Thoughts on how to break free

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…


Just empowered workers refusing exploitative labor conditions

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

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

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

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

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.

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…


Number 6 — touch the earth

A photograph of a stack of gray smooth fairly rounded stones stacked tall in an artistic formation and set on waves of sand. The sun is glowing in an out of focus background.
A photograph of a stack of gray smooth fairly rounded stones stacked tall in an artistic formation and set on waves of sand. The sun is glowing in an out of focus background.

Let’s face it. This past year has been difficult. Even for those who may have benefitted from slowing down, last year brought waves of change and uncertainty. And with change and uncertainty often come experiences of feeling ungrounded.

You’ve probably heard the word ungrounded (or grounded) and may not know exactly what it means. Think of a tiny boat tossed amidst roaring waves at sea. Being ungrounded is the sense of feeling off-balance, unsteady, perhaps fragile, vulnerable, uncertain, not in control. Being ungrounded often brings a sense of not being fully present in your own body, of not being connected…


A Photo Essay of Bristol TN/VA

During the months and weeks prior to the November 2020 presidential election, signs popped up all over my hometown of Bristol, TN. I’d noticed the increasing prevalence of signs during my daily walks around downtown and bordering neighborhoods. One day, I thought: “What a unique time in which we are living. This needs to be documented.”

The idea for this photo essay emerged. I’d like the photos to speak for themselves, but first I think it helps to share a few items of information.

  • All photos were taken in Bristol TN/VA, within a 1–2 mile radius of the downtown area…

Katrina Stone

MDiv I Spirituality I Economics I Politics I She/her

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