Chicago Neighborhoods Run -down and Neglected? Who is Really Responsible?

The demolition of St. James’ Church and the sorry response to it prompt this brief article.

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I have no doubt that the installation of the “L” behind the church was but one step in the beginning of the end of St. James and its historic parish. How very sad.

We still bow down before you men clothed in rich materials and blazing colors, carrying objects of precious gold and gems and burning expensive resins for the people in Holy Name’s congregation, and spending millions maintaining that high -end manor I call the “Cardinal’s Nest” on the border of the Gold Coast and Lincoln park? We still bow down and call you such titles as “eminence” and “holiness”… what a waste of words and energy we expend upon beefing up your bloated egos.

  

Some house, eh? What a palace! It is a palace fit for a “prince of the church”, such as our beloved cardinals are, and for entertaining the head of the swarm, the Pope. My, such a grand edifice… and what could be done if this was sold and the money donated to assist people in communities such as Bronzeville and other areas where need is so great, need for the basics of survival. Need… while above the outstretched hands of those in need piles the massive structure of this mansion with its grand rooms, manicured grounds, extensive costs for heat and light and water… oh, the infestation of it all!

No doubt this one article does not shed complete light on where the responsibilities fall when deterioration of a community or part of a city as vibrant and charitable as Chicago is seen and felt and heard and is not answered, but there is blame here on an organization that had the power to save a church and save the faith and hearts of a community, and they did not do it. Pharisees – they made rules and laws and expected them to be followed to the letter but did they lift a finger when the loyal followers called out for the saving of the very building in which those laws and rituals were spoken and conducted throughout generations?

They did not. They, the officials of the high -and -mighty Roman Catholic Church saw the letters, saw the articles and the news and heard the outcry. And did nothing.

So the cardinal wants to build a new church. So what. New. Smaller. Won’t even be large enough to hold the historic bells. Pitiful. Condescending…

I do not want to be part of an organization that diminishes and so blatantly and rudely and cruelly dismisses the requests and needs of loyal and ancient parishioners. I have not been to a church service except once, since I heard the demolition of the grand and historic building was finalized and that the holes had been put in the roof. The running in of the “L”, the running down of a community, the running down of a group of people in need of keeping that church and the stability of that congregation, began the running -out of that parish and the running -out of the loyalty of other Chicago -area parishioners.

What a sorry sight- both in the space where the church once stood and in the festering gerrymandered prejudicial halls of the Archdiocese and the Vatican. Heartless, disgusting people… rude and cruel, sorry folks you in those halls are. Rot with the rest of the hypocrites, turn away from those who need you, fake and heartless, hard -headed…

I hope you do not get a decent night’s sleep after seeing the harm your thoughtlessness has done to that community and the sting such actions have brought to others in the Chicago area. Look now and listen and you will hear the rumbling of the “L” as it rails past the ruins…

… the ruins of the very heart of a parish…

…watered by the tears of generations of parishioners. Not statistics.

Parishioners.

Divi Logan, Chicago, 2014.

RESOURCES

http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/21364528-418/saying-goodbye-to-my-st-james-home.html#.U1B9PctOWM8

http://chicagoist.com/2013/07/15/south_side_church_being_nibbled_awa.php#photo-1

http://friendsofstjamesonwabash.com/

Follow another profound blog on environmental quality and other deep thoughts: There is Only One Air. My Lungs and I is a poem from that selection.

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Chicago: Prejudice at Work (and Worship) Rears its Ugly Head

… and the Cardinal, our Archbishop Cardinal George, is at the lead of that head!

The destruction of St. James’ Church at Wabash and 29th is underway, eh?

So, not even Your Holiness Pope Francis wanted to intervene to spare this grand historic structure, hm?

And all this going on when only a few years ago Holy Name Cathedral (the “Cardinal’s Church) had a major fire, a three -alarm inferno that could have destroyed that building and perhaps even others had the embers spread! Over $12 MILLION $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ was spent on that project on the famed Gold Coast, in the North side of the city. That church looks better than it ever did. It looks as St. James’ should have looked after the fire. So why did not the archdiocese put the money into restoring that historic and magnificent building?

Precious Holy Name Cathedral with its grand spire, great windows and splendid bells continues to stand. That fire was covered from nearly its beginning to its end. And after the fire, with more than two feet of water in the sanctuary and more than that in the lower levels, THAT BULIDING was a safe place to be? I think not! Coverage of the repairs to it went on, and that structure was soon dedicated and a service held to honor the first responders.

In fact, soon after the Holy Name fire, as parishioners attended masses in the auditorium or the smaller room in the school (I think it was called the club room), the Cardinal remarked to the effect that the Chicago Fire Department could easily have let Holy Name burn down and basically be gutted. They easily could have said it was too dangerous to go in there or commit to getting personnel to attack that fire. But did they? Not at all. Three alarms worth of companies came in and worked with might and water and in freezing conditions to smother that fire. Tower 21 was attacking the roof with hundreds of gallons of water; Truck 19’s crew watched and fought, and other companies gave their all to save the “Cardinal’s Church”.  What I wonder would the cost have been had the damage been greater? What if the spire had collapsed or the floor caved in? What if the windows had been broken or the organ warped?

I am ashamed to be called Catholic now! So where are all the rich Catholics with their millions now, who probably came to the help of Holy Name and its historic structures and congregations to rebuild and restore it? Where are these benevolent Christian people?

Did you go into the woodwork when you realized that St. James’ Church is in a depressed area, is in need of restoration and reconstruction, and in Bronzeville? You shamefully tucked tail and ran away from people when they needed you. SHAME ON YOU! And shame on the archdiocese for just shoving these people out of the way and going ahead with the plan YOU wanted to do, that YOU wanted to shove in their faces and that YOU wanted to dump on their dignity and grace and appeals and peaceful pleas.

Makes me never want to give a red cent to another worship service donation ever again or go into a Catholic church ever again.

Prejudice at work here, prejudice and bigotry and racism have shown their true colors, and they are red and white and the tarnished gold of the treasuries of the Catholic Church. Prejudice lives under the miter of the Cardinal and the church officials who just basically ignored the people of that area and kept on the plan they wanted all along.

PITIFUL PEOPLE! PITIFUL CARDINAL, PRIESTS, and MILLIONAIRE CATHOLICS who turned away from the people of Bronzeville.

It is a shame that even the intervention of the historical preservationists could not stop the demolition from beginning.

How would you like it, MISTER CARDINAL GORGE, if someone locked you out of your precious nest in the Gold Coast, that gigantic mansion with its fine piece of land, that costs tens of thousands to maintain, and said you could not come back in? The padlocked doors of St. James send the same message to the people of Bronzeville, that someone has locked them out of their worship home and cares not a whit that an essential part of their community is going to be gone.

I wish the firefighters who responded to the Holy Name fire could help rebuild St. James’ Church alongside the parishioners of Bronzeville and stand with them. I bet they would be willing to throw their strength behind preserving such a wonderful and significant structure, since they know what hard work is needed to save a building like that. Their comrades saved the church so many years ago, and the people who responded to Holy Name carried on the traditions the CFD is known for maintaining. I wish the personnel of Engine 42 and Truck 3, of Engine 98 and Squad 1 and Tower 21, of Tower Ladder 10, Aerial Tower 1, Engine 1 and the ambulance crews could rejoice instead of watching the work of those who came before them go to waste as St. James’ is torn down.

The honey -colored stones will be gone, the windows will no longer gleam with color and light, the steeple will not pierce the skies of Bronzeville on Sunday mornings, the grand doors will no longer be there to open and welcome parishioners, and the magnificent bells will not ring. They will not ring there.

But they will continue to ring at Holy Name Cathedral.

stjamfront Good bye St. James……………….

Divi Logan, Chicago, 2013.

RESOURCES

http://friendsofstjamesonwabash.com/

http://intelligentempiricism.wordpress.com/2013/04/21/315/

http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news/local&id=6640405

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/02/04/holy-name-cathedral-fire_n_163882.html

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bZ5V8hNZ-tY

Related articles

Holy Name and St. James: Churches of a Cardinal’s Feather

HOLY NAME AND ST. JAMES: CHURCHES OF A CARDINAL’S FEATHER

English: Steeple of St. James Catholic Church ...

English: Steeple of St. James Catholic Church in Chicago, USA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

See them both for yourself and you will get more of the picture than is being put on the news. The parishioners of St. James’ Church have a legitimate beef against the Archdiocese of Chicago and have every right to be heard in their efforts to keep this wonderful church open and the area around it thriving.

I had to go see what the real issues were behind just the talk of demolition, of the transit lines being here and there, of the area around the church and of the demographics (a nasty word at times and in this case the real problem, I think) to gauge the situation. The photos I have of this day speak to more than we have so far heard.

There are hidden gems to this beautiful structure, and the area around the church has its ups and downs just as any area of a major city does, especially when there has been neglect and racism and gerrymandering and politics getting in the way.

Now let us compare the areas around Holy Name Cathedral (the “Cardinal’s Church” as a friend of mine put it today) and around the magnificent structure of St. James’ Church at 29th and Wabash. I noticed a problem right away when I went into the area for the photographs. After a few minutes it hit me: this area should be just as thriving and prosperous as the area of the Gold Coast where Holy Name Cathedral is, just as beautiful, as clean, as preserved, as lovely, as safe, just as glorious, as televised and as touted and as visited by tourists and native Chicagoans alike. What is going on behind the scenes then, that has the diocese wanting to demolish St. James’ and be in such a rush to further destroy that area of the city?

Seems to me that demographics is playing a role, but to use that as a lame, corporate and vague and arrogant and authoritarian excuse to further the demolition … now that is about as false as any lie anyone has ever told- and to hear such a thing from the Church, the oh –so- holy high and mighty Catholic Church with its corrupt Curia and all –male official roster, and its priests and its prejudiced laws and rules is only to say, “Hey Cardinal, what’s wrong with this picture? What is going on, man? Why are you not owning up to admitting to playing the race card and wanting to see this area, Bronzeville, suffer as you talk of taking away this church?”

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Playing the demographics card is worldliness and falsehood and pride, and can lead to real trouble. Get over this demographics, racial gerrymandering and race card –playing, folks! Everyone lives everywhere, so do not come to the news people and say some area is “predominantly” this or that; every “race” lives in every place. Incomes and lifestyles are changing and with those changes people are looking for alternatives to living and working and moving to parts of the city that suit their need and their means. I don’t give a flip where “blacks” and “whites” and “Asians” and “Hispanics” live- that kind of talk does not fly with me and it should not fly with anyone who considers that they are educated. To speak in such a flippant and ignorant manner is an insult to everyone, Monsieur and Madam Politician.

Answer the people of St. James’ Parish about THAT one if you can, Your Eminence and Your Holiness; what is the problem  with that area that you cannot give them the same rushed consideration you gave to the rebuilding and preservation of Holy Name Cathedral? From what I gather it would cost no more to rebuild and preserve St. James’ than it did Holy Name.

And please do not use the “transit system is so close to it” lame excuse any more, please. The Red Line runs under Holy Name and you can hear and feel it when it does. Busses and cabs and planes roar by and over that church all the time, so mass transit is alive and well in the Gold Coast and around the school, rectory and cathedral. So what if the train lines run behind St. James’s? Just soundproof and shore it up somehow –certainly there are people who can do that and the money would come out of the woodwork if the project goes forward for the salvation of St. James’. Ask anyone who lives around the historic Gold Coast and I’ll bet those homeowners have found companies who can soundproof those older buildings so they are suitable for families and businesses and shore them up against the rumbling of subways, busses, trucks, jets, and the everyday traffic between Chicago Avenue and North Avenue.

The area around St. James’ Church has residents, businesses, and schools; it has bus routes and roads (that granted do need some fixing up and some cleaning up, but make the diocese alive and relevant and Streets and Sanitation would have to come out and do the jobs), so it is far from deserted and down-trodden. So there are some bare spots and trash that could be cleaned up, but then in a city this large there are bare spots and trash all over the place; vacant lots and dilapidated buildings and such exist even in the Gold Coast. On the bus ride back into the Loop and into the Gold Coast and through Lincoln Park the changes became apparent.

North of where it seems the diocese might end its borders (but then again if people can get to Holy Name from other nations they can get to St. James’ from anywhere as well), things turned more active and seemed cleaner and better maintained overall. People were milling about and folks were walking dogs and sporting their jogging togs as they exercised, and walking with their young children. People were shopping, going in and out of businesses of every caliber and every item from food to clothing, apartment finding to beauty supplies. Though the day is overall gray and damp, the spirits of the people north of 29th and Wabash certainly had a livelier flair than what I saw in the area around St. James’ Church. West of State Street there came a few people around the housing complex, and some walking about, and there were trains and busses passing regularly. But east, there came a couple of people and a few cars.

A couple of cars pulled up in front of the church as I took photos, but I waited till they left to continue taking pictures so I could get the buildings without too much modern interference. And there is more to that church complex than just the cathedral itself.

There is a hidden gem, a large stone structure that must at one time have been a very grand home indeed.

Take away the church and most likely the diocese would have to remove this gorgeous building as well which is in perfect condition from what I can tell gauged on this view. The architecture is magnificent and it should be preserved and used as a music school or some kind of learning center for the diocese.

People have been commenting left and right about the real issues and it is time the media stepped in to tell the whole and the true story about this demolition versus preservation beeswax. To do anything but preserve it and restore it would be an insult to the parish, to the diocese, to lovers of landmarks and history everywhere, and to everyone who has a history connected to St. James’ Church.

Divi Logan, Chicago, 2013.

Save St. James’ Church: Isn’t it Only Fair?

ST. JAMES NEEDS TO BE SAVED: IS IT FAIR TO CLOSE ONE AND NOT ANOTHER?

In February of 2009, around 5:30 in the morning, on a very frigid start to what would be a terribly cold day there was a 3-11 fire at Holy Name Cathedral. I watched from a window at first and phoned my folks to tell them the church was burning down, and then I decided to skip breakfast and go to take photos of the events unfolding.

It was difficult to stand there at the opposite corner and walk up and down getting as close as was safe, watching the fact that I might lose what I have come to consider my home church since moving here. Still I bore up, got those photos, warmed up with a bus ride and then returned to take more pictures, all of which I have today.
The fact that our church was saved is a testament to the courage and skill of the Chicago Fire Department. Those brave personnel attacked that fire from every angle, going in, putting water through the roof and such. I do not doubt that many of them were afraid the church would be lost as well, but it was saved. Francis Cardinal George said at Mass that the CFD could easily have let the church burn due to the dangerous conditions but they did not and thank God for that.

There must have been about a foot or more of water throughout the sanctuary and in the lower levels surely there was more than that. The windows were saved but that old roof was a mess and there was severe water damage inside. Amazing at how much of it was saved.

English: Holy Name Cathedral, Chicago taken by...

English: Holy Name Cathedral, Chicago taken by Gerald C. Farinas on Monday, March 26, 2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the months that followed scaffolding went up inside and out, the ceiling with its tens of thousands of pieces was repaired, the Cardinal’s hats were saved and still hang in place, the windows are in place and there was a new floor and ceiling put in. The pews were repaired and the organ was saved and everything looks better now than ever.

The point is that this beautiful historic church was SAVED from the wrecking ball and was repaired lovingly and carefully. The cost was in the millions of dollars, at least $12 million as I recall the costs being bandied about in the talk.

Why then cannot the wonderful historic church of St. James at Wabash and 29th be saved and given the same consideration? Now I hate to think that racism and this stupidity of the interference of demographics could be the underlying problem, but if it is so, if the problem goes beyond talk of landmarks and transportation and other more important factors, then the whole issue needs to be taken a look at from afresh.

According to one article, the demographics are mentioned, and that is a problem when talking about a church which plainly needs to be preserved. So what who lives in the area? Black and whites live in the Gold Coast where Holy Name is, and more was put into that repair than in what it might take to bring St. James’ back to life and bring a congregation and visitors into the sanctuary.

Another article said that many pieces of the church have been saved for future installation, and if people are putting that much effort into trying to preserve the church, the officials need to seriously consider what the people want, what the congregation wants and what the city and the people of that area need.

Surely there are fine and brilliant minds in our American collegeiate system that could put their prowess in engineering, in science, in technology, in arts and restoration and preservation together to save this church? Surely there are people who will endow those repairs and do all they can to raise the needed funds to bring the church to fully functional status just as Holy Name has? There are people who would gladly donate time and energy into raising funds, in research, in drawing up plans to bring St. James back.

What about the landmarks and the opinions of the diocese? Well they had no problem getting support and resources for Holy Name’s preservation, and they have moved on to other renovation projects, again at a cost in the millions od dollars!

Perhaps restoring the church would bring the area back and bring in businesses and decent people who want to keep the area beautiful, alive, and going strong, to restore the community and the dignity of the citizens.

It would be distressing if the church was razed. Pay attention, Cardinal George, pay attention archdiocese officials… pay attention all citizens. St. James’ Church should be saved and preserved. Take out the modern stuff or rework it if you must; the church was there and solvent and wonderful long before the train and the ugly roads and this demographic prattle entered and corrupted the mix and the sacred nature of the church and its purpose.

Be fair, everyone, and be civil too. Learn to have teamwork and tear down the barriers.

RESOURCES

1. Historically significant 132-year-old church in Chicago faces wrecking ball. http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-12-23/news/ct-met-historic-church-demolition-20121223_1_new-church-archdiocese-plans-demolition. 25 March 2013.

2. St. James infirmity: Distressed century-old Catholic Church heads toward demolition. http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2012-10/st-james-infirmity-distressed-century-old-catholic-church-heads-toward. 25 March 2013.

Wisdom of the Magi: The Crown of Wisdom

This is the season of Christmas, and depending on how you view the meaning of the holiday (or, holy day as it originally was meant to be and proclaim), the time can be one of great joy and compassion and exuberance in many levels, or it can be a time of expriencing depression, SAD, and thoughts that bring the person low and into a rut of trying to tune out the bustling and the constant music.

Christmas in America (pronounced in this case, kriss- miss and not CHRIST- mas), has become much more than the holy day that has its foundation over two thousand years ago. These days, “the holidays” begin with Thanksgiving, and stores break out the holiday decorations to excess. It has people thinking, “Gee whiz all ready, it’s barely Thanksgiving and all ready they are putting out Christmas junk.” No telling how many times I have heard that when visiting some of the stores that specialize in home furnishings and other goods for the house, for guests, for cooking and drinking and yard care. Sure, Christmas is a time for being festive and colorful, light and merry, thoughtful, charitable, bustling about the house and kitchen and singing and decorating trees and mantels and the like. But it is also a time to reflect, to sit back and think, to consider the origins of the holy day and the significance that goes far beyond the giving of presents, of pushing about at the malls, of trying hard to find parking spaces and of adding thousands of lights to one’s yard and house.

THE ATTRIBUTES OF KINGS

crown jewels of Serbia, with Karađorđević crown

crown jewels of Serbia, with Karađorđević crown (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For the most part, those of royal persuasion have some things in common. I have always been fascinated with the idea of rulers and those who have power over peoples and nations; being an Anglophile I have found the British Royal Family a subject of study. I visited England and had the honor to see some of the places and things associated deeply with royalty, such as Buckingham Palace, the White Tower, the Crown Jewels, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and the House of Parliament.  Many of the pictures (in painting and in photographic form) show these august people in settings of splendor and elegance. They wear uniforms, robes, crowns, tiaras, gloves, golden jewels, sparkling jewels, and come complete with orb and scepter and rings. The jewels are splendid, full of diamonds and rubies and pearls, sparkling with color in their gold or platinum settings. The people stand in palatial rooms, full of columns and fine furnishings, books and tapestries.Royalty around the world have splendor as a common bond. Japanese imperial families attire themselves in wonderful robes; African kings wear ornaments of gold and garb themselves in precious fabrics, and the old maharajahs of India were indeed magnificently dressed. Speaking to the latter, the exhibit at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago gives a superb insight into the court life of those rulers and their households. But read deeply into what is said about the rulers and you find other facets of them and the lifestyle they were expected to lead, beyond dressing in pounds of gems, heavy robes, fine swords and such outward trappings of authority and displays of wealth. There was more than showing them as supposed descendants of the sun or the gods.

These rulers were people endowed with intellectual and religious pursuits as part of their daily lives. They were supposed to be people of poetry, art and the support of the arts, civil and dignified behavior, patrons of architecture and gardening and hunting. The splendid figures of the maharajahs were people of wisdom, the use of knowledge for, what we might see as ideal purposes, for the improvement of society and culture, for spreading intellectual pursuits and that which is connected to the idea of ruling a civilization.

WE THREE FRIENDS

Pieter Bruegel the Elder - The Adoration of th...

Biblical kings are described in such ways as well, taking Solomon as an example as he is supposed to be known for wisdom and wealth. Descriptions of his court and his pursuits in the Old Testament give us pictures of an exotic collection of people and material goods and curiosities of the natural world; Solomon’s encounter with the fabulous Queen of Sheba is well known. Now there is the example of Solomon, the example of David, and that also of Saul, but there are the three notables around whom this article revolves, the three “wise men” of the Christmas story’s foundation and signal event.

It would be safe to say that for these three nobles to meet on and take such a journey, a lot of preparation had to go into making it possible. One might speculate that, as their court scientists were ascertaining the time of the star’s appearance and its significance, they were making ready for the journey across the land to Jerusalem. When it was time, then, they set out with their parties, provisions, animals, and the gifts to present to the new king. The lands of these kings surely would be at peace and prosperous as well, for them to have such leisure to make such a journey and bring such precious gifts as gold, frankincense and myrrh. It would not have been diplomatic for a ruler to leave his land if there was war or some other problem that required correction. The wise person would correct the difficulties before taking leisure.

In the meanwhile their households, courtiers gathered around them in daily business, and retainers sewed robes and leggings and shoes for travel, and tended the animals and made the food and drink. The guards drilled and exercised and protected the gates and the palace so business could be properly conducted. These were the behind the scenes folks without whom the journey would not have been possible. The sages studied the records regarding the appearance of the heavenly object.

When at last these men met for their ride across the desert, they appear to have met as friends with a common goal. Paintings show them as three different looking men, not all light or dark, but with a couple of them as light in color and one as very dark, but all with the demeanor of kings. They did not meet to waste time discussing diversity or neighborhoods with their separation -mindedness, or anything else it seems save for accomplishing this mission and how important it was. It did not matter to those traveling with them what color anyone was – those details are not important in the slightest. They wanted to see where this incredible astronomical vision (star, comet, conjunction, supernova, gamma ray burst) would lead and what it meant; they wanted to know what they would find under its rays. They had to go through the obstacle of meeting Herod and his court, but they were warned not to deal with Herod and took another way.

When after this dusty, long, hard, dry journey concluded at the place over which the “star” stopped, the kings lit from their camels, they took their gifts and went in to see what they would find. In that humble place they saw, bathed in divine light and with an atmosphere of royal divinity all around them and the Holy Family, the new king, before whom without hesitation they presented their gifts, the best they had to offer. Paintings of this event are many and wondrous in their color and presentation.

The three friends accomplished their mission.

We can learn a lot from them.

Vincenzo Foppa - The Adoration of the Kings - ...

Vincenzo Foppa – The Adoration of the Kings – WGA7999 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Divi Logan, Nashville and Chicago, ©2012.

Obsessions on the Job: When Production Wanes What Can be Done?

When you have an obsession with someone or something, it is basically an imbalance; one of thought, deed, word, action, influence, attentions on that object to the sacrifice of other and more important things, such as job tasks or house tasks.

When that happens it is time to get counseling, to talk with others, and the boss if you are fortunate to do so, if the obsessive object is where you work. Having a chat with people you trust can be as the opening of a book; once you are on the right page, that with the information you seek, you know it.

Today I went through exactly that process. The past couple of days, I sensed something was out of balance, something in physical exercise yes, something in the fleshly appetites, yes, but there were other things that muddled my brain processes, that addled and clouded my thoughts, that deeply upset my sleep, my views of work, of just about everything that I considered as vital and wonderful. In short there were signs of depression, of a mental recession of the caliber I have not been caught up in since I moved to Chicago. The first winter I was here and went through a bout of SAD, I had to battle my way through it pretty much solo, as at that time I knew very few people here who could be called upon for counseling or dealing with “the holidays” in a way that I figured would be satisfied.

I got through that few weeks by singing the hit tune “Route 66” until I was tired of it, but that did the job. I completed the seasonal job and went on to other things…and I am still in Chicago and enjoying all this great city has to offer. I am in a totally different environment now, a place I like, and I enjoy the people I work with.

The problem many people face when at the workplace is that they, well, like someone they work with a little too much, to the point of doubting, fears, worries, concerns and other mental issues that are so deep and heavy that they begin to do the worst possible thing. These ramblings of the mind and pullings at the heart start to interfere with workplace performance. In short they interfere with productivity. And if you are a worker committed to doing the best job you can, doing that which you are assigned and endeavoring to do whatever you can to make the business successful, that can be a real shocker when the truth comes out.

Obsessions are bad for workplace production, in short. You can get so hooked on a person or a task or an idea that you get on one track and lose sight of other things you can and indeed should be doing. Recently I was pretty nearly to being prodded into finding something to do because my mind stuck in a rut dealing with someone I like. Once I got to working at the different task I felt better and yes, I felt productive. There is something else, though, when one’s Christian principles are considered in such a light; obsessions are idolatrous and filled with vices and troubles, adversities and problems. Focusing too much on people or things is against what I learned as a good ideal for being a Christian.

In the Book of Judges, when the children of Israel made or followed or served images and false gods, nothing but trouble awaited them. Their rulers did evil in the sight of the LORD, they did not do right by God who had brought them out of so much trouble and fear, and they… well, they slacked on the job is what. Their work was to follow the word of the LORD, the tenets and principles given them decades and generations before when they were delivered with generous spoils from the slaving hands of the Egyptians. Those later generations did not follow rightly in the sight of the LORD, and they were called on the carpet for it. They were beset with war, death, pestilence, harshness, slavery and burned cities. They paid dearly for slacking on the job… for not serving properly the LORD who called to them, protected them and provided for them.

In this time when production is talked of as going down in some ways and going up in other ways, what turns out to be the most important way? Production of material goods happens all the time; production of a good character takes a lot longer than making a new car to sell. Building a good character takes years, decades, patience… practice constantly. It is not just going to worship and hearing a sermon and expecting to know everything and live by what the leader says straight out. You must think that being productive is what you are there at the workplace to do, or at anywhere that you have made a commitment to do something. The Israelites suffered because they slacked on the job; and I know what it means to suffer on account of slacking.

My good character principles went by the wayside because my energies were not properly focused. It is something, quite amazing really, what a poor or troubled conscience does to one’s entire being. When the causes are found out and all that ties in with those causes, be those things subtle or overt, it is then that solutions can be found – in this case to slacking on the job, or poor productivity. The obsession can be quelled, the concerns conquered, by looking at the field from fresh viewpoints.

You can always find something to do on the job. No place is too neat or organized or free of dust that something cannot be done to make it look even better. Small businesses are chock full of things to do to make the place better. Clean a window, rearrange a display case, do a window display, dust or mop or sweep. Check the mail, go pick up a shipment, or rework a clothes rack. Polish a mirror, straighten a crooked picture or call a customer to check on an order, whether or not they have received it or are satisfied with it. The fact is take after a good little phrase my grandmother uses when it seems nothing is around to do, and that is simply “do something, do something”! Or you can figure out just by looking around that, as my father says, “There is always room for improvement.”

If you are not sure that there is something you can do, ask your manager or boss if there is something they are thinking about and might need help with. There might be a task that someone else cannot do but that, after all, you can do. After all, brilliant diamonds do not mine themselves; they do not cut and polish themselves or set themselves in beautiful rings on their own. Someone has to take that diamond in the rough and turn it into something that will be wonderful and sparkling, will throw off spikes of color and brilliance and perhaps grace someone’s finger on a wedding day, or grace a gift for an anniversary. We are all of us diamonds in the rough… and we all need a little help getting trim and polished and set in the right place sometimes. There is no harm in asking for help – the stupid question is the one you do not ask. The right question is the one you do ask.

There is always room for improvement, so do something.

Divi Logan for EDUSHIRTS, Nashville and Chicago, ©2012.

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Chicago Clergy Denied Entrance to Morgue: What a Travesty!

 

Wide angle shot of hospital morgue

Image via Wikipedia

CLERGY DENIED ACCESS TO CHICAGO MORGUE

When Jesus therefore saw her weeping and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled. And said, “Where have ye laid him?”  They said unto him, Lord, come and see.

Jesus wept. Then said the Jews, “Behold how he loved him!” And some of them said, “Could not this man which opened the eyes of the blind, have caused that even this man should not have died?” Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it. Jesus said, “Take ye away the stone.”

Marth, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, “Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days.” Jesus saith unto her, “Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?” Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid.

Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I know that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me.”

And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth.” (John 11: 33 – 43, King James Version. Words of Christ in red and for emphasis.)

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Says plenty, does it not? The last thing the medical examiner’s office should ever have done was deny the clergy the right to enter and see to the dead as best they could. The news story on WBBM News Radio 780 spoke volumes about the poor conditions of the morgue, yes, but also to the shame of the officials running the facility.

The one clergyman said it right when he told the reporter that the minsters are there for the dead and the living. And people who want to see a body are subjected to such dreadful conditions as are being noticed in the morgue. Just awful, terrible, and such an arrogant thing for the officials to bar the clergy and deal with the situation with dignity and integrity. At least the clergy were allowed to say a prayer for the dead at the facility, and it is good they were left in peace to perform that service.

All right, if the present ME is such a fine doctor as our esteemed County Board President says, let her leave the ME post, a position she plainly cannot handle with proper dignity, and go back to a private practice. Let someone be found to handle the morgue with respect to the living and the dead, someone who understands how important it is to maintain that facility with care and discipline and integrity. And if it is not a crossing of lines between church and state, let there be the clergy element installed in the morgue, if nothing then for the counsel and assistance of the employees.

It is plain we need a new ME right away yesterday, not next week as things continue to worsen and the story is not set straight. President Preckwinkle, with all your vested authority, get that office set to rights and treat both the living employees who must deal with those conditions of stench and death every day, and the dead, with dignity. Let the clergy in; let them do their duties, give them room to at least bring some peace to the place. Let them be there to counsel the employees.

Otherwise you are doing a “grave” (excuse the pun) dis-service to your country, to God and all decent believers, and to the employees of the morgue and all who have to deal with that situation.

Divi Logan and ®EDUSHIRTS, Nashville and Chicago, ©2004 – 2012. Please use the e-mail address d308gtb289@aol.com to correspond with the author and for use permission. Courtesy counts. Thanks for cooperating.