Soliloquy in an International Cloister

Watch your step as Brother Lawrence takes you inside the monastery walls of a five hundred year-old international order. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll wish you had ignored your hormones and joined the monastery.

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Location: Rome, Italy

30 August 2010

Family politics

Politically speaking, I am the black sheep of the family—a half-hearted Democrat in a sea of dyed-red-in-the-wool Republicans. I am sorry to say that my own, dear mother is among the most extreme of the group. She's an intelligent woman, yet she has allowed herself to be convinced that President Obama is Muslim and, worse yet, she too would like him to produce his birth certificate. Whenever I visit them, as I am this week, there is an unspoken agreement to avoid talking about politics, although she occasionally can't help herself. "What do you think about those terrorists building a mosque in New York," she'll ask. At least there is no doubt about where she stands on the issue. Of course, I knew where she stood on the issue before she asked the question because I know from whom she gets her information. Rush Limbaugh, Fox News and Glenn Beck have become my parent's daily bread.

At the moment, they are especially taken by Glenn Beck, which isn't surprising given that he has wrapped himself in a cloak of religiosity. They were all set to watch his Washington rally in its entirety on Saturday, but couldn't find the correct channel. They knew better than to ask my help. The "Restoring Honor" rally was held on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on the anniversary of Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech. Just a coincidence, said Glenn Beck. An attempt to subvert the legacy of the civil rights movement, said his detractors.

At the health club this morning, talk of the rally was all the rage. I overheard a comment (thankfully, not from my mother) that pretty well says it all: "We got those people out of Africa; what more do they want?!"

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Blogger heartinsanfrancisco said...

Oh, dear God. Really, who wouldn't want to be torn from home and family in chains and sold into slavery, assuming they were "lucky" enough to survive their passage across oceans in sardine-packed, disease-infested steerage? What more, indeed?

I was the black sheep of my family, too, politically and in every other way possible. (I probably still am, but stopped noticing.)

Enjoy your visit home!

31 August, 2010 07:11  
Anonymous mara said...

This is my first comment to your blog, Brother Lawrence.

I could get stressed out thinking about politics and the Republican agendas. I work with Muslims. They show photos of their children and I see the love they have for them. They are as much American as any of us. I know many immigrant families and they go through the same issues. As for the comment regarding blacks, a friend of mine just last weekend said this to me, “We didn’t ask to come here”.

I too, know what it is like to be a black sheep. It is hard to take a stand and be alone. I have done it numerous times without the support of like-minded people. Sometimes though, I try to be quiet. Because most people have their minds already made up.

People do things out of love—and out of fear.

Many people make judgments because they only feel comfortable in their own world. They cannot help it. They do not understand everyone’s plight. If they ever crossed a boundary outside their life, they would have the opportunity to understand the lives of others. They are captive by the media that uses fear to coerce them. They may have been raised not to trust, “different”. They do not even realize it. Be considerate towards your mother and her friends. They do not know any better.

On another note, I like reading religious community blogs. It is like reading a “living history” of the church in progress. Your writing shows you to be friendly, comfortable, and a clear-cut observer. There is definitely no one like you. Your blog enchants me and makes me…smile.

01 September, 2010 22:01  

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