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“When I’m Reading. I hate to stop to look up unfamiliar words. Fortunately, I don’t need to rely on a dictionary. I can figure out the meanings of words using my extraneous knowledge of English word roots, prefixes, and suffices.
I don’t need to look up “salacious” for instance, because I immediately recognize that it refers to specially discounted prices, as in, “The Fourth of July is a salacious holiday. “I quickly see that “strident” means walking with long steps and that a “barista” is a female lawyer. My perfidious knowledge of the English language enables me to deduct the meaning of any unfamiliar word. For example:
- no he doesn’t make you this fine very good quotidian – a person fond of repeating the words of famous people
- cellophane – past tense of “cellphone”
- pro hono – a fan of the U2 lead singer
- penultimate – the supreme writing instrument
- cartographer – a photographer specializing in automobiles
- shutterhug – a photographer specializing in insects
- pretension – before stress
- lassitude – demeanor of a young Scottish woman
- gustatory – with brief surges of wind
- photosynthesis – the act of combining pictures
- yawl – southern term for sailboat
- dreadnought – fear of the zero
- idiomatic – a transmission suitable for the less-than-brilliant driver
- autocrat – government official who regulates cars
- plutocrat – government official responsible for canine cartoon characters and former planets
- placebo – the site of a gazebo
- utilitarian – an employee of the electric company
- unctuous – living the characteristics of an uncle
- Polynesia – the ability to remember everything
- prolapsed – descended temporarily to amateur status
- votive – democratic
- oxymoron – hyperventilating dullard
- commutation – act of traveling to and from work
- ostracize – to shun large, flightless birds
- promenade – a beverage served at square dances
- gyroscope – an instrument for examining sandwiches
- blunderbuss – a mass transit faux pas
- polyphonic – owning several telephones
- egress – female egret
– Dale Roberts, a college career counselor, lives in Asheville, N.C.”
On Profiling Muslims
by John Byorth
Celebrating Augustine 08(28)2006
John responded to the following e-mail with the article that follows.
“Please read the following carefully and pass it on if you care to. Is there more than a thread of truth below? You decide for yourself!
Interesting article….. Can A Muslim Become A Good American Citizen? Can a good Muslim be a good American? I sent that question to a friend who worked in Saudi Arabia for 20 years. The following is his reply:
Theologically – no. Because his allegiance is to Allah, the moon god of Arabia. Religiously – no. Because no other religion is accepted by his Allah except Islam (Koran, 2:256) Scripturally – no. Because his allegiance is to the five pillars of Islam and the Quran (Koran). Geographically – no. Because his allegiance is to Mecca, to which he turns in prayer five times a day. Socially – no. Because his allegiance to Islam forbids him to make friends with Christians or Jews. Politically – no. Because he must submit to the mullah (spiritual leaders), who teach annihilation of Israel and Destruction of America, the great Satan.
Domestically – no. Because he is instructed to marry four women and beat and scourge his wife when she disobeys him (Quran 4:34). Intellectually – no. Because he cannot accept the American Constitution since it is based on Biblical principles and he believes the Bible to be corrupt. Philosophically – no. Because Islam, Muhammad, and the Quran do not allow freedom of religion and expression. Democracy and Islam cannot co-exist. Every Muslim government is either dictatorial or autocratic. Spiritually – no. Because when we declare, “one nation under God,” the Christian’s God is loving and kind, while Allah is NEVER referred to as heavenly father, nor is he ever called Love in The Quran’s 99 excellent names.
Therefore after much study and deliberation….perhaps we should be more suspicious of ALL MUSLIMS in this country. At the very least, we should be more aware of what a Muslim is, and what a Muslim believes. They obviously cannot be both “good Muslims ” and good Americans.
Call this what you wish….it’s still the truth.
If you find yourself intellectually in agreement with the above statements, perhaps you will share this with your friends. The more who understand this, the better it will be for our country and our future.
Pass it on Fellow Americans if you care to. The religious war of Islam is bigger than we know or understand.
“It is with heavy eyes and skepticism that I read the original email message above as it alludes to the condemnation of an entire religion’s capability to conform to the ideal of a “good American citizen.” This sort of immediacy in a such a complex topic is short-sighted and intellectually vacant. It reminds me of the anti-German and anti-Japanese sentiments here in the United States during WWII–not all Germans were Nazis, not all Japanese supported the Emperor. Perhaps my shirttail relatives, the Blindauers and Schneiders, have some memory of this sort of discrimination in their pasts.
Critical thought and consideration are healthy qualities in arriving at a well conceived opinion, and to that end, the original email can contribute to a breadth of literature. But taken alone, it is an abysmal representation of the matter. It is my gut feeling that few of you who received the email have the time or inclination to pursue further study of Islamic culture and its reconciliation with American ideals to balance it with. If you do, I apologize for the assumption and would invite meaningful discourse on the subject as I am vested in the topic. But knowing, for example, that my own siblings are chin deep in their careers, marriages, elementary school and church activities, their own graduate studies, yard work, and rare moments of recreation that it is not likely. So let me share some insight from my own experiences and research.
To categorize “ALL MUSLIMS” as one in the same is a damaging generalization to understanding a multifarious religion in the same way speaking of all Christians as one united “people” convolutes an understanding of that western religion. As we all know, there are a multitude of divisions within Christianity with diverging views, beliefs, dogmas and sub-cultures: Eastern Orthodox v. Roman Catholic v. Protestant, and then a family tree of sects beyond these. The Muslim community is similar, broken between two major sects who have not agreed since the death of Mohammed in 632 on much of anything. Nearly immediately there were divisions, identifiable today by the two major sects: Sunni and Shi’ites. The hatred between them is prolific, as voracious as the Catholic/Protestant wars in the 16th century, and easily seen in the oppositional relationships pervasive throughout Iraq’s current civil war, etc. Superimposed on these divisions are ethnic tribes. Arabs v. Persians. Turk v. Kurd. Pashto v. Tajik. Uzbek v. Turkmen; whose animosities go back so far in time that most of our Anglo-Saxon relatives were still going Viking. Today, retribution for ancient family and tribal skirmishes trump even religious unity. These two facts alone, sects and ethnicity, make the statement “ALL MUSLIM” incredibly ignorant. Muslims living in America come from more countries alone than make up the whole of European-American backgrounds, and have a diversity of beliefs and cultures that further negate any sort of Muslim generalization.
Theologically, Muslims see Islam as the succession of previous monotheistic religions-Judaism and Christianity. Their Allah is the Allah of Abraham, the ancestor of all three of these major monotheistic religions. This was not lost on Mohammed. In the early years after his revelations, his first order of business was not to divide and conquer the world, but to unify it and its tribes, Arabian and otherwise. In order to do so, he offered considerable tolerance toward non-Muslims. In fact, the Quran commanded Muslims to protect “people of the book,” Jews and Christians who possessed a revealed scripture. Remember that it was the angel Gabriel who revealed God’s word to Mohammed, the same angel who revealed to Mary of her blessing. Unfortunately, whomever authored the email below sites the Koran Sura II verse 256. It is completely way off in their usage of it. Here is what that passage says taken from my Quran bought on the streets of Kabul, Afghanistan: “God! There is no God but He; the Living, the Eternal; Nor slumber seizeth Him, nor sleep; His, whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is in the earth! Who is he that can intercede with Him but by His own permission? He knoweth what hath been before them and what shall be after them; yet nought of His knowledge shall they grasp, save what He willeth. His throne reacheth over the heavens and the earth, and the upholding of both burdeneth Him not; and He is High, the Great!”
As can be plainly seen, this passage has nothing to do with discrimination of other religions, but affirming Islam’s monotheistic foundation, which, by the way, reiterates our own first Commandment. Sura 259, however, makes some nod towards those who do not believe in God, which excludes, obviously, Jews and Christians, but includes the pagan gods popular in the 7th century Arabian desert.
Indeed, Sura II verse 59 reads: “Verily, they who believe (Muslims), and they who follow the Jewish religion, and the Christians, and the Sabeites–whoever of these believeth in God and the last day, and doeth that which is right, shall have their reward with their Lord: fear shall not come upon them, neither shall they be grieved.”
Religiously, Islam is by nature understanding and tolerant. However, it is the beliefs of but a few radical religious teachers that abnegates tolerance. Doesn’t it seem suspect that ALL MUSLIMS would miss this teaching and subscribe to the teachings of the most radical?
Scripturally, there is no doubt that Muslims ignore the Pentateuch (Torah) and the New Testament as the final word of God. However, by the reasoning of the author, Muslim allegiance to the Five Pillars of Islam precludes their ability to conform to the same natural laws of mankind that have trickled down into our Constitution and Bill of Rights. I might suggest that while there is some dogmatic absolutes, the fact is that the Five Pillars are hardly different from our own Christian teachings in the Ten Commandments, the Beatitudes and the Sermon on the Mount, and hence, their differences are interpretative by nature. If you practice the Five Pillars, with the exception of the Haj or pilgrammage to Mecca, it is parallel to practicing the Ten Commandments and fulfilling Jesus’ teachings. Both are amenable to living under the Constitution of the United States and by the guarantees of the Bill of Rights.
I’m not sure how the significance of Mecca in prayer detracts from one’s ability to be a good American, and am interested in the author’s ideas. I do know Jews pilgrimage to Jerusalem, as do some Christians, and Catholics also have Rome, which is much more of a political entity than Mecca. Indeed, should we hold Roman Catholics to the same standard as Muslims? While we don’t point toward Rome to pray, many hold allegiance to the Papacy and his directives on abortion, homosexuality, and fornication. The significance for Mecca is much different than that. Previous to Mohammed’s revelations, Mecca was the trade center of Arabia and a significant place of worship at the Ka’ba shrine for animist cults. When Mohammed’s new Muslim army defeated the Quraysh tribal army outside Mecca, he knew of the cultural significance of the Ka’ba shrine to locals (which he was one), and maintained it out of strategic need for smooth conversion of these people. Today, Muslims point that direction because it signifies submittal to Allah. We do the same as we kneel before the cross.
Perhaps the greatest cleavage in Islam today is the rectification of church and state. For Muslims in America, however, this cleavage is not as prominent because of the existing separation between the two. In developing Muslim countries, ie. Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, etc., the tensions are self-evident and being worked out, although again, complicated by tribal divisions and variations in tribal law. In America, however, one should consider the fact that many Muslim-Americans (one figure is 13 million Americans) immigrated here because of their desire to live freely from strict interpretations of Shari’at (religious social laws) and Purdah (laws governing women) Laws, and made considerable sacrifices to realize this dream. One article of a mullah in Brooklyn was striking to me in this way. I believe it was the New York Times, and if you do a search of nytimes.com around March 3 (I think the 5th, if memory serves me) I’m sure you will find it. The mullah is young, in his 40s, and spoke of the problems he faces rectifying Islamic law and American culture. His prerogative was that Muslim-Americans struggled with fidelity in their relationships, divorce and behavior (drugs, alcohol, pre-marital sex). His feeling was that it was the degradation of adherence to Islamic social norms because of an immersion in a much more liberal American culture. The thing is, I think that many of us would agree these things are the rot for all who strive to lead a moral life, and at that, one that makes us good American citizens.
Domestically, there is another cleavage between more modern Muslims and those who subscribe to traditional interpretations of the Quran. In much of the Islamic world, this translates into a cultural difference between urban and rural people. The norm in urban centers IS NOT polygamy. This is a tribal characteristic. Urban Palestinians, Lebanese, Afghans, Egyptians, Jordanians, etc. do not have multiple wives, perhaps because they understand that it is hard enough to please one woman much less four (ha!). Seriously, urban dwellers look down on such archaic interpretations of polygamy.
Sura IV Verse 34 does not prescribe four wives or beating and scourging and all the rest. It reads: “And whoever shall do this maliciously and wrongfully, We will in the end cast him (emphasis added) into the Fire; for this is easy with God.”
The verse is in relation to the 33 verse: “O believers! Devour not each other’s substance in mutual frivolities; unless there be a trafficking among you by your own consent: and commit not suicide: of a truth God is merciful to you.”
As you can see, the verse calls for the eternal damnation for anyone meets wrongdoing with wrongdoing or complicity. Note that it is this verse that damns suicide, hence suicide bombings. This is a seriously held belief among Afghan Muslims. The verse that talks of four wives is as follows: Sura IV Verse 3: “And if ye are apprehensive that ye shall not deal fairly with orphans, then, of other women who seem good in your eyes, marry but two, or three, or four; and if ye still fear that ye shall not act equitably, then one only; or the slaves whom ye have acquired: this will make justice on your part easier. Give women their dowry freely; but if of themselves they give up aught thereof to you, then enjoy it as convenient, and profitable:”
The verse does NOT command Muslims to marry four women, but only as many as a man can support equitably. This is common among many tribal cultures. Granted that was a long time ago for many cultures, and it is a bit weird for us monogamists of modern day. But consider that there are sects of LDS in Utah that still grasp at some straws to legitimize their bigamy. I don’t think this makes them bad Americans, just bad husbands.
Intellectually and philosophically, much of the Islamic world is diametrically opposed to western thought and culture, as the author writes, but not all. For one, we arrived at our Constitution through an evolutionary tract that included 1000 years of darkness, ie, the Dark Ages. We had to rebirth those classical ideas of ancient Greece and Rome through the Renaissance and the Age of Reason, the Reformation, and finally the Enlightenment, which gave birth to a multitude of social ideas; communism, socialism, liberalism, republicanism and transcendentalism among them. But we had to work at it, and it took revolution, the hapless deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocents and not so innocents. So it is perhaps an unnecessary judgment to say that much of the Islamic world is living in its own Dark Ages-it is evident. The Ayatollah of Iran recently said as much in his defense of scientific progress for nuclear energy-his point was that Persia was once the leader of the world in science, literature, architecture, etc., and had a responsibility to return to that greatness. Now, as much as that scares the hell out of me, it does point to the backward nature of Islamic countries at this point in time. However, I wonder if this is the choice of the oppressed masses or the queer authoritarian and dictatorial Islamic regimes, like the Taliban, that have made this decision. I’d guess not. The aegis of totalitarian regimes is not to allow choice, so even our own “intellectual” ability as modern Americans to quantify universal Islamic belief in democracy is replete with holes.
Democracy requires an educated public, John Dewey once argued when the US government was wavering on free public education. The inability for Muslim people to adhere to democratic principles is not the Quran, but ignorance. You see this in Afghanistan, Lebanon, Palestine and Iraq at this very moment. They are struggling with democracy not because of their religion, but, in the case of Afghanistan, because of the “brain drain” that has occurred after thirty years of regime changes, war and oppression. All the smart people have left and are in the United States, in Virginia, the Bay Area, and in Germany, etc., leading productive, democratic lives. Give these people left behind opportunity and their potential to become good American citizens is endless (of course, some have no chance so long as they adhere to strict 7th century interpretations of the Quran). For perspective, forget not that two of the greatest philosophers in the history of mankind were Rumi and Hafiz, and were from Central Asia and under considerable Islamic influence. Only through education and opportunity can people of oppressive Islamic countries realize such greatness as the freedoms of America, and rise to our standard of a good citizen.
The author of the email below is correct in pointing out one possible interpretation of incompatibilities between the secular/Judeo-Christian West and Islamic East, but there is so much more to it than what I read below. To me, this email suggests that ALL MUSLIMS are fundamentalists and radical, and implies a certain discrimination that seems to be based on ignorance and misunderstanding-the very traits that demarcate Islamists from moderate Muslims. There are a great many good Muslim-American citizens, I’ve met some, and to ignore their accomplishments of overcoming despots, narrow minded mullahs, and oppression only to come to the United States to realize religious freedom, growth and opportunity-pursuit of the American Dream-only serves to perpetuate this horrible division among people who believe in the same God; none of which I imagine Jesus would condone, but I am not authorized to make judgments on His behalf.
I urge anyone who has read the email below not to succumb to unbridled suspicion of Muslims, nor to judge their ability to be “good American citizens.” Instead, learn more about their religion, culture and communities, and reach out to them. Strengthen ties with them, because they are our first line of defense against radicals, not our supposed Intelligence. Indeed, it was a Muslim who tipped the Royal Police off to the planned airline bombings in London a few weeks ago. That person is an ally, a quintessential citizen, and someone I’d like to shake hands with and thank.”
REFLECTIONS ON THE CRUMBS LEFT IN A BROWN BAG LUNCH SACK
Volume XIV, Issue 1, January 1
The sometimes weekly but always informative and inspirational commentaries on the great truths
we live by__Harold Hanser.
“Wouldn’t it be wonderful if on the stroke of midnight on New Year’s eve all the problems would be magically solved and all of the good things would continue. But we know that isn’t going to occur and 08 will be a continuum of 07 with most of the old problems still with us. Hopefully we’ll get a handle on some of the bad things and enhance the good things.
A recent survey with statistics on teenage drinking reflects an old problem that rather than improving is getting worse. According to an article in the Gazette, “The 2007 Montana Kids Count Data Report found that Montana has a higher rate of teens drinking and driving, using illegal drugs, and chewing tobacco. More than 18,000 Montana high-schoolers report binge drinking – having five or more drinks in one sitting – in just the last month. The Montana rate of 38 percent compares to a national rate of 28 percent for binge drinking. Twenty percent of Montana teens reported drinking and driving, while the national rate was 12 percent.” According to Joseph Califano, Jr., who heads the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, “It’s an epidemic of underage drinking that starts in elementary and middle school with 9-13 year olds and erupts on college campuses, where 44 percent of students binge drink.”
The excessive use of alcohol has always been an American curse which even national prohibition was unable to stomp out, but if anything, made the problem worse until it was repealed. The government and traders used alcohol effectively in dealing with the Indians and along with diseases, for which they had no immunity, were a tragedy for the Indians. The majority of the cities and towns in Montana have programs to deter the sale of alcohol to those under age 21. Although they have been effective in stopping direct sales, the underage obviously have no difficulty in securing it.
The volume of deaths, injuries, and ruined lives strongly suggests this legal drug, which along with marijuana, are the drugs of choice for our underage population and we ought to make a concerted effort to bring it under control… but the probability for success is highly doubtful at best.
Crumbs would ask the question of whether the Montana culture, which begin with the discovery of Gold on Grasshopper Creek in Southwestern Montana and the later advent of the cattle barons in Eastern Montana, continues to impact the drinking problem. Crumbs will offer some thoughts, all of which are tentative and clearly non- conclusive.
A mining town with a population of a thousand or less would have maybe one church and 30 or 40 saloons along with one or two houses of ill fame which also dispensed booze. The limited number of watering holes in Eastern Montana, likewise were short on churches and long on booze. The belief and practice that a person who was tall enough to reach a glass or bottle of beer on a bar was old enough to drink may be past tense, but the concept is still in vogue.
“Life’s Railway to Heaven” –
“Keep your eye on the rail and your hand on the throttle.”
An old hymn sung for Tom Horn when he was hanged.
A murder mystery … Who killed 15 year old Willie Nickell?
Was Tom Horn hanged for a murder he didn’t commit?
Chip Carlson’s latest book on Tom Horn, a detective for the Wyoming Stock Grower’s Association, is a must read book if you enjoy real life murder mysteries and want a refresher course on the Wyoming Stock Growers Association controlled by the rich cattle barons in the late 1800’s who flooded the range of south central Wyoming with cattle, and the conflicts with the advent of homesteaders, many of whom started their ranches with Association stock. The author’s description of Tom as having “A conspicuous place in history” is certainly true, particularly if you live in or come from Wyoming. As you will recall, these wealthy cattle barons were the power behind the throne and controlled the state government, including the governor and legislature. Their watering hole was the Cheyenne Club which was an ostentatious place. An indication of their self-righteous conviction that the grass lands were their entitlement was evidenced by the Johnson County War  where they brought in fifty Texas gunslingers and marched with them north to kill all the political leaders in Buffalo and wipe out the rustlers. That failed effort is one of the more fascinating events in the history of not only Wyoming, but the nation.
This murder occurred two years after the Johnson County War before they swore in Tom Horn as a range detective who agreed to kill rustlers at five hundred dollars a head and never divulged who he worked for. The Cattle Barons had a point in that they were unable to get a guilty verdict in court no matter how compelling the evidence. They didn’t grasp the fact they had become persona non grata among the growing number of homesteaders and middle class in Laramie and Cheyenne.
There’s considerable history in the book plus abundant quotes from the inquests and the trial of Tom Horn in addition to post conviction affidavits, all of which will assist you in making your own determination as to who killed Willie Nickell and why the Association members breathed a sigh of relief when Tom Horn, guilty or not, died at the end of a rope.
Is the Past A Predictor or Have Relevance to the Present and the Future?
Given the fact that the human animal is endowed with an innate ability to distinguish good from evil, which is generally reinforced by religious dogma, there should be predictability that good will predominate over evil. But history, both past and present, reflects a continuing disconnect by individuals and a nation which strongly suggests the future will continue to be burdened with evil. This negative view does not discount the millions of individuals who live out their lives doing only good and avoiding the evil, but they have been unable to conquer evil on the short term or a long term basis. It is a tragic fact that religions, notwithstanding their dogma, have likewise sponsored evil in their quest for dominance.
Nations change … sometimes for the better, other times for the worse, and often present a mosaic of both good and evil. The history of our own nation presents substantial evidence it is no exception.
Crumbs will leave you with a couple questions. Does good balance evil or is evil always wrong and good is always the preferred course for individuals, nations and religious institutions? Does our innate ability, buttressed by our religious dogma, which gives the ability to distinguish good from evil have an off and on switch which expediency allows us to flip to the off position and in a sense makes it possible for good and evil to co-exist? John Brown is an excellent case study in sorting out an answer to this question.
As you will recall, John was a fire and brimstone abolitionist who became involved in “Bleeding Kansas” where he and his boys were less than discreet in who they killed, with his last foray an attack on the U.S. arsenal at Harper’s Ferry on October, 16, 1859, to free the Negroes who were on the a premises. He was captured and although this was federal property was charged with murdering four whites and one Negro in a Virginia Court. He was convicted and hanged on Dec. 21, 1859.
If you don’t have a John Brown book handy, allow me to quote a portion of his final argument to the court which may of value in deciding the above questions.
“…Had I interfered in behalf of the rich, the powerful, the intelligent, the so-called great, or in behalf of any of their friends, either father, mother, brother, sister, wife or children, or any of that class, and suffered and sacrificed what I have in this interference, it would have been all right, and every man in this Court would have deemed it an act worthy or reward other than punishment. This Court acknowledges, too, as I suppose, the validity of the law of God. I see a book kissed, which I suppose to be the Bible, or at least the New Testament, which teaches me that all things whatsoever I would that men should do to me, I should do even to them. It teaches me further to remember them that are in bonds so to am in bound with them. I am yet too young to understand that God is any respecter of persons. I believe that to have interfered as I have done, as I have always freely admitted I have done in behalf of his despised poor, is no wrong, but right. Now if it is deemed necessary that I should forfeit my life for the furtherance of the ends of justice, and mingle my blood with the blood of my children and the blood of millions in this slave country whose rights are discarded by wicked, cruel, and unjust enactments, I say let it be done …”
And you know the rest of the story … John Brown was viewed as the devil incarnate by the slave holders and a saint by the abolitionists. Union Soldiers marched off to war singing, “John Brown’s soul goes marching on,” which is now the Battle Hymn of the Republic and sung in the churches though out America. He moved America closer to the Civil War.
A New Year’s Message From A Time Past
I used to dance the polka, the schottische and the waltz;
I used to love the theater, its glitter vain and false;
And Jesus, when he found me, he found me very tough,
But, praise the Lord, he saved me, I’m a diamond in the rough
The day will soon be over, when the digging will be done,
And no more gems will be gathered, so let us press on;
When Jesus comes to claim us and says, “its enough,”
The diamonds will be shining, no longer in the rough.
And we might add, keep your eye on the rail and your hand on the throttle as you race down life’s railway to heaven.
It Doesn’t Matter How You Played The Game, But whether You Won Or Lost!
Fair play is touted as an American virtue, but has been seriously tainted with steroids, growth enhancements, and other drugs by our professional athletes and has infected college and school sports … all with the approval of fans. You have to believe in the tooth fairy to accept the manufactured denials by all those in authority positions who choose not to see and not to hear. College and high school athletes can understand that doping in the majors results in economic rewards and are tempted to follow this route to success. The experts paint a rather dim picture in that the testing, particularly with the growth enhancement drugs, to be effective has to be at the Olympics level which is not being used in our competitive sports. The problem is exacerbated as all too many parents acquiesce in the doping of their children to enhance their athletic performance.
Nuts, Bolts, And Lock Washers
The number of large dog bones Pepper has eaten ……………………………………3,753
The number of large dog bones Pepper has buried out side and in the beds and davenport ….337
I find it interesting that domestic dogs have a carryover from their wild brethren in storing away food items in the event the folks they live with miss a meal. Given the fact Pepper has never missed a meal, to include snacks, I have difficulty in understanding why he would have retained this trait. I cannot dispute Miss Daisy’s claim that I have spoiled both Pepper and the Calico Cat by fixing them lunch and dinner so they can join us at meal time. They both can be sound asleep, but about three seconds after I open the refrigerator door at meal time they are in the kitchen observing my culinary skills and anticipating a tasty meal.
Miss Daisy was able to engage in energy savings due to the fact her old refrigerator followed the advice of Ecclesiastes that there is a time to die. I must confess her new ice box is a definite upgrade over her dead one and I should not be heard to complain as there were more expensive models she could have selected. Being a practical person, she assured me the energy savings will pay for it if we live another twenty years, but me thinks like old John Brown, my body will lie smoldering in a grave long before the payout. Unfortunately many of our other appliances which heat our water, wash our dishes, grind up refuge, and make it possible for me to microwave a quick meal are also contemplating the Ecclesiastes syndrome.”
The Attraction of Christ
“There is an enticement, quite aside from mere example, that beckons from one life with a depth and extent of appeal beyond the realization of the man who so draws others to goodness. The perfume of a saint´s life, the wholesome happiness of innocence, the strong serenity carved in the face of the man/woman who has dared to be good, the quiet happiness of an unselfish woman who, seeking nothing, yet possesses all things – all these are a parade of goodness, of lovableness, of happiness before hearts hungry for just such things. Their allure awakens at least a nostalgia in the most hardened of men, and often enough lights a roaring fire in the greenest wood. There can be no question but that such enticement plays a great part in the lives of men and women; but again this is not by our design, it is not by our direction or government of these people, but rather by the appeal, the allure, the seduction of goodness. Goals so universally desirable are openly displayed in their concrete reality and people move to them not by the force of commands but by the much more subtle force of attraction.”
FATHER WALTER FARRELL, O.P., AND FATHER MARTIN J. HEALY
Father Farrell was a noted Thomist and Father Healy was a professor of theology who published a simplified version of Saint Thomas’ Summa in the 1950’s. Magnificat Meditation 02(05)2007.
“There are no absolutes anymore. There is no black or white in
American culture, only gray. No right. Certainly no wrong.
Ethics are “situational.” If bad behavior will elicit a personally favorable outcome, be bad. Lie, cheat, steal. It’s all OK.
Shame is gone. Rules and boundaries are “intolerant,”
All is forgiven. All is acceptable,
All is not well in this picture.
A woman at work told me several months ago her son was having difficulty getting a job. He had no skills. He dropped out of high school years ago and wouldn’t get a GED. He was not mentally disabled, ill or incapacitated. He just didn’t like work.
So when recently she said she had good news. I was anxious to hear it.
“Oh, yes,” she said. “He’s supporting himself with his disability. We call it his ‘craw check,’ but he’s getting almost $800 a month.”
Supporting himself? No! You and I, working people who pay taxes are supporting him.
People once felt shame when forced to accept charity. Now they actively pursue ‘crazy checks.’
Television used to be about entertainment Now it’s a morass of more asses (physical and mental). The naked backside of a middle-age-actor filling the screen is progress? Or is it Just prurient?
And what kind of depraved adolescents think eating horse entrails is amusing? What they show in a 30 second commercial would have been banned a generation ago, and those commercials pop up in all kinds of other show’s. What about my right to be free from the visual and audio assaults of those grotesque ads?
“Marriage” means “wedding day” in pop culture. Commitment is passé’ and no one is held to their promise when feelings change or times get hard.
Some years ago, my sister related events she witnessed when a bride and groom wrote their own “vows.” The bride, an apparent pragmatist, reportedly said. “I promise to love you as much as 1 can for as long as I can.”
I’ll stay with you until someone better comes along? As long as you’re healthy and wealthy? Until it gets difficult?
A dear, dear friend called last month to announce her engagement.
I am happy she is in love; I’m so disappointed she is getting “married.”
Again. This will be her third. Or is it fourth? This will be the groom’s fifth trip down the aisle. Should someone in his 40s have a whole string of people to whom the attribute “wife” once applied? Between them, they have at least six “exes.”
I love my friend, but she is participating in the subversion of a sacred trust. “For better or for worse and forsaking all others” is unambiguous.
So, at what point do we refuse to legitimize temporal unions with the same word we use to describe an authentic one?
Not that all divorces are flip-pant. I know a woman who was beaten for years before finally leaving her husband. I know of cheating spouses who put their partners at risk for any number of communicable diseases. These are not acceptable situations and divorce can sometimes be the only solution.
But when we cheapen one vow, all of the others become fair game. When we support media venues that treat our homes as sewers, we relinquish the right to complain about the smell. When we let one person profit from an obvious lie, we set a norm for everyone else.
As a society, we have the duty to define institutions and standards. We could be raising the bar and elevating our expectations, but evidence suggests we are racing out of control in the opposite direction.
It is society’s job to enforce standards on those who will not control themselves. It is society’s job to impose consequences on those who seek to subvert, spoil, weaken and blight our communities.
We are society. You. Me, The family next door.
Are we doing a good job?”
Margaret Zappe of Olivette is one of 17 West County area Opinion Shapers. Opinion Shapers are guest writers who submit a column three times a year on areas of interest to them. Zappe is a secretary. This article was seen in the Letters to the Editor Section of the Kirkwood Webster Journal for Wednesday, July 28, 2004
Meditation: Living Christ’s Testimony, April 3, 2003
“What ruins some souls is a false “prudence.” They call it prudence, but it’s a human prudence, and it springs up every time the divine surfaces. It has the appearance of virtue but is more aggravating than vice. It does not want to shake anyone up. It lets the rich go to hell, (“you already have your reward,” Lk 6:24) by not enlightening them. Who knows what might happen? It lets the neighbors beat each other up, and even kill, because someone might accuse you of meddling in other people’s affairs. You could even end up as a witness in a trial. Why bother to get involved? It advises moderation to the saints, lest something happen to them.
It isolates us. This prudence cuts us off, clamping us in like a vice, because it’s born of fear.
It’s especially scared of God. If he were to become too active in the world, through his faithful children,
God could incite revolution; and those children’s lives could be ruined, like Christ’s; they could end up hated by the world, as he was.
It’s a counterfeit virtue. I think it’s planted or fertilized by the devil. He can do a lot of business in that climate. There once lived a man who had none of it.
That was Christ Jesus. When he went out to preach, at the first lesson they wanted to kill him, there and then. “But he went straight through their midst and walked away” (Lk 4: 30).
Look at his life with the eyes of this sort of prudent person and you would call the whole thing an imprudence. Not just that: If these prudent persons were logical in their reasoning, they would draw the conclusion that his death, his crucifixion… he asked for it… with his imprudence.
I don’t believe there’s a word spoken by Jesus that does not jar against these people. That is because
God and the world are a complete antithesis. Only those who are able to emerge from the world to fol- low in the footsteps of Christ can make humanity hope for anything.” CHIARA LUBICH — Chiara Lubich is the foundress and president of the Focolare movement.
Courtesy of the Magnifcat Monthly Missal for April 2003.
“If a monograph in the history of religions summarizes the situation of sin by characterizing it as a
“catastrophe,” what else does human language mean by this word than the loss of that existential attonement that we call “salvation” and “being whole”? What greater catastrophe could there be than sin’s destruction of our final concordance with the divine ground of being without which we know ourselves to be lost along with all that is best in us?…
Of course the subject matter gets still more complicated when we realize that moral failings ineluctably seem to include the inclination to ignore their own true name. The guilty person wants to protect himself, and so he proves reluctant to call his deed a violation against God (and ultimately against God alone). The last thing the sinner wants is to describe his sin by its true name. Only in moments of true conversion does one say: Tibi soli peccavi Ps 51: 6 – “against you alone have I sinned”).
At this point we catch a glimpse of a difficulty: how can sin be recognized as sin at all in the concrete case?
This experience is familiar to everyone, but perhaps Goethe has formulated it best when he said that we cannot “see a failing for what it is until we are free of it.” But this Everyman-experience” attains an even higher level of truth than one might at first suspect. Simone Weil has made the remarkable observation- “We experience good only by doing it… when we do evil we do not know it – because evil flies from the light.” JOSEF PlEPER
—Josef Pieper (+ 1997) was a husband, a father, and a theologian from Germany.
Courtesy of the Magnifcat Monthly Missal for March 2003.
“Unless you share of yourself, you are not loving anybody, least of all yourself. For God said “Love your neighbor as yourself.” We walk as if on eggs; we’re always looking at the other person and saying
“What is he going to think of me if I tell him this and this?” Or, “If I tell those kids all that about me, well! I want the respect of my peers.” Conformism: that’s spiritual waste.
We don’t want to open our mouth to pray together, loud and clear, let alone be loud and clear in our interpersonal relationships. Love is loud and clear; it’s gentle, but loud and clear. We prefer to keep everything in, so there is no love. Man is an island.
When you don’t share yourself, you also don’t share God. To proclaim God and the Good News in a thousand ways, against ridicule by one’s own group it is not easy. It’s exceedingly difficult; it tears you apart. It leaves you mangled. But it has to be done.
If you have allowed sloth to come into you you’re not going to proclaim anything. You will retreat comfortably into some non-exciting situation, and simply let things go; you may agree or disagree, but in a faint-hearted way, so you won’t say anything that matters.
Sloth is dissipation of our energy. It’s also not being able to see the whole – the inability to have broad vision. How many young people have understood sloth in this way, and been given the real meaning? They think it’s just laziness, not going to Church on Sunday, or something like that. Whereas it is the negation of a whole vista of spiritual life into which we must enter. A vision of spiritual life is demanded; and we don’t want this kind of vision that makes us change from the inside out. Nobody wants it.
It’s difficult and painful. It demands change; it demands letting go of security. And who wants to let go of security? We could really turn the world upside down, but we don’t because we’re still doing the same good old stuff, being busy about ourselves.” SERVANT OF GOD CATHERINE DE HUECK DOHERTY —Servant of God Catherine de Hueck Doherty (+ 1985) was born in Russia and was the foundress of Madonna House. Courtesy of the Magnifcat Monthly Missal for March 2003.
“In February 2002 the pontifical council for Social Communications published two documents regarding the Internet that all parents need to read. Titled ‘the Church and Internet’ and ‘Ethics in Internet’, they can be found on the World Wide Web.”
These documents make it quite clear that now is the time for all of us to start taking courses on how to use the Internet. Whether we like it or not, the Internet is here to stay and as parents we had better get learning how to use it. Most importantly, we need to know how to model good use of the Internet to our children.
“To parents. For the sake of their children, as well as for their own sakes, parents must learn and practice the skills of discerning viewers and listeners and readers, acting as models of prudent use of media in the home….”
“Parental supervision should include making sure that filtering technology is used in computers available to children when that is financially and technically feasible, in order to protect them as much as possible from pornography, sexual predators, and other threats. Unsupervised exposure to the Internet should not be allowed.”
“Parents and children should dialogue together about what is seen and experienced in cyberspace…. The fundamental parental duty here is to help children become discriminating, responsible Internet users and not addicts of the Internet, neglecting contact with their peers and with nature itself.” (The Church and Internet #11).
Children are often first in their family to use the new media. As parents we need to understand E-mail, chat rooms and ICQ in order to keep track of what our children are doing on the net.
Young people in particular need to be taught “not only to be good Christians when they are recipients but also to be active in using all the aids to communication that lie within the media … So, young people will be true citizens of that age of social communications which has already begun -an age in which media are seen to be part of a still unfolding culture whose full implications are as yet imperfectly understood.’
‘The Internet is a door opening on a glamorous and exciting world … but not everything is safe and wholesome and true.’
“Teaching about the Internet and the new technology thus involves much more than teaching techniques; young people need to learn how to function well in the world of cyberspace, make discerning judgments according to sound moral criteria about what they find there, and use the new technology for their integral development and the benefit of others.” (Church and Internet #7)
How can a parent teach, when there’s so much to learn? Many of the answers lay in common sense, some basic experience, regular vigilance and sensible guidelines for children. It is important that we help our children learn skills using information resources and technology such as problem-solving, fact-gathering, analysis, and writing on computers – skills that employers will seek from future workers.
Parents can help open up new worlds of rich learning experiences. For example, children can work on a school project with other children in countries thousands of miles away – or gather information from and try out their ideas with renowned scientists, authors, or business leaders.
And “electronic pen pals” – either relatives or new online friends – from opposite ends of the planet can e-mail each other almost instantly.
But remember, computer and online time alone cannot make your child an honor student.
Children learn best when they receive the individualized attention and encouragement from teachers and parents. Every kind of technology – from the blackboard to slide presentations to cable TV in the classroom to CD-ROMs – is simply a tool whose effectiveness depends on using it well.
Computers alone won’t make your child a well-rounded, successful adult. Children still need the balance that comes from outdoor activities, friends and family, solid academic skills, and healthy relationships with strong adult role models.
Teach your children ‘Netiquette’
Research shows that family involvement in a child’s education is one of the most important ingredients for success. Computers can also help you expose your child to information and experiences that you value. Spending time online with your children is the best way both to learn about the Internet and to teach your children responsibility, good conduct, and the values that are important to you.
Ask children to share their favorite Web sites and what they like about them. Help them discover Web sites that can help them with their homework, hobbies, and other special interests.
Teach your children “netiquette” – how to behave online. Such straightforward rules as not typing in all capital letters (it looks like you are shouting), being polite, and keeping quiet in chat rooms until you get a sense of what people are talking about, are simply good manners as well as common sense.
If you don’t have a computer or Internet connection at home, many libraries, colleges and cyber cafes offer equipment for public use. Many provide Web pages with recommended sites and offer classes for children and adults. Some schools and community centers offer special programs for, parents to learn about the Internet. The best way to ensure your child’s safety on the Internet is to be there. Of course, that is not always possible. Just as you teach your child rules about dealing with strangers outside the home, you must provide rules for communicating online.
Parents need to know about Fantasy Games, what their children are downloading whether music, movies, games or pornography and the laws associated with each. Parents need to talk to their children about plagiarism, and gambling for the Internet can make many evils appealing.
“To children and young people. The Internet is a door opening on a glamorous and exciting world with a powerful formative influence; but not everything on the other side of the door is safe and wholesome and true.”
“Children and young people should be open to information regarding media, resisting the easy, path of uncritical passivity, peer pressure, and, commercial exploitation.”
The young owe it to themselves – and to their parents and families and friends, their pastors and teachers, and ultimately to God – to use the Internet well.
“The Internet places in the grasp of young people at an unusually early age an immense capacity for doing good and doing harm, to themselves and others. It can enrich their lives beyond the dreams of earlier generations and empower them to enrich other lives in turn. It also can plunge them into consumerism, pornographic and violent fantasy, and pathological isolation.”
“Young people, as has often been said, are the future of society and the Church. Good use of the Internet can help prepare them for their responsibilities in both… In cyberspace, at least as much as anywhere else, they may be called on to go against the tide, practice counter-culturalism, and even suffer persecution for the sake of what is true and good.” (Church and Internet #11)
Suggested rules for children and the Internet
1) Always ask your parents’ permission before using your full name, address, telephone number, or school name anywhere on the Internet.
2) Always tell your parents if you see something online that is scary or that you don’t understand.
3) Don’t respond to messages that make you feel uncomfortable or uneasy.
4) Never give out a credit card number or password online.
5) Never arrange to meet in person someone you’ve met online, unless you discuss it with your parents and an adult goes with you.
Teach children that not everything they see or hear may be true. Some sites may be trying to sell them something or contain inaccurate information. There are many sites in the Internet that contain false information, but they do not bother to tell you this.
It is easy to be dazzled by all of the sights and sounds of the online world; but unlike books, magazines and newspapers that are scrutinized by an editor; much of the information online is not.
Individuals with Internet access can post almost anything they want.
Always consider the source, and exercise common sense and good judgment in evaluating the information you see.
The vast majority of Internet sites are perfectly safe, but like the real world the virtual world contains some sites that may not be appropriate for children. A number of software filters are available to block Web sites you may not want your child to visit.
Parents need to understand that filters are not perfect. They cannot block everything you might not want your child to see and they may block information that is helpful. Even if filters were 100 percent effective, this software is no substitute for parental guidance.
You should supervise older as well as younger children’s Internet use at home and at the library.
It’s a good idea to place computers in the kitchen, family room, or living room so that you can see your child using it. Young children should never be allowed to “surf the Net” alone.
Because you often sit alone at a computer, and many of your interactions take place anonymously, you might assume you are truly anonymous when online. But it is often possible for someone with the right tools and expertise to figure out where your transmission is coming from, and sometimes, who you are. If you want to play it safe, limit your online messages to those you would feel comfortable seeing printed in your local newspaper.
Be aware that strangers, at times pretending to be someone else can “communicate with your child. Unsolicited e-mail called “spam” can have information about sites with sexually explicit material, products for sale, or moneymaking schemes that are not for our children.”
Also remember that too much time online limits a child’s well-rounded development by taking the place of friends, schoolwork, sports and other activities.
The Church and the Internet concludes by addressing us all:
To all persons of good will.
Finally, then, we would suggest some virtues that need to be cultivated by everyone who wants to make good use of the Internet; their exercise should be based upon and guided by a realistic appraisal of its contents. Prudence is necessary in order clearly to see the implications – the potential for good and evil – in this new medium and to respond creatively to its challenges and opportunities.
“Justice is needed, especially justice in working to close the digital divide – the gap between the information-rich and the information-poor in today’s world. This requires a commitment to the international common good, no less than the globalization of solidarity.’”
“Fortitude, courage, is necessary. This means standing up for truth in the face of religious and moral relativism, for the altruism and generosity in the face of individualistic consumerism, for decency in the face of sensuality and sin. And temperance is needed – a self-disciplined approach to this remarkable technological instrument ! The Internet, so as to use it wisely and only for good.”
Reflecting on the Internet, as upon all other media of social communications, we recall that Christ is ‘the perfect communicator’ – the norm and model of the Church’s approach to communication, as well as the content that the Church is obliged to communicate.
‘”May Catholics involved in the world of social communications preach the truth of Jesus ever more boldly from the housetops, so that all men and women may hear about the love which is the heart of God’s self-communication in Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and today, and for ever.’” (Church and Internet #12)” —Dianne Wood lives in Newmarket, Ontario
“The disciples, previously frightened, confused, and doubtful,
became suddenly charged with courage and knowledge and
commitment when the wind roared, the fire appeared, and
the Spirit came.
When have you been afraid, confused, and doubtful?
How did you regain your courage, understanding, and commitment?
Pentecost is called the birthday of the church because
that is when the followers of Jesus actually became church.
What does it mean to be church?
What gifts does it take?
What gifts do you have that you can offer?
Where is the Spirit speaking in your life now?”
Notes: Kent Inman, personnel manager of Office of Disabled and Director since 1986 called for the training of seminarians. People with disabilities are needed in the Church. Re-invent the circle! to cope with devastation! As a precious Child of God! Recall Kubler-Ross’s Stages of Grief, the bag of ‘fuss’.
He learned about MS taking care of his mother-in-law. There is a passion for inclusion; need to deal with role reversal – humbling – passing to acceptance.
Title III ADA exempts parishes, bars etc. More welcoming, bringing everyone to the table. Make accommodations – there are rights and duties – don’t exempt the disabled. There is the attitude due to people not knowing what to say & do.
20% of any population has ADA disability. 10-11% are physically disabled.
What is a necessity for some is only an inconvenience for others. Reasonable accommodation and readily achievable is the measure for us. E.g., Cory Stringer. There is a universal design – assist the disabled and oneself when disabled by injury or disease.
We have power to adjust the sails ~ not control the wind.
One needs an ‘attitude of gratitude’ to stay in the present.
“Most folks are as happy as they want to be
according to Abe Lincoln, ‘scooping up the Grits of Life’
WHAT DISABILITY AM I MOST AFRAID OF?
What is it and why?”!
MEDITATION OF THE DAY – May 31, 2002 – Courtesy of Magnificat
“How did Elizabeth herself know what had happened to Our Lady? What made her realize that this little cousin who was so familiar to her was the mother of her God?
She knew it by the child within herself by the quickening into life which was a leap of joy.
If we practice this contemplation taught and shown to us by our Lady, we will find that our experience is like hers.
If Christ is growing in us, if we are at peace, recollected, because we know that however insignificant our life seems to be, from it he is forming himself; if we go with eager wills, “in haste,” to wherever our circumstances compel us, because we believe that he desires to be in that place, we shall find that we are driven more and more to act on the impulse of his love.
And the answer we shall get from others to those impulses will be an awakening into life, or the leap into joy of the already wakened life within them, it is not necessary at this stage of our contemplation to speak to others of the mystery of life growing in us. It is only necessary to give ourselves to that life, all that we are, to pray without ceasing, not by a continual effort to concentrate our minds but by the growing awareness that Christ is being formed in our lives from what we are. We must trust him for this, because it is not a time to see his face, we must possess him secretly and in darkness, as the earth possesses the seed. We must not try So force Christ’s growth in us, but with a deep gratitude for the light burning secretly in our darkness, we must fold our concentrated love upon him like earth, surrounding, holding/and nourishing the seed.
We must be swift to obey the winged impulses of his love, carrying him to wherever he longs to be; and those who recognize his presence will be stirred, like Elizabeth, with new life. They will know his presence, not by any special beauty or power shown by us, but in the way that the bud knows the presence of the light, by an unfolding in themselves, a putting forth of their own beauty.
It seems that this is Christ’s favorite way of being recognized, that he prefers to be known, not by his own human features, but by the quickening of his own life in the heart, which is the response to his coming.”
– Caryll Houselander (+1954) was a British mystic, poet, wood carver, and spiritual teacher.
“It was there, in front of me. Pornography is not “romantic.”
It wouldn’t go away. Pornography is not “sexy.”
It was taunting me, mocking me. Pornography is not ‘harmless.
You’re not enough it said. I cried, sobbed, wept.
You can’t compete. I was angry, disappointed, broken.
You will never be “all.” I felt hurt, lonely, confused.
This image stole from me.
This image challenged my self-worth.
This image shattered trust.
“If a man looks on a woman with lust in his heart, he has already committed Adultery.” (Mt. 5) A mind tempted by lust.
A mind desensitized by baseness.
A mind drawn toward How many steps from fantasy to reality?
How many steps from glance to passion?
How many steps from cleave to leave?”
– from an e-mail sent to Morality In Media.
According to an Internet fact sheet of services for 1999 found on the Planned Parenthood web site, the ratio of abortion to prenatal services is nearly 10 to 1. The ratio of abortion to referral for adoption is nearly 60 to 1. Their own fact sheet on abortion after the first trimester states that adolescents obtain 29 percent of all abortion performed after twenty weeks. However, the reasons listed for adolescent girls terminating second and third trimester pregnancies DO NOT include any medical complications associated with pregnancy. The current ad campaign also fails to describe the emotional and physical environment found in abortion clinics. In many clinics, according to Carol Everett, former owner of several abortion facilities in Texas, the “counselor” is actually filling the role of a marketing agent to direct and guide the usually desperate, pregnant girl who has not yet made up her mind. Everett makes it clear in her remarks that money drives the abortion industry and the mission of the industry is to make money, not provide a “choice.” Another aspect of the industry is the unsafe and nearly unregulated environment in many clinics. Presently, Missouri has three freestanding abortion clinics. Two of the clinics do abortions well beyond the first three months of pregnancy.
In 1992 the Missouri Department of Health con-conducted an inspection of the Women’s Community Health Center, in Springfield.
Among the health violations:
There was no documentation to show that the person providing information to clients regarding the procedure, alternative-tives, and other information qualified to do so;
- Patient care services were not under the supervision of a medical professional;
- The operating table had rust on it; Equipment that needed to be sterile was not kept in a sterile place;
- The recovery area had roaches. In 1994, another inspection showed the center had more violations: The center did not have policies on parental consent of a minor or retention of records of procedures performed on minors;
- Patients were pre-medicated before the final decision was made to proceed with the procedure and determination of the gestational age of the unborn baby;
- One patient was pre-medicated before a pregnancy test was performed which turned out to be negative.
Sometimes the physicians add to the “unsafe” environment. Women have died in Missouri while undergoing an abortion. Yet, the State of Missouri has yet to insist that doctors who perform abortion must have surgical privileges at a local hospital. Dr. Bolivar Escobedo who at one time performed abortions in Cape Girardeau, claimed surgical privileges only at a hospital in Lima, Peru.
The next time you see an ad selling abortion as a right or freedom – cloaked as a basic American freedom and the end to the oppression of women – don’t believe it.
Abortion offers a legacy of death and despair. It leaves many women emotionally scarred for life, robs them of real choice and risks their health.”
“The great lack of civility in America is the major factor behind the breakdown in family life, unethical practices in business, selfishness, and dishonesty in politics.
Civility means much more than politeness. Civility is all-embracing-a general awareness by people that personal wellbeing cannot be separated from the well-being of the groups to which we belong…our families, our businesses and our nation.
Lack of civility is tied to unreasonable expectations in recent decades of constant happiness and constant comfort. When real life presents us with painful experiences…when something hurts us…when we feel unfulfilled-we feel cheated. And too many of us-too often-reach for instant happiness by illegitimate means that disregard the interests of other people.
CONSCIOUSNESS AND CIVILITY
The route to unproved civility begins with greater awareness of our shortcomings and our tendencies to manipulate others. Greater awareness leads to a willingness to accept pain in the short term, recognizing that it is an unavoidable part of any growth process, leading to significant personal growth. Learning how to handle pain realistically is a prerequisite for
warmer, more meaningful relationships over the long term. Civility does not happen automatically. You have to train yourself to be aware of your true motives, to be honest with yourself and others, and to judge yourself first.
CIVILITY IN THE FAMILY
The first training ground for civility is the family. Children learn how they are expected to behave by observing their parents’ behavior, not just by listening to their words. So if you want your children to demonstrate civility now and later in life, you have to practice it yourself.
Example: Your two kids are having a disagreement and your six-year-old son slugs his little sister. Then you tell him, Don’t ever hit your sister! and hit him. That will deliver quite a different message than you want to give: It’s OK to hit someone else. ..but don’t hit your sister when your mother or father is around. With that kind of discrepancy prevalent between parental educational words and actions, it’s not surprising that so many people grow up with an internal moral code that tells them, You can do whatever you want as long as you don’t get caught doing it.
CIVILITY IN BUSINESS
Successful businesses are built on cooperation. Businesses have a right to both demand and expect cooperation from their employees, because the main purpose of any business is to make a profit.
But companies also have a responsibility to treat their workers fairly and honestly in the process.
Example: Some companies that workers with pension benefits only after a
period of employment save money by laying the workers off only a short time before they become vested.
This is uncivil. It is obviously unfair to the workers and may also hurt the
company by encouraging the best employees to leave.
Better way: Set up a system that recognizes both the company’s interest
dedicated, hard-working employees a the employees’ interest in security a
fair compensation. This will only we when both sides honestly keep their part of the bargain.
Companies, families and all types of organizations become more civil when they encourage honest, two-way communication – straight talk and listening. That is not easy, but it can be done if you follow these principles:
Don’t expect perfection… just do your
- best and learn from your mistakes.
- Set aside time for communication.
- Clear your mind and listen to the other person.
- Be honest with yourself and others.
- Judge yourself first. Look into your real motives.
- Take time to respond and think!
- Don’t be afraid of silence.
- Be willing to be hurt-and to risk hurting others by speaking honestly.
If someone is too fragile to respect your point of view, he/she cannot
be a part of your community.
- Try to be as gentle as possible. Don’t
make any unnecessarily painful statements – yet don’t be so subtle
that the point is completely missed.
- Speak personally and specifically. Don’t talk about “the system”
or some impersonal authority. Don’t generalize. Document what you say.
- Don’t analyze other people’s motives,Don’t play psychologist
- Speak when you are moved to speak. Don’t cop out.
Bottom line: It takes hard work to get an organization
to operate in a mode of civility. But those who have made the transition
do not want to go back.”
Bottom Line/Personal interviewed M. Scott Peck, MD; a founder of the Foundation for Community Encouragement He is author of The Road Less Traveled and, most recently, A World Waiting to be Born Bantam Books,1540 Broadway, New York 10036.
M1SSOURI CATHOLIC CONFERENCEGood News update on public policy and legislative developments from a Catholic perspective
“I have seen repeatedly the breakdown of the cost of raising a child,
but this is the first time I have seen the rewards listed this way.
The government recently calculated the cost of raising a child from
birth to 18 and came up with $160,140 for a middle income family.
Talk about sticker shock! That doesn’t even touch college tuition.
For those with kids, that figure leads to wild fantasies about all
the money we could have banked For others, that number might confirm
the decision to remain childless. But $160,140 isn’t so bad if you
break it down. It translates into $8,896.66 a year, $741.38 a month,
or $171.08 a week.
That’s a mere $24.44 a day! Just over a dollar an hour. Still, you
might think the best financial advice says don’t have children if
you want to be “rich,” It is just the opposite.
What do your get for your $160,140?
- Naming rights. First, middle, and last!
- Glimpses of God every day.
- Giggles under the covers every night.
- More love than your heart can hold.
- Butterfly kisses and Velcro hugs.
- Endless wonder over rocks, ants, clouds, and warm cookies.
- A hand to hold, usually covered with jam.
- A partner for blowing bubbles,flying kites, building
sandcastles, and skipping down the sidewalk in the pouring rain.
- Someone to laugh yourself silly with no matter what the
boss said or how your stocks performed that day.
- . For $160,140, you never have to grow up.
- . You get to finger-paint, carve pumpkins, play hide-and-seek,
catch lightning bugs.
- . You have an excuse to keep: reading the Adventures of Piglet and
Pooh,watching Saturday morning cartoons, going to Disney movies,
and wishing on stars.
- . You get to frame rainbows, hearts, and flowers under refrigerator
magnets and collect spray painted noodle wreaths for Christmas,
hand prints set in clay for Mother’s Day, and cards with backward
letters for Father’s Day.
- . For $160,140, there is no greater bang for your buck. You get to be
a hero just for retrieving a Frisbee off the garage roof, taking the
training wheels off the bike, removing a splinter, filling the wading
pool, coaxing a wad of gum out of bangs, and coaching a baseball team
that never wins but always gets treated to ice cream regardless.
- . You get a front row seat to history to witness the first step, first
word, first date, and first time behind the wheel.
- . You get to be immortal. You get another branch added to your family
tree, and if you’re lucky, a long list of limbs in your obituary
- . You get an education in psychology, nursing, criminal justice,
communications, and human sexuality that no college can match.
- . In the eyes of a child, you rank right up there with God. You have
all the power to heal a boo-boo, scare away the monsters under the
bed, patch a broken heart, police a slumber party, ground them
forever, and love them without limits, so one day they will, like
you, love without counting the cost.”
Humility and the Father’s Love
“Why did my Father give you power over me?
Because he wanted me to get very close to you
to show you the depths of his love for you;
not the distant love of a God
who sits on a throne in his heaven
and looks down on you on the earth,
but the love of a Father who longs to help you
to carry your burdens,
to comfort and heal you,
to give you every good gift.
He wants to come into your homes,
and to sit with you at your meals
as one of the family.
He wants to walk with you
as a beloved friend.
He could not do that himself
and so he sent me, his only Son,
to make his love known to you.
I could take on your weakness
and then act out my Father’s name which is Love.
Can you truly imagine the love of God?
Can you understand the depth
of your Father’s love for you?
The Father sent me to show you his love,
and to act it out among you
to give you an example to copy.
I am the image of your unseen Father;
in my life, and particularly in my passion,
I showed you the depths
to which love must be prepared to go.
There is no room for fear in love,
no room for shame,
Love offers everything
and expects no return.
You cannot bear the unveiled love of God.
It falls like a fire upon you
and you are consumed and burnt up in its heat.
You are not ready yet to be refined
and purified by the naked flame
of your Father’s love for you,
and so it has to be filtered,
mediated to you through my flesh.”
Richard Hobbs (+ 1993) was a convert to Catholicism and the father of six sons.
“God grant me the serenity
to accept the people I can not change,
the courage to change the one I can,
and the wisdom to know …it´s me.”
Courtesy of Brother Maurus, O.S.B.
it is up to us to raise our sails!”
Heard at an Al-Anon meeting
“Immaculate Heart of Mary, help us to conquer the menace of evil, which so easily takes root in the hearts of the people of today, whose immeasurable effects already weigh down upon our modern world and seem to block the paths toward the future.
From famine and war, deliver us.
From nuclear war, from incalculable self-destruction, from every kind of war, deliver us.
From sins against human life from its very beginning, deliver us.
From hatred and from the demeaning of the dignity of the children of God, deliver us.
From every kind of injustice in the life of society, both national and international, deliver us.
From readiness to trample on the commandments of God, deliver us.
From attempts to stifle in human hearts the very truth of God, deliver us.
From the loss of awareness of good and evil, deliver us.
From sins against the Holy Spirit, deliver us.
Accept, 0 Mother of Christ,
this cry laden with the sufferings of all individual human beings, laden with the sufferings of whole societies.
Help us with the power of the Holy Spirit conquer all sin: individual sin and the “sin of the world,” sin in all its manifestations.
Let there be revealed once more in the history of the world the infinite saving power of the redemption:
the power of merciful love.
May it put a stop to evil.
May it transform consciences.
May your Immaculate Heart reveal for all the light of hope. Amen.”
Copyright © 2001,
United States Conference Of Catholic Bishops, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.
Images Courtesy of Corbis, Inc. Used With Permission.
Text Courtesy Of L’Osservatore Romano.
Used With Permission USCCB Publishing.
To Order Publication No. 5-490, Call 800-235-8722.
“O God, you are the Source of life and peace.
Praised be your name forever.
We know it is you who turn our minds to thoughts of peace.
Hear our grayer in this time of war.
Your power changes hearts.
Muslims, Christians, and Jews remember, and profoundly affirm,
that they are followers of the one God,
children of Abraham, brothers and sisters;
enemies begin to speak to one another;
those who were estranged join hands in friendship;
nations seek the way of peace together.
Strengthen our resolve to give witness to these truths
by the way we live. Give to us:
Understanding that puts an end to strife;
Mercy that quenches hatred, and
Forgiveness that overcomes vengeance.
Empower all people to live in your law of Love. Amen.”
Pax Christi USA
532 West 8th Street
Erie, PA 16502-1343
“In the comfort of your love, I pour out to you, my Savior,
The memories that haunt me,
The anxieties that perplex me,
The fears that stifle me,
The sickness that prevails upon me,
And the frustration of all the pain that weaves about within me.
Lord, help me to see your peace in my turmoil, your compassion in my sorrow, your forgiveness in my weakness, And, your love in my need.
Touch me, 0 Lord, with your healing power and strength.”
©-Prayer to Christ the Healer, SAINT ALEXIUS HOSPITAL
Visit http://www.sos.mo.gov/ to view: Contact the Office of Secretary of State
Physical address: 600 W. Main Jefferson City,
Mailing address: PO Box 1767, Jefferson City, MO 65102
Phone number: 1800-Now-Vote (1-800-669-8683)
The Missouri Catholic Conference,
Phone: 573-635-7239; Fax: 573-635-7431