What's Tony Thinking

First Weekend of Fall


Welcome to the first official weekend of the autumn season. The equinox was late Thursday night, the sun crossing the celestial equator heading south. I try to use the word “autumn” in memory of Connie Wentzel, Plymouth member and staff person with me for a time. Connie lamented that we didn’t say “autumn” much anymore, as she thought it a lovely word. I agree.

I Didn’t Order This! Thank You. Now here is a delightful story about a restaurant in Japan, “The Restaurant of Mistaken Orders,” where the wait staff all have dementia of one form or another, leading to, yes, mistaken orders. Adapted from the Mockingbird site.

“As the name suggests, diners at this restaurant cannot bank on receiving the food they ask for. This is because the place is staffed by people with dementia. Yet instead of sowing chaos, the novelty sows joy, and the result is a beautiful picture not only of outreach to a genuinely marginalized group, but of receptivity (and acceptance) as a conduit of grace, of expectation and entitlement being supplanted by surprise and gratitude , , ,

“A Japanese television director, Shiro Oguni, created this business to change perceptions about aging and progressive cognitive impairment … The idea for his project occurred to him when he was served a dumpling instead of a burger while visiting a nursing home. At first, he was going to send the dumpling back, but then he realized he was in a different world, with varying levels of functionality, including mistakes that didn’t really harm him. Why not just accept what he received as a way of respecting the difficulties the people around him faced, as an act of kindness and humility?

“During one of the first pop-ups, 37 percent of the orders were mistaken, but afterward, 99 percent of the customers said they were happy with their meal. At one event, one of the servers absent-mindedly sat with her customers. Another asked one diner to take orders from the others around the table. None of this fazed anyone who came to eat. They know they are coming for something like compassionate and improvisational cabaret comedy. Oguni has said that his project isn’t simply about being more understanding and embracing of those who have dementia; he’s trying to show how people can be kind to one another, regardless of shortcomings.”

Resign and Start A “Movement.” In response to my blog, Leaving Ministry, about Alexander Lang’s widely read letter of resignation, reader Dale Lewis sent a link to Lang’s new “Restorative Faith” website. In a move that seems somehow a parable for our times, Lang has turned the celebrity prompted by his letter of resignation going viral to a movement to “restore” the Christian faith.

Here’s a bit from his website. “This is not traditional Christianity repackaged or rebranded. We are here to break down the Christian faith one piece at a time so we can rebuild it into something that is actually worth believing.”

I find it a little odd that so many such “movements” believe the problem lies with the Christian faith. Remembering the line from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars / But in ourselves . . .”

More on Greater Idaho. And another story which followed up on my blog about the Greater Idaho movement was sent by reader, Kate O’Neill. A great article from the Washington Post by Scott Wilcox. Wilcox takes us right to the Snake River border between the two states, contrasting the Oregon town of Ontario with its cross-river Idaho sister city, Fruitland. Very much worth a read.

Wilcox notes, among other contrasts, that gas prices are a dollar less per gallon in Idaho than in Oregon. And when we come back to Seattle from Oregon, then are yet another dollar higher than in Oregon. The thing is that advocates for higher gas prices told us consumption would for sure drop when gas cost more than $4 a gallon. As far as I can tell, consumption hasn’t dropped, though grumpiness has increased.

Another Great Week for the GOP. Congresswoman, Lauren Boebert, a.k.a. protector of children from Dem pedophile rings and “groomers,” is filmed vaping and being groped in the family show “Beetlejuice,” and then flipping off the theater usher who showed her out.

And the rest of GOP crowd follows Congressman Matt Gaetz lemming-like  toward the cliff of a government shutdown. Where do they get these people, and what will it take to send them back to where they came from?

Happy Weekend!


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