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Diary of a Worm’s Life in a Home “Growing Power” Box and Garden

Rain Garden
August 2010

Tomatoes & Basil
from Front Lawn
Garden 2010

Back Yard
Garden 08/02/09

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The Inheritance - Thursday, February 28, 2013

As a result of our former Catholic church, Blessed Trinity being closed in 2011 by the Archdiocese , 1.1 million dollars from the sale of three Catholic Churches in North Central Milwaukee was inherited by St. Catherine’s parish, a Church many miles away. The intention of those who since 1897, had raised the money for these three closed churches always was to serve the mission of Jesus Christ in the neighborhood, which is primarily to serve those in need and the marginalized.

Yet, it became clear tonight observing a parish council meeting at St. Catherine’s tonight that the president of the parish council and a few others considered the money belonging to St. Catherine and was not considering it an inheritance to serve the poor and marginalized in the area it came from. This area, which featured 17 Catholic Churches in the 60’s now has only three Catholic Churches and now is the poorest area in the fourth poorest city and the most segregated area in the most segregated city in the USA.

A few of us recently wrote a Parable Thy Kingdom Come…on Earth as it is in Heaven and a Proposal from the Parable that like our earlier Cry of the Poor Petition so far as been ignored by the few Church leaders who considered the 1.1 million dollars not an inheritance but as belonging now to their Church to do as they will.

When we inherit money for a specific purpose like the mission to the Church to serve the poor and marginalized in certain neighborhoods some of us consider this an obligation of conscience. Some do not. The battle is on and if we can “break the silence” on this issue we might finally be heard and direct the money to those who truly inherited it.

The few who are ignoring the true inheritors of the Church money, the poor and marginalized, are also involved in censoring the Parable Thy kingdom Come from the Catholics for Peace and Justice newsletter just as they did last fall with the historical essays Catholic church in North Central Milwaukee. Jesus said in the Beatitudes “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5:4–6) Jesus also said “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. (Luke 6: 30) Putting all this together with Thy Kingdom Come…on earth as it is in Heaven” from the Our Father it is not hard to see who the real inheritors of the 1.1 million should be.


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Disturbing Message - Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Disturbing Message

We were near the end of our hour of prayer and fasting in the lobby of the Marquette University Library when Marquette security guards approached us. I thought that was strange since we have been doing this during Lent for four years and just last week, after an incident with a security guard, have been told that the Dean of Students say we could have our hour of prayer in the lobby as long as we were not loud or disruptive. I told this to the security guard that approached us. He said he knew that but had got a number of calls from students at Marquette that we were disruptive. We said we were just quietly reading the Stations of the Cross and just offering our flyer to those who came over to us and wanted it. The security team could see that was true and left.

After they left I suddenly realized why students had called security to say we were disruptive. It was our sign saying: “MU Teaches Killing” with the page number and location from the Marquette Bulletin of classes about ROTC. It was our message that was disturbing their conscience. If they would have read our flyer we clearly explained what we are talking about. We had quotes from the military manual and the professor of ethics at West Point Academy , a Catholic, describing how military training, like taught at Marquette, teaches reflexive killing, Killing without conscience.

So now I thought better about our sign and hour of prayer. Dorothy Day, co-founder of the Catholic Worker, said, “When it is said that we disturb people too much by the words pacifism and anarchism, I can only think that people need to be disturbed, that their consciences need to be aroused, that they do indeed need to look into their work, and study new techniques of love and poverty and suffering for each other.” (“Are The Leaders Insane?” By Dorothy Day, The Catholic Worker, April 1954, 1, 6.}

We are so used of our message to Teach War No More being ignored it was refreshing that a few students’ conscience were disturbed enough by our message for them to call security. The message being disturbing is better than the message being ignored.


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Serial Parable Part 4 - Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Thy Kingdom Come…on Earth as it is in Heaven Part 4

The next day was Sunday. Devon arose late to the sound of the hustle and bustle of his mother getting his brother and sister dressed for church. She was in his and his brother’s room helping his younger brother pick out some nice clean clothes for church. Seeing that Devon was awake she said to him, “Get up, Devon, and get ready for church.” For Devon, church was okay but as he grew older it started to become tedious and was way too long. He liked the music but sometimes the preacher went on and on and he had a hard time trying to stay awake. But still feeling some of the glow from his experience with Father Peter, he got up and started putting on his Sunday best.

The custom on Sunday was to grab a light breakfast, maybe a bowl of cereal, and after church come home and make a big home cooked meal. Sometimes his aunts and uncles and cousins would come over or his family would go over to one of their houses for the Sunday meal. He knew that today everyone was coming to his house for he had seen his mom preparing some food on Saturday for the Sunday family feast. He knew his grandma would be there and he was anxious to tell her his story about the Catholic priest. She was wise, he thought, and would understand.

In church, after Sunday school, all the youth went upstairs to join the adults in prayer. After some singing and prayer there was a moment when each person had a chance to thank God for something. At the end of the thanksgiving they would all refrain, “Thank you Lord.” He liked this part because it was sort of an update of the good things happening in the community. Today, one young boy he knew, about his own age, got up and said, “Thank you Lord for helping my mom get beds for us kids and a refrigerator to replace our broken one. The congregation said, “Thank you Lord” and Devon quietly smiled since he knew the source of these blessings.

Near the end of the service the minister called on everyone to hold hands and say the Lord’s Prayer. When they got to the part of, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” he remembered that Father Peter had asked him what this meant and to think about it. He had forgotten to ask Father Peter what he thought it meant. But now suddenly it did not matter. He knew exactly what, “Thy kingdom come… on earth as it is in heaven” meant. It meant families getting beds, stoves and refrigerators due to the generosity of others and passing their blessings on to others. It meant sharing and helping to create a healthier environment and that this would catch on like fire and multiply, like the bread or the millions, until someday God’s Kingdom on Earth, would be more clearly apparent to all. After the Lord’s Prayer, the choir sang out a big “Alleluia” and he joined in with the people praising the Lord.

When he got home he discovered his mother had been baking a ham in the oven during church and had made some greens and sweet potatoes. Soon his aunt and family came over with some good looking fried chicken and another aunt brought over salad greens. But the most awaited food was his grandmother’s pecan and sweet potato pies. They were for desert, so one had to save some room for them.

After everyone was present, Uncle Joseph, the eldest in the family besides grandma stood up to say a prayer before the meal. He thanked God for the family and food and said how blessed they were for grandma and everyone in the family. Then, as was his custom, he turned to one of the children present asking to lead the rest in prayer. The child would lead them in some prayer or song they had learned in Sunday school. Today he turned to Devon, and said, “Devon, last Friday was your birthday, could you lead us in prayer?” Devon stood up and all eyes turned toward him. Devon said, “Let us pray together the Lord’s Prayer” and then he began “Our Father…” and everyone joined in with him. When they came to the part of “Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will Be Done on Earth as it is Heaven,” Devon looked over the family gathered around the table and again smiled for now he knew the answer to the question posed by Father Peter on the meaning of “Thy Kingdom Come… on Earth as it is in Heaven.”

Written by Bob Graf and Joe Radoszewski with technical assistance by Dave Kruschke.

Proposal from the Parable

Thy Kingdom Come…on Earth as it is in Heaven


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Serial Parable Part 3 - Monday, February 25, 2013

Moasic discovered in floor
of original church on site.
Where is the fifth loaf?

Thy Kingdom Come…on Earth as it is in Heaven Part 3

Multiplication of Millions

As they walked toward the kitchen, Devon was impressed how neat and orderly everything was in the house. He thought his mom would enjoy this place since she was always running behind him and his sister and brother to clean up. The kitchen was large and Devon wondered how many persons lived in the house, but did not dare to ask. Once in the kitchen, Father Peter asked him to sit at the table and then proceeded to pull out of the refrigerator all kinds of cold cuts, cheese, mayonnaise and mustard. He took a variety of breads off the shelf and motioned to Devon to make his own sandwich. Devon did and as they started to eat Father Peter said, “Now I will answer your question of what happens when the money runs out. First, there is not much chance of that for awhile since lots of beds and used refrigerators and stoves can be purchased for a million dollars. However, that question was asked by parish members and the leaders of the Catholic Church. Jesus simply said to feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, visit the prisoners, etc. but did not deal with running out of funds. I imagine he thought that if enough people followed His way there would be an endless amount of resources of money and people to achieve his main mission: to serve those in need and marginalized.

“However, something did happen to make the money last a long time. Once word got out in the city and neighborhoods that the Catholic Church was establishing a one million dollar fund to supply beds, stoves and refrigerators to those in need in our area, other people, regular people, small businesses and big corporations started to follow our example. A ‘not for profit fund’ was established with the million dollars and other contributions started to flow in. Some started their own funds for beds, refrigerators and stoves but many gave to our fund. We called it the Human Dignity Fund since a basic principle of almost all religions is to serve those most in need and treat all with respect and human dignity. Persons receiving vouchers for beds, stoves and refrigerators, as you just told me, started feeling good about themselves. It is too early to see all the results but professionals tell us that when children come to school well fed and go home to a good meal and sleep in their own bed they do better in school.”

“Wow,” Devon said, “this sounds like a miracle. Jesus multiplied bread and fishes and you are multiplying beds, stoves and refrigerators. They teach us in Sunday school to pass on good deeds and the Catholic Church certainly has done that.”

The rest of the lunch they just made small talk about sports, news and weather. Father Peter did mention an open gym and basketball team for youth like him which sounded appealing for the winter months when he could not play basketball outside. When lunch was over and Devon left he went straight home instead of to his friend’s house. He felt good and wanted to share his good feelings with his family. He thought, maybe he would even show his sister how to ride the bike she had been bugging him about.

At home his Mom was just coming back from the laundromat and was surprised to see him. He told her that he had stopped at the minister’s home at the Catholic Church and had a good talk while eating lunch there. She said “That’s nice. What did you two talk about?” He told her the story of where the money had come from to purchase the beds, used refrigerators and stoves for their family and many others in the neighborhood. He told her about the miracle of the multiplication of millions that the Human Dignity Fund had sparked. He said to her that he might even give the few dollars he got from his birthday to the fund. His mother just smiled at him and said, “Son, you are blessed! Here, help me with this laundry.”

Tomorrow: Thy Kingdom Come


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Serial Parable Part 2 - Sunday, February 24, 2013

Encounter with a Priest

Thy Kingdom Come…on Earth as it is in Heaven Part 2

Encounter with Priest

On the way to his friend James’s house he passed the local Catholic Church where his mom had just gone for food and where the St. Vincent people come from. There was a house next to the Church where he thought the minister must live. On a whim he decided to knock on the door to see if he could discover more about his family’s good fortune. An old man answered and smiled. Devon said, “My name is Devon, can I speak to the minister of the Church please”. The old man said, “I am the minister of the Church and my name is Father Peter. Please come in.” As he walked in his mind was running fast and he was lost for words. After they sat down in a room near the entrance he started asking question after question. “Who is St. Vincent and how come they gave my family beds, stove and a refrigerator? Where did the money come from? Why are they doing this? Are we expected to give back? Are we the only ones who got all this stuff we need to survive?” After awhile the minister gently stopped him and said, “Young man, I will try to answer all your questions with a story, a true story.” The boy sat in silence, wide eyed as the old man told this story.

“St. Vincent De Paul was a holy man who lived a long time ago in Paris, France. He and his followers, men and women, believed in Jesus’ words about treating the poor, the hungry and those who were outcast of the society, as they would treat Jesus. After he died his followers kept doing this work, as priest and sisters, just as we would call them in the Catholic Church. Later on, some Catholic students in the University of Paris were challenged by fellow students that they preached all these nice things but did nothing to implement them. One of the students, named Frederic, gathered his friends around him and decided to do something about it. They got one of the ‘sisters’ of St. Vincent De Paul religious order to take them across town to the poorest section of the city. What they saw and heard, amidst the poorest of the poor, made them come back over and over again, bringing food, blankets or whatever they could bring. After awhile these person to person home visits spread like wildfire amidst Catholics all over Paris, France, Europe and all over the world, like right here in the USA. The movement of personal home visits came to be called the St. Vincent De Paul society, after St. Vincent De Paul.

“In our city of Milwaukee, the St. Vincent De Paul Society has come across hard times in our neighborhoods of North Central Milwaukee. We live in the poorest area of the city, one of the poorest in the USA and we live in the most segregated neighborhood in the most segregated city in the USA. Do you know what segregated means?” “Yes, Father Peter, I think I do. It means when all of us blacks live in a particular area. I just met a new neighbor, a mother of a friend of mine who had just moved in our area who said, she has never seen such a city where blacks and whites were so separated.”

“Yes, my son, you do know,” Father Peter said. “Well in this poor, segregated area there used to be lots of Catholic Churches back a few years. Now there are only a few. When the leaders of our church recently closed down another Catholic Church in this area, our church got over 1 million dollars from its sale and two others that had been closed. The money was deposited in this church. Well, there was a lot of debate of what to do with this money in our church, but our local church leader, called an Archbishop, had the final say. Some wanted to use the money to help out our Catholic school. Some wanted to use the money to fix up our church, some wanted to use the money to establish another outreach agency in the area. One group who did not have much power or say wanted to use the money the way Jesus tells us to act in the story of the Judgment of Kingdom of Nations in Matthew 25. Do you know that story?” Devon said, “I am not sure but isn’t it something to do with Judgment Day?” “Yes, Devon,” said Father Peter, “On judgment day God, the King is sorting out the good nations or groups of people from the bad nations or groups of people. To the good group of people, He will say, ‘God has blessed you! Come and receive the kingdom that was prepared for you before the world was created. When I was hungry, you gave Me something to eat, and when I was thirsty, you gave Me something to drink. When I was a stranger, you welcomed Me, and when I was naked, you gave me clothes to wear. When I was sick, you took care of Me, and when I was in jail, you visited me.’ The good group of people will say, ‘When did we give You something to eat or drink? When did we welcome You as a stranger or give You clothes to wear 39 or visit you while you were sick or in jail?” The king will say ‘Whenever you did it for any of my people, no matter how unimportant they seemed, you did it for me.’” Then the King will say to the bad group of people: ‘“Get away from Me! You are under God’s curse…. I was hungry, but you did not give Me anything to eat, and I was thirsty, but you did not give Me anything to drink. I was a stranger, but you did not welcome Me, and I was naked, but you did not give Me any clothes to wear. I was sick and in jail, but you did not take care of Me.’ The bad group of people will say, ‘Lord, when did we fail to help You when you were hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in jail?’ The King will say to them, ‘Whenever you failed to help any of my people, no matter how unimportant they seemed, you failed to do it for Me’.

“Devon, do you know the Our Father?” “Yes, I do Father Peter. We say it every Sunday in Church and I learned the prayer in Sunday school.” “Good,” said Father Peter, “what do you think the line ‘Thy Kingdom come …on earth as it is in heaven’ means?” Devon said: “I am not so sure.” Father Peter said, “I will let you think about this while I tell you the rest of the story how your mom got those beds, stove and refrigerator.

“The battle raged on about how to use the 1.1 million dollars from the sale of the three Catholic Churches in the area. The group that wanted to use the money for corporal and spiritual works of mercy, like feeding the poor, providing clothes, visiting the prisoners and doing stuff like the St. Vincent De Paul Society, was very persistent. They begged continually for the use of the money for those in need and segregated, like your family, till one day our church and our Catholic leaders heard them through the Cry of the Poor and suggested the money be used this way in the neighborhoods it came from. So this is how our St. Vincent De Paul Society got the money for beds, used refrigerators and stoves for your family and many, many other families in the area.”

This sounded wonderful to Devon who told Fr Peter, “This is making some real changes in so many of our lives. Going to school with a warm breakfast and coming home to a homemade meal certainly helps me study harder in school. And going to bed in my own bed makes me think I am an important person. But what happens when the money runs out?”

Father Peter replied, “That is a very good question and I have a surprising answer for you about how this money is being multiplied, but before I answer it I need to ask you if you had lunch yet?” Devon replied, “No I was hoping to get some food at my friend’s house since his mother also got a refrigerator and stove.” Father Peter said, “If you eat lunch with me I can answer your question. Will you stay for lunch?” Devon said, “Yes I will stay. I would like to hear about this multiplication of millions.”

Tomorrow: Multiplication of Millions


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Serial Parable Part 1 - Saturday, February 23, 2013

In response to what to do with the 1.1 million dollars the Catholic Church realized from the sale of Catholic churches in North Central Milwaukee we wrote this parable. Part 1 is tonight.

Thy Kingdom Come… on Earth as it is in Heaven

The Birthday

Devon’s wonderful birthday, his 13th on Friday, September 13, 2013 had ended and he was going to bed, his own bed. Devon thought how much my life changed over the summer. Just last June his mother, younger sister and brother and he were evicted from their apartment after his mother lost her part time job and could not pay the rent. They had spent a month or so in a family homeless shelter in downtown Milwaukee. At night they all lived in one room on the family floor and during the day they had to leave the shelter, even on the hottest of days. They would wander with their mother as she looked for a job or just hang out in some cool place like the public library. Since he was the oldest he had to watch his younger brother, 8 and sister, 5 while his mother was seeking a job or looking at a place to live. He had missed his friends from school and from his old neighborhood. Devon was constantly hungry and remembers how glad he was to see volunteers bring some food to the shelter each night.

Finally, his mother with the help of a social worker from the shelter had found a place they could live. Unable to find a job, his mother had entered some kind of program that gave her enough for rent. So in July they moved in. They had not much to move except some clothes and as they entered the new house they found nothing. Their old landlord had provided them with a refrigerator and stove and they had some old mattresses to sleep on. Now there was nothing.

Devon looked down at his own new single bed and thought how much his world had changed since August. Unlike the shelter, his mother and sister and brother had their own bed and with three rooms he could sleep in the same room as his brother leaving his mother and sister with their own rooms. Family members gave them some old furniture and a TV.

Now he was in a new school making new friends that he could invite over to his house after school, like he did today, his birthday. For him and his friends his mother had made some corn muffins, greens and barbecue ribs. She even baked his favorite cake, a chocolate cake. There was plenty of milk and soda to drink. Devon now understood what the minister was talking about on Sunday when he said we are blessed. Devon wondered how his life turned around since last July but was sure grateful it did. He made a mental note to himself to ask his mother tomorrow, Saturday, what had happened.

When he got up Saturday his mother had some blueberry pancakes ready for him. She asked him to watch his sister and brother while she was going to the neighborhood food pantry at the local Catholic Church. Watching his brother and sister was an easy job since they both were watching Saturday morning cartoons on TV.

When his mother came home with some fresh food from the food pantry he helped put it away in the refrigerator and freezer. He knew this food was important to supplement the food stamps they received. When they were done he remembered that he was going to ask his mom what had happened since August that had made their life so much better.

He said to his mother, “Mom, how did we get the beds, stove and refrigerator in August?” His mother sat in a kitchen chair right next to him and smiled. Then she said, “It was like a miracle. I kept calling the information number 211 where I could get some beds, refrigerator and stove so you kids could sleep on a bed and I could make you some real healthy food. They said the only group in town that could help me was a group called St.Vincent De Paul and gave me their number. I tried their number over and over again. When I could get through to a person they would say, ‘We are not serving your area at this time’ or, ‘You do not live in an area we service.’ Since this was a Catholic group and we lived near a Catholic Church I thought this response was strange but I kept trying and trying. One day I called your aunt Marna who lives down the block who told me she had recently called the number and got some beds for her kids after the landlord had finally sprayed the house and the bed bugs were gone. So I called again and this time someone answered and they said they would send two people out from the Catholic Church down the block to our house to see what we needed and they did. It was a couple who came and they were so nice and generous. They asked me what I needed and I told them I needed beds for my kids and a stove and refrigerator so I can cook some real food and not go each day to the corner grocery store to purchase some expensive food that was not so healthy. They said that was fine and wrote me vouchers for beds, even one for me and vouchers for a used stove and refrigerator. I was so happy I thanked them over and over again and before they left we prayed together in thanksgiving to God. I got Uncle James to take me to their store to get the beds and he drove me over to the used appliance store to pick out a refrigerator and stove. Even the man at the store was so nice, giving me a stove and refrigerator for only $25 over the voucher price of $125 each. They delivered and set up the stove and refrigerator and we all helped put the new beds together. You must remember doing that?” He said, “Yes” but wanted to ask her more though he could see she really did not know more and was glad God blessed her with the help of those Catholics. She than told him he could go out and play with his friends but just to be safe. He gave her a hug and went out to check on his friends.

Part 2 Encounter with Priest tomorrow


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Racism, Teaching Killing in Milwaukee Now - Friday, February 22, 2013

Tonight we went to see a play Clybourne Park which is a companion and follow up of the play Raisin in the Sun. The play Clybourne Park was good but very disturbing.

The first act of Clybourne Park is about the white couple in 1959 who reselling their house in an exclusive white neighborhood to black family who are the subject of the play Raisin in the Sun. The couple is haunted by the suicide of their son who committed suicide a few years after serving in the Koran War.

Their son had been haunted by the innocent people he killed in the Korean War. The pressure of racism is brought to this couple not to see their house to ‘colored’ people or Negros. The overt racism is upfront with the background being the death of the son from wounds of the war.

The second act takes place 50 years later when the neighborhood, all African neighborhood near downtown, is now gentrifying. “A white couple seeking to buy and replace the house is being forced to negotiate with local housing regulations with a black couple representing a neighborhood organization.” The black woman is a descendent of the first black family that moved into the house. Racism is now more subtle but is there and explodes at the end of the second act. At the end we have a flashback of the white mother in 1959. Bev, catching her son awake late at night (and probably writing his suicide note), and naively saying, “I really believe things are about to change for the better.”

The play is disturbing and haunting for me since it ties together the two issues I am presently devoted much time and energy to: Stopping the teaching of reflexive killing, at Marquette University and the issue of the local Catholic Church taking the money it made from closing three Catholic churches in North Central Milwaukee and using it for the corporal works of mercy in the same area, the poorest and most segregated part of our city. ( See Catholic Church in North Central Milwukee ). Marquette does not like to hear it is teaching killing but does not refute the problem. The white people with control of the money do not want to hear about modern day racism segregation but continue to justify it by neglecting poor persons especially African Americans.

The issues of racism and military teaching how to kill sadly are alive and well in Milwaukee. We did not say for the Q and A afterwards which is just as well. I do not think I could contain myself from saying this is happening right now today, in Milwaukee.


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Persistantly Seeking the Truth - Thursday, February 21, 2013

Today I went without fanfare to a nonviolent book study group on Dorothy Day that I was banned from two weeks ago. The person who said I was banned and the security guards enforcing his banning were not there. Also today’s gathering was in the library at Marquette not the Peace Center where I was blocked at the doors. The fact is that I was not technically banned and the person who said I was had no valid reason for doing so.

A new employee at the Peace Center after the study group asked me why I was there. As we were talking it was obvious he had been told all about me but did not know me at all. I found it awkward to meet people who think they know you based on hearsay but know nothing about you. We had a good conversation and I think we both left our discussion knowing more about each other.

Another dialog breakthrough came today when two persons responded to my letter to a church person who again was saying she know about all about our proposals like the Cry of the Poor Petition but had refused any kind of dialog. Hopefully the dialog started today by email will continue with person to person and public dialog on this important issue of preferential option for the poor and vulnerable. I was motivated to work on the ‘parable’ on the issue that a few of us are writing. It seems like talking about certain issues like Marquette Teaching Killing or using money from Church sales to aid the poor are controversial and are best said by store, pictures and actions. Emails are the worst form of dialog I have discovered.

My illness lingers on but it feels better when I learn once again that persistently seeking the truth does pay off.


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Tired Observations - Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Tired Nonviolent Cow

Although my cold and cough are going away I am feeling extremely tired. I do not know what is causing it but it sure helps one to slow down for Lent.

A security guard at Marquette University saw me park my car and said he recognized me as the ‘infamous Bob Graf” who was not welcomed on campus. I told him I was not banned from campus and was just going over to the library for an hour of prayer and fasting. He came in the library lobby with a few other security guards and started to tell us how we were trespassing and going to call the police to arrest us. We did not pay him much attention but he kept repeating the mission. Our 92 year Jesuit priest friend started to take him seriously and the security guard was engaged in a conversation saying how we were arrested and chased out of the library lobby before—all that was not true. Finally some other security guards came and called him and his buddies aside. After awhile he left the library and after some more time the two other security guards said the Dean said we could stay unless we were disruptive and than they left. How silly this all seems when one looks at the bigger picture of things of how Teaching Killing without conscience at Marquette destroys real lives.

Dawn of DMZ gardens called to tell me that DMZ gardens had just won a contest and is receiving 25 fruit and nut trees. I am not sure of the details yet since we were both called away by other calls when we briefly talking twice. I do not know much about growing Fruit and Nut trees in the Central City but it sound interesting and good.

A church lay leader is opposing using the 1.1 million dollars for the spiritual and corporal works of mercy for the poor in North Central Milwaukee wrote me again today, this time just reversing what she said the other day. I wrote back to her and other Church leaders that people were starving and dying in the North Central Milwaukee and I had no time for email battles and all I am seeking is open dialog on the use of the money. I will not play email games with her or anyone else anymore. All this reminded me that I need to finish the Parable I am writing on this question of the money and the poor. I will try to finish the draft tomorrow.

Being so tired seems not to affect observations.


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Forgive and Forget - Tuesday, February 19, 2013

I got a concerning email today. It was from a person “in power” who ignored past correspondence and wanted me to rush things to her now which she already got. Trying to be forgiving I wrote a long letter of response, giving her what she requested, but also reminding her she had been given it a long time ago. I was being forgiving but not forgetting. After completing the email letter tonight I decided not to send it till tomorrow when I can look at it in a fresh light and perhaps take some of the non- forgetting out of it.

I had a close family member say to me once that she could forgive another family member for what the person had done but she would not ‘forget’ it. It made some sense at the time but now I think about it real forgiveness might take some forgetting. I know one cannot erase a memory but one can keep from mentioning it and therefore, at least publicly, forget about it.

I know this forgiving and forgetting takes some sucking it up and pain, things I am not very good at. However tomorrow, before I send it out, I may give it a try.

Last night’s Gandhi quote about learning the Art of Dying is still being mulled around in my mind. As I mentioned before I have felt like I am dying for a few years now and now that I have some illness it only increases the feeling of death. Maybe this is God’s way of telling me I need to practice the Art of Dying and since I am a slow learner God is blessing me with this feeling of death and sickness, the second long term one since last August.

Last time I was sick and I finally went to the doctor the illness went away. Maybe I should try this again. As for walking in the shadow of death it does have some benefits, one being it gives me practice in the art of dying.

This opportunity to forgive and forget is maybe just what I need


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Art of Dying - Monday, February 18, 2013

“Just as one man must learn
the art of killing in the training
for violence, so one must learn the
art of dying in the training of
non-violence. (Mahatma Gandhi)

Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32)

I believe in this statement of Jesus in the Gospel of John. However what Jesus does not say here. but practices in his life, is that: “Just as one man must learn the art of killing in the training for violence, so one must learn the art of dying in the training of non-violence. (Mahatma Gandhi)

If a soldier in training at Marquette University must learn the art of killing in the training for war and violence why do we not need to learn the art of dying in the training for non-violence action? The art of dying means learning how to take insults, stigma, ignoring and even injury in our struggle for the truth.

Stigma means taking something partially true but not defining who you are and dealing with it. The celebrity doctor, Dr. Drew, for country star Mindy McCready, blamed the stigma the media and society put on her brain or mental illnesses for her suicide. He had finally talked her into entering a hospital for treatment after she suffered a severe setback in her recovery. She hesitated because of the stigma placed on these brain illnesses by society but he finally convinced her she could enter the hospital quietly. She did it and soon the media was over it and after, only 18 hours, she left the hospital. Soon afterwards she was found dead. Stigma kills.

How many of the training programs in nonviolent change teach the “art of dying”. Victims of war, mental illnesses, Killer Drone attacks and street violence are dying each day. We do not need to learn the ‘art of killing’ but the ‘art of dying’ to save lives.


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Late Valentine - Saturday, February 16, 2013

Valentine Card to Pat

Valentine Day may be over
But it is never to late to say
I love you Pat, moreover,
Have a blessed day every day.

Valentine card is to the side and below


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Ears to Hear and Eyes to See - Friday, February 15, 2013

Today I learned that it takes two to reconcile, two countries, two people or two groups. I went into a meeting with an old friend to reconcile our differences. It ended up with his saying he did not believe me that I was sincere and would not reconcile the past in the present so we could move on. That is his choice but was disappointing to a mutual friend who set up the reconciliation meeting. I have been trying to reconcile with this person for years. I might have faults but I can forgive. Maybe someday we can reconcile.

I read the most absurdly violent story today in my email subscription to It read VFW Wants New Medal Ranked Lower. The Veteran of Foreign Wars are upset that the new military medal for cyber warriors and operators of Killer drones This award, called the “Distinguished Warfare Medal” is ranked above both the Bronze Star with Combat “V” and the Purple Heart – medals typically awarded for combat in which the service member’s life is at risk.” I am just shocked that there is an award for remote killing.

Pat and I watched a movie tonight, the latest James Bond film: “Skyfall”. I like to count killing in such a film but lost track after 41 plus a large number in a subway crash. “That’s Entertainment” as they say.

Jesus talked a lot in parables and paradoxes. When Jesus’ disciples asked why or what the story meant he would often say “if you ears to hear, you will hear.” If you eyes to see, you will see. The other side of being ‘awake’ in life, not hearing or seeing, is sometimes an easier road to take. But to be really alive and live life to the fullest each moment we need to hear what we hear and see what we see.


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No Other Choice - Thursday, February 14, 2013

Tom saying goodby to his
mother in “Grapes of Wrath”

This morning some thoughts were going thru my mind of how my soul is deep down within me surrounded with a lot of crud. I can pick away at it and get some slimmer of light shining through. But to really get at it I would need to fire off the crud with fasting and praying. It would hurt.

There has been a quote working around in my brain the last week or so. It is from the book and movie “Grapes of Wrath” by John Steinbeck. At the end of the book Tom is saying goodbye to his mom since he needs to be on the run for fighting for justice. He says:

“A fella ain’t got a soul of his own, just a little piece of a big soul - the one big soul that belongs to ever’body. Then…then, it don’t matter. I’ll be all around in the dark. I’ll be ever’-where - wherever you can look. Wherever there’s a fight so hungry people can eat, I’ll be there. Wherever there’s a cop beatin’ up a guy, I’ll be there. I’ll be in the way guys yell when they’re mad - I’ll be in the way kids laugh when they’re hungry an’ they know supper’s ready. An’ when the people are eatin’ the stuff they raise, and livin’ in the houses they build - I’ll be there, too.”

I think this quote and thought has crossed my mind since a few people have questioned my integrity and passionate persistence for peace and justice. A few say I am ‘arrogant’, self-centered and just want to be controversial. I have thought about this and there might be some partial truth to these labels. But I know that deep down I need to be true to myself or soul and my being and mt soul is tied in some way to other human beings. We are all brothers and sisters with Jesus and God is our father and mother. So it is to my self-interest to struggle and be present whenever there is an injustice, “Wherever there’s a cop beatin’ up a guy” or whatever a Pakistani child is injured or killed by an American drone.

Some would say that even this posting was ‘arrogant’ and ‘prideful’. Maybe it is, but I have no other choice.


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Persons Need Disturbing - Wednesday, February 13, 2013

92 year old Jesuit priest dressed
as St. Ignatius of Loyola protest
the teaching of reflexive killing
in ROTC at Marquette.

Today a small but diverse group of us had a small Ash Wednesday service in front of Gesu Church on the Marquette University Campus. We ranged in age from 19 year old Catholic Worker to a 92 year old Jesuit priest. We had signs with our message: Marquette Teaches Killing” and our 92 year old Jesuit priest gave out Ashes to all who asked.

Students and staff came by with various reactions. Most ignored us and our message, few supported us and few did not. There was one girl, a sophomore Marine ROTC candidate, who told us that soldiers were fighting in Afghanistan for our right to protest. A few of us said that the military was ‘killing or being killed not in our name and not for us. She got upset and took our protest of teaching killing at Marquette in the ROTC as a personal offense to her.

]Is is not that patriotism had grown to mean unquestioned acceptance for what our political authorities tell us? In the State of the Union Address that will not be broadcast I forgot to mention how our civil liberties have been taken from us the last few years. See Bill Quigley’s, a civil rights lawyer, article on Obama Civil Liberties “F” Report Card. Yet people fight for gun rights not civil rights.

However, to a generation of young people and older ones certain information is ignored if it does not fit the propaganda of government, institution and Church. I do not get it or know what to do about it. All I know is that I must in faith continue my struggle for the Truth and, in conscience, act on it. In his homily today at the Vatican Pope Benedict XVI used Dorothy Day, co-founder of Catholic Worker, as a person with “the ability to oppose the ideological blandishments of her time to choose the search for truth and open herself up to the discovery of faith…”

Next Wednesday at the same time, 4–5pm we will gather in the lobby of the Raynor Library at Marquette to pray the Stations of the Cross so Marquette University can repent and stop teaching killing. Praying inside any building of Marquette is illegal, even though we do not disturb anyone but a few consciences that need disturbing. Dorothy Day might have said it best:

“When it is said that we disturb people too much by the words pacifism and anarchism, I can only think that people need to be disturbed, that their consciences need to be aroused, that they do indeed need to look into their work, and study new techniques of love and poverty and suffering for each other. Of course the remedies are drastic, but then too the evil is a terrible one and we are all involved, we are all guilty, and most certainly we are all going to suffer. The fact that we have “the faith,” that we go to the sacraments, is not enough. ‘Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me’ with napalm, nerve gas, our hydrogen bomb, our ‘new look’.” (“Are The Leaders Insane?” By Dorothy Day, The Catholic Worker, April 1954, 1, 6.}




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State of Union Address that will not be Broadcast - Tuesday, February 12, 2013

“Drones Kill Innocent
Children Like Us”

My fellow Americans,

War: We have withdrawn USA active military from our preemptive war in Iraq. However, we left the country in worse shape than we found it when we preemptively started the war. Our longest war in our history, the war in Afghanistan, still goes on. However, we are committed to withdraw all troops in Afghanistan by the end of next year. Unfortunately we will leave the country in worse shape than we found it.

War on Terrorism I can report that our war against Terrorism has created more terrorist.

Middle East: We are still giving Israel over 8 million dollars a day to maintain their military advantage over Palestine and others in the Middle East. Where we did not demand a regime change like in Egypt and Tunisia there has been some progress. Where we demanded a regime change like in Syria there has been a lot of killing.

Women still do not get equal pay as men for the same work but they can now fight on the front lines of war, “to kill or be killed”, just like men.

Nuclear war: We will stop Iran from having a nuclear weapon but sadly North Korea and many other counties in the world have nuclear weapons. However, we, for the first time in many years, are building three new nuclear bomb plants in the USA.

Military: I am proud to announce we spend the most on military in the world, more than the next 10 military in the world combined.

Military Training: Thanks to our intense military training on our bases in reflexive killing, Killing without Conscience, including bases at universities, we have our increased our fire rate to kill to nearly %100.

Deaths in Military: I am reporting today that less active military were killed in Afghanistan last year than in suicides of active military.

Homicides are on the increase in the USA. My own home town of Chicago had over 500 homicides last year. In fact there have more citizens killed by gun violence since 1980 than all the wars in our history from the Revolutionary war to our war now in Afghanistan. However, sales and availability of guns has increased tremendously in the last year.

Economy: I am sad to announce it is no longer true that anyone that wants to with hard work can succeed financially in the USA. It might have been true but is no longer. Unemployment is too high but as more and more drop out of the job market it will be lower.

Education: We have increased private charter, military and voucher schools. Public Schools are getting weaker but if they do not “race to the top” they will be closed.

Poverty: You know we stand for the middle class. Sadly many of the middle class have fallen into poverty. I will not bore you with the numbers for poverty in the USA but it is bad. One of the hardest hit groups are the African Americans. I would like to thank African Americans for voting for me despite the hard times poor African Americans have fallen into.

Immigration: Since I have been in office more immigrants have been deported than any other time in history. I encourage Congress to work for comprehensive Immigration reform that secures our borders with Mexico, puts illegal immigrants in USA in the back of the line for citizenship after they pay up all taxes and penalties and makes it easy for the well educated immigrant to stay in USA and be a citizen.

Drones: Since I have been in office we have used drones, unmanned airplanes, to kill more terrorist, civilians and children than any other time in history. Of the over 250 children killed children in Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen by our drones, to my knowledge, not one, from Khadije Ali Mokbel Louqye, age 1 to Nasser Salim age 19 was an American.

Now I know this is not a pretty picture but what can you expect when the corporations that elected us control us.


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Bottom Up - Monday, February 11, 2013

Bottom Up Child

Even the Pope of the Catholic Church can retired. The Catholic church of today is very hierarchical: It is the Pope on top, Bishops below him and priest behind Bishops and laity below priests. For all the talk of reform, dialog and open discussion the church remains hierarchical. There are some benefits to a hierarchical system, eliminating bureaucrats making decisions but there is a more pitiful since the Church is supposed to be the people of God and the people are powerless. Top down organizations, as the Church has become over the years, do not listen to the people at the bottom.

My journey in the Catholic Faith was a quick trip up part of the ladder and a slow drop off the ladder. After high school I joined the Society of Jesus for a fourteen year commitment to be a priest. When I left the seminary I started to slide down the slide quickly.

When I was at the bottom run of the Society of Jesus, Jesuits religious orders, I was isolated in a monastic center in the country for four years. We lived in our own world of studies, play, conversation and meals. I had just started my second year as a ‘novice’ when my one month experiment came up. In teams of two we were assigned as orderlies in a big city hospital in a major city. The month, October 1962, was intense with visiting the sick, caring for the dying, rushing people around the hospital, praying with families and working with a priest who was on the vanguard of the new liturgical movement taking place. It was the month of the Cuban missile crisis.

After a month of intense living we were brought back to the protected life of the rural seminary. Right before we left for the hospital our class had started studying Greek. I had trouble with languages and already was tired of the Latin I had studied for four years of high school and four years in the seminary. I just could not get myself around Greek. I went to see our novice master and told of him my dilemma. He was very understanding and told me that he could seek permission for me not to take Greek but that would mean I could not take the fourth vow of the religious order, fidelity to Pope, and thus never be one of the specially professed Jesuits or a Superior.. I said okay and the next three years, when everyone went to study Greek I got to take other courses and do other things. It was then I discover my love of history and took history when others had to take Greek. Since I did not stay the 14 year old course to be a Jesuit priest it really did not matter.

The Pope of Rome in the old days of the Catholic Church was elected by the people. Now the Pope is elected by select Bishops that are called Cardinals and have sworn an official special obedience to the Pope and whatever he says. The Cardinals are appointed by the Pope and thus reflect his views. The cycle of top down goes on and on. Jesus grew up at the bottom and died at the bottom. I like the bottom best since on the bottom you have nowhere to go but up.


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Dying to Live or Living to Die - Sunday, February 10, 2013

Marquette University Teaches Killing

Being sick this last week I discovered a new form of relaxation, that is making a collage with some software I have. For our next event of breaking the silence I spent some time today making a collage of pictures and words. (See on the side or big version below) While my son Peter found computer art refreshing so I do with this computer collage making. His art is too abstract for me and I do not have much artistic talent. Talking pictures is always been enjoyable, especially in this digital age. Now I can take pictures and put them together with a message. As a messenger with written or spoken words I do not seem to be effective, often allowing myself to be distracted as the problem so the message can be ignored.

I need to focus on what I am doing, driving, writing or eating. I know how it feels to be focused like when I am sitting down talking with a person during a home visit or involved in making a collage. Poetry used to focus me but I seem to be slipping in my use of words these days. My mind, like my office, the more I seen to clean and organize it the more it seems to get messed up. Focus seems to escape me often these days and I not sure why, being older, brain function is off or what?

I watched a three part series on Pubic TV about the abolitionist movement. People like Douglas and Garrison were singled minded devoted person and when all looked lost and impossible they kept fighting for what they believe is right, even at the cost of sacrifice.

I am blessed with family and friends and faced little suffering, maybe a few insults, in practicing what I believe. However, no one, big or small, struggling for the truth, can avoid is some suffering, or dying a little to self.

Tupac Shaku, American rap artist, 1971–1996, has a lots of quotes about dying and living. One I recently heard is: “Why am I Dying to Live, When I’m just Living to Die? This is a paradox but another quote from Tupac might answer part of the question: “My mama always used to tell me: ‘If you can’t find something’ to live for, you best find somethin’ to die for.”

Marquette, a Jesuit Catholic University in Milwaukee claims to teach young adults how to live with Christian values and yet teaches young adults how to kill. Dying to live or living to die?


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Up with Frozen Custard - Saturday, February 09, 2013

Toffee pecan frozen
custard flavor of the day

This afternoon, right before, I was going out to help some friends with Mothers Against Gun Violence work on their web site and make a St. Vincent De Paul home visit to a woman in need of bed, I received a challenging email from a friend about what Dorothy Day co-founder of Catholic Worker, would have done in my situation being blocked from a nonviolent study group at a Catholic University.

I left on my works of the Gospel without responding but my thoughts were on the email message. My driving was still safe but, as happens when distractions, I make some wrong turns and going where I am going. Once at each place my mind was very focused on the task on hand but going driving to both places took longer than it should have.

After the second visit with a mother in need I felt focused and my driving reflected it. On the way home I drove by a recently opened frozen custard place. It was the same ownership and the custard stand that I grew up with on the west side called Kopps and then be Roberts many of adult years and was not was called this name. As is my custom in all frozen custard places I stopped for early, on time, or late lunch I ordered a cone of the ‘flavor of the day’ custard. I though it strange that I did not notice a sign with the flavor of the day but was shocked when the young man behind the counter said we do not have a custard flavor of the day, just vanilla and chocolate. I asked him about their other place and he said they still have a custard flavor of day. I was somewhat relieved since it was Mrs. Kopps who, after her husband died and to build the business, started the ‘flavor of day’ at the other store. Now there are all kinds of flavor of the day custards from Turtle Sundae, Éclair Affair, Mint Chip, Passionate Kiss, and Butter Pecan and on and on. In fact the three major Kopp’s custard stands in Milwaukee, as well as others, have two flavors of the days besides Chocolate and Vanilla. An elderly couple sitting nearby waiting for their order was smiling at my surprise. I had a few kind words with them and left the place with my chocolate custard cone.

Tonight I wrote an email to my friend who got me thinking about Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker and Military Training on a Catholic university campus. The connection between these subjects of my day, learning wiki on web, knowledge of frozen custard history, military training on a Catholic campus I realize is research. I know how little I know or how much I do not know on these and other subjects by the amount of research I have done. I enjoyed doing research but find that too much information can bring one down. But there is also a frozen custard and a home visit with a kind person to bring me back up.


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My Friend! - Friday, February 08, 2013

Salad Bowls Friends?

A few years ago when I discovered a Palestinian food store I was happy to find a grocery store with the fresh baked pita bread and all the ingredients for a good Middle Eastern meal, just like I enjoyed as a child. Three brothers run the store and as I became a regular they would greet me with “Hello my friend”. I noticed they used that greeting for many who entered the story. One thing I learned growing up in a cultural Middle Eastern home that hospitality to all, even strangers was important. Very few of my childhood friends ever escaped leaving my house without my mother having them eating or drinking something. When Pat and I with our children would visit my parents we would always leave the home with a collection of food stuff. So when I was called ‘my friend’ I started calling others ‘my friend’.

Tonight at a Friday night fish fry my good friend and wife were critical of me for this habit of calling people so freely “my friend.” Their point was that someone I knew, even for a long while, as an acquaintance was not a friend like real friends were to me. They both thought calling everyone I knew ‘my friend’ was misleading and deceiving. I defended myself by recalling my Middle Eastern heritage but they said this was not the ‘American Way’.

My African young adult friends and even their children call me “Uncle Bob” although clearly I am not their Uncle. But Uncle and Aunt are just a sign of respected and endearment for older persons and I have come to accept it and appreciate it, even referring to them at times as my nephew or nieces. But I guess the difference is that are first generation African Americans and I am third generation.

All this discussion about friendship let me to recall a very early posting on Diary of Worm that my mentor on wiki web pages thought was great. It was call Salad Bowl Friends. In this posting below, ‘the salad bowl’ is an endless network of friends who are united by the zest for life. While keeping their unique diversity, together they are Growing Power. Watch out world, here comes the nonviolent revolution of salad green friends!” My friend suggested I check with my wife to see if I could call a person “my friend” or not. So if you are my friend or not my friend I consider you my “salad bowl friend,” my friend.


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Man Dressed in Black - Thursday, February 07, 2013

Young Man dressed in Black

Last December I was invited by the Center for Peacemaking to join a faculty, staff and community nonviolent study group on Jim Forest’s earlier biography on Dorothy Day, “All is Love.” I wrote back saying I was interested and we probably should use the newest book by Jim, “All is Grace” I have been privileged in my life to know Dorothy a little and Jim Forest very well.

Not hearing back from the Center and seeing that the book had been changed to “All is Grace”, I wrote back to the Center to make sure it was okay for me to be present at this book discussion. I received an email back from the Center that the study group was not a formal group and “the only thing we ask is that people let us know they are attending so we know how much food to order.” So I thought I was okay to attend.

That was that until a few days ago I received a phone message from another Peacemaking Center staff person, an associate director, saying “I want to alert you to the fact you are not welcome to come to the faculty and graduate study group on nonviolence on Thursday. You probably will be contacted by Marquette’s general counsel as well as the department of public safety. You are not allowed to enter the academic support facility or the Center for Peacemaking.” I called this person back and all he said that I had broken some agreement and was working against the Center for Peacemaking, both charges that have no foundation.

Not hearing from the Marquette General counsel and the Department of Public Safety I decided to attend the nonviolent study group on the book.

I was met at the door of the building by the staff person, dressed all in black, and three or four security guards who told me I could not attend the nonviolent study group. All they could say I was banned from campus, which is not true. I asked under what authority they were blocking me from entering the building and they said “it did not matter”. The assistant supervisor of security came by and also said Marquette University is private property and had the right to ban anyone they wanted to. Again I asked for what reason and they gave me none but made idle threats to call the police and have me ticketed for trespassing. They had done this once before and the case was thrown out of court. I stood my ground.

As people walked in, many I knew, I tried to go in with them and was physically blocked by the member of staff, the man in black, and the three or four security guards that stood in the door. Finally Father Harak, the Director of the Center for Peacemaking, came by. I was happy to see him since I heard he was ill and had been praying for him. We talked a little and when he said let’s go upstairs and talk some more, the assistant director of the Center said: “He”, pointing to me, “cannot come in.” I will tell you about it later.” Father Harak looked puzzled but said I must follow my staff.

Yes, I have been one of the person working for the last eight years for Marquette to be Faithful to the Gospel and Stop Hosting Military training bases on campus. With my 21 years of Catholic education, thirteen of them by Jesuits, I feel I have no choice but to oppose teaching killing reflexively, at a Catholic Jesuit University which I have been associated with since 1961. You three might not agree with our position but dialog is better than blocking entry to a book discussion. We have been able to dialog with Father Harak and Father Pilarz in the past but never were physically blocked from a dialog.

The nonviolent study group today was a discussion on a book by Jim Forest on Dorothy Day. Although Dorothy Day was opposed to ROTC on any campus, that was not the point of our discussion today.

At times during the standoff with the security guards and staff person blocking the door I felt I was at a university in a third world country where simple things, like book discussions are banned for certain people. I remember being in Haiti and meeting with university students quietly outside the university and being told not to look directly at the UN Occupation Force. I told the four persons blocking the door that this was an act of violence, segregation, blocking free speech and stigmatizing a person because he had broke the silence on MU teaching killing. They did not care.

People can marginalize me, stigmatized me all they want. With all my faults I am a good target. But hopefully Catholic Social teaching and Christian values, taught me by the Jesuits, will triumph.


I was surprised how easily, without question, everyone obeyed this man in black. When we will they ever learn that truth will always triumph lies and misrepresentations, even with a man dressed in black.


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Banned from Studying Dorothy Day? - Wednesday, February 06, 2013

(A number of friends had suggested that I do not attend tomorrow a nonviolent study group on Jim Forest’s book on Dorothy Day, All is Grace. Here is my response with some editing.)

Thank you all for your advice. After a day of prayer, fasting and reflection I decided I need to attend the nonviolent study group on Jim Forest’s book on Dorothy Day from 12–1pm at the MU Center for Peacemaking. It is not about any agreement I made with someone at Center and certainly it is not about working against the MU Center for Peacemaking. When I signed up for the study group last December there was no problem. Now there is. The only difference I can find is that we took no actions against ROTC at MU last semester and this January we had 2 dinner/meetings at my house to plan a course of action for the next few months.

The Center for Peacemaking has been silent about MU teaching killing. Now we are again Breaking the Silence and the center has a problem saying I am breaking some agreement and working against the center. In our two brief phone conversations, initiated by acting director of center, after three years of rejecting my offers to reconcile and work together, he said, when I asked how I was organizing against the MU Center that was the “truth” and he would not explain.. In the other conversation he said the situation was escalating. Now I know what he was talking about.

I have no problem with acting director of Center but if he is going to use intimation and fear to stop us speaking truth to power as MU I will not personally be part of that. Simply I am going for nonviolent study group that I signed up last December. I am not organizing against the


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Spirit of Sister Nan - Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Silent Bob

I did not get to the worm farm today since something not expected came up. I got a phone message from a person at Marquette University Center for Peacemaking saying I would not be allowed to attend the nonviolent book study on Thursday. I felt disciplined enough to keep on working on the fiction piece I am writing and did not respond till tonight after our meeting with Board of Trustees at St. Catherine about the Cry of the Poor Petition.

Just when things slow down something always seems to happen. I am just an introvert lookng inside out and cannot change it, only keep it under control.

I decided to go to the book study group on Thursday dressed as someone would when protesting in a 3rd world country. Check what maybe my costume on this page. If friends join me we can have some fun and throw off the Marquette Security persons on who is Bob.

Tomorrow I am going to a funeral for religious nun who I knew from the Catholic Worker House of Hospitality. To everything she did, be it a prayer vigil for a homicide victim or at a prayer service at the Catholic Worker house she had a smile and put things in perspective. She had a kind way about her. In a world where Americans are concerned about President killing American citizens with Killer Drones but make little of killing children with the drones in Pakistan, having more people like Nan makes everything in life easier.

No matter what may come back our way, death or life, clarity or confusion, mask or unmasked the spirit of Sister Nan can bring us balance and hope that all will be well.


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Worm Castings, Aide to Spirtual Direction - Monday, February 04, 2013

Worm Farm 360

I had a great session with my spiritual director this morning and afterwards he gave a car load of stuff to start a Worm Farm in my house. One of things was a “Worm Factory 360” which can produce abundant worm castings, invaluable for growing plants. Compost goes into one end of worm and castings, rich in microbes and other good organisms, come out the other end, as Castings or worm poop. Playing around with the worm system I thought of an article in the Featured Article home page called Nature’s Bounty, Soil Salvation. In the article the author suggest soil, like worm castings “is a rich repository of microbes and other organisms with which we’ve coexisted from the beginning. As science digs deeper into understanding the effects of bacteria on human health, and especially on the immune system, it looks increasingly like ingesting components of the soil itself might be as critical to human health as the very finest fruits and veggies grown in it.’’

We can ingest soil like worm casting by putting our hands into them. At one time I put a bunch of “worm castings” into a plastic bag and was going to use it to bring to meetings. I was going to secretly, under the table, rub my hands through the castings when I was getting upset and tense at all the talking going on, going nowhere. I got the bag ready but never used it.

My spiritual director this morning talked to me about being tense. When I work with soil and castings in the garden I am more relaxed. So, I think that by giving me a worm farm to make castings inside he was giving me a way to be less tense. I knew there was a connection between worms and spiritual direction. Worm casting are an aide to spiritual direction.


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Spiritual Direction and Worms - Sunday, February 03, 2013

Healthy Worms

I feel like I had a fever all day today but it did stop me for watching the Super Bowl with my wife and a non-sports fan friend who still sleeping in a chair in our living room. Not feeling so good took some of the fun out of the game but did not stop me from eating too much of my wife’s pork curry and rice dinner.

At our faith sharing gathering next week the person leading our reflection is a person who visits the sick and dying. He will ask us to reflect on the question: “Did you learn anything when you were ill?” For us who have visited many sick people and have experience short and long term illnesses this is a good question.

I remember once when I started a new job teaching and I got very sick to my stomach and nauseated. Also I had at times what some called “panic attacks.” I kept on teaching but taking time off to go to specialist doctor after doctor and took test after test. I could barely eat and thus lost weight. Comfort foods like cheese and custard did not seem to bother me much but most food made me sick and nauseous. At the end of the spring semester I was asked if I was coming back. At first I said yes but after some thought said no. I needed to get well.

After a summer of getting on to new medicine and getting off of old medicine I felt better. I went to see my primary care doctor for a yearly health check. He was amazed at how much weight I had lost. He asked me how I had lost so much weight. Instead of saying how I could not eat without getting nausea I told him I was on the cream city diet. He asked me what the cream city diet was and I told him that it was when you restricted yourself to cheese, custard and cream, a local name for beer. He thought this was funny but it was true.
After I got well I gained the weight back and even added a little more.

Once again I need to move this diary back to the worm, gardening and nature side, the left side. Maybe I could start tomorrow when I see my spiritual director. He asked me if I wanted some worms. He has a friend, like me who uses worms to make castings for growing and his friend was leaving the country for four years. When I was feeling sick it was hard to appreciate anything. Now that I am back to ‘near normal’ I said yes and tomorrow I will get some needed spiritual direction and some worms.


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Friends Ease thePain of Death - Saturday, February 02, 2013

“Pain” by Peter Graf

At our Faith In Recovery monthly dinner I sat next to one of the persons who organizes the monthly meal. I sat next to her and she mentioned today was her birthday. Another friend at the table just had his birthday, yesterday and last Thursday, as I mentioned before, my friend Ella had her birthday. I sat next to a friend, one year older than myself, who had, I believe his birthday recently. As I get older so do my friends.

The older we get the more we stare death in the face. I do not feel I will ever fully accept the death of my son, Peter before I die. But friends do help to ease the pain of death until that time. A friend, who lost her son in a car accident, sent us this poem for “family and friends of a suicide”, like us. Friends can ease the pain of death in the family.

As you huddle around the torn silence,
Each by this lonely deed exiled
To a solitary confinement of soul,
May some small glow from what has been lost
Return like the kindness of candlelight.

As your eyes strain to sift
This sudden wall of dark
And no one can say why
In such a forsaken, secret way,
This death was sent for…
May one of the lovely hours
Of memory return
Like a field of ease
Among these graveled days.

May the Angel of Wisdom
Enter this ruin of absence
And guide your minds
To receive this bitter chalice
So that you do not damage yourselves
By attending only at the hungry altar
Of regret and anger and guilt.

May you be given some inkling
That there could be something else at work
And that what to you now seems
Dark, destructive and forlorn,
Might be a destiny that looks different
From inside the eternal script.

May vision be granted to you
To see this with the eyes of providence.
May your loss become a sanctuary
Where new presence will dwell
To refine and enrich
The rest of your life
With courage and compassion.


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Choose The Ups and Accept the Downs - Friday, February 01, 2013

Today, the first day of February, I woke up deeply depressed and in the middle of nightmare of being rejected and ignored. However, this morning when I went our for a St. Vincent De Paul home visits my spirit went up and I was consoled. On the first visit there was a three year girl home with her mother. She kept smiling at me and when I gave her some silly attention she would laugh and continue looking at me. The faces of children, especially a three year old, have a way of lifting my spirit no matter how down I may be.

On our second home visit there was with middle aged woman living alone whose only financial income was disability. She had asked for a voucher for a washer and dryer which normally we do not give to women without children. With approval of the person who assigns us our home visits we went to talk with her today about her needs. When I walked into her fashionably decorated duplex home I started to wonder if I was mistaken to be there. She was easy going and soon we fell into our conversation about our life experiences. It turns out she was along in the city with no family. She had lost her job and in missing one payment on her mortgage she had lost her house. A person came to her assistance in moving her stuff to the apartment but she turned out to be part of a scheme to rob her of possessions. The police were not interested in charging the persons who conducted this scheme.

Her car sat in front of her house, with too many repairs needed for her to get it running. She does not get out much because of a walking problem but the other day she had to go to the doctor. She purchased some bus tickets at a local store and in the process lost her debit card. By the time she noticed her debit card was missing it had been used to purchase $260 of liquor. The bank said they were investigating but for now she was out of the money.

As she gently talked and I listen to her stories she told me the story of how, at a young age, she was raped by a man. She had information on the person and presented it to the police who said she should not have put herself in the position to be raped. Without a good police investigation the District Attorney would not charge the man. This was a deep wound on her soul. Yet she talked about her faith and how that sustained her. I ended up giving her a voucher for washing machine which she could keep in her kitchen on the second floor. For drying she would need to go down in the basement and use the dryer of the woman downstairs or, as her mother used to do, hang her clothes up in the basement. She was a woman of eloquence, who suffering with courage,was a source of consolation.

This afternoon I got a phone call from a Church leader who had deep problems with me for advocating our Cry of the Poor Petition blaming me, as other Church leaders, for the message not being heard. I also got an email from a MU administrator in peacemaking department at Marquette University scolding me for sending a one line email about details of Nonviolent Study Group I was signed up for at Marquette University. This person had ignored me for over three years and now was demanding we meet at a certain time when he would set conditions for me to work with the Peacemaking Center at Marquette. Why make it so hard to work together for peace and justice?

These two experiences were depressing and I felt I had to respond, not react, in an honest, peaceful way.

Tonight my wife and I brought a meal down to the family homeless shelter. As usual there was lots of smiling children around to lift my spirits. One of the mothers and I started to talk. She had moved back to Milwaukee, after thirty years in Virginia to be near her ailing mother. She was surprised by the segregation of African Americans she found in Milwaukee and the difficulty of finding a job although she had over 20 years of experience working in a hair salon. Although she was struggling her faith in the God of all of us kept her going. She, like the children, were a real inspiration of consolation to me.
So I started off the day down, had one big up, two small down experience and one more up I think the day was even between consolation and desolation. One of my special saints, St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of Society of Jesus, told us to examine our consolations and desolation’s and go after the consolations. So I choose the ups and accept the downs.


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