prophets take to the streets

womens-march-logo

Now, more then ever, prophets are needed to stand by and hold the new leader(s) to task. Like biblical prophets of old, women and men are being called to make life hell for leaders who ignore the down-trodden while languishing in comfort and plenty. Prophets are needed to preach mercy above judgment, compassion over tyranny, and economic fairness before unbridled wealth. (catholic dialogue, November 14, 2016)

I spent January 20th in a funk. A deep funk. I avoided the news, not wanting to see or hear the inauguration of a man I had already spent too much energy loathing; too much time writing about. What more was there to say? Hope was a fleeting dream. The world seemed a darker place.

Then came January 21st.

I had read about the planned Women’s March with excitement, but couldn’t shake the pessimistic funk. It would probably be fewer than expected, I thought, giving more reason for the new president to gloat over his victory.

I cautiously opened up my Twitter account early in the morning. It was already filled with positive energy. Stories and photos circulated from around the world. The news began pouring in of larger than expected crowds. I watched with pride as women and men gathered in Winnipeg to show solidarity with marchers in the US. I regretted not being there myself.

I read tweets from women and men I followed in Rome, Boston, Washington and beyond. I felt like I was there. I rejoiced as the crowds grew. I breathed a prayer of thanks as the protests remained peaceful until the end. It was a glorious example of non-violent resistance.

Some naysayers, pointing to the more aggressive signs, criticized the lack of politeness of some marchers. Really??? This was especially ironic, considering the lack of respect and basic manners of the person the marchers were protesting against. Besides, the days of women as meek and mild handmaidens is long past.

I thought the signs showed brilliant creativity and humour.

Satire is one of the most effective political weapons. Being laughed at can often deflate egos quicker than anger.

Others criticized the seeming lack of a unified message in the marchers. This, I thought, was one of its greatest benefits and a lesson to be taken to heart.

Solidarity amid diversity is a powerful tool. The gathering of many smaller voices into one great call for change CAN make a difference.

The big question being asked now is, what next? I believe that the Women’s March has laid a strong foundation for speaking truth to power. Hopefully it will energize and affirm many more women and men to take on the mantle of prophet, to poke and prod those in power to ensure that they work for justice and peace for all.

 

 

 

election day pondering and prayer

The world is waiting with baited breath as our American friends cast their votes. It’s no secret who the majority of Canadians would vote for. For many of us, the choice seems so blatantly obvious. We scratch our heads in wonderment that the presidential race is so close. Nail bitingly, stomach churningly, head poundingly close. After a combined spending total of 1.7 BILLION dollars, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are basically in a dead heat.

Long after the votes are counted, issues surrounding this election will remain. The blatant economic power of the 1% who found and fund Super Pacs in hopes of safe-guarding their own financial interests. Those American Bishops who threatened candidates and the eternal souls of women and men in the pews if they did not follow their voting agenda. The exorbitant cost and abuse of time, treasure and talents expended in discerning and choosing leadership.

Perhaps the polarization of this campaign will be a wake-up call to seek real change. In the meantime, we watch and wait. And, we pray.

Sr. Joan Chittister, OSB offers this wonderful prayer.

Give us, O God,
leaders whose hearts are large enough
to match the breadth of our own souls
and give us souls strong enough
to follow leaders of vision and wisdom.

In seeking a leader, let us seek
more than development for ourselves–
though development we hope for–
more than security for our own land–
though security we need–
more than satisfaction for our wants–
though many things we desire.

Give us the hearts to choose the leader
who will work with other leaders
to bring safety
to the whole world.

Give us leaders
who lead this nation to virtue
without seeking to impose our kind of virtue
on the virtue of others.

read and pray more….

disasters and the myth of self-sufficiency

image from money.cnn.com

I have friends from all along the north-east coast of the USA and in Ontario and Quebec. I’m glued to the news coverage of Hurricane Sandy. The devastation is horrible to imagine, even more horrible to watch. During these late days of election campaigning, it is good to see the candidates respect the enormity of the situation. All of a sudden, campaign rallies seem trivial.

A natural disaster is a wake-up call and reminder to acknowledge the many heroes in our midst. The true heroes include the men and women who staff emergency measures offices around our countries, preparing for worst case scenarios. Thank God for their expertise in evacuating large populations, monitoring situations and setting the gears of emergency relief into place. And, thank God for all the first responders who risk their own lives to save others; fire-fighters, paramedics, police officers, doctors and nurses, and many more. And, thank God for the utilities workers who work in the most adverse conditions to restore power where outages have occurred.

While politics is put aside in these critical days, one can’t avoid thinking of the financial cost to have emergency systems in place; government money, tax money. I have a son who is a fire-fighter and paramedic. I know the intense, ongoing training that is required to stay up to date and prepared for all possible scenarios. I understand the massive expense required to purchase and maintain equipment that might sit idle for months on end, but is critical when disaster strikes.

When one family experiences a tragedy, the community rallies to support them. When tragedy befalls entire populations and communities, we need strong, well-funded emergency measures programs to respond quickly, efficiently and effectively. And, we need disaster relief funds to house and feed all those who are displaced, and to help them rebuild their lives.

In the midst of a wide-scale tragedy, the myth of self-sufficiency quickly evaporates. Some are happy to fund armies but denounce the funding of other governmental programs. Nature has the power to unleash some mighty wars. Thank the good God above when trained and qualified troops of emergency personnel are in place to respond.