Thoughts on how to break free

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It’s everywhere I turn. Even in my sleep. The relentless struggle to make money when there are now so few available opportunities to earn a dignified, meaningful income.

I’ve felt the growing pressure for years, sort of like a slow panic pulsating at the back of my mind. But now, there’s little hope of holding it back. The panic has become a scream I hear not only in myself but in the silent desperation of so many around me.

Capitalism, as an economic system, has been around for a long time. But with the massive transfers of wealth by way…


Sometimes the biggest risk is not taking one at all

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“Do one thing every day that scares you.” — Eleanor Roosevelt

I’ve spent too much time being scared of taking risks.

A friend once offhandedly described me as being risk-averse. I remember feeling upset by this comment at the time. You see, this wasn’t my self-perception, and it was utterly disappointing to fathom that others could see me in this light. It’s disillusioning when we find that others don’t see us the way we’d like to be seen.

At that point, I had taken numerous solo trips — even out of the country — regularly hiked alone, and had made…


An open letter to workers

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Dear worker,

You’re exhausted to the core of your body, mind, and soul. You want a break; no, you need a break. You are desperate to be treated like a human being, to make enough money to pay your bills and save a little for a nice vacation now and then (not to mention for an emergency), to have more autonomy over your own life and schedule, to not feel trapped in a constant state of survival.

Now you’re hearing messages where the rich and powerful are screaming about what a terrible bind the economy is in because those damn…


Just empowered workers refusing exploitative labor conditions

McDonald’s hiring sign in Piney Flats, Tennessee I Photo: Katrina Stone

According to most major news sources, America is in the midst of an increasing labor shortage. As this narrative goes, employers, especially restaurants and retail stores, are unable to find the staff they need to reopen their businesses at full capacity as vaccination rates continue to rise. Potential employees are purportedly disincentivized to seek work because of expanded unemployment benefits and government stimulus checks.

On the May 18 episode of The Daily podcast, Kevin Roose spoke with New York Times economics and business reporter, Ben Casselman, about the surprise in the April jobs report that showed despite the US emerging…


Taking a deeper look at a destructive cultural narrative

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It’s time to once and for all dispense with one of the oldest American capitalist mythologies: that people, at core, are lazy.

As someone who has extensively studied spirituality and psychology during my Master’s degree studies at Vanderbilt Divinity School, as well as having myself dealt with debilitating depression, anxiety, and ongoing vocational discernment, I can say with experiential and academic knowledge that what most people see and name as laziness is anything but.

To share some of my own story: I’d always been what most people would consider a hard worker. In elementary school, I was that perfectionist kid…


Fear, a weaponized word, and nothing new under the sun

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Following Joe Biden’s April 28th address to a joint session of Congress, Republican Tennessee Senator Marsha Blackburn took to Facebook with a few one-line status updates sure to garner attention.


And why I’ll continue wearing my mask a while longer

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When I first heard the new CDC guidelines last Thursday that all vaccinated people no longer needed to wear masks, I admittedly experienced psychological whiplash.

At first, I was stunned at the news, as though my brain couldn’t register what I’d just read. As I scrolled through more news stories, my surprise gave way to something more difficult to describe. Trepidation? A tiny bit of relief? Grief? Fear? Confusion? Betrayal? Some form of all of these? If only there were a word that could combine them all.

It was all, shall we say, a bit sudden. Even the White House


Most businesses that are hiring for extended periods of time have high worker turnover and are horrible places to work

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You’ve witnessed the scene. Drive by any McDonald’s and the lawn is scattered with a haphazard arrangement of Now Hiring signs. Plastered to the drive-thru windows, sticking up in the front lawn, displayed beneath the golden arches: Now Hiring Smiling Faces.

It’s obvious. McDonald’s is desperate for workers. But apparently not desperate enough to raise the pay to a living wage and offer paid time off and paid sick leave, during a global pandemic no less.

The McDonald’s in my town advertises a starting pay rate of $10 per hour, coming out to less than $400 a week for a…


How an individualistic focus on fairness and responsibility ignores our systemic crisis.

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Student loan debt in the US is at an all-time high, topping out at a record $1.7 trillion this year, with an average debt of over $30,000 per borrower. More than 44 million Americans are currently shouldering student loan debt. Prior to COVID-19 and pandemic relief measures, 11% of borrowers were either delinquent or in default. Amidst a tough job market during a global pandemic, millions find themselves with crushing debt and ever-increasing financial insecurity.

The Biden administration has tentatively agreed to cancel $10k of student debt, with the caveat that this relief does not apply to private loans.

Congressional…

Katrina Stone

MDiv I Spirituality I Economics I Politics

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