Saturday, April 16, 2005

Hope and Forgiveness: Politics & Religion

___"...if you believe "God doesn’t put any more on us than we can handle", but lately you’ve beginning to scratch your head and wonder, I’ve got some advice for you..."

Hope and Forgiveness: Politics & Religion

I want you to take a few moments to read this sermon about hope that was delivered by Rev. Chris Ayers of the Wedgewood Church in Charlotte, N.C. Rev. John Dear S.J., a Jesuit priest, theologian, peace activist, writer and speaker, appeared at a talk sponsored by Wedgewood and Belmont's Queen of The Apostles Catholic Church on Friday evening. He spoke on the topic of "The Road to Peace". (A current interview with Rev. Dear is at his website and will be published in US Catholic May 2005).

I am seeing more and more inter-religious activity to bring about social justice and this ties in with my blogpost about "hope", as well as "forgiveness". Queen of the Apostles has asked their Parish members: What can we do to bring PEACE to our world? One fairly recent suggestion has been a 'Prayer Vigil for Peace' at the Islamic Society of Gastonia,N.C. Representatives from Queen of Apostles were part of an inter-religious effort to protest the pre-emptive action in Iraq in 2003.

Another former Gastonian, Rev. Dr. Donald W. Shriver Jr. (Presbyterian), who graduated from Davidson College and Yale University Divinity School and earned a Ph.D. in religion and society at Harvard University, has said that "the test of social Justice is whether, despite profound differences, life-together triumphs over death-together - and that it is time for all three of the Abrahamic religions to reject the idea of killing in the name of God."

Shriver has also dared to speak, in the light of empathy between hostile groups and forgiveness, about the dehumanization of people who are classified as our nation's "enemies. Speaking about 9/11, he said, regarding the question on everyone's mind (mostly kept to themselves for a long period of time for fear of seeming unpatriotic):

"Why did they do that to us?"

Rev. Dr. Shriver has said:
"Patience to that question was in low repute after 9/11 in this country. The few citizens who asked for understanding of suicidal bombers got accused of excusing the crimes. One has to ask whether politically enacted suffering closes or opens the door to international empathy. Why does suffering imprison some people away from other people’s suffering, whereas for others, suffering opens the door to empathy with other peoples?" - LINK
Shriver believes that only in religion could we find the strong argument for forgiveness in politics. He challenges Christian churches to add prayers for the Iraqi citizens who die in much higher proportionate numbers than our own citizens. Who could argue that a "man (or woman) of the cloth" is not better able, in our society, to set these challenges than the secular citizen who is held suspect as unpatriotic when he or she sets the same challenges? Rev. Shriver has referred to philosopher Hannah Arendt, who has proposed a reckoning with the past that is a secular equivalent of forgiveness. Politicians who tell their constituents to forget about the past are asking some to forget pain and others to forget guilt. Yet, traumatic pain and guilt plant a time bomb in both the human psyche and political history. We found that out on 9/11. In an article titled "Bridging the Abyss of Revenge", Rev. Dr. Shriver has said:
"Until leaders, citizens and institutions do something about this past, their present and future relations are likely to be corrupted by undercurrents of hostility. As William Faulkner put it, men have "learned how to forget quick what they ain' t brave enough to try to cure." "Remember and repent" and "remember and forgive" are better mottoes for the restoration of political health than "Forgive and forget." - LINK
Don't forget to read that sermon about hope. We need all the hope we can get these days.


"Why aren't more Christians pacifists? I would call it idolatry. We really don't believe in the God of peace, the God who is going to protect us. Instead, we think that the government and these weapons will do that." - Rev. John Dear, S.J.

John Edwards: Second Podcast Soon

Second Podcast: John and Elizabeth Edwards Want Your Questions

In a message from John Edwards which has been posted to the One America website, we learn that a second Podcast is forthcoming. (Next week).

John Edwards says:
"Please remember to submit your questions for our podcast next week. Elizabeth and I look forward to hearing from you. I'll write more soon."

Questions can be sent here.
Don't be shy!
What issues are important to you?
What questions do you have for John and/or Elizabeth Edwards?


From a recent Moviehole interview with TV/Film star Ashton Kutcher:


KUTCHER: Well, it was sort of a Punk, but it sort of wasn't because it was real. I was campaigning in Minnesota and we were flying back to Iowa I think to do another thing. I was riding on his like Air Force One jet that they have with all the press in the back of the plane and John has his cushy area in front and the secret service is there. We were getting off of the plane and it was very, very strict with luggage checks and things, and they were actually checking luggage on the tarmac. And one of the secret service guys goes, 'Go ahead.' So I get on the plane and one of the secret service guys comes up to me and says, 'Is that your grey bag out there?' I said, 'Yeah.' He said, 'Is there any need for you to be carrying a firearm?' I said, 'No.' I'm immediately began going, 'I was speaking at an engagement and so I haven't had my bag.' He said, 'Well, you weren't hunting or anything like that?' I said, 'Why would I be hunting?!' He said, 'Well, we're going to have to detonate your bag on the runway.' I was like, 'Are you kidding?' I was like, 'Detonate it! I'm not trying to kill anyone, I promise. Detonate it. Do it! Please. I don't want it on the plane either.' Then they were like, 'You just got Punk'd.' I was like, 'That's not even fair. You're like actual Secret Service. You're not an actor. That doesn't count.' But they had a video camera taping it from the press place in the back. I'm trying to confiscate the videotape."

Syracuse Women Poets Read at CNY NOW Event at Delavan Center Gallery

Syracuse Women Poets Read at CNY NOW Event at Delavan Center Gallery

Poets, top to bottom; left to right: Georgia A. Popoff, Mary McLaughlin Slechta, Linda Tomol Pennisi, and Janine DeBaise (bottom)
photos by Jude Nagurney Camwell

NOW CNY/Syracuse -
Celebrate April With Poetry

The famous poet T.S.Eliot called April the "cruelest month". Since April is now poetry month, Eliot, were he still alive, might change his mind. What better time to have celebrated both women and poetry? CNY NOW presented four outstanding women poets reading their works about women last Thursday in the Delevan Center Gallery in Syracuse.

Georgia Popoff is a community poet, performer, educator, spoken word producer, and senior editor of The Comstock Review. A teaching poet in schools and the community, including the Downtown Writer's Center, the Syracuse chapter of the YMCA's national Writers' Voice program, she has appeared in numerous journals, anthologies, and web publications. Collections include Coaxing Nectar from Longing (Hale Mary Press, 1997), and Gold: The Greatest Hits 1998-2003 (Pudding House Press chapbook series). Georgia is also coordinator for Partners for Arts Education and a board member of the Association of Teaching Artists.

Mary McLaughlin Slechta's short fiction and poetry have appeared in many fine journals and anthologies. Buried Bones, a chapbook of poems, came out in 2004 by Foothills Publishing. She is a teacher and an associate editor with The Comstock Review.

Linda Tomol Pennisi lives in Syracuse where she teaches in the Creative Writing program at LeMoyne College. Her poems have appeared in journals such as The Evansville Review, Prarie Schooner, Bellingham Review, and many others. "Seamless", a collection of her poetry, came out in 2003. A former nurse, she earned her MFA in Writing from Vermont College. She received resounding applause after reading "Red Running Through It", a poem deeply rooted in the female experience, which can be read, in part, here.

Janine DeBaise teaches writing and literature at SUNY College of Forestry. Her poems have appeared in various literary journals. "Of A Feather, a collection of her poetry, came out in 2003. Here academic interests include ecofeminism, ecocriticism, and the intersection of science and literature. One of the poems she read was "Woven", which can be seen here.

Delavan Art Gallery, Syracuse, N.Y.
photo by Jude Nagurney Camwell

The Delavan Art Gallery is designed to be a highly flexible space with movable wall surfaces and excellent track lighting. It is an art sales facility that features the fine art of area artists in its best possible setting. The 3800 square feet of exhibit space is large enough to accommodate several uses at the same time. One of their selection criterion is geographic. For the time being they are limiting most of the work shown there to that produced by artists who live or work in Onondaga and surrounding counties. There are many fine artists in this area who have needed an appropriate setting for their work, and they seek, along with other galleries, to help fill that need. Currently, artwork by Ruth Wynn, Amy Haven, and Jamie Ashlaw are being showcased.