Friday, April 16, 2010

Manya Brachear! Meet Father Robert Sirico - Catholic and Compassionate

I read quite a bit. No brag, just fact. In a family of skilled tradesmen, I remain the bookish goof. While my brother and scores of cousins can unclip a tape measure and artfully root out any problem in seconds with an application of muscle, toggle-bolts, sheet metal cutters, dry wall knives, plumber's dope and table saws, I remain a victim. I need to call a Tradesman.

I read Shakespeare, Virgil, Kant, Dante, Petrarch, Cicero, St. Augustine, Tommy Aquinas, Spinoza, Bellow, Tolstoy and Issac Bashevas Singer. I read while John, Mike, Red Pat, Brian, Barbara, Sheila, Kevin, Glen and Larry schooled themselves in HVAC, plumbing, carpentry, electrical math and fundamental chemistry to become engineers, carpenters, electricians, and pipe-fitters.

Readers often became priests. I went to priest school in high school. I translated Latin into English and developed rudimentary communications skills, but also learned that I was no where near cut-out for celibacy and by senior year exploded onto the co-educational Catholic social scene with some modest success.

Law? Perhaps. Teaching even better. I became a high school English teacher. It was a profession back then. I could read voraciously without being impugned as a loafing dope with his schnozzola glued to a page.

This morning I sweetened my sarcasm tooth with a gooey piece from the always daffy-taffy of Manya Brachear - the Chicago Tribune's Seeker. This kid is a champ and never a disappointment. Manya Branchear takes the road-less-travelled by anyone with a lick of common sense or shred of public understanding. Manya champions the goofball Sinsinawa Dominican - a catalog of goofs those babes be - nun who escorts kids to their appointed abortions at Planned Parenthood. That is like oozing with goodwill for that thoughtful religious seeker, Jihad Jane, who found Islam and decided to murder the Danish cartoonist. "Gee, she thinks outside of box!"

So does Manya - with great regularity.

Today Manya touts a Social Justice panel to be brought on the stage at North Park University. The panel is a Progressive parade of Lakota shamans, prayer-catcher shakers, Gender shrills, Race parsers and the lead- off Korean preacher. A Rainbow of Diversity! Edgy! Check out the line-up and the topics! Meet the Magnificent Social Seven! Hey, God love them all! I am sure that each and every pillar of Progressive Thought getting a paycheck from North Park is worth every dime.

1. Richard Twiss is a member of the Sicangu Lakota/Rosebud Sioux Tribe in South Dakota. He is Co Founder, with his wife Katherine, and President of Wiconi International. Richard is committed to seeing Native people emerge as a dynamic voice for justice, reconciliation and healing around the world in the spirit of Jesus. He and Katherine have been married since 1976 and have raised four respectful sons and live in Vancouver, Washington.

Richard Twiss will be speaking on “Dancing Our Prayers” at a North Park Theological Seminary student chapel and dinner at 5:00 pm in Olsson Lounge. He will also be part of a panel discussion on Saturday’s Justice Training Workshops.
2.Andrea Smith teaches at Media and Cultural Studies at UC Riverside. She is the author of Native Americans and the Christian Right: The Gendered Politics of Unlikely Alliances and is editor of The Revolution Will Not Be Funded: Beyond the Nonprofit Industrial Complex. She is co-founder of the Boarding School Healing Project and is US Coordinator of the Ecumenical Association of Third World Theologians.

Andrea Smith will be presenting on the non-profit industrial complex on Wednesday, April 14th at 7:00PM in Hamming Hall.

3.Peter Goodwin Heltzel is Associate Professor of Theology, New York Theological Seminary, and an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). He is the author of Jesus and Justice: Evangelicals, Race and American Politics (Yale University Press, 2009). Peter Heltzel received his B.A. from Wheaton College, his M.Div. from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and his Ph.D. from Boston University.

Peter Heltzel will be presenting on Jesus, Justice and Race on Thursday, April 15 at 9:00 am in Isaacson Chapel at North Park Theological Seminary (Nyvall Hall).

4. Dr. Mimi Haddad is president of Christians for Biblical Equality. She is a graduate of the University of Colorado and Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary. She holds a Ph.D. in historical theology from the University of Durham, England. Mimi is a founding member of the Evangelicals and Gender Study Group at the Evangelical Theological Society, and she served as the convener of the Issue Group 24 for the 2004 Lausanne III Committee for World Evangelization. She has written numerous articles and has contributed to eight books, most recently as an editor and a contributing author of Global Voices on Biblical Equality: Women and Men Serving Together in the Church. Mimi is also an adjunct assistant professor at Bethel University and an adjunct professor at North Park Theological Seminary. She and her husband, Dale, live in a mixed-income, inner-city housing development committed to creating greater financial stability in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Dr. Haddad will be presenting on Justice and Gender on Thursday, April 15 at 10:45 am in Isaacson Chapel at North Park Theological Seminary (Nyvall Hall).

5. Terry LeBlanc is Mi’kmaq /Acadian, from Listuguj First Nation and Campbellton, NB, Canada. He and his wife Bev are in their 38th year of marriage. They have three adult children engaged in various areas of indigenous mission in Canada, the USA and the Philippines. He is the founding Chairman and current CEO of NAIITS (North American Institute for Indigenous Theological Studies) and My People International, a capacity-building and training ministry with Indigenous peoples. In his role with these two organizations, Terry speaks often on the development of cultural bridges between Aboriginal people and the majority cultures in North America and elsewhere in the world. Terry also teaches as a sessional lecturer in Intercultural Studies and Theology at several colleges, seminaries and universities and, for a number of years has been a guest lecturer/speaker at educational institutions across Canada and the United States. He is currently serving as adjunct faculty in Theology and Intercultural Studies for two seminaries. He is a PhD Candidate in Intercultural Studies at Asbury Theological Seminary, Kentucky.

6.Lisa Sharon Harper is a Speaker / Activist / Author / Playwright / Poet. She is the author of Evangelical Does Not Equal Republican…Or Democrat (The New Press) and is the Co-founder and Executive Director of NY Faith & Justice. NY Faith & Justice is at the hub of a new ecumenical movement in New York City to address issues of environmental injustice and violence in black and brown communities. Ms. Harper earned her master’s degree in Human Rights, with a concentration in Religion & the Media, from Columbia University in New York City. Ms. Harper is a graduate of the USC School of Theatre’s MFA Playwriting class of 1995. Her thesis play, An’ Push da Wind Down explores Ms. Harper’s own Cherokee/Chickasaw and African-American heritage. She is a featured op-ed writer for the God’s Politics blog and BeliefNet’s Progressive Revival blog.

Lisa will be responding at the Campus Justice Lecture on Thursday, April 15 with Terry LeBlanc on the topic of Environmental Justice at 7:00 pm in Hamming Hall. She will also present on the topic of Mobilizing for Environmental Justice at the Saturday Training Session.

7. Soong-Chan Rah is Milton B. Engebretson Associate Professor of Church Growth and Evangelism and the author of The Next Evangelicalism: Freeing the Church from Western Cultural Captivity (IVPress, 2009). Soong-Chan previously served as founding Senior Pastor of the Cambridge Community Fellowship Church, a multi-ethnic, urban, post-modern generation church in the Central Square neighborhood of Cambridge, MA. Soong-Chan currently serves on the boards of Sojourners, the Christian Community Development Association and the Catalyst Leadership Center. Soong-Chan presents content on the topics of racial reconciliation, social justice, and urban ministry at his blog.

4days4justice at North Park University is an attempt to hear from previously marginalized voices in both American society and the evangelical community.

We will have the chance to hear Native American Christians address the issue of environmental justice. (I still haven’t figured out how we ever had any serious dialogue about the environment without considering the perspective of the Native American community).

We will be involved in round table discussions (in a fishbowl style) on the topic of social justice with evangelicals from various ethnic communities. And we will offer workshops (particularly geared towards local churches) on various social justice topics during a one day training session on Saturday.

Will we answer all the questions about the role of evangelicals in the public realm.? No, but I hope that at least we’re asking the right questions.

Oooo! Ooooo! Me! Manya!
Are you soft? Christ on a Crutch! Let's look at the syllabus for the panelists and the panelists themselves Not a Moody Billy Sunday in that cavalcade of Evangelical Stars! No Babbit's in Manya's Bonnet.
No, Sir!
Gender Issues? Check!
Race Issues? Oh, Hell Yes!
Dancing to Justice? On the money! We got Acadians, Aboriginal concerns! No substance.

Social Justice begins and ends with the operation of human heart - it is charity and not policy.

Social Justice is very good. Societal manipulation is very, very bad and tends to run-in-place as opposed to move people forward.

I work social justice everyday. No brag; just fact. Dr. Jack O'Keefe ( City Colleges ret.) and Denny Conway ( CPS ret.) teach as volunteers in the kill-zone of Gresham every day, Manya. Read the Chicago Murder Boxscores.

I have a backlog of Campaign Leo and 21st Century enveleopes that I need to add to the EXCELL spread sheets - amounting to more than $ 30,000 from $50,100, 200,500, 1,000 gifts by men with White Guy Zipcodes - 60643, 60655, 60638, 60453, 60462 & etc.

That's social justice, Kiddo. No Prayer Catchers, just envelopes with dough. No strings, no plaques, no articles, no Love Offerings expected. Gifts of human heart given freely.

The Panel at North Park will be swell: Lakota incantations and prayers out of the William Least-Heat Moon catalog. When the Beaver returns to Chicago River - Once Debra Shore and the Gay Lesbian Transgender Bi-Sexual Water Reclamation District reverses the flow of the River -Only Then - will my heart soar light Hawk and wing with the Great Spirit!

Manya, if you expect to to get to the nub of social justice, read Father Robert Sirico of the Acton Institute. Thus!

The problem here is the slick move from personal ethics to public policy. What is required of us as individuals may or may not translate into a civic policy priority. In the case of the welfare state, it is possible to argue that it does great good (though I would dispute that). Whether it does or does not, however, a government program effects nothing toward fulfilling the Gospel requirement that we give of our own time and income toward assisting the poor.

The reason has to do with matters of the human heart. If we are required to do anything by law, and thereby forced by public authority to undertake some action, we comply because we must. That we go along with the demand is no great credit to our sense of humanitarianism or charity. The impulse here is essentially one of fear: we know that if we fail to give, we will find ourselves on the wrong side of the state.

Remember that the government has no money, no resources, of its own. Everything it has it must take from the private sector, which is the engine of wealth creation. If we can imagine a world in which there is no private sector at all, we can know with certainty that it would be a world of bare subsistence at best: universal impoverishment.

Wealthy societies today can afford to create large welfare states while avoiding that fate. But let us never forget the funds that make it possible do not appear as if by magic. They are taken from others without their active consent except in the most abstract sense that people might vote for them.

I cannot see how this method of redistributing wealth has anything to do with the Gospel. Jesus never called on public authority to enact welfare programs. He never demanded that his followers form a political movement to tax and spend. Nor did he say that the property of the rich must always be forcibly expropriated. He called for a change in the human heart, not a change in legislation. There is a massive difference.

You see, Manya. When a job needs to get done, I am the sic-and-fetch guy - "Paddy, go out to the truck and bring in the black box with the green handle. Don't worry about what's in it we trained with the tools and you might have read about them in Dickens - they are called adaptable bits. Black box -green handle. Don't get lost"

Father Sirico is the tradesman as far as Social Justice goes. We live social justice because we go to the right tradesman. Look for the Union Label, Manya.

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