Tuesday’s Tide Pool

High tide washed a wondrously diverse group of sea creatures into the same small tide pool last Tuesday, and at low tide (7:00 p.m.), we began to discover and celebrate each other.

Thanks to Shepherd of the Hill Presbyterian Church for hosting the Tuesday Dialogue and Book Launch for Be Still! Departure from Collective Madness.

By 9:30 p.m. the momentary tide pool was empty. But the brief time we had together refreshed us all with hope for better times and with a greater appreciation for the larger ocean and the tides of history.

As the author whose book publication the rest of us creatures came to celebrate, I could look from my old pulpit at the faces in the tide pool, a gathering unique to its moment in time. Not better than other times. Not exceptional. No tide pool or creature is exceptional – no group, no nation, no race, no religion, no class, no gender, no culture, no species – but each one, like this one, is distinct to its moment in time.

There were star fish large and small, green, pink, red, and brown; crabs and lobsters, sea anemones, periwinkles, muscles, a young salmon, and a bunch of old barnacles.

This tide pool is a small church existing along the shore of eternity, a place of Christian worship that washes up a bunch of Presbyterians every Sunday morning.

But Tuesday there were agnostics, atheists, seekers, and other Christians (Catholics, Baptists, Lutherans, Methodists, and Episcopalians); white, black, and red; venture capitalist and struggling to survive in the trailer court; Democrat, Republican, Socialist, and Communist; Ph.Ds and high school drop-outs; co, a five year-old and a 96 year-old; the co-founder of the American Indian Movement, other Standing Rock campers, and couch potatoes; those with TVs and those without them, with cell phones and without them, those who’ve been homeless and those who haven’t, the able and the less abled, the hard of hearing and the sound of hearing; a group of creatures such as will never again be in the same tide pool.

Time in the tide pool meant the world to me.

  • Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, Feb. 9, 2017





Yertle the Turtle and the 47%

Dr. Seuss weighed in on the news about the 47% of “dependent” Americans and “the distribution of wealth” and power with the non-partisan story of Yertle the Turtle.

A comment on “Uproar over video offers a warning about what happens when fundamentalism wins” (MPR commentary September 18, 2012) on religion as a tide pool).

Here’s an edited version of what someone named Dan Brunner wrote:

I think tide pools vary but are basically the same-1 source, (1 God) bound by laws of nature (God/humanity/morality) composed of bits of the ocean’s ecosystem (people/works). Tide pool waters are nature being apostolic; even if the ocean isn’t within eyesight, people are instinctively drawn to the marvel of and connection to it, and at the core are likely to believe the tide pool is evidence that there is something greater beyond.
There should be simple joy/peace in such a marvelous place, given space and freedom, there probably wouldn’t be conflict, however a turtle without good motive, without talent or merit can make itself king of a pond, can control and oppress other turtles to elevate oneself/opinion. With the myth that Yertle has achieved the height required for the greater vision, he’s given the power to create arguments around whose tide pool is better, bigger of more virtue; Yertle can burn Korans, yell God hates __ and misrepresent both history and what other Yertles say.

In the book, supporters supported until they physically couldn’t, but sometimes, in real life, Yertle supporters crawl out of the pond and get on a bus. Each tide pool can have its own Yertle and Yertle-supporters….
The Yertles argue; supporters support. Like a commodity, the tide pool can be fortified, quartered, used, harvested and polluted. The spiritual draw is weakened, but we sit there content and convinced we are right, or we feel obligated to follow tribe/tradition/peers to the point where we end up like the water you describe  – slimy, stinky and immune to the stench.  It’s good to be part of the tide pool, but isn’t our quest to be towards the ever-fresh ocean? Could/would Yertle ever explain that, if it meant he would no longer be seen as king of the pond?

Join Dan and chime in on the discussion of the tide pools (ponds), the kings, and poor little Mac at the bottom of the Yertle tower (the Tower of Babel) whose burp saved turtles from the tyranny of Yertle.