About shepsewell

I am a retired Episcopal priest. Two and a half years ago I began ACT3 that provides a place/platform to work with individuals, families, and beyond from the perspective of Bowen Family Systems Theory.

This Mask is Too Hot!

Beyond Contradiction – May 25, 2020

As America began to reopen (too early for safety, I suspect) the complaining began. These masks are too hot. This mask is inconvenient, it is in my way! This is just a hoax, these masks anyway! All things in America these days always end with the politics of the thing, whatever it is. Half reject “said thing” because it must be a conspiracy of “the other”!

For many years I have been fascinated with the notion of the leadership of groups in times of high anxiety. Having been a parish priest for thirty-six years, how could I not. These days everyone complains. While that is wearying it is amateur in the extreme when compared to the master complainers of the universe, namely, the Children of Israel in the Wilderness.

Complaining-against-Moses

The Manna Harvest / Giuseppe Angeli (18th century), but doesn’t it look more like the griping before the manna came?

The Scripture records fourteen times they murmured. I love the word. Why? Murmuring is speaking loud enough to be clearly understood and not so loud that the speaker is forced to take responsibility for the remark. Anyone who has ever reared children knows exactly what I mean. Keep in mind that every time they complained bitterly it was always against a policy designed to bring them safely through the Wilderness into the Land of Promise.

Fast forward. Masks and social distancing are designed to KEEP PEOPLE FROM CATCHING COVID19. It is the best way to slow this virus until a medical remedy can be found, prepared, and ministered to the entire human race. This is only a mild inconvenience compared to the Black Death of the Fourteenth Century, I’m just saying.

MASKS GOOD

Let us take a long slow breath and consider two responses. One to take steps to calm ourselves down and the second to grow ourselves up. Once we do this, then do it again and again. It will help one’s blood pressure and generally improve the quality of life in this reopening society for everyone around us.

John W. Sewell

May 25, 2020

 

What You Learn by Living (sometimes)

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ACT3 Memphis

November 30, 2019
John W. Sewell

1. Like Christopher Columbus, what we find may be more important than what we were looking for.
2. Whatever is worth doing is worth doing poorly.
3. Dealing with matters of power and faith is like driving a car on ice. Doing what comes naturally, is almost always not the thing to do.
4. Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly
5. Salvation is a gift requiring a response.
6. The Christian life is like driving a car on ice. The automatic non-thinking reaction is not the thing to do.
7. Dissecting a frog is instructive but afterward it will not hop!
8. In matters of faith and nutrition, you are what you eat.
9. Ministry is like being pecked to death by a flock of small ducks
10. Every expression of Christianity has an inner inarticulate essence and a cultural manifestation. – Rev Stephen Parsons
11. Don’t collect so much clutter that you will be relieved to see your house catch fire. – Wendell Berry
12. If you want a huge funeral die young and tragically. If you live to old and it rains there will be nobody there.

In hope, in spite of the facts.

John Sewell+

When Reason Sleeps, Monsters Are Born.

Goya

“When Reason Sleeps, Monsters are Born” – Francisco Goya

Domestic pig (Sus scrofa f. domestica) and Ralf-P. Bergemann during a grunting competition between pig and man, at the Kappeler Pig races, Bergemann is the master of grunting, Kappel, Bavaria,Germany

“Twelve voices were shouting in anger, and they were all alike. No question, now, what had happened to the faces of the pigs. The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”
― George Orwell, Animal Farm

Perusing Extremism, consider some of the following questions:

  • Is extremism concerned with the supremacy of one’s own group, or is it defined by hatred of the “other”?
  • Do extremists emerge on the scene suddenly, or do they evolve from mainstream movements?
  • Are they found only on the margins of society?
  • Is violence a necessary component of extremism?
  • How do extremists decide on their beliefs?
  • Are they rational?
  • How can we define extremism objectively when so many possible variations exist?

 

Berger, J. M. Extremism (MIT Press Essential Knowledge series). The MIT Press. Kindle Edition.

What is Old is New or What the hell?

Gasoline prices at Shell in Denver

Prices for the three grades of gasoline light up the pump at a Shell station Friday, May 25, 2020, in Memphis, Tennessee and over the United States

Marilyn, my beloved, just arrived home from her intermittent hunting and gathering safari, what used to be called “grocery shopping”.  She said, “What do you suppose gasoline cost just now?”  I shrugged,  no idea. “Sixty-eight cents a galleon!” I am 68 years old.  When I was 16, gasoline cost 15 – 20 cents per gallon.

In the year of the plague, we stand at threshold of a new world.  We can choose to embrace the ADVENTURE of life on this changing planet, making new economies such that the planet has no need to wipe out human  beings in order to survive in her orbit.

I vote for adventure, a new epoch of history that has clear skies over New Delhi. Fish swimming in the clear lagoons of Venice and the nations turn swords into hemostats that we may safely get off Mother Earth while we still are able. May Mother Earth recover and may the Kingdom of God come and increase.   To God be glory now and forever.

I live in hope in spite of the facts.

John Sewell