And He Was Amazed

The story of Jesus of Nazareth in Nazareth is layered and maybe a little unsettling, but it’s not wholly unrelatable, especially in a city like Seattle; nearly everyone I know here has a complicated relationship with some place they call “back home.”  Years ago, I read a book that summed up the Nazarenes’ reaction to that carpenter kid next door returning all wisened up and doing “deeds of power” with three simple words: “familiarity breeds contempt.” That’s probably the only thing I remember about that book because it seemed to unlock the secrets behind all sorts of mysterious behavior around me–the paradox of being … Continue reading “And He Was Amazed”

Keffiyeh Day, 2021

“To insist on the universal dimension of a Palestinian grammar of suffering is to resist the containment of the Palestinian question to a regional dispute…” (Zahi Zalloua) Today is #KeffiyehDay, and I’ve been thinking about that quote since I saw it on Twitter last week: “The Palestinian question touches all of us…to the extent that we are all compelled to imagine & invent the conditions for justice and equality in our contemporary global world.” Matt Flisfeder, who shared the quote, closed out his thread with this: “And, I would add that it is the same for the persistence of antisemitism and … Continue reading “Keffiyeh Day, 2021”

May Day, 2021

It’s fascinating how the Gates Foundation has positioned itself at the intersection of very different vectors of rage over the years—anti-maskers today, copy-leftists last night, anti-vaxxers at one point, counter-Modiites before that. Though not all protests are created equal, this breadth of contention does share one feature: unmasking the feudalistic trials of strength that the neoliberal fairytale tells us it keeps at bay, just outside the city limits. This is what the gatekeepers were supposed to protect us from, but, alas, more of us are beginning to recognize that their rule of experts was founded on myth—this rule is not … Continue reading “May Day, 2021”

Work Hard. Have Fun. Make History.

Imagine with me a city with a major transnational logistics provider and several data-mining enterprises wielding astronomical levels of computing power amongst themselves, pooling resources to, I don’t know, maybe help with tracking vaccine doses per medical provider per neighborhood—avoiding false moral dilemmas around “cutting in line” when there are no lines to cut in a spiraling rhizome of geographically-zoned inoculation not that many degrees more advanced in logic and efficiency and care than Balto and his sled—rather than wasting their time trying to stop their employees from unionizing instead. No, but seriously though, imagine with me whole neighborhoods vaccinated … Continue reading “Work Hard. Have Fun. Make History.”

Eyes to See

I’ve been reflecting on the days I feel moved to symbolically mark; these aren’t the same every year. I try to stay true to the heart of ritual and only speak to what’s speaking to me in the moment, though guilt is often a sneaky stowaway however I feel. Land Day came and went and I did not move past my inertia. The Gift of Tears by Revolutionary Army of the Infant Jesus But this morning, the plates have shifted and I remember that for all my wokeness, the first time I ever met and befriended transgender people was in … Continue reading “Eyes to See”

Bad Like I Feel: Empathy as Solidarity

The institution that I’ve been dedicating myself to is embroiled in an online controversy, and this is valid and good, but I don’t want to discuss the specifics, as I would be doing so in ignorance of much. I prefer to avoid joining the cacophony of voices talking past and over each other. I do want to discuss some of these voices, though, because if I have skills in anything, it’s in listening for the words that people trip over in the thick of the awful din. I believe that, for most people, the human capacity to imagine worlds at … Continue reading “Bad Like I Feel: Empathy as Solidarity”

Reflections on the Fourth Monday of Advent

“You sent messengers to John, and he testified to the truth…He was a burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light. But I have a testimony greater than John’s. The works that the Father has given me to complete, the very works that I am doing, testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me.” It’s readings like these that make me empathize with the people who interacted with Jesus—how frustrating it must have been to hear these words! The audacity of these claims! And yet, with 20/20 hindsight, we, as … Continue reading “Reflections on the Fourth Monday of Advent”

Reflections on the Second Saturday of Advent

“Simon, Simon, listen! Satan has demanded to sift all of you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your own faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” And he said to him, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death!” Jesus said, “I tell you, Peter, the cock will not crow this day, until you have denied three times that you know me.” (Luke 22:31-38) Sometimes I wonder why Jesus chose Simon to be his Peter—his rock, the Rock on which he built his Church. Throughout the … Continue reading “Reflections on the Second Saturday of Advent”

Against American Exceptionalism: Voting as Harm Reduction

There’s an organization here called Seattle Solidarity. Years ago, I’d read about them on an old iteration of their website, which was a lot more explicit about a fundamental organizing principle they follow or have followed for over a decade: agitate to win and never mobilize if you’re not convinced that you will. I remember reading somewhere in their FAQs how they understood the critical importance to their effectiveness as a solidarity network and pressure group of maintaining a 100% win rate. I can’t find that information now; I don’t know if their ethos has changed, but when I first … Continue reading “Against American Exceptionalism: Voting as Harm Reduction”