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Note: What follows isn’t for everyone. Written during the COVID-19 pandemic, the focus here is on dealing with disappointment and changing expectations that result from measures like voluntary isolation and physical distancing. There are those in far more challenging circumstances to whom this is not addressed. People who have lost jobs, loved ones, or even both have my greatest sympathy. My thoughts go as well to the ones in hospitals right now fighting for their lives, and the amazing medical professionals who are in the fight with them. …

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The facade of Falls Church Episcopal, by Southerngs. (CC BY-SA 3.0)

An article published by The Washington Post caught my attention recently because it discussed a church split. In some macabre way I always enjoy reading those. I hate the heartache that people feel, but I find how and why churches split to be either amusing or simply fascinating. …

This past May I read ‘The Making of a Manager’ by Julie Zhuo, and though the book was well-written, I was left unsatisfied. Her guidance, drawn from her years of experience (exclusively at Facebook) would have been helpful to me earlier in my career. It’s Management 101, and a solid book for that level. I needed something a bit deeper, and I’ve found it — at least for a start — in Jocelyn Davis’ fascinating ‘The Art of Quiet Influence.’

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Jocelyn worked at The Forum Corporation (now called ‘Achieve Forum’( for over 23 years, working her way up to EVP. This is a business leadership training company, and according to her description, it bases its curriculum on careful research and quality data. Further, in her experience at the company there was a real effort, with a few exceptions as she notes in the book, to put their training into practice in their own offices. From what I see in her LinkedIn profile, her education has always centered on philosophy, with the most recent degree being a Master of Arts in Eastern Classics. This education, together with many years of thinking about life in an office and putting her learning into practice, makes for an excellent book on leadership. …

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For several years I’ve simply accepted the idea that Yahweh was originally a Canaanite storm god. While this still may be true, there’s now a competing theory that he was, instead, a god of volcanism and metallurgy. That would make him like the smith gods Hephaestus (Greek) or Vulcan (Roman). This has me thinking about how ideas change and grow, and the impact they can have on history along the way.

Here’s what the main proponent of this alternate understanding has to say, according to Ancient History Encyclopedia:

Scholar Nissim Amzallag, of Ben-Gurion University, disagrees with the claim that Yahweh’s origins are obscure and argues that the deity was originally a god of the forge and patron of metallurgists during the Bronze Age (c. 3500–1200 BCE). Amzallag specifically cites the ancient copper mines of the Timna Valley (in southern Israel), biblical and extra-biblical passages, and similarities of Yahweh to gods of metallurgy in other cultures for support.

“Enlil organized his assembly, he addressed the great gods, ‘The noise of mankind has become too much, I am losing sleep over their racket.’”The Epic of Ziusudra

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The ancient tale of Ziusudra is one of the ancient deluge narratives, one upon which the biblical story of Noah and his ark was likely based. The writers and redactors of what became the Hebrew scriptures adapted it in ways to match their concept of Yahweh, once he had ascended to the role of supreme and only deity in their imaginations. With that sanitization, a certain vividness of emotion was lost, I think. …

“Without reflection, we go blindly on our way, creating more unintended consequences, and failing to achieve anything useful.” Margaret J. Wheatley

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McDonalds — Hillside, NJ by Adam Gonnerman (CC BY-SA 4.0)

We need a guaranteed living wage in the United States. That’s not all we need, though. Just raising the minimum wage could have disastrous consequences.

The federal minimum wage hasn’t been raised since 2009, when it rose from $6.55 to $7.25 per hour. This was the last of a three step increase that the US Congress had approved in 2007. Prior to that, the minimum wage had been stuck at $5.15 per hour for 10 years. …

On a Monday in June 2016 I woke up with a pain in my right side. Assuming it was gas, I ignored it. By Tuesday the pain had intensified, and I continued to work through it. On Wednesday I became convinced that I was constipated, and so started taking laxatives. Thursday the pain was excruciating. It was also the day of my son’s 8th grade graduation, and photos from that late morning event show me holding my side and trying to act casual.

It was agony.

Late Thursday afternoon I asked my ex-wife to drive me to the emergency room. We waited over 2 hours while I suffered the worst pain of my life. At one point I almost passed out, and while the woman working the desk cheerfully insisted I was fine, an orderly ran over and got me into a wheelchair. Minutes later I was lying on a table and crying from the pain. I screamed. A couple of quick tests later and I was mercifully given strong painkiller intravenously. …

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C.S. Lewis, the noted Christian apologist of the early to mid-20th century, struggled mightily to explain how the doctrine of God in Christ could be compatible with the possibility of sentient extraterrestrial life. He seemed to conceive of the Earth as the only ‘fallen’ world, describing it in fiction as ‘The Silent Planet.’ He also speculated that if another world were to fall into sin, a somehow greater atonement would be required. …

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The possibility of the existence of extraterrestrial life poses a problem for Christians who hold to Trinitarianism. Central to this mainstream of Christian belief is that God exists eternally in three Persons who partake of the same Being. Furthermore, the second of these three Persons became a human being, lived and taught among people nearly 2000 years ago, and then was crucified by the Romans with the encouragement of Jewish leaders, only to rise again a few days later and appear to his followers for several weeks before ascending into heaven. …

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The Dead Man Restored to Life by Touching the Bones of the Prophet Elisha (by Washington Allston)

Christianity in general, and Protestantism in particular (with its ‘sola scriptura’), sits uneasily atop documents written and redacted in eras very

different from our own. This causes a fair amount of dissonance for believers who spend time reading these texts.

It seems to me that the history of Christianity has tracked with Western history in general as we have moved away from a demon-haunted world to one that can be understood through the scientific method. Protestantism, whether theologically liberal, fundamentalist, or somewhere in between, rejects much of the ‘spooky’ thinking of Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy. …

About

Adam Gonnerman

Enterprise Agilist • Unitarian Universalist • AdamGonnerman.com

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