Archive for the ‘Coronavirus/COVID-19’ Category

Face Masks   Leave a comment

MUTUALITY, PUBLIC SAFETY, TUCKER CARLSON, AND THE FOX NOISE CHANNEL

As circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic have changed, so has official guidance.  For example, now that vaccines for people aged 16 years or older have become more widely available in the United States of America, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued new guidelines regarding the wearing of face masks in public.  This pandemic has presented many challenges.  Public health professionals, whose sole agenda is to save lives, have had to study a proverbial moving target.  Hence, official guidelines have changed over time.

The target continues to move.  Therefore, data remains incomplete.  We need to remember that as we focus on what we can know in real time.  We can know much.  Whether the situation improves or worsens and how quickly it does that depends greatly on how we behave as individuals, societies, institutions, and governments.  May we not squander blessed progress.

Tucker Carlson, of the FOX Noise Channel, has encouraged people who think as he does to confront those still wearing face masks outdoors.  I have learned to expect especially potent and rich organic fertilizer from the FOX Noise Channel and from Carlson, in particular.  They have long presented themselves as champions of freedom, of a sort–freedom from, not freedom to.  During the last four or so years, in particular, the FOX Noise Channel has actually embraced a Nativistic, White nationalistic, and fascistic agenda as part of Donald Trump’s fascistic death cult of personality.  Even certain prominent Republicans (principled conservatives, I call them), former office holders, have noticed this with great alarm.

Fascism is not freedom.  No, it is a form of tyranny.

I am fully vaccinated.  Therefore, according to the most recent official guidance, I may safely and responsibly forgo wearing face masks outdoors under certain circumstances.  Sometimes I do forgo wearing face masks outdoors.  If, for example, nobody else is around, I do not wear face masks outdoors.  Yet I still wear two face masks outdoors sometimes.  For example, I wear them when walking on sidewalks.  I try to maintain a social distance from other people, but that is not always possible.  Besides, assuming that someone is at least 16 years old, I cannot look at him or her and tell if he or she is unvaccinated, partially vaccinated, or fully vaccinated.  By wearing two face masks, I am not endangering anyone, corrupting anyone’s morals, or behaving indecently.  Therefore, nobody has the moral right to confront me for wearing two face masks outdoors.

I leave Carlson and company at the FOX Noise Channel to their fascistic death cult of personality.  If they want to compete for the Darwin Awards, that is their choice.  It is a bad one, but it is still their option.  I have the moral right to object when thew spew organic fertilizer that needlessly endangers human lives.

Perhaps I really do not have to wear two face masks when walking on sidewalks..  If I err, I hope to do so on the side of caution and mutuality.  This is part of my applied interpretation of the Golden Rule.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 29, 2021 COMMON ERA

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Fully Vaccinated   2 comments

As of today, I am fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Today marks two weeks since I received the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.  Until such time as I may need a booster dose, I am 95% protected.

I thank God that effective vaccines against COVID-19 exist.  I also thank God that all those who helped to make this possible did do.  And I thank God that all of we mere ordinary citizens who have become vaccinated have done so.  Public health experts consistently say that getting as many people as possible vaccinated as quickly as possible is crucial to ending the pandemic.

Yet some people stick their proverbial heads into equally proverbial holes in the sand.  Some deny that the pandemic is real.  I recall an unpleasant encounter I had in August 2020, while working for the Census Bureau.

I was wearing a face mask, in accordance with Census Bureau policy.  It was a nondescript face mask.  I knocked on a door.  The man who opened the door was a far-right-wing conspiracy nut who told me that the face mask I wore “represented Satan.”  Neither did he want to answer any Census questions.

Some stick their proverbial heads into equally proverbial holes in the sand.  Some do this on the basis of misplaced distrust of expertise.  Experts in a field know more about that field than those who have not done what is necessary to become experts in that field.  Expertise deserves respect, not emotional and anti-intellectual misplaced populism.  The informed opinion of an expert should matter more than the uninformed opinion of a man or woman “on the street.”

Yes, I know that some vaccines carry temporary side effects.  The shingles vaccine, I hear, really does.  Yet the disease in question is worse than any side effects.  And many side effects are exceedingly rare.  Statistics should matter more than isolated anecdotes.  I report that I had soreness at the injection site for about 24 hours following my first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.  I also report my side effects after the second dose.  I report that I had soreness at the injection site for about 48 hours, and that, on the day following that dose, I had to take an unplanned nap.

In an age of anti-intellectual, anti-science populism, anecdotes and half-baked memes cloud the thinking of many people.  This is extremely perilous during a pandemic.  Objective reality remains objective reality, even though many people do not believe in it.  The COVID-19 virus continues to mutate, as viruses do.  Speeding up the rate of vaccinations is crucial.  That is not all that is crucial.  We–governments, corporations, small businesses, communities, congregations, individuals, et cetera–all need to behave responsibly.  Policies need to be morally responsible and grounded in science.  I practice social distancing and wear two masks in public.  I may even wear two masks in public when doing so is not necessary.  If I err on the side of safety in this matter, so be it.  That is better than erring on the side of danger.

We all belong to God and each other.  Mutuality, built into the Law of Moses, informs my morality.  We are all responsible to and for each other.  And we are all accountable to God.  Wearing two face masks in public at this time is consistent with my interpretation of the Golden Rule.  And, during this pandemic, I accept temporary upper arm soreness and an unplanned nap as small prices to pay for acting according to the Golden Rule.  I refuse to be a selfish cry-baby.  Besides, COVID-19 is far worse than any temporary side effect of a vaccine.

Many people cannot get vaccinated yet.  Some have a medical reason.  Others are too young.  Others seek and cannot get an appointment.  Many people have difficulty getting to a vaccination site.  And other people live in places where no vaccine is available.  Those fortunate enough to be able to get an appointment, are old enough, have no medical reason not to get vaccinated, are legally eligible, and have yet to get vaccinated have a moral obligation to get vaccinated as soon as possible.  This is for the common good.

Despite being one of the fully-vaccinated people, I remain more comfortable worshiping in front of a computer screen, at least for a while.  My parish now offers two in-person worship services on Sunday mornings.  There are strict rules.  For example, attendees must register, masks are mandatory, and people are spaced apart.  Also, there is a limit on attendance at each service.  I feel less stress sitting alone in front of a computer monitor at home.  I can also say the Prayer of Spiritual Communion.  For a while yet, I will maintain a different type of social distancing while worshiping.

Yet knowing that have 95% protection reduces my pandemic stress load.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 26, 2021 COMMON ERA

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Act Responsibly (Especially During a Pandemic)   Leave a comment

I HAVE NO SYMPATHY FOR FOOLS WHO ENDANGER THE LIVES OF OTHERS NEEDLESSLY.

One of the most counterproductive and socially irresponsible aspects of human psychology is the tendency to protect one’s ego at the expense of being objectively correct.  When admitting error may endanger one’s self-image, one may double down on the objectively false idea.  This tendency, reinforced the declining number of common media outlets, increases the number of opportunities for indulging confirmation bias.

I am glad to report that, so far, I have avoided contracting COVID-19.  I have worn masks in public.  I have been wearing two masks since the day I read that advice online.  I have received my first Pfizer vaccine.  I have been waiting for the scheduled date of my second shot to arrive.  

Many people make me angry during this pandemic.  Damn fools who defy the advice of public health experts and do not practice social distancing raise my ire.  Politicians who behave irresponsibly–by easing restrictions or not imposing them, in defiance of the best public health advice–are paving their roads to Hell, I am convinced.  People who mistake not wearing masks, at least not properly, for taking a principled stand on civil liberties endanger themselves and other people.  Those who, in the name of politics, refuse to take a crucial vaccine when it is available are competing for the Darwin Awards, too.  And those who, citing immoral medical experiments of the past, refuse to take a necessary vaccine when it is available are like generals fighting an earlier war and misapplying lessons from the previous war to the current one.

Whatever I do affects others.  Whatever you, O reader, do affects others.  Mutuality is a societal reality and a pillar of the Law of Moses.  Those who compete for the Darwin Awards act irresponsibly.  They endanger themselves, bearers of the image of God, needlessly.  They also put other people at risk needlessly.  In this case, acting for the common good entails wearing a mask or masks in public, maintaining social distancing, and getting vaccinated when possible, unless one has already become fully vaccinated.  Depending on circumstances, acting for the common good during this pandemic may entail other actions, too, of course.  

I am tired of this pandemic.  I do not enjoy wearing masks.  I dislike needles.  Yet I wear two masks in public.  Yet I, having gotten jabbed once already, have a scheduled date to get jabbed again.  This is not about what I want to do.  No, this is about what I have a moral imperative to do.

So, to those who insist on denying the reality of the virus and/or not wearing a mask or getting vaccinated, I ask:

What is your damage?

I ask the same question to politicians with the power to enact responsible policy yet choose not to do so.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 31, 2021 COMMON ERA

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“Neanderthal Thinking” and “Reptilian Bastards”   Leave a comment

I vaguely recall a news story from decades ago.  Certain legislative Republicans were cutting the budget for Public Defenders.  One critic–an attorney–described these legislators as “reptilian bastards.”  He received criticism from offended Republicans.  I thought that the attorney had severely insulted reptiles of dubious parentage by comparing them to people who wanted to gut the budget for Public Defenders.

This week, the Governors of Texas and Mississippi announced that they were about to lift their states’ mask mandate.  President Biden described these decisions as “Neanderthal thinking.”  In so doing, he offended many Republicans and, no doubt, Creationists.  The objective reality of human evolution aside, “Neanderthal thinking” may have insulted Neanderthals by comparing them to the Governors of Texas and Mississippi.  

The President’s criticism is legitimate, though.  Human lives are at stake.  These governors have blood on their hands.  They will have more blood on their hands.  On this side of Heaven, may voters render their damning verdicts on them.  I would call these governors “reptilian bastards,” except for the risk of insulting lizards.

Regarding language, if this is about as intemperate as off-the-cuff presidential remarks get during the Biden years, I can live with that.  “Neanderthal thinking” is a far cry from inciting violence, stoking racism, and encouraging conspiracy theories.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 6, 2021 COMMON ERA

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The Worst and Most Dangerous President of the United States of America   Leave a comment

Above:  The Seal of the President

Image in the Public Domain

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Donald Trump was the worst and the most dangerous President of the United States of America.

Before I elaborate on that statement, I offer some preliminary thoughts.  My training is in historical methodology.  My operational bias is, in almost all circumstances, to let time pass before I make historical conclusions.  The main difference between journalism and history is temporal perspective.  History is the interpretation of the past, based on documentary evidence.  (Writing is the difference between prehistory and history.)  I suspect that the United States is in the process of political realignment and the creation of the Eighth Party System.  I cannot assert that argument yet, for I need to let a sufficient amount of time pass first.  I need to see the results of a few elections, spread out over at least a decade.  I need to see if the Republican Party will split and what it will become, too.

I have long been a student of the American Presidency.  I can recite the Presidents in order, with dates and party affiliations.  I have also taught myself the names and sequence of Vice Presidents.  

I rank a few Presidents (mostly from the 1800s) at the bottom of the barrel.  These are, in chronological order:

  1. John Tyler (1841-1845),
  2. Millard Fillmore (1850-1853),
  3. Franklin Pierce (1853-1857),
  4. James Buchanan (1857-1861),
  5. Andrew Johnson (1865-1869), and
  6. Warren G. Harding (1921-1923).

Harding had enough self-awareness to admit in private, in the White House, that he was not fit for the Presidency.  He had more self-awareness than Donald Trump.

Richard Nixon (1969-1974) had many great accomplishments on his record.  Yet he engaged in criminal activities, had a dirty tricks squad, and prompted a constitutional crisis.  His attitude that whatever the President did was legal was antithetical to republican government, but not to Republican government.  (The same theory was prominent in the George W. Bush Administration.)  Nevertheless, Nixon had enough self-awareness to resign on August 9, 1974.

Despite my preference for letting time pass before arriving at certain historical conclusions, I have enough evidence to state confidently that Donald Trump was the worst and most dangerous President of the United States of America.

Donald Trump committed many varieties of official perfidy.  He sought to destroy democratic institutions.  He stirred up white supremacist violence.  He violated federal election tampering laws.  He violated election tampering laws in Georgia, my state.  He gutted essential expertise in the federal government.  He spread lies and debunked conspiracy theories daily.  He bungled the federal response to the COVID-19 pandemic, costing many thousands of lives.  He cozied up to dictators and alienated democratic allies.  He ignored Russian bounties on the lives of U.S. servicemen in combat overseas.  Oh, and Trump launched an insurrection against the federal government on January 6, 2021.  If that is not an offense worthy of impeachment in the House of Representatives and conviction in the Senate, I do not know what is.

Even though the new Biden Administration has been exhibiting competence, as well as respect for democratic norms, we, as a nation-state, are not out of the woods yet.  Trump is properly vulnerable to criminal prosecution in multiple jurisdictions.  Nobody should be above the law, after all.  Trump is beginning to face his reckoning.  Yet Trump cultists continue to endanger the republic.  Trump is mortal, but his movement will outlive him.

President Biden wants to be an agent of national reconciliation.  I hope he can be.  The desire to be an empathetic reconciler is a necessary and laudable first step.  Biden has the grief and the empathy to function as an agent of national reconciliation during a time of national trauma.  He has buried a wife and two children.  And Biden is a decent man.  We, as a nation-state, need a Reconciler-in-Chief.  But Biden can be only as effective in this role as other people permit him to be.  And many people are not ready for reconciliation.

President Biden has a very difficult job; he has to be the shovel brigade for the ultimate elephant.  I pray for him and do not envy him.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 23, 2021 COMMON ERA

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Perilous Times (II)   Leave a comment

Above:  The Cover of a Germane Novel

Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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We live in perilous times.  The COVID-19 pandemic is becoming worse.  Yes, vaccination has begun, but human irresponsibility has continued.  Donald Trump has been fanning the flames of discredited conspiracy theories about alleged theft of the presidential election of 2020.  According to public opinion polls, the vast majority of self-identified Republicans has drunk that Kool-Aid.  And, two days ago, in the Oval Office, criminal and retired General Michael Flynn, standing in the Oval Office, proposed the use of martial law to overturn the allegedly stolen election.

All of this makes the plots of the British and American versions of House of Cards seem tame by comparison.

Father Sollace “Mike” Freeman, a priest in the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta, has written a novel, published at the end of summer.  I started reading this story shortly after the press counted electoral votes and declared Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr., the President-Elect.  In the novel, the unnamed President of the United States (presumably Trump) has narrowly lost his bid for a second term to Governor Jennifer England.  The President spends most of the novel undermining the election results and engaging in criminal activities for the purpose of securing a second term.  The President-Elect must resort to drastic measures to maintain the constitutional system.

Father Mike’s narrative does not seem unrealistic, given current events. 

We live in perilous times.  I will feel much better at 12:01 p.m. next January 20.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 20, 2020 COMMON ERA

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Best Wishes for 2021   2 comments

Today is the last day of the church year 2019-2020.  Tomorrow will be the First Sunday of Advent and the First Day of Advent.  Today, therefore, seems like an appropriate time to write this blog post.

This has been an especially difficult year for the world.  One major reason, of course, has been the COVID-19 pandemic.  Other difficulties have spun off from it.  Human irresponsibility, both individual and collective, has been a complicating factor.  This year has confirmed my lack of faith in human nature.

This year, out of an abundance of caution, I have, for the first time, decided not to celebrate Christmas with any relatives.  I have mailed presents and purchased Christmas cards.  My family has expressed understanding in this matter, fortunately.

This pandemic may get worse before it gets better, for a host of reasons, not the least of which is human irresponsibility.  Perhaps we will get past all this by next summer.

My prayer for every person, town, community, neighborhood, congregation, state, province, region, nation-state, et cetera, is simple:  May God’s best for you be your reality.  May 2021 be a blessed year for you.  May you be a blessing to others in 2021.  May others be blessings to you in 2021.  And, if you refuse to be on God’s side and be a blessing to others, may you stay out of the way, at least.

Pax vobiscum!

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 29, 2020 COMMON ERA

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Political Statement–November 8, 2020   Leave a comment

Above:  The Flag of the United States of America

Image in the Public Domain

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I, as one trained in historical methodology, prefer to think, speak, and write in the past tenses.  This tendency spills over into the rest of my life.  Therefore, when thinking, speaking, and writing of an episode of a completed series, for example, I do so from the perspective of one looking at the past.  I also place that episode in context of that series, for context is key to interpretation.  I know this from my historical training.  This is how I think, speak, and write.  To expect me to do otherwise is to expect me to be someone other than myself.

Many people have attempted to transform me into someone other than myself.  All of them have failed.  They have not transformed me into a fundamentalist, a social-cultural historian, or anything else I find repugnant.  I have maintained my integrity as myself, sometimes at a high cost.  I have decided to accept the advice (ironic within the context of Hamlet),

This above all:  to thine own self be true

And it must follow, as the night the day

Thou canst not then be false to any man.

I have long been reluctant to issue statements about unfolding events.  I have wanted to watch them play out before commenting on them.  I have had opinions, of course.  I have “cussed and discussed” in private.  And I have kept almost all of that between God and myself.

Today, however, I am ready to make the following statements, in no particular order:

  1. I continue to reject debunked conspiracy theories and those who peddle them.  I reject the vast majority of conspiracy theories anyway.  I prefer Ockham’s Razor and have a healthy respect for objective reality.
  2. I reject politicians and pundits (especially Donald Trump and cultists thereof) who lie at least every other time they speak or tweet.
  3. Donald Trump and cultists thereof are menaces to the republic.
  4. Counting votes cast within the scope of the law is crucial to the democratic system.  Doing so is not a threat to that system.  If counting votes in a state in which one’s preferred candidate is winning is okay, so should counting votes in a state in which one’s preferred candidate is losing.
  5. Presidents of the United States of America come and go.  The United States of America persists.
  6. Nobody who uses totalitarian language and tactics (certainly not routinely) is worthy to be the President of the United States of America.
  7. Remember that members of the United States military swear loyalty to the Constitution, not the President, of the United States of America.
  8. As many leading Republicans lament, voter suppression has become a major tactic within that party.  Whenever a political party’s base keeps shrinking, that party’s responsible path forward, for the sake of the country, is to broaden its base, not seek to decrease the number of voters.
  9. The United States of America will be stronger when both major parties accept objective reality, including science, such as that of climate change and COVID-19.
  10. People are entitled to their own opinions, but never to their own facts.  Objective reality is what it is.
  11. The United States of America should have a finely-honed election infrastructure.
  12. Given the Electoral College and the state (Georgia) in which I reside, my vote may count this year–for the only time since 1992, my first Presidential election.
  13. I support the abolition of the Electoral College.  Every vote should count.  I grant that this is easy for me to write, given that the Democratic Presidential nominee has won the popular vote in every election from 1992 to 2020, except for 2004.  I also note that the Democratic Presidential nominee lost the election in 2000 and 2016.  Furthermore, I acknowledge that John Kerry would have become President, despite coming in second place in the popular vote count, in 2005 if he had carried Ohio in 2004.  I try to avoid hypocrisy.  “Every vote should count” is a mater of principle for me.
  14. Bigotry should have no place in electoral politics.  It does, unfortunately.
  15. I have spent most of the last four years tuning out the news most of the time.  My refuges have included cat videos, Bible studies, hagiographies, and science fiction.  I have tuned out most of the news to preserve my spiritual and emotional health.  I may pay more attention to the news on a regular basis soon, if the political atmosphere becomes less toxic.
  16. I stand by every statement I have made about Donald Trump on this and other weblogs I maintain.
  17. I anticipate the administration of President Joseph Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.  I do not envy them, however.  They have their work cut out for them.
  18. This country and the world will suffer from the effects of the Trump Administration for a very long time.
  19. Whenever a political party becomes indistinguishable from a religious cult, something has gone terribly wrong.
  20. I, as a matter of principle, refrain from participating in a political cult.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 8, 2020 COMMON ERA

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Fifteen Years in Athens-Clarke County, Georgia   Leave a comment

Above:  Athens-Clarke County, Georgia

Image Source = Google Earth

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I grew up moving with my family every two years, on average.  Since 2005, however, I have lived in Athens-Clarke County.  I have recently acquired my third address within Athens-Clarke County.  I have put down roots.

I moved to Athens-Clarke County on Tuesday, August 9, 2005.  I was about to start a doctoral program in history at The University of Georgia.  My major professor cut me from the program in the Fall Semester of 2006.  This action was unjust.  I was neither the first nor the last graduate student to run afoul of a misanthropic major professor.  I remained in Athens, though, and build a new life.

I have been active in St. Gregory the Great Episcopal Church since August 2005.  As time has passed, I have become more active, in different ways.  People have come to think of me whenever a task needs an organized person to complete it.  I have, therefore, come to lead the lectors and the money counters, to choose movies for a film series, and to teach a Sunday School class.  That class has moved to Zoom on Thursday evenings since the pandemic started.

My life has been in a drawn-out transitional state since Bonny died on October 14, 2019.  Her death drew boldfaced double lines through my life, with “before” on one side and “after” on the other.  Parts of my life have fallen away.  I have not regretted the departure of most of them.  I have been in a stage of simplification, reorientation, reevaluation, and rebirth.  The process has not ended.

I wonder what I will become.

I still hope for a new, professional relationship to The University of Georgia (UGA).  I bear the university no ill will.  I also recognize that I am the kind of person who can fit in there, if only someone will answer one of my applications for full-time employment there affirmatively.  I have no relationship to UGA, as of today.  Whether that status will change depends mostly on others.  A university or college campus is my natural habitat.  UGA offers an inviting habitat with many opportunities to put skills and talents to productive use.

2020 has been a terrible year, mainly because of the pandemic.  2019 had been my worst year to date before COVID-19 started spreading as far and wide as it has been doing.

Assuming, for the sake of discussion, that I will be alive and well a year from now, I wonder what my life and the world will be like.  I pray that the answer will be “much better.”

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 7, 2020 COMMON ERA

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My Eleventh Anniversary of Blogging   4 comments

Above:  Lambda, the Eleventh Letter of the Greek Alphabet

Image in the Public Domain

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I created SUNDRY THOUGHTS on July 27, 2009.  In time, I spun off seven weblogs from it.

Much has changed since my tenth anniversary of blogging.

  1. I have completed and published lectionary-based devotions for dates through the end of church year 2020-2021.
  2. I have spun PUNS BLOG back into SUNDRY THOUGHTS.
  3. I have added more saints to A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days.
  4. I have written the episode guide for seasons one and two of Starhunter Redux.
  5. I have written perhaps the definitive episode guide for The Chronicle:  News from the Edge (2001-2002).
  6. I have openly grieved for Bonny Thomas (1965-2019), whose death has forever altered my life.

One does hope to improve with experience.  My recent blog posts are of a generally higher quality than my earliest ones were.  Most of my earliest blog posts no longer exist, nor should they.  When I read an old blog post and think,

I can do better than that,

I may delete that post and seek to do better.

I plans for more blogging.

  1. I intend to return to lectionary-based devotions eventually, of course.
  2. I plan to revise and update A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days off-and-on until I can no longer do so.
  3. I have plans for blogging at BLOGA THEOLOGICAI intend to blog my way through 2 Kings 22-25, 1 Esdras, 2 Chronicles 34-36, Ezra, and Nehemiah, with a portion of Sirach 49 included, in one project.  The spreadsheet for that project constitutes evidence of my detail-oriented nature.  I also plan to blog my way through 3 Maccabees, with a portion of Sirach 50 incorporated into that project.  Furthermore, I plan to blog my way through 1, 2, and 4 Maccabees, with a portion of Sirach 45 included in that project.  The spreadsheet for that project is also ready.  The first and third projects entail parallel passages.  And, given that strict adherence to chronology is not the organizing principle of Ezra and Nehemiah, I will read those books out of chapter-and-verse order.

I have read all 78 book of the Russian Orthodox canon of scripture.  However, I did that more years ago than some of my former students have been alive.  Reading some of these texts again has, therefore, been like reading them for the first time.

Blogging is a hobby and an outlet.  We should all be cautious what we reveal on the internet, which retains everything.  Stories of people fired because of posts on social media outlets abound.  My use of social media is limited.  I belong to my Nextdoor Digest group, for example.  My major contributions to it are helpful hints in response to other members’ questions.  I know I probably will not get into trouble for answering a neighbor’s request for information about which local thrift stores send out trucks to pick up furniture.  Likewise, I know that my weblogs are public.  I hope they edify others at best.  May other posts be merely harmless, perhaps amusing.  Calling a spade a spade, so to speak, is fine; I will not excuse the inexcusable.  However, I seek to call spades what they are without publishing content I should not publish.  And I feel no obligation to express most of my thoughts.

When 2020 began, I had high hopes for it.  So much for most of those!  We may yet save our republic from internal threats to the Constitution of the United States of America–and from one–Donald Trump–in particular.  The Constitution allows for elections, after all.  And we will eventually get through the Coronavirus pandemic and its economic consequences.  We will do so sooner if we, as a people, act responsibly.

2020 may yet have a relatively positive end.  We, as a people, must accept our obligations to and for each other, though.  Mutuality must override individualism in the context of a public health emergency.  I do not like wearing a mask in public, but I do so.  This is about what I need to do, not what I want to do.  This is about what I have a moral obligation to do, not what I want to do in an ideal circumstance.

Next year, I hope to write about my twelfth anniversary as a blogger under much improved circumstances.

Be safe and well, O reader.  Take care of your neighbors and, therefore, of yourself.

Peace!

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 27, 2020 COMMON ERA

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