Thursday, September 28, 2006
Politics and corruption: The Death of the Great US
I did not vote for George Bush; either one of them. Some elections I did not bother to vote at all. Ever since Richard Nixon (who I did vote for) brought to light the modern day corruption scandals, I lost my appetite for exercising my vote. My whole conception of what a Democracey is and what I thought it was, obviously are two completely different definitions. And to make matters worse, the more I learn about how we have squandered all our precious resources, and how powerful politicians have been able to capitalize, the more I removed myself from the frey of it all.
Fast-forwarding to today, I am older, and as to wiser, I doubt it, but having said that, seeing the outcome of current events spin out of control before my very eyes, I guess my first instincts weren't so far off as I imagined. What amazes me is how blatant the corruption is, and how nothing ever gets done about it. Or re-phrasing that, by the time we get good and mad about it, things have gone so far off the mark, and people get so powerful, that large chunks of history pass by in the mean while. Yes, Nixon was brought down, and then others in his place sprung up, powerful in their own right, using subtle authority to move their chess pieces into motion, enacting legislation to distort the constitution so that they're next fling of political corruption slides through, like Ex-Lax, with their smooth double talk, and their pork barrel tactics, waving their candy coated legislation in the name of Democracey by the peoples' choice, meanwhile, their "real agenda" goes undisturbed until so much time goes by, that the damage is done. So many pockets are lined with the spread of unjustness, the laws get so convoluted that it takes decades of legal analysts to figure out that the king really isn't wearing any clothes at all. Such an elaborate illusive net of deception is spread over the public eyes, that we are lulled into a false sense of the biggest bunch of bull that the world has seen, but decorated with most deceptive facading, that now down appears up.
How can we believe a President that literally stole the last election right out from under his opponent, when he claims that his war effort is making the US safer than before we invaded? Our number of dead Americans has already equaled if not surpassed the number killed on 9/11. The number of Iraqis dead for our efforts is incalculable. Is not part of the reason we are spending more time pointing fingers at each other, and throwing blame in our typical corrupt potitical fashion, than facing the obvious truth and admitting we screwed up in the first place? We're not just shovelling fleas across the barnyard here, we are playing with human lives.
Instead of the well worn phrase "Support out troops" we really should be proclaiming "Pray for our troops", but then we have degenerated into such an Immoralized nation that now we are paying our atonement once again in blood for our sins
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
God threw a curve ball
Faith is an ever changing presence in one's life to say the least, but today, I wish to talk about the most obvious changes it has made in my life.
I was brought up and taught the Roman Catholic Catechism, served my first communion, but not brought up as a family that went to church on any regular basis. For whatever reasons, we were not a regular church going family. As a teen, we moved out of town to a small farming community, and I tagged along to a Methodist Church with my brother-in-law and sister's family. I'm not sure how strong my faith was, but for what ever reasons, I ended up attending two church services and singing in the choir. As a young adult, I slipped back into not attending church at all. Again, the habit, if you can call it that, was not instilled in me. In the early 70's, living in Virginia, where they were doing their best to integrate their schools, I sent my young daughters to a Catholic school to avoid the bussing laws being enforced at the time. But again, we did not attend church on any regular basis.
After my first marriage failed, and I moved on to a relationship with a new spouse, we started to attend church, but again, not on any regular basis. I think laziness sets in, but for whatever reasons, it seems harder to acclimate to something such as going to church on that regular weekly basis. Being a musician most of my adult life, I slept most of my Sunday mornings quite late, and the church thing became more elusive than ever.
Well, the second relationship failed, and I found myself alone, and attempted to turn to God to stabilize my life. I did not attend church, but prayed the best I knew how. I did a lot of asking "why me God" and asking him to normalize my life once again. I prayed more and more, asking him to send me a love in my life once and for all, but nothing happened. Because of the extenuating circumstances of my marriage break-up, I carried around much hatred, and animosity, which only increased as time went by. For the last 14-15 years, I stumbled through life, sinking into a deeper slump, and becoming more recluse each day.
Two years ago, I was asked to play in a church band each week. Because of distance, I was reluctant to do so, but my friend would not take no for an answer, and I found myself playing for the Roman Catholic Church each week. At first, I showed up, and played, and went home. Without exactly knowing when or how, I slowly started to "feel" the need to pray to God, but this time, I did not pray for anything personal. I did not pray for him to send me a wife, or a better job, or get rich, or anything like that.
They say that God works in small increments of change, and slowly, I DID began to change. I started praying for one thing; to be used by God to use my musical talent to minister for God. I started praying that all the time. I found myself praying harder, and harder all the time. After a while, I expanded my prayer to a more general sense of, just "USE" me. I did not realize at the time, but my faith had grown quite a lot, and my paramount prayer was to be used by God. It did not matter how, just to be used.
I began to finally accept the fact that I was meant to be alone for my remainder of time on earth, and continued to pray to be used. The words to the songs I was singing became more than just words to me, and I started living out what I was singing about. This past summer,. I attended a youth conference at a Franciscan University as a chaperone, and during the weekend, decided to make some bigger changes in my life besides simply pray to be used. I decided to become a Catholic again. I even brought home information on the Franciscan Monks. As I said before, I was already resigned to the fact that I was going to be alone for the rest of my life anyway.
At the beginning of summer, one of the ladies at my church and I started to e-mail each other about this and that. She was reading my blog, and commenting, being one of the few to do so. That in itself got my attention. Some others only commented if I wrote something religious, nobody except this lady commented on almost anything I wrote. I slowly began learning about her and her life. I found out she was widowed, had a young 14 year old son, and was alone for the last couple years. I began taking interest in her son, wondering if he had any male influence in his life, etc.
All the while, my faith was growing, snowballing, if you will, and my heart was once again open to love, God's love this time. As I began developing a relationship with this young man, not an easy feat in this day and age of child molestation in the church, I wanted to take him to a baseball game. However, I could not just ask him to go with me alone. I asked my own son to accompany us, but he did not realize the urgencey of my request, and ignored me. Theresa and I were now e-mailing each other, almost daily, but other than a few short minutes of talking after church services, we were hardly carrying on a "relationship" by any standards.
Our e-mails, getting a bit more personal, frequent, I finally asked her if they would like to go to the baseball game with me. To my amazement, she said yes. After that night, things started to happen in a quickened state, that looking back, was startling.
I found myself making room in my heart for God and Theresa. Just when I thought I saw a direction that my life was taking, God threw the ultimate curve ball. I never saw it coming, but I was in love. I was in love with Theresa. After so many years of unanswered prayers, God was answering them now. After contemplating getting measured for a priests frock, God informed me that there were other options I could now consider.
We were seeing each other quite frequently now for several weeks, yet we had not even held hands, let alone kiss. That being said, I realized that we were both in love, a love that was stronger than I ever imagined, even being married twice before. We finish each other's sentences, know exactly what each other's thinking, its spooky.
One night, she started to tell me that I was the "only one", and before I knew it, I told her I wanted to marry her. She said yes!
This brings us back to the original theme of faith, and proof that God does work in mysterious ways, when we least expect it, but his love is unchanging, his grace is uncalculating, his mercy is indescribable. Never will I question my faith, never will I question his presence. Always will I praise him, and adore him. God has indeed thrown the ultimate curve ball.
Friday, September 15, 2006
Today's news headlines were very disturbing to me. To compare the Pope to Hitler is more than I can swallow. To be offended by remarks taken out of context is one thing, but to lash out at one of the Holiest individuals on the face of the earth is enough to boil my blood. Not just because I am a Catholic, or a Christian, or a non-Muslim, but because remarks like that only open the rift between people of all faiths, lessen any future chances for peace, and of course are outrageous. Hitler did not go down in history for his remarks, but for actions that could only be described as evil to say the least. Maybe as a Catholic, I'm a little biased, but if you ask me, the cards speak for themselves, as my father used to say. Any thing that encourages violence is not a valid religion, but blasphemy in my book. Its most troubling that these outbursts are not coming from the common man Muslin, but from the world leaders of Muslim nations. You guys don't get it. Take your Jihad, and stick it where the sun wont shine.