This week, in a very real way, I watched the world both come together and fall apart. The interesting thing is that the insight came from where I least expected it. In the middle of Atlanta, Ga., sits Drepung Loseling Monastery, a quiet little Buddhist community intent on reminding us that we may be ignoring one of the basics of life. Here? Us? How could that be? .
From Where I Stand
There is nothing that makes us pay attention to life as effectively as does death.
With unprecedented grief, MSNBC, politicians of all ilk and stripe, and the nation in general mourned the untimely death of Tim Russert, moderator of NBC's longest-running TV news show, "Meet the Press."
This primary season, one of the strangest in history, is awash in nonconsequentials. It has swung back and forth between the statements of two pastors and the comments of two women, all of them at best secondary to the real issues of the time.
This whole thing is a mess. I’m sure there are more elegant words for it. Like “complex,” for instance. Or, “confusing,” for instance. Or, “destabilizing,” for instance. But in the final analysis, the fact is that the Democratic primary is a mess. What anyone will know with certainty when it’s over, is anybody’s guess. But for right now, at least, the system of choosing a candidate does not feel either clear or decisive.
This week I'm coming back from doing a series of lectures in Hawaii. But I learned more about here than I did about there while I was at it.
I learned that it may be more what we do to ourselves than what is done to us that increases or decreases our quality of life.
Here's a riddle for you:
What voice of religion is almost impossible to hear -- but is everywhere?
Oh, go on, guess.
Fortunately, I've been reading newspapers. Otherwise, I may have missed the major story of the 21st century: The woman's movement is over, I hear. And from a reputable source: young women in this country who consider their mother's concerns for the role and status of women to be "so passé" as one young woman on a recent CNN International interview put it in regard to the present election season in the USA.
[Editor's Note: Sr. Chittister is in Jaipur, India, March 6-10, for the first international conference of the Global Peace Initiative of Women.]
I heard about a conversation last week that I thought explained just about everything we need to know about the current state of human affairs.
I got a good dose of U.S. politics last week, but it wasn't in the United States. I was at one of the Western world's rare institutions -- the Irish village dinner party. Here people from all over the world who happen to be in the village at the time sit alongside locals who, I am convinced, are among the best read people in the world. After all, computers and the internet have far less hold in an Irish village than in the States. And there aren't too many expensive TV packages either. Just book talk. And lots of it. Over the dinner table, late into the night, about everything on the globe.
Here's the problem with life: Some things count; some things don't. It's figuring out which is which that's difficult. Imagine, for instance, that you are teaching religion in the local parish school or church Sunday religious education program or neighborhood synagogue or mosque or temple. What answers about what is right and what is wrong would you have for the children these days?