I spent two weeks following Trump’s Twitter comments, and Russia’s ongoing efforts are readily apparent (surprise! they’re focusing on race)

I didn’t intend to start this project. It happened gradually over the past year as I read more about the tactics of the Russian-based internet Research Agency (IRA), which was a major part of the early indictments issued by the Justice Department in cooperation with Special Prosecutor, Robert Mueller III. While Trump supporters crow, in person and on social media, that “no Russians were in the voting booth,” the presence of QAnon at rallies (seriously; when are we going to have serious campaign reform that bans presidential “rallies” such as these?) is evidence enough that the disinformation campaigns spearheaded by Russian hackers have been internalized as fact by an overwhelming majority of the self-described deplorables. There is nothing quite like the arrogance of false certainty.

I’ve been dealing with some health issues and I am incapable of not working on multiple things at once, so I began spending more time on Twitter. This was made possible largely by the staggeringly tumultuous past two weeks. Trump has had multiple tweet storms that descended into tantrums. I began to notice patterns in the more outrageous comments. Soon, I was discovering entire conversations with bots or highly-moderated accounts. This has heated up exponentially since a contingent of pro-Trump Black pastors visited the White House. African-American leaders from around the country have taken to Twitter and Facebook to decry not only the behavior of particular pastor but also the Administration’s woeful record on important issues around race. This “intraracial” conversation is the perfect opportunity for Russian bots to fulfill their mission to further divides and spread disinformation. Surprise, surprise. Today, Trump tweeted a Rasmussen poll citing a rising level of support among Blacks. As expected, the bots are most active.

**

What kind of numbers are we talking about?

Mine was in no way a scientific study. I am finishing a doctorate and I know what is required for a quantitative study. This ain’t it. However, I hope this is useful for the average person who wants to be able to use Twitter to connect with real people who are interested in more than shitpot stirring.

Had I thought through this before I did it, I would have taken screenshots of the conversations. I wasn’t intending on writing this but I was just curious about how many I would find in a day, which grew into a weekend, which grew into a week, which grew into two weeks. Each time I would find a confirmed bot, I would report and then block. What you can see below are screenshots of about 95% of the accounts I identified.

I am going to place the confirmed number of bots at 110. I absolutely could have found three times that amount if I wanted to dedicate myself to the task 40 hours/week. I absolutely didn’t and don’t want to do that, but I conservatively say that I dedicated about 30 hours over the course of two weeks.

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**

Okay, 110 out of how many?

I definitely got better with this over time (see below), so there were a number of false checks early on that I didn’t even bother with after a week of steady investigation. I estimate that I checked around 300-350 accounts. So, we’re talking about 1/3. Again, this is not scientific and I am not saying that a full 1/3 of accounts commenting on Trump’s post are bots; I actually think it is higher, but I leave it to those much more qualified than am I to do proper studies.

**

Why does this even matter? 

I think the saddest thing for me was the 200 or so accounts I checked that were not bots but rather belonged to real people parroting the rhetoric of the fake accounts. #walkaway is a perfect example. This is a manufactured “movement,” replete with stock photographs of Black people superimposed with fake quotes about how they are leaving the Democratic party. Almost every instance of a legitimate person using #walkaway, that person was White and they followed the fake accounts of supposedly Black, Republican Americans. It is like the Twitter version of “I can’t be racist because I have Black friends.

Even more insane are the conversations between highly moderated accounts pretending to be Black. One, between @sugarthegirl and @spoilrottenpup, was about how they can no longer talk to their families because they support Trump. Again, I acknowledge I should have captured the conversation itself, but I have gotten so used to automatically reporting and blocking that I went too quickly. Alas, you can see the profile pages.

Sugar the Girl did, it should be mentioned, send me a snapshot of a handwritten note with the date and a message telling me to suck it. I would have been more impressed with a photo of a real person. It does show, however, that there are humans behind these accounts, but it is highly doubtful that they are who they claim to be.

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How to identify Bots

Some of what I learned might be well-known to others who are more informed in the field. I’m just a dude with a blog who noticed some stuff. The first thing you need is botcheck.me . To save yourself time, here are a few things that can help zero in on suspicious accounts.

  1. A string of numbers by the name. If you see a name like DanEboy12800473, that’s a good candidate. This does not always hold, as it appears some people purposefully have such usernames so they can goad others into accusing them of being bots, only to respond with something like, “Typical libtard. Everyone who doesn’t agree with you is either a Russian or a bot #walkaway”
  2. They are relatively new to Twitter. Again, this is in no way a guarantee, but it has been evident in enough cases that it is worth a mention.
  3. If they mention having been “shadow banned” or have a “new account” because they’re being persecuted as conservatives.

  4. Their self-description is just a little too filled with accomplishments that are not backed up with any professional tweets, the page has links to nothing other than pro-Trump propaganda, and they use lots of hashtags associated with Russian meddling.

  5.  Identities that seem incongruous, like “Muslims for the travel ban” or “Mexicans for the wall.” Sadly, this also isn’t a guarantee. In all cases, use botcheck.me.
  6. If they swoop in, post something provocative, and then move on. This is a tactic I saw a lot. It stirs the pot, and if enough real people get involved, the bot doesn’t comment much because someone else has taken on the role of provocateur.

**

What to do? 

I don’t recommend spending as much time as I have on chasing down bots. It has certainly impacted my mental health and I find that even though I know the accounts are “fake,” the impact is not. What the intelligence agencies have been saying about Russia’s ongoing efforts is playing out right in front of our eyes. Each time OfVald has another rally and we see the rabid, ignorant, hate-filled supporters screaming propaganda while, without any trace of irony, declaring their superiority to the dumb “libs,” I feel both sad and angry. But this is part of the effort. It is meant to wear us down. It is meant to make us fear that Trump’s actual supporters outnumber us.

Twitter can be great, but it takes diligence if you want to have any sort of meaningful conversations or exchanges of ideas. As for me, I am going to take a break from reading the comment threads and focus on thoughtful pieces longer than 280 characters.

The Weight: No matter how much I lose, I’ll always be fat

I remember the first time I became conscious of my weight. It was sometime in the early 1980s. I was at my Grandma Hilda’s house in Southfield, Michigan. I was no more than 7 years old. Stripped to the waist, as I was near all the time—G’ma Hilda’s house included a pool, apple trees, a massive garden, plenty of room to run, and her cairn terrier, Poco. I was sitting just a couple feet away from a 19″ television, eating lunch from the garden and pulling from an ice-cold A&W in a glass bottle.

Then it came on. An advertising line for Special-K that people of a certain age might remember: “Can’t pinch an inch on me!”

I had been a chubby baby, but I was a slender child. I wasn’t particularly fleet of foot, but I rode bikes, played soccer and baseball, and I was an incredibly strong swimmer. I cannot remember ever thinking a critical thought about my own body’s appearance until that moment when I looked down and pincered the flesh covering my obliques, trying to discern if I needed to start eating Special-K.

By junior high, I was a fleshy kid. I tended to eat my emotions, so you do the math. Classmates started to comment about how I needed to go on a diet. There were unkind comments from family members. I became a vegetarian because I associated that with losing weight. But all I ate were carbohydrates. As I grew chubbier, the self-hatred became all-consuming. By the time the Solo-Flex Man came on the scene, I had a full-blown eating disorder and overwhelming body dysmorphia.

I used to stand in front of the mirror, my fleshy middle hot-red from me angrily grabbing the offending fat and pulling, as though through the sheer desire to be thin I could rip it away like cotton candy. But I was hoarhound and all that resulted was a bone-deep hatred of my own body.

I started lifting weights at the age of thirteen; the gym rule was fourteen, but my father, who had absolutely transformed his body inside of a year (acromegaly played some role, but Dad was ripped) said that we were using the ancient Chinese custom of counting age from the time of conception. My exercise anorexia kicked into high gear. I was cycling a good 40 miles a week during the summer, along with hitting the gym four days a week. By the time I was fifteen, I had virtually no body fat but the damage had already been done. All I saw when I looked in the mirror were flaws. Weakness. Failure.  In reality, I was buff enough to be cast as Lewis in Pippin. In my head, though, there were inches all over my body that I wanted to violently pinch off.

I used to do 1,000 sit-ups/abdominal exercises a day. People always cast doubt on that number but it is true. Of course, there were days when I did not reach the full 1,000 but there were exactly zero days in which no exercises happened. I would take 10-mile bike rides twice a day on my “off days.” I confessed fully my body image issues to my first serious girlfriend. We bonded over impatience with our bodies.

I just want to pause and say that having someone who understood how I felt was remarkable. This was the early ’90s. Manorexia was not yet a thing, at least in terms of public conversation. She never shamed me, told me to “man up,” or accuse me of just wanting attention; I cannot overemphasize how vital this was for me in terms of not giving over completely to the dysphoria and shame.

Probably the most destructive period of my exercise anorexia was when I had a good job waiting table and bartending, which provided me with lots of cash. I started to powerlift and buy supplements. I was on a steady diet of creatine, protein, and alcohol. I started going to bed at 9 pm (at the age of 22) and getting up at 4 a. I would head to the gym, work out for three hours, go home, eat, go to work, and come home. Lather, rinse, repeat. My body grew as I added more and more weight to my bench press, deadlift, and squat totals. Yet, the bodybuilders in the gym called me fat because according to their standards, I was. I started seriously considering steroids.

Then I threw out my back deadlifting and things changed drastically. I was months away from the gym. I drank too much, ate too much, and I started to look like a high school linebacker gone to seed. I’d get back in the groove for 2-3 months, lose some weight, and then fall back into the same pattern. After two years, I had a body that mortified me. Then my brother died, and my dark night of the soul began.

I threw myself headlong into a bottle of Bushmills for the over a decade, and my weight yo-yoed drastically. Twice I lost over 40 lbs, only to gain it all back. I was in denial about how much I was eating and how often. When I got sober, I definitely turned to food for comfort. Add to that, medications such as Lithium and Paxil and inside of three years, I had gained 50 lbs. During this time, I was constantly running myself down about how fat I was and how awful I looked; I engaged in regular self-deprecation as a defense mechanism because I was sure that everyone was like, “Oh-my-God-have-you-seen-Aaron-he’s-a-fucking-whale?”

Yeah. It sucks.

**

The last time I stepped on a scale was about four-and-a-half months ago. I weighed 290 lbs. Seeing that number, feeling the copious amounts of flesh touching itself—which caused me to adjust how I moved, sat, slept, negotiated the world—and looking at the other numbers indicating that I was heading for a heart attack by the age of 50, I vowed that I was going to make a change, starting instantly.

I went on the keto diet. This was a BFD because I am a carbaholic. Like, Thanksgiving for me is really just multiple plates of mashed potatoes and dinner rolls stuffed with, well, stuffing and covered in gravy. Everything I had been eating was either carbohydrates or sugar. Often, both. And when I say I went on the keto diet, I mean that since the day of “The Weighing,” I have not eaten more than 25-30 carbs/day. There were tough moments, to be sure, but I have a history of quitting addictions cold turkey. Cigarettes, various and sundry intoxicants, alcohol. All stopped by mentally flipping a switch.

But sweet Jeebus, sometimes the journey to that switch is long and destructive.

Today, I went to the doctor for what has turned out to be a pretty serious case of cellulitis. I’m on antibiotics and if things have not improved significantly within 24 hours, I will be hospitalized.

However, that is not what is dominating my thoughts. I had to step on a scale, which I have assidulously avoided, because the numbers are like scarlet letters upon my skin, like the red welts that would rise from my tortured, past pinches. I promised myself that no matter what, I would feel positive about the undeniable, dramatic changes. You carry a lot of muscle mass, I reminded myself. I had a number in my head, the minimum amount lost that I would accept as a success. I stepped on the scale and then gasped.

I’ve lost 30 lbs. That was not the number I had in my mind. But, still. Pretty good, right?

Nope. All I saw was that I weigh 260 lbs. I said several times to the nurse, whom I had never seen before, I don’t know how I can weigh 260. I swim in most of my clothes. I have a waist. I’ve gone down four sizes. How can I weight 260?!?! She never offered an answer.

**

No matter what the number is, there will always be something. I remember being in my early 20s taking a bath with my soon-to-be first wife. I apologized for being so fat. She looked at me like I had lobsters crawling out of my ears. “Aaron, you are not fat. At all. In any way.” I grabbed my middle and pulled. “This. Ugh. I hate this,” I said, casting down my eyes. I looked up. “That’s skin, Aaron. Skin. Everyone has it,” she said, pointing to her own slender waist.

No matter how much weight I lose or how I continue to build muscle, I will never see myself as anything but fat. And that, dear friends, is why we need to talk about positive body image with all kids. Because I honestly would prefer to be overweight and comfortable with myself than skinny and locked in a cycle of self-hatred.

Tonight, I am going to eat real pizza and enjoy the experience. Tomorrow, back to keto. Sometimes, we’ve just got to take a load off…

 

Beloved community: Welcoming GA-LI and Sommer McGuire

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Genuine spiritual authority is to be found only where the ministry of hearing, helping, bearing, and proclaiming is carried out. Every cult of personality that emphasized the distinguished qualities, virtues, and talents of another person, even though these be of an altogether spiritual nature, is worldly and has no place in the Christian community; indeed, it poisons the Christian community.
—Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together

This past week I have watched in horror as we sink deeper into totalitarianism. The balance of powers that is the bulwark of our democratic republic is nonexistent. There is no system by and for the people. The Executive issues orders without proper planning, oversight, communication, or legal standing; Congress, bought and paid for by insidious corporate interests, assaults fragile civil rights and protections while cynically crying, ala Braveheart, “freedom!!”; the SCOTUS issued brutal rulings against labor unions, the reproductive rights of women, and the rights of Muslims to travel to and from the United States. Chaos reigns as families frantically try to reconnect after the inept and cruel execution of Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy.

African-Americans continue to be humiliated, threatened, abused, and killed by mechanisms of the State. White people’s tears and fragility have a body count. Trans people keep dying at the hands of bigots carrying crosses. Sexual assault, even in this era of #metoo, remains rampant and victim-shaming is still the go-to defense. And I watch as millions of so-called Christians support what is happening, even having the audacity to proclaim it God’s will.

If that’s God, I want no part of it.

**

On April 7, 1933, the Nazi government announced the inclusion of the “Aryan Paragraph,” which began the systematic removal of Jewish persons from German cultural, economic, political, and social life. It also meant that any pastors of Jewish descent would lose their jobs. Rev. Dr. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, one of the leading theologians in the world, immediately began to speak out.

His concern as both a pastor and a follower of Christ is that his ministerial work could not be limited to just “members” of the church; the threat posed by Nazism was toward the body of all occupied Europe. Bonhoeffer deemed this not just a military threat, but an existential one as well. Nazism is, at its core, an attempt to divide people, to alienate individuals from all except State machinations. Bonhoeffer understood this and believed he knew the answer: “Where a people prays, there is the church, and where the church is, there is never loneliness.”[1]

The second challenge Nazism presented was that Bonhoeffer regarded the physical Church as being analogous to the physical presence of Christ in the world; Hitler was setting himself up as not only the head of state but also the head of the Church, through what was known as the “Führer Principle.” This established Hitler’s word as the ultimate authority, no matter how capricious, illegal, or unchristian; when coupled with the racial conformity laws, the foundations of Nazism seemed incompatible with a faith in Christ, at least according to Bonhoeffer.

Not all agreed. The Roman Catholic Church signed the Reichskonkordat, which protected the rights of Catholics but required bishops to take an oath of loyalty to the Reich and for all Church officials to refrain from work within any political party other than the NSDAP.[2] From Bonhoeffer’s own Lutheran tradition, Ludwig Müeller was appointed Reichsbishof of the German Evangelical Church; Bonhoeffer knew that unless there was resistance to the Nazification of the Church, Christ’s presence in the world would be killed without a chance for resurrection.

So he acted, even to the end of his life.

**

I struggle mightily with the fact that I am part of a religious tradition that has visited unspeakable horrors upon other people. I feel anger arise when I see others of my supposed race, my gender identity, my faith confession, engage in racist, misogynistic, Islamaphobic, transphobic, homophobic acts and on the daily act like they have no GD sense. The country I live in is and has always been racist. There is no gender or racial equity; there appears to be no arc toward justice, not an arc that doesn’t include the continued deaths and unfathomable suffering of so many others who do not look like me or claim the same faith tradition as do I.

I am fighting inside myself not to give way to hatred and despair. I refuse to rest upon my privilege and simply to turn a blind eye. But I confess that I am tired. It seems like a nonstop torrent of terrible, don’t it? Each day comes with it a new nightmare to be situated in the dreamscape from which none of us can awake.

But then I think about people like Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Rev. Dr. Howard Thurman, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and I know that though we may be weary, we must always speak and act as the gospel commands.

**

I remain a devout believer in Jesus Christ. I follow in the Jesus way and I have religious privilege as a pastor. Tomorrow, at First Presbyterian Church of Yellow Springs, the congregation and I will be welcoming three very special guests: Alicia Lowrance Pagan and Ray Two Crows Wallen, who perform as GA-LI, and Sommer McGuire. They will share songs and stories about migrants and justice-seeking; we will go to Creator together to hear, to help, to bear, and to proclaim. We will garner our spiritual energy to feel the power that comes when we more fully understand how we are connected to one another.

I will deliver no sermon. The liturgy, the work of the people, will be our offering.

All people of good will are welcome. Service begins at 10:30. Come as you are: wonderfully made and radically loved.

 

[1] Eric Metaxas, Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy, (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2010), 69.

[2] Full text for the oath can be found here: http://www.concordatwatch.eu/kb–1211.834

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When no one shows up

cute-puppy-pictures-nobody-came-birt.jpgI’m going to keep this brief, as I don’t want to write something I’ll regret.

No one showed up to the event today. The social justice director of the BCP arrived in time to console me. We had lovely hugs and she is my BFF.

But I’m devastated and tired and I frankly don’t want to do this anymore.

Of course, I don’t really mean that; I do, but just for right now. I feel like a fucking idiot. I have poured much time and money into this project, the programming of which was based on numerous conversations and promises of collaboration, and now I have to pivot and prepare myself for the possibility that no one really wants to do this work.

I understand everyone is busy. I get it. But of all the areas in which I do work, the fact that not a single person from Antioch, the church, or the community was there is difficult to swallow.

Just in case you’re thinking of writing a response: I know. It is a Saturday. There are lots of things going on. People are tired. I know, as there are lots of things I miss that I want to attend because life is complicated and filled. I know that this isn’t personal but it feels that way.

For right now, I just need to feel bummed and a little hurt. I’ll get over it. I believe in a God who doesn’t allow overly-long pity parties. But I need to process this before I try to write tomorrow’s sermon.

I’m going to go off Facebook until…I dunno. For the rest of the day, at least.

I’ll catch y’all on the flip-flop/.

 

“What if no one shows up?” On priorities and planning

We’re less than twenty-four hours away from the first of three events that have been years in the making. I’ve written a lot about the “Refugee 101” event in various publications. I imagine you might be a little sick of me at this point.

When I first started the work that eventually resulted in the Beloved Community Project (BCP), I far too often gauged “success” by the number of people who attended an action or event. Anyone who has done organizing and planning work has to get out of that mindset pretty quickly, especially within a community like Yellow Springs in which there are almost always happenings, especially on Saturdays.

But don’t get me wrong, though: I am terrified that no one will show up! Alas, I now release the event into the universe and trust that those who are meant to participate will be present.

If you are not able to make the event, you can still fill out a NEW survey.

Finally, watch this and marvel how easy it is to use iMovie.

Facebook is Failing: Blood Curse, Blood Libel, and Trump’s America

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Background

While the newest manifestation of white supremacism has traded hoods and burning crosses for khakis and tiki torches, the tropes and mendacity they utilize go back to the 3rd century C.E. As organized Christianity continued its stumbled towards Rome and away from Jerusalem, followers of Jesus did all that they could to separate themselves from Judaism. This included developing the so-called blood curse, an interpretation of Matthew 27:25 that lays perpetual “guilt” upon the whole of the Jewish people for killing Jesus.

This is a faulty interpretation for a wide variety of reasons, but it remains potent to this day. Early in Christian history, there is a connection between the Jewish people and Christian blood, which eventually manifests in the so-called blood libel. This outlandish contention held that Jews collected blood, particularly that of children, for Passover ceremonies. Interestingly, during the Middle Ages, these same sorts of stories were levied against Christian groups that dared step outside the authority of the Roman Catholic Church. It was a propaganda tool meant to incite the passions of people who were largely ignorant of Jewish law and practice.

I first learned about antisemitism from an episode of Little House on the Prairie called “The Craftsman,” in which Albert Ingalls thought the kindly Jewish craftsman named Isaac wore a hat because he has horns on his head. Of course, Albert is shown that such is not the case, intimating that neither do the Jews who live around the present viewership. My senior year in high school, I was in a production of Diary of Anne Frank as Mr. Van Damm, who steals food from the children. We also went to hear Elie Wiesel speak, which led to me taking classes on Judaism when I was at Kalamazoo College.

Fast forward about 8 years. When I was in graduate school, I took a course called “Healing Deadly Memories.” It focused on perceived antisemitism in the Christian scriptures and traced the misuse of biblical traditions to justify horrific violence against the Jewish people. James Carroll’s incredible book, Constantine’s Sword, was our main text for a six-week intensive. The class changed my life, in that I have since never remained silent about the ridiculousness of both the blood curse and the blood libel.

Why I Wrote This

I recently helped put out the call to report the FB page pictured above because even a cursory glance at the posts revealed the recycling of debunked, outlandish, fantastical stories about ritual murders of Christian children. The posts present themselves as researched and documented, offering readers an insider’s view of horrific atrocities. But they are malicious fictions, repackaged and presented to new audiences who wish only for supposed proof of their tribalistic assumptions and prejudices.

Facebook did not agree.

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Too many people continue to think that stories such as those on this page are harmless. It is simply a new iteration of a very old tale. The Protocols of the Elder of Zion are a perfect example. Each generation it reappears, often regarded as truth by people will considerable influence, like Henry Ford.  And the most recent propagators seem intent on crying freedom of speech, even though history shows, again and again, that tolerating claptrap such as that peddled on the aforementioned FB page has a direct link to lives and communities being destroyed.

Facebook has made it clear they don’t care about two millennia of antisemitic malarkey has a well-documented kill list. As a society, we have devalued the expert so much that all opinions must be respected; we’re told to agree to disagree about facts.

I say bullshit.

What We Can Do

Our culture has fallen into the shorthand of using the term “snowflakes” to disparage people who need safe spaces. It is difficult to find a single comments section on a public page–even if the topic is grooming Siamese cats underwater on the full moon–that won’t have at least one angry white dude picking the wrong homonyms to insult anyone who does not accept the claim that he’s the victim of cultural genocide. They dismiss real history–such as I write about here–pertaining to the actual genocide of the First Nations and the centuries of inhuman enslavement perpetrated upon Africans. They’ll instead arrogantly argue that anyone who does “research,” which as someone with going on five advanced degrees I can say would not have passed muster when I taught research writing, will know that Africans enslaved one another much more than did Europeans. This is demonstrably false. Also false is the claim that Irish were enslaved in the colonies.

They do this with impunity, and it’s dangerous because the internet allows nonsense to be presented as “truth” that the communist, Nazi (right? like, how does that work?) lib-ruhls are trying to destroy in order to exterminate the white man. It is read and believed by more and more khakis-wearing kids who think they are tough until their faces are posted all over the internet.

We are not going to make one iota of difference if we do not take serious steps to address the myriad and egregious historical wrongs that have been perpetrated in the last 500 years. We are a terribly racist country. The “live and let live” philosophy cannot prevail, as we can not tolerate speech that has literally two thousand years of violent history. We know how this story goes. “Never again” doesn’t start at the ovens, it ends there.

Please, continue to report pages such as the one under discussion. If you see people posting antisemitic memes or articles, please take the time to link to this blog or one of the sources embedded herein. I know that we are all fatigued, that there are endless battles, and this might seem small, but as a pastor who has written books on World War !! and the Holocaust. I can assure you it does not end small.

 

The Fabled Eclipse

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Brother Sun has been seeking Sister Moon since before the arrival of the First Ones.

He sends out ceaseless light, stretching extensions of himself to the outer reaches of Creation.

Sister Moon takes in his light, which she feels as love. She reflects it back to him, hoping to infuse the children of the First Ones with that which they cultivate effortlessly.

The powers of the underworld fall each day, according to the crude reckonings of those who depend on Brother Sun and Sister Moon. But to them, merely seconds transpire before they catch glimpse of one another again.

Sister moon runs to him, runs to him, runs to him.

And on auspicious days she catches him. What others see as darkness they see only as splendid light.

Brother Son shines only so that he will be seen by Sister Moon.

So in the brief shadows cast and glimpsed, cultivate the light of love. And shine forth with Brother Son and Sister Moon, transformed by love into timeless beings who chase only the source of all light.