Thursday, May 30, 2013

Interested in Dorothee Soelle? A summer online retreat/course opportunity

I don't as they put it believe in god

but to him I cannot say no hard as I try
take a look at him in the garden
when his friends ran out on him
his face wet with fear
and with the spit of his enemies
him I have to believe

Him I can't bear to abandon
to the great disregard for life
to the monotonous passing of millions of years
to the moronic rhythm of work leisure and work
to the boredom we fail to dispel
in cars in beds in stores

That's how it is they say what do you want
uncertain and not uncritically
I subscribe to the other hypothesis
which is his story
that's not how it is he said for god is
and he staked his life on this claim

Thinking about it I find
one can't let him pay alone
for his hypothesis
so I believe him about

The way one believes another's laughter
his tears
or marriage or no for an answer
that's how you'll learn to believe him about life
promised to all

A poem I had posted here many moons ago. It is from the series of 10 poems "When He Came" in Dorothee Soelle's book Revolutionary Patience (1977).

"SOELLE IN SUMMER" - *online* June 17-July 31. A mix of retreat and course, with opportunity for both individual reflection and conversation. Interested? Read more on my web space here.

Monday, May 6, 2013

The sad, glorious, fragile spring of this year

Posted the paragraphs below the photo yesterday afternoon (Sunday, May 5) on Facebook - and (why was I surprised?) though I felt like a voice in the wilderness when I posted it, it drew many comments, most of which expressed kinship and understanding. So perhaps I was giving voice to something many of us feel right now.

The photos are from yesterday and the past few weeks in Boston.

This spring feels sad. Glorious flowers everywhere, here one week but gone the next, and the world a mess. Like my friend Lindy, who wrote about this a couple of days ago, I find that some days are just for weeping --or at least grieving if the tears don't come, which often they don't. It is worse on the days one can't cry, I think. I find consolation in the fact that Dorothy Day, surely one of the strong holy people of the 20th century and among the ones who did the most good, tough as she was, sat and wept with great frequency.

Once in a blue moon she got to weep with a friend. This is a passage about times with her friend Catherine de Hueck Doherty ("the Baroness"), a woman of very different background and temperament from hers, but who was her comrade in Christian work of mercy and justice, and who after Dorothy's death, remembered:

"When I moved to Harlem, Dorothy Day and I became even closer. There were only about five miles between her house and my Harlem house. So occasionally when we both had enough money, let’s say about a dollar, we would go to Child’s where you could get three coffee refills (for the price of one cup), and we used to enjoy each cup and just talk.

Talk about God. Talk about the apostolate. Talk about all the things that were dear to our hearts.
But we were both very lonely because, believe it or not, there were just the two of us in all of Canada and America, and we did feel lonely and no question about it.
Catherine de Hueck Doherty, Restoration, February 1981

This story came via Fr. Bob Wild (who is doing research on Day and Doherty) on the Madonna House website, but I remember reading it in the Dorothy Day anthology edited by Robert Ellsberg.

All photos (c) Jane C. Redmont. If you reproduce them without permission or attribution, the archangel in  charge of copyrights will get fiery mad. Please give credit where credit is due. Thank you.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Donating from retreat registrations to the Walk for Hunger

As some readers know, I moved back to my beloved Boston just four months ago. Tomorrow, May 5,  is the annual Walk for Hunger. It will be the first large outdoor public gathering since the Boston Marathon. It usually draws about 40,000 people. 

The Walk was started by a group of people connected with my old church over four decades ago. It funds hundreds of emergency food programs (750,000-plus people in this Commonwealth do not have enough to eat) and its parent agency, Project Bread, also does advocacy and prevention work addressing the long-term causes of hunger. 

The last time I lived here, I did the Walk every year and then, when my feet gave out and I couldn't walk the 20 miles on concrete any more, volunteered as a Marshal. (Note: I also had Project Bread as a client for several of the years I was doing development consulting here, working for agencies addressing the causes and consequences of urban poverty.) 

So here's the deal: I'm not walking this year, but if you register for my "Hurry Up and Slow Down: Spiritual Practice in Daily Life" online retreat which begins on Monday May 6 (see here for full information) any time between this very minute and the end of Sunday (tomorrow May 5) in whatever time zone you are in, I will give $20 out of each registration fee to the Walk instead of keeping the whole fee.* Because I often scramble to pay the rent each month, but there are people far worse off than I, and we are all part of one another.

*I'd be happy to send you proof of the donation if you wish.

Here is an interesting interview with Project Bread Executive Director Ellen Parker.

Cross-posted on my professional website.