Life is a Mystery

2 May 2008 . Comments Off on Mr. Fish on Wright

Mr. Fish on Wright

The things that make me laugh also make me realize I lie far outside the mainstream. Sigh.

27 March 2008 . Comments Off on A different right wing

A different right wing

Jill Bolte Taylor describes her brain to us. Vividly, since she is a brain scientist, dramatically, since she experienced a stroke, compellingly, since that stroke quieted the chatter of her left brain and left her in the “la la land” of her right brain.

Who am I? Why do I choose to be as I am?

UPDATE: An article in the NYT today.

23 March 2008 . Comments Off on Happy Easter

Happy Easter

Does it seem early for the Easter bunny to be hopping by? We went to a wonderful Easter vigil service at St. Kate’s last night, but walking out it felt far more like Christmas than Easter. We have six new inches of snow on the ground. And today, Easter Sunday, the snow is still falling!

Why? It turns out that Easter is historically early this year:

Unless you’re 95, Easter 2008 is earlier than you’ve ever seen it.

And unless you live until 2160, you’ll never see it this early again.

Easter falling on March 23 is unusual, historic, notable — and in some cases, annoying.

So happy early Easter!

18 March 2008 . Comments Off on I am here because of Ashley

I am here because of Ashley

Barack Obama today asked us to care for one another in a political speech that illuminated race in this country as none other in decades. Please, whoever you support for President, if you live in the US give this speech 40 minutes of your time.

You can find the text here.

Obama accepts the contradictions of life, he owns them. He does not back away from his family (including Rev. Wright) just because they have an ugly aspect. Yet he call on himself and all of us to do better. I find myself asking: Can I accept this call?

I have no idea if we can really elect this man to the Presidency. But I am so thankful we have elevated him enough to make his voice heard even now. And if we can elect him, I hope it means that we can learn to elect, with open eyes, other imperfect souls trying to make the world a better place without forcing them to masquerade as infallible. For this is leadership: not taking us where we say we want to go, but showing us where we really need to go.

Sigh. Of course, looking at comments from our best of friends, it is clear that we can be terribly blind to good intentions.

17 March 2008 . Comments Off on Suspended between the old politics and the new

Suspended between the old politics and the new

These past few weeks I’ve begun to read Andrew Sullivan’s blog, The Daily Dish. Sullivan writes for The Atlantic, and it says much for this publication that it values the mix of his many contradictions. (Side note, I couldn’t be prouder of James Bennet, someone I played with as a kid, who has grown up to become an extraordinary journalist and the editor of The Atlantic.)

Sullivan looks forward to the speech Obama plans to give tomorrow.

I would think much, much less of him if he disowned a spiritual guide because of that man’s explicable if inexcusable resort to paranoia and racial separatism and anger. And I would think much, much less of Obama if he had never opened himself to this subculture and its fears, hopes and resentments. That he has done all this – while still attempting to reform and explain it – is a remarkable achievement. Maybe America is not ready for this bridge, for these contradictions, for this complexity. But the promise of Obama is that his campaign appears poised to show that America is ready for this – and the immense healing it would bring.

And so we are suspended between the old politics and the new, between a Clinton who believes in her heart that America is not ready and may never be ready for this leap and should therefore adopt a politics that assumes the ineradicability of this gulf and the need to disguise it and play cynical defense – and an Obama who offers all of us a chance to see that sometimes authentic identity requires an element of contradiction, a bridging of the resentful, angry past and a more complex, integrated future.

He may fail; and the Clintons may be proven right. But he may also succeed – and what a mighty success that would be. These things are never easy; and we were lulled perhaps into an illusion that they could be. So now the real struggle starts. And it will not end with an Obama presidency; it ends with a shift from below that makes an Obama presidency possible.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve disagreed with my pastors, sometimes enough to walk out on them, almost never enough to walk out on the community around them. Recently I have walked out, finally bent past breaking by a deceitful man shepherding our parish. Rev. Wright said some things worth challenging and throwing back at him, but from what I’ve read and seen he said many more things that would nourish my soul and keep me coming back if I lived in his neighborhood. I love the thought of a President who can hold such tensions in his spirit and still lead with hope and vision.

17 March 2008 . Comments Off on In the name of

In the name of

Late in February the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (remember the inquisition?) promulgated a statement from the Vatican clarifying that anyone baptized with the wrong words has not been baptized at all. The wrong words include “in the name of the Creator, and of the Redeemer, and of the Sanctifier.” The right words seem to be only “in the name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit.”

I am so sad about the state of my church. I can’t imagine God gives a hoot which words are used as long as the parents’ and community’s hearts are in the right place. What a shame that we spend our time arguing trivia instead of building a better world. With ruling like this, is it any surprise that we have fewer and fewer priests willing to put on the straightjacket?

Even sadder, I find, are the number of my fellow Catholics who egg on the hierarchy, tormenting them with endless pinpricks of complaint about how our precious tradition is being violated. I am tired, this is not church, this is third grade.

Eric Celeste / Saint Paul, Minnesota / 651.323.2009 / efc@clst.org