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Category: The Magazine

Fragments on Fragments #8: Being Human in a Pandemic

“It is clear from many lessons of history that violence does not root out violence, though it may change around who are the perpetrators and who are the victims. The challenge is to loosen the bonds of society enough that those who are oppressed are released, but the whole body of a community does not dissolve. It is to loosen, and then retie those bonds in a shape that more resembles justice.”

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Fragments on Fragments #7: Being Human in a Pandemic

“The pandemic has taught those of us who thought we were completely in control that we’re really not – and a lot of us knew all too well that the power in our lives was not our own. The coronavirus pandemic for many of us has just added yet another thing pushing in on us, making our lives more and more difficult.”

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The Difference of Indifference

“Indifference may be the greatest human evil; standing by while someone is being abused or bullied or starved. And Equanimity might be the greatest human tool; living a life that welcomes all of it – aware that suffering will pass.  Ecstasy will pass. Everything will pass.”

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Fragments on Fragments #6: Being Human in a Pandemic

“One of the deepest rooted human fears, even more so than the fear of illness, is the fear of the stranger. We are all hard-wired to trust most those whom we know best, sometimes despite the evidence. The pandemic has fed on those fears. Although there is no more reason to suppose that a stranger is carrying the virus than your family and friends, we are all inclined to believe that those we know well are safe to be with, and those we don’t, not so much.”

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Uncovering Recovery: Shame on You!

“The crushing pain of shame need not keep us from the sunlight of the spirit.  Shame need not keep us fleeing from ourselves in addiction, even if that addiction is as subtle as projecting our shadows onto others (well, sometimes that’s not too subtle, actually) or constantly keeping ourselves busy so that we never dwell within our own center.  Whatever bad things we have done—even if we have urinated in the janitor’s bucket—we are not a bad thing.  Guilt is meant to be temporary, something to work through, and we need not split off parts of ourselves that we hide and bury in sick secrets.”

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Pandemic Ministry: Between the Church and the World

“The grace of the folks in the homeless camps we delivered food to reminded me again and again why I do ministry. One day I showed up with bags of sandwiches and a woman who lives in one camp greeted me with laughter. It was strange, something I hadn’t heard in a long time, and I smiled. The people of my parishes who cared so deeply about each other and the world dared me to hope. The way they talked to each other, with genuine concern, every time we met by Zoom. The way they organized to support our homeless neighbors, gathering resources and sharing their time. So I did hope, a little. And then a little more. Finally I was able to pray. And then to listen to the Word. And so I continue in this work, but with a focus on each person I encounter and the blessing they offer, and with a little more patience for myself.”

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Do We Want to be Made Well? The Sickness and Sin of Racism in America

“To be made well will require us to put aside all thoughts of the perceived impediments to wellness; we’ll have to help each other into the stirred up waters of the pool. To be made well will require us to not fear change or the collective healthy growth of our community; we will have to come to the table together, to have honest conversation about how the sickness of racism continues to impact our communities, and work together to plan for whole-community transformation.”

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Fragments on Fragments #4: Being Human in a Pandemic

“During the period of lockdown, for many of us time dragged, slowly (while for others it zoomed – pun intended). Those who were already experiencing poverty and insecurity have mostly suffered more. Some with good incomes have found themselves saving large amounts as socialising is curtailed. It’s not fair.”

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Fragments on Fragments #3: Being Human in a Pandemic

“It’s not at all obvious what a way out would look like from a pandemic. This coronavirus has proved very efficient at spreading itself, and very difficult to dislodge from society. The more we meet each other, the more opportunities for it to spread. And there aren’t many of us who would look forward to a lifetime of spatially distanced conversations with our friends and families. A way of living which allows us to meet each other without restriction or anxiety does indeed seem unattainable and inaccessible.”

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The Episcopal Café seeks to be an independent voice, reporting and reflecting on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican tradition.  The Café is not a platform of advocacy, but it does aim to tell the story of the church from the perspective of Progressive Christianity.  Our collective sympathy, as the Café, lies with the project of widening the circle of inclusion within the church and empowering all the baptized for the role to which they have been called as followers of Christ.

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