Dee's Blog
Wed 01/23/2013
Keeping Congress Busy!
Topic: Making Changes

Marie Fortune always gets the message across so well, so there's no need for me to waste my time with this.  Please read Fortune's blog for today.  Then, take action as she suggests.  Let Congress know this is another issue where they need to get moving!  After all, women's lives depend on it--our friends' lives, our daughters', our granddaughters', our mothers, if not ourselves or our neighbors.

Posted by Dee Ann Miller at 6:13 PM CST
Fri 01/18/2013
Excuses, Excuses!
Topic: Power

"I didn't invent the culture, and I didn't try to stop the culture."  Out of all the ridiculous attempts to "apologize" for his sociopathic behavior, this is my favorite quote so far from Lance Armstrong's "tell all" interview with Oprah.

Of course, he's not telling all.  It's obvious.  As one commentator says, he's learning to tell the truth in this process.  Not sure how much he's learning, frankly.  Yet you and I can learn a LOT about collusion with evil from his comments.

Perpetrators and colluders both try to excuse themselves through rationalization.  Blaming the culture--whether it's the national culture or a sub-culture, such as a professional community or, in Lance's illustration, the racing community--is just one form of rationalization. 

It's what we all do when we fail to stand up against evil or just blatantly give into the thinking of the day that allows us to join other perpetrators like this guy that so many saw as an honest hero.

Just a few days ago, I asked a pertinent set of questions.  One was:  "Can we be both a loser and a winner at the same time?"  Lance Armstrong clearly shows that he could have been, if indeed there was no way to win without doping.  There are more important ways to be a winner than winning a race!  Sadly, he isn't a winner in any way.  Unless, of course, the race is about messing up other people's lives.  In that, he's got lots of company, though he may rank close to the top of this list of "(s)winners."

Posted by Dee Ann Miller at 10:11 AM CST
Updated: Wed 01/23/2013 6:06 PM CST
Fri 01/11/2013
Do We Worship a Loser?
Topic: spirituality

Richard Rohr, a Franciscan priest, wrote an important article a while back.

Rohr writes about the difficulty that men have in expressing feelings, especially sadness.  He contrasts this to the richer inner life of women in a world where women have more inner choices while men have more outer choices.

What he had to say is complex.  It weaves in spirituality, inner emotional conflict, and the problems of violence.  He points out that all of us lose when we frame the world's population in terms of "winners" and "losers."

The most important question he raises, in my opinion, is one that will keep me thinking for a long time.  In referring to Jesus' death on the cross, he asks: 

 How do we dare to worship a “loser” and yet so idealize winning?

My immediate answer is that Jesus wasn't a loser, except that he lost his earthly life.  What would yours be?  How does this compare to your own experiences of losing?  Can we be both winners and losers at the same time?

Posted by Dee Ann Miller at 9:27 AM CST
Sat 01/05/2013
The Power of Humor
Topic: Power

My father's family left me with a sense of humor that has served me quite well in the lowest points of my life.  Not that I always access it when I need it.  I wish I had the gift of Dad's generation to laugh and cry almost simultaneously.  Mine is very weak, compared to my uncle's sense of humor.  Uncle Jack is the only one of that generation left. 

How I'd love to interject more of it into my writing, allowing other to laugh at the absurdity of things like denial. 

Last week, I ran across another writer who does exactly that.  Chances are she's making a good living at it, too, since she not only writes but shares her humor as a speaker. 

Rather than spend years in analysis, Loretta LaRoche says she uses humor "to break through the irrational thoughts" that come from what others have implanted in her mind. 

In her book Relax--you may only have a few minutes left, she suggests we pretend that we are driving a bus, with our parents, teachers, coaches, bosses, ministers and all those people who have filled us with irrational thoughts just filling up the seats of the bus.  The driver can take them wherever she wants to, with they as captive audience. 

Try it!  And split your sides laughing as you do!

Posted by Dee Ann Miller at 8:22 PM CST
Mon 12/31/2012
Last-Minute Resolutions
Topic: Making Changes

The breaking news, at this very moment, is that they've reached a last-minute deal in Washington!  Like all New Years Eve promises, we'll have to wait and see if it's worth the paper it's written on.

Seems to me that most resolutions just scratch the surface.  They center on things external, without the revolutionary changes we need to make if we are going to see personal transformation.

I just get sick at heart every year when "turning over a new leaf" seems to be no more than going to the gym and pushing back from the table more.  Not that these aren't important.  They are VITALLY important for the physical well-being of our ailing population.  We are killing ourselves by not doing the basic self-care that used to be so much easier in leaner times when most of us earned our living by the sweat of the brow.

If we are to cease colluding with evil, we must break habits in our thinking that keep us stopping short of taking responsible actions on matters even more important than the superficial resolutions that keep us locked in nothing more than gazing at our own spiritual navels.  Or getting to the point we can even see them.


Posted by Dee Ann Miller at 9:23 PM CST
Fri 12/28/2012
A Plea for Forgiveness
Topic: Making Decisions

My husband was the recipient of the most memorable gift in our household this year.  A bumper sticker!  It reads:  "Father forgive Congress, for they know not what they doest." 

Let's dream of the day when they will wake up and ask seriously for genuine forgiveness from the people being harmed by their lack of moral intelligence in the face of so much suffering!

Posted by Dee Ann Miller at 10:06 PM CST
Sun 12/23/2012
The Patriarchal Planet

Seems I need to clarify the last statement in the last blog I wrote.  When I referred to people who, for whatever reason, seem to live on a planet where light does not exist.

My reference was intended to be broad, rather than centered on people with serious mental health pathology that would render them immediately dangerous to self or others.   Certainly, these would be included in the total mix.

Light cannot exist for those who have a conscious or unconscious goal to control others through oppression.  This can include severely depressed people, but not necessarily.  Many, many depressed people sense that there is no light on the planet where they dwell, psychologically.  Yet sensing this does not make it true.  The focus is often the problem.

Situations can also make us feel this way for a season, even if we are not clinically depressed.  Life can be overwhelming for those who normally have a healthy outlook, yet are faced with abnormally stressful problems or tragedies.  A good friend and blogger puts it well in her recent blog that also addresses the issues of darkness and light in reference to the tragedy at Newtown.

Another friend, Olga, talked recently about "the patriarchal planet."   Those of you who know me well, regardless of gender, know that I do not speak of patriarchy in regard to gender at all.   It does, where applicable, refer to male privilege.  Yet I use it in reference to the much larger scope of things.  So, borrowing from a phrase of Joan Chittister's, let me say that Light does not dwell where concepts of "elitism without merit" reign--whether in our hearts or the nation that is now looking at a perfect example of this in the extreme.  In what I see as spiritual warfare, framed in political philosophy, we are seeing it play out before our eyes in Washington, D. C.!

Posted by Dee Ann Miller at 9:12 AM CST
Updated: Sun 12/23/2012 9:18 AM CST
Wed 12/19/2012
Finding Focus in Spite of it All
Topic: Christmas

Days before the shock of last Friday's school shooting, I was already writing about the darkness of Christmas.

Suddenly, Christmas, 2012, was shattered for us all by a young man whom nobody would have predicted to be capable of making a name for himself, in such a way, on the last day of his life!  A young man who must have felt immensely powerless until something snapped.

For Ron and I, we had just finished a quiet, elegant meal with dear friends, at our own dining table.  Conversation suddenly halted when Ron picked up the news from the radio, turned down low, in another part of the house. 

This makes us stop and think about our own children and grandchildren.  It forces us to re-visit discussions that have kept us in gridlock on gun control.  They are age-old questions about freedom and rights--the same philosophical questions that surround so many other issues that divide our nation today.

If we are honest, the tragedy makes us also stop and think about the blend of darkness and light in ourselves and all of the people who cross our paths.  We are confused.  We are puzzled.  We are troubled.  None of which makes Christmas seem like Christmas.

Seems to me the only thing left for most of us is to search our own souls, so we do not lose sight of "whatsoever is good....." For only by keeping our eyes on things that "have virtue and are worthy of true praise" can we most contribute to the changes needed in our world, especially in the United States.  I'm talking about limits on people who, for whatever reason, seem to live on another planet where Christmas cannot be found.

Posted by Dee Ann Miller at 10:26 AM CST
Updated: Wed 12/19/2012 10:30 AM CST
Sun 12/16/2012
When the Blues Turn to Black

Every year, about the middle of December, I start hearing from people whose worlds look a little bluer.  Some a lot bluer, especially those who may be struggling with collusion with evil, coming from people in high places.

This week we have witnessed the most extreme of darkness imaginable--the horrific murder of so many little children and the teachers who were trying to protect them!  Our world has turned pitch black because of this.

Collusion with evil, which is the topic that continues to draw people to my writing, has a way of reminding me of Herod in an odd way of connecting things.  Herod and the current "criminal of the week," neither one of them, valued the lives of anyone.  They must both have felt utter darkness inside, unable to imagine a world where they could be a part of making things brighter for anyone.  For the abuse of power and true Light can never occupy the same heart! 

Both the Herod of Christmas past and the murderer of Christmas, 2012 bring the dark side to Christmas.

Herod did benefit, though, unlike the 2012 perpetrator. At least, he benefited by keeping his job, for what it was really worth! Remember that Herod could only keep his job by oppressing others.  That was what he was paid to do.

Well, a lot of people manage to keep their jobs by  joining the "good old boy system" that continues to oppress people in many ways.  Of course, when it gets done through the institutional church, as we are seeing a lot these days on many issues of oppression, then the blues can feel totally black. 

If you are one of the recipients, whether a member of the GLBT community, a woman who is being "kept in her place" in spite of being ordained, a member of a minority group, a victim of abuse, or perhaps a person whose story the church does not want to hear for whatever reason, may you find some comfort in knowing that power bases are being surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses like never before in history.

The truth that's larger than all of us manages to shine through in this world at surprising moments, just like the bright lights of Christmas, even if your heart still sees navy blue.  Or even black that's as solid as if you yourself were a perpetrator of evil!

Posted by Dee Ann Miller at 8:53 AM CST
Updated: Sun 12/16/2012 9:04 PM CST
Tue 12/11/2012
The Real "King of the Jews"

Herod had a big job.  As a puppet of the Roman Empire, he could only maintain his power through abusing those that he was expected to control.

Having lived in a country that was theoretically a police state, I can tell you that people under such a leader do everything they can to avoid showing disrespect.  The control is not because anyone is fooled.  It's because they are petrified--if not that they will personally be victims of violent outbursts, the fear is that they will starve trying to pay outrageous taxes.

This is the world into which Jesus was born, the world to which he was destined to speak with such boldness!  This is why he ended up being born in a stable. It's why his family had to change their plans rather than taking their newborn back home as they must have longed to do.

The oppressed aren't the only ones that have to be on their toes, constantly watching behind their backs.  So do the oppressors, fearing that the truth will be found out.  Does this remind you of anything you've ever experienced or witnessed?  What in today's news stories does this parallel?

Posted by Dee Ann Miller at 10:27 PM CST

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