Human Trafficking

Reflection—Human Trafficking December, 2013  “I am a human being… and I have been sold.    I make the cell phones we use… I clean the neighbor’s house… I pick the tomatoes we eat…   I’m on the Internet…in the local motel…on the street corner… But no one really sees me.   People often say this is my “choice” I am called “illegal” …“prostitute” …“alien”… and worse.   So few know or care to know my story…   They don’t know… that I came to America with the same hopes as their ancestors to provide my family with a better life, to receive an education, to pay my child’s medical bills.   They don’t know… …that I’m just a teenager that goes to school with their kids …who ran away from home because of abuse …who met someone who listened to me and told me that he loved me   I have been deceived.” 1   This reflection was shared recently at a gala to raise funds for ministries that support persons who are homeless or are vulnerable to becoming so—the poor elderly, youth aging out of foster care, single women with children in need of transitional housing, returning veterans, and those who are being trafficked.   The words capture some of the reality of human trafficking—the second largest criminal enterprise and the fastest-growing crime in the world.  This complex, hidden reality affects women, children and men, foreign-born and US citizens, and includes commercial sex and labor trafficking in epidemic proportions in virtually every nation and, as a friend and survivor says, “in every zip code” in the US.  ...
Human Trafficking

Human Trafficking

Reflection—Human Trafficking December, 2013   “I am a human being… and I have been sold.   I make the cell phones we use… I clean the neighbor’s house… I pick the tomatoes we eat…   I’m on the Internet…in the local motel…on the street corner… But no one really sees me.   People often say this is my “choice” I am called “illegal” …“prostitute” …“alien”… and worse.   So few know or care to know my story…   They don’t know… that I came to America with the same hopes as their ancestors to provide my family with a better life, to receive an education, to pay my child’s medical bills.   They don’t know… …that I’m just a teenager that goes to school with their kids …who ran away from home because of abuse …who met someone who listened to me and told me that he loved me   I have been deceived.” 1   This reflection was shared recently at a gala to raise funds for ministries that support persons who are homeless or are vulnerable to becoming so—the poor elderly, youth aging out of foster care, single women with children in need of transitional housing, returning veterans, and those who are being trafficked.   The words capture some of the reality of human trafficking—the second largest criminal enterprise and the fastest-growing crime in the world.  This complex, hidden reality affects women, children and men, foreign-born and US citizens, and includes commercial sex and labor trafficking in epidemic proportions in virtually every nation and, as a friend and survivor says, “in every zip code” in the US....

Exercising Contemplative Power Introductory Reflection

Contemplative Power is within us. It is the divine indwelling to which we have access. It is a consciousness with us since birth but needing to be retrieved–a subliminal awareness. It is invisible but it engages and emerges within each of us and all of us. It is our capacity to be, to act, out of a space that invites us to see anew, invites us to observe and interpret with new eyes, with new ears and to see what is my/our egoic selves and what is my/our God-selves that are trying to emerge. Contemplative Power is compassionate. It is centered in our knowing that we are all one, we are all connected. It is to see things as God sees them as, Dorothy Soelle writes. Such seeing, she said, leads to an active resistance to evil and inspires efforts to alleviate suffering. It is to see as Jesus saw when he defied his society’s definition of “the other” and chose to relate to each person in an exchange of mutual love and respect no matter the personal cost. Contemplative Power is communal. Although we each exercise our own contemplative power we want to grow in our capacity to exercise it together. We liken it to a jazz ensemble where each player needs to be open to the others; attentive to what is being sung and played; willing to shape the next response attuned to what went before and moving it forward. As pianist Mary Lou Williams would say to audiences “such music will heal you.” Communal contemplative power can heal the world. It is letting go of thinking...

The Human Face of Globalization

Institute for Communal Contemplation and Dialogue Exercising Contemplative Power Reflection – The Human Face of Globalization June 2012 In approaching the topic of globalization, I had to think about Teilhard de Chardin and his articulation of the concept of the “noosphere”. His prayer and thought brought him to understand that all of creation is evolving/developing and that we humans have come to know that we know. We know that we are evolving together and we appreciate that we are connected in that knowing. In this evolving and developing we have come to a knowledge and connection with the rest of creation and in particular the rest of the world that we did not have 50 or 100 years ago – our life experience has become more globalized.. In this process we move ahead with our own experiences and come to live out of those experiences. Thus this process of becoming has taken on different meanings for different people. In thinking about globalization we see that for some it is a great opportunity to enhance the bottom line of a corporate finance report, for others it is a way to exercise power over a people militarily or financially, for others it brings home the oppression and violence of trafficking and slave labor, for others it is an opportunity to connect with other cultures, an opportunity to learn from the traditions of brothers and sisters around the world, for others it is an opportunity to share resources, creativity, and passion for making the world a better place for all of us. For our purpose here it is not necessary list the...

Immigration

Institute for Communal Contemplation and Dialogue Exercising Contemplative Power Reflection – Immigration May 2012 As I began to prepare this reflection I read various articles on the immigration issue in the United States – the unjust laws in Arizona and Alabama and other states now making their way through the judicial system, even to the Supreme Court. Realizing that immigration is a global issue I extended my information-seeking beyond our borders. I could easily become mired in all the ugly facts. How to make all this manageable, I wondered, in the context of ‘exercising contemplative power.’ The response came to me as I recalled this excerpt from the poems of Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941), a Bengali artist who was awarded a Nobel Prize in Literature in 1913. In this poem from Gitanjali (Song Offerings) Tagore called for a country, a world: Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high… Where the world has not been broken up into fragments By narrow domestic walls … Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit. His dream expressed so long ago seems relevant today. It is only too obvious how fragmented our world, our nation, our local communities have become and immigration ‘reform’ laws seem designed to splinter us further as human beings become ‘aliens’ and ‘illegals’ and even ‘undocumented.’ To the rest of the world we tout our concern for law and human rights while we give police forces the right to question the legal status of individuals pulled over for alleged traffic violations. The immigrants among...

Church

Institute for Communal Contemplation and Dialogue Exercising Contemplative Power Reflection – Church April 2012 In 1946 Herman Hesse won the Nobel Peace Prize for literature for The Glass Bead Game (sometimes called Magister Ludi). The book is a fascinating tale of the complexity of modern day life. Projected into the 25th century it deals with recurring philosophical conflicts and tries to arrive at a synthesis and harmony between the opposites. It presents a paradoxical clash between preserving institutions and searching for meaning. In the story, in the attempts to preserve the structure of the game, the point of the game was lost. Thinking of the state of the 21st century Church, somehow on some deeper level I’m taken back to the book though I read it so long ago. The parallel is apparent if not blatant. The role of any institution is to preserve itself. The essence of Catholicism is dynamic transformation. The two together place those of us who care in a paradoxical situation. At every turn we are reminded that we are living in an age of radical transformation where the traditional ways are not sufficient and new ways are not clear. One author calls this an apocalyptic time, a time of great rifts. Such a time gives rise to doubt, dissatisfaction, uncertainty, even violence. In present day Church issues and actions the dichotomy between the practices within the institution and the core teachings of the faith is what rings out, no matter the particular issue or action. Headlines are filled with the issues of sexual abuse, embezzlement, silencing, treatment of women, judgment of gays, visitations that...