Rabbi Brian’s Public Diary

RABBI BRIAN’S PUBLIC DIARY   2019: ISSUE...

God is Not An Ass

God is not an ass. (Love as much as you can.) In...

Bible Conspiracy

Dan Brown's conspiracy book "The DaVinci Code"...
God is Not An Ass

God is Not An Ass

God is not an ass. (Love as much as you can.) In the mail the other day, I got a scary brochure entitled “Revelation Today: The End Time Is Near." Apparently, the Reverend Myckal Morehouse has an important message for me. He was prepared to provide free...

read more
Bible Conspiracy

Bible Conspiracy

Dan Brown's conspiracy book "The DaVinci Code" was good. This is like that, but Biblical.   This is a long, super interesting read.     *Background*  Someone sent me a meme of Jesus bungee jumping from a crucifix.  A month later, I read a book that  took this meme to...

read more
Tittynope, you’re inestimable

Tittynope, you’re inestimable

Tittynopes on my face The Grandiloquent Dictionary defines tittynope as a noun. Tittynope: A small quantity of something left over, such as uneaten meat on the side of a plate or dregs of beer left in the glass. A small portion of food remaining. (noun) I learned the...

read more
Something wrong in my thinking

Something wrong in my thinking

I’m having a hard time these days. In some ways, of course, I shouldn’t be. I shouldn’t be having a hard time. Or maybe it shouldn’t appear that I’m having a hard time. My bride and children are healthy. We have some money in the bank. I have a beautiful home, in a...

read more
Mourning

Mourning

Rabbi Brian on Mourning   What follows is a collection of the advice that I often give to people when they are facing a loss. These are my “go-to’s.” Take what you like and leave the rest. I hope you find comfort. -rB   Permission   There is no one...

read more
Something wrong in my thinking

Something wrong in my thinking

At 9:15pm, I exited the bathroom into the hallway between my kids’ rooms. After hearing myself thinking two thoughts, I knew something was seriously wrong.   At about 9:00, fifteen minutes earlier, Jane and I had put each kid to bed, read to them, kissed each one...

read more
Wisdom Biscuit

Wisdom Biscuit

What's in a name? I loved the title WISDOM BISCUIT. It fit what I was thought I was doing... giving people something: good for you tasty satisfying Jane never liked the name. She was right. It's cute and ditracts from the importance of the message. So, I'm retiring...

read more
Anatomy of a soul

Anatomy of a soul

Soul Recently a neighbor came up to me and said,:  "A Jewish friend told me Judaism doesn’t believe in a soul and that when you are dead you are dead. Can you help?" I thought I would share my answer.   The first 3/4 of this article is a bit academic. The last...

read more
Have hope anyhow.

Have hope anyhow.

  Humanity Our world seems mad, frightening. Out of alignment. Brexit, windmill cancer, Mueller, global warming, and more.   I get really scared. I'm sure you do too.   You'd have to be especially disconnected to not feel the...

read more
How I forgave my son

How I forgave my son

  My son walked me face first into a telephone pole. I have thought about it and concluded that it was my fault. He didn't think I would get hurt. Neither did I. *In brief*   I walked, face-first, fast and hard, into a telephone pole.   Even though...

read more
How can I stop my thinking

How can I stop my thinking

  Lao Tzu said, “Stop thinking, and end your problems.”   What?   Are you freaking kidding me, Lao Tzu?   Stop thinking!   Ha!   You’re kidding, right?   No? You’re not?   https://rotb.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Stop-Thinking-Rabbi-Brian.png   *Considering it*  ...

read more
What is Free Will?

What is Free Will?

*One scheduled meeting, one chance meeting*     Zac, an SEO expert, changed my thinking about how I post videos, podcasts, and articles.    After an extended coffee-and-two-laptops-on-the-tables meeting at Fleur De Lis Bakery & Cafe near my house, I knew...

read more
Weeping your own tears

Weeping your own tears

The 77% Weekly Newsletter SPIRITUAL NOURISHMENT DELIVERED FRESH TO YOUR INBOX 40/52 WEEKS A YEAR. FREE.   Dino   Dr. Dino Zanini mentored me towards a certification in group consulting through the AK Rice institute. Dino had a twinkle in his eye that expressed...

read more
Do not believe yourself

Do not believe yourself

The 77% Weekly Newsletter SPIRITUAL NOURISHMENT DELIVERED FRESH TO YOUR INBOX 40/52 WEEKS A YEAR. FREE.   Anxious Two weeks ago, at 3:30 in the morning on a Thursday, I felt the beginning of a panic attack. And then it built on itself, as these things do. I...

read more
Faith and the Tooth Fairy

Faith and the Tooth Fairy

The 77% Weekly Newsletter SPIRITUAL NOURISHMENT DELIVERED FRESH TO YOUR INBOX 40/52 WEEKS A YEAR. FREE.   Annie Annie lost a tooth—and her belief in the tooth fairy—on the Sunday before MLK day, still a few weeks shy of her tenth birthday. Her absolute faith that...

read more
Is this really who you want to be in the world?

Is this really who you want to be in the world?

The 77% Weekly Newsletter SPIRITUAL NOURISHMENT DELIVERED FRESH TO YOUR INBOX 40/52 WEEKS A YEAR. FREE.     Let me re-cap the newsletter in 2019 thus far. Issue 02/40 – Spiritual Tool: Acceptance. My stolen computer set the backdrop for learning about the...

read more
Spiritual Tool: Acceptance

Spiritual Tool: Acceptance

The 77% Weekly Newsletter SPIRITUAL NOURISHMENT DELIVERED FRESH TO YOUR INBOX 40/52 WEEKS A YEAR. FREE.   In the most recent issue of the 77% Weekly, I wrote about the spiritual practice of asking for help. I got a number of responses, like the following from...

read more
Help. It’s what the strong ask for

Help. It’s what the strong ask for

The 77% Weekly Newsletter SPIRITUAL NOURISHMENT DELIVERED FRESH TO YOUR INBOX 40/52 WEEKS A YEAR. FREE.       Help: it's what the strong ask for My friend Dave has been in my life and the world of ROTB since his wedding in 2013. I love Dave.  In his eyes and...

read more
Complaining as a spiritual practice

Complaining as a spiritual practice

The 77% Weekly Newsletter SPIRITUAL NOURISHMENT DELIVERED FRESH TO YOUR INBOX 40/52 WEEKS A YEAR. FREE.       Complaining as a spiritual practice   What do these things have in common? Phones Spam Fatigue Prices Internet Weather School/Work These...

read more
Struggling With God

Struggling With God

The 77% Weekly Newsletter SPIRITUAL NOURISHMENT DELIVERED FRESH TO YOUR INBOX 40/52 WEEKS A YEAR. FREE.         Struggling With God       Rabbi B, In your videos and podcasts, you don't exactly tell us what you mean by what you term "the baggage-laden...

read more
Angels on my doorstep

Angels on my doorstep

The 77% Weekly Newsletter SPIRITUAL NOURISHMENT DELIVERED FRESH TO YOUR INBOX 40/52 WEEKS A YEAR. FREE.         Angels at my door   The setting. And, names.   It’s Yom Kippur, the Jewish holy day. The holiest day of the years. I’m home. I’m in my...

read more
You are not a Jedi

You are not a Jedi

The 77% Weekly Newsletter SPIRITUAL NOURISHMENT DELIVERED FRESH TO YOUR INBOX 40/52 WEEKS A YEAR. FREE.         No, Katie, you are not a Jedi.   I received the following email from Katie.I’ve changed details (like her real name and any...

read more
We shall overcome

We shall overcome

The 77% Weekly Newsletter SPIRITUAL NOURISHMENT DELIVERED FRESH TO YOUR INBOX 40/52 WEEKS A YEAR. FREE.     WE SHALL OVERCOME The gunman. I will not use his name. He has woken in me an eternal truth that comforts me. Some are born with darker skin, gay, or...

read more
Disorganized Grief

Disorganized Grief

The 77% Weekly Newsletter SPIRITUAL NOURISHMENT DELIVERED FRESH TO YOUR INBOX 40/52 WEEKS A YEAR. FREE.   Introduction When anti-Semitic violence occurs, Brian and I are surrounded by lots of love and support. Many non-Jewish friends are horrified and they tell...

read more
Hope. Delayed.

Hope. Delayed.

The 77% Weekly Newsletter SPIRITUAL NOURISHMENT DELIVERED FRESH TO YOUR INBOX 40/52 WEEKS A YEAR. FREE. A celebration of life and religious service ended with eleven people killed and six wounded. Unimaginable. Unimaginable. Unimaginable. I spent Saturday fluctuating...

read more
Go Over The Line

Go Over The Line

The 77% Weekly Newsletter SPIRITUAL NOURISHMENT DELIVERED FRESH TO YOUR INBOX 40/52 WEEKS A YEAR. FREE.     Fuck! I crossed a line. I didn’t need to do that. Really. I didn’t. I didn't need to put that "bad" word there so big. I didn't. This is not an...

read more
I guess it’s up to me

I guess it’s up to me

The 77% Weekly Newsletter SPIRITUAL NOURISHMENT DELIVERED FRESH TO YOUR INBOX 40/52 WEEKS A YEAR. FREE.     The universe is how it is. Do something. I pick up trash while I jog. As a guy, I feel safe being outside before it is light. This allows me to jog...

read more
In the air. Fear.

In the air. Fear.

The 77% Weekly Newsletter SPIRITUAL NOURISHMENT DELIVERED FRESH TO YOUR INBOX 40/52 WEEKS A YEAR. FREE.       Part One: It's real   The smell of fear In 2008, research scientists at Stony Brook University attached moisture absorbing pads to two...

read more
She is helping. Kinda.

She is helping. Kinda.

The 77% Weekly NewsletterSPIRITUAL NOURISHMENT DELIVERED FRESH TO YOUR INBOX 40/52 WEEKS A YEAR. FREE.   Our kitchen had become a mess, as it often does, and I asked my nine-year-old daughter for help. She put a chair in front of the refrigerator, took down...

read more
Annoyance on my back

Annoyance on my back

The 77% Weekly Newsletter SPIRITUAL NOURISHMENT DELIVERED FRESH TO YOUR INBOX 40/52 WEEKS A YEAR. FREE. Often after school, Emmett comes downstairs to my home-office and sits on the back of my chair. He climbs up and wedges himself between my back and the back of the...

read more
Imagination to the rescue

Imagination to the rescue

I was in the principal’s office. Another dressing down for not-following-paperwork-protocol. Spending my prep-period being made to feel inadequate. Having to suck it up until I later when I could get an infusion of love to regain my equanimity. At that moment of...

read more
Out of heart

Out of heart

Why do people shout? It has to do with our hearts.  A story: A guru and some of her students pass within earshot of two people vehemently arguing in loud voices. She stops a little way past them and asks, “If those two are so physically close to each other, why are...

read more
Outside Perspective

Outside Perspective

Outside perspective I’m in the kitchen. I feel like the mythological Sisyphus, but my daily task is emptying and reloading the dishwasher. Jane is away. Annie and a friend are within earshot, in the dining room; having settled on a card game, they are starting to...

read more
Me. Transformed. You?

Me. Transformed. You?

I got to gate B5 in the Burbank, California, airport early. I’m sitting here typing. Watching people. Relaxing. (I like airports and being at the airport early; it gives me a chance to just sit. I like the unstructured time. If you’ve been reading my stuff for a...

read more
Love and Acceptance

Love and Acceptance

Brené Brown, an expert on shame and vulnerability, explains that the difference between people who have love and acceptance and those who do not have love and acceptance is that the former believe they deserve love and acceptance. This is amazing. See if you can...

read more
Hammock, a mistake

Hammock, a mistake

Hammock, oops. I ordered a hammock, letting Jane pick out the color. The Friday it arrived, I installed it between the dogwood tree and the fireplace. It was lovely.Then Jane showed up.She stood next to me and said, “I’d like a turn.” I don’t know how I ordered a...

read more
Love, please

Love, please

Something to do: love.   Fear paralyzes us. We feel inconsequential to affect the world. We get overwhelmed. We freeze.   I am familiar with this too.   But, I know something: You and I can change the world.   Let us be delighted on Thursday...

read more
Yanny’s Blue Dress. Love Haters.

Yanny’s Blue Dress. Love Haters.

Certainty "Laurel." "Yanny!" If you are not familiar with this audio-clip phenomenon, you might not believe that two people can listen to the same sound, yet hear different words. If you’ve not done it, here is a link so you can try it and learn more. Listening to the...

read more
Recent Death

Recent Death

Anthony Bourdain’s recent suicide rocked a lot of people. I loved his show No Reservations. It was real. He was so real. Just him. Passionate. Not perfectly polished. As is. Likable in his humanity. Not posing. Him sharing his life and food with us. And, then. Whump!...

read more
Spiritual Ice Water

Spiritual Ice Water

Rabbi Brian's Diary (later edited and cleaned up)   What happened Moments ago, I was standing at the Pre-TSA security counter, drinking down the water portion of the ice-water in my insulated thermos.  The blue-shirted Anthony engaged me in conversation while I...

read more
What seems like fate

What seems like fate

Non-Striving Judy (not her real name) meets with me for spiritual direction. She sat looking a bit defeated. As she spoke her arms and shoulders did an impression of Alfred E. Neuman's signature shrug.  She was presenting a problem as old as history itself. (Later in...

read more
Mourning. Memories. Blessings.

Mourning. Memories. Blessings.

Mourning. Memories. Blessings. Aaron Panken was the rabbi at my home synagogue when I graduated from Tufts University. He jumped me through the hoops necessary to get into rabbinical school.  He died. Suddenly, in a plane crash. I am shaken, thrown off. Confused. When...

read more
Authorized, or not?

Authorized, or not?

Clown-walking with fins After scuba diving for the first time around the age of 15, I became a bit of an aficionado. Consequently, when I was vacationing and saw a friend in snorkeling gear, walking, horribly awkwardly, towards the water with fins on, I called out,...

read more
Acceptance: better get used to it.

Acceptance: better get used to it.

Michelle is driving me back to her house, where I left my car. We just had a lovely dinner. Conversation with her just flows; she is one of my no-filter-required friends. The 84-Freeway here in Portland is doing its impression of Los Angeles traffic. The right lane is...

read more
Enough

Enough

I’m not a big theist. I don’t believe that there is a God controlling the weather.   This is not an article on theology. My book, podcasts, and more about God can be found here.   I don’t believe God controls the weather. But I do see the weather. I live in Portland,...

read more
Practice

Practice

There is nothing that does not become lighter through habit and familiarity. – Shantideva   There is nothing that does not become easier through practice. Wonderful words from the great Shantideva. There is nothing that does not become easier through practice. If...

read more
Stats say you will like this

Stats say you will like this

“Have To” Like This Story    Maggie and I were having coffee in the bakery that used to be the library of Northeast Portland – the neighborhood in which birthed Ramona and the pantheon of Beverly Cleary’s characters. Maybe pantheon is...

read more

Q
&
A

“Do you need another email?”

No. You get enough emails already. Probably you don’t need one more email. In fact, you probably need to get fewer emails, not more.

“Do I really have time to read a weekly newsletter about spiritual-religious health? Might signing-up for this newsletter make me feel guilt in some way? What’s the catch?

Think about my 10-year old and his guitar lessons. He practices, if I exagerate, 30 minutes a week total. His lesson is 30 minutes a week. So, all told, he touches a guitar fo an hour a week. Now, think about you and your spiritual practice. Might you consider reading the newsletter to be your guitar lesson. What you are getting by subscribing to the newsletter is the chance to spend 5-10 minutes 3-4 times a month to your spiritual practice. Do the math, you have 15-40 minutes of time you are starting at a screen to devote to your spiritual well-being. Also, as I know that people don’t learn in guilt, I am both dogma and guilt-free.

“Why 77% Weekly”

I send it every Monday morning, except the last Monday of the month. 52 weeks a year – 12 last Mondays = 40. 40/52 is 77%.The newsletter got it’s name. I think you work too much. Many of us do. (You probably agree.) So, I want to remind you that you only need a 77% to pass.

“I thank you?”

I really didn’t know what to put in that button. “I thank you” seems appropriate. After all, albeit small, you are trusting me. So, for that I thank you.

Few problems are solved by an email your in-box.

This is an exception.

40 curiosity-satisfying, soul-nuturing messages from rB
Plus $130-savings on patience

Wonderful! You did it. Look for an email soon! (Unless you want to work on your patience, of course.)