A Palm Sunday Video

A Palm Sunday Video


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Updates About my Debut Novel

Of the dozen or so people in the world who know and care that my debut novel will be published in June 2020, here is an update. (I had more than 88,000 pageviews last year. A solid dozen must be interested in my novel, right?)

Faith, Hope, and Baseball: A Novel, is in production. The manuscript has been edited, reviewed, and edited and revised, and reviewed again. Any mistakes that remain are mine because I kept making changes.

“Good writing is rewriting.” – Walter Mosley.

Walter Mosley said to write and rewrite, and rewrite, and rewrite, until you can’t rewrite any more, and then it’s done.

For more about my writing life, visit my Facebook author page.

If I record the audio-book version, I will make changes while I record it. I would probably make dozens of changes and continue to rewrite while I spoke. I rewrite from the time I read the words to the moment I speak the words.

As a reporter, sometimes we have to settle for good enough because we don’t have time for perfection. So we shoot for as good as it can get in the time available.

Faith, Hope, and Baseball book cover.

Immortal Works publishing will release the book in June 2020 in print, audio and eBook. Small writers and small publishers don’t make a lot of money… none of us do. Just look at how often you buy $1.99 Amazon eBooks. Authors have to sell a whole lot of eBooks on Amazon to make respectable money.

So, in the time available, meaning according to the production schedule of Immortal Works, I’m done with Faith, Hope, and Baseball: A Novel.

Immortal Works is a small but a legitimate publisher paying to produce my novel. People I have never met, never spoken to, are spending money on my book.

It’s humbling.

I am now striving for a new level of humility, by asking readers to join my pre-launch team with early and special support.

I have several special thank you gifts associated with the novel, follow this link to learn more.

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Thanks for following Faith on the Fringe

Thanks for following Faith on the Fringe.

I appreciate your support and interest.

For some months, the blog has been hosted on this website: https://www.patheos.com/blogs/faithonthefringe

I’ve posted an excerpt from my novel in progress written about Martin Luther King, Jr., Thomas Merton, Christmas, and so much more.

You can receive notice when I add a new post by signing up here, https://www.patheos.com/blogs/faithonthefringe/newsletter

You can help support Faith on the Fringe by following the link to shop at Amazon.

Again, thank you for your support.


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The Second Coming

Happy birthday, William Butler Yeats.

The Second Coming

by W.B. Yeats

June 13, 1865 – Jan. 28, 1939

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

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Sunny day suicides – reminding us of who we are

“Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.”

Working on my high school newspaper, a classmate and I wrote an article about suicide.

I don’t remember which of us physically wrote the article. (My friend was much, much smarter than I was, so I assume he did most of the writing.) I do remember talking with him about my interview with a suicide hotline official.

A singular fact from the interview has stuck with me, all these decades later.

Look at this list of familiar names. Notice anything?

Musician Richard Manuel – died March 4, 1986.

Actor Richard Jeni – died March 10, 2007.

Author Virginia Woolf – died March 28, 1941.

Musician Kurt Cobain – died April 5, 1994.

Athlete Junior Seau – died May 2, 2012.

Actress Dana Plato – died May 8, 1999.

Actress Lucy Gordon – died May 20, 2009.

Actor Ray Combs, Jr. – died June 2, 1996.

Fashion designer Kate Spade – died June 5, 2018.

Chef Anthony Bourdain – died June 8, 2018.

Author Ernest Hemingway – died July 2, 1961.

Musician Marcel Jacob – died July 21, 2009.

Actor Robin Williams – died Aug. 11, 2014.

Did you notice?

According to the suicide expert I interviewed, most suicidal people don’t take their lives around Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year’s; around happy, holiday times. Depressed people stay inside and alone when the weather is cold, but so does everyone else.

But when the weather is nice, on warm, sunny days, when others are outdoors, suicidal people feel their depression most acutely, the expert told me. Suicides rise when the weather is better.

I’ve never confirmed it (and still haven’t), but it certainly seemed to make sense, even if only anecdotally.

Haunted by darkness and shadows, hounded by thoughts most of us can’t begin to imagine, anger and sadness turn inward. Gripped by despair that seems to get worse when others appear happy, people seek to end the pain, by ending their lives.

Despite growing awareness and empathy, the stigma around mental illness remains strong. I know from experience – nothing chills a conversation quite like mentioning taking medication for depression for nearly a decade.

For survivors, suicide is the most difficult type of death to accept.

Unlike long illnesses, shocking accidents, or even senseless murders that leave holes in our lives, suicides leave friends and family with tragic questions that can never be answered.

Talk of suicide always reminds me of the poem Richard Cory:

Richard Cory

By Edwin Arlington Robinson

Whenever Richard Cory went down town,
We people on the pavement looked at him:
He was a gentleman from sole to crown,
Clean favored, and imperially slim.

And he was always quietly arrayed,
And he was always human when he talked;
But still he fluttered pulses when he said,
“Good-morning,” and he glittered when he walked.

And he was rich—yes, richer than a king—
And admirably schooled in every grace:
In fine, we thought that he was everything
To make us wish that we were in his place.

So on we worked, and waited for the light,
And went without the meat, and cursed the bread;
And Richard Cory, one calm summer night,
Went home and put a bullet through his head.

Suicide reminds us that all the riches of the world can’t make Richard Cory happy.

Suicide touches our own deepest sadnesses.

My friend from high school, who wrote the article with me? We remained friends for the next 30 years, through college and into adulthood. We hung out, invited one another to concerts and crossed paths at local music festivals.

On an unseasonably warm Nov. 24, in 2016, two months short of his 50th birthday, my friend took his life.

For suicide support, visit https://afsp.org/find-support/

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The crisis in the U.S. church

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White Men: demanding rights for themselves they refuse to extend to others

Discrimination is wrong.

Some people need to be told discrimination is wrong.

For whatever reason, they never learned that it’s wrong to discriminate against others because of skin color, or gender or size or age or sexuality or nationality or religion.

It’s un-Christian, un-Biblical, un-American and unfair.

Some people claim God made everyone equal, but then they treat others unequally. They demand preferential treatment or are blind to the benefits they receive because of their gender or race.

They think they are somehow losing rights when others get the same rights they have  – Their marriages are somehow threatened, because someone else is married, for example.

When shown how discrimination is wrong, they don’t care.

They complain about “political correctness,” or bemoan not being allowed to discriminate by picking and choosing who gets equal treatment in public policies, in laws and in the marketplace.

They demand for themselves rights they refuse to extend to others.

Discrimination has been so normalized that it makes equitable treatment appear like special accommodations.

A surprising number of frightened white men think they’re being discriminated against when other people get treated equally.

The United States was built on a false promise of equality from rich, white men who marginalized everyone else.

Poor white men, women, blacks, Asians, Jews, Hispanics — all have been sold a false narrative that they have the same opportunities as the wealthy elites, while being blamed for being victims in a society driven by victimizing them. The prison industry is built upon the crushed hopes and dreams of the working poor, for example.

In the past century, as marginalized groups have moved into the mainstream, the white, wealthy, male elites have grown more adept at fanning fears and pitting exploited groups against each other.

The white, male elites have cobbled together an ever-shrinking coalition of racists and religious radicals while anesthetizing the majority of the population with entertainment, a celebration of ignorance, and irrational fears. The ruling rich reached their summit, and society its nadir, with the election of an incompetent, frightened, cowardly, racist bully to the highest office in the land.

Jesus offers a better way.

The message of Jesus is good news to the poor. Liberation for the oppressed, freedom from fear. Release for the captives. The love of God.

This is the Good News Jesus brings.

The message of Jesus is in direct conflict with the white patriarchy, so white, male preachers obstruct the true message of Jesus by focusing on hell, judgement and condemnation.

Jesus tells us the characteristics that God blesses. These are not the characteristics of the wealthy elite.

Blessed are the poor in spirit, those who mourn, and the meek.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.
Blessed are the merciful, the pure in heart, and the peacemakers.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake.

In other words, blessed are those who don’t discriminate.

Discrimination is not of God and neither are those who support discrimination.

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