 Times This Winter. Kitchen versatility is the key to success.
• Some interesting bits from TheKitchn. I didn’t know that coffee grounds clog up pipes! The more you know: Five things to know about cleaning up breakfast.
Have a very fine day. We’re ok. We’re better than ok.