Showing posts from October, 2011

Where Change Begins

With the Occupy Wall Street movement in the headlines, many people are debating the nature of oppressive systems, inequality, and whether positive change ever really materializes - or, at least, on a significant enough scale to counteract the obstacles to peace, prosperity, and justice. In fact, the nature of the protests themselves seems to provoke passionate responses about the manner in which things change - whether the protesters ought to elect leadership, or a set an agenda or objective; whether they ought to form a political lobby, etc. And many of the people posing and wrestling with these questions, as well as participating in the protests, are college students.
College may not always be the time when people settle on a lifelong career path, but it is a formative time of critical thought, discernment, and access to vast amounts of knowledge about the world and how it works. I recently visited an undergraduate theology class at Seattle University to talk about mission and the…

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St. Francis of Assisi

St. Francis was born Giovanni Francesco di Bernardone. I love the Italian language! John Francis of Bernard just doesn't sound as romantic or poetic in English as it does in Italian. Many of the images and portrayals of St. Francis are romantic as well and one might believe that walking the cold rainy winter streets of Umbria barefoot and hungry in order to be in solidarity with the poor could actually be fun! Most of us would have trouble finding joy in living that kind of life voluntarily or otherwise. Francis felt a certain closeness to the poor, a desire to live with and in the same manner as the poor To his peers he must have appeared like he'd lost his senses! But it wasn't always that way for Francis. As the saying goes, every saint has a past.
Francis is said to have been spoiled by his parents, a product of his wealthy upbringing. He enjoyed the good life when he was young: lavish food, finely woven clothes, lots of partying with his friends and even aspi…