Is everyone depressed today?

D.J. Paris

By D.J. Paris: Yes, I’m talking about you.

We all had a sad day today.  At least the few people I talked to.  And since four people is a relational sample to the rest of the earth’s population, this is apt.  We were sad.

Let us collectively stick out our lower lip and make a solid frowny-face.  That is actually fun so don’t do it too much as it takes the darkness out of depression.  Stay in the shadows for a little big longer, please.  I need you at your worst so I don’t feel alone. Continue reading

Do we judge people by their past?

Kiran Ferrandino

By Kiran Kairab Ferrandino:

“When I grow up I want to be a slut,” said no girl. EVER.

The other night I was talking to an old friend about nothing and everything. We somehow ended up talking about a reality show, since everything in my life has about two degrees of separation from the Bravo Network.

The subject moved to the storyline of one of the the women that appears on this show. I don’t know her, but she seems like a really sweet woman with an amazing personality, which says a lot for anyone represented on reality television. I think it’s fair to say that 80% of them DON’T seem like real “quality” people. Quite the opposite, even.

Anyway, I would guess that this woman is about 40 years old. I can’t say for sure, but she seems so nice, like she would give you the shirt off her own back.

Apparently, however, she has a reputation for not having a shirt on her back. Continue reading

Which is more oppressive: hijab or bikinis?

Rachel Pieh Jones

By Rachel Pieh Jones: Yesterday I saw three college women sitting on a park bench at the playground. They were all in bikini tops and bottoms. Honestly, I felt bad for them.

I felt like they were oppressed more than the Somali women sitting on an opposite park bench in full hijab. They had bought into the cultural belief that women ought to bare their bodies for the entire world in order to be valued, receive attention, feel attractive. It is almost (dare I say it) like a religion in this country.

But can you imagine the backlash if a Muslim woman wearing a scarf were to write articles, books, provocative magazine articles, about these women being oppressed, forced to wear bikinis, or dominated by men? And yet that is how Muslim women are so often presented in the media. Oppressed. Forced to wear scarves. Dominated by the men in their lives. Continue reading

Sunday Thoughts with Bob Pickering

Bob and June Pickering

Thought for this Week: Today let us live as good Christians. If we need support let us accept it without guilt and recognize that we have made the giver feel good. If we are givers, let us give freely where there is need.

“Never tire of doing what is right.”
(1 Thessalonians 3:13)

One of my Pickeringisms is that there are two types of people in the world; givers and takers. That is certainly a gross oversimplification that I use to describe humanity. It came from my sales and business training and has overflowed into my teachings on living. Continue reading

MN Masala: Chux’ Curried Lentils

Jane and Chux

By Jane and Chux: There are many different varieties of lentils.  For this dish, we use split moong beans (pronounced mong) without their shell.  If you prefer, you can use split moong beans with their skin; we typically use without skin.

We purchase split moong beans at our local Indian shop.  You should be able to find them at Asian markets or your local co-op.

We generally make these lentils as a side dish to crispy garlic shrimp or other seafood dish; however, you can serve these lentils as a vegetarian main dish with salad and Naan.  We love to use the left-over lentils as filling for quesadillas – add some cheese to the lentil mixture as the quesadilla filling and top grilled quesadillas with lettuce, chopped avocado and salsa.  Two dinners in one! Continue reading

What is it like to fast for Ramadan?

By Sarita Agerman:

Muhammad (peace be upon him) once said there was nothing sweeter to God than the breath of a fasting person. This lovely approach acknowledges the beauty of fasting and the value of doing something purely for God. For those living with the cloud of Ramadan breath however, I’m not sure they’d always have such a romantic view! So here’s the lowdown, for both newbie Muslims and non-muslims alike, on what really happens when you fast:

You might notice your muslim friends being a little distant with you over the next month. Perhaps they lean away from you when you go in for a hug, tilt back in their chair while they chat to you or cover their mouths as if they’re muttering something under their breath. Don’t fret though, it’s not a sign that they don’t want to be with you. They’re actually saving you from one of the more unsavoury aspects of forgoing food for an extended period of time – Ramadan Breath! Continue reading

Do you need a routine?

D.J. Paris

D.J. Paris: I’m like a baby.

I don’t mean because I whine and cry and throw tantrums.  I do, but that’s not where I’m heading here.

My routines are that of an infant.  That’s probably exaggerated for dramatic narrative effect.  And it’s certainly a subjective assessment.  But let me make the case. Continue reading

Are tampons more dangerous than bullets?

By Nikki Debevec: During the SECOND special session of the Texas Legislature called specifically to pass a bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks and impose requirements on abortion clinics and abortion doctors, tampons, maxi pads and condoms were confiscated as observers filed in to watch lawmakers debate the pros and cons of the bill. (Seriously, search “Texas” and “tampons.”)

It should be noted that a similar bill failed to pass a special session in June when a senator carried out an 11-hour filibuster. Gov. Rick Perry, who sought to be the Republican Party’s standard-bearer in 2012, called the second session to get the bill – which would be among the strictest in the nation – passed and to his desk so he can sign it into law. Continue reading

Do we have the right to look others in the face?

C.E. Alexander

By C.E. Alexander: But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head—it is the same as having her head shaved. For if a woman does not cover her head, she might as well have her hair cut off; but if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, then she should cover her head. 1 Corinthians 11:5-6

The late Christopher Hitchens once made an interesting point about burqas. At the time, French president Nicolas Sarkozy was proposing a law which prohibited the public use of any garment that concealed the face. Hitchens’s argument was unexpected and provocative: the proposal was not a ban; indeed, it meant to lift a ban. Which one? The ban on “the right of all citizens to look one another in the face.” Continue reading

Sunday Thoughts with Bob Pickering

Bob and June Pickering

Thought for the Week: We need to focus on our daily lives for survival, there is no truer fact. With that said, today let’s do what we need to do to survive but keep Paul’s letters and the word of our Lord in our daily lives. It will fit in if we let it.

A quote from Maria Shriver:  Have the courage to go beyond other people’s rules and expectations. I pray that you will live and write your own story and then be brave enough to communicate it authentically to others. People will be inspired by it, people will learn from it, and people will have the courage to change their own lives because of the example you have set.

(Galatians 5 vs. 22 & 24)
“the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law
….Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.
 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

Bob Pickering is the author of thirty one Days of Grace and God is my Spinach. His writing focuses on being a whole person in spirit, mind and body. Bob and June, his wife of more than 40 years, have four children and nine grandchildren.

Tomorrow: Do we have the right to look others in the face? (By C.E. Alexander)