Re: Ways of Knowing -A Fascinating Discovery
Much of what passes for Christianity today, especially that described by media too uninformed or uninterested to be more critical, is a version of that “cheap gospel” about which the author writes.
As someone who is fully western and fully American, perhaps this is why I so often feel a palpable existential angst when I look to today’s political and social and environmental landscapes.
If the experience of oppression does not teach us empathy for ‘the other,’ then we have learned little.
Lord, give us hope.
Here is my letter to Rep. Francis Rooney (R, FL 19th), urging him to support articles of impeachment. I encourage everyone to do the same.
Dear Congressman Rooney,
I am writing to strongly encourage you to vote in favor of the Articles of Impeachment against President Donald A. Trump that are likely to be brought to the full House within the coming weeks.
I personally watched the many hours of testimony from numerous government officials and public servants, testifying before the House Intelligence Committee. I also watched the hearing before the House Judiciary Committee after having received the report from the Intelligence Committee. Having done so, there is no doubt in my mind that Mr. Trump has abused the powers of his office and has committed numerous offenses that warrant impeachment and removal from office.
There is no doubt that such an action is extreme, and there is no doubt that the Founders of the Republic and authors of the Constitution did not envision such actions to be commonplace. However, they did have great knowledge of human nature and an understanding of how possible it can be for the systems of this Republic to be abused by corrupt or corruptible individuals. Despite the “spin” that his supporters try to put on the facts those many witnesses presented, the facts do remain: Donald Trump used the power of his office in an attempt to illegally withhold foreign aid for the ‘quid pro quo’ of obtaining interference from a foreign government in the current presidential election. There is no evidence Trump was concerned about “corruption” in a general sense. He was concerned primarily (only?) about the personal benefit that the withholding of this aid could provide him. What he did was use the power of his office for his own personal gain.
Truth be told, there are countless other examples of Mr. Trump doing this, i.e. using the power of the Presidency for his personal gain. His nepotism and his seeking and accepting of emoluments, his questionable of the presidential pardon — these alone would be enough to seek impeachment (as the historical record of the Constitutional Convention of 1787 clearly demonstrates). However, his abuse of power concerning Ukraine is beyond the pale.
While I strongly disagree with you on many of your policy positions, I do believe that you are a decent and thoughtful man. I hope and pray that you will do the right thing — which, I believe, you know in your mind and heart is the right thing — and vote to impeach Donald J. Trump as President of the United States.
Thank you, and best wishes to you and yours for a blessed Christmas season.
Only recently have I begun to listen to popular Christian music. As a Catholic, I’d always thought it was a “Protestant thing,” listened to by Evangelicals and Southern Baptists, not by Catholics or other mainstream Christians. We, I thought, so rightly kept our religiously-themed music in church, “where it belongs.”
My prejudice, and my practice, changed recently when a new friend introduced me to a few popular Christian songs.
This one — “Fear Is a Liar” by Zach Williams — is particularly powerful. The music video is poignant, depicting the depths of despair and hopelessness that can sometimes befall us in this life. And, I suspect, there are aspects that every one of us can relate to, perhaps all too personally. If you ever find yourself feeling like any of the three persons depicted — or feeling “not good enough … not right … not strong enough … not worthy … not loved … not beautiful” or think you are “troubled” and will “forever be alone” — I pray you will remember that these are lies, they are not true. And because we often need to be reminded of what we sometimes forget ourselves, I pray that a timely text, a caring gesture, or the touch of a loved one will remind you that you are deeply valued and unconditionally loved.
I am no poet. But there was a period of time several decades ago when — impelled by what forces I know not — I wrote a poem. One poem. I’ve not shared it before, but it seems to fit on this Easter Sunday. Here it is.
How I wish words would poetically pour
forth, that my pen with beauty and
power and clarity of thought would paint
the blank paper with unforgettable
images that express what I think and
How I wish that I could find within myself
that well which artists find
and drop their buckets in
so not only they may drink from what they draw,
but also the thirst of others is in some
How I desire to be called “creative” and
seen as a man with a heart as
well as head;
as a man who not only
sees the stars and speculates on what possibilities
they contain, but also
sees the stars and wonders in awe-filled silence
at that Hand which gave them life
— and him as well.
And yet I am content.
I am at peace with me.
It is as if the words of the sixth day
are forever resounding within my heart.
I am not the brightest blossom of creation, but
am its most beautiful bud — never fully flowered —
becoming more beautiful each moment, more graced
today than yesterday,
and tomorrow more…….
(c) Tim MacGeorge, 1992
I have a work colleague who occasionally makes good-natured comments about how I want the world to be “fair,” while asserting that the world “isn’t fair.” This often comes on the heels of me pointing out ways in which the various “systems” we are a part of do not live up to their self-professed ideals or principles of operation. I respond that I fully understand the difference between “what is” and its distance from “what could be.” But, I ask, should the acknowledgment of this reality prevent us from working toward a better reality for ourselves and our world?
As we begin this Holy Week, today’s words from Isaiah (ch 42) strike home:
“I, the LORD, have called you for the victory of justice, I have grasped you by the hand; I formed you, and set you as a covenant of the people, a light for the nations, to open the eyes of the blind, to bring out prisoners from confinement, and from the dungeon, those who live in darkness.”
In today’s meditation entitled “A Toxic Image of God,” Franciscan Father Richard Rohr makes the comment that, “it’s much easier to organize people around fear and hatred than around love.”
That seems to be the most effective strategy these days in American politics. And it’s certainly what’s happening in Florida now. The so-called “Pastor Protection Act” has advanced in the Florida Senate Judiciary Committee by a vote of 7-3. The proposed law is very brief. And while I”m no lawyer, it seems to me, the only thing this bill does is provide a forum to advance and promote public disdain for LGBT persons. If you doubt that, then watch what this so-called “pastor” has to say. Citing a tragic homicide, he basically claims that gay people are killers and do not deserve legal protection of their rights. Yes, “it’s much easier to organize people around fear and hatred than around love.” I wonder what Jesus would say about this man’s testimony??