Friday, April 29, 2005

Dear Editor: Where Kentucky is "best"?

April 28, 2005
Dear Editor:
Herald - Leader Editorial page. Letters

Title: Kentucky is “Best� in something else.

Did the Herald - Leader reader notice that Kentucky's growth rate among Ohio Valley states clearly beats all the surrounding seven states in at least one area: Growth in prison population?

Headline: "1 in 138 Americans is in Prison" Monday, April 25, page. A9. In the number of prisoners in state and federal corrections, Kentucky's rate of growth, compared with the average of the seven surrounding states, is not twice, not three times, but almost four times the average rate of all seven surrounding states, a percent change of +8.5 percent from 2003 to 2004.

Is this because we simply have that many more criminals in Kentucky? or possibly because our sentencing policies are now the harshest in the region? How is this happening? The vast majority are there for using or selling drugs.

Our local jails and prisons are overcrowded, sometimes so many in county jails that inmates are living in Third World conditions. Even when volunteer programs are offered, some county jail staff is too busy with the overcrowded warehousing of inmates to accept the offer. I have first hand experience in this.

We are paying so much for warehousing ($300 million per year in Kentucky) there is nothing left for rehabilitation. If we take time to examine the situation, we shall find that we are simply punishing addictive behavior by incarceration--mostly without rehabilitation, so 2/3 are back in jail within three years.

Are our current sentencing policies creating a new underclass of those trapped in addiction, joblessness and resentment?

Is this a system of justice? ? Are these policies protecting our communities, or in fact undermining our safety and security? Who will examine and speak to these issues?
Paschal Baute
4080 LOfgren Ct.
Lexington, Ky 40509
tel 293-5302
email pbbaute@paschalbaute.com

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Influence of Greco-Roman culture on early church

"(fretting over abuse done to women by church over 2000 years)
I do find it calming to realize that a great deal of the problem was
inherited from the acceptance of the Greco-Roman culture that surrounded
the Church." --sojourner from another list.

Paschal:
We can hardly underestimate the harm, IMO, that began with the Constantine
revolution, Council and Creed in the early 4th century.
Creed became cult and was used to punish and abuse.
Bishops became paid over-seers.
Then began active persecution of the Jews and the burning of the first
synagogue and libraries of antiquity.

Ever notice the Nicene Creed (Apostle's Creed also)
actually skips the life and
teaching of Jesus?
"...became Incarnate of the Virgin Mary and was made man. .. for our sake he
was crucified, died and was buried. . . ".
The radical summons of Jesus the prophet
who calls us to welcome the stranger and to love unconditionally was
downplayed, and from now on. it was
WHAT WE BELIEVED that was the measure of our Christianity, not what we do
and practice.
Schillebeeckx on Ministry shows how it all changed from the first 2
centuries where women preached and were regarded as equals in ministry....

Jesus came and preached the gospel. The Church came and preached Jesus.

Which is always easier. Just believe in Jesus and be saved.

Church will always be co-opted by the PTB, by society, by nominal
Christians and by the dark side.
In most chruches today it is money and membership. Note: when I
was returning from two weeks in Israel in 1989 with a group of 40 Protestant
ministers, flying home on the plane, I noticed they all seemed sad looking.
When I talked with them and got them to open up, almost all were discouraged
to be going back to their congregations where conflict and pettiness
prevailed. Amazing change of attitude after they got on the plane.

Religion is full of stealth idolatry.
Hidden in many ways. Only love conquers.
Because then. . . .we don't have to "win."
"If love is lord of heaven and earth,
How can I keep from singing?"
(hymn)

Next month I will be teaching a college course on the Philosophy of Religion
where I will be able to include the unconscious frames: e.g,
". . .As we pursue our philosophical investigation of those assumptions, we will acquaint ourselves with the major ancient and modern critiques of religion. Both Liberation theology frames (including Feminist theology) and Continental theology (as opposed to American and British), recognize that intellectual neutrality is not possible and all theology is biased. . ."

Namaste.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Kids and Weddings.

Grandkids here yesterday morning as we breakfasted and chatted. Conversation turned to weddings, with the wedding Poppy had just witnessed on Saturday, and then to the place outside where Mommy and Daddy got married here ten years ago and how beautiful the day was.

Chloe, age 2, said: " I was there at Mommy and Daddy's wedding. I was in Mommy's belly!"
Quinn, her older brother, age 4 said:
"No, Chloe, you were not there. God was not ready for you yet."

Yes.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

I would never have imagined. . . .

. . .How much joy my wedding ministry has given me.

Only in the last few years have I stepped fully into this, with yellow page advertising, now witnessing some 40-50 weddings each year. These are unchurched couples, seeking a spiritual experience from a minister who does not ask, as do most, some $400.00 for the use of his church and a diverse set of other rules before his reverence will participate.

Yesterday was my first Spring wedding of the year outside, on a beautiful afternoon, joining a melded family of six, with bride and groom each having two daughters, in our new wedding garden. Much joy for all, and particularly for me in being part of such a happy and landmark event for that new family.

I am a Ponderer, both by nature and by training as a psychologist, an Intuitive Perceptive Extraverted and Feeling (MBTI) kind of person. I just ponder and tend to ponder over most everything, particularly the mysteries of being human, of life and of love.

What I ponder most these days is about love, human love as the symbol, metaphor, icon of God’s love for us: the wonder, joy, mystery, awesomeness of it. Human love is the most amazing grace of all.

This love is not only sacred and holy in itself, but also what it beckons us toward, an increasing giving of ourselves into being with, utterly with, in unconditional loving, another human person, a surrender of our ego and self-considerations. Wow!

And I never seem to cease feeling a new Wow, every time I am privileged to witness another wedding. What an incredible blessing to live one’s life from one Wow to another, weekly, and even daily in responding to the joys of grandkids growth and development, latest words and new tricks, and sharing these with your partner in life.

This year I am also teaching more at Midway College, 15 miles from Lexington. Not only Business Communication, but Social Ethics, World Religions, Philosopy of Religion, and Training and Development, a new Human Resource Management course from a new core curriculum that I helped to develop last year. I am fortunate to have friends and colleagues to share this teaching challenges, as guest speakers, collaborators, team teaching, etc.

My four year old grandson: (quote) I am worried about Poppy. Mimi is old, but Poppy is very old and he is going to die.(unquote) Not yet. Today, April 10, I am once more full of humility and gratitude and joy as I approach my 76th b-day in July. Thank you, Lord, for this incredible life you have given me.

Paschal : Namaste!
Since Love is Lord of Heaven and Earth,
How can we keep from singing? (hymn)

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Male Bias in Classical Theology, teaching goal.

I will begin teaching a Philosophy of Theology, 280, class at Midway College the last of May. Developing the syllabus for that has been interesting, and a challenge to incorporate references
to all the writing done by women, liberation and Third World theologies.

Here is our goal: In this course, our goal is to understand the key concepts with which the Western monotheistic religions have articulated their teachings and our modern challenges. We will discover that these terms conceal assumptions about social reality and possibility that must be critically examined. As we pursue our philosophical investigation of those assumptions, we will acquaint ourselves with the major ancient and modern critiques of religion. Both Liberation theology frames (including Feminist theology) and Continental theology (as opposed to American and British), recognize that intellectual neutrality is not possible and all theology is biased. Then, in the last weeks of the course, students will present their own independent research project into one of four special "problems" raised by the challenges of 1) evil, 3) religious pluralism, 3) fundamentalism, or 4) gender.

Also, on another listserv some interest is expressed in offering this topic to the group for distance learning, a small independent Catholic Celtic church, using my notes from the class, and free of course. If interested, email me at pbbaute@paschalbaute.com.

John Paul 2, his heritage, opinion

"I believe this pope is far too spiritual for that [power] to be his motive."
--CF commenting on the words of Hans Kung that the motive of this pope was power.

My response: Consciously yes, unconsciously no.

Even those who are deeply spiritual can be very blind to themselves and the effect their
personality and policies have on others. Faith and devotion is no protection from blindness to oneself.

What is missing in this church and in every church is any recognition of the power of the Unconscious, or the Shadow. I tried to talk to our past local bishop many times about the power of transference and counter-transference and the absence of celibate understanding of sexuality, to help prevent abuse of priestly celibacy. He could not hear me ever, and scandals exploded with great local harm to the church, which were found to include himself.

Furthermore, we humans will always attempt to make the bad, the downside, even the horrible (when we stoop to look at all and many will not) more acceptable, more inspiring because we do not deal well with shattered meaning that can never be made good.

The maintenance of the prerogatives of hierarchy above and beyond the local and regional bishops and the insistence that the Vatican agenda had to prevail even in the regional episcopal conferences; the demand that celibacy could not be discussed in regional meetings of bishops, then later demanding a vote affirming celibacy at the end of the conference is an example of feudal power, which RC hierarchy still practices.

To be a servant of the servants of God, means one listens to everyone, including women, victims of sexual abuse (yes), and those who think differently than you do, and those who dissent.

Benedict in his Holy Rule, said the Abbot should listen to the youngest of the community, and the stranger who came to the gate "because the Christ may speak through them."

In his refusal to re-examine the RC teaching that contraception is an intrinsic moral evil, this pope has condemned many to death (via AIDS and poverty)

The kind of pope we get next will be the best measure of John Paul's legacy. One like John 23rd comes once in a thousand years.

By the way, those of who are clerics or whose main work or emotional life has been inside this religious system, do not realize that organizations per se, cannot tolerate dissent or the whistleblower. Organizations at every level, government, NPO's and business, will isolate, ostracize and demean the dissenters who call that organization to be true to its own mission and principles.

See Whistleblowers: Broken Lives and Organizational Power. by C. Fred Alford. Cornell U. Press, 2001.
Namaste, discussion?
Paschal Baute
April 2, 2005