Monday, August 22, 2016

Frederick Buechner Quote of the Day - 8/21/2016


One of the many ways that we are attracted to each other is sexually. We want to touch and be touched. We want to give and receive pleasure with our bodies. We want to know each other in our full nakedness, which is to say in our full humanness, and in the moment of passion to become one with each other. Whether it is our own gender or the other that we are chiefly attracted to seems a secondary matter. There is a female element in every male just as there is a male element in every female, and most people, if they're honest, will acknowledge having been at one time or another attracted to both. 

To say that morally, spiritually, humanly, homosexuality is always bad seems as absurd as to say that in the same terms heterosexuality is always good, or the other way round. It is not the object of our sexuality that determines its value but the inner nature of our sexuality. If (a) it is as raw as the coupling of animals, at its worst it demeans us and at its best still leaves our deepest hunger for each other unsatisfied. If (b) it involves some measure of kindness, understanding, and affection as well as desire, it can become an expression of human love in its fullness and can thus help to complete us as humans. Whatever our sexual preference happens to be, both of these possibilities are always there. It's not whom you go to bed with or what you do when you get there that matters so much. It's what besides sex you are asking to receive, and what besides sex you are offering to give.

Here and there the Bible condemns homosexuality in the sense of (a), just as under the headings of adultery and fornication it also condemns heterosexuality in the sense of (a). On the subject of homosexuality in the sense of (b), it is as silent as it is on the subject of sexuality generally in the sense of (b). The great commandment is that we are to love one another — responsibly, faithfully, joyfully — and presumably the biblical view is implied in that.

Beyond that, "Love is strong as death," sings Solomon in his song. "Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it" (Song of Solomon 8:6-7). Whoever you are and whoever it is you desire, the passion of those lines is something you are quick to recognize. 

                                                              ~originally published in Whistling in the Dark and later in Beyond Words 

Friday, August 19, 2016

Catholics Recommit to Bridge Building After Orlando Tragedy

Lay people and religious have offered some compassionate models of how this reconciling work can be done. For instance, the Sisters of St. Agnes in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin organized a vigil shortly after Orlando. Sister Sally Brickner told the Fond du Lac Reporter that 150 vigil attendees “really do feel that discrimination is wrong . . . hate crimes are wrong.” This vigil was the most well attended of any which the sisters have held for other causes, revealing both the deep need for such an action by a Catholic group. Read more.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Racial Justice Tipping Point Training

Join concerned citizens of Fond du Lac for a a fast-paced and energizing training on racial justice. The WI Network for Peace and Justice's Racial Justice Tipping Point Team will present on the realities of racism in WI and ways to address stereo-typing and prejudice at the personal and institutional levels.

Donation: $20 to the Sisters of St. Agnes, JPIC Office, 320 County Road K, Fond du Lac, WI 54937 (for the presenters, handouts and lunch). 

Major sponsors include the Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes, CSA Sponsorship Ministry, Marian University's Social Justice Committee, and Agnesian HealthCare

Partners in Fond du Lac: The Humanity Project, Ebony Vision, United for Diversity, OCCUF-Earth Justice Now, Holy Family Catholic Community, and Bread of Life Church. 

Online registration available for Racial Justice Tipping Point.

STOP Trafficking - August Issue

This issue highlights the results of global corporate business models that utilize supply chains to decrease costs and increase profits at the expense of workers. August Issue.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Trafficking in Persons Report 2016

Each year the US State Department is required under the Traffic Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA) to issue a report on actions by governments to prevent human trafficking, protect victims, and prosecute perpetrators. This year’s report focuses on vulnerabilities to trafficking and how governments are working to address those vulnerabilities: sexual and gender orientation, disability, religious affiliation, statelessness, migration due to conflict, etc. Though statistics are difficult to gather, on a global level the number of prosecutions of traffickers has increased. Still, the $150 billion dollar “industry” is thriving, according to Secretary of State John Kerry, and each of us must do his/her part to end human trafficking. 

In the July issue of Stop Trafficking, Sister Jean Schaefer provides a preview of the report.  But you are encouraged to look inside the report itself, and especially at the country reviews for Nicaragua (Tier 2, pp 286-288) and for the USA (Tier 1, pp 387-393). Sadly, Nicaragua has lost ground because the government has not been implementing legislation. Nicaragua’s neighbor, Costa Rica, is on a Tier 2 “Watch List,” meaning it could be downgraded to Tier 3 next year. As a neighbor of Nicaragua, its country profile may be of interest as well.

Another action we can take is to advocate for Safe Harbor protection for victims of trafficking in the states where we reside. 

Friday, July 15, 2016

Circle the City With Love

As the Republican National Convention convenes in Cleveland during the coming week, thousands of people plan to gather on Sunday afternoon, July 17th, to “Circle the City With Love.” The goal is to set a positive and respectful tone that will counter some of the harsh rhetoric that has been so rampant during the primary season. The action was initiated by the Congregation of St. Joseph. One need not be in Cleveland to join in solidarity with the action.