Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Generation X: Trapped in the Rust of Reality's Broken Dream

Generation X: Trapped in the Rust of Reality's Broken Dream
+Brian Ernest Brown

We were the latchkey kids, the MTV generation, the ones who watched the Berlin Wall crumble and the internet rise, all while their parents waxed nostalgic about picket fences and bootstraps.
Now, Generation X, sandwiched between the Boomer optimism and Millennial hustle, finds itself in a curious purgatory – disillusioned, restless, and clinging to a faded American dream that seems perpetually out of reach.

Unlike their forebears, Gen X didn't inherit prosperity. They entered a workforce already tilted towards the top, wages stagnant, and benefits shrinking. The promise of homeownership evaporated in the housing crisis, replaced by a crushing burden of student debt. The once-assured path of work-hard-get-ahead now feels like a treadmill to nowhere, the finish line perpetually obscured by a mirage of unattainable comfort.

This disillusionment breeds a gnawing restlessness. Gen Xers are the masters of the side hustle, the perpetual moonlighters, always chasing a financial horizon that seems to recede with every step. They're the parents juggling childcare and aging parents, the ones putting off passions in pursuit of stability that feels ever more elusive. They're the cynical realists, the ones who scoff at motivational quotes and see right through the cracks in the gleaming facade of the American Dream.

But is there a solution to this disillusionment? Is there a way to mend the broken dream for a generation left holding the empty promises? Perhaps. Here are a few possibilities:

Shifting the narrative: The American Dream needs a reboot. It can't be just about material possessions and endless growth. We need to redefine success to encompass well-being, community, and a sustainable future. Gen X, with its pragmatism and adaptability, can be at the forefront of this reframing.

Prioritizing well-being: Mental health, long neglected, needs to be central to the conversation. Affordable healthcare, accessible therapy, and policies that support work-life balance are crucial for a generation burned out from juggling precarity and responsibility.

Empowering the squeezed middle: Policies that address income inequality and wealth disparity are essential. A living wage, affordable housing, and accessible education can chip away at the feeling of being stuck in a rigged system.

Embracing the collective: Gen X's cynicism can be channeled into collective action. Supporting unions, advocating for worker rights, and pushing for social safety nets can create a sense of agency and build a more equitable future for all.

Ultimately, the solution to Gen X's disillusionment lies not in individual heroics, but in systemic change. It requires a collective reimagining of the American Dream, one that prioritizes well-being, fairness, and a sustainable future for all. Gen X, with its resilience and resourcefulness, has the potential to be the generation that not only mends the broken dream, but builds a better one from its ashes.

Remember, even the rustiest gears can be oiled and set in motion again. Perhaps it's time for Gen X to dust off its collective cynicism, roll up its sleeves, and start building a future where the dream, once again, feels attainable, not like a cruel mirage shimmering in the distance.

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

The Looming Shadow of Christian Nationalism: Dangers and a Path Forward

The Looming Shadow of Christian Nationalism: Dangers and a Path Forward
+Brian Ernest Brown

The rise of Christian nationalism in the United States presents a significant threat to both the religious and political fabric of our nation. This ideology, which seeks to merge American and Christian identities, promotes a dangerous blurring of the lines between church and state. This article will explore the dangers of such a merger, highlight its contradiction with true Christian teachings, and offer potential solutions for the Christian Church to return to its core values.

Dangers of Christian Nationalism:

Erosion of Religious Freedom: When a single religion is elevated above others, it can lead to the suppression of minority faiths and the marginalization of non-believers. This directly contradicts the fundamental American principle of religious freedom enshrined in the First Amendment.

Undermining Democracy: Christian nationalism often promotes a single, "true American" identity, excluding diverse voices and perspectives. This can lead to political polarization, social unrest, and ultimately, the erosion of democratic values.

Misinterpretation of Christianity: Christian nationalism often cherry-picks scriptures to justify its agenda, overlooking key teachings of Jesus Christ, such as love, compassion, and forgiveness for all. This can lead to the weaponization of religion for political gain and contribute to social divisions.

Christianity and Separation of Church and State: The separation of church and state is not merely a legal principle, but also a core Christian value. Jesus himself instructed his followers to "render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's" (Matthew 22:21). This clear distinction between earthly and divine authority is essential for ensuring religious freedom, preventing the abuse of power, and maintaining a just society.

Solutions for the Christian Church:

Returning to the Gospel: Christian churches need to refocus on the core teachings of Jesus, which emphasize love, inclusivity, and service to others. This requires a critical reevaluation of theologies that promote exclusion and discrimination.

Promoting Interfaith Dialogue: Fostering dialogue and understanding between different religious communities is crucial to combating religious intolerance and promoting a more inclusive society. This includes partnering with other faith groups on social justice initiatives and promoting interfaith prayer gatherings.

Engaging in Politics with Integrity: Christians can participate in the political process while upholding their core values. This means avoiding aligning themselves with political parties or agendas that contradict their faith, and instead advocating for policies that promote justice, compassion, and the common good.

Examples of Hope:

There are many examples of Christian communities actively working to counter the harmful influence of Christian nationalism and return to the heart of their faith. Here are just a few:

The Sanctuary Movement: This interfaith movement provides sanctuary to immigrants and refugees facing deportation, upholding the biblical command to care for the stranger and the vulnerable.

The Poor People's Campaign: This movement, led by faith leaders across denominations, advocates for policies addressing poverty, racism, and environmental destruction, demonstrating how faith can inspire action for social justice.

Interfaith Communities United for Justice: This national organization brings together people of diverse faiths to work on issues such as immigration reform and voting rights, demonstrating the power of interfaith collaboration in shaping a more just society.

These examples offer a glimpse of hope for a future where the Christian Church lives out its true calling, not as a tool for political gain, but as a force for love, justice, and peace in the world. By reclaiming its core values and fostering interfaith collaboration, the Christian Church can play a vital role in healing the divisions within our society and building a more just and equitable future for all.

Monday, December 11, 2023

A Nation Divided: The Lingering Anger and Anxiety After Trump's Election

"Mulberry Fourth"
Acrylic on Canvas
By Brian Ernest Brown

A Nation Divided: The Lingering Anger and Anxiety After Trump's Election
+Brian Ernest Brown 

The shockwaves of the 2016 election continue to reverberate through American society, leaving a trail of anger, anxiety, and division that threatens the very fabric of our nation. Donald Trump's unexpected victory ripped open the long-simmering wounds of inequality, injustice, and cultural clashes, leaving many feeling disillusioned and dispossessed.

This anger manifests itself in various ways. For some, it's a simmering resentment towards the political establishment, fueled by the feeling that their voices have been ignored and their concerns dismissed. Others express their anger through protests and activism, demanding change and challenging the status quo. Still others, disillusioned by the political process, turn inward, withdrawing from civic engagement and feeling increasingly isolated and unheard.

Anxiety, in turn, permeates the social fabric. Many Americans, particularly those from marginalized communities, fear for the future of their rights and freedoms. The rhetoric of hate and division, coupled with policies that target specific groups, creates a climate of uncertainty and vulnerability. This anxiety manifests itself in increased stress, depression, and even physical health problems.

The consequences of this anger and anxiety are far-reaching. It erodes trust in institutions, weakens social cohesion, and fuels further polarization. It creates a society where empathy and understanding are replaced by suspicion and fear. It makes it difficult to address critical issues facing the nation, as entrenched positions and ideological divides impede any meaningful progress.

While it's tempting to view this anger and anxiety as simply a response to Trump's presidency, the roots run deeper. They are the culmination of decades of economic inequality, social injustice, and political gridlock. They are the result of a system that has failed to address the needs of its citizens and left many feeling unheard and marginalized.

Healing these divisions and finding a path towards a more united future requires a multi-pronged approach. First, we must address the underlying causes of anger and anxiety. This involves tackling economic inequality, investing in education and healthcare, and promoting policies that ensure equal opportunity and access to justice for all.

Second, we must foster a sense of shared purpose and belonging. This requires leaders who are willing to engage in honest conversations about our differences, bridge divides, and build common ground. It requires citizens who are willing to listen to and understand those with different perspectives, even if they disagree.

Finally, we must rebuild trust in our institutions and in each other. This requires holding our leaders accountable, promoting transparency and accountability, and engaging in civil discourse. It requires a renewed commitment to the principles of democracy, equality, and justice for all.

The road to healing will be long and arduous. But if we are to emerge from this period of division and anger, we must be willing to confront the challenges we face head-on. We must engage in honest conversations, listen to one another, and find common ground. We must rebuild trust and work together to create a nation where everyone feels heard, valued, and empowered. Only then can we hope to create a future for all Americans, one filled with hope, opportunity, and belonging.

Monday, November 20, 2023

Transgender Day of Remembrance November 20

Introduction Given at the Transgender Day of Remembrance 2014
St. Martin’s Episcopal Church Fayetteville Arkansas
By Bishop Brian Ernest Brown

I Wonder Did You Know You Were Making History
By Stephanie Mott

In honor of those who have walked openly in the light and in memory of those who have suffered the violence of ignorance and oppression 2011 Transgender Day of Remembrance.

I wonder did you know, you were making history,
you were setting people free, when you died.
I wonder did you know, we would ever know your name,
our lives would never be the same, because you tried
I wonder did you know, we would come to love you so,
and I wonder did you know, you were making history.
I wonder did you know, we would stand up to insane,
we would reach beyond the pain, because you cried
I wonder did you know, we would learn to stand up tall,
tell the truth to one and all, for those denied.
I wonder did you know, we would come to love you so,
and I wonder did you know, you were making history.
The lives we live we owe to you, and I wonder did you know,
you were making history.
I wonder did you know, we would finally learn to fly,
we would fly beyond the sky, because you tried
I wonder did you know, we would finally say no more,
we would open up the door, please come inside
I wonder did you know, we would come to love you so,
and I wonder did you know, you were making history.
I wonder did you know, you were making history,
you were setting people free, when you died.

For Rita Hester

Let us pray.

Giver of Breath and Lover of our Soul, we thank you for the great witness of Rita Hester and all those who have gone before us who have suffered bigotry, hatred, persecution, and sometimes death.

In particular, on this Transgender Day of Remembrance, let us remember those who have identified as transgender or gender non-conforming, who have blazed a path for each of us to follow in our own unique and diverse way, with their very lives. We thank you for those lives, the courage of those who lived them, and the light they shone on the path for the rest of us to follow.

Help us to be ever mindful of the pain, injustices, and discrimination perpetrated against so many who are simply trying to live out their lives to be who they were created to be.

Give us the grace and strength to live our lives so courageously, authentically, and fearlessly that we too offer others, who follow after us, permission to be themselves so that they may join us on the path toward acceptance, inclusion, compassion, and love.


Marianne Williamson from her book A Return to Love offers: “As we let our own lights shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

I want to speak just briefly about how far we’ve come, specifically how far we’ve come since the Stonewall Riots of 1969. I was only ten days old. Now just briefly, for those who may not know what I’m referencing, The Stonewall riots were a series of spontaneous, violent demonstrations by members of the ] gay community against a police raid that took place in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York City. They are widely considered to constitute the single most important event leading to the gay liberation movement and the modern fight for LGBT rights in the United States.

My how far we’ve come since those days! In large part thanks to those who have gone before us, some of whom are still with us, and many of whom have passed away, and still others who laid down their lives for the cause whom we remember today.

For those of us who were born around that time or afterwards, it’s hard to see the progress we’ve made because we sometimes lack perspective and often take so much for granted getting caught in our own struggle towards equal rights. But here we are openly holding a Transgender Day of Remembrance and no one is breaking down the door and carting us away to jail or worse. Thank goodness. Thank justice. Thank courage. Thank those whom we remember today.

We live in a day and age where, with some exceptions, albeit too many exceptions because one exception is too many, transgender folk can legally be married. A big difference from 45 years ago. However, there’s still so much more work yet to be done.

We live in a day and age where, with some exceptions, albeit too many exceptions because one exception is too many, transgender folk are able to more easily and freely transition into who they were created to be, than they were 45 years ago. However, there’s still so much more work yet to be done.

We live in a day and age where, with some exceptions, albeit too many exceptions because one exception is too many, transgender folk are gaining equal rights within community after community. Look at our struggle in our own dear Fayetteville and the struggle of Springfield, MO, our neighbor to the north, which have both passed sweeping Civil Rights Ordinances for LGBT folk. That was just a dream 45 years ago. However, as we all well know, there’s still so much more work yet to be done. Vote against the repeal!

Even so with all this progress, the papers, or probably more accurately in this day and age, Facebook, too often, because once is too often, tells us stories of bigotry, discrimination, abuse, and sometimes murder of transgender or gender non-conforming folk.

So the struggle is far from over and a struggle it is. However, please remember as we struggle for equal rights let us not so much seek to do battle with one another, for in battles there is a winner and a loser, but rather let us seek to become reconcilers, for in reconciliation, one to another, our human family can finally begin to grow together in acceptance, peace, respect, and ultimately love and that’s what we’re really struggling for.

So even though there’s more work to be done, have hope, we’re on the winning side of history and we shall overcome!

Pax Christi,
+Brian Ernest Brown

Sunday, October 1, 2023

Glassblowing: Learn How to Make a Handblown Crystal Glass Rose

Glassblowing: Learn How to Make a Handblown Crystal Glass Rose

The Adorable Knussa

The Adorable Knussa

Lenovo Idea Pad Duet 5 Unboxing

Lenovo Idea Pad Duet 5 Unboxing

SmallRig Tripod Unboxing

SmallRig Tripod Unboxing

#ChurchLife: Portable Pottery Communion Set

#ChurchLife: Portable Pottery Communion Set

RayBan Stories Smart Glasses Unboxing

RayBan Stories Smart Glasses Unboxing

SmallRig All-In-One Video Kit Unboxing

Anker 625 Portable Solar Panels

Unboxing: Anker 625 Portable Solar Panels

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

Anker 757 Portable Powerhouse Box Opening

 Anker 757 Portable Powerhouse Box Opening


 Box opening of the Anker 757 Portable Powerhouse. IT'S A BEAST!!! I'm hoping this will aid me in my glassblowing endeavors on the road away from the studio. Take a look and please hit that thumbs up and subscribe. I'm trying to grow my channel. Stay tuned for a follow-up video after I get a chance to use it.