Monday, September 03, 2007

defeating evil with good....

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” -Gandhi

If this isn't parabolic, I don't know what is: From digby....send in the clowns! (and the source, here)

Happy September and back to school. My reading list is about to change...starting my field placement this fall at first-church-somewhere-in-the-midwest, and the fall semester begins tomorrow!

Saturday, August 18, 2007


I just read this outstanding NYT article on 'sanctuary cities' - places in which public officials (rightly, IMHO) do not count it among their duties to sniff out and apprehend undocumented immigrants. Among the items it touches on are:
  • presidential politics (Mitt vs. Rudy)
  • male vs. female labor (undocumented immigrants mowing the lawn = ok; the same providing child care = not ok)
  • public health and safety
  • demographic shifts
  • sci-fi movies.
Plenty of other immigration news out there too...including a Catch-22 story from work. More later.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Praying for Towels

Stop whatever you're doing. Go to your linen closet (or whatever passes for it). Do you have extra towels? Gently used, perhaps? Could you spare one or two (or more?).

If your answer is yes, put those towels in a bag and deliver to your local domestic violence shelter. Don't know where that is? Call your state domestic violence coalition, or visit the website of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

Why? Because people who are homeless because of domestic violence need to wash up, too. And they need to dry off afterwards. Think about it next time you take a bath or shower.

Domestic violence shelters nationwide are at capacity in these hot summer months when already bad situations go from bad to worse. They can use your help with the basics, so they can focus on keeping adult and child victims safe.

The staff at the agency where I work has taken to praying for towels at times like these. Because quite often, just when we need it, it shows up. Teresa of Avila prayed,

You are Christ's Hands:

Christ has no body now on earth but yours, no hands but yours, no feet but yours, Yours are the eyes through which to look out Christ's compassion to the world; Yours are the feet with which He is to go about doing good; Yours are the hands with which He is to bless others now.

Your hands and feet are those which Christ will use to bring comfort to those who are in distress. Where will Christ walk this week?

While you're at it, if you have unopened shampoo and conditioner sitting around? They can use that too. Other common items needed on a regular basis? Pillows. New socks. New underwear. New, basic tshirts and sweats (Think about it, would you like to be stuck with someone's old pitted-out shirt?)

Can't think of an organization to donate to? How about this one?

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Blogging from Synod

Hello! I'm getting ready to travel to General Synod in Hartford, Connecticut. The seminary has launched a new blog to report on this historic 50th anniversary event, and a variety of alums, current students, faculty and staff will participate. Among the contributors will be seasoned bloggers and a few novices.

Stop by Wide Open Thinking for the CTS community's reports from Synod.

Full disclosure: I'm going to be contributing a post or two - probably around the immigration issues, but also general impressions. I'll cross-post here if I have the opportunity.

Friday, June 15, 2007

But what about the ocelots?

Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offense.
~Robert Frost, Mending Wall

On my way home from work, I often listen to All Things Considered.
Today, there was a story on the impact of the proposed border wall
along the Rio Grande, just one of the many tentacles of the immigration
debate that has been consuming national attention this week (when we've
not been busy engaging in Paris Hilton-related schadenfreude).

The wall will travel through 2 of the 3 national wildlife refuges in
South Texas. Among the likely casualties? An endangered subspecies
of ocelot - fewer than 100 remain - who roam back and forth across
the Rio Grande. Any conservation biologist will tell you that the
fragmentation of habitat is a major concern for all species, with its impact
magnified among those who are already vulnerable.

The environmental impact of physical barriers along our national borders
has not received much attention. Much of the coverage dates from last
October when the wall was approved (but not fully funded) in the US Congress.

Other coverage:
There is some irony here...the ocelot is fiercely territorial, fighting off others invading their territory.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Words matter

Regarding Don Imus' racist and sexist remarks about the talented women of the Rutgers basketball team:
Running commentary from Media Matters
Google News
Jesse Jackson on Keith Olbermann tonight...
"When you call women ho's ... that is the first step towards domestic violence"
"It's about mass misogynism"
"It's about race"
Spare me the comments on "he's not a racist but he said something that was racist." Ugly, dehumanizing, bigoted remarks have been Imus' stock in trade. This is not new. Do not minimize. It is a pattern of behavior that has needed to stop for a long time.
Nonetheless, we are quick to let ourselves off the hook. It is not just Imus. And demonizing him will not solve the problem. Will his dismissal be sufficient? No. Necessary, but not sufficient. The conversation needs to continue. Such behavior, while inexcusable, is not inexplicable (this one is a must read). We have given permission - implicitly or explicitly - for this type of language in our common life. Do not the the central issue fade from conversation just because the precipitating story has run through its news cycle - keep confronting it!
Let us not ignore or obscure the voices of the team members. We have given the voices of hate a significant pulpit, repeating those hateful words over and over again. With the endless repetitions of these comments, we keep revictimizing 10 human beings who have names and stories.
Speaking of absent voices - As Carol Jenkins points out, most of this news was broken by men or commentated on by men. Please take the time to read or listen to the comments of those against whom these comments were a direct insult. Please take the time to find comments by women journalists in both the mainstream and digital media, to supplement what has been in the forefront of public coverage.

You don't get too many opportunities to finally stand up for what you know is right. -
Essence Carlson

Racism and sexism have no place in our society. We cannot stand silent.
C. Vivian Stringer

More resources....
  • YWCA offers tools to communicate with Imus' producers. Don't forget, even though MSNBC has dropped their simulcast, as of right now, he is only on 2 weeks' suspension with CBS radio. Please get your voice out there and make it known that this cannot stand.
  • Also from the YWCA, 10 simple ideas to eliminate racism and 10 simple ideas to empower women
  •, from the Southern Poverty Law Center, offers free anti-bias resources. Including suggestions on responding to everyday bigotry - how to speak up during those uncomfortable encounters where someone makes an offensive statement.
  • The Birmingham Pledge, recognizing the dignity and worth of every individual. I challenge you to sign it.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Easter 2007

My favorite Easter poem.   Credit poet ee cummings

i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
wich is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun's birthday;this is the birth
day of life and love and wings:and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any-lifted from the no
of all nothing-human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened

Friday, April 06, 2007

Good Friday

So I did a little bit of searching to find a bit of creative imagery to link to for Good Friday. One website I viewed had over 100 links to various Pietas - images of Mary holding the body of her son. It is a good reminder, this Good Friday, to recall that the Italian word pieta translates as "Compassion". There is no difference, in that language, between the singular and plural form of the word (as far as my limited knowledge of Italian goes). More than 100 pieces of art, all about one particular instance of compassion. In the busy-ness of a Friday, take some time today to meditate on compassion in your life, and in our common life...

A Good Friday meditation, How many Pietas, from Fr. Jim Hasse, SJ (follow the link for an image.):

How Many Pietas?

How many Pietas hang in my studio?
How many are lost, painted over, given away?
How many sold?
One, now in Jamaca

Why do I keep painting them?
I have to
My heart keeps suffering
Mothers keep embracing their dead children
Violence, war, executions, drugs, AIDs
Mothers die twice at least, sometimes more
I can only be present, weep, and paint.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Bilingual education

Newt Gingrich gave a speech on Saturday in which he equated American English with prosperity and other languages with the ghetto. This bias against bilingual education is not a new development in Newt-land, but there are so many layers of insult in this speech that I scarcely know where to begin. A few points to consider:
  • Since when is English-language literacy the golden ticket? I know plenty of native English speakers, and speakers of English as a second language, who have found it anything but easy to maintain a decent standard of living.
  • In most of the world, knowledge of multiple languages is an asset. This nation needs to do more to foster multilingualism, not less!
  • non-native English speakers now outnumber native English speakers, 3 to 1.
  • Check out your local literacy council, where long waiting lists often frustrate the desire of immigrants to learn English. Want immigrants to learn English? Sign up to be a tutor.
  • And, by the way, be patient. Give it a generation or two...
  • And take the time to educate yourself. It is arrogant to assume that bilingual education is a one-way transaction. Or that your own native culture is the only one that has something to offer.
"The world in which you were born is just one model of reality. Other cultures are not failed attempts at being you: they are unique manifestations of the human spirit."
- Wally Lamb

Saturday, February 24, 2007


Friends, thank you for your patience during this hiatus. I have spent the last couple of months getting caught back up on day-to-day business...and will be back to posting on a more frequent basis. I expect to make more frequent, shorter posts, and welcome your feedback!