“What Are You Praising?”


[Treasures, East Haddam, Connecticut, 2015]

The morning after the horrible news from Paris, I was having tea with a neighbor, a woman I greatly admire and respect—but who, like so many of us, is very, very busy. So although we only live a few doors away from each other, we rarely spend time together.

She was bringing me up to date about many things—like her son. Who’s a teenager, now. A young man growing up in so many fine ways, she told me—although she finds his video games appalling. (“Mom!” he assures her. “I know right from wrong. And I understand the difference between fantasy and reality!”)

“Still,” she mused, sipping her tea. “I wonder, sometimes. ‘What are you praising?’ I ask him. I—”

“Whoa! Back up,” I interrupted. “Did you just ask say that you’d asked your son to think about what he’s praising when he plays a violent video game?”


“That’s profound! That’s—that’s—Would it be all right if I write about this on my website? Because that just seems to be the most clarifying question anyone could ask. Should ask themselves. Not just teenagers. Anyone. We all should be asking, ‘What am I praising?’ as we go about our day-to-day lives. That just seems brilliant!”

We got quiet for a moment. Were we both thinking about those young men only a few years older than her son who, hours earlier in Paris, had murdered scores of people? What did their act praise? Because in their minds, I believe, what they did, the havoc and terror they inflicted, praised something incredibly powerful for them. [This link and imbedded, long-but-worth-it video by anthropologist Scott Atran sheds some light on this.]

“Have at it!” She smiled.

So I have. Praise be!

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1 Comment

  1. Dear Patricia,

    Hi, there, Patricia, my so, so very dearly special and dearly precious Christian white woman sisterfriend who you are For Always so, so very much!!!!!! Wow, wow, wow and wow and wow and a zillion wows, sister!!!!!! I so, so very much love and like this so on point, right,on, and very relevant blog post article of yours!!!!!!! What delightful and very inspirational women and sisters you and your dear neighbor are and what an absolutely amazing conversation which you two enjoyed together, Patricia!!!!!! I am just so very glad and thrilled that she gave you permission to blog on the great talk which you shared with her! This is a very vitally important and urgent question here in these very fine and excellent words, “What are you praising?’ I, too, have the same concerns as your friend with some of the violence themed video games that are out there, sister! I think that it is all too easy to cross that very thin line into dangerous immorality from consuming these kind of materials and putting that kind of violent input into the mind even when to do so is not the intent as first. I think that what we praise and what and who we love in our very hearts, and in our very hearts, souls, minds, and spirits can very greatly and deeply influence and impact our very behavior, and that there is for sure a direct link between what we praise, love, and value within toward influencing our very actions, sister.

    I thank-you so, so very much and so, so very profusely, Patricia, for this marvelous link which you provided so, so very graciously and generously to this great video. It offers here such great insight into ISIS and other extremist terrorist groups and surely explains a lot of this hateful extremist phenomenon which is very prevalent in our society and world, sister. It is just so true that a lot of the time these extremist and terrorist causes promise such a so called glory and esteem for the deeply and seriously misguided persons who become involved in these heinous movements, sisterfriend. What and where their hearts are create chaos, extremism, danger, harm and hate. Their false gods which they worship with their so called idealism which is a false idealism create scary belief systems here, Patricia. I think of the Bible verse, “As a man thinketh in his heart so is he.” What and who persons love, praise, and value can very deeply affect a person’s mindset and then impact their very actions and behavior, my so very dear friend!!!!!! I thank-you so, my so very dear sister, and your so very inspirational and insightful neighbor for some very great food for thought, my friend!!!!!! What a so very cool and a very inspirational and insightful blog post article which you have so very brilliantly and masterfully composed, Patricia!!!!!! Yay sister yay!!!!!! I thank-you so for this great gift and blessing of this fantastic writing here, Patricia!!!!!! Yay!!!!!

    Patricia, please have a totally terrific and a very thrilling Tuesday, a wondrously wonderful rest of your week and weekend, and may all of your days be so, so very especially blessed, my so very dearest friend!!!!! You have just made my day even better and brighter with this absolutely beautiful blog post article of yours as usual as For always, and I feel so very blessed, uplifted, and inspiring by this and all of your other spectacular writings, and by you, sister, and my very joy and blessing!!!!!!! Thank-you!!!!!!!

    Very Warmly and Sincerely For Always, my so very dearest sisterfriend Christian white woman, Patricia, with Peace and Love To You For Always, my so very dear friend, with Blessings and Even More Blessings To You For Always, my so very special friend and sister,

    Your sisterfriend Christian lesbian black woman For Always in solidarity, Sherry Gordon

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