Mess.

With intent to douse her brother with water, my 11-year-old Annie tugged on the backyard garden hose. “Stop! Stop! Stop!” I shouted. She didn’t see that the hose, tangled on a garden stake, would damage a portion of the garden if she pulled any further.

She pulled and I received another mess—yet another I did not cause—to clean-up.

BLM. Period.

Last week, in lieu of my usual 40/52 week-a-year newsletter, I sent a note explaining that my prepared, polished article about staining a picket fence and our consumer driven society was off-topic. I clarified: “Because today the focus needs to be on black lives.”

George W. wrote back exposing his failure to fully understand: “I agree that black lives matter, in fact the mantra needs to be that all lives matter. All lives matter does not take anything away from black lives matter.”

My response: “The topic at hand is black lives. Changing to all lives changes the focus and we need at this time to be focused on black lives. I think of it like this: let’s say my son broke his leg and came to me for attention. And, let’s say my daughter comes because she hurt her toe. Yes, her toe hurts, but were I to focus on it, I would take away from the more pressing needs of my son. All lives are not consistent targets of police and civic brutality.”

Anne G. wrote: “I was talking to my young children about the protests and explaining why people have bubbled over with frustration about how black people are treated unfairly. They were shocked to hear that black people are treated so differently by law enforcement, that they are more often arrested and killed during arrest. Their shock was a wake up that I should be more shocked that this is happening. That I should be unwilling to just feel sad, accept this as a terrible fact, and move on with my day. [emphasis added].”

My response: “I feel sick about this too, am going to protests, and working towards change.”

Repair, now.

Jewish tradition maintains that before God created the world, God faced a unique problem: if I am everywhere, how can I create anything separate from me? The solution: God created a vacuum by contracting God’s self into God’s self so that creation could occur. However, the tension within the containers of God’s essence exploded (you might too, if you were filled with God, no?) and sent shards of into the world. Jewish tradition says that repair of the world—tikkun olam—is possible when humanity does righteous deeds, bringing to light the shattered fragments of the divine.

Neither you nor I set out to cause systemic racism. Nonetheless repairing what is broken is still our job.

###

Rabbi Brian Zachary Mayer resides in Portland, Oregon. He is the founder and head of Religion-Outside-The-Box rotb.org, an internet-based, global group of 1,000’s of digital-age seekers.

Chats with Larry Episode 4

Chats with Larry Episode 4

On today’s RABBI BRIAN’S CHATS WITH LARRY The Tuesday night Stained Glass class where our friendship formed Larry’s school years The book called “Transcend” that I sent to Larry Why ministers don’t have a lot of friends How the current generation is more open-minded...

In three words

In three words

Fresh Fish Sold Here Today I remember a magician in the 1980’s unfurling and holding up a paper banner with the words “Fresh fish sold here today” printed on it. The magician would say, “I find this phrase a touch redundant. Fresh? Of course it's fresh fish. The sign...

Laughing @ Incongruities

Laughing @ Incongruities

Laughing at as many incongruities as possible It's a Tuesday night. We just had tacos. We do Taco Tuesdays probably more than two weeks a month, if we kept track of it. But it could be any night other than Tuesdays. Because we aren't that uptight about stuff. The kids...

Chats with Larry Episode 4

Chats with Larry Episode 3

On today’s RABBI BRIAN’S CHATS WITH LARRY How much liberty do you require, how much community do you require? (Individual freedoms vs belongingness to a group) Boundaries maintenance “Do we have too much excessive psychic stimulation?” What do we mean by God? If we...

Saturday Service February 2021_2

Saturday Service February 2021_2

Podcast:The Saturday Service February 13, 2021 Podcast Notes The Saturday Service --08:00​-0:8:10​ Reports from the committee dedicated to watching the mud settle.08:10​-08:20​ Edutitarg, Backward ways of doing gratitude.08:20​-08:30​ "No one heals themselves by...

Saturday Service February 2021_2

Saturday Service February 2021_1

Podcast:The Saturday Service February 6, 2021 Podcast Notes The Saturday Service --8:09​-8:22​ shake the mud8:23​ review of spital life8:28​ wave to face book8:29​ so many ads—graitude8:45​~5 advantages of being senseYelling + tutoring.   Shapeable as a block of...

Saturday Service February 2021_2

Saturday Service January 2021_5

Podcast:The Saturday Service January 30, 2021 Podcast Notes Saturday service with rB and Toni Anne! Try a little Tenderness. - Otis Redding Quote: True friends celebrate your successes. 00:00​ - 05:49​ - Greetings and rB story about magic camp. Introducing Toni Anne...

Salvation Mountain

Salvation Mountain

Dad and I went on our third father-son road trip in 2002. This one was in a rented RV. We leave LA, drive east, pass Palm Springs, and go south to Niland, by the shore of the Salton Sea—a huge unswimmable lake of salt, rotting fish corpses, and runoff fertilizer. From...

S’more I don’t know

S’more I don’t know

My friend Michelle sits four feet feet away from the stainless-steel fire pit in my backyard. I’m on the other side, also four feet away. We are having a small, Covid-safe inauguration celebration. We are drinking G & Ts with Hendricks, a fancy tonic, and slices...

Saturday Service February 2021_2

Saturday Service January 2021_4

Podcast:The Saturday Service January 23, 2021 Podcast Notes 00:00 - 00:40 - Welcome 00:41 - 08:11 - Dogen Quote and interpretation: “If you are unable to find the truth right where you are, where else do you expect to find it?” Kind of why this service doesn’t have a...

The 77% Weekly

Try for free. Always free. Directly to your in-box.

intelligent wisdom. real + funny. about life

Enjoyed by 1,000's of people. 40/52 weeks a year.

In three words

In three words

Fresh Fish Sold Here Today I remember a magician in the 1980’s unfurling and holding up a paper banner with the words “Fresh fish sold here today” printed on it. The magician would say, “I find this phrase a touch redundant. Fresh? Of course it's fresh fish. The sign...

read more
Laughing @ Incongruities

Laughing @ Incongruities

Laughing at as many incongruities as possible It's a Tuesday night. We just had tacos. We do Taco Tuesdays probably more than two weeks a month, if we kept track of it. But it could be any night other than Tuesdays. Because we aren't that uptight about stuff. The kids...

read more