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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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St. Ignatius of Loyola and Military at Jesuit Catholic Universities - Monday, July 31, 2017

St. Ignatius surrenders his sword
before the statue of Black Madonna
at Montserrat

Today is the feast day of St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus

In 1989, after teaching a semester at Loyola University in New Orleans Father Daniel Berrigan S.J. wrote to the president of Loyola that he wouldn’t be back due to his opposition to the Loyola ROTC program. The University’s president disagreed, replying that “given the reality of the military, it is better to have officers who have the benefit of a Jesuit education.” Berrigan wrote back: “I love your logic. It seems to be that, given the reality of abortion, Loyola should sponsor an institute for abortionist, and given the reality of capital punishment, you should sponsor an institute for executioners.”

This kind of logic was what the Jesuit Catholic universities used for years to justify military training. With the emergence of military training that prepares young men for modern warfare and teaches them how to kill ‘reflexively’, without use of conscience, this type of justification is no longer heard. Presently 24 Catholic Universities, 17 of them Jesuit, host Department of Defense military training centers on campus.

To understand why they teach war and killing, a clear violation of the Gospel teaching of Jesus one can look no further than the Spiritual Exercise of St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, “Two Standards” of two commanders in chiefs.

St. Ignatius of Loyola was a soldier in the Spanish court seeking military fame and fortune when a cannon ball shattered his leg. During his recovery he had a conversion, surrendering his weapons and fine cloths to become a became a beggar seeking to follow Jesus in poverty and shame. In his own words he became a soldier of Christ. In the Spiritual Exercises which he wrote shortly after his conversion he has a meditation on the Two Standards (SE 136): one of Christ the Commander in Chief and the other of Lucifer the commander of the enemy of humankind. The standard or strategy of Lucifer is for persons to seek riches, honor and pride. The strategy of Christ is for persons to seek the opposite, poverty, contempt and humility.

In hosting Department of Defense military training centers on campus, ROTC, NROTC and/or AFROTC, the Jesuits profit. The three departments of military science by the Department of Defense on campus bring with them great financial and staff resources (riches). Electing to be a University the US Government has chosen to host military training for colleges and universities in the area is a source of honor. Teaching young men and women the ways of war and killing in service of the USA is a source of pride, pride to be a US military school.

Calls for an explanation, dialog, and to be Faithful to the Gospel have, for the most part, gone unanswered by Jesuit university administrators. Perhaps the above is a too simple an explanation of why Jesuit Universities host Department of Defense on campus but due to a lack of of reasoning by Jesuits, this is a logical explanation.

In another part of the Exercises (SE 98) Ignatius has a prayer to Jesus: “I deeply desire to be with you in accepting all wrongs and all rejections and all poverty, both actual and spiritual—and I deliberately choose this, if it is for your greater service and praise.” If the seventeen Jesuit Catholic Universities elected not to host the military on campus they could still keep all the Federal education monies for other areas of education but would loose military money to teach war and killing, be shamed by the military establishment and be humbled by the government. But Why Not? St. Ignatius and Gospel say so.


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Be Not Color Blind! - Thursday, July 06, 2017

My wife used to complain she did not like looking out in the backyard because there was too much brown. I said the wood chips I get from the dump and place in the walkway and around the deck were brown but in the summer there was much green and other colors. However, the green, kale, tomato plants, mint and eggplant grew but brown was the dominate color. One day I saw that red cedar wood chips were on sale at the store. I brought three bags and placed them on the walkways. Then I asked her to look at the view of the backyard and she liked it.

When I was young my goal was to be color blind in seeing black, brown and white persons. As I grew up I realized those who said they were color blind were reinforcing barriers that discriminate against black and brown persons. I started to make a point of noticing the color of a person around me. In South America I found countries that persons intermixed. Persons were a rainbow of beautiful colors ranging from black to white. As I grew older I noticed that the environment I was in dictated the predominate color of the persons. Check out a special event at the zoo, a Milwaukee Brewers baseball game or Disney world in Florida. People there are mostly white with some Asians and Hispanics but few blacks.

In Milwaukee and elsewhere segregation of people who say they are color blind and treat all races the same has brought on deep poverty, poor housing and education, high rates of incarceration and homicides in the predominately black neighborhoods. The Mayor and white officials deny racism in Milwaukee but blacks know it is there and experience it.

Be Not Color Blind. Be aware of your environment and look around you for the color of people.


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Saying No To Those Who Think They Know Best - Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Damage done around the Al-Nuri
Mosque in Mosul’s Old City.

I recently read in the newspaper names of more homicide victims. According to Mothers against Gun Violence, who tracks all homicides in the City of Milwaukee, there were 78 at the end of June. In the newspaper I also read how the US Air bombing has intensified in the Old City of Mosul, Iraq. More civilians are being killed because unlike previous, aerial bombardments, citizens were not evacuated.

The killing of African American young adults in Milwaukee and the killing of civilians in Mosul remind me of what a Major in the Army said to a reporter after American bombs, rockets and napalm obliterated much of the South Vietnamese town of Ben Tre — killing hundreds of civilians who lived there. He said: “It became necessary to destroy the town to save it.”

In the City of Milwaukee City officials believe by capturing, imprisoning and punishing more young men they are saving the city from more crime. When it does not work they hire more police and do more of the same. Yet they ignore the known cause of crime and criminal, poor housing and education, extreme poverty and high unemployment. After 14 years of bombing and killing to “save Iraq” there is more death and destruction with no end in sight.

Why do some Americans believe they can capture, punish kill and destroy their way out of any situation when it fails over and over again to work.

We can say: “When will they ever learn?” or we can say they are smart persons and know but do the same for power, money and glory.

The belief that we know better or are exceptional drives the American mentality into more violence, more war and killing and more homicides. The better question is when will the people of America, right and left, liberal and conservative, Democrat and Republican, rich and poor come together to say No to the politicians who think they know best.


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