Category Archives: Current Events

Stand by This Faith, Rally, March

After Election Day, I continued to wear my ‘Love Trumps Hate’ button and also added a safety pin to my lapel for good measure. Beyond politics and personalities, I believe that certain principles generally hold true. On the eve of Thanksgiving, while I was riding an express train home on NYC transit wearing both button and pin, a man and his male friend got on at Penn Station. This man was well-dressed and a little older; he took the seat right next to mine on the subway, so our wretched encounter would be pointedly personal.

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Despite It All

Just recently, the conductor has once more begun calling my train stop by name. Each time I hear it echo, I feel a touch more relieved, a bit closer to home. When I hand him my green Metro-North Railroad ticket stamped SPN DVL, he peers at it closely, then booms “Spites!” as he punches two holes in rapid succession. “Spites” is railroad shorthand for Spuyten Duyvil. For several years, this New York station was known for having a Dutch name almost impossible to pronounce. Now it’s best known for being the worst accident site in regional commuter rail history. The train wreck took place right near the bend in the tracks where the Harlem River meets the Hudson – one year ago, this December.

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Tiny’s Kindness

The sharp economic downturn took place shortly after we moved into our corner of the city, and the result was that our neighborhood was coming undone just as we were settling into it. Restaurants and stores emptied as quickly as dominoes falling up one side of the street and around down the other side. Yet the small corner diner was one of the last businesses to go, which seemed odd, given just how horrible the food was there. Since the window blinds were always drawn shut, it was hard to know when (or whether) the diner was even open, but the blinds did serve to hide an especially dreary interior from the view of passersby. Continue reading

No Brakes, But a Bell

After a few rainy days down at the shore, with our time there drawing to its close, the clouds finally broke, and when we saw the sunlight streaming through, my husband and I quickly borrowed a couple of bikes. Our kind hosts loaned them to us on short notice; they were serviceable seaside bicycles, scratched and a little rusted, with fat, full tires. The plan was to take them to the very end of the beach boardwalk, then turn right around for the return ride. It seemed a straightforward enough route. Continue reading

Sermon in the Streets

Supply preaching is a strange phenomenon, but I gladly provide the supply myself. I have decent tolerance for strange situations, and I’ll include last weekend in that. I was supply preaching at a former church of mine, the one where I’d served as Intern and then Summer Minister, the same church that later became my ordaining congregation. I have a great fondness for it still. It’s located in midtown Manhattan, a place rarely crowded on a Sunday in summer. Unless – and this is a considerable exception to that generality – that Sunday comes at the end of June, when the Gay Pride Parade marches down Fifth Avenue.

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Three-Inch Screens

March on Media:
Part I in an Ongoing Series on the Place of Technology in Our Lives

A few months ago, at a family get-together that took some pains to arrange, I looked around our assembled group and saw just about every single relation staring at the small, glowing screen of a smartphone. They hardly noticed one another, let alone my staring; their attention was held captive by a series of three-inch squares in shifting shades. That family picture has stayed with me since then, although I never snapped it with a digital camera. No electronic copy of it sits anywhere on my laptop or Ipad or Blackberry or e-mail inbox. I simply see it in my mind’s eye and it still saddens me. Continue reading

Open the Doors!

Not too long ago, our health-care insurance company sent us an upbeat notice stating that our family was now eligible to fill our prescriptions through mail, a switch that would presumably save them and us some money. We could circumvent the drugstore altogether. This was presented as terrific news. When my husband handed the notice to me, after a quick glance, I dropped the notice as though its paper were laced with carbolic acid and started sputtering. “What? Why?” I demanded. “I don’t want to do this. Why would I ever want to do this?” Continue reading