As mentioned before, I often learn from my students. Last week, Eric Garris preached a postil on the reading concerning the three young men in the fiery furnace. He was drawn by the courage of these three young men who just might have been around his own age. He pondered deeply their courage, he told us, and wondered if he faced a great ordeal, if he could stand strong. It was evident that he was greatly touched by this Scripture passage. I share a selection from his brief preaching that caught my attention:
One of the privileges of being the justice promoter for the community is the opportunity to meet with justice promoters from the midwest and south each year. This provides a forum to share experiences, ideas, and goals around a number of justice concerns. This year we met at the Motherhouse of the Houston Dominicans and focused on immigration reform, human trafficking, and economic justice and participated in the Dominican Sisters Conference web seminar, "What is Earth Asking of the Order?"
Everyone came away not only with the challenges each of these justice concerns brings, but the opportunities that collaboration has provided. The corporate voice of Dominicans is impressive, as shown in the DSI web seminar.
"An anthropologist proposed a game to the kids in an African tribe. He put a basket full of fruit near a tree and told the kids that who ever got there first won the sweet fruits. When he told them to run, they all took each other's hands and ran together, then sat together enjoying their treats. When he asked them why they had run like that, they said, "UBUNTU, how can one of us be happy if the other ones are sad?" - Tom R. The Annual Black Male Summit, The University of Akron, 2014
When was the last time you were in conflict with another person? How did you resolve the issue or did you?
The women in the Leadership for Peace project spent several hours on Saturday, April 5, practicing mediation skills of listening, reframing, identifying conflict issues in a situation, and helping those in conflict to come to some type of acceptable solutions. Even though role playing, the women could easily find themselves able to understand the emotions and walk in the shoes of the persons described in the case studies.
Leadership for Peace is a collaborative project of Dominican Sisters of Peace and Ohio Dominican University in which the students learn peace building skills related to interpersonal negotiation and mediation, addressing injustices, and forgiveness and reconciliation. Professor Julie Hart teaches the three hour credit class.
Preparing for today's seminary class, I was going over the material from Cathy Hilkert's book Naming Grace: Preaching and the Sacramental Imagination, that I had assigned them to read. Immersed, too, in readings on the new cosmology with its emphasis on our connectedness to one another and all in the cosmos, the following paragraph from Cathy's book hit me with force. Preachers can and must preach that God is active in human history, but not in neat patterns or uninterrupted narratives. What is most amazing about the sacramental imagination also remains most troubling. The promise is given, the power is given, but the enfleshment of the vision in history depends on human beings. If preachers are to point to God's continued action in human history, the incarnational principle remains central: God is active in and through humankind.
"We have the best government money can buy." - Mark Twain
Just when we thought the Supreme Court had finished their work on dismantling responsible campaign finance reform with their Citizens United decision, they knock down all barriers to the distorting power of money in US elections. In their recent decision on McCutchen vs. Federal Elections Commission, they determined "the sky's the limit" when it comes to political donations. By chipping away at campaign finance regulations, the court has given billionaires and millionaires the loudest voice in politics.
The Dominican Sisters of Peace Midwest Mission Group had their spring meeting at the St. Catharine Motherhouse in Kentucky this past weekend. The day began cool and cloudy outside, but inside St.Catharine Hall a "Fire was burning" - the energy and enthusiasm was inspiring as we listened and learned from the morning presentation of Sr. Helen Cahill on "The Mystery of God in an Evolving Universe." She began with the question "Who is God and what is this God quest all about?" Then she developed the concept that the new cosmology challenges us to reinterpret our understanding of God as a nurturing partner in the continuing evolution of the Universe.
Recently I had the privilege of accompanying one of my Dominican Sisters of Peace to a family funeral. This Sister and I are an unlikely pair. She is over 90, wears the full Dominican Habit, grew up in the beautiful island of Puerto Rico, is bi-lingual, and can read St. Theresa de Avila in the original language. I am in my 40s, usually wear pants or a skirt, grew up in Virginia, only know a little Spanish, and have a great love for Celtic Christian Spirituality. We have been sisters and friends for more than 23 years.
The Akron Congregation is focusing this Lent on learning more about theology in relation to the new cosmological discoveries. Many of you may be watching the new episodes of Cosmos on the National Geographics channel. This series leads us to an understanding of the vastness - and that is a weak term! - of the universe. Robert Barron's description of God as somehow else not somewhere else, for me, becomes more and more real. I know of no other term to use for our God but awesome but it too is weak. Franciscan sister Ilia Delio, professor of religion and science and author of several books on cosmology and religion, speaks to this awesomeness in the following: "A foundational love undergirds all forms of evolution. God is not the divine mechanic above but the power of love within...God is beyond us, within us, around us...moving us to a new ultra humanity.