Monthly Archives: October 2010

Heart-Shaped Box

I have a heart-shaped wooden box on my dresser.  Every evening I empty the change from my pocket into the box.  This is a habit that my father taught me.  He would do this every evening too.  “My savings account,” he would say. “Little things,” he’d start to say as he’d shake the coins in his pocket, “do add up.”   He was so dedicated to this practice that during his day he wouldn’t spend the coins in his pocket.  He’d take out bills to pay for every thing.  If it cost $1.26, he would take out two ones instead of using the coins in his pocket.  “More savings,” he’d teach.

Read more »


Yesterday, National Public Radio fired Juan Williams for remarks he made about Muslims when he appeared as a guest on Fox New’s “The O’Reilly Factor”.  Williams, addressing O’Reilly, said: “I mean, look, Bill.  I’m not a bigot.  You know the kind of books I’ve written about the civil rights movement in this country.  But when I get on a plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried.  I get nervous.”

Read more »

Making Food Good

This is Jane posting an entry from Susannah Dolance.

Last week, Jane, JoAnne Rohricht, and I attended the Nobel Conference at Gustavus Adolphus College.   The theme was “Making Food Good.”  I was excited about the conference because I have both a personal and professional interest in food.

I’ve always enjoyed eating, but I became interested in the behind-the-scenes of food about ten years ago, when I lived in Ann Arbor, Michigan and started shopping at the People’s Food Co-op.  As a budding sociologist, I was fascinated by the many ways individual food choices and eating habits are connected to broader social structures.

In 2004, I moved to the Twin Cities to take a job as an instructor of Sociology at Century College.  In 2005, I began to put together an Introduction to Sociology class for the summer term that teaches the basic concepts of sociology by examining contradictions in the world of food (e.g. too much food in the developed world, while there’s not enough in the developing world).  I’ve been teaching that class every summer since, so I’m always on the lookout for new perspectives, ideas, and controversies in the study of food.  The Nobel Conference looked like a great place to explore some of these ideas.

Read more »

Rummage Sale slideshow!

Many thanks to all!

(To pause or play the sideshow, hover your mouse over the images.)



Am I My Brother’s Keeper?


Cain and Abel by Marc Chagall


Last week, Tim wrote about the Civility Project, a campaign at Rutgers University that uses “panel discussions, lectures, workshops and other events to raise awareness about the importance of respect, compassion and courtesy in everyday interactions,” with a special emphasis on the Internet and other social technologies (09/29/10 N.Y. Times).

Sadly, a great irony has emerged.  On the campaign’s inaugural day, news came that a Rutgers freshman named Tyler Clementi, 18, committed suicide.  It seems clear that he was driven to this tragic act by the actions of his roommate and another student.  They streamed video online of Tyler having a sexual encounter with another man. Tyler is one of six recent suicides by teenage males that have been linked to anti-GLBT bullying by peers.

Read more »

A Wave Through the Window

(Abby here:  I’m posting this piece by First Church moderator Tim Danz.  We’ll get him an account of his own soon!)

I reached an elite status last spring. I got a wave through the window. It meant I was good for it. Tou gave me a wave and approved my gas pump.

It reminded me of how small town the Twin Cities can be. Where I work on the East Side of St. Paul you pay before you pump. This privilege of pumping before paying was certainly born of familiarity. Tou’s station always has the lowest price and they give a 3-cent per gallon discount for cash. So of course I fill up regularly there.

Read more »