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Archive for May 27th, 2014

As May Passes

 

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Ready or Not

You know as soon as the leaves begin to emerge on the trees that the end is near. You can no longer see the cardinals singing in the trees, let alone the warblers, generally duller in color, soon to appear. Spring, so slow in coming, is gone too fast. February, allegedly the shortest month, seemed eternal. May, allegedly among the longest, flies by in a rush.

And now here comes summer…

Keep it Simple

Sometimes one must grasp the enormity of the situation to understand the simplicity of the solution. Wendell Berry, back in 1990, said that the goal was to make a world  ‘fit and pleasant for little children.’ Think for a minute how different the world would look if that was the criterion that inspired politicians and hierarchs and well, all of us, when we make decisions, especially those that affect the common good.

John the Quixotic

My friend John Cavanaugh O’Keefe is one of those who grasps such simple truths. He has recently written a book, Straight Guilt, which he sent me to review, which attempts to build bridges between prolifers, immigration advocates, gay people, and other presumed natural enemies. I am probably the last person qualified to review his book, as I have known John since 1979 and I cannot read it without hearing his voice and seeing his face, earnest and honest. John is a pacifist and was a conscientious objector during the Vietnam War. When war’s end coincided, roughly, with Roe V Wade it seemed a logical next step to try to stop the killing of yet more innocents. For John is one of a handful of people I know who is not delusional: moral truth is simple and every life is sacred.

That is not to say that he is always right, when he goes beyond these truths, or that he is realistic in his aspirations, only that to John, Love is commanded, no exceptions, and people are presumed to be reasonable. Of course reality carries no such guarantees, and a book that begins with a treatise on the Latin Catholic concept of the Trinity might just be off-putting to everyone from secularists to Orthodox Christians to Muslims to Jews.

But if John’s history of honest dialogue is any indication, it will be worth it for the handful of those who can grasp the value of honesty and charity, those few who can find in their common humanity a grounds for respect, a motivation to listen.

Painting by Paul Bailey

 

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