April 2006 Archives

Enjoyment and Joy

A few weeks ago I was going back and forth with a friend about the pleasures of wine tasting. He subsequently sent me an e-mail that helped me make the link between physical enjoyment and what we used to call one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit, joy.
He wrote:
"There's something immensely important about certain forms of pleasure. I'm thinking of wine and cigars and chocolate. But one might argue the same of gardening and running and all forms of art. These kinds of activity exercise the embodied registers of value that connect us to the physical universe of mammals and bodies, but also articulate the realm of spirit, that is, the domain of culture that is characteristically human, and human in its best form. When we engage in embodied forms of knowing we change our relationship to the universe. We affirm it, but we also somehow transcend it, by which I
don't mean we travel to heaven and leave the world behind, but add to the physical universe a level of being that is our species' task to make and contribute. Spirit is about stretching language to touch taste and feeling and memory and fragrance."


other kinds of blackouts

I am totally swamped with administrative work.

Last week I had dinner with a friend whose son-in-law is a US soldier in Iraq. It was depressing to learn that there are long periods of blackouts in communication with him. When a US soldier dies in that division, the soldiers are not permitted to call home to their families in the US for a period of weeks. Dreadful.

Come Holy Spirit and comfort us.



I experienced a 20 minute blackout yesterday afternoon, from 4:30 until 4:50 PM. The record-breaking heat caused problems with our grid. Houston is likely to live with blackouts throughout the summer. Privatization of electricity and gas has neither lowered costs nor improved service.

When Texans voted to privatize electricity and gas, the hype was "liberty to choose," "Texans should be free to choose." Much like the hype to invade Iraq, it makes no sense, but it rings. We in Texas are afraid to think. We prefer arrogant slogans that coddle our complacency. Blackouts may be just what we need to wake up. Let's face what we fear.

Waking up will happen when, little by little, independent news sources broaden the ability for public discussion and thought. At this moment we have only a few independent media outlets and news reporters able to generate respectful public debate. But these few are wonderful, strong and they can grow. KPFT, Indymedia Houston, Free Speech TV.

Changing our corporate-controlled monopolistic media structure means thinking about unbridled capitalism, racism, gender and class. These are issues that frighten most Texans. I hope the blackouts frighten us more. And that we will move for change. If so, our independent and community media are the spaces to think freely and without easy slogans.


Illegals are Native Americans

Tim Giago (Nanwica Kcui), unexpectedly helped me prepare to march in favor of protecting the rights of immigrants. He takes a look at the larger historical, geopolitical picture, saying "Ironically, most of the illegal immigrans are Indians, or Indios as they are known in Mexico, and in Central and South America. Most of their ancestors did not come over on the Mayflower or on the Spanish galleons. They are indigenous to the Western Hemisphere."

"I often wonder why so many thousands of people left their homelands in Norway, Germany, Ireland, France, Spain and so many other countries to settle in a land where the only obstacle to expansion and untold wealth was the indigenous people."

His words gave me an important realization. The real power driving the massive street marches is the spirit of the native peoples of America. Even after 500 years of non--self-governance, native americans remain steadfast and faithful. This is what "La Raza" means, a term used still today, in a flippant and playful way, by Latinos and Latinas in every barrio.

The march starts at 1:30 PM.


Yesterday during a NARA-WACC luncheon meeting hosted by Sharon Black, Librarian of the Annenberg School for Communication, I learned that doctoral students are delving into media and religion questions that will surely pique the interest of institutional churches. One research interest is the international activities of religious broadcasters as they map with governmental national communications legislation. This has questions about religios fundamentalism and the media, structured monopolies and alliances of ideas. Another research topic revolves around open source data systems, free expression. And yet another has an interest in liberation theology and its relationship to media questions.

Policy makers in schools, congregations and national church bodies could benefit greatly by dialoging with these students and others like them. Perhaps periodic seminars (give-and-take sessions)would enable the students to get a first-hand feel about the field and the resonance of their research. Importantly, the field would begin to get a better understanding of the nuances and importance of these topics.

Mourn our Departed

This post is about US soldiers and does not discount our Iraqi brothers and sisters who have died.

As of Yesterday, at least 2,344 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count.
We never see the coffins returning and Bush never attends any funeral of any soldier. The existing monstruous marriage between US government and news organizations makes possible this disappearing trick.

Ralph Begleiter, along with others sued (and won) to make Pentagon photos public. Without the public ritual of mourning and release,--- centering on our sense of community, sacrifice, honor, solidarity, purpose ---our country is becoming even more dead.

Begleiter said, "Hiding these images from the public - or, worse, failing even to record these respectful moments - deprives all Americans of the opportunity to recognize their contribution to our democracy, and hinders policymakers and historians in the future from making informed judgments about public opinion and war."

Maybe it would be a good idea for USA residents to take a minute daily and pray for our fallen soldiers.


I plan to be here in Houston on April 10, marching. What I find awesome about the massive demonstrations is the spontaneity, the diffused organization. Although local long-time activists are helping to organize the march, there is no predicting the life of this barrio natural anger and power. The marches are about family ties that are beyond borders, solidarity that can cut through red tape, enthusiasm that "feels" a more just society.

I've long lamented the bureacrat type of leadership that is too prevalant in our community. Too many Latinos (certainly not all) seek visibility and prominence, the comforts of the bureau. The exclusive emphasis on papers and policy over fiesta and community. The great possibility that I see now is new, young leadership. A leadership that is natural and grounded in the feeling of the community, not just in short term tactics. Dolores Huerta is the model. She accomplishes, but with lasting depth. As an advocate for immigrant workers rights, Dolores has been arrested twenty-two times for non-violent peaceful union activities. These symbolic acts are also celebratory. That's their power to inspire. Eva Longoria (Desperate Housewives)is fundraising to help Dolores Huerta. That's serious fun.

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This page is an archive of entries from April 2006 listed from newest to oldest.

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