Four articles and a Poem

8:33 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.

One of the regular criticisms in Pope Francis' challenge to the world is of what he calls a "throwaway culture." Today, I'd like to ask us to take another look at those who are so easily thrown away and how we might challenge that.
  1. Halawa Correctional Facility Makahiki Ceremony 2015. Kai Markell photographed the inmates at the Halawa Correctional Facility who participated in Makahiki on Tuesday. The Makahiki season is the ancient Hawaiian New Year festival, in honor of the god Lono of the Hawaiian religion. The Makahiki is something they are passionate about and do annually. When I looked at the photos, I did not see "prison." I saw these men in a new light.
  2. Anne Frank and her family were also denied entry as refugees to the U.S. Amid fears of terrorism, our nation seeks to turn its back to the vulnerable of Syria. I am grateful that the media seek to tell the story in surprising ways that may turn our hearts anew. One of those books with enduring impact has been The Diary of Anne Frank. Her life might have been very different had the U.S. and others not turned away. Elahe Izadi tells us how in this article from The Washington Post.
  3. "How Can I Not Denounce the Injustices You Suffer?" – In Nairobi Slum, Pope Defends the "Neighbors." While Pope Francis visits Africa, Rocco Palmo assesses the hallmarks of papal visits. Francis especially prioritizes "Matthew 25" moments, the corporal works of mercy, in his sojourns abroad. His message of solidarity and his answer to "who is my neighbor?" is important in a world of slowly closing circles of care and concern. Pope Francis broadens the circle, widens those who are of concern to us.
  4. My Giving Story: Melinda Gates.Duke Forward gives us this reflective piece on Melinda Gates. A telling line from the early portion of the article: "The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which operates on one simple belief: All lives have equal value." While some have criticized this generation's iteration of philanthropy, those with firsthand experience of the foundation and, especially, Melinda Gates have spoken glowingly. No doubt, living the ideal that all lives have equal value undercuts the disposable nature of our modern society.
Finally, let us look at some short verse from Wendell Berry. A Kentucky farmer who hates to see anything thrown away, he gives us a revolutionary way of looking at life. This work, while brief, brings a good conclusion to today's meanderings. May we rest in the grace of the world.

"The Peace of Wild Things"
By Wendell Berry

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

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