A Tomorrow Called Hope

As a teacher, I always thought my first job was to create a safe space for all. If I was successful at that, then some learning on my students’ as well as my part could take place. I can’t tell you how amazed I was to see that the great Jesuit teacher of our day, Pope Francis agrees. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised though, we had the same teacher.

Pope Francis in his April, 2017 TED Talk, Why the only future worth building includes everyone, tells us how to create this safe space, this safe world. We do this, Pope Francis tells us by understanding that none of exist except with each other, “none of us is an island”. Secondly, Pope Francis shares his dream of a world that recognizes that life is really about, loving one another. A life of love gives us a tomorrow called hope. Finally, he talks about a revolution that needs to take place, “the revolution of tenderness”.

This distilled version does no justice to the loving, hopeful version Pope Francis shares in his TED Talk.

Dan O’Donnell

Dan O’Donnell, a layman has covenanted with the Chicago Community. In addition to the standard covenant, Dan promises to work at connecting all partners known and unknown, to a conscious following the the way of Jesus, the way of the cross which Dan believes transforms all failure, democratizing the human journey

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Some Thoughts on “The News”

I’m not sure when television “News”  (North, East, West, South) started becoming important to me. Actually, throughout most of my life I never had the time to watch it regularly, but since I’ve retired, it’s become a regular event in my daily life. I’m beginning to think this is not healthy. After sitting in front of the TV for a half hour, trying to digest all those eight second cuts presented, I walk away more confused and I believe less informed.

I began wondering if there wasn’t a better way for me to get connected with what is happening in my immediate world and the larger universe surrounding that. I started looking for alternatives and I think I’ve found a good one, Damon Brown’s How to choose your news, a TED Ed talk and lesson. TED Ed is TED’s youth initiative that presents animated lessons like the above one, as well as all sorts of discussion questions and materials for someone who wants to go deeper. (I wish these existed when I was teaching-I think they are great)

While the animation is only 4:48 minutes, and I believe well worth watching, I will try to summarize it in a few sentences. Brown starts with recognizing the confusion surrounding today’s plethora of media including, but not limited to social media, blogs (this of course is a blog) and online videos. He suggests the following seven points if you want to get the truth:

  1. Get original news
  2. For current events, follow reporters on social media
  3. Don’t try to follow chaotic stories in real time. Check at several points during the day rather than every few minutes
  4. When you can’t get the original story, read coverage in multiple outlets and not the differences
  5. Separate fact from opinions noting words
  6. Watch out for stories that rely on anonymous sources
  7. Verify news before spreading it

As a community we are as apt to post material that is controversial and present it as facts. Worse, we stand on the sidelines of the important issues of our day unwilling to share our truth or view. This I believe (note the use of the word believe) is not good. As a community with a shared strong belief in the power of the Cross we need to speak up, not condemning those who think differently, or suggesting that our view is any better than another’s, but simply stating our truth. Finally, if we wish to be heard, we must also respectfully listen to others who don’t share our thoughts.

Dan O’Donnell

Dan O’Donnell, a layman has covenanted with the Chicago Community. In addition to the standard covenant, Dan promises to work at connecting all partners known and unknown, to a conscious following the the way of Jesus, the way of the cross which Dan believes transforms all failure, democratizing the human journey

Telling Our Stories

Before modern media, the community would gather around the fire in the evening to recount the days events as well as to tell the story of their tribe, it’s encounter with the earth and the world they knew. Today, especially at this time of the year, we do this in our homes, churches synagogues temples and mosques.

Nothing can ruin that sense of fellowship that sharing ones’ stories creates more than to have someone else tell our story, especially if they do that with a slant that suggests they are better than us. Chimamando Ngozi Adichie in her TEDGlobal 2009 talk The danger of a single story tells her story that sadly for the early part of her life, was defined by someone who knew nothing of her truth.

This past Monday, Jews around the world gathered for their sacred Seder meal where they retell their story. Starting today, the Christian world will gather to retell their story.

Sadly, many of the tribe will be missing at these gatherings. I’m not sure why, but if my experience as a gay man is not unlike theirs, I suspect they feel that their story isn’t as valid as the others who are gathering. Chimamando Ngozi Adichie uses the Igbo word nkali which translates to “greater than another” to explain her experience. I suspect many of us can relate to Chimamando and that word, nkali.

I pray that I always have the courage to tell my story and just as important, the humility to listen attentively to others as they tell theirs.

Dan O’Donnell

Dan O’Donnell, a layman has covenanted with the Chicago Community. In addition to the standard covenant, Dan promises to work at connecting all partners known and unknown, to a conscious following the the way of Jesus, the way of the cross which Dan believes transforms all failure, democratizing the human journey