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

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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.

Wisdom of the Magi: A Special Journey

THE GIFTS OF CHRISTMAS, PART ONE OF TWO

The Magi Journeying

The Magi Journeying (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Christmas – we can look at this holiday in a couple of ways; the secular, materialistic way that has become so prevalent and it seems so relevant in today’s American society, or on the path of which Christmas is based by its very spelling. The word Christ is very powerful, the basis of the Christian religion and the head of all who follow those principles. We misuse the name of Christ many times without giving it much thought, and we misuse the meaning of the holiday (really, holy day) when we go off the mark of what it really means.To some the “holidays”, from Thanksgiving to Christmas, seem to herald the time of breaking out the sales circulars, the decorations, the ads at the grocery stores, department stores, big box stores, any kind of commercial exchange venue.

We want to imitate the first bearers of the gifts that were given to the baby Jesus (later that head of all Christians), the wise men/ magi/ kings who made an amazing journey to see that young child who would be king. But we go to excess in the way we struggle to find “the right thing”, or get just the right wrapping paper, or find the right card, or be seen at the right store at just the time of day when “all our friends” will be there and know we are showing off our status and our wish to pick over the shelves to get that item before anyone else does… even to the point of losing friends.Let us take a closer look at that special event in history, an event that is painted, talked about, re-enacted every year as it has been for centuries in Christmas stories all over the world. There is more to this story than meets the eye of the artist, the bard, or the poet. In this is something for everyone.

THE GIFTS OF THE MAGI

The journey of these three wise men, sage kings as recorded in the many works about them, began perhaps two years earlier. According to them, a star was seen in the east and they followed it in order to worship him whom it symbolized. In the Book of Matthew, in chapter 2, the details are brief but enough to give us  knowledge that something special had happened and those men had set out to find out exactly what was going on. In the lore, the star meant that someone of importance, a governor, a king, had been born, and they were come to worship. They gathered their provisions and personnel and set out.

The paintings record this small group as a diverse gathering of rulers, with the time and wealth to make such a journey. Their lands must have been at peace in order for them to leave those lands and make their way to Jerusalem in order to recognize another king, and a baby at that, but then rulers in the Bible were very young times, and there is a fine painting of a maharajah, part of the exhibit at the Field Museum, when Raj Singh was only eleven. No matter who they were or what they looked like, theirs was a common mission and their goal was to find the new king. Through obstacles, harsh conditions, and maybe with some doubt in their minds, they made the journey and found the Child.

What they followed has been described many ways, as a comet, a conjunction, a supernova, and maybe even by some as a gamma ray burst (now that would really have been something to see the light of, as they are extremely energetic and that energy must travel billions of light years). For a light to last two years the event would have to be a very powerful burst of light indeed. Whatever it was, the kings followed it diligently until they came to the place over which the star paused and the light shone upon it. At that time, with reverence and dignity, the kings, surely tired from their travels, presented their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, no doubt in containers as precious as their contents.

Gold of course is well -known in its symbolism, for its purity, brilliance, endurance and many uses. It probably was the element used in the containers for all the gifts. Frankincense is a precious, fragrant gum resin from a tree known for its healing purposes and use in rituals. Myrrh is an oleoresin, an expensive spice, with uses in perfume, used also in preparation for burials in the times of Jesus. The benefits of all three of these gifts were well known, for medicinal and healing properties, to reduce swelling and inflammation and the like. Either these kings already knew of the benefits of these gifts or they were very well advised by their courtiers as to what might be suitable for gifts. They listened to the right people, and now their intelligence is rooted in history.

c. 1432-1436
c. 1432-1436 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What they carried with them was wisdom. They prepared carefully for that long journey. Being kings they were surely greatly guarded and appointed as kings should be. They were true to the traditions of their ancestors and their sages, who studied deeply the ancient texts to ascertain this event. They prepared carefully for this event by gathering the facts, preparing provisions, making sure the quality of their gifts, making ready their travling parties, and their animals, and setting out. Being such a long journey they had to be careful in their way so that they would make it safely and carry out their mission.Now perhaps you could see a king dressed in the manner they are accustomed to when in their native lands, maybe in dark, rich, jeweled robes and turbans and golden headdresses, maybe in garments wrapped around and fastened with brooches and pins fine with jewels and metals, maybe a combination of these regalia. But these would not be practical for a long, dusty, difficult journey over hills, deserts, river passes and mountains. And not wanting to attract too much of the wrong attention, they probably dressed rather plainly, with nothing overly glittering or heavy to burden them or their beasts of burden.

Wearing a crown means something special. A crown is a symbol of great authority, worn only by a select few in positions of amazing and incredible power. Crowns are made so that the wearer stands out; the turban ornaments worn by the maharajahs of India were meant to do the same thing, sparkle and move and shimmer so that the wearer would be known for his authority and the right to mete out power, delegation, and dicates. In the ancient lore of some religious traditions, the crown chakra is where the higher powers of the intellect reside and from which these powers spring to light the world and all who know the bearers of these faculties, brilliant facets, and wondrous principles of learning and achievement.

One of these kings may well have been from the region of the world we now know as India, but the point is that three powerful men came together for this wondrous journey to find another king and give him adoration and royal presents, the best they had to offer. Paintings show them in deep and humble admiration of the newborn king as he is held or is in the manger in the presence of his parents, Mary and Joseph, as they open their gifts. The area must have been filled with sparkle and light, and with a fragrance almost overwhemling, as of an Old Testament temple during times of high worship on special occasions.

It is truly a great moment in world history, something everyone can appreciate for the qualities that go way beyond the event itself.

English: Adoration of the Wise Men by Murillo

English: Adoration of the Wise Men by Murillo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

RESOURCES CITED1. King James Bible online. http://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Matthew-Chapter-2/.2. A Modern Herbal: Frankincense.  http://botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/f/franki31.html.

3. Why Did the Magy Bring Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh? Online article at http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/people-cultures-in-the-bible/jesus-historical-jesus/why-did-the-magi-bring-gold-frankincense-and-myrrh/.

4. What is Myrrh? http://christianity.about.com/od/glossary/a/Myrrh.htm.

** Something to do: See the Splendor of the Maharajahs at the Field Museum in Chicago. Having done so I can assure you it will leave you dazzled and speechless.

Divi Logan, Nashville and Chicago, 2012.

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Chicago Drug War? Call Out the Guards!

Well, all right… OK, it’s in the news every day and every week, this gang turf and drug war of ours. When it is in the mass media it is not just in the neighborhoods that are affected; it becomes OUR issue and OUR concern and OUR problem, everywhere in Chicago. Because such events as gang shootings, retaliation shootings, drug corner selling and open-air drug markets, and turf wars (really now, whose turf is it but the good citizens of this city), could happen anywhere in Chicago, anywhere in Cook County, anywhere in this country.

SWAT Truck

SWAT Truck (Photo credit: Just Us 3)

So, what is the first solution? Our police force is all ready taxed to the max with this city to take care of. They cannot devote half their force to taking care of a couple of problem areas, Englewood and West Harrison districts that are so full of crime and traumatic happenings and “high crime areas”. They have others to see to as well, other things to do.

These kids, as one of my colleagues said, NEED TO BE IN THE HOUSE. Between the ages of 10 and 19? BE IN THE HOUSE when you are supposed to be. What do we need to do- impose curfews on you every day and all the time until you get the drift of how important and essential discipline is and when you are ready to go to college? You darned well need to learn that before you consider college, kiddo. BE IN THE HOUSE, be doing your homework, be cleaning up your streets and parks and schoolyards and community centers, and be in the habit of doing good and right things. SIMPLE.

Meanwhile, what do we need to do with you? Need we call out the Illinois Guard? Need we put SWAT on your streets to make sure you don’t go out and cause trouble for yourself or someone else? Do you want tanks and armored personnel carriers on your streets 24/7 until the problems are solved? Want the National Guard to solve them for you? You can make it difficult or easy; and the National Guard and SWAT can make it difficult for you if you want them to. And I don’t think you want them to. Don’t test the concept- trust me on that one; you don’t want to make it complicated.

Of course there is another positive and better solution, and that is to catch the kids early on, those first days that they are capable of learning right and wrong, good and bad, what is harmful and what is good and decent to do and try. We have to get the concepts into them very early, making those concepts basically a part of pre-school learning and drilling in the principles throughout school.

Very young children can make amazing contributions to society. They can perform work in community gardens, sweep and rake, and help in planting trees and shrubs. They can learn about participating as good citizens as they get older and stronger. We can teach them that just because they see it or hear it does not make it right. Just because “someone else” is doing it or because they “saw it on TV” or “it was done by a celebrity in a movie”, that does not mean it is right, proper, decent, honorable or good to do or say.

Now you can make it easier on the children so they can talk to you about anything. If they have something to ask, let them ask it. What they have to say might include a “bad word” or two, but be patient. If you know they cannot have learned it and must have picked it up somewhere else do not be angry with them for saying it but sit them down and explain it. Ask where they heard it, who said it, when and in what situation it was said. Ask if anything was done when the word was said. Did the person show them a picture or make a gesture or touch the child in any way whatsoever? Take what the child says seriously- they should have no reason to lie to you and should feel comfortable being completely open and honest about such things that can be very troublesome. Once they tell you what happened, then act appropriately. If something bad did happen, the child should not be around the person or place until you see to the happening.

Do everything possible to protect the children but not to shelter them; in other words, be careful of extremes. We must use every positive initiative, be it faith-based, be it corporate, we must put it together before one more pre-teen is gunned down or otherwise traumatized in their yard or on their porch or in their bedroom. It is one too many that has been shot and killed in Chicago this year, one too many kids that have seen a friend or relative shot, heard of the funerals, been to a funeral perhaps, seen the gore on the sidewalk, seen the police presence, heard the gunfire, seen the bullets on the pavement.

Surely they wonder when their family can move. Surely they wonder, “Why can’t I go out and sit on the porch with a lemonade in the evening?” “When is this going to end so I can go out and play again?” “Why isn’t my brother coming back?”

What can we say to them?

In the meantime, we are all ready in some areas at the level of going to extremes- calling out the police, calling out SWAT, maybe calling out the Illinois Guard to clear the streets.

We can continue to make it difficult and complicated. Or we can make it easy.

Divi Logan for EDUSHIRTS, Nashville and Chicago, 2012.

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.)

___________________________________________________________

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.