Saturday, December 28, 2013


Accountability is something you don’t see in the media too often. Politicians and celebrities tend to see themselves as the exception because they are successful.

Then you see people like Wesley Autrey, the subway hero who jumped down to save someone, couldn’t get them up, so he laid on top of him, and risked getting run over. The story ended well. When asked about it, he said he’d do what anyone else would do. I wish that were true. What he did have was humility in that moment. I don’t know how much he got swept up into his fame, but in that moment he was not into self-promotion. He spoke of a kind of honest humanity he hopes everyone has.

Now think about publicity whores who think any publicity is good, whether the story is good or bad.
The media has twisted our values in favor of titillation, materialism, youth worship. The media would not use these things if they were not inside us, so the good fight is to fight against diversion, superficiality. You’d be surprised how many times, when I meet someone I like, they say they don’t own a TV. Then you think about people all the people you know suckling at the boob tube.

In meditation you gain a little insight into self promotion. You see through it for the ruse that it is. That’s why psychotherapist are so keen on it. Psychotherapist tend to see narcissistic people—they tend to like the direct attention of psychotherapy, in a distracted world. Another symptom of the loss of relationships through fragmentation.

Holding people accountable is not easy. People are often offended, they feel like you’re empathizing enough with them. They had their reasons for not being accountable. They get defensive, like their self esteem is challenged by accountability.

On the other hand, some people hold up accountability beyond the relationship. One of the things I like about Republicans is that they talk about personal responsibility and accountability. And yet they hold it up at the cost of truly helping people out. Tough love isn’t always the answer. We can do things that truly do help people without fostering dependence, which by the way in their mouths, lose all meaning. They make it seem like we’re not all interconnected.

A very difficult relational thing is to hold people accountable, without being confrontational, but coming from the place where you want to stay in relationship with people. Sometimes people get angry when people are not accountable and use the relationship to reject them, and dramatize their point of accountability. It is easier for them not to be around people who do not take responsibility. To me, that is the easy way out. To feel disgust for how someone has behaved is fine, but to keep in relationship with someone, chooses the person over the action, and holds out the hope that people will evolve and learn their lessons. I think we’re quick to withdraw second chances from people in our society, because of black and white thinking. I think like the the Tick, that life is a battle between good and less good, not evil. Evil posits a maliciousness inside someone, a kind of ethical cancer that can not be operated on. To be sure sometimes people take advantage of compassion, but then it’s the person’s responsibility not to have idiot compassion, the term Chogyam Trungpa coined. We evolve in our compassion, but I think withholding empathy is not the right course in the dialectic. We can see circumstances, and try to improve them for others. People tend to have a kind of momentum, but they also have the urge to improve that momentum, and I want to be on the side of people working to improve momentum, intelligently and wisely. And that includes keeping accountability while also maintaining the relationship.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Celebration for the 25th

I celebrate all religions, and true spirituality, not the worldly use of religion for worldly ends. I celebrate how spirituality brings us together, including secular humanism, pagans and non-theistic religions and the beautiful Abrahamic religions. I celebrate the earthiness and grounded spirituality that isn't seemingly transcendent but is mindful. I celebrate the kindness, non-judgementalism, acceptance and empathy, support of others, and feel the interconnectedness that makes the least of us, connected to us, and not separate. I celebrate the days getting longer, this glorious earth and the celestial seasons. I celebrate family, loves, friends, strangers and my solitude. I celebrate connecting to the real and the best in me and others.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Food Pantries for the borough of Queens, New York City, New York


Allen A.M.E. Cathedral
110-31 Merrick Blvd, Jamaica
Monday and Thursday, 11 am to 1 pm.

Bethany Baptist Church of Jamaica
110-47 157th St, Jamaica
Tuesday, 11 am to 1 pm.

Bethel of America Food Pantry
26-02 4th St., Astoria
718-204 2813
Saturday, 11 am to 12 noon.
ID preferred.

Bethel Gospel Tabernacle Church
110-25 Guy R. Brewer Blvd., Jamaica
Wednesday, 11 am to 12 noon.
ID preferred

Bethesda Mission Baptist Church
179-09 Jamaica Ave., Jamaica
Wednesday, 8:30 to 10:30 am.

Calvary Baptist Church
111-10 Guy R. Brewer Blvd., Jamaica 718-297-2301
Wednesday, 10 am to 12 noon;
Thursday, 11 am to 1:30 pm
ID preferred.

Center of Hope International – Bread of Life Food Pantry
38-49 12th St., L.I.C.
TuesdayWednesday and Thursday: 12 noon to 2:30 pm.

Church of Christ the King
145-39 Farmers Blvd., Springfield Gardens
Tuesday, 2 to 3 pm.
Must live in community; bring ID.

Cladagh Inn
316 Beach 73rd St., Rockaway Beach
Tuesday and Thursday, 9 to 10 am.
Bring ID for all in household.
Donations accepted.

Community Bible Evangelical Free Church
102-16 89th Avenue, Ozone Park
Saturday, 9:00 to 10 am.

Elmcor Youth and Adult Activities
107-20 Northern Blvd., Corona
Wednesday, 9 am pick up ticket; 12 noon food given out.
Bring ID for all in household.

First Church of God in Christ
187-10 Baisley Blvd., St. Albans
Friday, 12 noon to 3 pm.
Bring ID with address.

First Presbyterian Church of Jamaica Ave.
89-60 164th St.
718) 526-4775 Tuesday 10 am to 12 noon or until finished
Bring photo ID for all in household.


Goodwill Feeding Program
4-21 27th Avenue Apt. 4N, Astoria
718) 721-0825
Tuesday 2 pm until finished
Friday 2 pm until finished

Hollis Ave. Congregational Church
211-04 Hollis Ave., Queens Village
Tuesday, 12 to 2 pm.
Bring ID.

Hour Children Food Pantry
36-49 11th Street
Monday 2 to 6 pm. Thursday 4 to 7 pm.
Bring ID and proof of address.

Leviticus Church
114-12 Van Wyck Expressway
718-322-1095 Wednesday, 1 pm to 2 pm.
Saturday 12 noon to 1 pm.
Bring ID.

Macedonia AME Church
37-22 Union St., Flushing
Wednesday, 2 pm to 4 pm.
Sunday hot meals at 1 pm.

Mt. Calvary Church of God in Christ
194-59 Murdock Ave., St. Albans
Saturday, 9 to 10 am.
No referral needed / no phone.

Mt. Olivet Gospel Church
33-27 97th St., Corona
Wednesday, 5:30 to 6:30 pm.
Bring ID.

Our Lady of Grace Ministry of Care & Ser-vice
158-10 115th St., Howard Beach
Monday and Thursday, 10 am to 1 pm.

Peoples United Methodist Church
14-54 31st Road, Astoria
Call for times and dates.

St. Margaret Mary Church
9-18 27th Avenue, Astoria
For families, Tuesday and Wednesday 11 am until finished.
For seniors, Thursday 11 am until finished.

St. Nicholas of Tolentine Church 150-75 Goethals Ave., Jamaica
Monday to Friday, 9 am to 12 noon,
1 to 4 pm, with referral.
Thursday for everyone, 9 am to 12 noon, without referral.
St. Rafael R.C. Church
35-20 Greenpoint Avenue, 4C
Thursday 10:30 am to 12 noon.
Bring ID.

Salvation Army/Astoria Corps
45-18 Broadway LIC, Astoria
718-721-9046 Wednesday 9:30 to 11:30 am.
Bring photo ID.

Salvation Army/Queens Temple
86-07 35th Ave., Jackson Heights
Wednesday 9 am to 11:30 am.
Bring photo ID.

Salvation Army/Jamaica Citadel
90-23 161st St., Jamaica
Thursday; 10 am to 11 am.
Bring photo ID.

Salvation Army/Ridgewood Citadel
69-23 Cyprus Hill St., Ridgewood
MondayWednesday and Friday,
9 am to 3 pm.
Bring photo ID.

Solid Rock SDA Church
52-05 Rockaway Beach Blvd., Far Rockaway
718) 474-9306
Tuesday 10 am to 11 am or until finished

Tabernacle of Prayer
90 –07 Merrick Blvd, Jamaica
Friday 10 am to 12 noon.
Bring ID.