Thursday, September 24, 2015

Soul Searching

A situation occurred in one of my Facebook groups which required me to reactivate. I'll reflect on that in a moment. One good thing about being back "on" was that a friend had been looking for me, and we had a nice chat. She relayed how she had struggled with Facebook herself and found a solution by unfollowing most of her friends. So there is another suggestion for simplifying the process. You can still be active on social media, but you can take control of what you see. I don't personally know this awesome woman, but she is a fellow Catholic, and she told me that she has been doing a lot of soul searching. I'm right there with her.

Pope Francis is visiting the United States right now for the first time in his life. And this morning he addressed a joint session of Congress, the first pope in history ever to do so. I was in my car trying to catch his speech on the radio, but the reception wasn't great, and combined with his accent, he was difficult to understand. I'm certain it will be available to listen to or watch another time. I decided to focus as much as I could on Francis' voice, on his tone, even more than on what he was actually saying. I noticed how slowly he spoke, with such care. And although they were supposed to hold their applause, his audience members could not contain themselves. From what I heard afterward, politicians from both sides of the aisle were very moved. Francis wants America to become a land of dreams once again.

Indeed. My country seems a long way from the land of the free and the home of the brave that she once was. The small town I live in provides little opportunity for gainful employment. Many empty store fronts line its main street. People here are very brave. They try to get a restaurant, or a boutique, or an arts center going. It's discouraging to see these efforts take off, then struggle, then ultimately fail. And some people are very, very sensitive to any criticism of the village. How can we form a vision for where we wish the community to go if we refuse to see the truth? The run down houses, the drunks, the meth labs, the abused and neglected children, the profanity heard loudly on the streets. The pope sees all of it and shines a spotlight on the stark realities.

So the moderator I put in charge of one of my groups while I was taking a hiatus from Facebook voiced a concern regarding two girls she personally knew who had broken an arm during recess at school, both within a week. This was in fact the third girl she knew that this had happened to at the same school, and while the discussion was going on, she found out about two more broken bone incidents since the last two. One happened on the way to school, and the other occurred while a child was playing near the school on the weekend. While my friend acknowledged that these events could certainly all have been a bad luck coincidence, it seemed very odd in such a small town. She wanted to know if others might have some insight into the situation.

This moderator simply questioned whether the recess accidents might have occurred due to insufficient supervision. She also shared her experience as a teacher. Most group members were polite, but a couple attacked her and accused her of bashing the school. Absolutely no one consented that it was even a remote possibility that the kids aren't being watched well enough on the playground.

This is a little thing compared to abortion, war, terrorism, and hunger, but bear with me. These angry folks want to censor others who say anything they don't like. They jump all over anyone who brings a problem into focus. I won't allow the censorship. I won't allow bullying. And even if not a single soul sees things one person's way, that doesn't mean that person is wrong. It isn't wrong to question, to be concerned, to hold our public servants accountable. It's perfectly okay, and even necessary, to keep a watch on those local institutions to which our taxpayer dollars go. If we can't be realistic about one little town, if we can't have civilized conversations and disagreements on social media, if all we want is to have perfume blown up our you-know-whats, then how on earth can we be effective as a citizenry when it comes to monumental national issues?

People don't want honesty and sincerity anymore, unless you are singing a Snow White happy song surrounded by turtledoves. But the Christian Faith is the narrow road. It ain't gonna make you popular to sound your horn of justice. To say, hey look, there's an ogre living next door who tears babies apart and eats them for breakfast! (And sells the leftovers for profit.)

I was amazed that during the recent GOP debate, the topic of education was not addressed at all, except for a brief mention by one candidate, in a tone of disdain, that another was a fan of Common Core. The unconstitutional, federal Department of Education and its liberty robbing agenda needs to be faced like a fearless bullfighter against a brutal beast. I hope the next president has a red cape and a spine to drape it across.

Expect me to be even more frank than usual. My soul is melancholy. My heart hurts. The evil in the world is overwhelming. Jesus didn't pussy foot around. He was kind, healing, humble, loving, and compassionate. He also turned over the market tables in the Temple. He broke man's laws when they were not in harmony with God's. He did not mince words or endeavor to be politically correct or falsely diplomatic. His own hometown people tried to throw him off a cliff. Luckily I live in a very flat land.