Part of the scripture reading was the beginning of Isaiah 10 (NIV): “Woe to those who make unjust laws, to those who issue oppressive decrees, to deprive the poor of their rights and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people.”
But beyond the message was the relational connections. I knew a LOT of people there, and not just my fellow parishioners. There’s a colleague from the North Country, way above Albany, who attended. He’d heard Liz speak on videos and wanted to see her in person. I sent him this Faith in Public Life webinar on Census 2020, trying to include everyone.
One friend shocked another – they had never met each other – in discussing John Calvin, the progenitor of Presbyterianism and his role in the burning of Michael Servetus. As the Calvinist said, “We never learned about THAT in my confirmation class.”
Still another buddy was stunned by the assertion, by me and another, that the National Rifle Association, founded 1871, was actually a largely non-partisan group in its first century. It’s only been since the 1970s that it became radically politicized.
Even someone breaking into our church at 4 a.m. on Sunday – a broken door window, but nothing of value apparently taken – did not cancel out the meaningfulness of the weekend.
He too is incredibly impressed by the Kiwi Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who offered “the strongest possible condemnation of the ideology of the people who did this. You may have chosen us, but we utterly reject and condemn you.”
A key paragraph of the Weekly Sift rebuttal: “In my view, America (or Western culture, for that matter) isn’t something that arises from the essential nature of the White race. America is something we do, not something we are. It is an idea that can be shared by anyone who is inspired to share it.”
I suppose it’s important to understand the hate mentality, though I’m not convinced that comprehension will be enough to stem the tide of bigotry. But I do see a linkage between the attack on the poor and attacks on racial/ethnic/religious “others.” It’s driven by fear.
I wrote 10 or 11 blog posts re Never A Dull Moment: 1971, the year that rock exploded by David Hepworth.
Jaquandor recently wrote about owning books. In part, he quotes from Life Itself by Roger Ebert, which makes more sense in its entirety, and really speaks to me. “I cannot throw out these books. Some are enchanted because I have personally turned all their pages and read every word. They’re shrines to my past hours.”
Looking at my bookshelves in the office, I realize the sheer number of books I am not going to get rid of, because. And that doesn’t even count the ones in the bookcases that are in the attic, arranged, BTW, and the relatively few in the living room.
Initially, I was just going to pick books as they appeared on the shelves. Then I decided to put them in some sort of imperfect order
Six and Eleven – Ed Dague (2010). Former local news anchor I hung out with him one night and have a transcript – somewhere – of that night’s broadcast in 1994
A Day Apart: How Jews, Christians, and Muslims Find Faith, Freedom, and Joy on the Sabbath – Christopher Ringwald. (2007). Signed to me. I got to hear him speak on the topic in my church a few years before his tragic death.
O Albany – William Kennedy (1983). The greatest writer out of the city. Both he and Biancolli worked for the local newspaper, the Times Union, and both were honored by the Albany Public Library Foundation
Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II – Douglas A. Blackmon (2008) – signed to me in 2009 at an event arranged by Bill Kennedy
Brothers in Arms: The Epic Story of the 761st Tank Battalion, WWII’s Forgotten Heroes – Kareem Abdul Jabbar and Anthony Walton (2004). Did you know Kareem was on JEOPARDY! for the first time the same month I was?
The Nearly Complete Essential Hembeck Archives Omnibus – Fred Hembeck (2008). I remember helping friend Fred unload boxes of these at a comic book convention in Saratoga Springs, NY
Xerox Ferox: The Wild World of the Horror Film Fanzine – John Szpunar. It premiered at FantaCon 2013. I got it signed by the author, plus subjects such as Steve Bissette, Tom Skulan, Dennis Daniel and Jim Whiting
Saga of the Swamp Thing: Book One – Alan Moore, Stephen Bissette, John Totleben (2009), art plate signed by Steve; I met Steve at FantaCo in 1987
FantaCo book publications, almost all of which have stories; I know I was quoted in the Washington Post about Splatter Movies (1981)
Elfquest books – Wendy and Richard Pini, the original 20 issues in four volumes. Wendy and Richard came up to FantaCo for signings thrice a year
Blues People – LeRoi Jones (1963), before he became Amiri Baraka, he wrote about “the Negro experience in white America and the music that developed from it.”