August 2017

Not a bad Summer weather wise here in southern New England, USA. At least for those of us working inside all day. True, there have been times when it is too hot or it’s raining altering plans.

Whose complaining?

Frustrations abound, but isn’t that true for us all? Work is ok but full of its own frustrations. Downsizing at my place of employment since the recession took off in 2008. Lost a lot of good people in my department a few years ago with a buy out. Two years ago we lost most of the rest of the experienced workers when most of the jobs in the department were reduced to part time. Revolving door since as new folks cycle through on their way to full time jobs elsewhere or leaving for other reasons or being let go.

We do have a group of interns from elsewhere in the world but they are only here for a year. The second group is winding down in a few months. Too many new people at the same time to train especially when one considers the percentage of department personnel they represent. They get full time hours because their benefits are through their program and not the company. This makes them eligible for overtime unlike the local part time folks. They are good workers so don’t take this as any kind of complaint about them. Just a general frustration.

I have been full time at my job for almost thirteen years now, in a year I will have been there double the amount of time I spent at my previous job at (world’s largest retail chain). Being one of the folks promoted to a Lead Associate kept me full time.

Still have to wonder if the next big change is in the offing considering slow business. A hiring freeze is leading to a major staff shortage. That and other possible hints have made me nervous of late.

We all know the frustrations and conflicts going on in our country and in the world. Hang on in your corner. Do what is best for yourself and others.

Peace.

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Nationalism shouldn’t be conflated with one’s religion

I recently shared on Facebook.

“American Christians have conflated nationalism into religion. Especially the further right one is on the political spectrum. Love of country becomes idolatry. US nationalism and “exceptionalism” teaches we are the new chosen people and our country is ordained by God. I think that is too self centered and used to justify our human choices as only inspired by God and therefore sanctified.”

Six Months On …

Six months since a personal post. Time flies and drags. Always busy. Feel like nothing is accomplished. I am sure many of us feel this way.

Maybe it’s the anxiety and depression. Those are being treated and have kept me on an improved course for years now but not beyond a certain point (uncertain point?) Been slogging through.

Is there an answer or just multiple suggestions?

Just a brief check in. I think I covered a bit of ground in my post about my religious journey.

There’s blank space here. I think that symbolises where I am and how can’t express it.

Peace.

Not an Anomaly: Progressive Christians in Your Midst

In the absence of posting for a long time, here is an article of interest to me.

Michelle L. Torigian

hideFor many years, I was led to believe that there was only one way of being Christian.  This way would focus on specific issues like abortion, who is allowed to get married, who isn’t allowed to have sex, and who will be granted eternity in heaven.

As time went on, I realized I never really identified with this flavor of Christianity.  It was too bitter: condemning anyone who didn’t fit into their moral code.  It reflected a sour that first appears as sweet.  People invited you to their church which held certain strong perspectives – some bragging about being baptized or born again.  All wanting you to join and change the way you are living.

Very little of the greatest commandment was discussed in these churches.  Sure, there was a lot of implicit “love God” as they spoke of their devotion to Jesus.  But loving neighbor was the null.  It was hidden…

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From Executive Office, To Becoming a Pastor, Rev. Shawn Fisher Does It All.

Reposting an article from Michael Dubois about the pastor at my church in Groton, CT.

Michael R. DuBois

Reverend Shawn R. Fisher was born April 1st, 1968 in Manchester Conn. Originally, Fisher had lived in Storrs Conn. until he was 3 years old. Up until his adult life, Fisher moved out and into Hartford when he was 24 years old. Currently, Fisher resides in Marlborough Conn. where he has been since 2006.

img_2993For schooling, Fisher attended Hartford Public High school for his Freshman year. He then transferred to Northfield Mt. Hermon, a boarding school located in Mass. Fisher’s reasoning for transferring is that he “needed to go somewhere where [he is]  going to be pushed.”. He felt that his academic experience would be more beneficial to him by attending Northfield Mt. Hermon.

After graduating from Northfield Mt Hermon., Fisher decided to further his education by attending the University of Connecticut (UCONN). After years of hard work, Fisher acquired his Masters Degree in Economics.

While Fisher was in college…

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Snapshot: My Religious Journey

I think we all have a recurring dialogue with our worldviews on various things. The following is a comment I posted on a friend’s FaceBook page. The tendrils of the thoughts have whispered for a while. I don’t see it as a loss of faith or spirituality but how I exist in the religious context in which I am currently involved. I am glad to have the opportunity to exist in a community of faith that operates on allowing us each to be free of dogma.

While the spiritual side of me (or psyche) feels a connection with the stories, texts and teachings of judeo-christian heritage I have always believed in science’s search for how the universe works and how civilization has benefited from our increasing knowledge. There is a personal connection to the metaphors and allegories of various ancient peoples and how they sought to explain the world and their own history. I also connect with teachings and ideas seeking to improve the human condition which of course can get twisted by institutions of religion and government but I believe there is an inherent goodness in people which needs to be encouraged.”

Likewise a few minutes later a comment on my repost of the above in a FB group garnered a thoughtful response to which I commented as an addendum.

Part of my questioning is to what degree do I believe in the description of the Christian Godhead? When I was traveling in the depths of poorly treated depression and fatigue I needed to cling on to a level of certainty in God, Jesus and community. On a certain level the deities described in the text are real but on other levels they are metaphors. As the teachings of Jesus are the context of my religious upbringing they resonate with my spiritual being in their familiarity more so than the words of other teachers who taught much of the same lessons.”

The journey continues …

 

Summer time and things are alright

Andy and Opie

Cliche’: Time flies.

Too true. Busy most of the time. Tired and in a rut the rest of the time. Time to regenerate for new energy and new mental exercises.

Things have improved a bit lately. We both have full time jobs. I got promoted last fall and my wife replaced her part time job with a full time one (same employer, different department).

Interesting and complicated year in world events and US politics. I know where I stand but I will save the discussion for Face Book.

Peace to all. Happy 4th of July to all.

Spring Sprung

Coming out of the Winter of 2015/16 here in Connecticut, USA and it was an improvement of the previous Winter. Less snow. Extended Autumn like weather. March started out switching back and forth in temperature over the first three weeks of the month. We reach the first full day of Spring and a snowstorm brewing. Predicted 6 to 8 inches in my part of the state.

It has been a better Winter for me with more sunlight than last year and a bit more weight lost. Down almost 30 lbs from this time ten years ago.

Tight budget. Despite my promotion my wife’s loss of a good job a year ago followed by a new full time job cut to part time sets us behind. Welcome to the sideshow of this ongoing recession.

 

 

Thoughts of my late father and a note to him

February 2016
Quickly passes another month, another year. Memories of my Father on the 10th anniversary of his death followed by the 81st anniversary of his birth. I miss you, Dad. My depression, fatigue, responsibilities and distance always kept a wall between me and the world and a curtain between me and those I love. I understand as a loved one’s mortality is evident as that loved one is slowly dying one’s own inner defenses can blunt the emotions.

I wasn’t connecting in your final days even though we saw each other most weekends when we would visit you at the nursing home. You had a need to bridge a gap and I couldn’t bridge that gap. As time has passed I think I understand you better. As my depression became treated more effectively I could see how similar we were then and now.

Your selfimage seemed strong when I was growing up and I wished I could have been that type of man. Now I understand you wanted to be that type of man as well. You were more outgoing than I was but I see I have been able to be that outgoing in the years since you passed away.

Little things said as well as silence come to mind. You were as insecure as I have been in adulthood. Your father abandoning the family in your childhood must have shaped your self-esteem. I don’t know if you ever forgave him. I know you didn’t like the name he gave your.

I wish you could have known the strength of your name. Trenton: refering to the river Trent in England.  Caswell: a well near where the watercress grows which I have also seem refering to a strong well of good water. You thought your alcoholic father and his drinking buddies saddled you with an odd name. Perhaps that is why you went safe with my name. I try to present a good image to the world of the name you gave me. My first name which the world made me use since I entered public school as well as our family name. I cherish though the middle name you always called me by and which Mom, my siblings (and their spouses), my nieces and relatives on your side of the family still call me.

Peace and love, Dad. I am not sure what I believe about what comes after this life but I will cherish your memory while I am alive. May we meet again in some positive form.