Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Acknowledging and Embracing the New Counterculture

G. K. Chesterton and John Paul the Great Catholic University are keeping me pretty busy. I'm following a study course on G. K. Chesterton (as noted in previous posts) but along with that I've started an 11 week course on the basics of the Catholic Faith.

Being a cradle Catholic who took a long break and then returned home, I did all the usual things you do when you are raising your kids in the Faith but after they were launched and in the world there wasn't as much learning going on - you know - the nitty gritty stuff; the who, what, when, where, and how of it all. Oh, I knew quite a lot but something seemed missing, how to express that deeper understanding, the sources of understanding.

Discovering this study program through JP the Great U. came at a time when I was really searching, asking, and praying from direction and understanding. Going back to school was no option; online learning wasn't an option. Too much of life now is fluid and refuses to be committed to timelines and deadlines and structure. I wasn't interested in starting a program and finishing it with the idea of having something to show for it for any larger purpose than what it could do for me. And, by extension, what that knowledge could provide to me to share with others.

In addition, I am seeking a balance. Day to day life is accompanied by a constant din of hollow values; values without spirit; values missing the element of God as the source - the idea that something is bigger at work, making it all happen. Humanism and aethism have a strong grip on our society; mainline Protestant churches aren't growing; big box churches are. Big box churches, lead by a charismatic leader, are only as secure as the person at the center of it all and since that person is not Christ, are very fragile.

Split upon split happens. Leaders and their faithful followers come and go. Disappointment and searching is compounded by more of the same. Even among Catholics, the following of one popular priest from parish to parish is in evidence. This sort of splitting off is as weakening upon faith and community as the split of a big box church. I've seen it happen.

The past year has revealed to me a surprising realization from my internal musings. I've become countercultural. Me, a teen/young adult of the 60's/70's, missed it the first time it came around in my life. Age and wisdom has taught me that I didn't miss a lot. The Woodstock Generation was a messy one. But now another countercultural wave has come around and I've determined that there is a lot I will not comply with. As Chesterton said in "The Everlasting Man"

“A dead thing can go with the stream, but only a living thing can go against it.”

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Rural Mission in the service of teen moms and single mothers

Over the years, I have had the privilege of organizing book drives for the establishment of a Cook Islands library and a winter clothing drive for the children of Afghanistan in the province of Ghor. Each time I did this, I was more successful than I could have hoped and all because of the generosity of people like you. But as much as I loved doing this work, a little voice whispered to find something closer to home. It took a while but finally, I have found that place.
Dr. Darlene is a religious of the Glenmary Sisters - Home Mission Sisters of America. Don and I adopted her several years ago and support her mission work in one of the poorest counties in the state of Missouri, Pemiscott County. Our original attraction, when we learned of Sister Darlene, was based on the fact that the work was centered out of Caruthersville, MO where Don grew up.

As time went by, we were continually impressed with how much Sr. Darlene accomplished with so little at hand. She works with food banks, assistance to the needy for utility payments, after school programs for children, and teaching youngster who are studying for their GEDs.

Every summer she also supervises groups of young people who come from various urban area high schools to offer their services for two weeks of mission work. While there, these young people clean homes, yards, repair buildings and residences and work with young children.

Sr. Darlene truly is charity and love in action and it is her most recent work that has caught my attention. Here, in her own words is the newest ministry she has undertaken.

I am so excited to share with you about a new ministry we will be beginning here in the county. As you know, we have a high teenage pregnancy rate and many single mothers. I have been praying about a way to reach out to these expectant moms and their children. I have found a place in nearby Hayti, MO and plan to open an outreach center/thrift store that will offer maternity clothes, toddler clothing up to size 6, and baby supplies. It will provide a way to get to know these young moms and many opportunities to minister to them I cannot wait to see how God unfolds this new adventure!

My purpose and what I am asking of you is assistance in starting up the stocking of the store. One of the things they really need are maternity clothes.

For children who are in school, there is a dress code as the schools have the students in uniforms - the need is: Khaki or black pants and Red, White, or Blue polo shirts.

For babies we need Bibs, Diapers, T-Shirts, Onesies, Plastic Pants, Booties, Socks, Blankets, Sleepers, Rattle, Baby Wipes, Baby Lotion, Baby Shampoo, Baby Powder.

For this first step in my contact process, I would like to hear back from each you. Donations can be made in several ways however I'm still gathering up the mailing information for direct donations so for the time being, as I have done in the past, I am happy to receive donations of clothing or gift cards (there is a Walmart in the area). I will box up the donations and send them to Sr. Darlene.

In the next couple of days, though, I will have a physical address for USPS and UPS mail service so that you can mail items directly to Sr. Darlene if you like.

I look forward to hearing from you. God is good and through His servants, we can serve Him.

God Bless you,

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day

Chick-fil-A lines out the door, done the road, across the country.

 Government vs. Private views. 0 - home run.

 Tolerance sledge hammer vs. the truly tolerant 0 - home run.