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Feast Day of Hildegard of Bingen

hildegard

God is eternal, and eternity is fire,
and that is God.
And God is not hidden, no silent fire,
but an acting fire.
The Holy Spirit is life-giving life,
Mover of the universe and root of all created being.
She cleans the universe of unfairness,
she repays the debt, and she anoints the wounds.
She is brilliant life, worthy of praise
She breathes and again inspires the universe.
Hildegard of Bingen

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Eve Tetaz, 83, was found not guilty on Tuesday, Sept.16, in De Witt Town Court for her protest opposing Reaper Drone war crimes at 174th Attack Wing at Hancock Air Base near Syracuse, N.Y.

I’ve spend many extremely hot or bone-chillingly cold hours with Eve sitting in the back of police vans. She’s a wonderful soul. And Mark Goldstone is one of the heroes of the D.C. legal community. I’m a huge fan! He’s helped so many of us press our points in the court and helped us use the law to improve our country.

According to reports:

Immediately after Onondaga County prosecutor Jordan McNamara rested his case against D.C. peace and justice activist Eve Tetaz, DeWitt town judge David Gideon granted Ms Tetaz’ motion to dismiss. Ms Tetaz represented herself pro se with the support of D.C. attorney Mark Goldstone.

Ms. Tetaz had been arrested on April 28, 2013, along with 30 others as she stood reading aloud the Preamble to the UN Charter and the First Amendment of the Constitution on the edge of the driveway leading into the Hancock Reaper drone base. The prosecution’s video of Ms Tetaz’ arrest showed the arresting officer grabbing those documents from her hands and tossing them aside.

[click to continue…]

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Teresa of Calcutta: On Kindness

Mother-Teresa“Be kind! Be the loving expression of God’s kindness: kindness in your eyes, kindness in your face, kindness in your smile, kindness in your warm greetings. I believe that the way in which an act of kindness is done is as important as the act itself.”–Teresa of Calcutta

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Photo by Rose Marie Berger

Photo by Rose Marie Berger

Paul Vallely, director of UK’s The Tablet, an international Catholic weekly, wrote a great piece (A Church for the Poor, New York Times, 9/4/14) about Pope Francis bringing Liberation Theology back from its Cold War exile. Here’s an excerpt:

“Pope Francis grabbed headlines recently when he announced that Rome had lifted the block on sainthood for Archbishop Óscar Romero of San Salvador, who was shot dead while saying Mass in 1980. But much less attention was given to another of the pope’s actions, one that underscores a significant shift inside the Vatican under the first Latin American pope in the history of the Roman Catholic Church.

Archbishop Romero was assassinated after speaking out in favor of the poor during an era when right-wing death squads stalked El Salvador under an American-backed, military-led government in the 1970s and ’80s. For three decades Rome blocked his path to sainthood for fear that it would give succor to the proponents of liberation theology, the revolutionary movement that insists that the Catholic Church should work to bring economic and social — as well as spiritual — liberation to the poor.

Under Pope Francis that obstacle has been removed. The pope now says it is important that Archbishop Romero’s beatification — the precursor to becoming a saint — “be done quickly.”

Read Paul Vallely’s whole piece.

Learn more about Archbishop Romero’s Christian courage and martyrdom here.

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Catholic Sisters are Redefining Leadership

TurkeyCartoonBy Rose Marie Berger

A new model of leadership that’s been refined in the fires of change and conflict is emerging from U.S. religious women.

In June, the Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies, along with Solidarity with Sisters, invited 150 people to Catholic University for an opportunity to discuss the model of leadership that has developed in Catholic women’s communities around the world over the last 50 years since Vatican II. The event coincided with the release of Spiritual Leadership for Challenging Times, an anthology of 10 addresses given by Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) presidents.

Catholic sisters are emerging as leaders ahead of their times. From Sister Simone Campbell, SSS, and Nuns on the Bus to Catholic Health Association CEO Sister Carol Keehan, DC, who helped pass the Affordable Care Act, to former LCWR president Sister Pat Farrell, OSF, who practiced authentic spiritual leadership in the face of the Vatican’s ongoing investigation of that organization (an investigation that Pope Francis should have laid quietly to rest, but has not), religious women are getting notice for their thoughtful, faithful leadership in the face of withering criticism and their own communities’ dramatic changes. ….(Sojourners, Sept-Oct 2014)

Read the rest here or subscribe.

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Video: Ferguson When the Cameras Go Home

Hands Up from HandsUpUnited on Vimeo.

Thank you to all the brave folks who walked the streets of Ferguson these past few weeks. Thank you for representing millions of us who couldn’t be there physically.

The question on everyone’s mind is: Is Ferguson a moment or a movement?

The answer: That’s up to you. Ferguson is everywhere – in every community in this country. The justice revolution starts when the cameras go home.

What will you do to end police brutality, mass incarceration, and dismantle racist policies and practices of implicit bias in your community today?

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Watch this 4 minute video to see how you can turn your church parking lot into a water conservation project. Learn how to adopt a storm drain. Cut down on your impermeable surface payments with rain gardens. Cut down on your water bills with rainwater recovery systems.

Caring for creation is a core value of most religions and water is symbolic in most faith traditions. See what congregations are doing to reduce polluted runoff to their local rivers and streams. These houses of worship are doing their fair share to reduce polluted run-off and in many cases, the environmental projects are defining their missions. If this diverse group of Christian and Jewish communities in Maryland can do it, then so can you!

Find out more at Riverwise Congregations.
Learn about Watershed Discipleship.

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John Chrysostom: Belief and Action

IMG_0970“Belief and faith are proved by works, not simply by saying that one believes, but by real actions that are kept up and by a heart burning with love.”–St. John Chrysostom (347–407 AD)

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Abbot Phillip

Abbot Phillip

“Spiritual life is the life that we live every day. It is not something apart from our daily lives. Jesus told us in the Gospels that it is not what goes into a person that defiles a person, but that which comes out of the heart. He was talking about food taboos in His own time but the words help us understand that we must live from the heart and be aware of what comes forth from our hearts. In some traditions, the heart is the place of feelings. In other traditions the heart is the place where feelings and thoughts come together. It is this meaning that I use. We can call this place the heart, the center of our being, our soul — or whatever. In each of us there is a center from which we live. Part of growing up is discovering that center and learning how to live from the center of our being. As we grow, we can come to recognize that not all feelings help us live well and neither do all thoughts. We recognize that actions have results and that not all the results of our actions help us live well.”–Abbot Philip, Christ in the Desert Monastery

Read Abbot Philip’s entire reflection.

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Frederick_Douglass_portrait_900x6002

In the daily gospel reading for August 26, Jesus says in Matthew:

“‘Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint, dill, and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. It is these you ought to have practised without neglecting the others. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel! ‘Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup, so that the outside also may become clean.’”–Matthew 23:23-26

Rejecting any interpretation of this passage that leads to Jew-hating, instead I suggest this is an analysis of unjust power — and all unjust power needs religious cover.

Art by Clifton W. Carter Jr.

Art by Clifton W. Carter Jr.

In today’s reading from “Slaveholding Religion and the Religion of Christ,” in the appendix to Narrative of the Life of Fredrick Douglass, An American Slave by Frederick Douglass (American Anti-Slavery Society: Boston, 1845), Douglass says:

“Between the Christianity of this land, and the Christianity of Christ, I recognize the widest possible difference.”

“I love the pure, peaceable, and impartial Christianity of Christ: I therefore hate the corrupt, slaveholding, women-whipping, cradle-plundering, partial and hypocritical Christianity of this land.”

“Dark and terrible as is this picture, I hold it to be strictly true of the overwhelming mass of professed Christians in America. They strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel. Could any thing be more true of our churches?”

“They attend with Pharisaical strictness to the outward forms of religion, and at the same time neglect the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith.”–Frederick Douglass

Which religion has claimed you — the unjust power of the slaveholding religion or that of following Christ Jesus?

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