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No Prayer Warrior

Ignatian Spirituality - Fri, 06/23/2017 - 05:30

By dotMagis Editor

Talk of “winners” and “warriors” with respect to prayer is, to me, oxymoronic. Christ told us to be willing to take the last place, and for me that’s never so much a matter of willingness as acknowledging that I’m there by default pretty much all the time. I’m no prayer warrior, or any other kind of warrior. I’m just a run-of-the-mill, deeply flawed human being who is terrified of not being loved, afraid of dying [...]

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Click through to read the full article No Prayer Warrior, which appeared first on Ignatian Spirituality.

Categories: Things Jesuit

A Tale of Two Churches: the Bishops and Religious Liberty

Latest from the Jesuit Post - Fri, 06/23/2017 - 02:14

Imagine you and I are debating the best way to slice bread. It shouldn’t be that controversial. Slicing bread is not difficult, and, even if we do disagree on how to do it, our difference should not engender moral judgments against each other. But somehow we find ourselves in a heated dispute over bread-slicing, a dispute that quickly becomes personal and contentious.

Halfway through the conversation, however, you realize that I mean something different then you do by the word “bread.” What I call bread you call income tax, and suddenly it makes sense why I keep insisting that bread requires extensive dialogue and careful analysis before we can really talk about how to cut it, and why I have become upset that you don’t see cutting bread as a crucially moral issue.

This is a silly scenario, but nothing is quite as common in our politics as the situation I am trying to illustrate. Everyday we have arguments about justice, freedom, rights, and equality, only we don’t mean the same thing by those words. Indeed, some of the words most fundamental to public discourse – like nature, politics, even the human person – just don’t connote the same meanings for us.

Perhaps one of the greatest examples of this dissonance is the word “freedom.” The word can mean virtually anything, from the freedom to do absolutely anything that doesn’t harm others, to the freedom to pursue one’s ends and purposes according to what is good for one. In such a welter of meanings, one person’s freedom can look like slavery to another.

And so it’s notable that the US bishops are kicking off their annual “Fortnight for Freedom” for religious liberty this week. Begun in 2012 to underline threats to religious freedom in the U.S and abroad, this year’s Fortnight is a bit different, as it features a renewed emphasis on the connection between religious liberty and immigration. The two issues are closely linked, the bishops argue:     

National and local Catholic charitable agencies around the country have long provided services to people in need, regardless of immigration status. However, several states have passed laws that forbid what state legislatures consider “harboring” of undocumented immigrants—and what the Church considers Christian charity and pastoral care to those immigrants.

This linkage is clever. Just as religious liberty has been cast as a conservative issue, care for the immigrant and refugee has sadly been presented as a boutique concern of the Left. But the bishops’ move pushes back against such ideological boundaries. Many have argued that the bishops pay more attention to religious liberty than to immigration, and implicitly that they are in the conservatives’ pocket. But the linkage between the two issues ought to show that the bishops are not just conservatives, and that they intend to challenge both the Left and the Right. In short, linking immigration to religious liberty promises to expand our vision of religious liberty beyond conventional partisan boundaries.

But will it?

***

One reason to think that it will not is past experience: the US bishops have linked immigration to religious liberty before, but to little effect. Perhaps those Catholics already persuaded of the need to bolster religious liberty support that message and ignore the immigration dimension, whereas those turned off by that push won’t be drawn in by the immigration angle.

After all, American Catholics are good at cherry-picking policy statements they like from the bishops, and criticizing the bishops for those they don’t like. So politically conservative Catholics quote the bishops on a series of policies called “pro-life” issues, but then dismiss them on the economy and immigration. Politically liberal Catholics similarly endorse the bishops’ stance on a menu of topics usually called “social justice” issues, while decrying their pro-life politics. For many Catholics, in other words, it must be rather confusing, if not distressing, to see the bishops agree with them on other policy issues, but not on others.

Here we need to sit with a difficult truth: the bishops are complicated political actors. Like most intelligent people, the bishops’ political views transgress partisan divisions. And unlike most people, even intelligent ones, the bishops seek to put their faith ahead of their politics. And whereas most Americans feel completely justified in speaking on any political matter they wish, no matter their level of competence (or lack thereof) on the matter, the bishops must constantly justify their statements, explaining to often suspicious audiences why in general they teach on political and social topics, and in particular why they are addressing this or that issue at hand.

All of these factors play out in the bishops’ appeal to freedom. And this is where freedom looks a lot like our bread example.

For many on the Right, religious liberty is an essential check on government authority. But if the “freedom” of religious liberty is a freedom from government, what is it a freedom for? As the GOP has become increasingly influenced by economic libertarianism, it has in general become less preoccupied with what freedom is for: the personal character and virtues that build up families, churches and communities, and have traditionally been the concern of conservatism. It then becomes difficult to explain how the freedom from governmental authority ought to be connected to a freedom to help and serve others, notably in this case immigrants. And so for many on the Right, they applaud the bishops’ emphasis on liberty, but ask that they not be told how to make use of that liberty. The bishops’ challenge thus has to show the connection between liberty and virtue.

On the Left, freedom is profoundly moral, but in a way that is deeply ambivalent about authority and truth.1 As Robert Kraynak argues, the Left often “defends dignity with doubt”: it protects personal freedom by denying that anyone can have access to the kind of truth needed to make claims about how communities should be organized.

Because of the Left’s ambivalence toward authority, it tends to worry that public interventions of organizations like the bishops’ conference are plays for power disguised as disinterested statements of truth. For the Left, then, freedom is not normally used to bolster public bodies like the Church, but to limit them. And so for many on the Left, the bishops’ language of “freedom” will not seem to be a call for authentic liberty, but cover for a power grab. And so the bishops’ challenge is to proclaim the truth in a way that moves past such skepticism about truth and suspicion of power.

This is what the bishops are up against in so provocatively linking immigration to religious liberty. The bishops are trying to address what can at times feel like two different churches, Left and Right, in the midst of a much broader culture of secularism. Can the bishops craft a message that transcends such divisions and draws Catholics and US citizens toward common ground? And can American Catholics – and all Americans of good will – respond generously to such efforts toward finding common ground?

***

Image courtesy Catholic News Service.

Categories: Things Jesuit

A Layover in Ramadan

Latest from the Jesuit Post - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 02:14

After an exhausting 15 hour flight, all I wanted was a cold beer.

I was looking at a nine hour layover in the Middle East, and in hopes of passing the time, I sought to make friends in one of the airport’s lounges. Approaching a smiling attendant, I inquired if she had a drink list, to which she replied, “I am so sorry, sir, but it is Ramadan.”

With no explanation, she moved along, leaving me somewhat curious and with several questions. I had a limited understanding of this month for Muslims. I knew fasting was an important part of the tradition, and I knew that its observation was significant for the Muslim community. What I did not understand was why I could not order a beer.

I struck up a few conversations with some fellow patrons, asking for more clarity. One person explained that, since many consider drinking alcohol in public during the holiest month of the year highly offensive and disrespectful, alcohol is not served. In this Muslim-dominant country, most passengers in transit are faithful followers of Islam, and certain policies were adopted out of respect for those observing Ramadan.

I felt a tension… I had just gotten off this plane, dazed and disoriented from the time zone changes. But I thought the cosmopolitan, international environment of the airport would offer familiar comforts, however far I was from home.

On one hand, I had what I believed was a reasonable expectation for a weary traveller; on the other hand, I had a desire to respond respectfully to the cultural expectations of the place I was present. Responding out of sensitivity to certain cultural expectations seemed to offer a chance to break out of my bubble and recognize the realities of our multicultural world. Was drinking alcohol in public worth the display of disrespect? After conversing with my new friends and learning a little more about the policy, the invitation toward respect felt like the most natural and loving response.

Surprisingly, this mundane exchange about ordering a drink gave me an opportunity to learn more about this Abrahamic religion and its traditions. Most Muslims take the expectations of Ramadan very seriously. It is a time of fasting, prayer, community, and charity. As a traveler in transit through an international airport, growing in understanding of this religious tradition was unexpected, and it is one for which I am grateful.

As most Muslims around the world conclude Ramadan over the next few days, I hope that peace and understanding might continue to underlie our cultural encounters. And by the way, the lemon mint water was a much more refreshing option, anyway.

For more information on Ramadan, see here and here.

***

Image courtesy FlickrCC user Omar Chatriwala.

Categories: Things Jesuit

What Was God Calling Me to Do?

Ignatian Spirituality - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 05:30

By Rebecca Ruiz

“Uh, Mom?” my son said, motioning towards the window of our parked car. Outside the window, uncomfortably close, stood a slight woman, her face lined with age. I rolled down the window. With nary an introduction, the words starting pouring out. Decades ago, she had come from deep in the South. She had worked in the circus, had been a barn hand, a stage hand, a waitress, and a house cleaner. She wanted to know [...]

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Click through to read the full article What Was God Calling Me to Do?, which appeared first on Ignatian Spirituality.

Categories: Things Jesuit

Giving in to Birthdays

Latest from the Jesuit Post - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 02:14

Four years ago while studying in Québec, I managed to celebrate my birthday without a single Bonne fête or cake. None of my classmates, instructors, or housemates knew — that is, until the next day, June 6th, when one of my classmates (whose Facebook friendship I forgot I ratified) blew my cover. Some friend. “Why didn’t you tell us it was your birthday?!” they all asked in rapid-fire French. I shrugged my shoulders, I didn’t know enough French yet to say why.  

***

This year, I pencilled June 5th into my calendar as travel day. It had to be. It was sandwiched between the celebration of my Jesuit brothers’ June 3rd ordinations, my blood brother’s June 4th high school graduation in Wisconsin, and the June 6th-10th summer camp back in South Dakota. A birthday-travel day was the price I had to pay.

11:40pm, Sunday, June 4th: Standing in line, with a bag at my feet and a bag on my back, I watch a woman take an elegant and swooping Snapchat video of herself posing with a screen-printed shirt reading, IT’S MY BIRTHDAY, BITCH.

“Today or tomorrow?” I ask.

“Today!”

“Well, enjoy your last twenty minutes! Mine’s tomorrow!”

I stop in shock. I just told someone it was my birthday. What’s gotten into me?

“Honey, I celebrate my birthday all month,” she said, reaching over Greyhound’s retractable queue lines to give me a hug, “Happy birthday to you.”

I just told someone it was my birthday. What’s gotten into me?

***

2:40am, Monday, June 5th: I wake to the sound of air brakes, flicked lights, the voice of the driver saying, “Tomah, Wisconsin: Thirty minutes here, there’s a Burger King and a gas station, make sure you’re back on the bus at 3:10.” Blinking off the quick wake-up, my first emotion is pure and unbridled joy: I slept the whole 150 minutes. I’m not always so lucky.

2:50am, Monday, June 5th: I got a small fry, played harmonica by my favorite red maple, talked to the smokers, then slept till Eau Claire.

4:45am, Monday, June 5th: Woke up in Eau Claire. Went back to sleep just as soon as I woke up.

6:00am, Monday, June 5th: Woke somewhere between the Mississippi River and Minneapolis, rubbing my eyes to cornfields and wooded hills, standing rocks and every warm shade of red, orange and yellow in the tray. Blinking to free eyelids from eyes, mind from short dreams to this glorious sunrise and my upcoming bus transfer in Minneapolis, I checked my phone. We’re on time.

We’re on time. This is notable only for its brutal alternative: if you’re not on time, you’ll miss the connection. I exhale in relief.

6:05am, Monday, June 5th: 5 miles down the road, I check my phone after sliding my earplugs and eye cover into my backpack’s side pocket. Rivaling the before-my-alarm waking surprise to the perfect sunrise, I catch messages from Indonesia west through the Middle East, Eastern Africa and into France. I take a long scroll down my homescreen, birthday notifications chasing the sun east to west through lunch breaks on the other side of the world.

All this love and nowhere to hide. I had the next 12 hours on a bus across the expansive Great Plains: just me, my companions, and all these birthday wishes against a blank canvas.The grace poured in slowly.

6:45am, Monday, June 5th: The two curly-haired Amish children wake up, climbing the chairs in front of me, peeking and smiling as they eat their packed snacks and sing songs with their parents.

I read for most of the next two (three? four?) hours until Albert Lea, Minnesota.

The children always seemed to be smiling at me when I looked up between pages.

12:10pm, Monday, June 5th: Arrive in Sioux Falls. Depart 30 minutes later after doing absolutely nothing.

12:40pm, Monday, June 5th. After 12 hours, everyone starts to talk to each other. I trade two Kazakh college students some South Dakota indigenous-colonial history for central Asian geography lessons.

…In between reading, smiling, geography, silence, and cornfields I take texts, messages and phone calls, enjoying one of the happiest birthdays I’ve ever had. Every message and call lands with the time needed to savor it. With no other distractions, I couldn’t hide from thirty years’ worth of blessings from friends and family.

6:15pm, Monday, June 5th: Clare, Maka, and Sarah find me barefooted at the park in Rapid City. I even let them take me out to dinner before catching a ride back home to Pine Ridge, another 90 minutes away.

***

16 of the 24 hours of my 30th birthday on a routine Greyhound bus from Milwaukee, Wisconsin to Rapid City, South Dakota. In the days leading up to this trip, however, I spent at least this much time answering “Why the bus?”

Greyhound does not typically have a high reputation among travelers. Reviews online range from “not particularly pleasant” to “dreadful and “horrible,” employing words and phrases such as “cringe” “fee-ridden and unfriendly” “worst experience of my life” and “I hate it.” Most USA Jesuits only know Greyhound from their pilgrimage experience, which many would cite as the the most uncomfortable portion of their Jesuit formation and/or life. But with at least seven years and counting of practice in Greyhound apologetics, though, I’ve got my answer down pat.

Simply put, I like the person I become on the bus. I talk to strangers. More than just small talk. I lend money. I ask questions. I read books. I look out the window. I think long and hard. I do nothing. I go with the flow. I say yes. I get there when I get there. I tell people it’s my birthday. I let myself be loved a bit. But until this year, I’ve never gone so far as to celebrating a birthday on a Greyhound bus. And I’m glad I did. Sixteen hours lets in a lot of love.

Maybe next year, I’ll pencil June 5th in again as a travel day. But, maybe I don’t need to- maybe Greyhound really is changing me for good.

***

Image courtesy FlickrCC user SounderBruce.

Categories: Things Jesuit

TJP Video: Father 2 Father

Latest from the Jesuit Post - Tue, 06/20/2017 - 02:14

Twenty-nine men (from the U.S., Canada and Haiti) were newly ordained to the Jesuit priesthood. Some of the U.S. Jesuits were caught on video taking a moment the day of their ordination to thank their fathers for making them the men they are today. This is “Father 2 Father.”

Happy Father’s Day 2017!

Love,

The Jesuit Post

 

 

Plus, make sure to read Br. Ken Homan, SJ’s piece “You’re Just Like Your Dad.”

And if you’re interested in the stories of the 29 courageous men who were just ordained to the Jesuit priesthood this summer, check out: http://jesuits.org/story?TN=PROJECT-20170530114732

Special Thanks to the Interviewees (in order of appearance):

Fr. Ryan Rallanka, SJ

Fr. Phillip Sutherland, SJ

Fr. Marcus Fryer, SJ

Fr. Stephen Pitts, SJ

 

Video Collaboratively Recorded By:

Perry Petrich, SJ

Tucker Redding, SJ

Michael Tedone, SJ

Edited by: Michael Martinez, SJ

Music Credit: Hit the Floor (2016) by Bob Bradley (PRS) / Matt Parker (PRS) / Steve Dymond (PRS); Licensed by Audio Network Limited

Categories: Things Jesuit

Our Learn Moodle MOOC has begun

Latest Moodle News - Mon, 06/19/2017 - 09:58

by Mary Cooch.  

Our Learn Moodle MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) started today, 19 June, on Learn.moodle.net  and is now in progress, using Moodle 3.3.

Teaching with Moodle: An introduction is for anyone who wants to use the Moodle learning platform for teaching, whether in a school, a university, a company or just personal interest. In this 4 week MOOC, learners will explore all the different functionalities in Moodle and also create their own quizzes, assignments and many more.

There is still time to sign up now and explore the features of Moodle 3.3.  As with our previous MOOCs, if you would like to help out in the forums, please sign up too. Any support you can give to new Moodlers will be very much appreciated.

If you prefer to access the MOOC via mobile, you can also participate using our branded Learn Moodle app - available for Android or iOS. 


 Thanks everyone. We look forward to another great few weeks of learning with all of you.


Grounded Prayer

Ignatian Spirituality - Mon, 06/19/2017 - 05:30

By Vinita Hampton Wright

I think that sometimes we make prayer difficult because we separate it from what is concrete in daily life. We develop the attitude that prayer is supposed to be something in the mind and heart, a spiritual quality hard to define and somewhat elusive to experience. Yet Jesus urged his disciples to pray, to ask God for what they wanted, and to never give up at prayer. The Gospel accounts tell of his regular excursions [...]

IgnatianSpirituality.com ® is a service of Loyola Press, a Jesuit ministry.

Click through to read the full article Grounded Prayer, which appeared first on Ignatian Spirituality.

Categories: Things Jesuit

“You’re just like your dad…”

Latest from the Jesuit Post - Mon, 06/19/2017 - 02:14

I knelt in the front pew, watching the rest of the congregation pass by to receive Communion. I had spent a majority of the Mass quietly crying off-and-on. As my dad walked by, he smiled and warmly patted me on the cheek, tears running down his own face. I felt as if the love would explode out of me. That moment at the Mass of my first vows as a Jesuit brother, with the touch of my dad’s hand against my face, felt like my own version of The Creation of Adam from the Sistine Chapel.

Dad and I have always been incredibly close, and I resemble him in many ways. We have the exact same laugh, tell awful jokes, and feel great pride in our handiwork. But of all the things Dad has taught me, his best lessons have been on love and a healthy masculinity.

****

I have a great deal of vivid memories of Dad. When I was younger and folks asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I always answered “a dad.” That’s because he did such a great job of teaching me how to be a man. He taught me how to pick out dress clothes, appreciate a good craft beer, and choose flowers for a date.

Most importantly, however, Dad taught me that masculinity is not defined by characteristics like clothing, dining, or dating. Masculinity cannot be reduced to a machismo attitude: “be a man!” Too often, masculinity is rooted in a dangerous male ego, fragility, and dominance. This type of masculinity acts as a reflection of community and social structures.

But Dad taught me a different kind of masculinity: one that must always be rooted in a selfless and generous love. This same love must be willing to break down the power and oppression so regularly found in masculinity. All of the characteristics and actions – wearing a suit, drinking a craft beer, picking out flowers – were simply venues for Dad to instruct me in respect, creativity, and thoughtfulness. He took what are often tools of oppression and transformed them into opportunities for change and goodness. He continues to do so.

As I reflect on Father’s Day and the importance of Dad in my life, I am struck by the immense amount of love he has poured into the world. Whether it was telling me a corny joke or showing me how to cut a straight line with a circular saw, Dad has taught me by example how to live a masculinity rooted in loving generosity.

And Dad has taught me that this love comes with a responsibility. My responsibility as a man, in honor of my own dad, is to promote a healthy masculinity rooted in love while challenging a false masculinity of oppression and domination. I reflect on this responsibility daily in my job as a teacher and coach at an all-male school and in my vocation as a member of an all-male religious order. My dad’s example calls me to form young men in a healthy masculinity and work against systems of domination and oppression. I want to set an example of others in the way that my dad set an example for me.

To the dad who used power tools, puns, and tears of joy to teach me about love and masculinity, Happy Father’s Day.

***

Picture courtesy of author.

Categories: Things Jesuit

Under Fire for Faith? Tim Farron and Navigating Plural Societies

Latest from the Jesuit Post - Sat, 06/17/2017 - 02:14

You probably have not heard of Tim Farron. To be honest, I’d never heard of him either, until this week when he resigned as head of the UK’s Liberal Democrats after his party received only 12% of the vote and 12 seats in the recent general election. For any party leader, that’s not good enough and most would quit after a result that miserable.

That’s not why he resigned, though. Farron decided to quit because he felt he could not continue in his present job and still live as a faithful Christian. He realized that his faith and his job were simply incompatible.

Farron, who is Evangelical, said that, “From the very first day of my leadership, I have faced questions about my Christian faith. I’ve tried to answer with grace and patience… At the start of this election, I found myself under scrutiny again – asked about matters to do with my faith. I felt guilty that this focus was distracting attention from our campaign, obscuring our message.” In the end, Farron decided to resign, concluding that “to be a political leader – especially of a progressive, liberal party in 2017 – and to live as a committed Christian, to hold faithfully to the Bible’s teaching, has felt impossible for me.”

A politician blaming the media for his troubles is not striking an original note. At the same time, the Lib Dems’ campaign was hampered by consistent media questioning of Farron’s personal beliefs, rather than of his party’s proposals. Specifically, Farron was asked repeatedly if he considered abortion and same sex marriage sinful, even though he and his party affirmed the current laws allowing both and that he personally regarded neither as sinful. Rather than talking about Brexit, the economy, or the NHS, Farron was expected to be a moral theologian and was held up to scrutiny for his private beliefs rather than his policy proposals. It is worth noting that neither Theresa May, who is a practicing Anglican, nor Jeremy Corbyn, who is agnostic, were asked such questions, let alone with any kind of frequency.

While he admitted that “a better, wiser person than me may have been able to deal with this more successfully, Farron expressed frustration that, despite a long period in public life and a long record to stand by, there seemed to be a presumption against him due to his religious affiliation that prevented him from making his voice heard and from balancing his duties as a believing Christian and as a political leader.

Farron is speaking not just of electoral difficulties but personal difficulties: how could he go on as a leader of his party and advocate for their policies when people’s opinion of his faith, which by his own admission is central to his life, prevents him from doing that task effectively? His belief – that in a liberal society, people could disagree about their personal beliefs so long as the rights and liberties of persons were affirmed and preserved – did not seem to hold with many. In the end, he found no other solution and so resigned.

***

It may be hard to see what this has to do with any of us. Most of us are not, nor ever will be, leaders of political parties and I suspect many of us will never have to face the sort of public scrutiny that Farron experienced over his beliefs. Yet Farron’s dilemma is different from us only in degree and not in kind. We do, after all have to live within a diverse society that compels us to live together with a certain degree of tolerance, even amidst the complications of life in our social and political moment. Every one of us is called to be a part of our particular platoon of society. In a diverse and pluralistic society, that puts us in contact every day with people who may find our beliefs on any number of subjects annoying, distasteful, and even downright abhorrent. Those people may be those closest to us.

If people cannot accept Farron’s argument that so long as we respects the basic rights of others our personal beliefs are just that, then the challenge of living in community with people who may find our simplest and sincerest beliefs genuinely uncomfortable and even threatening may be too much to bear. Family, friends, and acquaintances may be confused by what we say and what we may think about public issues. They may wonder why we believe this or that about a certain news item. They may gasp at the candidates for whom we vote. They may be indignant or even hurt at our take upon the major social questions of our time. We can be judged and found wanting, as Farron seemed to be, based on a presumption. Many of us, I think, struggle with that tension and can be convinced that it is better to play things closer to the vest and reveal as little as possible. I struggle with this temptation every week.

Confronting the awkward possibility of disagreeing with or even offending those around us for our sincere beliefs, we may feel the simple pull to disengage and to withdraw into our own bubbles. We can leave the questions of society to those who can more comfortably inhabit that tension or those who do not experience it all. We may feel safest in keeping to ourselves and hope that nobody expects much out of us.

Or, we might choose to be confrontational, demanding that what we believe must be accepted by everyone around us simply because we believe them. The legitimate opinions and feelings of others must take second place to the assertion of our own truth. We may say that true diversity will never work, so it will be better to carve up territory for our particular tribe.

And yet, there can’t be genuine encounter when these are our responses. They may be perfectly reasonable response, but those are not the lives to which Christians are called and is no path to peace in a diverse society for anyone, Christian or not. So, rather than shrink away from tension or rush towards it, we may have to admit that the Holy Spirit is calling us to live within that discomforting tension, admitting we may not have all the answers but remaining sincere in our convictions all the same. For Tim Farron, resigning as leader of his political party freed him from an unnecessary and unhelpful tensions that impacted how he could be a better disciple of Christ and a decent public servant and I admire him for doing so.

But what does that mean for the rest of us? We cannot resign from the responsibility to listen to others, to be faithful, to be hopeful, and to be loving.

Perhaps the solution is for us to admit to each other that we are flawed people, trying as best we can to make sense of our world, and that we are never bearers of perfectly integrated, perfectly rational, and perfectly acceptable systems of understanding the world, as much as we would like to think we do or as much as other people expect us to. That admission might free us to take ourselves a bit less seriously and to love others much more completely.

That won’t make the tension dissipate. It might not solve all our problems, either. But it might keep us lovingly engaged when we want to run away or draw our swords.

***

Image courtesy FlickrCC user Liberal Democrats.

Categories: Things Jesuit

The Attitude We Should Have

Ignatian Spirituality - Fri, 06/16/2017 - 05:30

By dotMagis Editor

As a preface to his declaration about the Incarnation in Philippians, St. Paul said, “The attitude you should have is the one that Christ Jesus had.” Wisdom is making peace with the unchangeable. We have the freedom to face the unavoidable with dignity, to understand the transformational value that attitude works on suffering. Viktor Frankl wrote that in concentration camps, “what alone remains is ‘the last of human freedoms’—the ability to choose one’s attitude in [...]

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Click through to read the full article The Attitude We Should Have, which appeared first on Ignatian Spirituality.

Categories: Things Jesuit

When We Can’t Have What We Want

Ignatian Spirituality - Thu, 06/15/2017 - 05:30

By Vinita Hampton Wright

You’d think that people of faith would know how to deal with basic disappointments. We have been trained to think in the long-term and welcome ordinary hardships that provide character-building opportunities. But, alas, most of us aren’t skilled at remaining calm and positive when we don’t get what we want. Those of us in first-world situations have bought into the culture of consumerism and instant gratification. We expect fast Internet service, medications that will make [...]

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Click through to read the full article When We Can’t Have What We Want, which appeared first on Ignatian Spirituality.

Categories: Things Jesuit

For My Father, With Love

Latest from the Jesuit Post - Thu, 06/15/2017 - 02:00

He’s standing at the corner of 50th and Main waiting for the Rodriguez brothers, tight friends from his hood. As he watches cars pass by he tugs at the cuffs of his black leather coat and smiles – definitely a better choice than the gold coat he usually wears. He swipes the tip of his black leather boots, admiring their shine. And his Sansabelt pants are pressed with creases so sharp they’d cut glass.

With a comb in one hand and a slick move from the other, he smooths back his thick black hair, accentuating a clean-shaven bronze face. He dons a blue Italian knit shirt opened to his chest. And the sweet smell of Aramis underscores it all. He knows, he’s looo-king goooood!

It’s 1974. This 25-year-old man will join his gang at the nightclub they frequent. They call themselves the Midnighters. Their name alone gives the impression that they’d mix in a West Side Story dance battle against the Jets. But with their record of violence, court appearances, and prison sentences, the Midnighters are anything but choreographed dancers. They are intimidating and loud Mexican-Americans from Kansas City’s west side. And the presence of the Midnighters at this nightclub, located in a predominantly white area of town, is alarming.

Though the night has yet to begin, this man knows how it could end: in a fight, arrested, or with a lady on his arm. Little does he know, tonight on his lone walk home he’ll notice an abandoned book on the ground. He will recover the book and read the cover as if he’d never read words before, “The Good. News. Bible.”

This man’s name is Manuel. And he is my father.

***

I’m talking to my dad at the dining room table of his one bedroom apartment. He’s drinking his usual ice tea in a green cup, wrapped in a paper towel to catch the condensation.

“I still have that Bible I found all those years ago. And I never replaced it. Why replace it when it reads the same now as it did then?” My dad laughs at his little joke. “No, but really, that was the beginning of my life with the Lord. It took me some time to catch on. The Lord isn’t always attractive next to hanging out on the corner with your buddies. But I read that Bible from cover to cover regardless. And you know what? It was interesting! I thought to myself, hey, these Bible people are like me, always making mistakes. It took me a little bit, but I’m glad I read the Bible because it got me thinking differently. Life is worth more with God in it. And you know, some of the guys I ran around with are still banging. In their 60’s! Back in my day there were OG’s who taught you how to live the life. We looked up to them, we wanted to be like them. Some of my old buddies are OG’s now. The others, if they’re still alive, look old! They lived hard lives and you can see it in their face. But, as for me, I tell you, when the Lord wants to come into your life he doesn’t want anything else but you, and he doesn’t let go.”

***

If God was Kool Aid, then my dad was drinking it in gallons. His conversion moved him from street to pew. And in the 1980’s he became deeply involved with his faith through eucharistic ministry, prayer groups, and the charismatic renewal of the Catholic Church in Kansas City.

A boy and his dad.

Last week I was back in Kansas City. My dad and I were killing time before a movie. Knowing my dad likes to read the Bible, I pulled out my phone and read aloud the first scripture reading for the day. Instantly my dad said, “Okay, what is God saying to us?” And with that simple question I discovered how my dad prays. My dad – the epitome of machismo at 25, the guy who could get any woman he wanted, the guy who wasn’t afraid to punch his way out of anything. The guy who, for some unknown reason, picked up a Bible and changed his life. The guy now, at 68, who continues to mourn the loss of his beloved wife. Who took a plane for the first time last month to see his son graduate with a Master’s degree, who always wants to give me money, even when he doesn’t have it.

Though the expression of my dad’s faith has changed over the years, he remains faithful to his nightly prayers. He goes up to his room, rests himself on his bed, opens the very same Good News Bible he found all those years ago, and prays. And then he thanks God for the opportunity to sit with him. It’s a simple prayer, but it’s the prayer of my father.

-//-

The cover image, from Flickr user Ben Salter, can be found here. The embedded image is provided courtesy of Manuel Botello.

Categories: Things Jesuit

Finding God at the Shrine of St. Gianna

Ignatian Spirituality - Wed, 06/14/2017 - 05:30

By Cara Callbeck

A key concept of Ignatian spirituality is finding God in all things. Learning to find God in the good and the bad, the beautiful and the ugly, the uplifting and the painful is indeed an important part of deepening our relationship with Jesus. However, every once in a while, it seems like God flashes a spotlight on his presence, painting the most glorious picture right before our eyes such that we simply couldn’t miss God [...]

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Click through to read the full article Finding God at the Shrine of St. Gianna, which appeared first on Ignatian Spirituality.

Categories: Things Jesuit

Loving a Liar: The Mercy of Dear Evan Hansen

Latest from the Jesuit Post - Wed, 06/14/2017 - 02:00
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The new Broadway musical, Dear Evan Hanson, deservedly snatched up six Tony Awards on Sunday night, including best new musical, best score, best actor and best featured actress. Evan, the show’s lead character, is a socially awkward high school student who doesn’t fit in anywhere. Following the suicide of a schoolmate who bullies him, he get tangles in web of lies which spreads beyond his control over social media over a letter that he wrote, which was never never meant to be seen. How is it that a story about a liar wins over the hearts of audiences and critics for such a sweeping victory? We rarely have sympathy for deceivers, as Stephen Colbert pointed out during the award ceremony, about the “production” happening in Washington D.C., with its unbelievable character who has bad hair and makeup.

Evan has no friends and his hardworking, single mother struggles to be present with to him. He hates social interactions, he tells his mom that he doesn’t even like ordering pizza because he has to have a face to face encounter with the delivery person. Evan is brought to life by Ben Platt, and through his marvelous performance, Evan’s fears, insecurities and anxiety are completely palpable. There are moments in the musical where you should look away from him–what’s going on is too painful to behold–but because his performance is so gripping you simply can’t.

Right from the beginning, we know Evan is a misfit and he is in therapy. He’s not happy with the state of his life. He knows that he goes unnoticed, and he feels invisible to the world around him. Believing that he lives in complete isolation he sings a heart wrenching:

On the outside, always looking in

Will I ever be more than I’ve alway been?

‘Cause I’m tap, tap, tapping on the glass

I’m waving through a window

As an exercise to boost his self confidence, Evan’s therapist asked him to write a letter to himself that begins:

“Dear Evan Hansen,
                       Today is going to be a great day and here’s why…”

Evan reluctantly completes this task which mentions a girl he’s smitten over. A bully, Connor Murphy, is another teenager who has no friends. He intercepts the letter in the school’s computer lab and is angered because the girl Evan writes about is Connor’s sister. Later that night Connor commits suicide and his parent’s discover the “Dear Evan Hansen” letter on his person. His parent think that it’s suicide letter written by Connor to Evan. Evan sees how devastated Connor’s family is, and they are especially grievous because they believe their son died friendless. Evan doesn’t have the heart to tell Connor’s parents that Connor was no friend to him at all, he allows them to believe that they were friends makes up details about their friendship out of compassion and goodwill.  

Because of these lies, Connor’s family takes a liking to Evan and he’s welcomed into to the family as the good son they never had. Being a part of a good family helps him get over his social anxiety and we learn that he no longer needs his prescription medication.  One lie leads to another, and another, and another until the truth comes out, yet we never feel a scrap of disdain for this well-intentioned liar. With his lies, he’s managed to comfort a grieving family. And we totally understand why he does he does it and we don’t judge him for it. This song of lament, “Words Fail” is an eruption of everything that our dear Evan Hansen had pent up in him all along.

While it might seem that this show may disregard the immorality of lying and maybe even promote it, it is in his lying that he ultimately finds who he truly is, gets over his awkwardness and completely accepts himself as enough. It is true that we grow from our brokenness and we learn from our mistakes. These are good things that come out of the bad things on life.  Still, the show in no way presents lies as a long-term solution.  They cannot be sustained forever, and we watch Evan carry the burden of lies as it eats away at him. His lies drew him closer to people, but it also began to alienate the people he got close to as he continually lied.

People lie out of desperation, and Evan is a character who, frankly, is desperate. He wanted to be found and he wanted to matter so much, that he lied to get what he wanted and it only made matters worse. Dear Evan Hansen, doesn’t promote lying.  In demonstrating lies and their consequences in the extreme, what it actually shows is how desperation can drive us to do some crazy things.  And seeing what lengths a person–in this case a particularly likable one– will go to comfort others and themselves, we can’t but feel compassion and mercy for the desperate people around us.  More importantly, it points to our need to be included and hopefully, it makes us less blind to search out those who need to be found as the song “You Will Be Found” suggests.

Categories: Things Jesuit

The Ignatian Adventure in Oklahoma City

Ignatian Spirituality - Tue, 06/13/2017 - 05:30

By Sophie Lorenzo

On February 17, 2017, hundreds of faithful in Oklahoma participated in a spiritual enrichment day titled “The Graces of the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius of Loyola.” The day was hosted by the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Cathedral. Fr. Kevin O’Brien, SJ, led participants in a reflection on the “Grace of the Incarnation,” based on his popular, award-winning book The Ignatian Adventure, published by Loyola Press. The Roots of [...]

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Click through to read the full article The Ignatian Adventure in Oklahoma City, which appeared first on Ignatian Spirituality.

Categories: Things Jesuit

Call for proposals for MoodleMoot Australia 2017

Latest Moodle News - Tue, 06/13/2017 - 02:45

by Helen Foster.  

MoodleMoot Australia 2017 will be held in Sydney on 26 - 28 September 2017.

Moodle HQ invites and welcomes abstracts encompassing a wide range of areas that support the following aims of the conference:

  • to showcase the latest educational research and developments related to Moodle;
  • to share experiences with the open source platform – what have you learnt, what works and what doesn’t – so others can learn from those experiences to enhance and improve their Moodle sites;
  • to provide a forum in which to discuss education and the professional practice of being an educator;
  • to facilitate debate, networking and professional development opportunities.

Submit your proposal today!

Also, don’t miss out on early bird prices and a complimentary MoodleMoot T-shirt - register today!

Come to Miami in November for MoodleMoot US 2017 – Florida

Latest Moodle News - Tue, 06/13/2017 - 02:30

by Helen Foster.  

We are pleased to announce the dates and venue for MoodleMoot US 2017 – Florida: 6 – 8 November 2017 at the Hyatt Regency, Miami.

To register your spot at MoodleMoot US 2017 – Florida and submit a presentation proposal, please visit moodlemoot.org/mootus-florida.

Five Ways to Create a Good Space for Prayer

Ignatian Spirituality - Mon, 06/12/2017 - 05:30

By Vinita Hampton Wright

Taking inventory of the various spaces in your life probably gave you some ideas—it may have inspired you, which is good, because now you’re going to create some space just for prayer. Here are five basic steps to help you start. I’m sure that by the time you’re at step 3, you’ll have generated various additional steps that work for you. Step 1: Choose indoors or outdoors. If you’re like me and many other people, [...]

IgnatianSpirituality.com ® is a service of Loyola Press, a Jesuit ministry.

Click through to read the full article Five Ways to Create a Good Space for Prayer, which appeared first on Ignatian Spirituality.

Categories: Things Jesuit

Praying When Your Routine Changes

Ignatian Spirituality - Fri, 06/09/2017 - 05:30

By Becky Eldredge

Summer’s here! As a mom, I love summer because of the slower routine in the morning, the lack of homework and projects, and a pause in my kids’ extracurricular activities. With summer, though, comes a change in routine that can often impact my prayer life. While I hate to admit it, the routine change can sometimes cause my prayer life to be rather bumpy until the desolation that crops up serves as a reminder from [...]

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Click through to read the full article Praying When Your Routine Changes, which appeared first on Ignatian Spirituality.

Categories: Things Jesuit

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