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Showing posts from May, 2017

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Faith Dialectic

Christopher Hitchens, one of the great intellectuals of our era (albeit misled on a few things), has been gone for six years. He succumbed to esophageal cancer in 2011. His reigning moment was in promotion of his anti-theist book god is not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything.

That book, along with his memoir Hitch 22, ended up not being quite as atheist as he hoped. He opined about the discovery of his Jewish identity throughout both books, illustrating that it clearly meant something to him. A big part of why religion has not successfully absolved by any godless state is that it's not an artificial construct but the expression of the will of the communities and tribes that it rises from. Hitchens knew the Jewish roots of much of his thought process and in effect both his and Bill Maher's criticisms of religion weren't really what they advertised them as.

The videos of his anti-religion polemics show what a great soul we really did lose. There was a great clarity to h…

You can be an island of salvation and mercy in a deteriorating world.

Our world is deteriorating. There is a terrorist attack of some kind each day. Social tension is off the charts. Every day reliances seem to be collapsing. People regularly recognize this out of frustration and then later deny it because of the raw fear that it implies.

The terror attacks are from all sides. Muslim extremists in Egypt or the United Kingdom, black or white people in the United States, it all abounds. It is not quite about the religion or group of people as it is about material conditions and resources - people are fighting to the death for control over the world's most desired resources.

This reality has to be accepted not only in order to survive but to persevere. A new power structure is going to emerge out of this one but this one is transitioning out. It's likely not going to come back and thus the expectations of it need to be relinquished. One thing liberation theology teaches is that wealth and poverty are created by man made structures. The wealth that…

Putin as George Washington: The Rebirth of Traditional Art

A very interesting phenomenon has been occurring in the mid-2010s - a resurgence of traditional art. Whereas traditional art, with its more realistic and rigid norms, was once what new artists rebelled against, the art world is going over half a century now (Jackson Pollock's "drip" art was made during World War II) with postmodern art as the norm.

It's no longer postmodern but rather modern. There's little daring in something like "Piss Christ" - the Christians who such an artist would hope to offend with something like that will just roll their eyes, used to such artwork. To be truly daring and innovative in 2017 is not to drip or splash but to again be precise, creating artwork that represents the subject as opposed to the perception of the artist.

Epoch Times, a conservative leaning newspaper published by the persecuted Falun Gong religious group, has published a good deal of coverage on this burgeoning movement. Milene Fernandez in March wrote the…

Get Your Radical Second Things Shirts!!

Hello all -

Radical Second Things has T-shirts available. I have made several including some of Jordan's custom art!

Women's Speciality Saiph Shirt
by Radical_Second_Thing

Mario Savio Champion Shirt
by Radical_Second_Thing

The West Will Lose

I have learned over a short lifetime of experience that, unfortunately, strongman attitudes work - at least in the short term. When I've had problems with roommates, asserting myself and making it clear that problems are a bad idea ended the problems whereas they could very well persist if I played nice guy. When you assert yourself like that, alot of people might talk bad about you behind your back but I know from experience - they will leave you alone. Westerners are terrified to say the least offensive thing about Islam, talking about this massive faith with niceties that people who actually have background with it wouldn't ever. They are intimidated and scared both of Islam's strength, complexity and intimidation and the loss of resources and energy that could come if they asserted themselves toward the real root of the problem. The West is willing to nonsensically point the finger at people they know have nothing to do with it like Vladimir Putin, aware that that is …

"Opioid crisis: Seeking help for pastoral response"

Hello all. I don't usually re-post articles on the actual blog as that's something I save for the Facebook page but this was an article from the National Catholic Register that I thought was too important personally and for my readers to pass up:

Fr. Frank Almade, pastor of four churches in New Castle, Pennsylvania, presides over more than what might seem like his share of funerals. He's pastored for the past five years in the old manufacturing town, long in decline, located about an hour's drive from Pittsburgh. For much of his early years in New Castle, funerals marked the end of the line for old-timers, some of whom were close to the century mark. Almade noticed something different in the past year. He led funerals for five men, in their 30s and 40s. Families were tight-lipped about the cause of their deaths. "There's something going on here," Almade thought to himself. And, as the funerals continued, he heard the whispers. These men were not dying of …

Stars Of Courage Cover Art: Mario Savio

When I first started the Stars of Courage project with my friend Jordan Denato, the intent was simply to illustrate people who dedicate their lives to altruistic ventures - helping others and in turn fulfilling both the premises of liberation theology, breaking down artificial structures that enforce poverty, and Tikkun Olam, the Jewish mantra of "healing the world."

Jordan came up with the mechanical theme as it became clear that many people we spotlighted were either helping people in opposition to established institutions or outside of them. The machine grinds people down, makes them unaware, ignorant and self-serving.  Radical Second Things is dedicated both to radical ideas that can alleviate poverty and marginalization outside of institutional settings and to the tradition and self-knowledge that makes marginalization less likely.

Mario Savio's quote will be the cover when Stars of Courage is finally collected. Thank you to all who are part of Radical Second Things…

Radical Second Things: This is the Chance for Americans to Rebuild and Take Control

Radical Second Things has restrained itself from overt political commentary since its foundation, instead focusing on telling the story of people striving to make the world better with projects like Evoke and Stars of Courage. Given what things are like in my home country of the United States, I feel like something needs to be said.

The United States is in crisis mode and feels like it has since roughly 2014. There were abnormal and bizarre mass shootings like the Aurora shooting in 2012 that seemed to be hinting at something weird but life still seemed normal. When the Obama administration's militarization of the police collided with racial tensions in Feguson, Missouri, however, the U.S. got crazier than I've ever seen.

I was in Berkeley that year. I saw swastikas painted on cars and witnessed storeowners yelling loudly to black customers, "Get out of here, nigger!" It's marginally better now - the protests surrounding Trump are not nearly as venomous although…

Stars Of Courage: Saiph Savage

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”— Nelson Mandela

Higher education is not easy. Many struggle even to complete an undergraduate degree. To complete that, a higher education degree and to then dedicate one's life to making that more accessible to others is a monumental task. In the case of Norma Saiph Savage, she did just that. After completing an undergraduate degree at Mexico City's extremely competitive UNAM, she pursued and obtained her doctorate from University of California - Santa Barbara.

She has obtained a great deal of discernments, including becoming a Kathy Richards Faculty Fellow in Engineering.

Stars of Courage isn't about people who only obtain self-driven material success, however. Saiph's most qualifying actions have been in her advocacy for women seeking similar success. She has been involved greatly in Mexico City's Hackaton program, a social networking event for women hoping to enter the tech field, a…

REVIEW: Kelly Cordes' The Tower

Hello all - it takes time and effort for me to produce Radical Second Things. Please make a donation so I can continue to do so. 

Living in Berkeley, California has its perks. Everything I need in life is within walking distances - including cool events that offer things to learn that I never even thought to learn about. This happened recently when I happened upon an event being put on by the clothing brand Patagonia, which creates outdoor clothing.

Patagonia is a term for a region encompassing the southern tip of South America. A proper map of it can be found here. In fitting with their adopted name, Patagonia Clothing has started a publishing company, the arm of which has published a book called The Tower by mountaineering enthusiast Kelly Cordes. I was lucky enough to get a promotional copy.

Cerro Torre is a miraculously beautiful peak located on the border of Chile and Argentina, which measures at 10,262 feet. That may not compare to Mount Everest's nearly 30,000 feet but it i…

History 101 For 2017 America Part One: The Soviet Union

Hello all - it takes time and effort for me to produce Radical Second Things. Please make a donation so I can continue to do so. 

I recently talked to a friend who was really concerned about the presidency of Donald Trump. I noticed that I was talking about a bunch of allegories to what's going on that she didn't get since she didn't simply have the free time I had to study them. I am fortunate to have had that free time as being aware of what's gone before has made things a whole lot less scary, although more frustrating when people don't heed the warnings of an amateur historian.

What America is going through right now is scary - but it's going to seem a hell of a lot more scary if there is little to no historical reference. This is not the fault of the average person. College is for profit in the United States, pricing out a great number of people, and I truthfully did not get in to the meat of international affairs until I took upper division college course…

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About Radical Second Things

Michael Orion is a blogger, writer, artist and photographer based in the Bay Area. Besides his maintenance and promotion of Radical Second Things, he contributes to the San Francisco newspaper SF Western Edition, where he writes about local non-profit organizations.

Mark Cappetta is a practicing Catholic and active LGBT activist. He has been instrumental in keeping Radical Second Things and updates the Facebook account almost daily.

Eva Gnostiquette is an artist, programmer, "future scientist," bi-trans girl and graphic designer. She voluntarily helped to create the first print issue Radical Second Things and designed our beautiful banners. Thanks so much, Eva!

Jordan Denato is a professional artist based out of Iowa. He took the initiative to illustrate both Jennifer Reimer's story and Michael Orion's Oscar Romero work. He has his own art studio, Tar and Feather Studios, and is a critical part of Radical Second Things.

Radical Second Things is a liberation theology themed blog that has clear cut goals - we see the structural decline of the United States and much of the west and hope to present alternatives that will offer "a preferential option for the poor" as more become vulnerable.

© 2017 Radical Second Things