The American government shut-down continues, and the blaming game is raging. As I mentioned in my previous blog post, the Affordable Care Act is a no-brainer. Maybe it’s the Canadian in me, but I believe that access to medical care is a right not a privilege.
I also believe that it is the duty of government to give a hand-up to those who have slipped through the cracks of our economy. Socialism is not a swear word. Yes, those government programs are supported with my tax dollars but guess what? I’m cool with that. It’s the way it should be. Hubby and I work hard, but we are rewarded with a comfortable life-style. There are too many women and men who work hard – very hard- and are not able to make ends meet. There are too many children born into poor or damaged families through no fault of their own. They simply pulled the short straw in the baby lottery.
I don’t believe that anyone can make it if they just try hard enough. Sometimes life deals you too many bad hands, and the chances of winning the big one are as slim as being the next lottery millionaire. When this happens, you should not be sentenced to a life of hunger, homelessness, poor education, and no access to basic medical care. I believe that dependence can be transformed into independence when the basic rights of life are met.
I’m firm in these beliefs. For me, they are non-negotiable. So, how does one negotiate in this situation?
This blog is all about dialogue; finding the truth in between the black and white views that polarize our church and our society. Watching the stale-mate to the south of us challenges my belief that all differences can be solved through negotiation and civil dialogue. How do I dialogue when I truly believe that the other is wrong? When does a situation go beyond negotiation? When is it time to dig our heels in and stand up for what is right, and not back down?
This is not America’s finest hour. After an embarrassing show of pig-headed politics, the government is shut down.
While politicians rail against dictators in foreign lands, they have become bullies in their own governmental chambers. The current attempt by a fringe group of Tea Party Republicans to hold the Affordable Care Act hostage to the passing of the budget is a childish tactic seen too often on playgrounds around the world. I want my own way, and will do anything I can to get it including threatening, pushing, shoving and withholding what is rightly yours. Shouting replaces dialogue as heels are dug in for the fight. Saving face is more important than seeking an equitable solution; a solution that responds to the needs of the greater good.
Sadly, leadership by bullying has also been present in the church. The American Bishops lost credibility for their aggressive stance against the Affordable Care Act. Health coverage for all took second seat to their voracious fight against birth control coverage.
Our own health care system is far from perfect. Currently, our rural town is suffering from a doctor shortage. Health care at no cost means nothing if there are no doctors to provide it. Yes, waiting times for tests and surgeries are a problem. But, we keep our politicians’ feet to the fire to make the system better and more efficient. We see health care as a right, not a privilege for the few.
Leadership by bullying is not leadership. At a time when we are becoming more sensitive to the horrible effects of bullying, we should expect more from those who have been elected or appointed to serve the people.
One of my (many) grumbles is the extravagance of some of our church buildings. I have little respect for the “decorator priests” who come flying into a parish and begin renovating or pushing grand building schemes – all on the backs of the parishioners. I’m not talking about necessary maintenance or structural work, but of the ego-centered attempts to leave a personal stamp on “their” church. It’s been happening for centuries from small villages to the halls of the Vatican. Perhaps with our new pope’s call to be a simpler, poorer church we should be reconsidering these building projects.
Here’s a piece I just wrote for the Prairie Messenger on this topic….
To all the good souls who are kind enough to follow this blog (if you’re still out there!)…..
I was losing steam this past spring, and decided to be more intentional in grabbing lots of ‘holy leisure’ this summer. Time away can be energizing and revitalizing. Hubby and I had a glorious July and August, splitting our time between the lake and the office. So good, in fact, that I began having visions and dreams of retirement. Wouldn’t it be glorious??? We headed out on the Labour Day weekend to enjoy one last summer bash. On the Saturday afternoon, we received a call from one of our employees. There was a bigger bash happening back home. Someone had driven a car into our dental office!
It seems that a novice driver was still learning the subtle difference between the brake, the accelerator, and the forward and reverse gears. My cell phone began ringing off the hook with texts, calls and offers to help. By the time we made the three hour trek home, the frontage had been secured. We owe a debt of gratitude to friends and family who dropped everything on a holiday weekend to help us out. Thanks to a friend who is also an ace contractor, a temporary facing and door was installed so our office could stay open while we waited for the permanent renovations. All was good. We headed out on the Friday, joking with the staff about having a drama-free weekend. It was not to be…
The next day, I was driving hubby to the city for emergency surgery for a detached retina; a mere week after the office crash. Really God???? Are you kidding me???? All of a sudden, visions of retirement turned to a very real possibility. I could still do my work with some impaired vision in one eye – but I don’t do the detailed, fine-motor work required of dentists. Again….dear Lord…what were you thinking????
It’s been almost three weeks since the surgery. Hubby is still recovering. The prayers and love of many are supporting us through the unknown. Each day, his eye looks and feels a wee bit better. All we can do is wait to see how much vision is restored. There is reason to hope that all will be well….
Yesterday, I wrote a blog post for NCR in response to a Washington Post article titled What Catholic women want.
Thank you to my friend, Mary, who then led me to a wonderful blog post written by Margaret Felice; 7 Things this Catholic woman wants. Margaret speaks to my heart, sharing the same issues but verbalizing them with a brilliance I envy!
If we are to have a deeper theology of women, as Pope Francis has requested, we need to begin with a sharing of experiences, visions and dreams. So…..what do you want?
Here’s some great news from the National Catholic Reporter…
The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation has awarded a grant of $2.3 million over three years that will allow the National Catholic Reporter Publishing Co. to embark on a groundbreaking project to give greater voice to countless Catholic sisters around the globe. With the use of the Hilton Foundation grant, NCR plans to build a network of editors and reporters not only to write about women religious, but to help them develop their own communication skills by working with them as columnists who report their own missions and challenges.
NCR has consistently show their support for women religious, especially during the stressful Vatican investigations and the ensuing (dubious) judgments of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. Receiving this grant not only affirms the work of NCR, it also allows them to deepen their commitment in sharing the good news and good works of our Catholic sisters.
Inequalities continue to exist in our church and world. One of these inequalities is access to effective public relations and communications. Larger religious orders and dioceses are able to promote their missions, thereby increasing the necessary support to keep those missions alive. Smaller communities cannot. The Hilton grant will help greatly in both networking among the religious communities, and in allowing us all to better know and support them.
I’m just a light-weight blogger for NCR, but I’m proud as punch to be part of their team. Cheers and congrats to all at the National Catholic Reporter, the Hilton Foundation, and our women religious. I’m so looking forward to all the good that will come from this wonderful project!
A couple of years ago I wrote a blog post on the image of sheep. I can’t remember when I first heard the line or who said it, but it’s had me chuckling and nodding in agreement ever since.
The problem with some shepherds is that they think we are dumb sheep.
This week I followed up on this theme in a blog post for The National Catholic Reporter. I have hopes in our new head shepherd. Pope Francis not only shows himself to be a leader that encourages dialogue and going out to the people, but he is encouraging other bishops to do the same.