Four Articles and a Poem

6:21 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.

Today, the first two articles travel through Green Bay and pay indirect homage to the Packers of Titletown as they have their first home game of the NFL preseason. Next, we move to our life together, examining the decay of power. The fourth article looks at urban congestion and traffic. We'll close with poetry from a priest, Fr. John P. McNamee.
  1. 21st Century Mona Lisa. A Packer fan and a native of Appleton, WI, Gary Arndt is an American blogger and photographer. He is the author of the travel blog Everything Everywhere. His photos are an amazing array of places and things. Gary has seen much of our planet, and he shares it with fine photos. However, as this post may suggest, it is more than simply marking the place off of a list. Capturing an image of people before the Mona Lisa, he observes that many guests of the Louvre enter, visit the image, and depart. Amid such wonders of art, what a sad statement of how we tromp around the globe without appreciating what we encounter!
  2. Theodicy on the sports page: Did Glover Quin really say God took out Jordy Nelson? Continuing with the Packers, the Get Religion blog is a personal favorite. Basically, it is a place where experienced journalists examine coverage of religious topics and conclude that much of journalism doesn't "Get Religion." After Jordy Nelson was injured in a preseason game, an opposing player made a comment about "God's will." Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers entered the fray and re-tweeted a reply. While I do not look the NFL for the content of my theology, this blog examines the questions that the sportswriters missed. Think about it, most sports journalism misses the point when it comes to the faith of the players and the place of that faith in their lives. Read this post, and refer to GetReligion often!
  3. Video: Are we witnessing the decay of power? Moisés Naím, Distinguished Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and former Finance Minister for Venezuela, authored the engaging book, The End of Power. This short video lays out Naím's provocative thesis and is window into the content of his book.
  4. Rethinking urban traffic congestion to put people first.This post from the Brooking Institute reflects upon Texas A & M's Annual Urban Mobility Scorecard. This year, Brookings notes, A & M is urging not just more and better roads (and smarter), but greater coordination of housing and employment. The article reminds readers of Brookings' own work on the issue, including a tantalizing comparison of "the little apple" and "the Big Apple," Manhattan, KS and Manhattan, NY. For all of my Kansas State readers, spoiler alert: the Big Apple wins. The Brookings report notes, "it takes at least 37 percent longer to travel the same distance in Manhattan, NY, than Manhattan, KS. That said, one can reach many more destinations in the same amount of time in New York because of the high population and job density on the island. In a half-hour drive from an average point in metropolitan New York, one can reach 1.3 million jobs in Manhattan, and even more if one considers transit. From the center of Manhattan, KS, one could reach about 64,000 jobs in 30 minutes.As a result, Manhattan, NY, is more than 20 times as accessible as Manhattan, KS, despite speeds that are, at best, half as fast."
While I have never met him, Fr. John P. McNamee has inspired me in numerous ways. A priest of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Fr. McNamee was the long-time pastor (now emeritus) of St. Malachy Parish. His work with the poor, especially immigrant and African-American community, through the parish and school has been exemplary. Committed to non-violence, Fr. McNamee has been a leader in Pax Christi. As well, he is an author and poet. Rocco Palmo gathered his biography here. His book, Diary of a City Priest was adapted into a film of the same name, starring David Morse. A favorite phrase from him: "One must be a contemplative to work in the inner-city." From his collection Clay Vessels and Other Poems (1995), I offer "A Day Away."

"A Day Away"
by Fr. John P. McNamee

and with the heat
the slow start on Monday.

Away finally.
Concrete and city open
into a wondrous summer day.

Sun    sky
green overgrowth wild enough
to repossess the road.

The beads beside me a kind of
flute   horn   string   anything
to join the flourish.

Monday:        Joyful Mysteries
Annunciation     Christmas
not confined   defined by some date.

The random grace of
an hour or day like this.

A Visitation
larger than the sweet sad tale
of unwelcome inn
makeshift manger and shed.

The full embrace for such descents
this skyscape   unbounded universie
unveiled now as only in summer.

An early Epiphany.

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