Current Event Friday #28

Today’s #CurrentEventFriday notices something’s rotten in the state of Vatican City.

Friends another week is coming to a close. Plus, another month is ending, and a 3-Day weekend is on the horizon, that’s cause to celebrate. It’s also #CurrentEventFriday and the topic dominating the news is not about who celebrates it’s who is celibate. Yeah, I’m wading into the Catholic Church scandal.

First, let me preface all this to say that I do not bear any ill will towards Catholics or Catholicism. My heart genuinely breaks because of what is coming to light. I know many good Catholic parishioners can imagine what this whole ordeal means to them.

Having said all of that, the scandal that has rocked the church is largely due to the nature of the Catholic Church. While I may differ with them theologically, that’s more or less like dialects and accents of a language. So, I can appreciate those differences, but the polity is what has caused the problem. For what it’s worth, UMC polity is what has made my own denomination face troubles.

At the heart of the problems for the Church of Rome is the degree to which officials not only knew of claims, but actual instances of abuse. Even more disheartening is that some of those officials were guilty parties as well. The worst offender seems to be Bishop Theodore McCarrick, formerly of the Washington, D.C. Archdiocese. Allegations about McCarrick had been known since 2000, and civil settlements had been paid by the Newark Archdiocese to victims for McCarrick’s behavior during his episcopacy in that Archdiocese. Pope Benedict XVI was aware of these allegations and formally sanctioned McCarrick by restricting his movement and ministry. Strangely, Pope Francis is alleged to have lifted the restrictions. Earlier in July as mounting allegations and secular trials were mounting against McCarrick, he resigned from the college of Cardinals. Upon his resignation, Pope Francis suggested McCarrick devote himself to prayer, penance, and seclusion.

Much of the accusations against McCarrick and others are made by the Vatican’s delegate to the United States, Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano. Archbishop Vigano released a document last weekend that detailed instances of conspiracy by church officials in regard to abusers. In the document, Vigano calls on Pope Francis to resign as Francis is alleged to have known much of the abuse occurred.

Here’s why all of this is a problem. The Catholic Church has grown to an international bureaucratic organization. We as Americans often bemoan our own governmental system, but the Catholic Church is worldwide than the U.S. Government. Also, with out government system there are provisions to correct problems, the most obvious being elections. Popes and Bishops aren’t elected by parishioners, and there are no term limits on them. I don’t think that democratic elections are the answer though.

I’ll admit, I’m not a Catholic scholar but if it is proven that Pope Francis was aware of the allegations and allowed the Bishops and priests to remain in ministry without discipline, he should resign. It’s not the Reformation, where news of the church’s corruption is unquestioned and slow to be discovered. Pope Francis needs to address this. His response towards reporters about the Vigano report sounded much like Pres. Trump when he told them to do their jobs and stop asking him questions. Also not helping Pope Francis’s cause is a tweet from earlier yesterday that has now been deleted. In the papal tweet, Francis stated, “We Christians are not selling a product. We are communicating a lifestyle.” When you start sounding like morally ambiguous Don Draper from Mad Men, that’s when you know you’ve jumped the shark as a leader of a troubled church.

Also some worthwhile points if Francis resigns, and a new Pope must be chosen:

Sorry, I had to inject some humor into this.

On a more serious note, I think what needs to happen is a second Reformation of the church.  If at all possible, Popes should serve for no more than 10 years. As well, Bishops should serve for no more than eight years in any Archdiocese. Finally, the requirement for only single men as clergy is a misunderstanding of scripture and problematic for the situation the church finds itself in. These single men who are to refrain from sex are often subject to distractions and unhealthy sexual habits. Resolving the requirement to be celibate and single may help the clergy live more fulfilled lives. It also seems ridiculous considering the first recognized pope St. Peter was married. Scripture tells us Jesus healed St. Peter’s mother-in-law. That’s kind of a package deal, you don’t get a mother-in-law without a wife. I know the classic comedic bit here would be to say if only it was the other way around, you get a wife but no mother-in-law. I also think worth adding in clergy requirements for the Catholic church is allowing women to be priests. I know that is huge stretch, but even if the Catholic Church was like Southern Baptists only with more decorative clothing and the Virgin Mary would be an improvement.

I’m also aware that there is just as much sexual misbehavior in Protestant circles, but the bureaucratic entanglements allow much of those cases to come to light and be resolved easier and don’t paint the whole church as corrupt.

In sum, be gracious to your Catholic friends, family, and neighbors. If you’re Catholic, know that the head of the Church is Jesus and his heart breaks with you and He will multiply grace unto you.  For both, remember this Labor Day weekend, that Christ has already done the work of saving the Church in spite of mere mortals debating how to help it function better. Happy Labor Day weekend to all!

Poetry Wednesday #17

The latest entry for Poetry Wednesday is “Ballad 8.28 (Ballad of Red Fox and White Tail)”

This poem is dedicated to the memory of my late grandfather Wayne Stroud and in honor of my brother Ross Stroud. Both of their birthdays were yesterday, August 28. This is meant to celebrate their special relationship.

“Ballad 8.28 (Ballad of Red Fox and White Tail)”

Gather round for all to hear the tale of Red Fox,

Let’s not forget his young cadet White Tail.

Their friendship somehow became their folktale.

All the story was provided by the grandfather’s vox,

Now the grandson reforms it just like Knox.

No, the story is not contained in any book.

The foxy grandpa was strong and imposing like The Duke.

This tall tale of these warriors traveled on the swift wings of hawks.

The young buck of a grandson was just as strong as a Clydesdale.

Now their family tells the yarn in their home in the Boondocks.

Grandpa Fox was a raconteur that none could top,

People for miles around still know him by his name.

Grandson Buck didn’t know when their story would stop.

Of course, their kinship was bound to be storied since their birthday was the same.

Grandpa Fox meant the story to tease, but it was affection, like when White Tail’s ears he’d box.

© Ryan Stroud 2018

History Monday #24

We are back with an all new #HistoryMonday

I’m finally back from seclusion and the land of homework, so that’s good news for my readers. If you’re new to my blog, Mondays are dedicated to an event from this same day in history. So, with that we return to #HistoryMonday. Today’s historical event is tied to the front page of the New York Times from 1952.

Image result for August 27 1952 nyt
27 August, 1952 New York Times Frontpage

On this date, in 1952 the New York Times reported on the growing pandemic in America of Communism. The New York Times published three separate stories addressing concerns that Communists were launching an attempt to undermine America.

The most damning story was based on reports on the Radio Writers’ Guild from investigations by the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee. For what it’s worth, this committee was not chaired by Joseph McCarthy (R-WI), but instead by Patrick McCarran (D-NV).  The NYT story about the Radio Writers’ Guild explained that a majority of the guild was communist and since they controlled much of American media there was a concerted effort to win hearts and minds of Americans to communism. The second NYT story detailed the concerns from the American Legion and their issues with Pres. Eisenhower. Supposedly the Legion was unhappy that Pres. Eisenhower’s Secretary of State David Acheson was not addressing the communist threats in Asia. For balance sake, the paper did include a rebuttal from Adlai Stevenson decrying patriotism with false bravado to combat the ‘Reds’ even including the name change of the Cincinnati Reds to the Cincinnati Redlegs.

While this may not exactly qualify as one specific event, it shows the mind of Americans and the press towards the Communist threat in America. Sen. McCarthy’s efforts to hunt down and expel Communists, along with his counterparts on the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) represented a mindset that existed at the beginning of the Cold War and suspicions about people who were sympathetic to Communism.

fast forward

What’s interesting, is some six decades ago, everyone was suspicious of Russian interference in American politics and everyday life. We still have suspicion of that, only the Russians are no longer Communist, and Communism’s little brother Socialism is tolerated and anyone claiming to be a Democratic Socialist is a serious contender for the Presidency and Legislative leadership. I would argue that we don’t have a Red Scare happening, but we have a Brown or Black scare. The media targets of Antifa are worried that Pres. Trump is either a Nazi or a Fascist, and Trump sometimes unfairly paints the media and celebrities with a broad brush like McCarthy, McCarran, et. al did towards the Radio Writers’ Guild, the Hollywood Blacklist, and the Rosenbergs. I agree that Jim Acosta and Don Lemon of CNN are too Leftist and antagonistic towards Pres. Trump for what seems like minutiae or trivial issues. I think Jake Tapper or Juan Williams do their best to ask legitimate questions of Trump and try to be as fair-minded as possible. I would like to see more of Hollywood and the rest of the entertainment industry even their stance, but the money seems to be with the resistance, so most conservative celebrities will themselves be backlisted if they show any partiality to Trump. Although, I have seen promise from of all people Kanye & Kim Kardashian West to work with Trump. I also don’t think that we are in a place that the majority of Americans are afraid of Trump being a Russian puppet or fascist like Americans were during the Red Scare. I think people have found more media outlets and done their own research to make up their minds than buying into mob hysteria and believing the daily digest from Congress. Thanks to 24-hour news networks, CSPAN, and political media outlets online people can see beyond the lens of a monolithic media like everyone in the 1950’s did.

 

 

For a worthwhile look at McCarthyism and media, I’d recommend watching “Good Night and Good Luck” that depicts Edward R. Murrow’s attempts to challenge Sen. McCarthy’s anticommunist efforts.

 

#CurrentEventFriday 27

Urban folks are mired in controversy in Ohio.

It seems like there’s always a disconnect between Urban folks and many of the rest of the country. That’s the topic of today’s #CurrentEventFriday. It’s worth talking about especially as college football season approaches.

If you’re trying to understand the connection between college football and Urban folks, it helps if you know the coach of one of the most well-known college football programs is Urban Meyer and he’s gotten himself in the news this week.

Image result for urban meyer

Before his tenure at THE Ohio State University, Meyer was the coach of the University of Florida, earning two national titles with the Gators. Meyer won a third national title with the Buckeyes in 2014. Meyer was hired to take over at Ohio State largely based on his successes at his previous schools, including Florida and his roots in the state of Ohio.

Meyer was hired in 2012 to take over the Ohio State football program from interim head coach Luke Fickell. Fickell was named the interim coach after violations of NCAA rules by several players came to light and the head coach Jim Tressel was found to be aware of the improper activities by the players. Tressel accepted discipline from the university by way of suspension as the violations first came to light, before eventually resigning.

Anyways, back to Urban Meyer. This last week reports surfaced that one of the assistants on Meyer’s staff was alleged to commit several acts of domestic violence in 2015. Normally, the assistant would be suspended and eventually fired. What’s making it worse is Meyer seems to have been aware of the assistant’s violent tendencies and didn’t immediately dismiss the assistant when he found out about the domestic violence. In the wake of Meyer’s predecessor Tressel’s downfall, Rick Pitino’s culpability with the UofL scandal, Joe Paterno’s conspiracy in the Jerry Sandusky trials, or Pete Carroll’s role in USC eligibility violations Meyer really has no excuse. All these coaches were dismissed from their programs or left before facing the sanctions against their teams.

There seem to be discrepancies with Urban Meyer’s story and the account from his assistant’s ex-wife. Meyer admitted he knew of an incident in 2009 in which the assistant assaulted his then-wife while she was pregnant. Meyer claims after finding out about the incident he suggested the couple explore marital counseling. The now ex-wife claims in a statement that Meyer knew of the 2015 incident as well, but Meyer claims he only learned about it recently when he dismissed the assistant after the assistant violated a trespass warning when he was found at his ex-wife’s property in July.

Ohio State officials have placed Meyer on administrative leave while they investigate more about the former assistant and whether Meyer was fully aware of his assistant’s violent past as recently as 2015. I’ll be honest, Meyer probably won’t survive unscathed, but he should resign rather than risk being fired. If he resigns and stays out of the spotlight or finds an assistant position like Tressel, he could likely weather the storm. In the era of #metoo and vigorous support of women by the NCAA, it makes no sense for Meyer and the University not to go ahead and part ways. It’s still the Ohio State Football program and it’s a coveted position for many coaches, except those born in the Wolverine State. Jim Tressel resigned from Ohio State, worked as an advisor/assistant in the NFL for a few years and is now an ambassador and executive for Youngstown State and is doing well for himself. Meyer has plenty of connections from his time in Florida and Ohio State, as well as Utah. Meyer might fit well in Washington D.C. as a Quarterback consultant for Alex Smith, a quarterback that he led to success in college, Meyer might also help like Tressel did in Indianapolis. He’d help Jacoby Brissett who played at Florida shortly after Meyer departed for ESPN, as well as help Andrew Luck. I’m not actively rooting for that option one way or the other as a Colts’ fan, but it couldn’t hurt.

Regardless, Urban Meyer must find someway to extricate himself from the situation he now finds himself. Whether he’s vindicated in how aware he was of the assistant’s 2015 offense, or the allegations are proven against him, he’s allowed too much heat on the university.

I know that much of this post will be considered a ‘hot take’ by many Buckeyes fans, and I run the risk of discussing it as I’ll be in Buckeye territory for almost two weeks while I’m at Course of Study School in Ohio starting Sunday.

 

Worth mentioning also, while I will be away and in classes the next few weeks, I’ll be dark on the blog until Aug. 20 with an all-new #HistoryMonday on that day. So, I’ll be anxious to write again for pleasure instead of class and I’m looking forward to much of your input when I return.        

It’s the Time of the Season

Now that it’s August, my family is getting ready for one of their favorite seasons.

The calendar has turned to another month, and that means a new season is approaching. If you said school season, you’d be correct since many schools are starting soon or have already started, but that’s not the season I’m thinking of. It’s also close to football season, but that’s not quite on my radar yet. It’s too early for deer season. But for many in my family, especially the paternal side of my family tree it’s birthday season.

birthday-cakes-online-buy-birthday-cake-for-kids-girls-boys-image-birthday-cake

August has been birthday season for my dad’s family as long as I’ve been alive and was apparently a thing even when Mom married into the family a few years before I was born. When she was welcomed into the family, she was lucky enough to be included in birthday season by having an August birthday like so many others in the family. Both of my aunts celebrate birthdays in August, my oldest cousin was also born in August, his stepdaughter is also an August baby, and my grandfather and my brother shared the same birthday on August 28. Additionally, my sister-in-law is an August baby as well and has been added to the celebration. The most recent addition, or the youngest August Birthday is my first cousin-once removed who just barely slid in under the tag much to her mother’s chagrin.

Given that more than a half dozen people were born in August, it made sense for my Dad’s side of the family to celebrate all of the birthdays as one big shindig. Growing up, there was always an August Birthdays party for everyone in the family born in this month. Additionally, worth celebrating are the two anniversaries celebrated in August thanks to my parents’ and my brother and sister-in-law’s nuptials being part of the festivities.

What’s strange is a similar acknowledgement of multiple family members being born in the same month doesn’t occur on my mom’s side. Much of the members of her family share the month of February as their birth month. This includes my grandfather, my cousin, his youngest son, another cousin’s twins, and of course my own birthday. This may be more since my cousins’ children were born after my grandfather’s death. While my grandfather was alive, three birthdays in the same month would neat but not as remarkable as the number on dad’s side. Now that it would be five people celebrating birthdays it might make more sense, but the family is so spread out that it might present some challenges.

I think Dad’s family celebrates the August Birthdays because so much of the family is within an hour’s drive of each other and we also will find any reason to celebrate and get together. In fact, we floated the August Birthdays party to September a few years back, so we could accommodate everyone’s schedule and celebrate. Thankfully, this year we’ll celebrate the August Birthdays in August, so my mind doesn’t try to comprehend a one-month belated celebration.

Do you have several family members with birthdays in the same month? Do you do anything special to acknowledge them?

Poetry Wednesday #16

The latest original poem “On Country Music.”

Hail to thee, Luke the Drifter!

You come from the state of Cotton.

Maybe a taste of cotton lead you to the snifter?

Your name given to your first begotten

Ensuring your legacy won’t be forgotten

 

Just as valuable, that’s why you’re Cash.

Baritone, sable clad and chiseled jaw

A career not just a flash

No stranger to the other side of the law

You say, “Hello, I’m Johnny from Arkansas.”

 

Don’t be crazy and forget Ms. Cline

That just wouldn’t be right.

Like the men in country’s shrine

Career that flew as high as a kite.

You’re of course still out there walkin’ after Midnight.

 

Nightlife suits you, Possum.

Will anyone fill your shoes?

Lyrics described as awesome.

Which songs do I choose?

You stopped loving her, nonetheless you paid your dues.

 

Thanks for all you still do Red-Headed Stranger.

There flows the Whiskey River

A Lone-Star Stater, but not a Ranger.

Songs for the good times, the arrows in your quiver.

Get on the road again as Country’s caregiver!

 

© Ryan Stroud 2018