Sunday, November 11, 2018

Stone Soup - a success!

At my school, we decided to have a middle school play as we are gradually expanding the theater program. We hose to do Stone Soup, my adaptation of the old folktale. I was to be the director.
We had weeks of rehearsal, working around cross country season (a number of the actors were runners) and the beginning of basketball season.

The students worked hard and did a great job, and the performances had audiences laughing and entertained. A success!
At the end of the Saturday (November 10) performance, the cast served the audience a soup dinner (provided by the families). A wonderful time. 


 Now, what do we do for the high school play in the spring - after last year's very successful Pride and Prejudice - and what to do next fall for the middle school play? Hmmm.

Pax et bonum

Saturday, November 10, 2018

A Catholic Musician Language Spat

There's a particular contemporary Catholic musician whose music I enjoy. I own seveal of this musician's albums, have promoted the musician to others, and was even following this musician on Twitter.

But following the most recent shootings in California, this musician posted the following:

"This should never, ever ever ever have happened. It is so f***g wrong. So many things are so wrong with this." (I altered the offending word)

I responded:

"Such language from a Catholic musician?? I can understand the feeling, but to post it publicly?"

Someone else responded to my comment:

"13 people are dead, but yes...let's discuss XXXX''s use of the word 'f***'"

Fair enough. Meanwhile, the musician responded to the other person's comment with:

":) my thoughts precisely, XXX. Also, I say this word alllll the time in real life and I’ve decided to be myself on here or else I can’t stand it."

I piped in with two responses:

"Yes, let's. What happened in California was horrible. It is a manifestation of the violence in our culture. We reveal and nurture that violence through our own words and actions."

And ...

"I don't use such language in real life. As a Catholic musician myself and a Secular Franciscan, I'm a professed and public representative of my faith. I try to model appropriate behavior. "No foul language should come out of your mouths, but only such as is good ... Eph 4:29"

(The full Ephesians quotation is: No foul language should come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for needed edification, that it may impart grace to those who hear. - Ephesians 4: 29)

I also posted a link to my blog post on Tolkien and degraded language.

Someone else commented after seeing the exchange: "I have to agree. As much as I enjoy the music I now must bow out." 

Sadly, I have no desire to listen to that musician's music for the moment. The thought of the exchange would shadow the enjoyment. Perhaps that will fade.

The problem for me in this exchange is that I could understand the anger and frustration that led to the use of the offending word. But as someone who has been involved in public jobs and ministries and so has had to recognize that I am as a result am a public representative of those jobs and ministries, and as a professed Catholic and a Franciscan called to witness to the world, the musician's response troubled me. Basically it's "that's the way I talk in private and that's the way I'm going to talk publicly."

Maybe the musician does not share my sense of vocation and public witness. Maybe the musician is a product of the times in which such language is "acceptable" and "common" among many secular people of the musician's generation. But this musician is as a self-proclaimed Catholic/Christian musician and recording artist called to something more than what is deemed "acceptable" and "common" by the secular culture. Indeed, conforming to the culture (even in what seems a small way) and then proclaiming the faith has about it a scent of hypocrisy.

Moreover, as I also noted on Twitter, "One of the things that reveals and encourages the violence in the culture is our language."

How we act, what we say, is a witness to our faith.

 How we act and what we say can help to heal the culture, or it can help to make it even more violent and degraded.

As for the musician, I will likely eventually listen to the music again, as it is good and inspiring. But I don't know if I will buy any more of this person's albums.

For now, however, I will pray for this musician, for this language reason, and for other reasons hinted at in other Tweets by this person. 

Pax et bonum

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Where has the time gone ...

Parent teacher conferences. Play rehearsals. Franciscan Council meeting. Franciscan Fraternity gathering. Band practice. A cold.

Yeah, my mind has not been on writing blog posts. Still have lots to do to get ready for the play - went out to get materials for props. .

I can relax a little after the final performance next Saturday.

I have had time for a few sparring matches on social media. I will be glad when the election is over - though I fear if the Democrats take the House it will mean two years of gridlock and hearings. And more social media sparring!

Pax et bonum

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Friday, October 26, 2018

The witness moon

Image result for full moon

the moon silently
witnesses everything
dog begins to bark

Pax et bonum

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Franciscan Service

I have perceptions of our Fraternity, but I might be wrong.

Our Fraternity began as a Charismatic Prayer Group, and sometimes I get the feeling that some members still view it primarily as a devotional group. That Charismatic nature is one of the things that drew me to this Fraternity, and I find devotions enriching. But I think as Franciscans are called as lay people to be active in the world.

That's where I might be wrong. I think we should be doing more, but many members may already be doing a great deal.

So one of the things I want to do is to survey members to see what ministries they do outside the group. Music ministry, food pantries, hospital visits, Bible study, funeral ministry, religious education, and so on.

It may be a lot, and it would be good to make those activities known to the rest of the Fraternity.

In addition, as we consider increasing activities as a Fraternity we might be able to join in on some of the ones already being done. I'm active with 40 Days for Life, and I got some of the members to join me one Saturday outside Planned Parenthood to pray. It would be good to do more such things.

We are called to serve.

Let's see what the survey reveals.

Pax et bonum

Saturday, October 20, 2018

New Fraternity Council

At the Glory of the Most High Secular Franciscan Fraternity meeting October 19, the following people were selected to be the Fraternity Council for the next three years:

Minister - Lee Strong
Vice Minister - Nancy Strong
Secretary - Carolyn Barth
Treasurer - Mary Smith
Formation Director - Betty Carmen
Councilors. Ann Marie Kunz, Dick Kunz

Pax et bonum