Eclectic is my reading and memory is short. to find mullings later: Here I come.

What if, instead of a static set of rules, life with God is one that welcomes movement? And, what if that movement is characterized by holy surprise – the kind of surprise for which the only response is laughter? The kind of surprise for which the only response is a party, a party like this world has never seen. Scripture attests to holy surprise.

To all humans you owe a basic loving-kindness, which … means not spitting on them, not physically injuring them as you dash for a subway seat, and not taking up more than one parking space. Beyond these basic niceties, reciprocity is the key to every relationship. This is the basic sin of the street workers: they ask for more than this basic consideration (by blocking your way, by taking up your time, by asking for money) but give zero back. You owe them nothing, … pretend that they do not exist.

If economists are allowed to discuss religion in economic terms, then we should also be allowed to view economists as a religious group.

we believed that markets are self-regulating, but very often they are not. To me the invisible hand of the market is just wishful thinking, like a prayer. It is very ironic that in economics we are so fascinated with our models that we believe they actually describe reality. In every school, children are taught that a model has nothing to do with the reality, it’s just a fictional space. That’s why your previous question doesn’t make much sense to me. We should not ask if models are true or untrue but whether they are useful or not

A new study appearing Aug. 1 in the journal Current Anthropology finds that human skulls changed in ways that indicate a lowering of testosterone levels at around the same time that culture was blossoming. “The modern human behaviors of technological innovation, making art and rapid cultural exchange probably came at the same time that we developed a more cooperative temperament,”

When people realise that the history of capitalism is full of highly successful state enterprises, the rush for ever more privatisation can be halted.

unconsumption:

One innovative company has created a vending machine that’s dispensing help for both the environment and our furry friends.

The Turkish company Pugedon recently introduced a vending machine in Istanbul that releases food and water for the city’s stray dogs in exchange for recycled plastic bottles, Big Think reported. Once someone deposits their bottle at the top, food is released at the bottom. The Pugedon Smart Recycling Boxes operate at no charge to the city, and the recycled bottles cover the cost of the food.

The simple machine will provide a steady source of sustenance to the animals, who often rely on the area’s residents to feed them. It’s also bringing some positive change to a place where the fate of stray animals has not always been a happy one.

Check out the video:

Many of us cannot help looking because of what Susan Sontag has called “the perennial seductiveness of war.” It is a kind of rubbernecking, staring at the bloody aftermath of something that is not an act of God but of man. The effect, as Ms. Sontag pointed out in an essay in The New Yorker in 2002, is anything but certain.

“Making suffering loom larger, by globalizing it, may spur people to feel they ought to ‘care’ more,” she wrote. “It also invites them to feel that the sufferings and misfortunes are too vast, too irrevocable, too epic to be much changed by any local, political intervention.”

So now that war comes to us in real time, do we feel helpless or empowered? Do we care more, or will the ubiquity of images and information desensitize us to the point where human suffering loses meaning when it is part of a scroll that includes a video of your niece twerking? Oh, we say as our index finger navigates to the next item, another one of those.

As war becomes a more remote, mechanized activity, posts and images from the target area have significant value. When a trigger gets pulled or bombs explode, real people are often on the wrong end of it. And bearing witness to the consequences gives meaning to what we see.

this study suggests that cognitive differences between men and women are not solely inherited. It suggests that, to a degree hitherto unacknowledged, they are learned from the roles a society expects males and females to perform, and that those differences can change as society changes.

the term civilian originally applied to white European servants and non-​military personnel engaged in colonial rule.9 The colonial powers insisted on the protection of “their” civilians but did not legally recognize civilians among the people under their rule. Before civilians are killed, their civilian status is challenged or erased, and international law has been repeatedly called upon to justify these erasures. We see echoes of this history in the IDF’s persistent efforts to disqualify Palestinians from the status of civilian. Palestinians in Gaza live in inescapable proximity to Hamas combatants. They are exposed to the gaze of Israeli drones whose operators equate spatial proximity with association and guilt as well as to the terrifying force of Israeli bombs. They are also exposed to an international context in which many are quick to condemn the violence of non-​state militaries like Hamas and slow to condemn the violence of state armed forces like the IDF. When the footage of the boys killed on the beach emerged, we watched in horror. It is certainly wrong to kill children. Yet when we see children being shot dead, we also need to acknowledge the ways in which we have dehumanized and demonized their families and friends who are no longer children

empire is a constant war. Global empires are constant world wars against conquered peoples. What the West calls the First World War was to a considerable extent bringing the war home to Europe. It is time for people in the West to abandon comforting lies and face up to the imperial realities of the ‘First World War

‘There is no smoking gun … the Germans were not the only imperialists and not the only ones to succumb to paranoia.’ Winston Churchill described the British in a confidential memorandum on 10 January 1914: ‘[W]e are not a young people with an innocent record and a scanty inheritance. We have engrossed to ourselves, in times when other powerful nations were paralysed by barbarism or internal war, an altogether disproportionate share of the wealth and traffic of the world. We have got all we want in territory, and our claim to be left in the unmolested enjoyment of vast and splendid possessions, mainly acquired by violence, largely maintained by force, often seems less reasonable to others than to us.’
(Christopher Clark writes in his magisterial book, The Sleepwalkers: how Europe went to war in 1914 (Penguin, 2013):)

both the kindness and gratitude groups showed measurable improvements over those who simply monitored their mood. Both the kindness and gratitude groups enjoyed a higher percent of happy days, where they felt optimistic and expected the best. They were also more satisfied with their lives, which they perceived to be more meaningful, and they felt more connected with others each day. In effect, all of these positive outcomes—this increased sense of connectedness, enhanced satisfaction with daily life, optimism, and reduced anxiety—address in some way the problems which qualified participants for the study in the first place. (Remember, they were all clinically distressed and seeking therapy that was at least more than a month out.) So these results suggest that this brief intervention—which was self-guided, and lasted only two weeks—didn’t just increase feelings of gratitude. Keeping lists of gratitude and kindness made people feel happier, more connected, and more meaningful—doing the work that therapy is partly designed to do, all before a single professional session.

TOUCH this image: A theopoem on a rearrangement of leaves by Andy Goldsworthy

Before we recreate a situation like that of 100 years ago, stop, think (because this is how it starts):
It is too early to know what happened to Flight MH17. It may indeed have been shot down by Russian separatists, as the Ukraine government and its western allies are claiming. Or it may have been shot down by forces linked to the Ukraine government. If separatists were responsible, it is likely to have been a horrible mistake rather than a deliberate attack on a civilian airline, since it is very difficult to see what possible benefits such an attack could bring to the separatist cause. Naturally that isn’t the way the Kiev government and its supporters are presenting it.