Archive for the ‘Nebraska’ Category

Pierced Lips

To create something out of nothing,

There was an astonishment. To create something out of nothing. There was an astonishment to discover the universal feeling, to know how lost most twenty-somethings feel. In the invisible wrestling match of youth, in the search for meaning in all the world. In a world filled so much with ideology.

Ideology. Ideology was the wrestling match. Presidents and presidential candidates got caught up in it. Popes did too. It was a result of a focus on law and order. Orthodoxy. Rules. Until the Obama Administration, the conservatives have ruled the era in the United States, for those who have come of age. And youth for the most part eventually rebelled over too much rigidity. Perhaps like the youth in the Arab Spring.

My view of the generation in their twenties in the United States was that there was a palpable sense of rebellion. American kids had been walked to the bus stop all of their lives. Their parents had attended all of their soccer games. In “organized” sport. Life had never, in human history, been like that for kids before. There was some underlying desire for revenge, an expression of grievance over too much attention which was seen by adults as only a reflection of love. And the world had never seen so many voluntary body piercings, tattoos, markings, on so many people. To make some kind of statement about freedom.

There was in each life some kind of battle between alienation and unity. Maybe that was why people went on pilgrimage. Mostly, alone. To find a direction. A personal direction. In reading a couple of old issue of Company, from 2008, there is a story of pilgrimage. Every day you met people from all over the world in a quest, along the path of St. James, at el Camino de Santiago de Compostela. In A Vanished World, Chris Lowney questions as he travels across Spain why three religions that worship the same God and deeply respect human dignity have so often turned on each other. It was a book really about spiritual direction? I had read an article about this pilgrimage in Spain. In any life, we all had a spiritual direction, though few talk about it. It was a lot like that teen-age feeling when you got you first zit.

When you are in your late twenties. And you have these burning questions inside. With the battle over your fertility. To create something out of nothing. Something everlasting, like your children’s children. That astonishment. Over and over again, in each generation. So what are you gonna do when you learn how to pray? Beyond the petitions? In a relationship? When it was time to change the world, and amend your own life.

In the life of any 22-year old after completing their formal education, the challenge was coming to the understanding that the change would be through what looked to be some fairly mundane things in everyday life. I re-read another article about being moved on pilgrimage – not all that different than retreat, in a search for God in all things, in all lives, which never changed. Briana Colton wrote about her World Youth Day experience in Australia, in search of clarity and perspective in her life. Ms. Colton, a graduate from Marquette University three years before, writes of then struggle of all 25-year olds, of “becoming” after all this formation.

Ms. Colton described what I always thought of as the mundane things in a day. In the course of her days in Sydney, she walked, she listened, she sang. At the end of the trip, she reflected and she prayed. Ms. Colton did not figure out in a matter of days, or so she says, who she was or who God wanted her to be. But she did discover the importance of her Catholicism and experiencing the Eucharist (going to Mass) in the ongoing formation process of her life. In a sense she seems to still be moved by hunger, looking for her own passion about life, to experience more things Catholic.

What to do after “becoming”? To realize that today was sacred. And I was sacred. If I tried to live a more reverent life, tilted in the direction of God. If time is sacred is to see that part of the GLORY BE prayer…. ‘As it was in the beginning, NOW, and ever shall be.’ And if I was sacred, if my wife shared the ideal, and we pointed our kids in a certain direction, then maybe the people who believed, as I had believed, would help to form a better world.

What are you gonna do when you learn how to pray? Now! ONCE YOUR PRAYERS ARE ANSWERED, THEN WHAT? To realize that today was sacred. That I was in the presence of God. Now! After you land your first job out of college. After you are married? How often will you pray? As you create something out of nothing. What will you ask for? Or will you do nothing?

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“Michael. Row the boat ashore.”

My youngest niece is 4 years old. Within the past few days she came across 2 blue robin’s eggs in the backyard. Left unattended. On the ground. On territory belonging to her living ancestors, four generations older.

My 4-year old niece wanted to know, with her own developing sense of belonging, to whom those 2 blue eggs in the backyard belonged.

Her father expressed concern on the previous Sunday about the east coast of the United States, and the damage done by that off-shore oil rig, the Deepwater Horizon. In the area that his family lives, and where he grew up. A state that he left attended to by his mother and 3 sisters. And their families. On the east coast.

Coastlines. The suspicions of the inhabitants, with their sense of belonging. Of nomads, always in search of place. Crossing borders. With reckless abandon. Addressing those relationships. Of belonging. With new beginnings. Or at life’s end.

“Michael. Row the boat ashore.” The mystery of off-shore drilling, nearly one mile deep. Or of robin’s eggs.

Life was not fair. On shore. Just when they had the least income, old people had to go to the doctor the most. In Ireland, Minister for Health and Children Mary Harney was trying to sell to sell its state-owned health insurance company, VHI. But first she had to deal with issues of capital reserves. To attract new investors.

According to new data published today by the Central Statistics Office, women in Ireland had an average of 2.05 children in 2007, one-third of which were births outside of marriage in 2007. (The percentage of births outside of marriage was higher in my own country in 2007.) The estimated April 2007 population was 4,339,000, with 2,171,100 males and 2,167,900 females. This was the highest fertility rate in the European Union in 2007. The fertility rate in France was 1.98, while 1.92 in Britain.

Life was not fair. Over the draft and a government’s ability to send young men to their death. In war. As government attempted to increase its own power, on the back of the vulnerable young men. And about those robin’s eggs. Life was not fair. On the birth issues. As government attempted to increase its own power, on the back of the vulnerable young women, so the issue of fertility. An Irish woman born in the 1980s, Ann Enright wrote: “The wars we fought about contraception, abortion, divorce were not about virtue–or only incidentally so–it was about breeding. It was about maintaining stock. The nation faced a demographic shift towards the young. We could not believe that the nation had to overproduce just to keep still. ”

Maintaining stock. The Irish government is planning to sell its state-owned health insurance company, VHI. While the European Commission had initially set a date of September 1, 2009 to implement an adequate regulatory regime to oversee the state-owned health insurance company, Minister for Health and Children Mary Harney has set a new date to accrue the required capital reserves by of January 1, 2012. As previous deadlines have been missed, this is at least the fourth deadline set by the government. The Irish government faces court action by the European Commission for failing to implement an adequate regulatory commission to oversee the VHI that could require an investment of up to € 200 million. It was as if the SEC quit overseeing Wall Street.

Taoiseach Brian Cowen said: “The scheme will be significant in scale and scope, reflecting the real additional cost of health care for older or sicker customers. While we prepare the legislation and engage in appropriate consultations, we will ensure that there is significant support of costs of claims for older people though the tax system.” According to the Irish Times, having expanded beyond the health insurance market, the state-owned health insurance company has benefited from having to meet solvency levels, with exemption to set aside reserves for a minimum guarantee fund, as established by two directives of the EU non-life insurance, from the general insurance supervisory commission.

Maintaining stock. The Minister for Health and Children, Mary Harney, stated: “We are protecting older and sicker people from being loaded with premium increases or more expensive policies solely because of their age and medical history. There are very complex challenges involved in our health insurance market. It is important to deal with all the complexity on the basis of a clear objective and a determination to achieve it.”

Those robin’s eggs. And unconditional fertility. Or infertility. Affecting movement in the story. Affecting coastlines. In the lives of a woman, young and old. And in the lives of nomads. With all the human desire for stability. So were your relationships stable? Maintaining stock when you, with your hunger and desire to connect to someone, had the inner desire to belong. And to maintain. When life was not fair. And death was not fair.

What would happen to the boat when the proportion of elderly to the young, in the way of rowers, was out of balance –when the elderly were not required to row, and the boat quit moving? When a nation had to overproduce, to maintain.

The unattended robin’s eggs. The off-shore drilling. The damage done. With her own sense of belonging to a tribe…on territory belonging to someone, with a desire to connect and sharing the inner desire to belong, my 4-years old niece wanted to know, with this developing sense of belonging, to whom those 2 blue eggs in the backyard belonged.

The mystery about fertility. And stability in relationships. Until you were related to the entire world. And all of its problems.

Maintaining stock. The challenge of maintaining stock, with the past to pass on. The relationship of a woman with her body. Or a robin to the fertility issue. Affecting the collective world. Just another relationship affecting a woman. At the age of four. Addressing those relationships. With new beginnings. Or at life’s end.

Rummaging for God. But having to deal with issues of capital reserves. To attract new investors. In the birth and death issues.

I spent last weekend with about 20 high school classmates. On Saturday I had breakfast with three classmates, two of whom were patients dealing with leukemia. The news about the leukemia of one friend I had forgotten. The other was a doctor who, after dealing with life and death issue each day in his practice, had come face to face with own mortality two years ago. More than 4 out of 5 patients with his diagnosis were dead in 24 months. Instead he was having to deal with issues of capital reserves and medical bills over the past 24 months in excess of $2 million. He has been intimately involved each day with the birth and death issues of women on the east coast. Perhaps overcome as much with other people’s suffering after twenty-five years, this one-time close friendship –that distance more than time had eroded the relationship — seemed at first to have changed. I wondered if he had lost his sense of humor. I never saw him laugh that first day during the weekend, until telling stories about his kids. And it was too often true that nothing was ever funny in the world, except for our kids.

Rummaging for God. On issues of birth and death. And fertility. But having to deal with issues of capital reserves. To attract new investors. In the death as well as the birth issues. Yeah, a nation mostly had to overproduce.

The Irish government was expected to announce a new risk equalization scheme to operate in the health insurance market. In advance of the sale the Irish government announced “substantial” capital will be injected into the company’s reserves to meet the requirements of the European Union to continue operations.

“Michael. Row the boat ashore.” New risk equalization schemes. Ministers for Health and Children. Coastlines. “Michael. Row the boat ashore.” With all the concern over coastlines. And maintaining stock. Amidst risk equalization schemes.

People Watching

Expelled. From the garden. Crime and punishment. What a punishment. To be compelled to discover the world. The mountains. The rivers. Appellations for all of this. Creating artificial borders

The conflicts. Reparations. A lot like for sins, war reparations. Over time.

The “Stans.’ Those countries where the Ubis, the Pakis called home. Or the Kurds. Or the Afghans. Where rivers divide. Where mountains formed by glaciers had underground sources of water. Uzbekistan. Kazakhstan. Tajikistan. Kyrgyzstan. Turkmenistan. East Turkistan, Uyghuristan, and Uyghurstan.

Muslims. In the “_stans.” There was a lot of fear about all the ___stans. After the collapse of the Soviet Union. To discover all of it. The transforming world of glaciers. As icecaps melted. Somewhere bin Laden. Amidst the snow and the wind, still howling like an animal lost off the mountain top. Looking for reparations. And people watching. Amidst the conflict.

Catholics. In Europe. In the Americas. In Africa. In the changing world. The recording of the atmosphere of otherworldliness. In search for “core competencies.” In school. In the real world. People watching.

Expelled. Charlie Weiss was expelled as coach of the Notre Dame football team. There was a time when every Catholic male in the country would care about this news story. That atmosphere of otherworldliness, in South Bend. Were concerns about Notre Dame’s recruiting reflective of problems that the Roman Catholic Church had with the current generation? Way beyond football? Was it poor leadership that had allowed the prestige of otherworldliness to slip away? Was their some kind of identity theft which had occurred over the past generation that was just be discovered now? Was it about social-issue questions. Worldly social issue questions so much focused on sex?

The best consultants use the rhetoric of personal empowerment. A messianic devotion to gurus.

“Outright shamans who sprinkle on the science like so much fairy dust.” Political polling. Politicians. Tax and spend politicians. To build. Land use and global warming. Deforestation. Attention was directed at carbons in the air, but not at the issue of land use.

“Up in the Air.” The book was now a George Clooney movie. About a new sovereign state. Based on airlines. And frequent flying. Where the world was based upon the all-important miles. Flown miles and the control of credit cards. To be compelled to discover the world.

Creating artificial borders
With the firmest tenets. Of liberty. In thin air. In places where business people called home. Airports. Smelling and breathing at the same time.

People watching. Stealth people watching. It was an inhuman time. When the nineties will be remembered as the decade of finance, of computers. And then 2009. Now more sophisticated. More jaded and knowing. Where every question comes down to economics. It was an inhuman time, with bright lights and glamour. Without a lot of emotion or human drama. But style. And now addressing that pain. With the hang over from the Greenspan cheap money era of the last decade, where all the excesses were around at sea level. Prepared for the physical deadlines, the financial deadlines, I faced now. Of the body. Of a tooth ache.

That atmosphere of other-worldliness. Prayer. On mountaintops. Smelling and breathing at the same time. With fewer spiritual pretensions than found at sea level. Oriented over time to something within. Like the melting icecaps. Of the fabled snows of Mt. Kilimanjaro, and the Swiss glaciers. Was global climate change real? Addressing the pain. Nations in Copenhagen seemed to think the clock was ticking.

To be compelled to discover the world. “Core competencies.” Now addressing the crimes. Of endangered places. And addressing that pain. From abscesses and excesses. As an imposed punishment. Of the created artificial borders. Oh to be compelled to discover the world.

People watching. Dramatically inert. Neither knowing nor caring what it is interiorly involved. What’s going on inside the borders of that face? Without my emotional response. Actors. Actresses. “She just stands around.” With a pretty, childlike face. Smelling and breathing at the same time. Without an awareness. It was December. With long stretches of people watching. Without recognizing the border. It all seemed so much like cotton candy. So what should be an appropriate expression, for an adult?

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Those Quiet Carbon Imprints

Before he became pope, Cardinal Ratzinger was quoted in America Magazine as stating that the church needs to get smaller so that it can become purer. And the plans seemed to well be underway. Actually the comments were based upon Salt of the Earth, a full-length interview to a secular journalist, as well the 1985 The Ratzinger Report, a best-selling book/interview. In an article in 2005, Notre Dame professor R. Scott Appleby was quoted: “If it’s true Pope Benedict XVI prefers a leaner, smaller, purer church as he has spoken of before,” said Notre Dame professor R. Scott Appleby, “we could see a withering of certain Catholic institutions because they’re not considered fully Catholic. This might include Catholic colleges, hospitals, and other Catholic institutions.”

On November 18, 2009, RACHEL ZOLL (AP) wrote the following:

BALTIMORE — Fallout continues from the summer controversy over the University of Notre Dame awarding an honorary degree to President Barack Obama, who supports abortion rights. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops went behind closed doors at their fall meeting Wednesday to discuss, among other issues, what action they should take to increase oversight of the nation’s more than 200 Roman Catholic colleges and universities. Chicago Cardinal Francis George, president of the bishops’ conference, revealed this week that he had formed a task force charged with reviewing the issue. Its research included a look at what church law says about bishops’ authority over the schools. The Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities has planned a similar discussion of canon law and bishops’ authority at the group’s annual meeting, set to begin Jan. 30 in Washington.

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Hooking Up

Seasons. Ritual.

Kids. The step progeny. Those one sport specialists. In this specialized world.

The specialized world. The specialist working at the Board of Trade. During the hockey season. The never ending hockey season. Or name the sport. And then hockey camp. Traveling teams and these one sport specialists. Hockey moms. Married to hockey dads. For a while.

In a world without relationships. It had now become a world of polygamy, just without the vows. Awesome. With a generation which did not know how to place adverbs. Or where. Those step progeny.

“I didn’t marry nearly as many times as I could have.”

The state of the world as described in Tom Wolfe’s Hooking Up. These grown kids. The conflict in a megabyte world that kept moving fast. The desire to stay. The attraction. The urge to go. Into such a profane world. In the specialized profane hockey world. Or the real world. Of relationships. Or lack thereof.

Seasons. Ritual. Stirred or bored.

Stirred in relationship. Not for money. For others. Mr. Law. Allan Law.

Cared for. Mostly just those with a blood relationship. Or those in one way adopted. Mr. Law. See

Stirred or bored. By the seasons. The choice to either ritualize the seasons or to one day face snowballing boredom. The choice to ritualize in relationships.

Hooking Up. The specialized world was in recovery. The specialist. Even plumbers and repair people. Paying for all those $30,000 to $50,000 weddings, for kids of mostly common people. Or not. Tom Wolfe. Hooking Up.

Tom Wolfe. Back to Blood was the working tile of Tom Wolfe’s book scheduled to be released in 2009.

The desire to stay with an author, or to move on. By a reader. His literary agent. His publisher. Somewhere in the last few years, Tom Wolfe was unable to agree on terms for a new novel with his publisher of 42 years.

To write. For the profane world. Stirred to express an understanding. Stirred in relationship. When hooking was no longer a two minute penalty.

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Term Limits

Watching parts of the funeral for Ted Kennedy yesterday, it hit me how few people who have been elected to recent public office in the United States wear eyeglasses in public. The president and those living ex-presidents. All the first ladies. Senators. And what good vision the elected government representatives had.

Or was it just vanity of vanities? The model of good government started with good looks?

My all time favorite forward was written in September 1986 in a book by Scott Walker. He was then working for the Minnesota-based Graywolf Press:

“After a time, some of us learn (and some more slowly than others) that life comes down to some simple things. How we love. How alert we are. How curious we are. Love, attention, curiosity. Layer by layer we discover and peel away superstition, fantasies, projections, levels of hate and anger and confusion….”

Human Expression

That abyss. People who once upon a time who had been in the abyss and now spent time pulling others out. In my education, by teachers. Or writers. To use perspective like artists once had in the Renaissance. In the dark, with the use of light. They used shadows to make a point. The conflict, in art. The tension in literature, in life. All great writers wrote about the abyss. To emerge out of the dark

Like a complete unknown, as Bob Dylan wrote when he was at such a young age, I had embarked this week on a work, a book, to address the issues of identity.

Starving artists. It was becoming the theme of my life in 2009. This week I was beginning to write a book about junior year abroad: the radiance of self-discovery of a student. For young men or women in search of answers. Through study. With the need of a young adult to be liberated from the tribal lien, so that religion would not become the source of disdain and aggression.

Issues of identity. Identity is just such a slow process. A lot like education. A lot like a career. Setting off in the real world. And being offered some pay.

The “what am I worth?” question. In this marketplace. Starving artists, starving novelists. Throughout the modern world, individuals and institutions grapple with the ongoing struggle to find out what they were worth. It was all part of the search for identity. In high school Latin class I struggled to learn Latin by translating Homer’s Iliad and then The Odyssey. Never in my lifetime did I think I would return with interest to The Iliad and The Odyssey. To the theme of that abyss. Trying to escape back home.

My desire at the age of 22 was to be in the real world. Was it a waste of time reading? In that first job everyone realizes how little that they know. I was done wasting time contemplating, rather than doing. Until that realization how little I knew.

In a world with so many begging for help, in search of answers. Unconscious in that 4-year island of time called college. Of the gift to be there. Watching so many squander the gift of time.

Trying to escape from the abyss. It was the same story found in myth from every culture throughout the world. The search and trying to escape from the abyss.

Now unless the gifts were shared, everything was squandered. Education was a waste unles passed along.

Presenting in fiction the present day struggle about spiritual quests. Iliads and Odysseys, and the struggle to pass on tradition in the current age. The struggle from generation to generation of off-spring. And to not fall into the abyss.

Starving artists. It was the theme of my life in 2009.

In that other quest for the Living God in a world full of people that seem to have that same ancient fear found in Judaism, where God’s name was seldom sounded, and spelled Y*w*h out of respect if not fear. To avoid the abyss.

That quest for a Living God. And the abyss. Women leading men into an abyss. Men leading women to the abyss. Generation after generation.

I think I had come to some form of acceptance about trying to present in fiction the present day struggle about spiritual quests. Iliads and Odysseys. The struggle to pass along a tradition in the current age. The same struggle from generation to generation, of starving artists to stay out of the abyss.

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Woodstock & Stardust

Woodstock. The musical world was remembering what happened near Woodstock, New York 40 years ago.

I had watched the documentary “Woodstock: Then and Now” last night. And I woke up hearing Van Morrison sing “Have I told you lately that I love you?”

I was in high school 40 years ago. Perhaps I was an idealist at the time, but the world had seemed a lot more equal. Those Woodstock musicians had helped with a sense of vitality to point out a few problems with the world. With the Jimmie Hendrix improvised version of the National Anthem, which had seemed to address a war in Asia, race relations in the United States, or maybe the state of the union between men and women.

There was a lot of soul in the music. The documentary seemed to me to point out in its ending what was missing in the music today, watching kids today try to emulate the past, as they learned to make music. The music today which all looked like a Disney production. To make money.

The vitality of Woodstock: Kids listening to music, shouting “What the hell is wrong with you?” back at their parents. It was the same lyrics they had heard since they had emulated the hairstyle of The Beattles. Educated long-haired kids who had to go back home. Kids who for a longest time had been asked the same question, “What the hell is wrong with you?” Kids who still loved their parents. Despite the world.

I watched the documentary “Woodstock: Then and Now” last night. About songs of protest and songs of love. And I woke up hearing Van Morrison sing “Have I told you lately that I love you?”

Woodstock was all about vitality. About having fun. With little concern for making money. It was about a rain storm that humbled the crowd to equality. It was about a time of innocence. When musical artists were not concerned about impressing the audience as much as each other. Woodstock was about the muse. And about the true meaning of music.

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How Are Things in Glocca Morra

These were times of fear. It came during a sense of great loss. Over wealth. Over freedom. Over loss of life.

Mob rule. Politics. The devil in history.

Addictions. Issues of liberty. Russia Mafiya. Evil. The contract killing. In the wake of the KGB. The devil in history. All the things that came together as a system collapsed.

Mob rule. Politics. The devil in history. In the wake of World War I. The laws passed. Politicians who exploited constitutions, in times of fear. Evil.

Times of fear. The aftermath of genocide.

A lot of the world carried a disbelief in the devil. Evil seemed to be asleep, in the popular view in 2000. Then came September 11, 2001. It was much more than the current American view that evil was directed against one nation. It was much more than those 19 people from overseas? It was what had happened globally. In Spain. In London. In Saudi Arabia. In Morocco. In Kenya. In Yemen. In Somalia. In Turkey. In Mumbai. In Bali. In Jakarta. In the Philippines

Terror. Times of fear. Power. The fight in the north of Ireland. The fight of Basque separatists. The battles within China and within Russia over ethnic minorities that desired power.

The patterns are present which reflect deep currents in global sociology which work against any effort to transcend divisions.

Division. Divide and conquer. It was the mantra of terrorist and political parties.

Hunger and politics were inter-connected. So was politics and religion.

Ireland. Today there was a story in the Boston Globe about the Irish returning once again to Boston. The writer presented an update on how fast the world could change. For ex-patriots returning home in the 1990s. And now headed back to Boston.

Ireland. I have commented in the past about the title one of the more popular books sold in Ireland in 2007, Vanishing Ireland. Technology had changed generation and a nation, so much that the Vanishing Ireland book became a best seller. There seems to be a silent grieving, an expressed longing, a spiritual-type hunger, expecting things to be the same. And in all of its wake, returning to your life, carrying on, amidst the change. All that the Celtic Tiger had done was to get the romance out of the system. When Ireland had conquered the ghosts of the past, with jobs, with peace, a secularism had come in which changed the nature of the Irish. And with it had come a new division. Welcome to the European Union. Where everything seemed based on wealth. And in all of its wake, expecting things to be the same, when everything is based on wealth. The devil in history.

The Ireland these ex-patriots returned to was not the place that they had known. There was no comment upon any ill-will directed at the European Union that had poured money into the place to help the economic boom, which had become an economic bust. Deflation was close to 6% over the past 12 months. There was just an unstated acceptance, about everything, as these ex-pats returned to day to day Irish life.

Wealth and technology. Technology had changed a nation, so that there seemed to be a silent grieving, among the ex-pats. Still with a longing. Nostalgia was also some kind of spiritual hunger, for what forefathers and foremothers always had had. And with silent grieving, the same type of conflict of the hungry with the well-fed. That was always the conflict within religion, a conflict over those who strongly professed religious belief, in conflict for what ever reasons with those others without.

These were times of fear. Over the void left. It came during a sense of great loss. Over wealth. Over freedom. Over change and the effects of change. Over how the void would be filled. Over what had in the past had always been there, at least before many native-born had left the first time. They were now leaving again for Massachusetts.

When you left for economic necessity, how could these former ex-patriots complain? Yet theirs was a witness to how the world had silently changed. Even in a place like Glocca Morra. Or Camelot.

The past is always with us. Sometimes it was not even quite past.

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The Job of a Moral Theologian

Risk Management and good moral theology: where was a moral theologian when you needed one? Risk Management was described as good judgment calls.

If you cannot control health care payments, you cannot control insurance premiums. If you could not control who could acquire the most updated MRI machine, you could not control competition. Your urban hospital was going to be tested like rural hospitals were 25 years ago. Hospitals that were being killed in this current depression, with no control over the falling reimbursement for health care. As more and more people went uninsured.

Your doctors knew that if you cannot control health care payments, you cannot control insurance premiums. Thus the health care issues of 2009, with artificial deadlines of 10 days. When costs were out of control. Because with health care, no insurance company could say no, when a health care contract was written covering health care expense, without a rationale.

Population Control. Immigration. If you could not control the population numbers, you could not control government costs. If you could not balance budgets, or have some control over the number of citizens, you could not control the economy in a competitive world economy.

Future markets. I used to work across the street from the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. In the Age of the Ascent of Money. If you talked to a future trader, you learned that actions have unexpected outcome in human affairs. Future traders were hedging bets, with option contracts. Agreed prices when the seeds are planted. Agreed prices before oil or gold was taken out of the earth. Options. Hedge Funds. Derivatives.

The uncertain futures, beyond insurance. Falling family size. The universal desire to be rich, in a nation with borders. Balanced budgets. Border that were defended against neighbors. With defense departments.

Social Security. Amidst boom and bust cycles. Population Control. Until the demographics showed falling birth rates. Where the youth would not be able to sustain the medical bills of their parents. The numbers were not there. Thus the meager reserves which would not sustain either Medicare or Social Security. In addition to the health care crisis.

“The most controversial task of moral theology is to help people live their faith in the light of the times … to help them face new questions and not just to repeat or attack” the old formulas, Mercy Sr. Margaret Farley told the National Catholic Reporter.


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