Sunday, April 28, 2019

Too Close for Comfort

Chabad of Poway, CA

The synagogue shooting in Poway, California, was within fifteen minutes of my front door. It's about the only story being covered on San Diego's local news this weekend.

No matter how many times this terrible scenario of violence repeats itself, the shock and horror are always new and real. No one wants to believe this evil can happen in their own community--but it can, and it does.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Worshipping Spin

Catholic World News
Nobody can call nonsense on the media's avoidance of mentioning Christians in the Easter Sunday massacre in Sri Lanka's Catholic churches like Mark Steyn can. His "Taqiyya for Easter" piece is suitable for framing.

"Easter worshippers," really? That's quite a neutral spin, latched onto and tweeted by Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. I don't know any "Easter worshippers." Who worships a day of the year? I do know that scores of Catholic Christians died in those churches, including many children who were about to receive their first communion.

Communion. That would be the Holy Eucharist, one of the Seven Sacraments, which Catholics believe is the actual body of Jesus Christ. Now that would be kind of hard for an "Easter worshipper" to swallow, don't you think?

When a mosque is attacked--which, to be clear, is a terrible crime--nobody describes the dead victims as "Ramadan worshippers." You could get quite intoxicated playing a drinking game in which you must take a sip every time the words "Islamic," "Islam," or "Muslim" are repeated in news reports. The Islamic angle is hammered for days, on air and in print. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton will very quickly specify "Muslims" in their tweets when a mosque is attacked. But Catholic victims? Christians? Either term is unmentionable. Listening to the media coverage of Sri Lanka, one would think the victims all had the bad luck to simply wander into those particular buildings on Easter Sunday morning to, um, you know, kind of worship.

Steyn's take on the "ten paragraphs of general throat-clearing" by the media is a must-read for anyone who is as disgusted as I am with their tortured attempts to completely ignore the fact that Catholic people, Christians, were the direct targets of this atrocity executed by Islamic terrorists.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Miracles Among the Ashes

Perhaps someday I will get to see the rose windows of Notre Dame, after all. Remarkably, they are among many priceless works of art and treasured artifacts safe after yesterday's inferno in Notre Dame cathedral.

The storied crown of thorns was rescued. The life-size marble statue of Mary and the infant Jesus stands unscathed. The golden cross above the high altar, the centuries-old grand organ, and the tunic of St. Louis all remain. Think about that--a piece of cloth almost 800 years old survived the conflagration.

Paris's mayor reported that firefighters and their chaplain formed "a human chain" to rescue as many treasures of art and history as they possibly could, risking their lives in the process. They also saved the structure itself, which was within minutes of collapse, The courageous firefighters of Paris are among the many miracles to be found among the ashes of Notre Dame. Merci beaucoup.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Au Revoir, Notre Dame de Paris

A good friend was in Paris last month and spent her birthday at Notre Dame. I'm so glad she got there when she did. I have always wanted to see the stunning rose windows, but photos will have to suffice now that the beautiful ancient cathedral belongs to history.

C'est une trag├ędie pour le monde entier.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

The Myth of Racial Discord

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”

– George Bernard Shaw

When watching the network and cable news shows (which are largely unwatchable), do you ever get the feeling that media elites are living in an alternate universe? Their "reporting" on President Trump, "white nationalism," and "racism" is bizarre and completely foreign to my personal experience.

Take "racism"--please. I grew up in a white-bread suburban East coast neighborhood and never interacted with a black person until I went away to college. We did fine, my black dorm-mates and I; in fact, they used to borrow my Smokey Robinson albums. When I moved to the West coast nearly 40 years ago, my neighborhoods were homogenized microcosms of Asian, Hispanic, and African-American cultures. I've never had an issue with any of my neighbors.

In fact, I've had the same next-door neighbors for over 30 years now. To the right of my house lives an African-American couple who I describe as the best neighbors I've ever had. Our kids played together while growing up. They watch my house while I"m away, bring me gifts from their vacations, and invite me to many of their family events. We are completely comfortable in each other's company. They vote Democrat; I vote Republican. So we tread lightly, if at all, on political topics. That is no matter to us, as there are so many other interesting and fun subjects to discuss.

To the left of my house is my Vietnamese neighbor, also for more than 30 years. We have been through so much together as neighbors and friends, and nowadays we support each other as widows forging our own paths in the world. She routinely cooks delicious Asian food for me and my family. When I'm invited to her feast-like Chinese New Year dinners, I bring along a baked dessert. Like most Vietnamese people I know, she is a conservative. Asians understand the dangers of socialism as Americans simply can't--for they have survived its crushing oppression.

My hair stylist is also Vietnamese. I've gone to her for many years, and I look forward to our chats while she works. She too is a widow; her police officer husband died in his 40s. She is also a diehard conservative Trump supporter, so we can talk politics freely.

Two doors down from my home is a delightful young Filipino couple with two beautiful little daughters. He takes my trash bins off the street while I'm at work, does small maintenance jobs for me, and keeps an eye on the property when I'm away. Needless to say, all of these neighbors are considered good friends and are on my Christmas shopping list.

My oldest chronological friend (since age ten) is Jewish. We grew up next door to each other and remain close friends, even though living on opposite coasts. We spent an hour on the phone one night this week, just catching up on life and family news. Today I'll have lunch with another Jewish friend of over 20 years. She has been there for me at my darkest times and is very dear to me.

At work, my best office buddy is a lovely woman whose parents were both legal immigrants from Mexico. She is a Trump enthusiast, and her political views are more conservative than my own (media machine, take note: Hispanic conservatives abound!). We talk about our grandchildren, bring each other little gifts, and support each other through the workday. She helps me with my Spanish, which I'm working to improve since my grandson is in a bilingual immersion program at school. On the subject of family, I have a Pacific Islander daughter-in-law who is part Chinese; I love her like I do my own daughter.

In relationships, I have lived by one rule that has served me well: If someone is good to me and mine, they are fine. Race, creed, color, nationality, ideology do not matter to me if one is kind and respectful, which I always try to be to other people. So it's impossible for me to accept the idea that, because I support President Trump's policies, I'm a "racist," a "white nationalist," or "deplorable." None of the friends described above would categorize me as such. And, quite frankly, I'm sick of the false accusations.

What is truly "deplorable" is that differences in world views are no longer tolerated on the left. That way lies totalitarianism. The drive to demonize all conservatives as "racist" is not only an evil undertaking. It is a lie, as the diversity among the friends of my life proves. The myth of racial discord is promulgated by the leftist media to divide Americans in order to advance their progressive agenda.

But I believe there are too many of us who, like me, know--and live--the truth. Regardless of our backgrounds, beliefs, or origins, we are all Americans--and we stand together.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Bolton Laughs at Gillibrand Referring to Tactical Nuclear Weapons as ‘Ta...

Who knew John Bolton had such a great belly laugh? It's rare for me to laugh out loud before 7:00AM, but when I heard this it gave me the giggles.

Link to the full interview is here.

Thursday, April 04, 2019

A Lenten Journey

Washington National Cathedral
It's very deep into Lent, and I must confess that I've been woefully indecisive about what my Lenten discipline would be this year. My bright idea of giving up snacks didn't last a week. A feeble attempt to forego my weekend glasses of wine was laughably unsuccessful. By the second week of Lent, I felt like a spiritually bereft weakling.

So I gave up on "giving up" and stuck with my longtime Lenten practice of reading a spiritually themed book. This year, the book is To Light a Fire on the Earth, by Robert Barron and John Allen. It's hardly a sacrifice; the book is so interesting to read, I'm almost finished. Barron is the auxiliary bishop of Los Angeles since 2015, but he is also the founder of and host of 2011's PBS award-winning series, CATHOLICISM.

Barron pioneered Catholic evangelizing on YouTube, and that's where I first saw him. About ten years ago I stumbled across a batch of Barron's YouTube videos, and I've been following him ever since. If you'd like an easy introduction into how affable, smart, and approachable he is, watch Barron's two-part interview on The Rubin Report. It's proof that civil discourse is still possible in this country, no matter how deep the debate.

But back to Lent. I decided to check the Netflix menu for seasonal offerings and found some timely viewing options that were quite intriguing. Secrets of the Shroud was a fascinating analysis of the renowned Shroud of Turin, which presented a few stunning facts worthy of a Hollywood blockbuster. Jesus: Countdown to Calvary was another captivating show, with host Hugh Bonneville interviewing historians, archaeologists, and other experts to examine the last week of Christ's life as a police detective would. What happened, when, and most importantly, why? All good questions, with compelling answers.

I've never thought that Lent is meant to be enjoyed, but so far this year I'm surprised to be doing exactly that. I've learned things I hadn't known about my faith, its origins and mysteries.  I'm going to continue in this read/watch/learn direction for the remainder of Lent. I've got the Eric Metaxas book Miracles queued up to read next.

This is far from the traditional Lenten exercise in self-denial. Yet somehow, I think the Lord approves.