As the year draws to a close, we’re reminded of many significant endings in 2011. Here’s a short list of what got our (and the…read more
My relatives are an eclectic bunch, pretty evenly split — to use crude and somewhat useless political labels — between Left and Right; our religious diversity includes Catholics, Mormons, evangelicals, United Church of Christ members and a few who are unaffiliated. Throw in my surrogate family (that’s a story for another time) and you add Presbyterians, Jews and Buddhists. As we gather around our family table and share letters and cards this holiday season, I will be looking for opportunities to be a healing force.
My family is like millions of others in the United States who come together this time of year for the holidays and struggle to put their passionate differences aside for a few hours. Of course, these divides always existed, but recent years have been different for two reasons. First, major shifts — generationally and ideologically — have left many feeling left out of the party, so to speak. Second, politics is the ugliest it’s been in modern history. There are plenty of hurt feelings all around. A lot of fear gets stirred up.
In couples counseling, it’s an axiom that the most toxic thing to a relationship is not when the partners disagree, or even fight, but when they stop respecting each other. For several generations now, there has been little trust and respect in the political sphere. Both sides have demonized the other, have assumed ill motives on their opponents’ parts.
But of all relationships, the deepest and oldest, next to our relationship with God, is family. So, how sad when distrust and lack of respect attacks relationships with literal brothers and sisters.read more
When we think of the phrase “faith at work,” some conventional images might come to mind: a priest or nun caring for the poor, a…read more
There’s a side pocket on every suitcase for a traveler’s odds and ends: wrinkled train tickets, airplane sleep masks, and free hotel pens. It’s a…read more
Hollywood families (at least in their writers’ imagination) seem to have warm and fuzzy family Christmas dinners. Mine are more complex. Somehow, the relative morality…read more
Poverty is affecting more and more people in today’s distressed economy. And young adults are volunteering to work with the poor to help alleviate the imposing challenges they face.
Some turn to formal volunteer service organizations (think Catholic Volunteer Network or Jesuit Volunteer Corps). Leah M. Nusse, recruitment and marketing manager for Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest, said that groups like hers play a role in addressing the need that comes with rising poverty levels. (Statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau show 46.2 million people or 1 in 6 Americans living in poverty.)
“With an increased need for services and a diminished level of giving and support of the organizations responding to the need, Jesuit Volunteers can help fill a critical void and increase the capacity of our partner organizations to provide their much needed services,” she said.read more