RIP, Renee Pelletier Costa

by Bill Brenner March 12, 2013 Courage

This morning I received the sad news that Renee Pelletier Costa passed away after a long and courageous battle against cancer. Mood music: [spotify:track:3UjJmliWxuobgMSdX5bN3R] Updates:  Renee’s memorial service will be held Saturday, March 23, 1:30 at Faith Lutheran Church, 360 South Main St., Andover MA 01810 In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the: Renee L. Costa Memorial Fund, account #8371787589 Care of: TD Bank 280 Main Street Groveland, MA 01834 or any local TD…  [Read More]

What Do You Mean I Don’t Believe in God? I Talk To Him Everyday…

by Bill Brenner February 13, 2013 Faith

Here we are at the start of Lent, and I’m still at a loss as to what I should be sacrificing for the next 40 days. Alcohol? Food items? I’ve already permanently sacrificed those things. Mood music: [spotify:track:3090goAxG6IlpCifA8m9xB] Lent is a time to sacrifice habits you love, gain a true appreciation for the sacrifices Jesus made [which were well beyond anything mortal man can comprehend) and draw closer to God. [More on my Faith in Absolute…  [Read More]

A Few Thoughts About Pope Benedict XVI

by Bill Brenner February 12, 2013 Faith

I’ve had 24 hours to absorb the news that Pope Benedict XVI is stepping down at the end of the month. I think he’s doing the right thing and showing some true fortitude. But I’m also glad because there’s an opportunity for the Catholic Church to right some wrongs. Mood music: [spotify:track:2C9RcoXlyJEV0IJUNWWCVM] The Church has stubbornly held on to backward beliefs about the role of women, the status of a person’s Catholicism after a divorce, and…  [Read More]

How Christianity Hijacked Pagan Holidays

by Bill Brenner December 5, 2012 Faith

Christian extremists like to blather on about a war on Christmas. Given that my post “Take Your ‘War On Christmas’ Talk And Shove It” has been getting a lot of traction on Facebook this week, I think it’s time for a history lesson. Mood music: [spotify:track:0P2vAvvWni2tNXOdbH3JFk] We hear a lot about how Christmas is a Christian holiday, which it is, but important facts are being forgotten. One is that Jesus wasn’t actually born on Dec….  [Read More]

Modern-Day Pharisees

by Bill Brenner November 20, 2012 Faith

A very quick follow-up to yesterday’s post about me being of the Religious Left. My good friend Martin Fisher left a comment I want to elevate to the top of the heap because he says exactly what I meant, in a different but dead-on manner. From Martin: You didn’t put it this way…but I suspect you’d agree….that many on the “Christian Right” have become latter day Pharisees. They seem more interested in the process and…  [Read More]

My Name Is Bill, and I’m with the Religious Left

by Bill Brenner November 19, 2012 Faith

I’ve been on a spiritual high for the last several years. I became a Catholic in 2006 and since then have tried to live my faith to the fullest. I’ve been on three Catholic retreats, one as a team leader, and have spoken up about my beliefs regularly in this blog. I’ve worked hard to become a more peaceful person instead of the Bill who would flip people off on the highway and throw rocks…  [Read More]

Strong Too Long, Or Weak Too Often?

by Bill Brenner April 23, 2012 Addiction

There’s a saying on Facebook that depression isn’t a sign of weakness, but simply the result of being strong for too long. Somewhat true — though weakness does feed the beast. Mood music: I’m feeling it this morning. I’ve always taken a certain level of satisfaction from my ability to stay standing in the face of death, illness, family dysfunction, depression and addiction. Sometimes, I get an over-inflated sense of survivor’s pride. People love to…  [Read More]

Don’t Let Anger Blind You To What Really Matters

by Bill Brenner April 4, 2012 Children's issues

The front office at my kids’ school is mad at me and another parent for complaining about something on the school’s Facebook page. I don’t think they saw yesterday’s post in this blog. That would make them angrier still. Mood music: I’ll admit I was angry when my wife told me the principal and office administrator got after her about my behavior. It’s not like I jumped up and down on Facebook yelling obscenities and calling…  [Read More]

New OCD Diaries Banner

by Bill Brenner April 1, 2012 Faith

We’ve been working feverishly on the new OCD Diaries site. Spotify-based mood music? Check. New design and platform? Check. Now, we have a new banner. The idea was to replace the background — which symbolized OCD and addiction, specifically — with something that more accurately captures the broader, darkness vs. light flavor of the blog. Many thanks to Andy Robinson for coming through with a kick-ass design — again. For a look at more of…  [Read More]

‘Shattered Hopes’ Director On My ‘Learned Helplessness’ Post

by Bill Brenner March 28, 2012 Addiction

Ryan Katzenbach, director of “Shattered Hopes: The True Story of the Amityville Murders,” sent me a note on Facebook yesterday regarding the post I wrote on one of the themes of the film: Louise DeFeo’s “learned helplessness.” Ryan always responds to his fans when they have questions or comments on the documentary. Given his high profile and workload, it amazes me how accessible he is. Anyway, I wanted to share what he wrote to me, because…  [Read More]