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Dealing with the (Usual) Bad News

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One of my go-to’s for coping with the daily-hourly-minute-ly horrifying news stream is taking the old Stoic advice of amor fati, Latin for “love of fate.” For me, that means taking a longer-term view.

Where ever we look, if we look closely, we see anxiety. Pick a day, any day of any year, and if there was a paper a the time, the front is very likely to be filled with anxiety.

For example, In March of 1932, my predecessor as senior minister at First Unitarian Society of Minneapolis, John Dietrich, presented a Sunday morning talk titled “Grounds for Hope in the Present Chaos.” Dietrich said:

It is necessary to create a new hope, to build up by our thought a better world than the one which is hurtling itself to ruin. Because the times are bad, more is required of us than would be required in normal times. Only a supreme fire of thought and spirit can save future generations from the death that has befallen our time.

“Grounds for hope in the present chaos.” For me, it helps my anxiety concerning the present to think about the context for those words.

March of 1932.

In March of 1932, the unemployment rate was 24% and 3/4 of all US banks were closed — many permanently — as bank runs wiped out lifetimes of savings.* Japan had invaded China. Adolf Hitler narrowly lost his first bid for prime minister. The US headlines screamed the kidnapping of Charles Lindbergh Jr., 20-month-old child of Charles Lindbergh and Anne Morrow Lindbergh. In Minnesota, 1/4 of all businesses had closed their doors forever.*

There was a lot of “present chaos.”

Yet, John Dietrich talked about “new hope” and building “up by our thought a better world than the one which is hurtling itself to ruin.”

The sort of “new hope” that Dietrich urged was “a supreme fire of thought and spirit” that he said was the only thing that could save “future generations from the death that has befallen our time.”

A fire of thought and spirit. That’s what we need. We are, after all, among those future generations that need saving from the “death that has befallen our (“their”) time.”

And the next generation and next?

www.FirstUnitarian.org

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