Father Mychal Judge: Ladder to a Bridge

September 11, 2011

There are few individuals who can climb ladders and create bridges to those who are threatening violence and to quietly speak the words we can’t say to ourselves in the heat of the moment, or in the long years of fanning the anger leading up to it: “You don’t need to do this.”

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I hear voice(s) on the prairie: Michele Bachmann, an American gothic narrative

August 8, 2011

And if the reference to her experience as a federal tax lawyer is intended to demonstrate insight gained with experience, an article in The New Yorker indicates that according to former colleagues, in her four years at the office, with Bachmann taking two of the “generous” maternity leaves granted by her employer, the I.R.S., during those four years, her actual time logged at work was closer to two years and amounted to mostly “lightweight” work. The article also cites another one of those what-worked-for-Michele-should-work-for-all-of-us stories, dating to when she was in school; her shop teacher “had a board hung up in the shop class with holes bored in it, and he would use that on the backside if somebody got out of line. Anybody remember those days? That’s when I grew up. And it worked really well.” The board worked for Michele; therefore, we should all be spanked.

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Heaven Knows, This is a Heartland

July 22, 2011

A Christian is, quite honestly, the last thing I’d want to be considered when I hear the versions put forth by candidates whom God has allegedly called to run for the highest office in the nation. And here in this heartland, there is supposed to be some special values added stamp, as if merely being born here and living here gives one a primeval virtue blessed by God. But virtue isn’t regional, and the heartland, while dear to me, oozes with its own primordial tangle in its virtue talk. A lot of it seems to me to be mere blood lust, not virtue; a swift and sharp judgment for those who have not imprinted the model of family or relationships that the talkers have carefully defined in, oh, say, 14 point bulletins.

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The Legacy of Grandpa John, or the Buddha in a Rocking Chair

April 19, 2011

If there is some universal standard or karmic principle that calls out what is good, I’d have to say that letting giggling kids sit behind your rocking chair and mess with your hair when all you wanted was peace and quiet is one of the highest definitions of it. For all I know Grandpa John was having an internal dialogue that went like this: “For the love of God, why am I being tormented by grandchildren that I didn’t even spawn when all I wanted was peace and quiet?” But outwardly he remained as composed as the Buddha, if the Buddha ever sat in a rocker.

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Patrick the Pit Bull–Sometimes it Takes a Dog’s Spirit

April 8, 2011

Those caring for Patrick have said that in spite of all that he has suffered, he is gentle and trusting. Sometimes it takes a dog’s spirit.

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Patrick the Pit Bull: The Story in His Eyes

March 27, 2011

Never try to tell me that animals don’t have a spirit, for I will not believe you. It is there in his eyes, an awareness, a world-weariness, a sadness, but also a growing steadiness, a flicker, a spark. How he survived in the condition he did is beyond understanding, like so many other things in his story. But he did survive. Your days of suffering are over, Patrick, although it will take time to heal. Welcome to life. I wish that the same could be said for all who suffer.

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The Wild, Strange Heart of El Salvador

March 18, 2011

The mountains were cool, and in a couple of hours we’d be back in the heat and traffic of San Salvador, the humidity and the smoke and the coiled barbed wire and the craziness; the voices of the guards drifting through the window at dawn. But even before the sound of their voices, when the curtain that blew all night in the breeze finally came to rest in the first faint light, I heard, earlier and wilder than any other voices, the calls of birds, or some kind of animal–I never found out what they were. The calls seemed distant, as if they came from a mile or more away, but also loud, amplified. They were not chirpy calls. They were like peals. Maybe they were laughter. I heard them in the silence before the city awoke, and wondered at the wild, strange heart of El Salvador.

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Kolaches and Transcendence in New Prague

March 7, 2011

The bright sunlight outside illuminated the windows as we stood in the silence, and the centuries seemed to pour through them along with the light. We studied their inscriptions in Czech as we walked slowly along the length of the sanctuary. The detail was incredible and the symbolism, intriguing. The windows were telling stories.

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The Strangely Disempowering Universe of The Power

February 27, 2011

I discovered The Secret more than three years after everyone else.  I’d heard of it in passing, but I was busy during those years, and it was, well…secret.  When I finally got around to exploring it, I learned that a sequel, The Secret: The Power, was just days from publication.  I decided to wait for […]

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The Reasonable Thing

December 3, 2010

I searched for each of their names as I stood before the Wall of Memory and Truth in San Salvador on a bright day in March earlier this year:  Jean Donovan, Ita Ford, Dorothy Kazel, and Maura Clarke.  Thirty years ago yesterday, on December 2, 1980, the four North American churchwomen were killed by a […]

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