36

While not a significant number it does mean that I've been a legal adult half of my life (how long I've been an actual adult is debatable).

No matter, because every birthday I get to brag about sharing it with our Duchess from the Golden State (exact same day, in fact) and the greatest POTUS of my life time.

 Image from Harper's Bazaar

Image from Harper's Bazaar

O Mammon!

Seems like a good day to share this excerpt from Philip Appleman's poem, 'Five Easy Prayers for Pagans':

O Mammon, Thou who art daily dissed
by everyone, yet boast more true disciples
than all other gods together, 
Thou whose eerie sheen
gleameth from Corporate Headquarters
and Vatican Treasury alike, Thou
whose glittering eye impales us
in the X-ray vision of plastic surgeons, 
the golden leer of televangelists, 
the star-spangled gloat of politicos –

O Mammon, come down to us in the form
of Treasuries, Annuities, & High-Grade Bonds, 
yield unto us those Benedict Arnold Funds, 
those Quicksand Convertible Securities, even the wet
Judas Kiss of Futures Contracts – for
unto the least of these Thy supplicants
art Thou welcome in all Thy many forms. But
when Thou comest to say we’re finally in the gentry – 
use the service entry.

What religion gives us

While religion can and has provided a fruitful context for the life of the mind, this author is correct that, broadly speaking, religion serves as a cultural analgesic. It helps us cope, whether true or not. (Also, the author's book looks really interesting.)

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/03/opinion/why-we-need-religion.html

Do politics determine our religion?

Fascinating article from the NYT

Most Americans choose a political party before choosing whether to join a religious community or how often to attend religious services.

Faith often becomes a peripheral concern in adolescence and young adulthood — precisely the years when we tend to form stable partisan attachments. Religion typically becomes relevant again later, after we have children and start to think about their religious upbringings. By that time, our political views are set, ready to guide our religious values and decisions.

Michele Margolis, 'When Politicians Determine Your Religious Beliefs'