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Texans, Stay the Hell Home This 4th of July

As Molly Ivins famously said,"I dearly love the state of Texas, but I consider that a harmless perversion on my part and discuss it only with consenting adults."

I am a seventh-generation Texan and do love it. And as the 4th of July edges closer, I am both scared and mad for my state. I'm scad

Today - Tuesday - it was reported that we hit a new record - almost 7000 new cases in one day.

And Saturday is July 4th.

Something I've heard, and bless my heart I have probably said myself several weeks ago, is "...and this feels safe."

No, no, my friends. There is no "feels safe." This is not something on which we can rely on our instincts. We have to rely on science.

Stay home unless you are required by your job or have another required reason.
Get curbside groceries or delivery.
Wear a mask.
And in the name of Molly and all that is holy, please do not gather with friends and family for an Independence Day barbecue.

Think ahead. July 4th. Plan your grocerie…
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900 Days: A White Texan Contemplates Juneteenth

Today is "Juneteenth." Being a Texan, albeit a white one, it is an anniversary I've known about my entire life. I grew up in Houston, where there were special Juneteenth concerts at Miller Outdoor Theater, there would be a celebration at Emancipation Park, there were neighborhood parades, I think I even remember Astroworld doing something. And the full history was known - this was the day when the news finally got to Galveston about the Emancipation Proclamation.

As our Black friends celebrate the day, I hope that white Texans will think about how Texas continues to delay justice. I (cynically? Or is it just realistically?) wonder how much the lesson that was absorbed in Texas was that "hey, but the slave owners snuck in one last harvest."

It is now common practice for our state legislature to passlaws that they know are unconstitutional. But it buys them time to destroy businesses and lives. It buys them time to disenfranchise voters.

How does Texas continue t…

Balancing data and processing

I'm a fan of sci-fi for its ability to envision different worlds and ways of being. Since coronavirus began, I've been rewatching Star Trek Voyager, a space show about a team stranded a long way from home. There've been some interesting parallels with what's happening in current events. Including a pandemic. Dontcha kinda wish you could shoot coronavirus like this?


In an episode titled "The Voyager Conspiracy," there is a character called Seven of Nine who has the ability to download information straight into her brain. She engineers the system to download months of information at a time, but her ability to process the information can't be sped up. In trying to make sense of the data, she begins formulating conspiracy theories. Over and over, she adds 2 + 2 and winds up with 5. Too much data, and not enough time to absorb and process it.

So, how are you in this balance right now?

It feels to me like new information, new data, is coming at us at lightning …

Moving from Crisis to the New Normal

With coronavirus, most of us have been in crisis mode since the second week of March. We burned the candle at both ends, and relit another from its flame right before it sputtered out. We figured out how to do our jobs from home, help our kids do school from home, and how to take care of ourselves and each other as best we could.

I mean, it really is sort of amazing. I know our church was up and online in 7 days. People who had never ordered groceries swiftly learned how to do curbside or delivery. People who hated computers and wanted nothing to do with them took a deep breath, downloaded Zoom, and have been getting on regularly, cheering the spirits of their friends and family members. Bravo, us!

Now, we're facing the idea that this is probably going to go on for a while, and we're going to need to find sustainable ways to live in this way. We're experimenting with expanding our protective bubbles,  moving our furniture around, throwing out the sourdough starter if we do…

Trust and Covid-19

When my best friend had twin toddlers, she decided that there was no way she and her partner could do this alone, they were going to need to have a baseline trust, rather than suspicion, of the people they would encounter each day.

We have to trust others. The question is, who are you going to trust? This may be the bottom line of the division that is between Americans today. Who do we decide to trust? Who do we not trust?

I trust scientists who show that they are following the appropriate research guidelines of today, e.g. peer-reviewed studies, double-blind tests, etc. I don't trust the currently government administration, but if I'm being truthful, I don't fully trust any administration on certain things. In times of crisis, part of their job is to not induce panic. So I don't always trust that I'm hearing the full story. But when verifiable facts, studies, witnesses are provided, I pay attention.

We are so terribly divided on this, aren't we? I will say, I …

Could You Send Her for the Ammunition?

Let me preface by saying I know that not all people are comfortable with military/war metaphors, so feel free to either find a metaphor that works for you, or skip this altogether.

My dad, however, was a Korean war veteran who went to military college (that's what Texas A&M was in those days), originally stationed in artillery before being changed at the last minute to be a teacher in the corps of engineers. So some battle metaphors worked for him in explaining the world around him.

His highest compliment about a person's character was an affirmative answer to "but could you send them for the ammunition?"

The metaphor is this: you are in battle, and it's not looking good. You've got a partner with you, and y'all are running out of ammunition. If you send this person back to get more ammunition, will they return? Or will they promise to return, but then run the opposite direction, sacrificing you in the process?

He and I would talk about this, in real-…

Responsibility For, Responsibility To

One of the chief values in being part of a community whether it be a church, a town, or a country, is a sense of responsibility as a member of that community.

But we are also individuals, not just cogs in a machine. We make our own decisions, determine for ourselves what we believe, and shape our own lives.

Like many things in life, there needs to be a dynamic tension between individuality and community. In our faith of Unitarian Universalism, this tension is seen by the "bookends" of our Seven Principles. The Seven Principles are a set of promises, a sacred "to-do list," that every UU congregation promises to the other UU congregations that they will work toward.

The First Principle is that we affirm and promote "The inherent worth and dignity of every person." The Seventh Principle is that we affirm and promote "Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part." To be a Unitarian Universalist community means to hold t…