November 1, 2020

Recently I posted a rough draft of an essay for the Fall newsletter of my regional Secular Franciscan fraternity.  As I noted, I rewrote the second half of this essay.  It has appeared (and has been be posted here), so I want to share the final draft as well. This summer, the killing of George Floyd by four Minneapolis police officers galvanized a series of demonstrations, protest marches,and occasional riots across the United States. The Black Lives Matter movement, founded… Read more

October 24, 2020

Recently, I was asked to write an essay from my Secular Franciscan region’s quarterly newsletter, similar to the one I wrote a few months ago.  This time I chose the topic of structural racism.  I just submitted the final draft and I will post it here when it appears.  But this one went through a couple major drafts, and I want to salvage for use here an argument that got dropped at my editor’s recommendation.  (Like any good writer, I… Read more

October 24, 2020

My late friend and mentor Ivan Kauffman once described himself as “probably the only living person who speaks both fluent Mennonite and fluent Catholic.” If these words were true when he first wrote them, a handful of others, myself included, would eventually follow him to the same ecclesial bilingualism and, if not quite an official dual citizenship, an inescapably dual identity as self-described Mennonite Catholics. More precisely, 10 years ago today, with Ivan standing behind me as my sponsor, I… Read more

October 23, 2020

In November 1900, a fashionable, urban Polish poet from an upper-class background married a rural peasant. In a region of Europe where people of different class backgrounds were usually kept apart by strict social norms, this was a rare event. But some were seeking to break that pattern. In 1795 Poland had been completely colonized by Prussia, Russia and Austria, and the Polish people had spent the entire nineteenth century fighting a series of failed uprisings. Many believed that marriages… Read more

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