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I see a young boy Saying He's going to run away. Deep inside, It's already happened. Ronny Dibbern (Grade 8) From Ten-Second Rainshowers: Poems by young people. Compiled by Sanford Lynne

Saturday, January 30, 2021

12 from 2020

One of the reason why I continue blogging is to read and respond to the great content other bloggers provide.  I have decided to highlight 12 posts from other blogs from 2020 that really moved me.  

Blogs these day are somewhat of an endangered species.  I feature 9 different blogs in this article.  2 of them only posted one time in 2020.I feature posts from two other blogs that have been dark for at least 4 months now.  So, unless those 4 blogs begin to produce content again none of their fine writing will be here on display if I choose to make this an annual thing.  

As you might imagine, the majority of these posts are about Covid, race, and the election. Each bloggers puts their own unique take on these and other subjects,  Some of these bloggers are fairly well know people like Rhett McLaughlin of Rhett and Link fame and Pastor and Author John Piper.  Others are regular everyday people like my Sister-in-law.  . In any case, I think they all deserve more mention than my mostly unread blog can provide.  However, we all should do what we can, and I can cut and paste links.

The Kinship of Things March 4, 2020

It may be difficult to imagine a hopeful piece about house arrest. Steve West talks about his life in an early covid lockdown and by using his and other's memories talks about doing far more with far less.  

Favorite line: I keep my neighbors at a distance, and yet hold them close.

Cristina Ramos Payne brought her blog out of mothballs :) to bring encouragement to Covid induced new homeschooling parents.  She must have saved the moth balls because unfortunately for the blogosphere she has not posted since. :(

Favorite line: The idea of having the kids home 24-7 can be overwhelming, but it is also an opportunity to deepen your relationship.

My Sister in Law captured Covid anxiety as seen  through the eyes of her children in a palpable and powerful way. 

Favorite line: I finally said to him, "I don't know what it's like to be you!"
Allies  April 29, 2020

One of the many things I like about Steve West's fine blog is that to misquote When Harry met Sally is I want to have he's having over the more than a decade I've been following his blog his descriptions of film, literature and music have informed what I have consumed. I need to read his posts with my library card next to me so I can look for the materials he's mentioning right away.

Allies continues the house arrest theme he started in The Kinship of Things but focusses as our homes  being the hero of the story. A concept he is quick to point out comes from author D.J. Waldie.

It's hard to make 1 line my favorite out of such a profound and poetic piece.  One line that sums up the piece well is ...

My ally stands. “Here’s a place—a fragile, earthen vessel, admittedly, yet one that will hold you, for now,” it says

And yes, I just did order Diane Keaton's book House which D.J. Waldie wrote the text for from my home librray. 

Rhett McLaughlin gives advice to himself and all other white men about how to process  the racial discord  of the Spring of 2020. I found it a helpful reminder.

Favorite passage: Before you begin building your case as to why you’re not contributing to the problem — or why there really isn’t a problem in the first place — just be quiet.  Black Americans are speaking loudly and clearly. If you take a moment to stop defending yourself or finding fault with those fighting for justice, you might be able to listen.

Idolatry and Politics August 5, 2020

In 1982 I started attending Des Plaines Evangelical Free Church. Shortly after that their former youth minister took the job as their pastor.  He influenced much of my early Christian thinking and thanks to his blog continues to do so almost 40 years later.  

In Idolatry and Politics he makes a convincing argument that poliitcal extremism on any side of the political spectrum is just another name for idolatry.  Lindy's posts make up 1/4 of this years review, so expect to see a couple more of his writings later on in the list.  

Favorite Line: If people are totally "pro-Trump" or "anti-Ttump" they have abandoned their use of logic and reason. 

Author's Note: Erstwhile (former) and penultimate (2nd to last) are 2 of my favorite words and I use them as often as I can.

My erstwhile pastor appears on this list for his penultimate time with a profile of Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse.  At the time of this post's mid October publication, Sasse was one of the few  GOP lawmakers who would stand up against President Trump.

My favorite passage was a quote from Sasse:

 “If young people become permanent Democrats because they’ve just been repulsed by the obsessive nature of our politics, or if women who were willing to still vote with the Republican Party in 2016 decide that they need to turn away from this party permanently in the future, the debate is not going to be, you know, ‘Ben Sasse, why were you so mean to Donald Trump?’ It’s going to be ‘What the heck were any of us thinking that selling a TV-obsessed narcissistic individual to the American people was a good idea?’ It is not a good idea.

Blog: Thirst
The Good Place October 21, 2020

Full disclosure: I discovered this blog earlier this year while researching my previous post about Comedian a song by Steve Taylor and the Perfect Foil. While I did not originally read this post in 2020,   it does meet the 2 the criteria I set for this list: 1) it is a post from 2020 and 2) The blog it comes from is on my blogroll.  

Keith Shields post which waxes philosophical about the NBC comedy The Good Place is one of the few post from this list that is not about covid, politics or race relations.  It is an old school blog post that takes a culturally relevant topic to explore the human condition. 

I liked how Shields did enough explaining about the show so someone not familiar with the show could still relate to the point he was making but did not over explain it in a way that would take meaning away from the point he made.

Favorite Line: It becomes obvious that we must give up on seeking to be good or we will turn ourselves into neurotic do-gooders who question every move. 

Blog: Desiring God 

Policies, Persons and Paths to Ruin: Pondering the Implications of the 2020 Election October 22, 2020

Author and Pastor John Piper  is not the only contributor to the blog on the Desiring God but his posts are generally the ones I most appreciate.  This post I found especially gratifying as I had decided on the same course of action for the election as he did.  Well approximately the same, he chose a write in candidadte, I just moved on to the next race. Piper makes a very good defense of not voting for Trump or Biden without mentioning either by name.

Favorite Line: In fact, I think it is a drastic mistake to think that the deadly influences of a leader come only through his policies and not also through his person.

In the aftermath of the horriffic events of January 6th, 2021 many people wrote that they were not surprised by the events.  Lindy Scott was one of them but I think that's because he said this 2 weeks prior to the election: (Italics mine*) 

Something similar is happening now in the presidential election. Trump has predicted that he will win when the votes are counted OR if the tally shows him losing, it will be because of vote fraud. He has also affirmed  that he would take the election to the Supreme Court if he loses. This is dangerous for our country. If there is a fair election AND Trump actually loses, many of his more devoted followers might protest the counting of mail in votes and declare fraud. Some of these followers might turn to violence.

I am certain this is not something Lindy wanted to be right about. At least we can't say He didn't warn us.  

* I've always wanted to say italics mine.  As long as we are doling out punctuation marks, I'll take the ampersand.

Blog: The Aaugh Blog 

Colorblind Eye Patch Dec 9, 2020

The Aaugh Blog is an independent Peanuts website that I quite enjoy.  I really liked this post that talks about some of my favorite strips from when I was a kid when Sally had lazy eye.  No favorite line just favorite memories.

Blog: Thinking Person's Guide To Autism

Losing Hard Won Freedoms: The Pandemics Toll on People with I/DD  December 10, 2020

I hate to end on a sour note but Covid has been especially hard on people with disabilites. as I'm typing this on My daughter who has high functioning autism is playing monopoly with her Mom and sister.  (More on this epic game here and here.  That reminds me  that she has been unable to attend her monthly game night for young adults with HFA for almost a year.  As Ivanova Smith  states it ican be much more difficult for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities than just missing a game night.  

Favorite Line:  (Smith describing the effects of the isolation that pandemic restrictions has caused her). I feel like I am stuck in a car that keeps going backwards and backwards and I can’t make it stop.


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