Advent Day 9 — Where are you going?

“Prepare the way of the Lord! Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God!”  Isaiah 40:3

This image was taken on I-95 between St. Augustine and Jacksonville one misty December Sunday morning about 2 AM.  I was living in St. Augustine at the time.  (My bishop, whom I was surprised was checking out my blog, quipped:  “What were you doing out at 2 AM?  I was bemused by his comment and also that I had captured a busy bishop as a reader — if just for a moment.)

On my way home from “Father Bob’s night out,” I was so taken by the magic of the vista before me I had to pull off and capture it on my Canon Power Shot.

For me, even the interstate can be a place for reflection. . .

I was thinking of John the Baptist’s message that also appeared in yesterday’s gospel:

“Prepare the way of the Lord; make straight his paths.”

And this was what I wrote two years ago, inspired by that moment on the side of a highway at 2 AM on a magical / mystical Sunday morning.

Where are we going, Lord?


Every day we’re on a journey that will not be complete until we meet You.


In our daily commutes, stuck in traffic, are we making progress in our spiritual journey, Lord?


Are we making a straight highway in the spiritual wasteland I sometimes think America is today, Lord?

John’s message was one of repentance.


When he said, “make straight his paths,” he meant  to clear a way for the coming of God into our heart and soul.

Get rid of the roadblocks that stop us from making progress.  Our addictions.  Our resentments. Our selfishness.


If we don’t make an effort to do that, our Christmas will be hollow / empty, Lord.


In all of our pre-Christmas bustle and hustle are we preparing a straight path for you to come
into our hearts, our homes, our workplace, our land, our world this Christmas?


What are we doing, Lord?  Really doing with our lives?


Where is our life’s journey taking us?


What is life really  all about?

I-95 at 2 AM can help us ponder that question.

I realized that was a special moment for me; a moment I seized.

Or rather seized me.

Carpe diem.

Thank you, Lord.

On Monday morning there would be a return to frenzied /  furied  / hurried / unaware / unreflected lives of  many going to and fro and not know really where they’re going.

Time for a change, dear friend?  Time for a change?

Here’s another video from Godspell:  Where are You going?

P. S. Be aware there are some among us who find holidays a time of dread and loneliness.    People who have lost a loved one.  Families that are broken. Children wo can’t be with both parents for Christmas.  Familes with parents in the military.  Keep them in your prayer.  And if you know one of them, give them a call or invite them for Christmas dinner.

With love,

Bob Traupman

priest / writer

Advent Day 8 – Jesus’ wild and wooly advance man

He probably looked like someone from the cast of Hair or a hippie.

He lived in the wild in the desert of Judea.

He wore clothing made of camel’s hair, which I’m sure was – um — uncomfortable in the desert’s heat.  (He was probably pretty stinky.)

His scrumptious diet locusts and wild honey. (yuck!)

His message was: “Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand!”

(Yeah, I know.  I’ve heard that message a zillion times.)

In our – um – respectable Sunday assemblies, he would probably be looked upon with scorn;  he was certainly not the kind of guy we would expect to be the Advance Man for the Son of God.  But that’s what he was.  (And we better pay attention to his message – which we’ll do this week – because it is critical for our own times.)

He was Jesus’ cousin, born only a few months before the Lord.  The pair may have played together as kids.  And John, must have gotten to know Jesus well enough to  perceive what his role would be in history.  As a result, he preached with exuberance and passion and sometimes with fury.  He raged at many of the Pharisees and Sadducees:  “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? (And I’m sure they seethed and were out to get him.

He spoke fearlessly, unafraid of what the hypocritical religious leaders might do to him. Eventually Herod had him imprisoned and Herodias demanded his head on a platter.

John was a prophet . . .

A voice crying out in the wilderness

Prepare the way of the Lord,

make straight his paths.

The Christmas message is that Love has entered the world.

As we enter this second week of Advent, let’s ask ourselves:

How can I prepare the way for the Lord  (or Love)

at home,

at the office,

in my neighborhood,

in our country,

in our politics,

in our world — this week?

God’s message to us in the Christmas story is Love.

That’s why he was born, entering our world as a vulnerable baby.

And that’s why he died – vulnerable / bound / nailed –

because the Father wanted us to have evidence that he loved us.

And in turn, his message is . . .

Love one another as I have loved you.

Right now, there’s a lot of hatred going around.

There are hate groups all over our country.  Over 900 documented armed hate groups.

Our country could be in flames.  All it might take is a spark to set it off.

People I know are seething that a Black man is president.

And then there’s hatred toward Muslims.  I have Muslim friends.  They are devout and wonderful people.

There’s hatred toward gay people.  I have gay friends.  And they’re as decent and often as devout as those who sit in the front pews of our churches.

We have lots of need to repent.

What do you do, dear reader?

Is there hatred or love in your heart?

If we hate even one person, we cause hate to have its sway anywhere.

And the opposite is true as well — if we love one sacrificially, love enters the world in a powerful waay.

Do you spread hate and incivility?

Or love and “random acts of kindness?

AA has us take “Personal Inventory of ourselves.”

Let’s stop blaming others for what’s wrong and realize and repent of our own responsibility.

Let’s do it this week — this second week of Advent,

And then we will truly have a beautiful / meaningful /joyful / authentic Christmas celebration.

We don’t need all the frenzied shopping or giving frivolous, expensive gifts.

Celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah by being kinder, more gentle and cheerful.

Hold doors open for the folks behind you upon entering a store.

And, as I said yesterday, think about and pray about reconciling with a friend you’re at odds with.  Smooth out hurt feelings.  Give somebody – anybody – the gift of your presence rather than presents.

Yesterday, as I was taking my groceries to the car I smiled at an older woman who was poorly dressed and who seemed troubled.  Her name was Sylvia, an immigrant from one of the islands.  She called after me and I took the time to listen to her, thereby allowing her to be recognized as a person, if just for a moment.  I prayed that God would send her an angel to help with some serious problems.  She said to me: “You are my angel!”  Perhaps I was.  Perhaps I was the instrument of grace to turn her life around.  You never know.

Your children don’t need lots of stuff or this crazy rodent that won’t shut up that every kid in the universe wants (or so they would have us believe.) For one thing, you need more silence in your house, not more noise!  (We’ll get to the need for silence in our lives in a few days.)

Don’t let the merchants rob us think about preparing to  receive the grace of the sacrament of penance; it’s still a wonderful way to honor your Lord and Savior at his birthday.)

And now, here’s my personal prayer on this Second Sunday of Advent:

Jesus,

You have allowed me, your priest/servant the grace

to prepare the way for You in the lives on many people  over forty years–

children / octogenarians / homeless / imprisoned / dying /

grieving / celebrating / becoming Catholic / non-believers /

gay / parishioners / mentally ill / neighbors /  friends / strangers.

What an honor and privilege!

Thank you, Lord for that awesome grace!

And please forgive me and heal the hurt of anyone whom I have turned away from You by my failures and sins.

I remember and pray for so many of them today.

I am eager to continue doing so in my writing.  Guide my pen (my cursor), Lord.

And what a joy it would be if those whose lives I have touched in written word or in person realize they, too, can prepare the way for you in our troubled world.

Come, Lord Jesus!

Now, listen and watch Prepare the way of the Lord from Godspell. (Get a chuckle out of Jesus 1973 ‘Fro.)

This week we’ll reflect on what Jesus’ wild and wooly advance man has to say to us and our times.  You might want to look up the following scripture references over the next week if you have time: (Matthew 3:1-17 / 14:1-12 // Mark 1:1-8. // Luke 1: 39-45 / 1:57 – 80 // 3:1-20 / 7:18-35 // John 1:15-34 / 3:22-30

With love,

Bob Traupman

priest / writer

Advent Day 5 — In the midst of the mist of our lives

photo (c) bob traupman 2007.  all rights reseved
photo (c) bob traupman 2007. all rights reseved

Misty mornings can be cool, Lord.
They can teach us about You, about us.

There is lots of misty-ness in our lives, Lord.
We often don’t see anything clearly.
But You are still there, our sun, the Son
somehow, some way, penetrating  the fog, the mist.

Help us realize that mist is OK, Lord.
Misty-ness has its own beauty.
Help us accept the lack of clarity, Lord.
May we realize You are still there in the midst of the mist.

Thank You, Lord, for what it teaches us about You, about us.
Teach us to be patient, Lord, to wait.
For the light, our light, Your light.
Come Lord, Jesus this Christmas
in our lives and in our world.

Your light will come, Jerusalem;
Your light will come, dear people of God;
the Lord will dawn on you in radian beauty.
You will see his glory within you.
— the Advent liturgy

With love,

Bob Traupman
priest / writer

Advent Day 3 – The wolf and the lamb – the owl and the lion

Tuesday of the First Week of Advent

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Friends,

Isaiah dreams of a bright future for us; he also chastises us for our idolatry and unfaithfulness to God and our best selves (We will look at this later>)

But today he shows us a wonderful vision: the animals lead the way to peace!

Then the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb . .

The calf and the young lion shall browse together,

with a little child to guide them.

The cow and the bear shall be neighbors,

together their young shall rest:

the lion shall eat hay like an ox

The baby shall play in the cobra’s den — Isiah 11:5-10.

Let’s muse about peace and harmony today.

Let’s muse about the animal’s leading the way to peace.

(I have a Christmas short story about an owl from the banks of the Shenandoah

and a young lion from the Serengheti in Africa leading the way to peace.

It’s a fun story.  Why not download it and save it for close to Christmas?

My puppy Shivvy has demonstrated again a love for fellow creatures of all sorts.

I have stories of him with turtles and little doves with broken wings and bunny rabbits and ducklings on our walks around our condo.

Think about it.

What can I do today to bring more harmony into the habitat in which I live

— at home, at work, at church, in my neighborhood, in our world?

Behold a broken world, we pray,

Where want and war increase,

And grant us, Lord, in this our day,

The ancient dream of peace.    — unattributed.

With love,

Bob Traupman

priest / writer



Advent Day 2 — Swords to plowshares / guns to roses

The price of peace paid by the Prince of Peace

Monday of the First Week of Advent

Dear Friends,

If you’re new to this Advent blog,  I recommend reading Welcome to Advent 2009 to get a sense of why we want to spend four weeks preparing for our Christmas celebration and how it can help you deepen your (our) spirituality whether you are a Catholic or even a Christian.

Today’s reading from Isaiah is a famous one:

They shall beat their swords into plowshares

and their spears into pruning hooks.

Nation will not take up sword against nation,

nor will they train for war anymore. — Isaiah 2:4.

All of my adult life my writing and my prayer has been against war —

Viet Nam / the Balkans / the Gulf  War / Iraq / and now Afghanistan.

Pope Paul VI, speaking before the United Nations General Assembly made an impassioned plea:

“No more war! Never again war!

And Pope John Paul II said the Iraq war was A defeat for humanity.

And Dwight David Eisenhower, the great general of Word War II and President of the U.S. said: “When people speak to you about a preventive war, you tell them to go and fight it. After my experience, I have come to hate war. War settles nothing.”

Advent is a time to wish for peace / pray for peace / work for peace.

The Christmas story is about peace.  One of the titles of Jesus is “Prince of Peace.”

But we become cynical about peace.

Many of us have our private little wars that we engage in every day with a sibling or a friend or co-worker.

Let us “Practice peacefulness”, as a friend put it to me once.  Let’s stop the gossiping / give people a chance / be kind.

The legend of St. Christopher carrying a child across a stream on a stormy night invites us to greet every human person as if they were Christ himself.

Think thoughts of peace.  Be peace.  At least try it today, the second day of Advent.

The image below is a photo of the last page of the men’s magazine Details.  (Actually I despise its outrageous consumerism and narcissism but I read it to see what our young people are reading.)  This image is actually a GAP commercial selling plaid shirts;  those are young women and men making up the peace sign.) Would that they (we) would put their (our)  bodies, minds and spirits to the task of creating peace in our world!



I will hear what the Lord God has to say,

a voice that speaks of peace,

peace for his people and his friends.

and those who turn to him in their hearts.

Mercy and faithfulness have met;

Justice and peace have embraced.

Faithfulness shall spring from the earth

and justice look down from heaven.

The Lord will make us prosper

and the earth shall yield its fruit.

Justice shall march before him

and peace shall follow his steps.

Psalm 85

Before you go here’s a peace song for you

With love,

Bob Traupman

priest / writer

The Glory and the Scandal of our Country

IMG_1374

 

Dear Friends,

It’s been awhile.  I’ve had an awesome / wondrous experience on my pilgrimage.  I’ve had wonderful reunions with good friends, particularly a great evening with guys I went to seminary with 45 years ago.  I’m going to re-create this whole experience for you when I return to Florida.  I’ve been out of Internet service much of this time in the mountains and visiting friends.  I’ve taken some awesome pictures which I’ll share; some of them are here.

But last night a jarring note entered my peace which reminded me of the sin and selfishness and lack of awareness and connectedness of our country.  It was a rare visit I make to a restaurant; most of the time I eat very simply.  Here’s what happened as I wrote to the manager last evening:

October 27, 2009

Mr. N.

Manager of  Applebees

Small Town, West Virginia

Dear N.

This note is addressed to you and the management above you.  Please pass it on to them.

I am a priest / writer making a prayer-pilgrimage for the sake of the transformation of our country.  This letter will be published in my blog tomorrow.

Here in Lewisburg I am 4027 miles into my awesome / inspiring journey.  The West Virginia mountains have been ablaze with glorious color that has delighted my soul.  Sunday night the Milky Way on the mountaintop made my soul leap and dance with joy.  (I live in Ft. Lauderdale with light pollution so that was a memorable occurence for me.)

Tonight, after driving all afternoon up and down, down and up mountains in the rain I came to Applebees to relax and have a good meal.  I ordered the burger Quesadilla which was excellent, by the way.  I like my food piping hot and asked the waitress to pop it in the microwave for a minute.   It took ten minutes and I knew what happened!  The kitchen threw it away and started over.

My heart sank as I firmly believe that wasting food is one of the greatest sins of America.  We could feed millions with the food we waste.  I spoke of my anger and sadness to the manager on duty (a very sweet young lady).

Mr. N.  I have friends who have been homeless and who have had to dumpster-dive to survive.  The amount of food we waste daily in our restaurants in the United States is scandalous.  I perceive it to be  a very grave sin, a sign of our selfishness and uncaring in our present American culture.  I wish to help change some of these things.

I just googled the following at http://www.culinate.com/:

We live in a culture of excess, and food is no exception. The average American wastes more than half a pound of food per day. I’m no mathematical whiz, but that would be a whole Quarter Pounder at lunch and dinner. When you count what’s put down the disposal, 25 percent of what enters our homes is not eaten, Rathje reports

And as we can all attest, restaurants’ massive portions fill their large plates, our stomachs, and then their dumpsters. Exceptions to this squandering — like T.G.I. Friday’s “Right Portion, Right Price” menu — are few. Every day, Jones calculates, American restaurants throw away more than 6,000 tons of food.

Why do we waste so much food?

Mr. Hughes, I was nauseated when the second portion of food was served; I became angry and upset and lost my appetite.  It spoiled my evening and thrust into my prayer/pilgrimage a very important awareness for me of the need for the transformation of our country.

I implore you, as the Applebees food system to change your policies and be respectful and reverential about food.   Food is sacred.  Many people would love to have what you threw in the garbage.

I left the restaurant angry enough to write this letter and insert it into by blog.  What should have been a pleasant, relaxing moment for me was anything but.

I ask you, as the management team of Applebees to attend to this for America’s sake.  “Waste not, want not,” I was taught.  I still think this is a very wise policy.

You can take some leadership as a restaurant system to teach our people, especially our young people the value of food and sensitivity to those who have none.  To not do so, I believe is absolutely scandalous.

We will be held accountable.

Sincerely,

Rev. Bob Traupman

priest / writer

Dear Readers,

I’ll be traveling through the mountains from Virginia and Tennessee to northern Georgia the next few days and will be out of Internet service.  Just know you are thought of, loved and prayed for all the way.

And please pray every day for the repentance / restoration / waking up / transformation of our beloved land.  May we realize our connection with the poor and with our God as we understand God.

With love,

Bob

Greetings from Erie

Old US 19 on the way to Erie
Old US 19 on the way to Erie

Hello, everybody!

You probably thought I died and went some place.  Well, I’ve been traveling and have not able to keep up with y’all.

But please know you have been thought of and prayed for.

This is an awesome trip with several goals:

(1) to celebrate my forty year journey through priestly ministry; (2) to re-connect with some of the people who have influenced and shaped my life and my priesthood over forty years and (3) to make a pilgrimage of prayer for the protection and conversion of our country.  This is the third pilgrimage I have made since I  woke up to the fact that we were in profound crisis here in America that could take us down completely if we do not repent of our unbridled consumerism and violence. I just stay at prayer and ask you to join me.

I have taken over 500 photos on my trip thus far but have not been able to share this awesome journey with you as yet.  I will do so as soon as I am able, so pop in when you can and see what’s happening.

So far, I’ve been to Washington to my seminary reunion / Baltimore for a Mass of Thanksgiving for my 40th anniversary / Pittsburgh to visit the house, neighborhood of my first seven years of life / and now Erie, PA to visit a priest-mentor who, I believe, is one of the finest pastors in the country.  I’ll tell you all these stories very soon.

Today (this written at 5 AM) I will travel to Hamilton, Ontario with a stop at Niagra Falls and then on to Montreal tomorrow.

Here are a few pictures:                                                  IMG_0612

famous row houses of Baltimore, alley view
famous row houses of Baltimore, alley view
the street where I was born, Pittsburgh, Pa with a boyhood friend and a cousin, Sister Mary Traupman, CDP
the street where I was born, Pittsburgh, Pa with a boyhood friend and a cousin, Sister Mary Traupman, CDP
My fortieth anniversary celebration in Baltimore
My fortieth anniversary celebration in Baltimore

National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception across the street from my seminary
National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception across the street from my seminary

Mr. Shivers 13th birthday

Shivvy loves to travel. My leather seats beat any ol' kennek anytime!
Shivvy loves to travel. My leather seats beat any ol' kennel anytime!

Dear Friends,

My faithful companion Mr. Shivers whom everyone simply calls “Shivvy” will be 13 on Thursday.  He’s a Chesapeake Bay Retrieve mix with some Lab, it would seem.  I got hi  from my friend Glen who bred him while I was in Baltimore.  He’s supposed to retrieve ducks from the Chesapeake Bay but he didn’t really like the cold water.  I’d take him swimming at St. Augustine Beach and he’d pull back, so I’d put the leash on him and drag him over his head so he had to swim and, of course, he could.

Shivvy is a legal service animal by HUD laws and is welcome wherever I take him.  He had a grand welcome at the Great Lodge on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon in march 2008 where there’s no dogs aloud.  He’s not really a dog; he’s a furry person, as my friend Sr. Monica calls him.20080316P3160442_0442

At age 13 he still thinks he’s a puppy.  He has no problem climbing the stairs to my second floor apartment and he loves to run with other dogs when given the chance.  Unfortunately, he doesn’t take good pictures since he’s totally black except for a white goatee now.

Shivvy is very respectful of little creatures
Shivvy is very respectful of little creatures

A friend sent me this afternoon which inspired me to write about Shivvy.  My Arise readers know him well because I always have something to say about him since he was born in 1996.  The following story will touch your heart:

A Dog’s Purpose  (from a 6-year-old). . .

Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound  named Belker. The dog’s owners, Ron, his wife Lisa, and their little boy Shane,  ;were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for a miracle.

I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family we couldn’t do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog  in their home.
As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa  told me they thought it would be good for six-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn someth ing from the experience.

The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker ‘s family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away.

The little boy seemed to accept Belker’s transition without any difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after Belker’s Death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives. Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, ‘I know why.’

Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I’d never heard a more comforting explanation.

He said, ‘People are born so that they can learn how to live a good Life — like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?’ The Six-year-old continued, ‘Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don’t have to stay as long.’
So live like a dog:

At the vet
At the vet

Live simply.
Love generously.
Care deeply.
Speak kindly.
Remember, if a dog was the teacher you would learn things like:
When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.
Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.
Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.
Take naps.
Stretch before rising.
Run, romp, and play daily.
Thrive on attention and let people touch you.

Whoosh! That feels sooo good!
Whoosh! That feels sooo good!

Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.
On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.
When you’re happy, dance around and wag your entire body.
Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.
Be loyal.
Never pretend to be something you’re not.
If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.

When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently.

ENJOY EVERY MOMENT OF EVERY DAY

Bob Traupman

priest / writer

and a six year old boy named Shane

Respect for authority or anarchy

This little guy is enthralled by the words of Thomas Jefferson emblazoned on the walls of the Jefferson Memorial
This little guy is enthralled by the words of Thomas Jefferson emblazoned on the walls of the Jefferson Memorial

This little guy is enthralled by the words of Thomas Jefferson emblazoned on the walls of the Jefferson Memorial
This little guy is enthralled by the words of Thomas Jefferson emblazoned on the walls of the Jefferson Memorial

This little guy is enthralled by the word of Thomas Jefferson emblazoned on the walls of the Jefferson Memorial

This little guy is enthralled by the word of Thomas Jefferson emblazoned on the walls of the Jefferson Memorial

Grateful, indeed, Bill.  I truly look forrward to seeing you again after forty years.

But I have a very sensitive soul.  I feel sad that I find so little to inspire us this morning, September 9, 2009.  And worried too.  When the President of the United States is not treated with respect by our own citizens, I am worried, indeed! I perceive that we’re in deeper trouble than I realized.
When we teach our kids not to respect the authority of the President of the United States we are demeaning all authority.  I was taught that we may not always agree with those in authority, but that authority must be respected; if not, anarchy might not be far behind.
I was awakened before 3 AM to be in deep prayer for the sake of our country, experiencing much sadness, profound suffering  and anguish in my soul over the disrespect shown to the President yesterday.
The crisis our country is in right now is far deeper than just economic.  We are struggling for our soul and we may not make it.  We have to stop blaming others and take responsibility for our own failures and sins. That has been my constant message for two years now.
Now, please take my remarks this morning as the fruit of my prayer.   But I realized that is still a beautiful world.  i had a beautiful swim this morning.  A black bird walked up to me and we looked each other in the eye for a long moment.  And when Shivvy and I turned the corner of our condo on our walk, we were greeted by a perfect luminous double rainbow.
My point to my readers:  We have to embrace the Both / And in our lives.  Be present to — embrace –  it all.  There is no other way.  Our very survival is at stake.  Let’s reject any participation in negative thinking or doing and embrace the positive.  Let’s bind together as a nation in love and brotherhood.
And by the way, I am in prayer with my Islamic brothers and sisters as they embrace this month dedicated to repentance and renewal, the month of Ramadan.

Dear Friends,

I have a very sensitive soul.  That’s part of the vocation I offer to the world in which I live.  It’s the gift of my manic depressive experience; I alternately soar to the heights and fall into the depths.  I suffer with and for the whole world in my soul, not unlike Jesus in the agony in the garden.  .  That is the calling, the vocation, of a contemplative and I am happy to fulfill that role because we contemplatives do our part to hold the world together.

I was awakened before 3 AM to be in deep prayer for the sake of our country, experiencing much sadness, profound suffering  and anguish in my soul over the disrespect shown to the President yesterday.  It symbolizes for me a very important concern that I invite you to think about.

This morning, something was causing me anguish and it took a while to figure out what it was.  And worried too.  When the President of the United States is not treated with respect by our own citizens, I am worried, indeed!  It dawned on me that we’re in deeper trouble than I realized.

When parents  teach their children  not to respect duly constituted authority, in this case, the authority of the President of the United States we are demeaning all authority.  I was taught that, though we may not like or always agree with those in authority, that authority is due respect and honor.  The early Christians were taught to respect and pray for the Emperor.  My concern is that if we do not, anarchy might not be far behind.

Thomas Jefferson just to the left of the boy
Thomas Jefferson just to the left of the boy

Not wanting one’s children to listen to the President is ridiculous!  Every TV show, every commercial, every movie is feeding our children with sex and violence!

Thirteen year olds on the steps of the Jefferson Memorial
Thirteen year olds on the steps of the Jefferson Memorial

I have come to realize that many of our young people today are distrustful of authority, including the Church.  Who is to be believed?  Who trusted?

Nevertheless, we have to stop blaming others and take responsibility for our own failures and sins. there’s plenty of that to go around, Republicans or Democrats, Christians or atheists.  That has been my constant message for two years now.  I have been pleading / cajoling / imploring anyone who would listen that we need to enter personal transformation for the sake of transformation of our county.

The crisis our country is in right now is far deeper than just economic.  We are struggling to regain the soul of America and we may not make it. Our country is far from what we were and need to be.  This is not the America I love.  But have pledged to do my part to help wake us up before it’s too late.  That’s my message.  And I’ve been correct about a lot of this over the past two years.

This was  the fruit of my anguished prayer.  That was before 4 AM.   And then I fell into a deep sleep and let God do his work.   But my soul brightened up after sunrise.  I realized that is still a beautiful world.  I had a beautiful swim this morning. I thank God for the little very quiet corner of America I love.   When Shivvy and I turned the corner of our condo on our walk toward the west, we were greeted by a  luminous surprise that startled me!  A perfect double rainbow.  Perhaps that was an answer to my prayer.

My point, dear  readers:  We have to embrace the Both / And in our lives.  Be present to — embrace –  it all.  There is no other way.  If we avoid our dark side, our own or our country’s, if we refuse to do our soul work, it will do us in.  Our very survival is at stake.  Let’s reject any participation in negative thinking and hostile rhetoric or doing and embrace the positive. The President is owed our cooperation by right of his office.  Without that, we have nothing.

Let’s bind together as a nation in love and brotherhood.  If we do not, I doubt that we will make it.

images-1Good and gracious God,

help us please, please to bind together,

listen to each other,

respect each other

and work together for the good of all.

We praise you for all that is good today.

Amen!

Bob Traupman

priest / writer

And by the way, I am in prayer with my Islamic brothers and sisters as they embrace this month dedicated to repentance and renewal, the month of Ramadan. For many Muslims, they take very seriously the need to take stock of and repent of their sins.