All posts by Branden Kummer


Our theme for the semester ties in with the theme for Jubilee about how “Everything Matters” and tonight, I am going to talk about community and relationships. I want to start with a strange paradox. We are more connected than any people in history, you can reach someone through Hangouts, Messenger, WhatsApp, WeChat, iMessage, regular message, Hangouts, Skype, 50 different email accounts and God only knows what I’m missing, and yet survey after survey such as one from the HRSA seems to demonstrate that people here feel alone. Loneliness, especially long-term leads to depression, anxiety, feelings of hopelessness and if you already have it, it’s likely to get worse. There are physical health risks as well, but the studies I found had comparisons to being alone is comparable to smoking 15 cigarettes a day, which that implies you need to be around people all the time, which as we’ll see isn’t really accurate, let alone realistic. We could say that “Community and relationships matter because loneliness is a serious health risk” and leave it alone. But that’s basically telling someone who is an introvert or has had bad experiences with people or just isn’t great socially to just “go out there and talk to people”, which is completely against what they think they’re capable of.  And it seems that Christian culture is more bent towards extroversion and being with all of the people, all of the time. In his book “Introverts in the Church”, Adam McHugh points to a 2004 study of Christian students to describe Jesus according to temperaments mentioned on the Myers-Briggs scale. Most showed a tendency to paint Jesus in their own image with one exception; regardless of where they were on that system, 97% of them said that Jesus was an extrovert.  McHugh writes that “the perception of an extroverted Jesus might reflect a tendency within American culture to value extroversion over introversion…the slant toward extroversion in the larger culture has infiltrated the church”. He goes on to say he interviewed Christians who identified as introverted who said they were having difficulty finding their place in their church. He tells the story of one friend who was intensely closed off and so even the positive relationships she did have came with a caveat. The “ideal” he says of intimacy with the community was that people were constantly together and deeply involved with what’s going on with each other, and the more engaged people were, the closer they were to God. Her level of faith became tied to how outgoing she was. That standard, to me is terrifying, I barely talk about what’s going on in my life, which I’m about to do that quite a bit but there’s a purpose behind it Continue reading WKSK

2 AM

Funny story, and if you saw something similar to this a few weeks ago, I’m sorry but I got rid of it because I felt my older instincts of “this is saccharine and must be eliminated” kick in. I had mentioned in the past that I have only started to come to grips with a long history of gaslighting, and bad friendships, the kind that make someone into the Meckenian cynic  “One who, when he smells flowers looks for a coffin”,   As a refresher, I have had two major groups in my world prior to the CCO and both were disasters, I’ve also been gaslit for about 15 of my 30 years.

I am going to just get the good parts out. because the urge to finish the essay I’ve been working on for the last few months, is at the moment solely based on A) I have to finish a talk on the importance of community for LaRoche next semester and B) I can’t do that, until I get the parts I want to say on paper, and I haven’t figured out how to bring that to bear and I’ve rewritten this damn thing 3 times now. Continue reading 2 AM


Because I haven’t been enough like Jordan (we’re fraternal, I swear.) I’m kind of reflecting on the meet. I don’t have to work or train today, so now here’s a dryer look at what happened. Jordan calls these “After Action Reports”. What follows reads like someone who can’t write positively about anything is telling you about a positive expereince, because that’s exactly what’s happening. I’m a bit concerned this comes off as ungrateful or something, but I really don’t know how to express anything beyond “yeah, it’s cool.” I’m working on that for part of the 5 Points project, but it’s really just part of a slow, wildly uncomfortable change that I reference near the end about being social. Anyway, here goes:
The truth is, my head was about 50% out of it at the beginning. I am, -by myself-, a fanatical pessimist for reasons I may or may not mention in a future essay. My thoughts are usually that the worst outcome, however statistically unlikely, is the result I’d best prepare for. Effectively, if I’m right, I’m not as disappointed as I would’ve been as an optimist. If I’m wrong, I’m pleasantly surprised. So in the lead-up, all I can think of is the crowd, the new environment, losing control of my head, I have war-gamed every negative outcome, and I don’t want to do this again after its over. I just want to go at least 6 for 9 and for my current deadlift PR (412) to fall because it’s the Pittsburgh zip code and for literally no other reason and go home.

Violence as Physics.

What bothers me about the conversation on shootings is the need to either complicate it or manipulate it to fill a political end.
Two points, one, violence is not complicated, not at its core. It is basic physics with moral implications. One force (the gunman) is either met with resistance or it isn’t. The end result is a loss of life the extent of which is based entirely on how effective the opposing force is.
There’s your “complicated” scenario.
Two. I haven’t said this in a while, but evil is universal. Talking about a motive or some other political thing like “well he supported Trump” or some crap like that solves nothing. Looking at the shooter’s race says nothing (for V-Tech, the LAPD guy or the dude from El Paso.). It serves no purpose than for a particularly unctuous sect of the country to say “you support X, so obviously you must be fine with this.” As if the average Joe supports people being killed because people share some political beliefs.

Continue reading Violence as Physics.


I’m not sure whether it’s my own predilection for negativity or if this is a more universal problem, but the negative aspects of life, or people or politics are always more visceral and “real” to me than the positives. On a personal level, the incredible kindness of my friends, family and teardown team are not as “present” for lack of a better word as my own feelings of doubt, general hopelessness and a self-hatred I thought I’d left behind after “Disruption”. Continue reading Backblast

Two for Trump

I remember watching from my computer the inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States. After the most contentious (if we’re being charitable) and horribly vitriolic and stupid (if we aren’t) election of my admittedly short lifetime, the inaugural was marked by the opposition effectively rioting, a now famous gif of someone yelling “Nooooo” at the moment of the Oath of Office and the kind of violence that still largely exists on the Left side of the spectrum. This was, if nothing else, going to be a new age of absurdity, emotional arguments and idiocy to rival any given college course you don’t really need for your major. Continue reading Two for Trump


There is no doubt that identity politics has become a central tenet of the Progressive Left. It is thanks to them that we have trigger warnings, microagressions, hyper-sensitivity rivaling the old Moral Majority of the 90s and the idiotic encouragement of “speaking your truth” as a substitute for the objective one. In this world, comedy can’t be offensive, thought cannot be deep, and even if a white man speaks the absolute truth, his race will become the focal point of his opposition as a substitute for an argument. Truth now is such an inconvenience, that Donna Hughes, professor of Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of Rhode Island declares that “The scientific method is a tool for the construction and justification of dominance in the world…the new methodological techniques were invented by men who were interested in explaining the inheritance of traits in order to support their political ideology of natural human superiority and inferiority”. Continue reading Gaslight

Wandering Mind 3

Trump is boring. The Left isn’t

I remember watching Donald Trump’s inauguration with a three conflicting thoughts

1: Oh my God, Donald-freakin-Trump is actually president. We have reached peak reality TV.

2: This is going to be interesting

3: This is going to be horrifying

To the first point, be honest, does saying “President Donald Trump”, regardless of your political party, STILL not feel a bit weird? Stay tuned for President Sean Hannity or President Samantha Bee, amirite?

No. No I am not right. God help us all if I am. Continue reading Wandering Mind 3

Wandering Mind 2

Government, taxes, tribalism and the circle of absurdity

Tribalism is a fun thing to watch, but I can’t imagine it’s a fun thing to be a part of. With the pro-abortion people ranting about constitutional rights, there are better than 2 to 1 odds that those same people are pro-gun control, and will engage in mental gymnastics to justify the dissonance. But I’m seeing a particularly fun strain of thought surface that goes a bit like this:

Democrats: Banning abortion is unconstitutional, besides, banning abortions won’t work. Also Democrats: We need to ban guns to protect innocent lives.

Meanwhile, we have the other side of the coin, but switch where you see abortion and guns. Republicans say banning guns won’t work but banning abortions Continue reading Wandering Mind 2