Change country:

Texas storm leaves damaged homes and high-electric bills

Texans are now facing sky-high bills after a catastrophic storm left many without heat or clean water.
Read full article on:
Cut off from the rest of America, a small town endures lockdown
Point Roberts, Washington, is a tiny piece of America separate from the U.S. mainland, its isolation both a protection against COVID and a magnifier for the pandemic's economic ripple effects.
6 m
Amid the rubble of Mosul, Pope Francis declares hope 'more powerful than hatred'
Standing amid the rubble left behind by the now defeated ISIS terrorists in the Iraqi city of Mosul, Pope Francis on Saturday declared hope to be "more powerful than hatred and peace more powerful than war."
7 m
Biden to sign executive order aimed at promoting voting rights
Mr. Biden will sign the executive order on the 56th anniversary of "Bloody Sunday."
Biden's approval on COVID-19 steady as country wary about reopening: POLL
President Joe Biden retains broad support for his coronavirus response, according to a new ABC News/Ipsos poll.
Queen Elizabeth II won't watch Meghan Markle, Prince Harry's tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey: report
Queen Elizabeth II will reportedly not watch Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's interview with Oprah Winfrey.
COVID-19 after one year: What will the future bring?
It has been 12 months of loss since the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. began. Experts in a variety of fields take stock of what we've been through – and what may come in the pandemic's fallout.
Xbox Series X Restock Updates for Amazon, GameStop, Best Buy, Target and More
The Xbox Series S is available at several retailers, but the Xbox Series X remains out of stock across major retailers.
Texas School’s Lesson on Chivalry Asked Girls to ‘Walk Daintily’ and Obey Men
A Shallowater High School assignment meant to demonstrate medieval-era misogyny was scrapped after at least one parent objected.
COVID and the lost year: What's ahead?
It has been 12 months of loss since the coronavirus outbreak in the United States began. Correspondent Martha Teichner takes stock of what we've been through – and perhaps what may come in the pandemic's fallout – with leaders in fields ranging from the economy (Laura Tyson) and civil rights (Mary Frances Berry), to the food industry (José Andrés), psychology (Steven Pinker), urban planning (Richard Florida), and the arts (Renée Elise Goldsberry).
Texas Mayor Calls Governor's Lifting Mask Mandate 'Wrong,' Apologizes for Mexico Trip
"I'm disappointed that the mandate is being withdrawn. Our governor has said that it's still important to wear masks, and I appreciate that. But removing the mandate, I think we create an ambiguity," Austin Mayor Steve Adler said.
"Sunday Morning" Full Episode 3/7
Hosted by Jane Pauley. In our cover story, Martha Teichner explores how a year of COVID may have changed our society. Plus: Tracy Smith talks with Regina King about her film directorial debut, "One Night in Miami"; Lee Cowan visits Point Roberts, Washington, a town isolated from the rest of the American mainland; David Martin explores the role of military veterans in the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol; Seth Doane examines how residents of a Northern Italian village are coping after a devastating year of COVID; Remy Inocencio travels to China in search of the origins of the coronavirus; David Pogue talks with biochemist Jennifer Doudna, co-creator of the gene-editing technology CRISPR, and Walter Isaacson, author of "The Code Breaker"; and Tracy Smith looks back at comedian Bob Hope's decades as an entertainer of American troops abroad.
Defense secretary brings experience dealing with racism, extremism to Pentagon
At his new Pentagon post, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is dealing with extremism, Iran and COVID-19.
Why Biden's next legislative push might be much harder than Covid relief
President Joe Biden and fellow Democrats are racing to prove a counterintuitive lesson: with congressional majorities, sometimes less can be more.
‘WandaVision’s Scarlet Witch Costume Makes Me Want to Finally Ditch the Quarantine Sweats
This is the first costume reveal I've clapped for.
Some struggling Americans aren't getting the stimulus payment they were promised. Here's why
Some financially struggling Americans who owe back taxes will miss out on stimulus payments unless the Internal Revenue Service decides to change its rules.
The Sunday Read: ‘The Lonely Death of George Bell’
Dying alone can cause a surprising amount of activity. Sometimes, along the way, a life’s secrets are revealed.
Protesters burn masks at Idaho Capitol rally against rules
At least a hundred people gathered at the front of the Idaho Capitol on Saturday to burn masks in a protest against measures taken to limit infections and deaths caused by the coronavirus pandemic
Start your week smart: Stimulus, voting access, Covid-19, George Floyd, Somalia
Here's what you need to know to Start Your Week Smart.
Delay in Senate on relief bill was an attempt at bipartisanship: Sen. Manchin
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., largely steered debate around the coronavirus relief plan.
Are the Cuomo harassment allegations just political correctness?
I’m tired of the hypocrisy of calls for Governor Cuomo to step down because of allegations that he made a joke about eating a sausage, or tried to kiss someone. If everyone who has ever made an off-color joke were fired, the unemployment line would extend around the globe. No one is accusing him of...
Older women are having to tackle unemployment bias head-on
Since February 2020, the unemployment rate for females over 55 has almost doubled, from 3.5 percent to 6.1 percent.
UFC 259 Promotional Guidelines Compliance pay: Second highest payout in program history
Fighters from Saturday's UFC 259 took home UFC Promotional Guidelines Compliance pay totaling $385,000.       Related StoriesUFC 259 bonuses: All four $50,000 winners come from the prelimsPetr Yan on UFC 259 DQ loss to Aljamain Sterling: 'I didn't mean to do an illegal shot'UFC 259 results: Amanda Nunes runs through Megan Anderson, retains featherweight title - Enclosure
Biden to sign voter registration executive order as he pushes Senate to pass sweeping HR 1 bill
President Biden is scheduled to sign an executive order designed to increase voter access on Sunday as he pushes the Senate to pass H.R. 1, House Democrats' sweeping voting rights package.
Britney Spears boyfriend Sam Asghari say he’s ready to have kids, take relationship ‘to the next step’
Sam Asghari says he is ready to have children with his famous girlfriend Britney Spears.
The global economy won't recover if we don't get vaccines to developing countries, too
The world is facing a slow rollout of vaccines even as new virus mutations are spreading—and the prospects for recovery are diverging dangerously across countries and regions. Indeed, the global economy is at a fork in the road. The question is: will policymakers take action to prevent this Great Divergence?
This at-home sauna for easy detoxing is the self-care you deserve in 2021
Infrared saunas are an increasingly popular health and self-care option, and now you can try the innovative method at home. While in the past, saunas have been the exclusive domain of gyms, hotels, and specialty businesses, the technology of infrared saunas is now being democratized and anyone can use one in their own home. Even...
It's been a year since markets crashed. Is another reckoning around the corner?
It's been nearly a year since the coronavirus pandemic ended the S&P 500's longest-ever bull run and sent stocks everywhere into a violent nosedive. The turmoil was a fitting start to a year of frenzied activity.
'Our Friend' cast builds tight bonds — just don't ask about the Super Bowl
Casey Affleck, Jason Segel and Dakota Johnson on real-life story of young mother's cancer: 'It doesn't beat you over the head with the sadness,' Affleck says.
Become a master photographer with this professional-led training
If you truly want to become a master photographer, then you need to learn from the masters.
Plaschke: USC's Andy Enfield must ride second magical March shot into success in NCAAs
Tahj Eaddy's game-winner in USC's 64-63 win at UCLA was strikingly similar to Jonah Mathews' shot the year before. Now the Trojans must build off it.
HP Semi-Annual Sale takes up to 45 percent off computers and accessories
HP is known for its high-quality computers and accessories. If you’ve been hoping to score some of its great tech gear, then you’re in luck. The popular tech brand is taking up to 45% off its most popular products for its Semi-Annual Sale. Whether you’re hoping to revamp your home office or simply are in...
1 h
How Your Stimulus Check, Income Might Be Affected by the Latest Bill Changes
The Senate approved the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, with some changes that will impact direct payments, unemployment insurance and child tax credit.
1 h
Pope Francis Visits Iraqi Region Where Cities And Lives Were Shattered By ISIS
The pope spent the third day of his visit in the north of the country, where the Christian population is dwindling. He also prayed for the ethnic minority Yazidis, who were brutally targeted by ISIS.
1 h
What Andrew Cuomo's Five Accusers Have Said About His Alleged Sexual Misconduct
The New York Governor has denied accusations of physically improper conduct. Three former aides and two more women have now made such claims.
1 h
The Supreme Court Might Kill Voting Rights—Quietly
At the center of any democracy is the right to vote. If people cannot vote, then they have no say in the laws that govern them and cannot be truly free and equal citizens. But the right to vote is not a machine that runs by itself; it is dependent on the work of laws and institutions. And in America, conservatives have turned those laws and institutions against that right, seeking to reverse hard-fought gains that have helped make the constitutional promise of democracy a reality for all citizens. With a new voting-rights case before the Supreme Court, the situation might be about to get much, much worse.This attack won its most important victory in Shelby County v. Holder, when the Court dealt a severe blow to the Constitution’s multiracial democracy. In that case, the Court struck down one of the most important parts of the Voting Rights Act, the crown jewel of the civil-rights movement, ignoring that the Fifteenth Amendment grants Congress broad power to ensure that the right to vote is equally enjoyed by all citizens regardless of race.[Read: American democracy is only 55 years old—and hanging by a thread]Now, in Brnovich v. DNC, a challenge to two Arizona voting regulations, the Court might be about to gut what remains of the Voting Rights Act. The conservative legal movement is hoping that the Court will announce a broad ruling that Section 2—the act’s nationwide ban on practices that result in racial inequality in the American electoral system—is constitutionally dubious and should be radically rewritten. The Court might not go this far, but it is still likely to take a page from Chief Justice John Roberts’s career-long advocacy against the act and insist, as he did during his stint in the Reagan administration, that violations of Section 2 “should not be made too easy to prove, since they provide a basis for the most intrusive interference by federal courts into state and local processes.” Even short of a major constitutional ruling, however, the Court is likely to open the door to the kind of voter-suppression measures—such as efforts to curtail early voting and place limits on voting by mail—that are currently gaining support in state legislatures in response to the electoral successes that voters of color helped produce in 2020.Section 2 has long been a target of conservatives because it contains what’s known as the “results test,” whose text sweeps extremely broadly, prohibiting state electoral regulation that “results in a denial or abridgement of the right of any citizen of the United States to vote on account of race.” According to Section 2, even neutrally written state measures that are enacted for benign motives might cause voters of color to enjoy “less opportunity than other members of the electorate to participate in the political process and to elect representatives of their choice,” and therefore violate the act’s mandate of voter equality.This is a powerful mechanism, as the law thus targets discriminatory results, not discriminatory intent. It looks to practical realities in the lived experiences of citizens of color and aims to ensure that the right to vote is enjoyed by all, regardless of race. That mandate is what undergirds the question now at issue in Brnovich, which is what standard should be applied to evaluate challenges to state enactments that disproportionately disenfranchise voters of color, such as Arizona’s regulations throwing out votes cast in the wrong precinct and establishing a ban on third-party ballot collection, violations of which are criminal.In nearly two hours of oral argument last Tuesday, the Supreme Court drilled down on that hugely important question. Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich and Michael Carvin, a lawyer who represented the Republican National Committee at the hearing, urged the Court to radically pare down the results test. Without stringent constraints, Brnovich claimed, “Section 2 would exceed Congress’s powers to enforce the Reconstruction amendments, improperly inject race into all voting laws, and impede a state’s ability to run their elections.” This attack on the results test, however, did not get much traction during oral argument. The Court’s conservative justices shied away from questioning Congress’s express constitutional power to stamp out racial voter suppression.Carvin, who argued that all regulation of election mechanics should be immune from challenge under the Voting Rights Act, because such laws do not deny anyone voting opportunities, faced difficulty defending that position, which would sanction all manner of voter suppression by the states. In withering questioning by Justice Elena Kagan, Carvin conceded that a state would not be allowed to announce that each county could have only a single polling place or mandate that all polling places be held in country clubs. Even Carvin had to admit that lived realities matter.Exchanges such as these have led some observers to suggest that the Voting Rights Act had a surprisingly good day. But a close reading of the transcript suggests that the Court’s conservative justices might be looking to borrow from the Roberts playbook and make it extremely difficult to challenge state laws that disproportionately disenfranchise voters of color, effectively hollowing out the results test in the process, even if not gutting it outright. Four different theories were voiced during oral argument, any one of which could turn out to be central to whatever opinion the Court hands down this summer.[Sam Wang: The long-term solution to voter suppression]First, Justices Samuel Alito and Amy Coney Barrett suggested that the results test had to be reined in or, as Alito put it, “every voting rule” would be “vulnerable to attack under Section 2.” Both Alito and Barrett seemed uncomfortable with the fact that the results test requires courts to take into account centuries of slavery and anti-Black racism that robbed Black people of wealth and left many mired in poverty. Their comments suggest that they might vote to reverse prior case law that recognizes that the Voting Rights Act seeks to prevent the effects of past economic discrimination from undermining America’s constitutional commitment to an inclusive multiracial democracy.Second, Justice Brett Kavanaugh insisted that Section 2 was a compromise statute that cannot be read as a “pure results” test. He suggested that the statute’s guarantee of equal political opportunity was at war with its prohibition on discriminatory results. Under this view, perhaps, the time, place, and manner of voting regulations used in many states might be permissible, including voter-ID laws, voter purges, and some of the Arizona regulations at issue in Brnovich. The problem with that, however, as Justice Sonia Sotomayor observed, is that this would be “rewriting Section 2,” which in “clear language” prohibits laws that result in a race-based denial or abridgement of the right to vote. If conservatives adopt this approach, it will be clear that the respect for enacted text that they preach in other situations does not extend to the results test of the Voting Rights Act.Third, Justice Neil Gorsuch proposed that the Court adopt a heightened causation standard, picking up on a suggestion made by the Trump administration’s brief in the case. In Bostock v. Clayton County, last term’s landmark Title VII ruling, Gorsuch interpreted virtually identical language to apply a more generous standard. But he indicated that the Title VII standard did not necessarily apply in the context of the Voting Rights Act. The Biden administration disowned the brief that the Trump administration had filed earlier, but did not tell the Court why a heightened causation standard was wrong. This silence loomed large, especially now that the justices might adopt a stringent causation standard that would make challenging state voter-suppression measures much more difficult under the results test.Fourth, Chief Justice Roberts and other justices suggested that the results test does not prevent states from legislating to address voter fraud. Roberts pressed the challengers to explain why concerns about what he called “racial proportionality” should force states to accept practices that might lead to fraud. In the same vein, Gorsuch insisted that states do not need any actual evidence of fraud to enact voting limits. Neither gave any consideration to the fact that lies about voter fraud can be used to attack legitimate democracy, as has been abundantly clear since the November election, and even long before. In the campaign-finance context, conservatives insist on the highest level of scrutiny when the government seeks to root out corruption, but when it comes to voter fraud, the conservative wing of the Court seems willing to give nearly limitless deference to these concerns.Curtailing Americans’ right to vote will not require a full gutting of Section 2. The Supreme Court seems poised to hollow out what little remains of the Voting Rights Act, not with a major constitutional pronouncement but with complex, technical doctrines that will likely sanction all manner of state voter-suppression measures. If the Court does this, the historic law would be sapped of its vitality, and true American democracy would become an even more distant goal.
1 h
This pet insurance alternative covers emergency care for only $19 per month
If you own a dog or cat, at some point in their life you’re bound to be woken by them vomiting in the middle of the night. Pet owners can sleep through most things but their dog vomiting is definitely not one of them. As soon as someone vomits, we are ripping the covers off...
1 h
Black Erasure
Nina Simone sang “[POC] is the color of my true love’s hair”& they say [POC] don’t crack& let us bless gumboquimbombó & [POC]-eyed peas& [POC] weddings & broom jumps & Danez Smithwrote “& even the [POC] guy’s profile reads ‘sorry,no [POC] guys’” & to flirt men have asked if I’m[POC] where it counts & hey remember outcry over [POC] Ruein The Hunger Games [POC] Hermione [POC] James Bond[POC] Spiderman & Mary Jane &when cops kneel on [POC] necksthe autopsies that come next can lie can blame underlying conditions& [POC] Lives Matter to the publicfor about a week at a time& somehow bulbs of [POC] joy bloom ceaselessly from dirtterror & there’s at least 26 new ways of lookingat a [POC]bird by now with all this high tech so chew on that, Wally Stevens,& did you know the lab-made Vanta[POC]—one of the darkestknown substances—absorbs 99.96% of natural light?Ideal Burial Checklist: coffin that color,[POC] orchids all over, a few berry seeds ploppedupon my plot, some of the rasp variety, most [POC],& let there be medleys of essential [POC] tunes for y’allto throw ass to at the after-party, & please, changeout those [POC] funeral rags into something fun,something that swans as you sway & please, pour dem drinks high but not so high you [POC] out& pretty please, have fun, remember that in all my [POC]-ass life, I had a good time,really, I enjoyed myself.
1 h
Growing My Faith in the Face of Death
I have spent a good part of my life talking with people about the role of faith in the face of imminent death. Since I became an ordained Presbyterian minister in 1975, I have sat at countless bedsides, and occasionally even watched someone take their final breath. I recently wrote a small book, On Death, relating a lot of what I say to people in such times. But when, a little more than a month after that book was published, I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, I was still caught unprepared.On the way home from a conference of Asian Christians in Kuala Lumpur in February 2020, I developed an intestinal infection. A scan at the hospital showed what looked like enlarged lymph nodes in my abdomen: No cause for concern, but come back in three months just to check. My book was published. And then, while all of us in New York City were trying to protect ourselves from COVID-19, I learned that I already had an agent of death growing inside me.I spent a few harrowing minutes looking online at the dire survival statistics for pancreatic cancer, and caught a glimpse of On Death on a table nearby. I didn’t dare open it to read what I’d written.My wife, Kathy, and I spent much time in tears and disbelief. We were both turning 70, but felt strong, clear-minded, and capable of nearly all the things we have done for the past 50 years. “I thought we’d feel a lot older when we got to this age,” Kathy said. We had plenty of plans and lots of comforts, especially our children and grandchildren. We expected some illness to come and take us when we felt really old. But not now, not yet. This couldn’t be; what was God doing to us? The Bible, and especially the Psalms, gave voice to our feelings: “Why, O Lord, do you stand far off?” “Wake up, O Lord. Why are you sleeping?” “How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?”A significant number of believers in God find their faith shaken or destroyed when they learn that they will die at a time and in a way that seems unfair to them. Before my diagnosis, I had seen this in people of many faiths. One woman with cancer told me years ago, “I’m not a believer anymore—that doesn’t work for me. I can’t believe in a personal God who would do something like this to me.” Cancer killed her God.What would happen to me? I felt like a surgeon who was suddenly on the operating table. Would I be able to take my own advice?One of the first things I learned was that religious faith does not automatically provide solace in times of crisis. A belief in God and an afterlife does not become spontaneously comforting and existentially strengthening. Despite my rational, conscious acknowledgment that I would die someday, the shattering reality of a fatal diagnosis provoked a remarkably strong psychological denial of mortality. Instead of acting on Dylan Thomas’s advice to “rage, rage against the dying of the light,” I found myself thinking, What? No! I can’t die. That happens to others, but not to me. When I said these outrageous words out loud, I realized that this delusion had been the actual operating principle of my heart.The cultural anthropologist Ernest Becker argued that the denial of death dominates our culture, but even if he was right that modern life has heightened this denial, it has always been with us. As the 16th-century Protestant theologian John Calvin wrote, “We undertake all things as if we were establishing immortality for ourselves on earth. If we see a dead body, we may philosophize briefly about the fleeting nature of life, but the moment we turn away from the sight the thought of our own perpetuity remains fixed in our minds.” Death is an abstraction to us, something technically true but unimaginable as a personal reality.[Read: When medicine and faith define death differently]For the same reason, our beliefs about God and an afterlife, if we have them, are often abstractions as well. If we don’t accept the reality of death, we don’t need these beliefs to be anything other than mental assents. A feigned battle in a play or a movie requires only stage props. But as death, the last enemy, became real to my heart, I realized that my beliefs would have to become just as real to my heart, or I wouldn’t be able to get through the day. Theoretical ideas about God’s love and the future resurrection had to become life-gripping truths, or be discarded as useless.I’ve watched many others partake of this denial of death and then struggle when their convictions evaporate, and not just among the religious. I spent time as a pastor with sick and dying people whose religious faith was nominal or nonexistent. Many had a set of beliefs about the universe, even if they went largely unacknowledged—that the material world came into being on its own and that there is no supernatural world we go to after death. Death, in this view, is simply nonexistence, and therefore, as the writer Julian Barnes has argued, nothing to be frightened of. These ideas are items of faith that can’t be proved, and people use them as Barnes does, to stave off fear of death. But I’ve found that nonreligious people who think such secular beliefs will be comforting often find that they crumple when confronted by the real thing.So when the certainty of your mortality and death finally breaks through, is there a way to face it without debilitating fear? Is there a way to spend the time you have left growing into greater grace, love, and wisdom? I believe there is, but it requires both intellectual and emotional engagement: head work and heart work.I use the terms head and heart to mean reasoning and feeling, adapting to the modern view that these two things are independent faculties. The Hebrew scriptures, however, see the heart as the seat of the mind, will, and emotions. Proverbs says, “As he thinketh in his heart, so is he.” In other words, rational conviction and experience might change my mind, but the shift would not be complete until it took root in my heart. And so I set out to reexamine my convictions and to strengthen my faith, so that it might prove more than a match for death.Paul Brand, an orthopedic surgeon, spent the first part of his medical career in India and the last part of his career in the U.S. “In the United States … I encountered a society that seeks to avoid pain at all costs,” he wrote in his recent memoir. “Patients lived at a greater comfort level than any I had previously treated, but they seemed far less equipped to handle suffering and far more traumatized by it.”Why is it that people in prosperous, modern societies seem to struggle so much with the existence of evil, suffering, and death? In his book A Secular Age, the philosopher Charles Taylor wrote that while humans have always struggled with the ways and justice of God, until quite recently no one had concluded that suffering made the existence of God implausible. For millennia, people held a strong belief in their own inadequacy or sinfulness, and did not hold the modern assumption that we all deserve a comfortable life. Moreover, Taylor has argued, we have become so confident in our powers of logic that if we cannot imagine any good reason that suffering exists, we assume there can’t be one.But if there is a God great enough to merit your anger over the suffering you witness or endure, then there is a God great enough to have reasons for allowing it that you can’t detect. It is not logical to believe in an infinite God and still be convinced that you can tally the sums of good and evil as he does, or to grow angry that he doesn’t always see things your way. Taylor’s point is that people say their suffering makes faith in God impossible—but it is in fact their overconfidence in themselves and their abilities that sets them up for anger, fear, and confusion.When I got my cancer diagnosis, I had to look not only at my professed beliefs, which align with historical Protestant orthodoxy, but also at my actual understanding of God. Had it been shaped by my culture? Had I been slipping unconsciously into the supposition that God lived for me rather than I for him, that life should go well for me, that I knew better than God does how things should go? The answer was yes—to some degree. I found that to embrace God’s greatness, to say “Thy will be done,” was painful at first and then, perhaps counterintuitively, profoundly liberating. To assume that God is as small and finite as we are may feel freeing—but it offers no remedy for anger.Another area of head work for me had to do with Jesus’s resurrection. Ironically, I had already begun working on a book about Easter. Before cancer, the resurrection had been a mostly theoretical issue for me—but not now. I’m familiar with the common charge that any belief in an afterlife is mere wish fulfillment without grounding in fact—and that belief in Jesus is in the same category as faith in the Flying Spaghetti Monster. But over the past 20 years, I’ve been drawn to the work of the British biblical scholar N. T. Wright, who mounts a historical case for Jesus’s bodily resurrection.[Read: What people actually say before they die]I returned to his material now, with greater skepticism than I had previously applied. I didn’t want to be taken in. But as I reread his arguments, they seemed even more formidable and fair to me than they had in the past. They gave me a place to get my footing. Still, I needed more than mental assent to believe in the resurrection.The heart work came in as I struggled to bridge the gap between an abstract belief and one that touches the imagination. As the early American philosopher Jonathan Edwards argued, it is one thing to believe with certainty that honey is sweet, perhaps through the universal testimony of trusted people, but it is another to actually taste the sweetness of honey. The sense of the honey’s sweetness on the tongue brings a fuller knowledge of honey than any rational deduction. In the same way, it is one thing to believe in a God who has attributes such as love, power, and wisdom; it is another to sense the reality of that God in your heart. The Bible is filled with sensory language. We are not only to believe that God is good but also to “taste” his goodness, the psalmist tells us; not just to believe that God is glorious and powerful but also to “see” it with “the eyes of the heart,” it says in Ephesians.On December 6, 1273, Thomas Aquinas stopped writing his monumental Summa Theologiae. When asked why by his friend Reginald, he replied that he had had a beatific experience of God that made all his theology “seem like straw” by comparison. That was no repudiation of his theology, but Thomas had seen the difference between the map of God and God himself, and a very great difference it was. While I cannot claim that any of my experiences of God in the past several months have been “beatific,” they have been deeper and sweeter than I have known before.My path to this has involved three disciplines.The first was to immerse myself in the Psalms to be sure that I wasn’t encountering a God I had made up myself. Any God I make up will be less troubling and offensive, to be sure, but then how can such a God contradict me when my heart says that there’s no hope, or that I’m worthless? The Psalms show me a God maddening in his complexity, but this difficult deity comes across as a real being, not one any human would have conjured. Through the Psalms, I grew in confidence that I was before “him with whom we have to do.”The second discipline was something that earlier writers like Edwards called spiritual “soliloquy.” You see it in Psalms 42 and 103, where the psalmist says, “Why are you cast down, O my soul?” and “Bless the Lord, O my soul. And forget not all his benefits.” The authors are addressing neither God nor their readers but their own souls, their selves. They are not so much listening to their hearts as talking to them. They are interrogating them and reminding them about God. They are taking truths about God and pressing them down deep into their hearts until they catch fire there.I had to look hard at my deepest trusts, my strongest loves and fears, and bring them into contact with God. Sometimes—not always, or even usually—this leads, as the poet George Herbert wrote, to “a kind of tune … softness, and peace, and joy, and love, and bliss, exalted manna … heaven in the ordinary.” But even though most days’ hour of Bible reading, meditation, soliloquy, and prayer doesn’t yield this kind of music, the reality of God and his promises grew on me. My imagination became more able to visualize the resurrection and rest my heart in it.Most particularly for me as a Christian, Jesus’s costly love, death, and resurrection had become not just something I believed and filed away, but a hope that sustained me all day. I pray this prayer daily. Occasionally it electrifies, but ultimately it always calms:And as I lay down in sleep and rose this morning only by your grace, keep me in the joyful, lively remembrance that whatever happens, I will someday know my final rising, because Jesus Christ lay down in death for me, and rose for my justification.[Read: Why I hope to die at 75]As this spiritual reality grows, what are the effects on how I live? One of the most difficult results to explain is what happened to my joys and fears. Since my diagnosis, Kathy and I have come to see that the more we tried to make a heaven out of this world—the more we grounded our comfort and security in it—the less we were able to enjoy it.Kathy finds deep consolation and rest in the familiar, comforting places where we vacation. Some of them are shacks with bare light bulbs on wires, but they are her Sehnsucht locations—the spaces for which she longs. My pseudo-salvations are professional goals and accomplishments—another book, a new ministry project, another milestone at the church. For these reasons we found that when we got to the end of a vacation at the beach, our responses were both opposite and yet strangely the same.Kathy would begin to mourn the need to depart almost as soon as she arrived, which made it impossible for her to fully enjoy herself. She would fantasize about handcuffing herself to the porch railing and refusing to budge. I, however, would always chafe and be eager to get back to work. I spent much of the time at the beach brainstorming and writing out plans. Neither of us learned to savor the moment, and so we never came home refreshed. A short, green Jedi Master’s words applied to me perfectly: “All his life has he looked away to the future, the horizon. Never his mind on where he was.” Kathy and I should have known better. We did know better. When we turn good things into ultimate things, when we make them our greatest consolations and loves, they will necessarily disappoint us bitterly. “Thou hast made us for thyself,” Augustine said in his most famous sentence, “and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in Thee.” The 18th-century hymn writer John Newton depicted God as saying to the human soul, “These inward trials I employ from pride and self to set thee free, and break thy schemes of earthly joy that thou would find thine all in me.”To our surprise and encouragement, Kathy and I have discovered that the less we attempt to make this world into a heaven, the more we are able to enjoy it.No longer are we burdening it with demands impossible for it to fulfill. We have found that the simplest things—from sun on the water and flowers in the vase to our own embraces, sex, and conversation—bring more joy than ever. This has taken us by surprise.This change was not an overnight revolution. As God’s reality dawns more on my heart, slowly and painfully and through many tears, the simplest pleasures of this world have become sources of daily happiness. It is only as I have become, for lack of a better term, more heavenly minded that I can see the material world for the astonishingly good divine gift that it is.I can sincerely say, without any sentimentality or exaggeration, that I’ve never been happier in my life, that I’ve never had more days filled with comfort. But it is equally true that I’ve never had so many days of grief. One of our dearest friends lost her husband to cancer six years ago. Even now, she says, she might seem fine, and then out of nowhere some reminder or thought will sideswipe her and cripple her with sorrow.Yes. But I have come to be grateful for those sideswipes, because they remind me to reorient myself to the convictions of my head and the processes of my heart. When I take time to remember how to deal with my fears and savor my joys, the consolations are stronger and sweeter than ever.
1 h
Scientists read 300-year-old letters without opening them
Scientists have discovered how to read unopened 300-year-old letters that had been folded using a mysterious technique.
1 h
Record spring temperatures build this week
It is feeling more like mid-May than mid-March across the Midwest as record warmth builds. Meteorologist Allison Chinchar explains how high the mercury will rise.
1 h
Why the New York mayoral race is unprecedented in modern times
New York City's mayoral elections are usually big spectacles. They come during the most boring time in electoral politics, the year after the presidential election. The candidates can be press fodder (e.g. Anthony Weiner in 2013), and the winner will get to rule a city with a population of more than 8 million, more than most states.
1 h
Many Californians have just three days of paid leave. What if they get COVID-19?
Millions of Golden State workers are staring down a pandemic with no clear access to an economic safety net if they take time off, after emergency sick-leave laws requiring two weeks' paid leave expired in January. The Legislature will soon vote on whether to reinstate the mandate.
1 h
The conversation you don't want to have is the one you need most — especially with COVID
Conversations about a person's wishes do not happen with most patients in most hospitals, let alone when they show up in the emergency room for the first time suffering from COVID-19.
1 h
10 of our favorite beaches from all across Florida: Daytona, Delray, St. Pete, Siesta, more
It's always beach season in Florida! Here's a look at 10 of our favorite to be when the sun rises over the Atlantic Ocean or the Gulf of Mexico.      
1 h
How a year ‘like no other’ has weighed on Black police officers
A reckoning over racism in policing and in the country the last year has heightened that burden for many of those wearing a badge while Black.
1 h
Kate Middleton May Give Evidence in Meghan Bullying Inquiry, as Royals Retaliate Before Oprah Interview
Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty ImagesIf you love The Daily Beast’s royal coverage, then we hope you’ll enjoy The Royalist, a members-only series for Beast Inside. Become a member to get it in your inbox on Sunday.Well, for royal fans—and even if you think this particular soap opera is utter nonsense—the big day is finally here. The only things you need are a TV, endless snacks, and your drinks of choice.Finally, at 8pm ET on CBS after all the teasing trailers and a war of accusations of increasing intensity, Meghan Markle speaks to Oprah Winfrey. Prince Harry is providing some kind of meaningful cameo. The couple will tell whatever their truth is when it comes to their departure from the royal family and their new life in California, the explosiveness quotient in terms of fresh accusations and allegations as yet unknown.Read more at The Daily Beast.
1 h
Fight Tracks: The walkout songs of UFC 259 with Led Zeppelin, Billy Joel and Mötley Crüe
Check out all the fighter walkout songs from Saturday's UFC 259 event.      Related StoriesUFC 259 bonuses: All four $50,000 winners come from the prelimsTwitter reacts to Jan Blachowicz's upset of Israel Adesanya to defend title at UFC 259Twitter reacts to Amanda Nunes' quick title defense over Megan Anderson at UFC 259 
1 h
Biden is rolling back the culture war. The country should thank him.
President Biden is blunting the GOP’s wedge politics.
1 h