Friday, December 15, 2017

Being angry

I've been so angry lately about so many things, from the mean-spiritedness of my new cat-hating neighbors to the killing of net neutrality. And then there's Trump, his Republican henchmen, and their evil tax bill.

Sometimes I'm so angry I feel almost sick, and there's the guilt ... that little voice in my head saying good people aren't judgemental, aren't unforgiving, aren't angry. Hey, it's even one of the deadly sins. I have to forcibly remind myself that anger can be a positive thing and that even Jesus got angry ...

And here's a bit from a psst article by Philip Endean SJ on wrath ...

[...] At the outset, we need to make a distinction. Christian tradition, perhaps mirroring civilised society as a whole, is ambivalent about anger. Angry people are disruptive; by definition they want things to be different, and are prepared to be anti-social and disagreeable until they succeed. To the extent that Christianity reinforces social norms, it finds various ways of marginalising, even condemning anger. But to the extent that Christianity is an agency of change and conversion, both social and individual, anger is an important source of positive energy. The perception of unmet needs provokes responses that can be termed angry: if the perceptions are correct, then the anger is righteous, a hunger and thirst for justice that is to be sustained, not repressed ...

So it's ok to be angry? Maybe.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

UPDATE: Post content stonked

UPDATE 12/14 11:43 PM ET
Hello - I posted something to this blog earlier this evening that, unbeknownst to me, is thought to be an offensive racial stereotype.  I don't suppose that anyone associated with this blog wishes to have any potentially offensive content on the blog.  As I don't immediately see how to delete the entire post, I'm editing it to remove the part that may be offensive.  My apologies to the readers.

Among the lesser pleasures - but still a pleasure - of reading books is encountering new words and phrases.

More nuances than solutions

 MOS's post about Zephyr Teachout's attempt to set standards and guidelines for handling accusations of sexual misconduct has morphed into the Alabama jubilee, what the Democrats may be capable of and the burdens we lay on students.

 I'd like to see us get back to monkey business because there are a few questions we are far from exhausting. Ms. Teachout has a hold on something that should bother all of us in what is fueling up indignation that supports something that is more like a witch hunt (wizard hunt?) than a sensible approach to a touchy and long-ignored issue. What has now become designated as sexual misconduct covers a range from inappropriate brushing to rape; encompasses victims who were under age, under the abuser's authority or should have been more careful, and abusers who planned their attacks or drank their way into the attack or thought they had a green light or just don't care.

 Additionally it encompasses abusers who run their own business, who work for someone else and who work for the amorphous government. All the variations on those possibilities are pertinent because it is up to someone to police a safe workplace or suffer for neglecting that duty.

 And I think it is safe to say the courts have not caught up with current understanding of the issue.

 And once we have the categories straight, we should be able to mix and match them to get better than one-size-fits-all solutions. I, for instance, worry about a guy who came on too strongly once, has spent years regretting it and has never found a way and the guts to apologize. Instead of appearing in the newspaper going on leave for unspecified but credible accusations, I'd like to see a way for he and his victim to patch it up. The victim might have laughed it off, or she might have been hurt and feeling the pain for years. In the latter case, she needs the healing that might come from encounter way more than she needs revenge.

 I dunno. But I think it is a lot more complicated than Sen. Gillibrand makes it.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Zephyr Teachout speaks

I'm guessing most of you have never heard of Zepher Teachout. She is a local political phenom: ran against Cuomo in the last Democratic Primary (2014) and again in 2016 for the House Seat in the 19th District. Lost both elections but she keeps going. I hope she runs against Cuomo again in 2018.

She teaches at Fordham Law and was recently on a panel there; first time I actually heard her speak. And speak she did (here is a news story: that is John Carr sitting next to her!). She is a born politician...clear, distinct voice with volume, conveys complex ideas clearly, smiles, and is very tall. Her Wiki bio.

But today, I'm posting about her op-ed in the NYTimes, "I'm Not Convinced Franken Should Quit,"

Here are some highlights that take up issues we have discussed below.
"I also believe in zero tolerance. And yet, a lot of women I know — myself included — were left with a sense that something went wrong last week with the effective ouster of Al Franken from the United States Senate. He resigned after a groundswell of his own Democratic colleagues called for him to step down.
"Zero tolerance should go hand in hand with two other things: due process and proportionality. As citizens, we need a way to make sense of accusations that does not depend only on what we read or see in the news or on social media."
I suppose this may pit her against our junior senator, Kirsten Gillibrand, who has been leading the troops on this. But more power to her!

Bonus link: A Gillibrand-Trump face-off.

A couple of thoughts on the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

The appearance of our Blessed Mother at Guadalupe really isn't part of the personal spirituality I inherited from my extended family and first parish.  Lourdes and Fatima, yes.  Guadalupe?  Not so much.  I had never even heard of her appearances to St. Juan Diego until I was well into adulthood.

It was St. John Paul II who named her Patroness of the Americas (which, according to my map, includes the English-speaking parts) and promoted her day to a feast day.  In my breviary, whose copyright is from the 1970s, she's still listed as an optional memorial, the lowest rank of saint's days.  By contrast, a feast day is the 2nd-highest.

The story of her miraculous appearances to the humble Aztec Juan Diego is becoming more well-known in US Catholicism.  Part of that is because of "top-down" promotion by the bishops, clergy and other thought leaders in the church, including via Catholic media, Catholic schools and parish religious education programs.  But surely the major reason is because of the large and growing presence of Catholics of Mexican heritage in the US.

The Chicago suburb of Des Plaines, IL, not far from where I live, has a major shrine to Our Lady of Guadalupe.  (Please click on the video at the link if you can; I am not adept enough to figure out how to embed it directly into this post.)  Pilgrims, including some who come on horseback and some who walk for hours in the wintry weather, gather by the tens of thousands to commemorate her appearances.

Mexican Americans are on board with St. John Paul II, but what about the rest of us?  All of us are Americans - all of us should consider her our Patroness.  And given the political climate, I believe that the church's invitation and challenge to English speaking Americans to venerate Our Lady of Guadalupe is more important than ever.  Our nation has witnessed a distressing coming to the political fore of a spirit of unwelcome to those who speak Spanish.  The Catholic church offers witness to another way, a better vision: one in which English speaking and Spanish speaking people are fully equal as sisters and brothers.  Of course, that vision hasn't reached full fruition yet in the church in the US, either.  But that shouldn't stop us from striving toward it.  Let us pray to Our Lady of Guadalupe to show us the way to a society marked by acceptance, love and justice, as a church and as citizens of the United States.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Alabama voters: the deplorables

Apparently a number of those Hillary deemed "deplorables" live in Alabama ...

Those people deserve Roy Moore.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

A voice cries out

On this 2nd Sunday of Advent, it is difficult to hear Mark's account of the coming of John the Baptist:
People of the whole Judean countryside
and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem
were going out to him
 ... and not be reminded of the political phenomenon of 2016, Donald Trump.