Category Archives: OUR BEST POSTS

“By the time they start school, for some children it’s already too late.”

This article by Nick Morrison originally appeared in Forbes on 11/30/16, but for some reason is almost impossible to access now.  I reproduce here below the cached version; if there are legal repercussions, I’ll face them when the time comes.

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By The Time They Start School, For Some Children It’s Already Too Late

Continue reading “By the time they start school, for some children it’s already too late.”

Alcoholism basics

(A message I sent family on 26 April 2006.)

Disease, or sin?

To the best of my knowledge, the “disease theory of alcoholism” began with Dr. Robert Silkworth, at the time of St. Thomas Hospital in Akron, Ohio, coincident with the beginnings of A.A. “Dr. Bob” referred to the condition as an “allergy”; for whatever reason, these folks’ bodies respond to this substance differently than others’ do.

This theory and its ramifications are, today, largely taken for granted throughout the scientific world. Whatever the disease’s cause, behavioral strategies are needed, too, if the subject is to manage the disease and live a normal life. The same is just as true of diabetes or near-sightedness or hay fever.

The competing view, that drinking problems reflect sin or some kind of moral deficiency, still has its grip on the popular mind. The predicaments that problem drinkers create for themselves and for others, are bad enough in and of themselves without the added burden of this stigma. My late father insisted until his last lucid day, that it was all a question of “will power.” I remember visiting Mom at home sometime prior to 1990, and finding on the bookshelf different books by Hazen G. Werner, an Ohio Methodist bishop whom my father fervently admired, and finding certain passages that my father had marked wherein the author discounted the disease theory and blamed it all instead on, as it were, sin. I shook my head at the untold, needless damage such words do.
Continue reading Alcoholism basics

Rough day at BK

Transcribed from my diary for Sunday 2017-03-12, for now I am intentionally leaving this unfinished.

Rough day at BK.  I may not have the guts to recall and tell it all.  But behind it I feel certain of (1) what Jesus did among the poor, and (2) what my task is at the shelter, and what it takes for me to leave.  (3) I have suspected for some time that the real means of wealth creation, of upward mobility, is different from anything we have ever imagined.  I have a notion of what it may be, and enough confidence in it to act on it, but it’s still very hard to believe.

The question is whether these certainties are enough to overcome my fear of uncertainty, my fear of the unknown.

Continue reading Rough day at BK

Kansas prisoners get the granny treatment

(Originally posted 11/23/13.)

Steve Hartman’s “On the Road” segment for the CBS Evening News, 11/01/13:

Kan. prisoners get the granny treatment

Here is a practical example of how brightening the “divine spark” within people can effect redemption or transformation.

The healing powers of a drug store cashier

(Originally published 11/16/13.)

(From an April 2010 e-mail to my family:)

Dad was still in good health back in ’83-85, when I became so deeply interested in spiritual healing. He maintained a pragmatic skepticism about it throughout; in essence, “What’s the use? We’re all going to die anyway.”

I recalled that Monday night 12/07/09 on my way home from Rite Aid, where I’d had to go buy a few things. I was having pretty severe pain in lower left abdomen, after having had several “difficult” eliminations earlier in the day. I took the pain for infection-inflamed ureter; later concluded I was passing a stone. Long time since I’d passed a stone. Long time by my standards, that is.

The state I was in at that hour, I was inclined to cancel all appointments and errands for the next day, and plan to spend all day Tuesday flat on my back in bed. With pain like this, you can’t do much more than just stare into space and feel miserable.

I would recall one author’s answer to Dad’s argument; Lawrence Althouse is the guy’s name. He said the sheer alleviation of pain — without opiates — is justification enough for the practice of spiritual healing. Pain occasions loss of productivity, as just described. It also stresses relationships; with any less self-control as to these things than I’ve learned in the past few years, had anyone crossed my path the wrong way on that trip home, I might well have snapped at the person.

That’s not something you want to do in the ghetto. Especially at night.

There are other was to effect spiritual healing, besides prayer.

Just being nice to people, as opposed to choosing, say, to inject needless pain (“static”) into their world — that’s one.

Crystal happened to wait on me at the Rite Aid; she’s my favorite clerk, and I’d not seen her in months. Damn if she didn’t smile at me and give me a cheery greeting as soon as I came in the door.

Damn if my pain didn’t go away — completely — for some time, later after I got home, as I recalled that encounter. “Spiritual” — healing — indeed.

Every word can work good or ill. My choice; your choice.
on air talent, radio talk show, talk show host, the homeless blogger

Giving it all away

(Originally published 05/09/12 at Trojan Horse Productions.  Republished here 10/30/13.)

At work on Tuesday 05/08/12, the radio station they had on the PA played Genesis’ “Giving it all away.”

People see things different ways given their personal circumstances.

I know nothing about Phil Collins personally. But in all likelihood, were he to “give it all away” as he understands it, he would probably have a lot left.

Not I.

All I own is the contents of two heavy bags. Giving it all away would be a simple gesture. And afterwards, I would have nothing.

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That afternoon, as usual, as soon as I got to my bunk I sat down and got out my medications for the evening. The guy assigned to the bunk above me was a newcomer, real clean-cut, a Jake Pavelka lookalike.

“Got any goodies in those pill bottles?” he asked.

“No,” I answered.

“It’d been cooler if you’d said yes,” he said.

As usual, I put my meds back in my zipper bag when I finished, and, as usual, I locked it.

Because of guys like him.
talk show host, on air talent, radio talk show, the homeless blogger

Forgiving the cosmos

For years, I’ve had a special sensitivity to reports of child abuse.

This one may give you nightmares for the rest of your life.

victoria-martensVictoria Martens

According to the police report, on her 10th birthday, the mother’s boyfriend and his female cousin injected this little girl with drugs “to calm her down.”  They proceeded to strangle, torture, rape and dismember her.

While her mother looked on.

Where is God, or what is God, when such an event can occur?

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