January: Lessons Learned

Cindy Moy

By Cindy Moy: Today marks the first month of The Socratic Project, and I’ve learned a lot from our guest writers and from you. We have more than 3,000 hits already, and I’m hearing from new Socratics every day.

In February, we are going to talk more about what it means to be a community (see Amber D. Stoner’s piece tomorrow), about the intersection of religion and race and politics, and about Los Americans, the web series starring Esai Morales that inspired The Socratic Project. Later this month, we are going to be talking more indepth about the 8 episodes of Los Americans, so if you get a chance, take a look at them. Each episode is only 12 to 15 minutes long, and all are very entertaining and thought-provoking.

In honor of what you’ve taught me, I’m going to share with you some of my Lessons Learned About Parenting: Continue reading

When should you tell your significant other you are bipolar?

Cindy Reed

By Cindy Reed (www.reedsterspeaks.com): The very best way to tell your future husband that you are damaged goods is to thrust a sheaf of computer printouts from the National Institute of Mental Health into his hands and say, “Here. Read this.”

Matt and I met and got engaged in a whirlwind few months during the chilly 1999 New York City fall, as the Yankees swept the Braves for the World Series. But before we married, I felt I had to make full disclosure so he could perform due diligence on me in order to make such a monumental decision.

You see, I’m bipolar. Continue reading

Is depression a luxury disease?

By Cindy Moy: The World Health Organization (WHO) interviewed nearly 90,000 people in 18 countries, including the U.S., in 2011. This survey discovered that wealthy countries have higher rates of depression than less affluent countries.

The U.S. had the 2nd highest lifetime rate of depression at 19.2%.
Only the French were more depressed than Americans. (As portrayed so eloquently by Henri, the existential French cat.) Continue reading

What is a humanist chaplain?

Cindy Moy

By Cindy Moy: Student groups at some universities now want access to humanist chaplains, so I had to ask:
What the heck is a humanist chaplain?

A chaplain is a religious leader in a specialized setting, such as a school or hospital, that provides spiritual counseling. Chaplains may be of any faith, and may minister to people of other faiths.

A humanist is an atheistic or non-religious person. So a humanist chaplain is a person who does not believe in God ministering to people who may or may not believe in God. 

To me, this is like talking about space exploration with someone who doesn’t believe we landed on the moon. Continue reading

Would you sell your soul on ebay?

By Cindy Moy: There were three churches in my small hometown: one Lutheran, one Catholic, and one Dutch Reformed. We were Lutherans. In the 1970s, and even into the 1980s, members of the churches were discouraged from intermarrying with members of the other churches.

If members were to intermarry, it was considered more appropriate for Protestants to intermarry (a Lutheran and a Dutch Reformed), than for a Protestant and a Catholic to marry. Continue reading

MN Masala: Turkish Tabbouleh (Kisir)

Jane and Chux

By Jane and Chux: A few years ago, I (Jane) discovered an announcement in the local paper for Turkish cooking classes presented by the Turkish American Society of Minnesota (TASMN).  I enrolled in the first series of 8 classes (one each month), and two years later, I’m still attending classes!

The best part of this adventure is making new friends and learning about another culture.  The classes are for women only. Women members of TASMN organize and provide the cooking demonstrations in their homes.  After each demonstration class, we all sit together to enjoy a tasting of what was cooked that day and other Turkish dishes brought in for the gathering. Continue reading

How did you choose where to live?

By Cindy Moy: To the left is the weather forecast for this week in Minnesota. Even here, this is brutally cold. When the weather gets like this, I think about moving to warmer climates.

I try to talk my 9-year-old into enrolling in online school:
Me: If you did the online program, you could do your schoolwork on a warm beach somewhere.
Her: Nice try, Mom. I’m not leaving my friends.

One year The Husband was traveling to Puerto Rico for work while Minnesota was having a record-breaking cold snap. It was 80 degrees in Puerto Rico. It was -20 at home. That’s right–it was 100 degrees warmer there, and I’m pretty sure The Husband didn’t feel bad about eating dinner outside in the sun while we were wrapping our feet around hot water bottles while we slept. Continue reading

Do you ever lose faith in humanity?

By Cindy Moy: Some days I find it difficult to like other human beings. Like the days when I’m driving the school carpool, and it becomes obvious that every other driver on the road received a memo declaring it Drive Like An A**hole Day.

Then I go to work, which in my case means sitting on my sofa with my laptop, and read through news stories searching for something interesting to write about, and I’m reminded that human beings do the most despicable things to one another. Then for some reason I read the comments under the stories. See, the people commenting on news sites are not the intelligent comment makers you find here. The people making comments on those other sites are what my grandmother used to call ten pounds of stupid in a five pound bag. Continue reading

What are you building?

Amber D. Stoner

By Amber D. Stoner:

“What you do is more important than what you say
And what you build is more important than what you do
So what you gonna build today?”
-Guante, hip hop artist, two-time National Poetry Slam champion, social justice activist and educator

I sat on the floor in the back room at Common Roots Cafe for a reading sponsored by dislocate, the journal of the U of MN MFA program. Every seat was full, hence my sitting right up front surrounded by (most likely) grad students. We listened to Sarah Fox’s vibrant poetry, Kao Kalia Yang’s powerful memoir piece, and Kevin Fenton’s new novel in progress. All stunning. Absolutely worth driving through the crush of traffic to get there. Continue reading

Are we sacrificing too much to politics?

By Carla Ewert, Guest Commentator: A few months ago, I was walking around the lake near my house. An older man sitting on a park bench near the trail made eye contact with me, so I greeted him with a nod as I walked by. To my surprise, he said, “You believe in Jesus.”

Caught off guard, my response was both a question and an answer. I said, “I do?”
“I could see it in your eyes,” he said.

Maybe I had an extra spiritual gleam that day. I smiled and thanked him as I continued walking. But what he said next completely shattered the, admittedly, weird camaraderie of the moment. Continue reading