Franciscans Say Voting is a ‘Communal Decision-Making Process’ (Part II)

In the middle of this crazy election season, I’ve appreciated the thoughtful leadership of the Franciscans in how to approach difficult decisions.

The Franciscan Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation Directorate is presenting short pieces to help introduce particularly Franciscan and Catholic approaches to the decision-making process. (Click here for the first installment.)

I urge you to read the whole article. Here’s an excerpt from their second installment:

As Franciscans, we see voting as a communal decision-making process that eschews political slogans and mere intellectual abstractions or principles. Instead, it begins with a call to pay close attention to our experience, especially to our relationship with those who are powerless and marginalized. This unique path of discernment goes back to St. Francis of Assisi. Just as St. Francis of Assisi encountered Christ and his love in the embrace of the leper, we as Franciscan-hearted people are invited to embrace the excluded of today and speak for those who are not able to speak for themselves (Proverbs 31:8-9).

Now more than ever, our love for Christ and all the powerless and vulnerable who bear his image impels us to bring their voices to the public square. To do this, it is incumbent upon us to ask critical questions and identify the processes by which so many of our brothers and sisters are being impoverished and excluded. Our desire for integrity and the all-embracing vision of God’s love calls us to transcend the blind spots and biases of any political party with its ideologies.

As we work to this end, we hope that in the silence of our hearts, made more open by compassion, we can behold the beauty of all God’s creation, especially the children who are victims of abortion, the children who live and die in abject poverty, the elderly, the immigrants, the victims of injustice, violence and war, and the homeless, the sick and the unemployed.

Read the rest of Franciscans Are Not ‘Party Animals’ (Part II)

Women and Their Stories: Alicia Keyes and Bonnie Raitt Sing Etta James

Here’s my vote for the best moment of the 2012 Grammys (with all due respect to Jennifer Hudson’s tribute to Whitney Houston and to the amazing voice of Adele).

I want a Sunday kind of love
A love to last past Saturday night
And I’d like to know
It’s more than love at first sight
And I want a Sunday kind of love
Oh yeah, yeah

I want a, a love that’s on the square
Can’t seem to find somebody
Someone to care
And I’m on a lonely road
That leads to nowhere
I need a Sunday kind of love

I do my Sunday dreaming, oh yeah
And all my Sunday scheming
Every minute, every hour, every day
Oh, I’m hoping to discover
A certain kind of lover
Who will show me the way

And my arms need someone
Someone to enfold
To keep me warm when Mondays and Tuesdays grow cold
Love for all my life to have and to hold
Oh and I want a Sunday kind of love
Oh yeah, yeah, yeah

I don’t want a Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday
Or Thursday, Friday or Saturday
Oh nothing but Sunday, oh yeah
I want a Sunday Sunday
I want a Sunday kind of love, oh yeah
Sunday, Sunday, Sunday kind of love

Have You Done Your ‘State of the Union’ Homework?

Tonight, President Obama is slated to “go populist” on America in his third State of the Union address. Insiders say he’s going to lay out a “blueprint for an economy that’s built to last.”

The speech will continue a theme President Obama laid out in Kansas last month – that in today’s economy the game has been rigged against the nation’s middle class.

On December 6, Obama gave an important and revealing speech in Osawatomie, Kansas — the best we’ve heard from him since the campaign trail. Building on Theodore Roosevelt’s New Nationalism language from Roosevelt’s Aug. 31, 1910, speech in Osawatomie honoring abolitionist John Brown, Obama reprises his platform of populist economics. But Obama is not yet Roosevelt. (See The Osawatomie Speech: Obama and Roosevelt.)

“We grudge no man a fortune in civil life if it is honorably obtained and well used. It is not even enough that it should have gained without doing damage to the community,” Roosevelt said in his speech. “We should permit it to be gained only so long as the gaining represents benefit to the community.”

Before watching tonight’s State of the Union address, read up on its historical context. Read Roosevelt’s original speech and President Obama’s December address. Here are some quotes from both:

“One of the chief factors in progress is the destruction of special privilege. The essence of any struggle for healthy liberty has always been, and must always be, to take from some one man or class of men the right to enjoy power, or wealth, or position, or immunity, which has not been earned by service to his or their fellows.”–President Theodore Roosevelt

“Long before the recession hit, hard work stopped paying off for too many people. Fewer and fewer of the folks who contributed to the success of our economy actually benefited from that success. Those at the very top grew wealthier from their incomes and their investments – wealthier than ever before. But everybody else struggled with costs that were growing and paycheques that weren’t – and too many families found themselves racking up more and more debt just to keep up.”–President Barack Obama

Continue reading “Have You Done Your ‘State of the Union’ Homework?”