Four Articles and a Poem

7:57 AM

Weekly, I post four articles that I found significant and a poem accompanied by some comments about what we can learn from them. Our lives are enriched by seeing better. Each week, one article comes from the world of photography, a discipline that is about seeing. Another article comes from the world of technology, hence seeing something of the future. Another article takes up an aspect of our life together, seeing more clearly the other. Another article refers to faith, seeing the unseen. Finally, the weekly post concludes with a poem, because poetry is about seeing words whose arrangement allows us to see anew.

Thank you, again, for reading this post. I am grateful to those readers who find my weekly reading suggestions interesting or even helpful. I also appreciate your feedback. If you want to include a comment below about the article that most strikes you or how it touches you, I would find that helpful.

This week, we look to the new presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church in the U.S., Michael Curry, we recall the scholarship of the late René Girard, we examine parental leave, and we take a look at Lima, Peru through a novel photography project. Finally, we savor the poetry of theologian Gerald Schlabach.
  1. Video: Curry’s sermon at installation of the 27th Presiding Bishop. On All Saints’ Day, Bishop Michael B. Curry was installed as the 27th Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church at the Cathedral of Saints Peter & Paul (the National Cathedral) in Washington, D.C. Bishop Curry's homily is considerably longer than a Catholic homily, clocking in at over 37 minutes, but watch the video and read the text. He is a great preacher. I particularly enjoyed his twist on the Good Samaritan: "But imagine the same parable with slightly different characters. A Christian was walking the road from Jerusalem to Jericho and she fell among thieves. Another Christian came by, but passed on by. Another did the same. And still another follower of Jesus passed on by. A brother or sister who is Muslim came by and stopped and saw her in need and helped her. Imagine. Who is the neighbor? It could be a young black or Hispanic youth who is hurt, and a police officer who helps. Or the police officer hurting and the youth who helps. Imagine. Do you see where Jesus is going? He’s talking about turning this world upside down." In the third section he also suggests a form of evangelization that echoes Pope Francis.
  2. History is a test. Mankind is failing it. This week, on Wednesday, we lost a great scholar, René Girard. A member of the prestigious Académie Française, Girard was called "the new Darwin of the human sciences." His many works provide a wealth of material for discussion in many fields, offering a bold, sweeping vision of human nature, human history and human destiny. He died Nov. 4 at 91. Girard's concept of "mimetic desire" has been particularly important and insightful in my eyes.
  3. Pope Urges Maternity Leave and Job Security for Women. Pope Francis recently urged nations to provide maternity leave for women. I am dumbfounded that the U.S. is the only OECD country without a right to maternity leave. Often enough, we can hear politicians talk about being pro-family, and this is a simple litmus test. In fact, it is really just a test of consistency. When the new Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, insists: “I cannot and I will not give up my family time,” I applaud him for his commitment to his family and beg the same for other families in this country. Elizabeth Bruenig connects the dots in her article: "What Paul Ryan Could Learn From Pope Francis About Family Leave." Sorry to give you a three-for-the-price-of-one, but each one adds onto the other.
  4. Lima's Life Stories, Through Photo-Portraits. Shannon Sims writes in Ozyof an intriguing photography project in Lima, Peru. Peruvian photographers, Jaime Travezan and Morgana Vargas Llosa (daughter of the Peruvian Nobel Laureate in Literature, Mario Vargas Llosa), and an art director, David Tortor, collaborated to create "Mírame, Lima" (Look at me, Lima). 
For our poem this week, I'd like to direct you to the website of Gerald Schlabach, a professor in the Department of Theology at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. Schlabach published on his website a poem entitled "Sed contra (a poem)." The title, derived from St. Thomas Aquinas' formula of argumentation, is ordinarily rendered as "On the contrary." As per the title, the poem speaks to the challenge of discerning the truth in love today. I believe that it articulates the aspirations of the recent Synod as much as it articulates the perspective of its author.

Thanks for reading, and see you next week!

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