The mother of one of the pastors I used to work for always came to church on Saturday evenings because there was a Sunday morning radio program she didn’t want to miss.

That program spoke of faith. I liked it as well. It changed its name to refer more generally to “being.” I’d kind of lost track of it, but it was easy enough to find online; I entered the world of podcasts.

There was one that talked of “equanimity” achieved in meditation and how to deal with that calm even-mindedness being disrupted by intrusive negativity. Mentally inviting the anger, fear or anxiety, for example, “in for dinner” might be more productive than hiding or barring the door. But perhaps “a cup of tea to go” is sufficient acknowledgement to neutralize the unwanted emotion. Maybe even a thank you for your concern, feel free to shovel some of that snow off the sidewalk on your way out of here.

There was another one with a couple of religious leaders (just saw one of them on TV, too). His counterpart offered a response to the moderator about divisiveness by assuring us that certainly all people have a lot in common — the air we breathe (with pandemic poignancy), we all bleed if we’re cut and we all live on the same planet.

The most recent episode has an anthropologist as the guest — a studier of life on this planet. She, as the daughter of a famous anthropologist, was involved in “participant observation” at a very early age. One of her later observations absent her own participation, was that improvisation takes a lot of practice — as contradictory as that may sound. She’s also noticed that throughout various religions “a sense of wonder leads to praise.” Some room for improvisation there. For herself personally as a participant in worship services, she realized that she is “always meeting the ritual a little bit different.”

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Through her own work she’s developed an understanding key to human existence: “Love recognizes similarities and appreciates differences.” Appreciation, whether improvised or ritualized, might well be a sound source of praise. I wonder.