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He Is Risen

“Resurrection of Christ” by Emile Signol (c. 1856), Church of Saint Eustache, Petit Palais (Accession No. PPP4792), Source Paris Musees (PD)

He is not here; for He is risen, as He said” (Matt. 28: 6).

Wishing you all a blessed Easter!

READERS CAN FIND MY VIEWS ON ABUSE AND ABUSE-RELATED ISSUES AT ANNA WALDHERR A Voice Reclaimed, Surviving Child Abuse  https://avoicereclaimed.com

A God Who Allows Suffering

“Christ Crucified” by Gian Lorenzo Bernini (c. 1655), Basilica of Escorial, Madrid, Spain (CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication)

As we enter Spring and finally begin to turn the corner in the fight against coronavirus, it is only fitting that we acknowledge the suffering this pandemic has caused.

During the 25 years I practiced law, I witnessed a great deal of suffering.  It took many forms:  brain damage; paraplegia; rape; child molestation; death by cancer, by explosion, by decapitation, by fire, by scaffolding collapse, by head-on collision; loss of an eye, of an arm, of a leg, of a child.

Some of the most heart wrenching cases for me were the ones involving poverty issues – eviction, foreclosure, consumer fraud, unsafe housing, denial of public benefits.

Those issues meant fathers unable to keep a roof over their children’s heads; mothers driving themselves to exhaustion, in an effort to put food on the table; children already deprived of hope; lives destroyed by drugs and despair.  The working poor, running hard just to stay in place.

How can a good and loving God allow such suffering? Read more…

Preaching Christ Crucified – Fr. Bill Atkinson

Fr. Bill Atkinson was the first paraplegic priest in the history of the Roman Catholic Church.

A toboggan accident in 1965 confined Fr. Bill to a wheelchair.  But he viewed his physical condition as the call to a special vocation conformed to the cross.

As Fr. Bill explained, “in this modern age where the dignity of human life is measured by productivity alone and where suffering should be eliminated at all cost, we must more than ever preach Christ crucified.”

For nearly 30 years, Fr. Bill taught theology at Msgr. Bonner High School in Drexel Hill, PA.  He served as asst. school chaplain, football team moderator, senior class retreat coordinator, and detention program director. Read more…

Al-Andalus

Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba, Spain, Author Berthold Werner (CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported)

Muslims were a presence on the Iberian Peninsula (called Al-Andalus) from 711 AD to 1492 AD [1A].

A “Golden Age”

For much of its history, al-Andalus was in conflict with northern Christian kingdoms, in what is now known as the Reconquista (reconquest).  But the Muslim occupation of Spain is often described as a “golden age” during which literature, poetry, and architecture thrived [2A].

Religious Restrictions

Indeed, those who say, ‘Allah is the Messiah, son of Mary,’ have fallen into disbelief…”

-Quran, Sura 5:17

While ambitious nobles anxious to share in power embraced Islam and the Arabic language, the majority of the Spanish population remained Christian [3].

Islamic Spain was not, however, tolerant by modern standards [2B].

Non-Muslims had to acknowledge Islamic superiority; had to pay a “jizya” or tax; were disqualified from testifying in Islamic courts; and were limited to lower compensation than Muslims for the same injury [1B][2C]. Read more…

Christian Nationalism

QAnon symbol derived from the American flag, Author RootOfAllLight (CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication)

The insurrection at the US Capitol – with many participants proudly proclaiming their Christian faith – has damaged the Christian witness, and increased hostility toward religion in this country.

Conspiracy theories on QAnon and other platforms are seen as a dangerous outgrowth of American Christianity [1A][2].  A backlash against Christians is feared.

Domestic Terrorism

For certain Christians, their identity is based less on Scripture than on conservative culture [1B].  And a strong authoritarian streak runs through their faith.

For this type of believer, love of God and love of country are synonymous [1C][3].  Sadly, the political movement known as the Christian Right has further blurred the distinction between religion and politics. Read more…

Valor and Disability

Public Notice for the Invalid Corps (1863), Author US War Dept. (PD)

The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them” (Matt. 11: 5).

In the midst of a brutal Civil War, the need for manpower was so great that the US War Dept. on April 28, 1863 created the Invalid Corps a/k/a Veteran Reserve Corps [1].

Comprised of men severely disabled by wounds or disease, the Invalid Corps was to have been an honor corps of soldiers who had already served faithfully, but would now be assigned light tasks in order to free up healthy men for the front lines.

Instead, the Invalid Corps was despised by one and all – its members reviled as cripples, cowards, and malingerers.

Despite this, the Invalid Corps served valiantly.  Jeered as the Infidel Corps and the Cripple Brigade, the Invalid Corps often put in longer hours with fewer breaks than able-bodied men.

Soldiers whose limbs had been amputated and nerves shattered guarded prisoners, railroads, and essential supplies.  They arrested bounty jumpers, and patrolled city streets.

  • Vastly outnumbered, the Invalid Corps supported local police during the vicious New York City draft riots of July 1863.
  • On June 20, 1864 the 18th Regiment of the Invalid Corps was called on to oppose 4000 Confederate troops led by Gen. Wade Hampton.  When asked whether the injured men under his command would stand and fight, Col. Charles Johnson responded, sarcastically, “Tell the general that my men are cripples and they can’t run [3].”  The Confederates were successfully driven back.
  • On July 11, 1864 Confederate Lieut. Gen. Jubal Early launched an assault on Washington DC [4].  Only the Invalid Corps was immediately available to defend the Union capitol.  The 5th, 6th, 9th, 19th and 24th Regiments took up positions along the defensive line of forts around the city.  Convalescents left their hospital beds to take part.  Heavy fighting ensued.  But the Invalid Corps held the line until reinforcements could arrive.

No monument exists to the Invalid Corps today.  But the sacrifice and devotion of its members were undoubtedly recorded in heaven.  They stand as testament to the fact that disability is not the measure of a man.

It is when we have no resources that our valor is tested.  It is when we have been incapacitated that our mettle truly shines.

[1]  Wikipedia, “Veteran Reserve Corps”, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Veteran_Reserve_Corps.

[2]  Maryland Public Television (MPT), “The Invalid Corps”, https://video.mpt.tv/video/the-invalid-corps-j99gel/.

[3]  National Museum of Civil War Medicine, ” ‘Tell the General that My Men Are Cripples and They Can’t Run’:  The Field Service of the 18th Regiment, Veteran Reserve Corps, May – June 1864″, 5/21/19, https://www.civilwarmed.org/veteran-reserve-corps/.

[4]  Smithsonian Magazine, “When Washington DC Came Close to Being Conquered by the Confederacy” by Thomas Lewis, July 1988, https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/when-washington-dc-came-close-to-being-conquered-by-the-confederacy-180951994/.

READERS CAN FIND MY VIEWS ON ABUSE AND ABUSE-RELATED ISSUES AT ANNA WALDHERR A Voice Reclaimed, Surviving Child Abuse  https://avoicereclaimed.com

The Downside of Smart and Green Technologies

Smartphones in use at railway station, Author Rawpixel.com, Source https://pxhere.com/en/photo/1559045 (CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication)

We cannot, it seems, live without the latest technological devices:  computers, tablets, smartphones, smartwatches, smart locks, smart doorbells, smart thermostats, smart refrigerators, smart speakers, and virtual assistants to coordinate them all.

We are, meanwhile, being told that “green” technology is the wave of the future; that electric cars are the ethical choice [1].

But there is a hidden cost to this technology.

Rare Earth Minerals Lost

Irreplaceable rare earth minerals like cerium, dysprosium, indium, neodymium, praseodymium, and terbium are being depleted for our smartphones, flat screen TVs, electric cars, solar panels, and wind turbines [2A][3].

Pollution Increased

Unfortunately, the refinement of rare earth minerals for so called renewable energy produces toxic byproducts.  The Chinese mines and factories churning out these gadgets for sale to the West are generating pollution on an epic scale [2B].

Slavery and Child Labor

Worse still, global supply chains extending into the United States for smartphones and designer clothing far too often rely on slave or child labor [4]. Read more…

Apples of Gold

My favorite memory was when I messed with everyone's life and mainly Paris' and gave him this apple promising… | Papel de parede de ouro, Tudo dourado, Ouro dourado

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver” (Prov. 25: 11).

By the time of the American Revolution, 7 of the original 13 colonies had abolished slavery through the efforts of Quakers, Methodists, and other Christian denominations.

The practice of slavery clearly ran counter to the principle of liberty, but slavery as an institution was not viewed as unconstitutional prior to the Civil War.

Abraham Lincoln respected the Constitution, but recognized this inherent contradiction.

As Lincoln knew, the Constitution does not exist merely for its own sake, as though it were only a set of procedural rules.  It is intended to preserve the principle of liberty for all [1]. Read more…

Four Chaplains

US Postage Stamp: The Immortal Chaplains (1948), Author Bureau of Printing and Engraving, Source US Post Office (PD as work product of federal govt.)

On the night of February 3, 1943 the Allied troop transport SS Dorchester was struck by a torpedo from a Nazi submarine [1].  The ship sank in 27 minutes.  Coast Guard escort ships, Comanche and Escanaba, were able to rescue only 231 of 904 servicemen from the icy waters.

Amid the chaos of the scene aboard, four chaplains calmed sailors and distributed life jackets.  The men were Lt. Alexander Goode, Jewish; Lt. George Fox, Methodist; Lt. Clark Poling, Dutch Reformed; and Lt. John Washington, Roman Catholic.  When life jackets ran out, the chaplains gave away their own.

As the Dorchester went down, survivors could see the four chaplains, arms linked and heads bowed in prayer [2A].  Survivor Grady Clark wrote [2B]:

“As I swam away from the ship, I looked back.  The flares had lighted everything.  The bow came up high and she slid under.  The last thing I saw, the Four Chaplains were up there praying for the safety of the men.  They had done everything they could.  I did not see them again.  They themselves did not have a chance without life jackets.”

In 1998, Congress honored their sacrifice by designating February 3 as “Four Chaplains Day”.

[1]  Wikipedia, “SS Dorchester”, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SS_Dorchester.

[2A and 2B]  “Miracles in American History, Volume 2” by Susie Federer (2019).

READERS CAN FIND MY VIEWS ON ABUSE AND ABUSE-RELATED ISSUES AT ANNA WALDHERR A Voice Reclaimed, Surviving Child Abuse  https://avoicereclaimed.com

 

Human Trafficking – Warning Signs

Schematic showing global human trafficking, Author Genetics4good (CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported).

January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.

Because human trafficking is frequently hidden in plain sight, the National Human Trafficking Resource Center, the non-profit Innocents at Risk, and the Nevada Attorney General’s Office have identified the following warning signs [1]:

Appearance

  • Impoverished, with few if any personal possessions.
  • Malnourished, with poor physical or dental health.
  • Indications of physical injury.
  • Tattoos or branding, especially on the neck or lower back.

Demeanor

  • Avoidance of eye contact.
  • Scripted social interaction or avoidance of such interaction altogether, with individuals not allowed out in public alone.
  • Avoidance of law enforcement.

Documentation

  • Official identification documents lacking.

Read more…