Relationships in a World of Individualism

  • rWorld

    The rWorld is about more than Dale Kuehne's book Sex and the iWorld.
    The rWorld is a New England based, non-profit (in formation), that is composed of a growing number of people and organizations from many faith and ideological backgrounds worldwide. We believe that much of the fulfillment for which women and men are looking can be found by enhancing the quality of our relationships. While the individual freedom we enjoy in the West is a gift, the love and intimacy for which humans yearn will not be found in self-serving materialism or hedonism, but in a variety of healthy relationships.

    Contact us if you'd like get involved:

  • Dale Kuehne

    Sex & the iWorld

    Professor of Politics and The Richard L. Bready Chair for Ethics, Economics, and the Common Good at Saint Anselm College, Manchester, NH.

    In this blog I'm highlighting signposts of the world in which we presently reside as a means of helping promote a civil, and meaningful dialogue about what kind of world in which we wish to live. I am particularly interested in exploring how might we reconcile the individual good and the common good, and where reconciliation isn’t possible, which should take precedence and why.

    I also blog at

    [Content Caution]

My Heroes (Take 1): Camille Paglia

Posted by dalekuehne on March 15, 2017

During my lifetime I have had a few intellectual heroes. My first was versatile American novelist Walker Percy to whom I was introduced while in College. Then at Harvard Divinity School I learned from Dutch priest Fr. Henri Nouwen. During Graduate School I was blessed to be tutored by Jean Bethke Elshtain whom I was later blessed to count as a friend and colleague. Now, with Jean’s passing, Camille Paglia of the University of Pennsylvania has assumed the mantle of contemporary intellectual from whom I’d most like to take an advanced degree.

I’d settle for a long lunch, … mostly because she can’t settle for anything short.

What do my hero’s have in common? They each caught a wiff of something lethal and put it to words. Be describing death they also came to understand what it means to call forth life.

Too alarming now to talk about
Take your pictures down and shake it out
Truth or consequence, say it aloud
Use that evidence, race it around

There goes my hero
Watch her as she goes
There goes my hero
She’s ordinary

Don’t the best of them bleed it out
While the rest of them peter out
Truth or consequence, say it aloud
Use that evidence, race it around

There goes my hero
Watch her as she goes
There goes my hero
She’s ordinary

Kudos, my hero
Leaving all the best
You know my hero
The one that’s on

My Hero by the Foo Fighters from The Color and the Shape (1998)

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Charles Murray and Middlebury: Bordering on Resignation

Posted by dalekuehne on March 14, 2017

As one who has drawn askant stares for requiring my Politics of Diversity students to read The Bell Curve by Charles Murray, this episode grieves me. As one who regards the University as our society’s last hope for freedom because of its singular role in fostering the free exchange of ideas, I find myself discouraged to the point of resignation. As one who still bears the physical and emotional scars from the actions of University protestors that shut down talks I was invited to give in the US and Europe on the meaning of the human person and human relationships, I find myself wondering if the good in me is dead.

What I need, what we need, is to somehow start again. To be reborn.

16th of June, nine 0 five, door bell rings
Man at the door says if I want to stay alive a bit longer
There’s a few things I need you to know. Three

Coming from a long line of travelling sales people on my mother’s side
I wasn’t gonna buy just anyone’s cockatoo
So why would I invite a complete stranger into my home
Would you?

These days are better than that
These days are better than that

Every day I die again, and again I’m reborn
Every day I have to find the courage
To walk out into the street
With arms out
Got a love you can’t defeat
Neither down or out
There’s nothing you have that I need
I can breathe
Breathe now

16th of June, Chinese stocks are going up
And I’m coming down with some new Asian virus
Ju Ju man, Ju Ju man
Doc says you’re fine, or dying
Nine 0 nine, St John Divine, on the line, my pulse is fine
But I’m running down the road like loose electricity
While the band in my head plays a striptease

The roar that lies on the other side of silence
The forest fire that is fear so deny it

Walk out into the street
Sing your heart out
The people we meet
Will not be drowned out
There’s nothing you have that I need
I can breathe
Breathe now
Yeah, yeah

We are people borne of sound
The songs are in our eyes
Gonna wear them like a crown

Walk out, into the sunburst street
Sing your heart out, sing my heart out
I’ve found grace inside a sound
I found grace, it’s all that I found
And I can breathe
Breathe now

Breathe by U2 from No Line on the Horizon (2011)

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Another One Bites the Dust (Take 2): Gender Scouting

Posted by dalekuehne on February 26, 2017

The question is not whether girl scouting will allow transgendered girls to opt in, but whether we will have Boy or Girl scouting …?

Another distinction bites to dust.

The busses that you ride in, they say are mighty fine,
But when they turn a corner, they leave the wheels behind.

Oh, I don’t want to go to Boy/Girl Scout Camp.
Gee, Mom, I want to go, but they won’t let me go;
Gee, Mom, I want to go home.

The leaders that they have here, they say are mighty fine,
But when you get up closer, they look like frankenstein.

The first aid that they give you, they say is mighty fine,
But if you cut your finger, you’re left with only nine.

The water that they have here they say is mighty fine,
But when you try to drink it, it tastes like turpentine.

The biscuits that they serve you, they say are mighty fine,
But one rolled off the table and killed a friend of mine.

The spaghetti that they serve you, they say is mighty fine
They rinse it the toilet and drain it on the line.

The cocoa that they serve you, they say is mighty fine
It’s good for cuts and bruises and tastes like iodine.

The tents/cabins that you sleep in, they say are mighty fine,
But whoever said this has never slept in mine.

The toilets that they have here are the best that they can get,
Last night my tent mate had to go, they haven’t found him yet.

Scout Camp

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Another One Bites the Dust (Take 1): Boys and Girls Sports

Posted by dalekuehne on February 25, 2017

Mack Beggs wins gold at the Texas Girl Wrestling Championship. Born a girl, and undergoing testosterone treatment, Mack will become synonymous with the debate about the future of gendered sport in America.

The question won’t be whether boys can play on girls teams (or boys on girls teams) but whether we will even have boys or girls teams.

Another distinction bites the dust.

Steve walks warily down the street
The brim pulled way down low
And ain’t no sound but the sound of his feet
Machine guns ready to go

Are you ready hey, are you ready for this
Are you standing on the edge of your seat
Out of the doorway the bullets rip
To the sound of the beat, yeah, yeah, yeah, sing it

Another one bites the dust
Another one bites the dust, hey
And another one gone, and another one gone
Another one bites the dust
Hey, I’m gonna get you too
Another one bites the dust

Another One Bites the Dust by Queen from The Game (1980)

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Making Babies With and Without You: All We Need is Me

Posted by dalekuehne on January 16, 2017

Scientists find a way to make embryos from skin cells.

Scientists find a way to make sperm from skin cells

It is just a matter of time until “I” am both Mom and Dad.

I can do it with and without you.

See the stone set in your eyes
See the thorn twist in your side
I wait for you

Sleight of hand and twist of fate
On a bed of nails she makes me wait
And I wait without you

With or without you
With or without you

Through the storm we reach the shore
You give it all but I want more
And I’m waiting for you

With or without you
With or without you
I can’t live, with or without you

And you give yourself away
And you give yourself away
And you give, and you give

And you give yourself away

My hands are tied
My body bruised, she got me with
Nothing to win and nothing left to lose

And you give yourself away
And you give yourself away
And you give, and you give
And you give yourself away

With or without you
With or without you
I can’t live, with or without you

With or without you
With or without you
I can’t live, with or without you
With or without you

With or Without You by U2 from Joshua Tree (1987)

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Mom and Dad are One and the Same: Male Pregnancy … the New Oedipus

Posted by dalekuehne on January 9, 2017

2017 has arrived, as has Male pregnancy.

Who’s next?

One wonder how Ray Stephens might have written this song in 2017,

Many, many years ago when I was twenty-three
I was married to a widow who was pretty as could be
This widow had a grown-up daughter who had hair of red
My father fell in love with her and soon they too were wed

This made my dad my son-in-law and really changed my life
For now my daughter was my mother, ’cause she was my father’s wife
And to complicate the matter, even though it brought me joy
I soon became the father of a bouncing baby boy

My little baby then became a brother-in-law to dad
And so became my uncle, though it made me very sad
For if he were my uncle, then that also made him brother
Of the widow’s grownup daughter, who was of course my step-mother

Father’s wife then had a son who kept them on the run
And he became my grandchild, for he was my daughter’s son
My wife is now my mother’s mother and it makes me blue
Because although she is my wife, she’s my grandmother too

Now if my wife is my grandmother, then I’m her grandchild
And every time I think of it, it nearly drives me wild
‘Cause now I have become the strangest ‘case you ever saw
As husband of my grandmother, I am my own grandpa

I’m my own grandpa, I’m my own grandpa
It sounds funny, I know but it really is so
I’m my own grandpa

I am my Own Grandpa from Cracking’ Up by Ray Stevens (1987)

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Robosexuality: The Future of Marriage and Identity … Now

Posted by dalekuehne on December 23, 2016

The future of Marriage is now for those who want more than human contact, or less.

Hey I was born less than human
I know it sounds crazy
But I was really born a robot as a baby
No real life in me, I just played my role
No self control, I just did what I was told
I got my first order, I was just a day old
But I didn’t have a chance, cause my heart was way cold
My heart took the order, I couldn’t break the mold
Sold under bondage and I couldn’t take control
So I was just chilling in my robot clothes
With my robot friends, and my robot flows
Living robot ways, cause that’s all I know
Till I heard I could be freed from my robot soul

Robot by Trip Lee from The Good Life (2012)

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The New Look of Animal House–Transgender Fraternities and Sororities

Posted by dalekuehne on September 25, 2016

If Hollywood does a remake of Animal House it could look a lot different in the brave new world of gender identity.

How longer will we even use the words Fraternity and Sororities when referring to Greek life on college campuses? What is the difference?

Let me t-t-tell you ’bout some friends I know
They’re kinda crazy but you’ll dig the show
They can party ’till the break of dawn
at Delta Chi you can’t go wrong

Otter, he’s the ladies man
Every girl falls into his hands
Boon and Katy playing “Cat and Mouse”

and Mrs. Wormer, she’s the queen of the




That Pinto he’s a real swell guy
Clorette was jailbait but he gave her a try
Chip, Doug, and Greg, they’re second to none
They studied under Attila the Hun

Mr. Jennings has got his wig on tight
Flouder’s left shoe’s always on his right
Babs and Mandy are having a pillow fight
With D-Day, Hoover, Otis Day and the Knights


Come on baby, dance with me
Maybe if we do the Bluto
We will get an “A” in lobotomy



Aw, come on!
Let me tell ya
Dean Wormer tried to shut us down
But he fell and he broke his crown
He didn’t know about the Delta spunk
He came in handy when we were short a skunk

Animal House by Stephen Bishop (1979)

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Norman William Frederick Kuehne 9/2/1929-7/9/2016

Posted by dalekuehne on July 29, 2016

Eulogy for our father.

A number of years ago our father, Norman, wrote down his preferences for a memorial service to be held after his passing. In this, he stated his reasoning for not wanting a eulogy of his life included. Since what he wrote provides an insight into his thoughts, and him as a person, we thought we’d read it out on this occasion. In his words:

I’ve always felt uncomfortable with services which include eulogies that focus on the life, relationships and/or accomplishments of the deceased. My life was not exemplary nor did I accomplish anything of note. I’m only a poor sinner, saved by God’s grace. Our Lord deserves the focus because he created us, sustained our lives and paid the ultimate price for our redemption. It is he, and he alone, that deserves our worship, honor and praise!

Now with that being said he later gave us a bit more freedom in planning his memorial service, telling us to say what we felt was appropriate, so we have added the following narrative about his life:

On Monday, September 2nd 1929, Norman William Frederich Kuehne was born in a homestead farmhouse in Long Prairie Township, Todd County Minnesota as the eldest child of Otto and Ruth Kuehne. He arrived just a few weeks before the Stock Market Crash that would plunge the country into the Great Depression throughout the 1930’s. Six siblings would follow – four sisters and two brothers – and there was never a shortage of work to be done or hands to do it. The five-bedroom farmhouse had been built by his grandfather to accommodate his eight children, plus relatives from multiple generations, and extra farmhands. The wood to build the house came from trees on their property that were cut and milled locally. Even though the Rural Electrification Act lines had not yet reached their farm, grandpa had the house wired for electricity when it did. Times were difficult, but the family made do with what they had, and were generous to the passing drifters who would knock on their door, asking for something to eat. Not only were they provided for, but were invited to sit at the table and partake with the family.

Though it sounds like something out of Little House On The Prairie, he really did have to walk a fair distance to a one-room elementary schoolhouse in the country, and found his first day there especially daunting, as English was spoken rather than the German he had grown up with at home and church. Students were required to bring their lunch, and leave it in the coatroom, which was unheated in the winter. On many days they all ate frozen sandwiches at lunch. He adjusted quickly to the new routine and did well at school, and blazing a trail for his siblings to follow in the years ahead. This was altered one winter morning when he was about 10 years old. Following a serious asthma attack, he awoke with a terrible headache, finding he couldn’t move one leg; he knew what it was, but he hoped he was wrong. Infantile Paralysis, later known as Polio, was an epidemic in the late 30’s and early 40’s had struck. He was diagnosed by their local doctor and was later admitted to Gillette Children’s Hospital in St Paul for extended inpatient treatment. He said that the lowest point of his life was being dropped off by his parents and entrusted to the care of people he didn’t know in a city far away from home at such a young age, facing a frightening prognosis.

While Polio could be a devastating disease, he was hugely fortunate to be evaluated by Australian nurse Sister Kenny, a groundbreaking pioneer in Polio treatment and physical therapy. Her methods were unconventional and viewed with skepticism by the medical community, until they proved so successful, that her approach became the accepted method of treatment. While Polio left its mark on him for the rest of his life, he eventually returned home able to walk, and with a strength of Faith and a force of Will that that never departed him.

Back on the farm, they had begun transitioning from farming with horse teams to early tractors. Even so, when it snowed heavily in the winter, Dad’s father Otto still used a horse-drawn sleigh with a heavy blanket in the back for warmth, to ferry the children back and forth to their township school. Stories such as these come from a time that feels distant to us now, and unfathomable to a younger generation. Indeed, upon hearing about the sleigh a few years ago, Ross’s young son Zachary pondered it for a bit, and asked with a quizzical look: “Does Farfar know any Reindeer?”

Dad’s education in the one-room schoolhouse continued through 8th grade, progressing on to Long Prairie High School, graduating in 1947. He then moved to the Twin Cities to attend Minneapolis Business College, graduating in 1948. He started work as a bookkeeper at International Milling, and later moved on to Lew Bonn Electronics, where he became an Office Manager in charge of Credit. He then spent 25 years at Douglas Corporation, retiring in 1998 as Vice President of Finance. While working for Doug Skanse at Douglas, he had a serious pituitary incident, which went undiagnosed for several months. This was discovered during an examination at the University of Minnesota hospital, which referred him to the Mayo Clinic. Over the next 30 years he received outstanding care from multiple departments at Mayo, and Doug Skanse supported Dad above and beyond, every step of the way.

Yet, for all he achieved from modest beginnings, there is no question that his greatest accomplishment came in 1953 when he married Janet Mae Stanway of Virginia Minnesota. He told me more than once, that the biggest problem in the world was that there weren’t enough Methodist Minister’s Daughters from the Iron Range to go around. She stood by his side through good times and challenging ones for 62 years, and we cannot understate our profound appreciation of what she has done in single-handedly caring for him over these past few difficult years. Our father never played the lottery, perhaps because he knew he had already struck the jackpot at home.

Without question, the underlying bedrock of our father’s life was an abiding faith in Christ, a source of strength and comfort throughout his days. He grew up in a Christian family, being baptized and confirmed at the Immanuel Lutheran Church in Long Prairie Township. He and our Mom were married at the Covenant Church in Virginia Minnesota, and when they moved to Southwest Minneapolis, became active members of Edina Covenant Church, serving in a number of roles over many years. When growing up, our family’s circle of friends were drawn as much from the families we knew through church, as it was from our extended family of relatives, friends, and our home neighborhood. I also want to mention how much all of those groups supported our parents over these past few years, and how grateful we are for their assistance.

Now, because our father was a stoic man who dressed neatly, drove a sensible car, and brushed after meals, he sometimes gave the impression of being the sort of person who loosened his tie before going to bed. And while it’s true that he was a serious man of purpose who had lived though some difficult times, he also had a dry wit and a genuine enjoyment of life which might not have always been obvious to others. He was an avid follower of Minnesota sports, loved the outdoors and playing golf, and was a very good writer, in later years emailing reflections on events and life far and wide. He was willing to join in with his sons’ childhood hobbies and interests, to the point of playing Frisbee, driving us out of the city to launch Model Rockets, and getting up at 4am on cold winter mornings to help drive us along our newspaper routes. Especially treasured memories are numerous family vacations over the years from Florida to the Canadian Rockies, and later from England to Germany.

As for his Dry humor, as a teenager I remember coming home one summer night in the 1980’s when our mother was away for the week, opening up the refrigerator, and seeing a six pack of beer, which was quite a surprise in a household such as ours, which seemed unaware that Prohibition had ever ended. Playing it as low-key as possible, I walked into the den, sat down on the couch and after a minute or so asked my father if he had noticed that there was a six-pack of Bud in the fridge. Without missing a beat, or lowering the newspaper he was reading, he told me it was for watering the tomato plants in the garden. I never did see what happened to the beer, but couldn’t deny that the tomatoes grew well that summer.

Our father lived a surprisingly long life for someone who faced as many physical and medical challenges as he did, and I don’t think that anyone was more surprised about that than he was. Such challenges were not easy to face, and he certainly didn’t welcome them, but he accepted them, and moved on. I remember once when I was young, asking him if he was bitter about having had so many hurdles to overcome. His response has stayed with me: “You can be defined by what happens to you, or you can be defined by how you work to overcome what happens to you.”

Until we are reunited by Faith and Grace in the next life, here’s to us all working to overcome the challenges we face in this life.

We give thanks for the life of Norman William Frederich Kuehne, grateful for all he accomplished, and thankful he is now free of earthly tribulations, and starting again with a new body, and a new life, eternal.

Amen and Amen.

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Coming Out as Trans-Everything

Posted by dalekuehne on June 22, 2016

College students demonstrate understanding of the future of identity in the West.

Your tells are so obvious,
shoulders too broad for a girl.
It keeps you reminded,
helps you remember where you come from.

You want them to notice,
the ragged ends of your summer dress.
You want them to see you
like they see every other girl.
They just see a faggot.
They’ll hold their breath not to catch the sick.

Washed off on the coast,
I wish I could’ve spent the whole day
alone with you.
With you.

Transgender Dysphoria Blues by Against Me! from Transgender Dysphoria Blues (2014)

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