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Saturday, August 1, 2020

Oh, What a Whirlwind we're in!

        Shhh!  Don’t tell.  My very first post.  I find myself spiraling back and upward, like a DNA molecule, to the myriad of themes emerging out of my twilight zone

Research creates DNA-like molecule to aid search for alien life 

(photo by phys.org)

The spirals are so numerous I think I’ll start a “Spiraling Back” series.  (Sorry, Just like Eve readers, this whirlwind is still too big for the creativity of fiction, but I will “spiral back” to it when the winds slow down; if you’d like to hunt down a publisher for me, then perhaps I could return sooner . . . ? 🤔)  I’ll begin with my very first post and all three of its images: the fast-moving “freight train” of information, my “eyes of paradox” (one near-sighted, one far-sighted), and the movement toward whispering, careful speech.  

Image 1: The fast-moving freight train

           Shhh! Don’t tell explained this fast-moving train like a college lecturer speaking so fast you, a student, can’t keep up to take notes.  You had agreed to take notes for some absent classmates, but you gave up, told them the lecture was too fast, and they were on their own. 

I’m now trying to keep up with another freight train speeding along at record speeds.  Nothing adds up, but information – some useful and some really off and very distracting – is blowing in like hurricane.  With all this debris of information flying everywhere, which do we grab hold of, and which do we let go?  Friends, the answers are not at all obvious.

Too many think they know which nuggets of information to trust and which to distrust, but they might be making those decisions based on either a “False Authority” fallacy or an “Ad Hominem” fallacy.  These logical fallacies are opposites, so let me explain them:

A False Authority fallacy is the belief that a statement must be true just because Reliable Person said it.  Perhaps Reliable Person is an authority, but just because Reliable Person said it does not necessarily make it true.  Reliable Person has to provide strong, accurate, reliable evidence for his or her statement in order for it to be trustworthy.  Therefore, a False Authority fallacy does not necessarily mean the speaker is not an authority; instead it means the statement cannot be trusted just because the speaker said it.  Genuine evidence is necessary. 

An example might be, “NASA says solar flares are harmless.”  NASA, of course, is a genuine authority for such a statement.  This statement, however, could be false. A good listener should ask why NASA says that and what evidence NASA has for such a statement.  (BTW, NASA hasn’t said this; I made it up for the purpose of the analogy, and I purposely chose a respected national agency who I myself trust.)

An Ad Hominem fallacy is the opposite: it believes a statement must be false because Unreliable Person said it.  Maybe Unreliable Person is reliable, and has genuine evidence for X, but is getting demonized 😅 for something she stated (perhaps in jest) about Y.  Are we not to listen to her evidence on X because something from unrelated Y, taken out of context, condemns her?

Or, perhaps Unreliable Person really is unreliable.  Does that mean that everything that person says is false?  What if Unreliable Person brings forth reliable evidence?  Shouldn’t we take a look at that evidence?

 Think about these two questions also:

1.     Has Person, who is being presented to you (or you think is) either Reliable or Unreliable, provided evidence?  Has Person provided it accurately, based on your own fact-checking through the original data or the original source? 

2.    Are you seeing the full evidence in full context of Person, who is being presented to you (or you think is) either Reliable or Unreliable?  Perhaps Person is Reliable, but is being presented as Unreliable, and Person’s strongest evidence has been eliminated from what you’re seeing.  Have you checked the original source?

Image 2: Eyes of Paradox

           As noted in “Shhh! Don’t tell,” I have anisometropia, or what I call “eyes of paradox,” a slightly near-sighted left eye and a fairly pronounced far-sighted right eye.  In certain ways, like trying to read anything from the Internet on my cell phone, or trying to hit an overhead in tennis, my condition is a nuisance.  No set of eye-glasses can give me perfect vision, so I do the best I can, while taking advantage of its benefits, like being able to see road signs far in advance.  “There it is, coming up, next Exit, you’ll need to stay in the right-most lane of the fork,” I tell my husband when we’re on a busy freeway.  Astonished, he exclaims, “You can read that?!”

           Although they’re usually a nuisance, I’m proud of my eyes of paradox.  My life has been about paradox, starting in childhood.  I often imagine my angels are upstairs laughing, playing a joke on me, as I think they did with my eyes.  She’ll be all about paradox; she’ll see nothing but paradox, so let’s give her eyes of paradox!  That my more pronounced eye is far-sighted is also not lost on me.  As I watch the world, life, everything, I see things much more in far-sighted vision than near-sighted.  Right now, I’m seeing everything in paradox, and I’m seeing more of it with the far-sighted eye.

           Let’s consider Highly Unreliable Person, a person I do not trust at all.  If I had not already been investigating X through credible sources, I might respond to what Highly Unreliable Person is saying like everyone else: Highly Unreliable Person thinks X; therefore, X must be false.  But what if X is true?  It’s a paradox. I want to think Highly Unreliable Person can never be trusted.  In our whirlwind, nothing is that simple.

            Paradox accepts that there is no one size fits all.  Maybe a particular treatment will work well for you; maybe it won’t.  Each treatment comes with effects, some of which are more risky for some than others because our bodies are all different.  This should be a decision between each patient with his or her own doctor.

             Likewise, perhaps a particular preventative measure will help you because you have a weak immune system and could be assisted by it.  Perhaps  that same measure could set back another person who has spent years building up his own natural immunity.  For that person, the same preventative measure that helps you is like the boulder that he, Prometheus, has to roll back up a mountain.

           Here’s another paradox: the stay-at-home order that fits my own zen leanings, but jeopardizes the needs of those on my heart, the youth.  I’ve just posted It Still Takes a Village on the youth, so I won’t repeat that here; I’ll just say that what is trying for the youth -- to slow down and remain in place -- is actually refreshing to me.  These are just a couple of paradoxes, but in our whirlwind, the paradoxes are legion.

Image 3: Shhh! Careful speech

           Through this pandemic, my family has chosen to do “Family Movie Nights,” rotating each of us to choose a film and a couple of nights ago, at my request, we watched Karate Kid 2, my favorite of these because in this part, one of my all-time favorite of film characters is the star: Mr. Miagi.  This little man doesn’t look tough, he doesn’t say much, and he’s quirky – he tries to catch flies with chopsticks!  But no strong man, nor crowd of them, armed or not, can defeat this guy.  And even if his phrasing is as quirky as his habits, when he speaks, you’d be wise to listen.

             After a period of silence, a moment tends to arise when one is released to speak.  Another spiral up into the next rung for me on this theme comes from 2013.  I had been advocating for my students to “rise into voices of power for the sake of good,” and at the start of 2013, I began praying the same for myself. In early April, I faced quite a challenge for an instructor at the start of a new quarter: I lost my voice for two weeks.  The Spirit whispered, I will give you a voice of power, but I first have to take away your voice.  (If you glance at my Blog Archive and the posts per year, you’ll also see when my blog voice dropped off for a few years.)

            A year ago, the Spirit surprised me with another whisper: I’m positioning you to be that voice, so I’ve given you a distraction for a test.  Will you be distracted, or will you be a voice of power?  A year later, I’d say the answer, mostly, is both.  Thankfully, not only I, but those relevant, following the divine forces, have shown restraint, permitting me to begin to emerge into this voice, beginning with my successful advocacy on behalf of Oregon college students.  For now, the whispers repeat the counsel to emulate Mr. Miagi: be humble, simple, silent, restrained, and then when the moment comes to move, watch out!

Be Ready Alexandria, Prepare for Hurricane Season | Port City Wire

(photo by portcitywire.com)

Should we always listen to Reliable Person?  Should we never listen to Unreliable Person?  Oh, what a whirlwind we’re in!  To properly discern, we need to examine the evidence for ourselves through our Inner Authority.  To trust our Inner Authority, we need to free ourselves from fear, anxiety, anger, and lower nature desires. Once we do, our Inner Authority is remarkably reliable.  Here’s a doctor who studies, examines, questions, tests, and listens to her Inner Authority, and suggests we do the same.  As a triple board certified Internal Medicine physician, she fits “Reliable Person.”  But even she encourages us not to take her word for it, nor the word of the many speaking another narrative, but to examine the evidence for ourselves through our Inner Authority.

© 2020 by karina.  All rights reserved.  Please use with permission or a citation that links to this blog.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

It Still Takes a Village to Raise a Kid

It takes a village to raise a kid.

Some kids are abused at home.

Some kids are suicidal.

Don’t pull the village from the kid.

           I’m a teacher, a parent of kids in school, and a liberal, and all I’m reading in the articles or on social media is “Go all on-line!”  And the calls for it are missing what really matters: the Village it takes to raise our kids.  Yes, all of our kids – not just mine and yours, but all of our kids: the abused kids, the suicidal kids, the struggling kids, the special needs kids, the second language kids, the at-risk kids.  It takes a Village to raise them.  And for many of them, that Village is at school.

             We don’t have to do full school at school.  We can do hybrid.  That’s what I’m pushing for – some time in person, face to face (F2F), to make that personal connection, for students to see on our faces our compassion, our belief in them, and our in person skills to help them succeed.

             I am in full agreement on this: “No teacher should be forced to teach in person.”  True.  Teachers, if you don’t feel comfortable in the classroom, then ask to teach on-line, and you should be granted that.

             But why are we not hearing this?  “No teacher should be forced to teach on-line.”  It took me seven weeks and two Associate Deans agreeing with me to finally be granted the chance to teach in the classroom twice a week this coming fall for my interdisciplinary classes.  If I was not bull-headed enough, and if I did not have strong rationale that my students need some face-to-face (F2F) instruction, and if I was not teaching interdisciplinary classes for students recruited outside my field by those who also want F2F, I would be like many of my colleagues: A teacher who wants to teach F2F and is being forced to teach on-line.  Friends, we need to have that conversation also.  No teacher should be forced to teach on-line either.

             I hope we can think beyond the virus and quit asking our kids to be “resilient” and start being the resilient Village our kids need us to be.  Yes, we’ll wear masks.  Yes, we’ll distance ourselves.  And, yes, we need Small Class Sizes!

             I’ve seen too much first-hand among my students, my own kids, and their friends to not speak out for the Village.  Thankfully, I don’t know whether I’ve successfully prevented any suicides among any of my students, because none of the ones showing signs who I helped made that drastic choice.  But I do know I’ve helped the mental health of quite a few of them, as many have thanked me for it.  One in five college students contemplates suicide, and the numbers for high schoolers is about the same.  I’ve studied the signs to look for, I’ve seen them, and I’ve taken steps to help students get the help they need.

             Could I support needed mental mental health if I taught all on-line?  Perhaps, but not as well.

             Could I teach as effectively all on-line?  No.  Definitely not.

             Could I reach at risk students as effectively all on-line?  No, of course not.

             Might some of my colleagues be much more effective than me if they are all on-line?  Absolutely.  Some of them are excellent all on-line.  I am not.  I’m strict with high standards.  My students need to see my face, with my compassion, with my belief in them, with me physically rooting them on, and with me inspiring them to heights they didn’t think they could achieve.

             I teach college writing mostly for incoming freshmen who are going into the math and sciences.  They don’t like writing and they don’t think they can do it.  But when they see my face rooting them on, they do.  They succeed.

                       If I’m all on-line, no way could I garner that kind of success.

             I want to see my students succeed – as students and as young people in all the emotional turmoil of adolescence.  By studying the human brain, neurologists have discovered that adolescence doesn’t end until age 25.  What do neurologists and psychologists say adolescents need?  Social interaction – a lot of it.

             I know many teachers also want to be in the classroom.  But most of them are silent among the screams.  We can all agree that teachers who want to be on-line should get that chance.  Now, let us please also agree that teachers who want to teach in person should also get that chance.

             Friends who want us in the classrooms, please speak this counter message among the screams:

It Still Takes a Village to Raise a Kid

So let those of us who want to be physically part of that Village

Be that Village

Update 7/23: The American Academy of Pediatrics agrees

Continue to next pandemic post:
Check other pandemic posts: 

(c) 2020 by karina.  Please use with permission or with a citation to this blog.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

What my Eyes could Read: Part 4 and Epilogue

To start this story from the beginning, click here

San Jose, CA, late 1970s, age 7, playroom

            “Colin!  Colin!  Where are you?  Colin!  Why aren’t you coming?!”  I threw my toy car against the wall.  Why isn’t he coming?  It had been too long since my brother had come to visit.  I had called to him the day before, and the day before that, and many other days before that.  By this time, I didn’t even know how many days it had been.

I was now screaming, “Colin!!”  My throat burned red and hot.  I picked up my bear, laid him on my toy ironing board, and imagining Colin within him, I pounded on his tummy.  “Colin!!  Where are you?!  Come back!” One more pound. 

I paused.  Horrified.  What had I just done to Colin?  I picked up my bear and hugged him tight.  “Colin, I’m so sorry!  I promise I’ll never do that again.  Please, please come back,” I whispered into my bear’s ear.  I screamed again, this time at the ceiling.  “Come baaaaack!!”

              Another car tore across the room.  Then another, and another.  One was in the air when the door opened, with Mom peering through the door opening.  “Karina, are you okay?”

            How could I answer?  If I answered it honestly, “Colin won’t come to me,” she wouldn’t understand.  She didn’t know how to pull me into her and have me cry it all out like Dad did.  Besides, she thought Colin was imaginary.

            Quickly drying off my face, I mumbled, “I’ll be okay.”  Relieved, she closed back the door, smiled, and said, “All right.” 

            Colin never returned.  I knew he wouldn’t.  I had pounded him through my bear.

             For years, I felt grief and guilt: grief over the loss of Colin and guilt for scaring him away.  I had also had an imaginary sister.  But she left me when I was four.  I hardly remember anything about her.  I prayed for a brother or a sister until I was 21, then modified my prayer to marry into a big family.  That’s not quite what happened.  I married another only child, but one who carried Colin’s essence.  He had Colin’s playful, curious mannerisms, and with his spikey brown hair and oval face, he looked like Colin all grown up.  About a month after he first asked me out, he popped a tape into his car cassette deck.  Astonished, I exclaimed, “This is bossa nova!”  Outside of our family’s Brazilian friends, I had never met anyone who knew this music, let alone listen to it.  He was at least as astonished as I was and asked how I knew this music.  I shared my background and asked the same of him.  He had discovered it at a youth jazz festival, loved it, and had started learning to play a variation of the genre on his saxophone.  About a year later, we were engaged, and when Mom saw our engagement photos, she remarked in wonder, “You two look like brother and sister!”  My heart burst with joy.

 San Jose, late 1970s, age 7

            “How about ‘Squeaky’?” I asked, holding our brand new puppy, in the back seat of our car.  Mom said she liked names that ended in “y,” so I was suggesting adjective names like “Happy” or “Yippy,” none of which she liked.  Our puppy was non-stop squeaking, so I thought “Squeaky” was perfect.  Not Mom.  “Veto!” she cried out.  We then passed a Cindy’s restaurant and I said, “How about ‘Cindy’?”  “’Cindy’ is perfect!” Mom exclaimed, delighted.  “She has the color of cinders.  Yes, ‘Cindy’ is it!”

            Mom and I had both been begging Dad for a dog, and once he finally relented, we flew out the door looking for one.  We found a sweet, squeaky, cinders-colored, female cockapoo, who became my new best friend.  Not long after that, I made a human best friend with a girl who lived only three blocks down the street.  Soon after that, I joined the swim team.  I was off and running, and swimming, and reading too.  Somehow, Colin knew just how long I needed him before I could begin navigating life in my strange new culture on my own.

 Seattle, WA, 1980s, age 14

            My dad was blessed.  He had only one sibling, but the best kind: a brother only thirteen months his junior, and his best friend.  My grandfather, one of eight children, grew up in Washington state, which drew both Dad and Uncle Bob to Washington State University.  After graduating, Uncle Bob moved to a suburb about a half hour south of Seattle, and not far from many of their dozens of cousins.  Family reunions, usually over the Fourth of July weekend, brought us to the Northwest almost every year.  The summer before I entered high school, Dad and Uncle Bob needed two full days to work out care for my grandmother, leaving Mom and me free to play tourist in Seattle.

Mom asked Uncle Bob for suggestions.  For my boater and fisherman uncle, that was easy: Pike Place Market.  It’s best known for its delicious fish, but also for its unique, crafty shops, antiques, a charming waterfront, a lovely park, and – a big draw for both me and Mom – the Seattle Aquarium and Omnimax Theater nearby.  We left around 10 am and headed onto I5 North.  We passed a sign to Vancouver, BC, and Mom, born in Canada and an alum of McGill University in Montreal, pointed to it and started describing its charm.  We passed another sign to Vancouver.  Had I ever been?  No, never been there.  We passed a third sign, Mom was getting more nostalgic, and we passed a fourth.  “You’ve never been to Vancouver?” 

“No, never.” 

“Karina, we are going to Vancouver!”

This was the 1980s -- you know, before passports were needed to cross into Canada and before cell phones, but not before traffic, congestion, and booked hotels during holidays like the Fourth of July and Canada Day on the 1st.  We arrived in Vancouver in the evening and every hotel we passed read, “No Vacancy.”  My Canadian mom knew we had to head east, and around 10 pm, she found us a little grungy motel with a vacancy in Coquitlam. 

The next day, Mom drove us to the English Bay in Vancouver, where she introduced me to Lox and Bagels, which I’ve loved ever since, and then we walked the waterfront trail into Stanley Park, where we walked and talked for hours, forgetting the time.  It was about 11 pm when we finally made it to Uncle Bob’s, where we found him and Dad sitting in the hot tub.  They tried to guess where we might have gone that had sent us out for so long and took turns guessing various excursions, day cruises, and other outings.  Then my uncle thought he had it.  “You went to a baseball game!” We laughed.  Dad’s eyes lit up wide; his face revealed he knew the answer; he threw up his arm with his index finger raised high and exclaimed triumphantly, “You went to Vancouver!”  “Isso!” Mom affirmed with glee.  That’s it! Together, Dad and Uncle Bob cried out their congratulations in unison, “Parabens!”

Often, girls and their moms go through a testing phase when the girl enters her teen years.  For me and my mom, it was the opposite.  Her surprising, spontaneous getaway with me to Vancouver set the stage for a strong mother-daughter bond and friendship throughout high school and college.  Our bond carried out to my friends too, as many of them found in her a confidante they didn’t have in their own mom.  My mom’s adventurous, youthful spirit resonates with girls in their teens and twenties.  She loves to hear about their adventures, is patient with their dramas, listens well without judging their youthful choices, and is good at guiding them through the turbulence of adolescence.  Maybe she doesn’t get young children, but she gets teens.  It wasn’t until I was writing this story that it hit me: our bond was solidified in the country of her birth. 

On our drive home from Seattle that summer before I entered high school, I vowed into my journal a promise to one day live in the Pacific Northwest.  At 14, I didn’t remember much of Brazil, but I knew the casual, outdoorsy, Zen-like culture of the Northwest fit me in a way I had never found in San Jose.  I kept my vow.  I went away to college in Oregon and then moved to a small town in Washington state, where I’ve lived ever since.



            I didn’t start reading until I was in second grade.  But even at the age of three, I had learned to read with my eyes, to make observations, and to begin forming within myself what really matters in life.  A small house with white walls and an oven that doesn’t work is a blessing; large houses and shopping malls are tiresome.  And now I drive a two-seater electric vehicle, symbolizing the simplicity I cherish.  This is the notion that was originally intended to be my driving point, my "thesis," expressed in the story’s opening quote from Luke: What does it profit a man to gain the world and lose his soul?

            In the process of writing this story, shared with the other participants in my writing seminar, we discovered my story carries a plethora of themes, and the one my seminar-mates love best is the one of the lonely only child who marries her imaginary brother.  But there are so many more: immigration and culture shock, translation, the seeds to my mysticism, and the quiet and gentle spirit I had at last acquired.  Perhaps it is not that this story needs a thesis, but that this story is my life’s thesis.

Immigrant Identity

            It wasn’t until I returned from Venezuela that it hit me: I am an immigrant.   Not a normal one, of course.  But we moved to Brazil when I was only a year old, and psychologists say that one’s identity is especially formed during the very years I was living in another country.  But no one saw me as an immigrant, so I was neither prepared for culture shock, nor was I understood.

Translator Identity

I heard the Spirit whisper to me in Venezuela that my role there is also my life’s role: Translator.  Often, this has meant translating sensitivity for other backgrounds before my own majority white culture, especially among Christians.  During this pandemic, it also means translating for my fellow liberals our principle of Equality for All to advocate that we "Save Lives" by uplifting Equality for All Conditions, in contrast to what I call “COVID Favoring.”  Lately, it has even begun to mean translating for another time.  But I must also be sensitive, remembering that all things sit within paradox, which can involve a challenge for me: bridling my Irish self from its quick-tempered impulses.

Home Identity

Dad resonated with Brazil; Mom with Canada; and I with a blend, the Pacific Northwest which combines South American zen with Canadian progressive openness.  I then married another only child, a Northwesterner, who beats to the rhythm of Brazil and carries the essence of my “imaginary” brother.  In my 20s, what did I most need?  A husband?  No, a brother.  Such fulfillment can be challenging in a marriage, and we are working through that, but it is also endearing.    

Early childhood Identity

            Some who have heard my impressions at the age of three have been skeptical.  Could a child so young have been so perceptive?  As one whose very early childhood memories have been confirmed by my mom, I am convinced we underestimate small children.  I’ve read Developmental Psychology texts on early childhood and would write some of the portions differently.  In one selection, the “expert” psychologist was explaining the “ego-centric” paradigm of young children.  The author told the story of two four year-olds who were playing on the play equipment at the park, while their two mothers were sitting on the park bench watching them.  One of the children fell, and the other child ran to the park bench and reported to his own mother what had happened.  The textbook “expert” explained the four year-old was too “ego-centric” to tell the “right” mother, the playmate’s own mother.  No, that’s not it, I thought, recalling what it was like to be four.  This four year-old was not “ego-centrically” choosing the “wrong” mother to tell.  This four year-old was telling the person he could trust, the one to whom he could safely be the messenger of bad news.

Newest Identity with a Quiet and Gentle Spirit

            My trip to Venezuela also brought an order to me from my North American Mission Director in words very similar to those that open my book, Just like Eve, which sparked my own quest and my book.  And it was in Venezuela where the whispers of mystery began.  I never could have trusted these without two factors: (1) Mom’s confirmation of my waterfall of memories.  If those were accurate, perhaps so were the whispers. (2) My “imaginary” brother who stayed with me until I was 7.  Few children have their imaginary friends stay with them until an age old enough to imprint such a strong impression.  That mine did gave me more trust than most have in the messages coming from another dimension.

My waterfall of memories answered my prayer, and the newly discovered whispers of mystery told me to quit my anti-depressants.  This took courage and faith in whispers so new.  But I listened.  I have been off of them ever since.

 What my eyes have learned to read

A quiet and gentle spirit cannot come by needing other people to understand me.  I continue to think in one paradigm, while living among those who think in another, and though I’m learning to translate, I know my translation is limited, as is the capacity of others to hear it.  And, to be fair, my Irish spirit can also mess it up at times.  I will, then, be often misunderstood.

And that is okay.

And now I know it is okay,

Even misunderstood, I can now maintain a quiet and gentle spirit.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Translating Progressive Christianity

Dear Friends, Followers, and Readers, 

            What a time we live in!  I’ve likened it to a cocoon and have certainly experienced the intense shifts myself.  In addition to the virus, the restrictions, and their impacts, we are also experiencing a rise, or perhaps an exposure, of our social ills, racism in particular.  I see it less as a rise than a purging; we may be vomiting a portion of this sickness within the body of our society that we’ve carried for far too long.

            Two weeks ago, I expressed the hope that I would be by now finishing out my paradoxical childhood series, “What my Eyes could Read,” and its Epilogue, which ties together many of the themes of my life.  And while one of these themes is expressed in a good half of my public social media posts, it shows up here with more subtlety. (However, "If My People" demonstrates this theme's longevity in my life.)  Less emphasis here is simply due to the public outlet I have for it.  Since I keep my mystical identity much more hidden, I use this blog as a place to explore the mystic in me.  However, my childhood story follows my role as a “translator,” which is the role I served in Venezuela, and one of the primary ways I have live out my translator role is to translate progressive politics for Evangelical Christians.  Since I would like my Epilogue to hyperlink important themes to other posts, I'll share this background in this post.

            If you are a friend of mine on either of my two Facebook pages, you’ll see that a good half of my posts are advocating for the liberal sentiments of social justice; a celebration of diversity, immigration, and all cultural and religious backgrounds; and a longing that all creatures on our planet and Planet Earth herself be uplifted in equality, dignity, and kindness.  

            The following post is dated August 12, 2019 and is posted on my page for my mystic identity, Karina Jacobson.  I've made the post public to authenticate it; anyone can search for my page with this name and find it.  This post generated no "likes" and 33 comments, including many that were attacking without hearing.

Karina Jacobson
August 12, 2019 

As a fellow Christian, I am desperate to understand, so I'm quiet and I'm listening. Please help me. A man who uplifts the human dignity of all Americans, who brought me and so many to tears singing "Amazing Grace" at the end of his eulogy in a black church where 9 people were shot, and who lived out his motto for hope to love, respect, and uplift, to a man who bullies, lies, commits sexual assault and brags about it, and who has crushed the human dignity of all minorities, including the disabled, whom he has mocked in humiliating imitation. In a soft whisper, I plead to understand: why is the one who uplifts human dignity hated and the one who has crushed it loved? I'm a Christian who loves and is speaking in a soft voice, with a loving, compassionate, warm heart, who just wants to understand. Please help. Thank you.  💓 ~ Comment I just posted to a Christian friend's post comparing our current and most previous president.

The next one I'll share comes from my legal identity FB page, which I prefer to keep separate from my mystical identity.  However, this one shows my biography and much support.  It has 21 loves, 16 likes, 65 comments, and 6 shares.  I am likewise making this one public and revealing my legal identity of Karen Langdon Hull to authenticate it

Karen Langdon Hull
September 7, 2019

Wow. Revealing article. Many of you know I am a progressive Christian who attends an evangelical-leaning church and have been on a quest to understand the mystery of 2016. First, I’ll get vulnerable and share a little background on me: I “became a Christian” in the evangelical sense at 15, having been introduced to Jesus at a friend’s youth group retreat. I delved into the gospels and discovered a leader with brilliant social justice methods and was drawn right in. This was the year after my 8th grade American History teacher introduced us to the Civil Rights Movement -- to my shock. I couldn’t believe what my countrymen had done to a segment of our population and how hard they had had to fight for basic rights – not many years before I was born. I went to my parents: “What did you do? Did you participate in any of those marches?” At first, there was awkward silence, but Mom reminded me she was at McGill in Montreal for most of it, and then she really rescued it with stories of her brother, John W. Jacobsen, who did participate in the 2nd wave, post CR Act passage once he was old enough (and who married another who also had, Jeanie Stahl).

I vowed in 8th grade I would be one who stands up with the oppressed, then in 9th grade, I decided to follow a leader – Jesus – who also had. In the progressive Bay Area, this was hardly a problem at the friend’s church I joined. I also fit right in at Willamette’s social justice InterVarsity Christian group.

It wasn’t until I came to Grad school here in Ellensburg that I learned most Americans who attend churches like mine vote Republican. Huh, that’s interesting, the party of the rich? Some of them wanted to know how I could be a Christian and a Democrat. More interesting. My party was filled with flaws, but at least it *tried* to uplift the oppressed. At first, I was defensive, but, thankfully, I let my curiosity lead the way and I came to accept that they emphasized a different side of their faith than I did that was also valid, and I hoped they could see the same in me. I began to test my new conservative Christian friends by quickly letting them them know I’m progressive. Would they accept me? If so, I’d do the same and value their friendship. Thankfully, most of them did. 😊

Then 2016 arrived with a new quandary. This article, by one who grew up as a conservative Christian, is quite revealing. I know many of you who have made it through my own biography might not also make it through hers (so any comments can clarify if they refer to my bio or hers). If you’re on the same quest I am, this one's useful. If you’re wondering why some of us are on this quest, it’s even more useful. Thank you all for putting up with my on-going investigation to better understanding. 😊💓

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

A Message to my Blog Readers

            My dear friends, readers and followers,

What a time we are in!  Next week or the week after, I hope to post the final installment of my childhood series, “What my Eyes could Read.”  To those of you who are following my main project of my spiritual quest fiction, “Just like Eve,” please accept my apologies for putting it on hiatus for a bit.  The pandemic really threw me.  I live in Washington state, where it all began, and those of us in education were getting not only daily updates, but sometimes, multiple updates a day of changes to our institutions, to what buildings and resources are and are not available -- all without updates on how to manage the changes, until they started coming at an overwhelming rate.  And in my family of four, we were getting these from our four different districts or universities. 

Information over the virus and what to do, of course, was also coming from every angle.  We were being told at every turn to wash our hands and clean our homes.  Why not, I wondered, add a tip as simple as one to take Vitamin C?  Not a single source was.  But my family was running low on it, so I went to get some, and returned teasing that I still couldn’t get toilet paper, but I had no problem getting Vitamin C!

I was praying for those in vulnerable populations for safety from the virus and was grateful for the commitment of health care workers.  Without a vaccine, I found them to be quite brave.

            As orders to stay at home made their way through the entire world, I was thanking God for taking care of our planet.  We’ve done a terrible job at that, and now the divine forces are saving our planet by permitting a planet-wide decision to “stay at home.”  I prayed the pandemic would not harm many people, while the planet would also be cleansed.  This is happening, thank goodness.  Our planet is getting cleaned up.

In summary, my first responses were to feel the tornado of multi-daily changes to our family’s four schools, to pray few would be harmed by a fast-spreading virus, to  pray our planet would be cleansed, and to tease over no mention about Vitamin C, while being grateful I could get some for my own family.  My first question of no tips to take Vitamin C was so simple, so frivolous, and I thought nothing beyond it.  But then the questions involved my son and his friends and these questions got serious, then I took some time breathing and zenning, and then I koaned, and then I fell into a rabbit hole.  I’m whirling in the rabbit hole right now, so I can’t share about it.  But I can say this: I teach Research Writing classes at college, and I practice what I preach.  I consult only highly credible sources.  I go to primary sources.  I go to original data.  I go to the sources the sources’ sources’ sources go to.  I go to experts on the front lines -- those who have deep expertise and who have served as first-hand witnesses.  I go to the most highly credible sources possible.  And though the information is competing, some of these highly credible sources are revealing a daunting rabbit hole.

            With a rabbit hole like our pandemic, I lack  the energy of innovation for fiction writing.  This is especially true given that I was already on hiatus from my fiction.  I have not written anything of “Just like Eve” since the school year started.  Knowing I was going into two heavy quarters at the college where I teach, I pre-wrote a great deal of material over the summer, and then I revised a selection at a time to post each month.  Between my break away from writing my fiction and our pandemic, I have not been in a position to reenter the creative process of fiction writing.

However, my childhood story, “What my Eyes could See,” comes from a wordy, disorganized version of it I wrote in 2006, when the material was fresh in my mind, but too fresh for good writing.  I’ve been meaning to return to it ever since.  Now was the time.

            What does this mean for “Just like Eve”?  Yes, I will return to it.  For now, I am modifying my plan, however, to focus on the second part: Eve’s quest and what she learns.  My pre-pandemic plan for the spring and summer had been to develop the subplots: Jasmine and her husband Tim, Davie and his wife Pam, and Davie with his friend, Ethan, 15 years his senior and a former pastor, with whom Davie confides.  You’ve also already started to see a subplot with Jasmine’s friend Mindy, which I’ve also wanted to develop, along with the subplots of some of Jasmine’s other friends.  But that takes the energy of imagination, which I just don’t have right now.  Therefore, my return to it will be more like the non-fiction writing that my mind can grapple with as I explore Jasmine’s quest.  Her quest into Eve, women, and the ways women have been portrayed in churches, and even treated by church authorities, is my quest.  Like Jasmine, I was also cast from a church for being the object of a pastor’s temptation.  And, like Jasmine, I entered into my own quest out of that experience. 

I hope to post the final installment of “What my Eyes could See” next week or the week after.  Some of you have also expressed curiosity about Aquarius and our transition into it, and I might post one more explanation about that, based on the deepening consciousness that derives from Quantum Physics.  And, I hope! -- pray with me over this – I will turn to second part of “Just like Eve” to explore Jasmine’s quest to answer that question, “Who, really, is and was Eve?”

Blessings to all of you,        


August 1, 2020 update: Oh, what a whirlwind!