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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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Being Aware Without Being Overwhelmed - Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Today Pat and I took our granddaughter to the Big Gig, Summerfest, the largest music festival in the world, on the Milwaukee lakefront. There are 11 stages of live music from 12 noon to 12 am. Admission was free from 12–3 today and there was plenty of food, drink and merchandise available. Lots of loud music, lot of people, lots of stimuli is not my thing but I just tried to deal with it in the moment, shutting down some of my feelings but not enough to make me unaware.

Walking thru life being aware yet not being overwhelmed by the onslaught of information being thrown at us, is something I struggle with. At times I have been too insensitive and numb to the world around me and at times I have been overwhelmed with feelings and emotions, like anger, that get out of control.

I like to think I have got wiser with age on how to balance awareness with unfeeling but many people have put me in a box of talking too much, drowning out sensitivity and/ or being angry at all the time. It is hard to get out of the box or stigma no matter what I do.

The modern information age does throw a lot at us and to take a contemplative view, without being a monk like Thomas Merton, is hard to do. Also I believe that ‘powers that be’, some unspeakable, throw so much disorder at us that it is hard for us to be aware and stay balanced. Individualism, ‘you do your thing and I do my thing’, does not help for once we became aware and want to do something we find it hard to work together.

I try to stay focused but often wander. My main political focus these days is to expose in any nonviolent way possible the fact that the local St. Vincent De Paul Society, under the control of a few, is spending about 4 million dollars of poor people’s money on a thrift store in the suburbs that will probably never aide the poor they are dedicated to serve on a one by one basis. Our charge, despite all the data and backup to it we have, seems so out of character of good people running the local Society that middle class and rich people just brush it off as a personal opinion.

The poor seem to bet it right away as they have seen the services of the Society drop just as the need is becoming greater. But the poor are hard to organize, being defeated too many times. Some of us aware of this information, injustice are like voices crying out in the wilderness. Will people hear us and act?

I do not know the answer to the last question but do know that once a person really becomes aware of an injustice the person must act or numb themselves. As I know there are plenty ways of numbing ourselves, from digital devices to sports to eating.

Being aware without being overwhelmed, being focused without following distractions is the question.


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Worm Speaks Out: Respect Worms - Monday, June 29, 2015

I, earthworm, have not spoken out recently on this Diary of Worm and wish I did not feel the need to do so need. You read on this site about how worms literally renew earth, how Darwin devoted the last years of his life to report the glory of worms, about the hard work we do eating and pooping making the black gold of fertilizers out of compost and waste.

However, for all our accomplishments over centuries of a time before the dinosaur may be ruin by a discovery in USA of Amynthas agrestis, or some call ‘jumping’ or ‘crazy’ in the Midwest. This particular worm, brought here from Asia, is troublesome because it is large and invasive and in forest chews up the leaf litter and thus makes it difficult for saplings to grow. Humans should know a little about wealth and greed.

All of us worms eat and poop our weight each day. Wiggly around is something we do normally when humans handle us. But this particular species of worms eats above ground on forest leaves, thus imposing danger to forest. This is not good and I do not want to justify it. But all species, even you humans, have ones that do bad things to ecology of our earth. Humans are now radically changing the climate for all creatures, making it less habitable. Right now nations are gathering to do more talk about ‘climate change’ and what to do about it. So far, with all the talk, not much is being done about it.

If you highly intelligent creatures cannot do much to reverse the harmful effects of ‘climate change’ how do you expect we worms, with the smallest brain of all creatures, if you can call it that, to do anything about these new species of ‘jumping worms.’ Like any othr invasive species like, the jumping carp coming up the Mississippi to Great Lakes, you humans will need to figure out how to stop this particular worm from doing harm. You created the problem now you need to fix it.

The rest of earthworms will continue to work silently and without much recognition to renew the earth and fertilize gardens. Calling us names like ‘crazy’ or stigmatizing all worms because of the habit this one species will not help. We worms will continue to serve you and just ask, in return, for a little respect.


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Baseball and Wars in Vain - Sunday, June 28, 2015

My two grandsons played drums in the Pulaski High Band for the national anthem of today’s Milwaukee Brewers baseball game. My wife, granddaughter and I looked on in the lower grandstand. It was just this one song but it was impressive since this band has played at a Milwaukee Buck’s basketball game and Green Bay Packer football game within the last year. They are good and even play at the Outback bowl last New Year’s day in Florida that featured the Wisconsin football team winning the game. The Brewers also won today so if you are a big time professional or college team, just invite the Pulaski band to play and be a winner.

Small moments like the playing of national anthem today can be important. The national anthem brings alive for me the long wars we have fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. I think of all the American men and women who have died and been injuring in these wars and all the innocent lives that have been lost. Both countries are worst off now than when we invaded them and after we leave, whenever that may be, will most likely go back to a more oppressive government than the one we overthrew. One lesson we learned in Vietnam that USA pretends to forget is that when you invade the country and you are fighting on one side in a civil war you cannot win. No amount of force will ever suppress the people you are fighting when they are from the country you have invaded.
Much money is made by war by arms and natural resources like oil, but the invading force will always loose, if not right away, in time.

When I think of the young men and women who lost their lives in these two wars, one I knew personally, I can see that all the honoring of soldiers who “gave their lives for our freedom” can never cover up the truth, war is hell and everyone is a looser. Three times during the baseball game a veteran of the wars was honored. People stood and clapped as probably well they should. My heart hurt for those killed and injured and I do not have the courage to say the truth, the wars are in vain.


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Why More Crime in Milwaukee? - Saturday, June 27, 2015

Dear Mayor, County Executive, Governor, Chief of Police and others,

Mayor, awhile back I remember you asking what are the answer to the rising violence in Milwaukee. Sadly I do not have the answers but since my years at Marquette University High School I have been fascinated with study of criminology and know where to look.

First, what not to do. Calling people who commit crimes names like thugs or sick does not help. Ignoring the facts of racism and poverty in Milwaukee does not help. As I am sure you know Milwaukee is the most racially segregated city in the USA and the second poorest according to U.S. Census information. The two areas of Milwaukee, North Central (85% plus African American) and South Central (85% Hispanic) are poorest and most violent areas in City of Milwaukee.

Second, learn from history of what works and does not work. When Richard Nixon first went into Presidential Office he asked his advisers of what was the easiest way to reduce crime. They suggested treatment rather than punishment for drug addicts and alcoholics. He did it and it worked but after second election was forgotten in heat of Watergate.

When Governor Thompson, the great builder of prisons in Wisconsin, created a task force to study how to lessen prisons and prisoners they responded:Prisoners and Prisons “are bound to grow as long as the root cause of crime—poverty, lack of education and lack of family support—go unaddressed.” Often we know the answers but just do not want to face them as they are too inconvenient.

Third, treat all illnesses equally. If a person with a weak heart has a heart attack 911 is called and the person is automatically taken to the hospital. If a person with a brain illness, mental illness, has a breakdown 911 might be called but the person is taken to jail or mental health complex, not a medical facility like a hospital. Under a former County Executive, in an effort to save money,the mental health complex lost federal certification and funds because the county would not maintain it as a medical facility; we have being paying ever since for this mistake. People with mental illnesses are less likely to commit crimes than ‘normal’ population but they are more likely to be victims of crime than the rest of population. The stigma of brain illnesses hangs heavy over our society, especially with poor and minorities.

Fourth, and last for now, listen to poor, marginalized and rejected. Please do not take the attitude of arrogance that you know what is best for poor and marginalized. Agencies, private or public that take that attitude are making the situation worst. For example, Marquette University security officers became authorized policeman and Marquette got a million dollars to ‘improve’ the neighborhood north and west of it by hiring its own District Attorney to prosecute persons. Armed police officers in the neighborhood looking to arrest and prosecute people of color are a disaster waiting to happen. It is like there is a wall around North Avenue to Silver Spring between 60th and the river and one on near Southside where poor. Marginalized persons are being forced to live in neighborhoods with abandoned homes, lack of home ownership, poor public education system, high unemployment and a high rate of incarceration of young adult African American males. I grew up in Milwaukee and lived most of my 72 years here and do not remember Milwaukee ever being this segregated and poor and fearful. Perhaps we cannot change persons but we can create an “environment which it is easier to be good.”

If you have read this far, thank you; if you ignore this letter all I can say I respect you and will never ignore you.

May the graces and blessings that God sheds on the poor and marginalized be with you,

Bob Graf


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True Story of the Lost of an Ubran Minister in Milwaukee - Friday, June 26, 2015

Father Carl Diederichs

This is a ‘good news’ story with a sad but true ending.

There was a man who came late in life to the priesthood in Milwaukee. A few years after he was ordained he was sent to pastor one of the two African American Catholic Churches left after a former Archbishop had closed down eight predominately African-American Catholic Churches and created two.

The history of the African-American Catholic Church is one of Archbishops and white Catholic Church members keeping blacks “separate but equal”. From the days of St. Benedict the Moor Church and school being created so blacks did not have to attend the nearby white Catholic school and church and sit in the balcony during liturgy has been one of neglect. (See The Catholic Church in North Central Milwaukee ).

This elderly priest was sent to one of the two Catholic Churches left in the Central city. There were 17 Catholic Churches in North Central Milwaukee in 60’s and now there are only three, one being predominately white. Many black Catholics during the closing of Catholic Churches in predominately African American neighbors, not seeing their concerns being dealt with left the Catholic Church and became members of other Christian churches that were open and had urban ministry.

This priest cherished the opportunity to minister in this Catholic Church. African Americans and whites could see his enthusiasm for ministry in this urban environment and the Church grew and grew. The Gospel choir of this Church became world renowned for its music. Each year more and more persons joined this Church that was reaching out to the neighborhood and beyond (evangelizing, some would call it).

The present Archbishop since he came to Milwaukee, kept check on this priest who was a true urban minister. After ten years the Archbishop suddenly pulled him out of this Church. He wanted to stay in ministry in urban areas serving African Americans but the Archbishop say no, he could not stay in the area, not as a pastor even as priestly urban minister. Rather than get assigned to an all white parish in northern part of Archdiocese he decided to retire and seek some other ministry as a priest. Although he was elderly, coming late to the priesthood, he felt he had much more to offer.

The people of the parish were very sad to see him go. The local African American newspaper had a special insert honoring him. On the cover next to his picture it said “Outgoing All Saint Catholic Church shepherd leaves a legacy built on the church’s commitment to build and foster a multiracial, multicultural community of faith, hope and love.”

There was a special Mass and celebration in the parish honoring this priest and on the following Sunday he celebrated with a full house of people of all races his last liturgy where the music was soul felt, the homily brief but meaningful and the Eucharist table was shared by all, young and old, females and males, white and black. It was a true picture of what ‘catholic’, universal, church, should look like.

At the end of mass this priest read a letter from a Bishop, not the one in Milwaukee, but a bishop in Louisiana who welcomed him to his diocese to be the pastor for two African American Church in the bayou’s of his state. He had wanted to live and work in Milwaukee area but the opportunities for housing and ministry were just not present.

After the liturgy, as we were driving home, my wife, Pat, noticed an insert in the church bulletin. It was a letter from the present Archbishop about a call at recent synod (gathering) of Catholics in the Archdiocese for the local Catholic Church to renew its focus on issues of social justice, “especially on issues like poverty, immigration, violence and crime.” To deal with this concern he was appointing a priest of three white Churches as Vicar General with a special emphasis on Urban Ministry.

He ends the letter by saying “When we demonstrate our concern for issues impacting wide segments of our society in areas of social justice, especially on issues like education, poverty, immigration, crime, violence and other social issues, we demonstrate our willingness to follow the command of Jesus to LOVE ONE ANOTHER.” This is true but the Archbishop could have done a lot more toward these concerns for these urban issues by just allowing Father Carl to do his urban ministry at All Saints.

I just pray and hope this move does not create more former African American Catholics. This is the story of the Milwaukee Catholic Archdiocese in dealing with African Americans, knowing what is best for ‘them’ without listening to African Americans, even the Catholics. This is the true but sad story of an Urban Minister lost to the Catholic Church in Milwaukee.


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Tale of Two Cities - Opinions - Thursday, June 25, 2015

Trickle Down Theory of
new SVDP store

When I published the pictures and facts of Tale of Two Cities they were ignored by staff and leaders of St. Vincent de Paul. However, a few friends responded said that these pictures I took of the two stores and the facts I published using official material, manuals, Rules and records of Society of St. Vincent de Paul were “my opinion”. Actually they were not. So if pictures and facts are my opinion I might as well give my opinions.

Many of these opinions could be fact, true or false, if the Milwaukee St. Vincent de Paul central office staff and key leaders were not so secretive and non-transparent.


From observation of records the Milwaukee St. Vincent De Paul has not had a truly independent audit of financial records in years. It seems like the same company does audit year after year.

From reliable sources the new St. Vincent de Paul Store in the suburb of Greenfield is not only not serving the poor with financial resources but the revenue from store is unable to keep up with compensation for store staff, around 40 persons, and the operating cost of the store, including paying suburb of Greenfield payments in lieu of taxes. The store does not seem to be sustainable yet alone pay back the 3.2 million dollars loaned to purchase and renovate the building. So new Greenfield store is not only not serving persons in need but is draining donations of items and monies directed to poor, persons in need.

The policy, of last fall, of making conferences pay full retail price of vouchers for clothing, bedding and household items is continuing. For example, a conference writing a $50 voucher for a family in need for clothing and household items must pay the Milwaukee Central Office store $50 for items that were donated free to St. Vincent de Paul. As the ‘facts’ above point out only a little over 4% of Milwaukee Council approved and projected budget is for direct services to people in need.

The statement to donors by SVDP that they can be “ensured that 91.5% of every dollar raised went directly to support people in need” is based in no reality and cannot be backed up with reliable numbers. Even if compensation to employees of the Milwaukee store and two meal programs are counted in this statement there is no way this statement is remotely true. As for serving the main mission of the Society, members making persons to persons home visits to persons in need, a few, if any, of the 75 or employees of Central office participate in this mission.

The finances and 3.5 budget of St. Vincent de Paul are tightly controlled by one staff member, financial executive. Executive director, Council President and select members get financial information from this one person. The financial records are kept secretive.

Most persons in need when they call St. Vincent de Paul office receive the message “we do not serve your area”. Many of these persons are from the North Central and South Central areas of Milwaukee, the two most racially segregated and poorest areas of the city, where Catholic Churches have been closed or do no longer work with St. Vincent de Paul Society. Thus most members of St. Vincent de Paul Society, due to this outdated system of assigning home visits, in a year make few, if any home visits, the main mission of Society. Record of people in need rejected may be kept at Central Office but are not made know to members or public.

With more and more money going to subsidize a St. Vincent de Paul Thrift store serving the middle class suburbanites, fewer and fewer people in need in the 2nd poorest city in the USA are being served.

These opinions are mine but since the staff and key leaders of Milwaukee Society
will not give a contradicting opinion I tend to believe they are true.


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Marquette Univesity is a Hypocrite - Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The other day I had a request from an organization ask to link my web age, Teach War No More to their guide on “Funding Your Education with ROTC.” I did not respond right away thinking it was a mistake since my web page seeks to end ROTC military training on Catholic campuses.

But the person was persistent and sent me a reminder today. Obviously the person had not read the material on my page and so I pointed out to him how my web page is dedicated to eliminating ROTC on Catholic Universities. In my Catholic, Jesuit educated value system teaching war and killing, killing without conscience. I may be a hypocrite but not that much of one.

That Marquette University is the host school for the Department of Defense for military training for Army, Navy/Marines and Air Force for all colleges and universities in Southeast Wisconsin deeply disturbs me. I do not know what to do with my disturbed conscience except to research, write, protest and act on my conscience to disturb the conscience of others.

Perhaps the person thought I was one of the persons who say that is “your opinion and I have my opinion” when it comes to matters of life and death. Since the Vietnam War in the 60’s I have believed that putting a person in a position to “kill or be killed” be it though the draft or offering education opportunities.

I can understand how the very high cost of education drives persons to sites like this way to fund education by joining the military but that does not make it right for a college or university to teach war and killing. Marquette’s strategy of “marginalize and ignore” seems to be working but only till the next time we take a nonviolent action to expose the hypocrisy of the university.

I wrote an article called Dorothy Day’s Worst Nightmare about ROTC on Catholic Campuses. Maybe someone will publish it. The archives of Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker Movement are in the Marquette University archives. I know Dorothy Day would not be a part of this hypocrisy.

Calling Marquette University a “hypocrite” for teaching war and reflexive killing at a University that claims to practice Gospel values and to respect and cherish life might not do any good. However, calling something for what it is is not a bad practice. There are many good hypocrites, including myself who pays war taxes. So, with all due apologies to Conservatives and Liberals, Democrats and Republicans, I will say: Marquette University is a Hypocrite.


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Inconvenient to be Poor! - Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Being poor is hard. Today my friend’s adult daughter had to go to emergency room for a severe case of congestion and coughing. After a five and half wait in the waiting room she was finally looked at, given an IV and some medication and sent home. She had no way to get home so we drove her. Because of her illness she had not eaten all day so we stopped so she could get some food.

Another low income friend was going from the Far East side, late at night, to his home on West side. When he got to a transfer point the bus was late. More people came, waiting for the bus that never came. An adult drunk on a bike came by and gave my friend a very hard time. When he went over to a McDonald’s on the corner to make a call home for his wife to pick him up the McDonald’s worker said the official policy is not to let people used their phone. Finally he did call home and got a ride and all went well.

Hunger is now a big problem for poor people. The cut in food stamps in Wisconsin has hit hard on poor, elede3rly and disabled. Food pantries are being drained and people have to hustle to get food for family or themselves. A local pastor, in the poorest part of town told me the church food pantry cannot keep up with the demand for food.

A minister told us tonight at a gathering how poor people are so ignored and marginalized that many give up hope that they can change the environment.
Today I talked with my 87 year old friend who with her children, grandchildren and great children has known some tough times. She grew up on the South where r parents worked hard to support the family. Now she sees in er grandchildren up north struggling to survive as she has done in parts of her life. She claims that times are tougher now for poor than any other time in her life.

Being segregated to a certain part of the city, facing high unemployment, poor transportation, profiling and incarceration of black males creates an environment where it is harder to be good and tougher to be poor. It is darn right inconvenient to be poor.


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Care for Our Common Home - Monday, June 22, 2015

Water and Sun, Rain and Heat are needed for good crop of tomatoes in the garden. Today, the rain stopped long enough for the sun to come out for a little while but there is not much heat. I can produce water with a hose but cannot produce heat for the tomato plants. There are just some things we cannot do. We used to say we are dependent on Mother Nature but more and more we are realizing climate changes are man-made.

Pope Francis’s encyclical Laudato si “On Care For Our Common Home” seems to have been warmly received by most Americans, except Catholic Bishops and Catholic politicians. Maybe it is quotes like this one that bothers them: “The idea of infinite or unlimited growth, which proves so attractive to economists, financiers and experts in technology … is based on the lie that there is an infinite supply of the earth’s goods, and this leads to the planet being squeezed dry at every limit.” The Pope makes it very clear that what we do, often in name of profits, severely hurts our common home, earth and is wrong. The Pope’s letter, address to all on earth, makes it perfectly clear that “climate change” is happening and we are an under a moral obligation to act on it.

The intensity of earthquakes, tornadoes, droughts, floods and hurricanes in recent years does not seem to have wakened some people in power. Perhaps Pope Francis’ strong statement will wake some up to this human created disaster on earth. Perhaps not. What does it take to wake people up and say ‘enough’; we must care for our common home?


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Imagine Father’s Day - Sunday, June 21, 2015

What do you see in the cloud?

Today, Father’s Day, my granddaughter spent the day with us. She wanted to go to a beech on Lake Michigan so we took her to Bradford beech. My wife and granddaughter went to change into swim suits while I just sat there on the beach watching the clouds go by in the blue sky. Like a kid I tried to see into the cloud something on earth.

Imagination plays a large role in our seeing. A number of people could look at the same cloud and see a number of things. I am aware from observing children how much imagination we adults we have lost. Part of it is our education process and part of it is our believing and seeing what we want to see.
In the advertising world they say it is not reality that sells but the perception of reality. Advertisers play to our fears, like having a bad breathe or to our hopes, like buying a new car is sexy.

Sitting on the beach, with the waves crashing in, feeling the breeze on my face, absorbing the sun, seeing my granddaughter run into the frigid waters and immediately run out and allowing my imagination to be free while looking at clouds was relaxing and a great Father’s day gift.


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Poor Demand Bigger Share of the Pie - Saturday, June 20, 2015

Poor get smallest piece of pie

For years, inside the Society of St. Vincent de Paul (SVDP) as a member, and now, suspended, outside of the Society, I have tried be a voice with the poor, persons in need. We are saying that the Milwaukee Council and Central staff of SVDP have lost its way and are not serving people in need as they can be. We have tried to dialog, use fact, letters and pictures to demonstrate how the Mission of St. Vincent de Paul has been thwarted in Milwaukee, the second poorest city and the most racially segregated city in the USA. People in need understand our message while those in control “Marginalize and Ignore” the messenger so they can ignore the message.

Our latest attempt is building a pie chart (side and below) to show how the 3.5 million dollar budget of the Milwaukee SVDP council and central office is being spent. This pie chart was based on the numbers in the projected and approved 2014–2015 budget of the Board of SVDP at a meeting last fall, which, before I was suspended, was present and witnessed. The local board, central office and council are very secretive and non-transparent but the percentages are based on numbers and terms used in the multi-page budget.

However, the President and Executive Director continue to say that we can be “Ensured that 91.5% of every dollar raised went directly to support people in need. SVDP is a Catholic lay volunteer organization yet has a staff of salaried employees, around 40 working in a thrift store in Greenfield (largely white), a middle class income suburb which does not serve Mission of St. Vincent de Paul or the Mission of SVDP Thrift store. Yet in the low income neighborhoods of North Central (largely African American) and the South Central (largely Hispanics) people calling the central office of SVDP looking for aide in clothing, beds, household items, appliance or future are met with the response “We do not serve your area.” It is doubtful if any of the 75 or so paid staff make household person to person visits which are the heart of the mission of SVDP.

When people in a non-profit agency raise money in name of poor but do not spend that money to aid the poor directly we have a moral problem. The only way to change it, in this case, is for the people who are in need rise up and demand a bigger piece of the pie. There will be an attempt to do this at a meeting next Tuesday, 6:30 – 7:30 at the Center Street Public library. For more information contact


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The End Days - Friday, June 19, 2015

“Thy Kingdom come, Thy will
be done on earth as it is in Heaven”

Usually in this posting I try to start into an observation on daily life and from looking deeply into it try to find a bigger view of life. This time it is the opposite. I take a larger view that came to me this morning and, if you look, might see something in everyday life.

End Days

When the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Earth Become One,
When humans can create like God,
The Big bang exploding universe will end with a whimper,
And all will be well, all will be well.

When the days will end and the nights will end,
When humans can see the face of God,
War and violence will end in silence.
And all will be well, all will be well.

At this end of time there will be no more crying and pain.
All will be healed in the love of God,
Peace will reign everywhere and order will be restored,
And all will be well, all will be well.

By the love of God we are here.
At the end days we will no longer be the same,
We will be free to be who we are.
All will be well, all will be well.

At the end days, like a flower, we will be in full bloom,
But at this time there will no dying.
Life eternal will flow like a river.
All will be well, all will be well.


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Inequality and Climate Change - Thursday, June 18, 2015

In today’s encyclical letter LAUDATO SI’, “On Care for our Common Home, I was pleased to see Pope Francis link concerns for climate change with poverty, inequality and the ‘common good.’ Pope Francis says: “The same mindset which stands in the way of making radical decisions to reverse the trend of global warming also stands in the way of achieving the goal of eliminating poverty.” (p. 128).

I know Catholics, as I am a Catholic, that are ready to take action on climate change but stay silent on the growing poverty in our city, especially amidst black and brown persons. Dorothy Day, co-founder of the Catholic Worker Movement quotes Peter Maurin, other co-founder, as saying we need to create the “kind of society where it is easier for man to be good.” The environments we have created in Milwaukee for poor, in North Central Milwaukee and South Central Milwaukee are neighborhoods with extreme poverty, racially segregation, high unemployment and poor schools. This is not the kind of environment where it is easier to be good. Also these are neighborhoods most affected by the climate change the Pope was talking about, where there is a neglect of the ‘common good’ and poor suffer from the greedy or do-gooders.

The Pope is right to connect Climate Change with Inequality: “Only when world leaders heed the Pope’s moral leadership on these two defining issues, inequality and climate change, will our societies become safer, more prosperous and more equal.” —Winnie Byanyima, Oxfam International


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True is not False or Half True - Wednesday, June 17, 2015

In newspapers across the country there is column called “PolitiFact”. A statement, usually by an government official or politician is researched and rated on the ‘Truth Meter’ as false or true or, often is the case, somewhere in between like ‘half true.’

A while back I took a statement by the police chief that indicated the majority of victims of violent crime were criminals themselves and wrote the editor of “PoliticFact Wisconsin challenging this statement. Their conclusion was that it was ‘half true.’ It got me thinking how something could be ‘half true.’ I believe that the truth cannot be the non-truth or that something which is false be true.

Over a period of time I have discovered philosophical statements to back my belief that something cannot be true and false at the same time. Aristotle, the Greek philosophy from 384 - 322 B.C., made this statement about Truth in his writings on Metaphysics “To say of what is that it is not, or of what is not that it is, is false, while to say of what is that it is, and of what is not that it is not, is true”. In history many, including Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. and Pope John Paul made similar statements. See statements below.

I am not trying to make a philosophical statement about truth but believe using the statement “Half True” is contributing to the relativism of our times. I done some research and reported ‘facts’ only to people and only to have them say that is “my interpretation and they have their own. I admit that this is my “opinion of truth” but if there are no facts or ‘truth’ we eliminate dialog and struggle to find the truth. If everyone is entitled to their own understanding of facts and truth how do we advance in science. in cultural or morality?

This world of “half true” is particularly parlaying in moral statements. If there is no right or wrong and all is relative why not just do our own thing and forget about the other. There is no “common good.”

Also “half truths” are the basis for stigmatizing and labeling. If I have a mental illness that could be true but I should not be called “mentally ill” which implies I am my mental illness. People with cancer would not be called ‘cancerous’. When politicians falsely represent something or someone but use a bit of truth the statement is false not ‘half true.’ All labels and stigmas have some truth to them but they are still false or wrong.

When someone says victims of violent crimes are criminals themselves the statement is false, even though some victims are criminals. I find myself using labels like ‘white suburbanites’ to describe people. This is also a label or stigma, a half truth.

We struggle for Truth. Gandhi called his autobiography an “experiment with truth.” Seeking truth is a lifetime struggle but to deny that truth is true and we live in a world of ‘half truths’ is, in my opinion of the truth, contributing to the polarized society we find ourselves in. There is a lot of grey in the world but when it comes to truth it cannot be false or ‘half true’.

“An error does not become truth by reason of multiplied propagation, nor does truth become error because nobody sees it. Truth stands, even if there be no public support. It is self sustained.” Gandhi

“I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. That is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.” Martin Luther King Jr.

“Truth cannot contradict truth.” Pope John Paul II


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The Poor Know Righteousness - Monday, June 15, 2015

Blessed are they who hunger
and thirst for righteousness,for they
will be satisfied. (Matthew 5:6)

Today a friend and I canvassed an area in North Central Milwaukee where we will have our meeting next week to reform the Milwaukee Society of St. Vincent de Paul (SVDP). The people we talked to seemed to instinctively know that many organizations that collect money in name of poor, as well as city, do not use the money for people in need. For them a million dollar investment in a store in suburbs makes no sense in helping the poor in their neighborhood with the basics, of food, shelter, clothing, beds and appliances. We did not need any “facts” to prove this, they just knew it. The white suburbanites that run the Milwaukee council of SVDP can be given all the “facts” in the world of how unjust what they are doing is, but it does not matter. They still believe that someday money invested in white middle class suburb will ‘trickle down’ to poor and nothing we can say or do will matter. They reject our message and marginalize us just like they do for the poor. A few times my friend, who is poor and African American herself got in such passionate conversations with people who just ‘got it’ that I had to go get her so we could move on.
Gandhi says we need to appeal to persons through heart talking. However, when a person cannot hear or see the message it does not matter how you will appeal to that person, by stories, facts or parables. They just do not want to hear the message and thus do not. The only way to appeal to persons “hard of heart”, I believe, is by some dramatic action. If we could organize a large group of the poor to cry out to members of St. Vincent de Paul about what they are doing, perhaps a few would hear or see what is happening. However, doing that is hard since the poor and people like me are skeptical if we can do anything.

My friend, however, was not skeptical. She had faith that something could happen if we kept on trying. Her faith kept me going, since I do not like going to door to door.

One woman we met, a religious minister, say we were ‘righteous people’. She did not mean that in a negative way but in the way of Hinduism, Christianity, Judaism and Islam. Righteousness is an attribute that implies that a person’s actions are justified, and can have the connotation that the person has been “judged” or “reckoned” as leading a life that is pleasing to God. The poor cannot easily be deceived. The poor know righteousness.


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Can We Smell the Roses? - Sunday, June 14, 2015

Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose.’‘

This line about a rose comes from a poem by Gertrude Stein called “Sacred Emily” in 1922. However, over the decades it has come to have different meanings, the most common one being “things are what they are”.

Philosophically it refers to “essence” of something. It means something is what it is, or as country singers often sing “I am what I am”. In the bible when Moses questions the identity God in the burning parish the response is “I Am that I Am,” Yahweh.

Accepting things as they are, good or bad, just or unjust, beautiful or ugly in our perception does not mean we like something. To accept what it is and the first step in changing things.

If people, as they often do, say there is no racism in our society they can certainly not change racism. Accepting our powerlessness over something is the first step in 12 step programs. Accepting ourselves and others, as they are, is difficult to do. Often we can only see and hear our ‘perception of reality’ and we do not see or hear the reality.

In the Gospel Jesus often says “let those who have ears, hear and those who have eyes, see.” In a garden like ours in front of house I see beauty. But sometimes I just see a weed or two and miss out on the beauty of the garden.

Everything is always changing but if we can see deeply into something we can see its essence which does not change. Yes, a “rose is a rose is a rose is a rose” but can we see, hear and smell the roses?


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Did Jesus Mean What He Said? - Saturday, June 13, 2015

Many years ago, when I was living in Madison and ran a successful business I attended a Jesuit run workshop at Marquette University on business ethics and business and Ignatian spirituality (Spirituality of St. Ignatius of Loyola, found of Jesuits.) I was in Milwaukee for business that day so I was wearing my business suit, like most of the other business persons at the workshop.

The moderator, a Jesuit, asked the group of how they understood the Gospel parable of the rich young to mean. In the story the rich person asks Jesus what he can do to follow God. Jesus tells him to follow the commandments of his faith and he says he is already doing that. He asked Jesus what else he could do. Jesus answers him by telling him to sell all his possessions, give the money to the poor and follow him. The rich young man cannot do and walks away. Jesus is saddened.

There were all kinds of explanations by the business people about interpretation of the Gospel. I raised my hand, and not knowing what overcame me, said that maybe Jesus meant what he said. The moderator looked at me and said something to the effect that I was saying this while dressed up in a fine suit. Everyone had a good laugh and later the moderator apologized to me for his humor. I told him there was no need to apologize and what I said is what I meant: the rich young man, who had done his religious duty, could only do more by giving up his possessions to follow Jesus.

Later on when Pat and I sold our business, home, cottage, boat in Madison to move back to Milwaukee I would jokily say that I did half of what Jesus asked, sold my possessions. but did not give the money to the poor. Rather I used the money, am still am, to do the ministry I felt called to, without having to worry about money.

Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. and Catholic social teaching all state that every “human being has the right to necessities of life”. If someone like the rich young man of Gospel is doing everything that God calls him to do what more can he do than sell everything he has, give money to the poor and follow Jesus.

I cannot do this but have been blessed to know people who have and live in voluntary poverty with the poor. Today young people might treat this statement of Jesus as a joke just as when I said Jesus really meant what he said at the workshop. I look at it has a goal to strive for. Maybe we cannot give away our wealth but at least we can do our best in seeing that all human being has the right to necessities of life.”

Quite often we rationalize teachings of Jesus, “love your enemies” or “it is hard for rich to achieve kingdom of God” but maybe he was serious showing us the Way and meant what he said.


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Marginalize and Ignore - Friday, June 12, 2015

Last summer when a small group of members of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul (SVDP) in Milwaukee were trying to prevent the borrowing of 3.2 million to purchase and renovate a St. Vincent Store in suburb of Greenfield (when one, at much less cost, was needed in North Central Milwaukee) the US President of St. Vincent de Paul wrote a memo to a regional director about a suggestion made by another regional representative (both not part of Milwaukee SVDP) saying how they (US central office of SVDP) was “moving towards suspension or removal from the Society” of those of us objecting to use of money donated to poor to serve the middle class in a suburb, already filled with thrift and discount stores. She also states that “responding to these attacks will only bring further comment from those not satisfied with the decision.” This memo only came to light when I received 82 pages of documentation used against me for my suspension but not shared with me before my hearing.

This email or memo captures the policy of the local central office and the small group of leaders and staff of SVDP in Milwaukee and nationwide. I understand it does not represent the vast number of SVDP members who trust leaders and staff to make wise decision based on Rule of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul and Manuel for the USA.

The policy, used by many private and public organizations is one I call “Marginalize and Ignore.” It is also the policy used on racial minorities, poor and people with certain illnesses. When practiced over time the policy can be very discouraging and despairing on the person who is stigmatized and ignored. I woke up this morning feeling very much like poor people must feel at times: What can I do to make a difference? I just as well give up the struggle for justice and peace, watch my sport teams on TV, eat, drink and die. Why am I struggling to stop the military from teaching war and killing at the Catholic Jesuit School of Marquette? Why struggling to stop the local SVDP Society from spending millions given to the poor to fund a store in the suburbs that is draining resource away from the mission of the Society. I have been marginalized (suspended) by staff and leaders of the Society and banned from Marquette at times. Our numbers of resistance are dwindling as we get marginalized and ignore.

I had to call on one of my friends who is poor, ignored and marginalized, for words of encouragement. She had been active in foster care system and now her heart breaks when she sees young children being taken from mothers and put into ‘adoptive foster care homes’, losing bonding and relationship of child and the family.

At one of the last public meetings of SVDP that I attended she stood up and said to group there “What are you trying to do, put us back in slavery”? I did not understand her message right away but after some thought I understand why she was saying about present day poverty, incarceration and racism. The new whip of present day slavery is “Marginalize and Ignore.”


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Peony Time - Thursday, June 11, 2015

First flowers to bloom in our gardens were the daffodils than the tulips followed by Iris’s and a few others. Now it is peony time. The peony bush in the front rain garden is blooming. Peonies are some of the most beautiful and full flowers in the garden but they come and go fast. On the other hand the roses that are now blooming will stay with us the whole summer into the fall.

Peony time comes at the beginning of summer. We even had a few days this week were the temperature were in the 80’s. Our bush is pink but I have seen other colors. As the peonies come fast and go fast other plants are taking their time in growing. The tomato plants are slow but a few hot days might speed up the growth.

The flower vase on our kitchen table keeps changing fresh flowers but will last until the end of growing season, well into the fall. Fresh cut flowers have a limited life spam once they are picked but they bring some of the beauty of the garden inside.

Flowers, like us, come and go thru life, and like us at our shining moments, leave some beauty behind. Now it is Peony Time.


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No More Economic Inequality - Wednesday, June 10, 2015

I used to be a community organizer but these days find myself with a lack of energy to organize. This letter I wrote to some local friends is not how to organize people but clarifies an issue of economic injustice that I feel compelled to speak out on.

Forty seven years ago Lucille Berrien and I, maybe some of you, traveled on a bus drive by Father James Groppi to Washington DC to be part of the Poor People’s Campaign. I have been on civil rights marches and peace and justice protest before but this was my first experience of being in solidarity with poor, people in need. The campaign was about economic equality for all. Being in solidarity with poor people, black, white and brown struggling for economic equality was a life changing experience for me.

Sadly income inequality has grown along with racial discrimination in Milwaukee. Even some very good organizations, with good intentions, like Children’s Hospital or Society of St. Vincent de Paul, are participating in this war on the poor.

I am writing you to ask you and your friends especially any that are poor, to join a rally to reform Society of St. Vincent de Paul in Milwaukee. I was a member of the Society for many years, in Madison and Milwaukee, and Pat and I enjoyed participating in the main mission of the Society, making person to person home visits to people in need. However, the Milwaukee Society of St. Vincent de Paul has lost its way and is no longer serving the mission or goal of this international lay Catholic organization. For more information of how and why this happened see article on Mission of Society of St. Vincent de Paul, especially Tale of Two SVDP Thrift Stores.

The Milwaukee Society of St. Vincent de Paul is controlled mostly by white suburban persons who think they “know what is best” for poor and marginalized. They claim to believe that building and operating a thrift store in Greenfield for millions of dollars will help serve the mission of Society “offering person-to-person service to those who are needy and suffering” and purpose of SVDP thrift store: “Serving Christ’s needy is the primary goal of all St. Vincent De Paul Stores.” They have marginalized a few messengers, like is done with poor, and need to hear for wide variety of people, especially the poor whose needs are not being served because of this large investment in the suburbs.

So we ask you to join us for one hour on Tuesday, June 23rd, 6:30–7:30 pm to rally to reform this beloved Society and plan for a direct nonviolent action where the Voice of the Poor can be heard. There is a flyer attached and you can get flyers from contacting us at ,

If you belong to organization that are concerned about economic equality and justice for all please let them know and bring them with you. Again this is not the only organization to discriminate on race and income but it is one that professes to be of, for and by the people and one we can reform and make a difference. No more economic inequality.


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Facts Matter? - Tuesday, June 09, 2015

When I sent the pictures in Tale of Two Stores to members of leadership of St. Vincent de Paul society only one person responded. The response to the pictures of two SVDP stores was the same old, same old marginalization of messenger and ignoring the message of the pictures. Perhaps it was the comments I made before the pictures. However, most likely it was the same old ignoring of the messenger in order to ignore the message. So now I will send the FACTS of the Tale of Two Cities. If the ‘facts’ are incorrect I hope the SVDP will correct them. But most likely they will ignore and marginalize the messenger, like the poor, leaving the question if “Facts Matter”? Here are the facts.


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Techology Can Be a Good or Bad Thing - Monday, June 08, 2015

Thanks to digital technology my 87 year friend called today. I was worried about her since when I called her number the last few days all I got is an answering machine which she does not know how to use. I said I would call her back and if I did not to call me again. I called her back and the same old thing, answering machine. She called me back but before I could get the phone it went to my answering service on cell phone. This happened twice. It seems like someone turned off her ringer so she does not hear the phone. After her house burned down she was moved to some senior living place far at the edge of town. Technology can be a good or bad thing.

When trying to reach her today, before she called, I called a number of numbers at her Church only to get answering machines. I called the Senior Living place where she lives only to get answering machines. Technology can be a good or bad thing.

Someone used a friend’s Facebook page to send out some porn. I did not open it but later found that more porn was sent out, this time with 16 people attached to it, including me. I think I got it off my timeline but really do not know who to deal with this kind of hacking. Technology can be a good or bad thing.

Technology allows big businesses to produce more with less people, but usually the less people are doing more. Technology can be a good or bad thing.
When I was young I was told that technology would give us more leisure time. Well that did not happen for most Americans. Those with jobs work harder and harder for less pay but more living expenses. Those who cannot get employment do not have money for leisure activities. Technology can be a good or bad thing.

In the old days when we were visiting family and friend we sat around and talked. With TV we still talked but with TV in background. Now with digital devices often I find that with my son’s family when we visit everyone sits around, including me, on their digital devices. Technology can be a good or bad thing.

According to a friend computer technology is exponential which means that by 2050 it will catch up with human intelligence. He says it will not take long for that to double and machines will surpass human. Technology can be a good in an age, I like to call, of “instantity’. If I want to know something I can just check my computer and usually find the information. My grandson told me how to speak into my cell phone and check out information, almost instantly. We have so much information at our disposal at anytime. Technology can be a good or bad thing.

New technology can be an equalizer but can also put a person without it at a great disadvantage. On the economic level I see it contributing to inequality. Technology can be a good or bad thing.

I know saying “good or bad thing” is an over simplifying. But I think you get my point; how technology has radically changed our lives for good or bad. We can kill more people more effectively or we can save lives with technology. Technology can be a good or bad thing.


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Friends with the Poor - Sunday, June 07, 2015

Friends, Marna and Dawn
of the DMZ Community Gardens

“How many poor people do you have as friends”? Jimmy Carter asked the question to a group of University students back in the late 80’s. It has haunted me since. At the time I had a friend who had two sons and could be called ‘poor.’ But he was on his way of moving out of poverty with a decent job. When we started to make ‘home visits’ with the St. Vincent de Paul Society (SVDP), first in Madison and later here in Milwaukee, I met on our person to person visits a number of people in need, but I could not really call them ‘friends.’

However, after I retired about 11 years ago I got to know some persons in need that I really can now call friends. Visiting persons in need with SVDP was a blessing but these friends have provided me with countless blessings. As true friends they are there to support me in need and I try to be there for them.

In 1968 Martin Luther King Jr. and others organized the Poor People’s Campaign. “The Poor People’s Campaign was motivated by a desire for economic justice: the idea that all people should have what they need to live.” Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated before the coming together of poor people of all races in D.C. However, the event went on.

Father James Groppi, a civil rights leader in Milwaukee, drove a school bus to D.C. with local people and we sent up camp on the Washington Mall, Resurrection City. There I got to meet people from all over the country, of races and creeds, many poor, united together in our struggle to “Stop the War on the Poor.” It was a powerful experience in my life and showed me the power of people to make change when they are united. Robert Kennedy was assassinated during this time and afterwards the spirit of poor united seems to have faded away.

Now in Milwaukee, a very small group of us are trying to organize people in need to reform the gigantic powerful agency St. Vincent de Paul in Milwaukee. Over the years it has lost its way and now has become and agency, raising money in name of poor but building an empire that serves people not in need.

At my old age and tired experience. I am not the community organizer that I used to be, I feel the need to do something about this with my friends. Also my friends who are in need are struggling themselves to survive and do not have time to organize. This poor people’s campaign to reform the St. Vincent de Paul Society in Milwaukee is limited but we must try. Raising money in name of poor and not using it to serve their needs, as is the Mission of St. Vincent de Paul is an injustice. Whereever there is an injustice, especially with poor we must break the silence, unite and fight it. Anyone interested contact us at
We are all brothers, sisters and friends with the Poor.


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Tale of Two Stores - Saturday, June 06, 2015

I have tried reasoning and providing facts to members of Society locally and nationally who are leadership positions about how the Society of St. Vincent de Paul in Milwaukee has lost its way and was now causing great harm to the poor. All it got me was being ousted from the Society. Maybe pictures will work.

Pictorial essay of one way the Society of St. Vincent de Paul in Milwaukee has lost its way.

Mission of Society of St. Vincent de Paul is to lead “women and men to join together to grow spiritually by offering person-to-person service to those who are needy and suffering.” “Serving Christ’s needy is the primary goal of all St. Vincent De Paul Stores.” The Greenfield store is costing millions of dollars of donations and items given to the poor and not serving the members of Society or the poor and marginalized.

Tale of Two Stores


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Turn to the Other Cheek - Friday, June 05, 2015

There are a few things, maybe too many, that anger me. One is when other people decid what is best for me without consulting me. Poor people suffer from this all the time, from conservatives or liberals. Another one is when someone offers criticism of you to others but never directly with you. Criticism is not always easy to take, even when it is constructive; however it is very hard to take when you hear it from a third party.

Today I read a quote from Gandhi about passive resistance, which we called nonviolence. “Passive Resistance is a method of securing rights by personal suffering; it is the reverse of resistance by arms.” Now you may know why I call myself a ‘want-to-be pacifist’. I do not use arms but I do talk or write back rather than take personal suffering. After all the rejections I have faced, by Archbishops, St. Vincent de Paul Society, Marquette University, community organizations, church people, liberals and conservatives one would think that I would be more comfortable in being the “Reject” than I am. However, rejection has been risen to new levels today when people just ignore something they do not want to hear, like “Marquette Teaches War and Killing” or the local St. Vincent de Paul Society donations to poor and uses them building central office empire.

The above might explain why I get along with poor, children, elderly and persons with mental and other illnesses better than the average adult. These persons know what it is like to be powerless or stigmatized or both.

Now on the positive side I have my heroes, Dorothy Day, Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. and Thomas Merton, all whose quotes I collect, showing me the way to be a kinder, gentler person, one who can take insults, rejections and even loss, suffer with it and turn into something positive. Maybe some of this is what is meant by “Turn to the other cheek.”


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Tomatoes Taste Better Than Bullets - Thursday, June 04, 2015

Which one would you rather bite into?

Summer must be here in Milwaukee. It was actually hot today, in low 80’s. Maybe now my small tomato plants will start growing up. A friend of mine who is chronically ill and always in lots of pain asked me today about getting some of the home grown tomatoes I gaver her in the past. She remembers the taste of the ones I gave her. I told her to remind me in about two months.

Another friend came over today and said he wanted to work in the garden to learn a little bit about gardening. Perhaps due to the heat or my friend’s physical condition these good intentions did not last long. There is also more to do in the home garden, an endless garden. The mint came back strong again this year and I had to pick it today. It is one of those plants that keep on giving year after year, the more you cut it the more it grows. Recently when I was sick my wife made me some homemade mint tea. I am not much of tea drinker but it was good and soothing. Today I picked and washed the leaves and tomorrow I will put them in the dehydrator and than in bags for freezer. For mint tea drinking friends we have got just what you are looking for.

There is also more to do in the home garden, an endless garden. You have heard of ‘endless wars’ something we have been experiencing the last 14 years. If we have invested the billions and billions put into killing people, destroying land into growing gardens around the world we would be loved not hated by people around the world. It takes a village to raise one child, so they say, but when you kill that child you turn the whole village against you. It takes one person to build a garden and a good garden can bring health and food to many people. If we work together building gardens we are growing power which can survive and sustain any bullet or bomb. Instead of ‘turning our swords into plowshare’ we should turn our weapons into tomatoes. Tomatoes taste better than bullets.


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The Digital Gap - Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Tonight my wife, Pat, purchased tickets Shakespearean play at American Players Theater in Spring Green, WI and reserved a room at a nearby hotel, all on the internet. Thinking about our lives where would be without computers, cell phones, tablets, email and internet? Yet not too many years ago, when I was a young man there was no thought of any of these digital devices we depend on. A 2013 Census Report reports 83.8 percent of U.S. households reported computer ownership, with 78.5 percent of all households having a desktop or laptop computer, and 63.6 percent having a handheld computer . In 2013, 74.4 percent of all households reported Internet use, with 73.4 percent reporting a high-speed connection. Who are the people left out of this digital revolution?
The same Census Report says it is low-income people of color, black and brown, who are being left out this digital age. Digital technology will eventually ‘trickle down’ to poor and marginalized but it is slow and by that time present technology will be much more advanced, again leaving the poor behind.
We are becoming a nation where very few very wealthy and powerful controlling the other. The majority of us live comfortably and are part of the ‘digital age. We email, Facebook, tweet and Instangram . A minority of Americans live without access to this new digital age. The digital gap widens.


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We Believe the Poor will Rise - Tuesday, June 02, 2015

We are into summer, so says the weatherperson. It is time to fish, swim, bike ride, work in the garden and all the other things that warm weather delivers. It is time to slow down and sit in the sun, if that is possible. Summer is my favorite time of the year, mostly due to work on garden and lake activities.

Summer comes and goes but some things just come. Poverty, violence, lack of education and employment, incarceration grows in the racially segregated areas of Milwaukee, like North Central Milwaukee. For the poor in these racially segregated areas of poverty life becomes like a living nightmare. A five year boy was shot while playing with his friends outside today. Food for poor is hard to get and many go hungry. Shelter is hard to find and many end up on streets or homeless shelters. Jobs are harder to find and getting to a job is even harder. Children are taken away from mother at a young age and parents find difficult to get their own children back. Agencies compete to get money for poor and ill, but often just enlarge their staff and facilities. Not much of money given to the poor gets to poor. Big brother, City, County, State and Federal Governments watch over us and tell us often what we do or not do. No one knows what the ‘common good’ means.

But our music concerts in the parks goes on almost every night of the year and the Big Gig, Summerfest, world’s largest music festival is just a few weeks away. It is good to find fun in the midst of such squalor if you can afford it. But the boiling pot of poverty and racism keeps building and hopefully will not boil over.

Talking to an elderly friend tonight, she still feels for the troubles of this city, especially for children and young people. She believes that in many ways we are returning to slavery, children are separated from parents; young men are being incarcerated and punished for every little thing; people go hungry and are at the mercy of the ‘masters’, the powers that be. However, she has hope since she knows that she and others will struggle with everything they have for justice. Name calling, ignoring, even jail will not stop them. For she believes that the Kingdom of God belongs to the poor not the rich and that Mary’s song in the Gospel of Luke, Magnificat will come true:

He has shown might with His arm,
He has scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart.
He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
and has exalted the lowly.Emphasized
He has filled the hungry with good things,
‘’and the rich He has sent away empty.
How will this happen, the world turned upside down? We do not know. But we believe it is happening and will happen and all we can do is our best to make it happen. The poor will rise, the hungry will have food, and prisoners will be released. Summer is coming.


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Gender Fluidity and Blessed Trinity - Monday, June 01, 2015

Icon of Blessed Trinity

One of my favorite quotes is by Julian of Norwich, an English mystic of the fourteenth century: “All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.” After yesterday ‘sick day’ I am can say this again. Mystics like Julian, conscious of God’s presence, fascinate me since they are able to see deeply into everyday events and find the presence of God. “Finding God in all things’ is a tenet of spirituality of St. Ignatius of Loyola that I seek but seldom find.

Yesterday was the holy day of the Blessed Trinity, the mystery that there are three persons in God. Over the centuries this revelation has cause much turmoil in the Church. Someone sent me a homily today in which the priest stats that actions, like the vote in Ireland, for ‘marriage equality’, helps us understand gender fluidity in which we can break out the mode of being female or male. He suggest that instead of understanding God, the father, son and Holy Spirit we can understand the Blessed Trinity better as the “Holy Threeness—Creator, Redeemer, Spirit. “

Mystics like Julian and John of the Cross often refer to God as female. Perhaps ‘gender fluidity’ can help us eliminate gender in our understanding of God so we might be better able to see the presence of God in all things.


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