Thursday, January 22, 2009

Whte House Goes Green

According to John Doyle of GlobeAndMail,
O'Bama is Irish.

". . ..You see, early last year,
Stephen Neill, an Anglican priest in Ireland,
was contacted by a researcher in the U.S.
about local parish records that mentioned Joseph and Phoebe Kearney,
and their son Fulmouth (also known as "Falmouth"),
who emigrated to the U.S. in 1850.
As the good Anglican priest later explained on his online blog,
he was initially reluctant to take on the task
because he gets many, many inquires from people in the United States
seeking their Irish roots.
But the researcher then mentioned
a possible connection with Senator Barack Obama and,
intrigued, the priest began his research in earnest.. . . ."

Here are the creative results of that research.

don't send me any negative comments
about where our new president is lacking
or what he should be doing.
you will be deleted.
just smile and laugh and have fun. . . .

Friday, January 2, 2009

Faith on the Edge - Reflections on the Christmas Season

“Faith on the Edge.”
That’s the title of a book
Written by one of my favorite theologians,
Leonardo Boff.
Faith on the Edge:
Religion and Marginalized Existence.

I can’t help it.
Leonardo Boff writes
As if he accompanied me in my ministry,
In my day-to-day life.

I know, I know.
He was the one silenced by
The then Cardinal Ratzinger.
To tell the truth,
I think that’s one of the things
That has made Boff so brilliant.
Tell someone “they can’t”
And they do it (whatever “it” may be)
Much more superbly.

My Advent reading this year
Included a reread of “Faith on the Edge.”
I spent Christmas in the inner city.

Boff writes:
“A point of view
is the view from a point.
Change the point
And you change the view.
There are various social loci
(commitments and practices),
and each affords
(and blocks out)
various views of reality. . .
. . .In the center
things are softer.
On the periphery
Things scream at you.
In the center,
Mechanisms of exploitation
Are invisible.
On the margins
You can see them
With the naked eye . .”
(Faith on the Edge, p. 40)

In the center
We tell a quaint little story
of Mary and Joseph
Seeking lodging.
On the margins,
We not only reenact the Gospel passage
With the Posada,
We live it, quite literally,
With fear of INS
Being in the parking lot
Across the street from the church
On Christmas Eve.
Yes, my dear friend, Leonardo,
On the margins you can see them,
These mechanisms of exploitation,
With the naked eye.

In the center
We use a doll for the Baby Jesus.
A doll:
Silent, predictable, passive.
This is, in no way, a criticism.
This is simply an observation.
The center uses a doll for the Christ child.
On the margins
We, quite literally,
Venerate the Christ child.
On the margins
We kiss the child of the nativity
(The baby Jesus from the church’s nativity),
that child who was born in a homeless shelter.
On the margins
We embrace the child
who would later become a refugee.
On the margins
We bless the child
Who would later be condemned
Simply because
nothing good comes from Galilee.

In the center
We sometimes behave as if
Writing a check will make things happen.
While our checks may buy Christmas poinsettias
To adorn our churches,
The check will not water them or tend to them.
On the margins
We sometimes have a better understanding
Of Laos ergon (the work of the people),
Picking up a broom
because petals are dropping to the floor
Or watering the flowers
simply because they need watering,
Not waiting to be asked for help,
Not waiting to be invited to participate,
But doing the work
Because the work needs to be done.

In the center
Our children’s participation in the liturgy
Must compete
With basketball, pom, dance, etc.
On the margins
It’s really not Christmas
Until and unless our children get involved.

And what is “Holy Family?”
In the center,
We favor the shorter version of the Gospel
And omit the section in brackets.
On the margins,
The elderly woman,
The prophetess named Anna,
Is not optional
but integral to the story being told,
to our story being told.

In the center
Epiphany means
We add three kings to the nativity set.
On the margins
Epiphany means all are welcome,
Even if we come from other lands,
Even if we speak differently,
Dress differently,
Worship differently.
In the center
We focus on
Gold, frankincense and myrrh.
On the margins
We understand that the magi
Made a long, arduous and necessary journey.
And we totally understand
Why the magi had to go home
By another route.
In the center
We will bless our doorways
With the initials of the three kings.
On the margins
We understand
What it means
When that same door remains closed.

In a later chapter
Boff writes of the two eyes of theology
(theologia ante et retro oculata),
One before and one after.
While writing this blog entry
I thought that my faith seeks understanding
With both eyes on the present,
With one eye on the center
And the other in the margins.
But after careful reflection
I realize that this is not the case.
The center,
It seems to me,
Tries hard to conserve truth
With an eye on the past.
And the margins
Celebrate truth
With an eye on the present.

The Good News
Is always alive, active.
The Gospels aren’t just historic documents,
They are living.
Theology seeks to understand
And this makes the Gospel
Alive and vibrant.
The Gospel
Isn’t either/or:
Either Historic
They Gospels are both/and:
Historic and Living.

The Church, too,
Is both Her Center
And Her Margins.

Theologia Ante Et Retro Oculata
Thank you to the Little Lamb of Christmas,
For now I see.

I remain ever grateful
To the Merciful One
Who grants me the opportunity
To walk steadfastly
Between and within both worlds.

. . and yet. . .
because I see
and because I walk easily
between and within both realities
(the center and the margins)
I also see the challenges before me. . .
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
About the photo:
My Nativity set
Made in Mexico of Corn Husks
About the book:
Faith on The Edge
Religion and Marginalized Existence
Leonardo Boff, O.F.M.
Translated by
Robert R. Barr
Harper & Row, Publishers, San Francisco