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The On Being Project

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The Discomfort of Confronting Our Fear

The Discomfort of Confronting Our Fear

Good news! After several years of appeals to the Twitter magistrates, we finally obtained @OnBeing as our official handle. @Beingtweets, it was fun, but we are all grown up now and must say farewell…

(Michael Tefft / Some Rights Reserved)

“It’s hard for me to believe that loving your neighbor, one of the central tenets of Christianity means being prepared to shoot someone in order to stop them from shooting you. Instead of more guns, or of ‘good guys with guns,’ I believe in investing in neighborliness, as I know it.”

What does it mean to carry a gun and “love your neighbor”? Martha Park, a writing instructor living in Virginia, delves into the idea of neighborliness and fear through her training as a tutor and a pivotal passage from the Bible. Our most read and shared post of the week.

Album cover shoot for Aladdin Sane, 1973. (Brian Duffy / Duffy Archive / )

When a young Evangelical Christian is diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, it’s the music legend David Bowie who provides him with salvation and a renewed hope in “the Church of Man”:

“As bleomycin and vinblastine pumped through my veins, my iPod pumped Bowie’s liberating heresy through my head. Fiercely, he dared me to accept my doubts: ‘The Gods forgot they made me / So I forgot them, too.'”

(Michael Wilson / NPR / © All Rights Reserved)

My regret of the week: not catching Lucinda Williams’ latest album on NPR’s First Listen. Tom Moon’s review of Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone will have to do until I can make the purchase.

(Jean-François Hayeur / Flickr / Some Rights Reserved)

But you can catch this week’s Monday Evening Melody in which guest contributor Katharine Rose writes about Adele’s latest album and reckoning with our future selves:

“It is only after making a diligent effort to reflect on ourselves — to quiet our own souls — that the most profound truths and insights are revealed.”

(Tavis Ford / Some Rights Reserved)

Despairing about the state of our politics and our government? Courtney Martin gives you three reasons to be cautiously optimistic. If you note the photo above, it reads, “Peace, Order, Good Government.” Little did I know when I selected this photo for Courtney’s column that it has a much deeper context. Thanks to Jamie Campbell for the lesson:

“The choice of photo to accompany it is, may I say, quite Canadian… not just because of the toque and the tree! The phrase, “peace, order and good government” or POGG for short, is found in the British North America Act, an 1867 act of the UK parliament that created Canada as a more-or-less independent British Dominion. The same phrase is found in colonial acts for Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and a few others. It is a grant of residual power to the federal level of government and according to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in 1946, and who would argue with them, was the broadest grant of power appropriate to a sovereign. The phrase has often been contrasted with the American “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” and is said to help define the difference between the two political cultures. I wonder if the 19th century legislative drafters could have imagined the phrase appearing in an article about reasons for American optimism about their government.”

I’m quite sure they didn’t!

(Bonnie Natko / Flickr / Some Rights Reserved)

“Denial is tricky. By being honest with ourselves about our various forms of suffering, we don’t feel more suffering — we create freedom.”

When we strip away various veneers, what are we left with? Sharon Salzberg on the practice of letting go of denial and the uncomfortability of avoidance.

(Glen Scott / Flickr / Some Rights Reserved)

“The membrane between us and oblivion is as thin as an egg shell. Walk with heavy feet and it will break. Angels fly because they take themselves lightly.”

When the beginning of a new year is ushered in with thunderous disappointment, it may be time to change it up. Jane Gross on keeping hope despite life’s lemons.

(Jonathan Kos-Read / Flickr / Some Rights Reserved)

Last week’s Letter from Loring Park ended with poetic images of wilderness; today’s closes with Parker Palmer’s reflection on the importance of shared silence and the regrounding silence brings:

Within each of us there is a silence
—a silence as vast as a universe.
We are afraid of it… and we long for it.

Thank you for all the kind and critical feedback this past week. It’s much appreciated! As always, please feel free to contact me at [email protected], or via Twitter at @trentgilliss.
May the wind always be at your back.
Trent

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