Stories I’ve Found, 9/14/2012

Interesting stories I’ve found lately:

How the Lord’s Prayer Saved a 9/11 Survivor  is the harrowing tale of John Mahoney’s escape from the World Trade Center, and how the Lord’s Prayers sustained him that day. The Lord’s Prayer is the best prayer in my book, the model of all prayers both and form and attitude, and where I turn more frequently than any other prayer.

A Muslim’s Prayer on the Anniversary of 9/11  by Omar Safi says it all. Profound and simple, I couldn’t do better.

Immigration reform isn’t on many agendas, and yet I think it’s essential. I’m glad my church was part of this ecumenical conference.

I despaired finding a usable story about the recent violence in the Middle East around the hate film about the Prophet Mohammand, but Omar Safi lays the confusing issues out very well in his article, 12 Essential points about the offensive film on the Prophet Muhammad, and the subsequent reactions in Libya & Egypt. I’ve seen a lot of emotional reaction on Facebook and other quarters over these events, and I would hasten to say emotions always get us into trouble if we react rather than listen and think.

A story about the progress toward rebuilding the torched mosque in Joplin and the response of the broader faith community to the challenge of loving their neighbors.  I would say that there is hope here, although the story from the Middle East of the past few days doesn’t indicate we’re really learning anything as a people about living together in peace.

I think we need to remember this time in our history when Americans justified terror as an expression of what we thought was Right and was God’s justice.  It’s easy to think we’ve grown beyond that, but I don’t believe basic human nature has changed since the beginning of recorded history (name a deadly sin or impulse we’ve really outgrown), and just as our entertainment isn’t that far from the bloodsport and cruelty of the Roman Colosseum, we still aren’t far away from pulling someone we feel threatened by from their homes in the dead of night to murder them. These days CAN return.

Life on other planets? Bill Tammeus offers some reflections. One of the links asks 2 questions:

1.) Do you think we are alone in the universe?
2.) If we are not alone, what implications does that have for religious belief?

My take:

1.) Absolutely not. Why would a profoundly creative and prolific God stop with one intelligent planet? Although Captain Kirk probably said about this place; “Beam me up, Scotty. There’s no intelligent life here.”

2.) As far as my faith, none. A God that creates other worlds would probably have found a way to show himself to the other species in ways best for them. When we’re in contact with them, their experience with the Divine will probably add to the depth and richness to our encounter with God.

The story of the first American Catholic bishop convicted for failing to report an abuser is very close to home.  I’ve spent a great deal of my adult life ministering in the Kansas City/St. Joseph diocese, both as a layperson and a priest, and it’s where I am again. There’s a lot of stories out there about the situation: I’ve read a lot of them and I don’t have a particular place to point you, you can find more than enough with a Google search.  Horror and sadness are two things I feel whenever it comes up, as well as incredulity that such actions could be inflicted and hidden.  The pain in the pews generally felt around this area echoes inside me.  That being said, I wouldn’t wish Bishop Finn’s situation on my worst enemy; although his model of church isn’t mine, wouldn’t want my poor choices to be held up to the same vilification his have, and my personal experience of him is not that of a callous, calculating, unfeeling person.  However complete or incomplete you feel his expressions of apology and regret are, I believe they are genuine. I plan to talk about Reconciliation on Wednesday, and look forward in hope to a time when it can happen here, when we can live our way to a New Creation.

P.S. 12:00 Noon, Friday the 14.  This article came up on the Get Religion blog aiming to dispel Myths about Muslims.  All those seeking the truth about the current situation in the Middle East in today’s news will find this story and those it links helpful.

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