Among the things forbidden in our house as I was growing up — vulgar, racist, or blasphemous words — was the word stupid. To be honest, at first it struck me as odd that we were not allowed to use that word, because it seemed fairly benign as words go. I gradually came to realize that it was off-limits because it is a cheap word too easily thrown around to offend or belittle.
When I was going through school, the devil was presented to us as a myth, a literary device, a symbolic manner of signaling the presence of evil in the world. I will admit to internalizing this view and largely losing my sense of the devil as a real spiritual person.
Janet Easter is experiencing Braxton Hicks contractions as she arranges a bouquet in her backyard, and she is unfazed.
“I’m having contractions, which is hilarious,” she says, stripping the leaves off a hydrangea in one swift stroke.
The numbers don’t look good for the U.S. Postal Service. Last year it reported its sixth straight annual operating loss, in the amount of $2.7 billion. During fiscal year 2017, the USPS delivered 149 billion pieces of mail, down from 154 billion the previous year — and a major drop from its peak of 213 billion in 2006.
Just 70 years ago this month a slender novel bearing the innocuous title The Loved One made its appearance in the United States. My copy, a first edition, records four reprintings between June and August. Today the book is still in print and apparently still selling briskly.
The Fortnight for Freedom, which we’ve been celebrating each year at the end of June and beginning of July, has recently been reconfigured. Beginning this year, Religious Freedom Week is to be held annually June 22–29. The observance is a bit shorter, but no less important. This year’s theme is “Serving Others in God’s Love.”
The mission of our church