Father, you have entrusted to us this passing time as a gift of your grace and presence. As you live in eternal time, so we—as long as we live—must exist in transitory time. Not abandoned by you, but in a connection with you that you prepared and provided from creation and that has gained new density and strength through the coming of your Son.
And if the years vanish in their course, they are still only successions of days that pass right through us as we pass through them in order to seek constantly what you have to show us, to experience constantly your love in new ways, to remain constantly in your embrace, just as the whole of time remains in the embrace of eternity.
We know that we are in your hand, that you shape all things, that you demand of us only the attempt to love you as steadfastly as we can. Not you in isolation, but you with your Son and your Spirit in the unity you manifest from the primordial beginning of eternity.
Our love can only be response and requital, because you, triune, eternal Love, always love us first; but do not permit this answer to wane in us; rather, let it be so vigorous that you can always perceive in it the reflected brilliance of your light. Amen.
Adrienne von Speyr, With God and With Men: Prayers, 34-35
(This is a follow-up to my previous post about Ferguson, which I titled, “Hi, I actually live in St. Louis”. I’m going to reference some things from that post, so I recommend reading it first.)
So it looks like someone lied. Maybe Mike Brown wasn’t the “gentle giant” he was described as. Maybe he wasn’t running away. Maybe he was dangerous.
The autopsy results were released today. Six gun shots, all to the front of the body. No one has released an analysis of the scene of the shooting yet, but it’s apparent that something isn’t going to line up— the story we’ve been hearing is that Mike Brown was running away when shot, then was killed with his hands up, surrendering. Obviously he wasn’t running away while shot if the entry wounds are all in the front, ect.
The Department of Justice has ordered yet another autopsy (that makes three), the results of which will likely be released later this week. If I had to guess, I’d guess that the officer will eventually be cleared. According to police protocol (as per my dad), “you shoot until the threat is no longer a threat.” It doesn’t matter if we agree with that, because that’s roughly the legal standard to which the officer is going to be held.
But here’s the deal: someone is still dead, and in the wake of that death, many more have been injured, and a lot of property has been damaged, and people don’t feel safe in their own neighborhood. But like I said before, this is no longer just an issue of a dead teenager. That matters, of course, and it will continue to matter until it’s legally resolved.
However, there’s a bigger issue here, and it’s one that can hardly be ignored (nor has it been): racism. It’s the big, ugly elephant that’s been in the room throughout American history. From the decimation of the Native Americans to the slavery and segregation of African Americans to the internment of Japanese Americans during World War Two… white America doesn’t have a great track record.
At this point, I hardly think it hardly matters whether or not Mike Brown was shot because he was black. What matters is that thousands of black St. Louisans believed it so quickly; it matters because this incident has shown that— whether or not white people think it’s a problem— black people do, and their feelings matter. Black people don’t feel protected by police, they feel threatened by them.
It would be too easy to dismiss their feelings if it turns out that Mike Brown wasn’t as angelic as his mom thought (are any of us really?) and to say “See? Racism isn’t a problem! He was guilty and he got shot; that’s what happens to criminals. Race had nothing to do with it.”
Let’s not look for the easy way out of these conflicts, friends. Racism is a long shadow in our broken world, born of sin and bred in darkness. It thrives when we point out our differences and ignore our similarities, and it loves when when it’s allowed to creep beneath our skin as we pretend it is not there.
One of the things the news isn’t covering (because, hey, that guy from LA who is certain he’s the expert on St. Louis actually isn’t) is the attempts at reconciliation that are happening, often in churches. I really like this article— it’s not perfect, but I think it came from a heart that desires peace.
White pastors have stood up and admitted their prejudices, promising to work with the black community towards racial reconciliation in St. Louis (which, as many have already noted, is one of the most racially segregated cities in the country). Black pastors have done the same, asking their congregations, “if a white police officer walked in right now, would he be welcomed, would he be loved, would be prayed for?”
These are important things, my friends. When anger abounds, when fingers point, when we only read and post articles that we agree with, we don’t get anywhere. We need to be uncomfortable with ourselves, constantly aware of filters that blur how we see our fellow human beings.
And Christians— you are called to love, not to be “right.” Don’t forget that. Love patiently, love endlessly. Listen without preparing your perfect answer; try to understand the heart of whoever is speaking to you.
important follow-up to the last post i reblogged
For the love of all that is good and pure, Tumblr. You suck at news, and you suck at it so bad that I feel it’s necessary to make a blog post about what’s actually going on here.
Before we start: I was born in St. Louis, and I’ve lived here my whole life. I’m white, middle class, granddaughter of a black man who marched in Civil Rights protests (clarification: it’s my dad’s stepdad, but he’s been a part of our family for way longer than I have), daughter of a cop, and sister to a woman who’s in love with a black guy. My family lives in the Florissant/Ferguson area. You got all that?
I’m pissed. I’m pissed at the news, and I’m pissed at the fact that there is more violence and death in a week where I was already pissed and heartbroken over what’s going on in the Middle East. I am pissed that I hear people speaking falsely with a lot of authority about a city that I really love.
I’m SUPER PISSED that Ferguson/Florissant is self-immolating right now. Because that’s what it is. When businesses like QT and Toys R Us are burned and looted, some of them pack up and don’t come back. When businesses decide an area isn’t worth the risk of setting up shop, that’s not good for the community or its citizens. Ferguson doesn’t need that; no city needs that.
The mainstream news right now is spinning a really interesting and terrifying story of militarized police that I’m ashamed to say I would probably be buying if I wasn’t living here. It’s really easy to retweet and reblog twitter pictures and say, “oh my gosh, that’s ridiculous. what the hell are the cops thinking? that kind of force is insane!”
What you’re not getting here is the progression of events.
On Saturday, before any of you guys heard about this, Michael Brown was shot and killed. St. Louis, knew, though (duh). I’d say the vast majority of people I know— including my cop dad— were initially under the impression that that police officer was in the wrong. An investigation was launched, but before it got anywhere, chaos erupted.
His family was obviously very upset. An angry and distraught family was mourning their son, and it was quickly hijacked by people who took advantage of a crappy situation.
What I don’t think most people are getting is that this isn’t a police response to a peaceful protest. There were not SWAT teams when the family initially gathered.
Sunday night, a Quik Trip was looted and burned, and the looters didn’t care that the employees were inside. A Toys R Us was burglarized. There were a lot of car jackings. I believe, all in all, 11 local businesses were looted that night in addition to however many cars and local residences were damaged. (A lot more damage has been incurred since then.)
Monday morning, police officers from neighboring areas were called in. Most of the cops you’re seeing on the news don’t live in the area and probably aren’t even supposed to be working. (My dad was supposed to be on his days off; he’s been quietly watching a local mall all week in a neighboring area.)
What we’re seeing on the news is two different events completely. There’s the shooting of Michael Brown and the demand for an investigation, and then there’s the anarchy in the Ferguson neighborhoods.
But here’s the thing: when cops are making arrests, they’re realizing that the violent “protesters” (putting that in quotes because they aren’t actually protesting anything) and looters aren’t from Ferguson or the surrounding area; they are coming in from East St. Louis*, a much more violent area than Ferguson with much higher crime rates (which is how St. Louis gets the rep as one of the most dangerous cities in the US).
[*Note: this information came from my dad, who is a police sergeant in Hazelwood and who lives in Florissant, both which are in really close proximity to Ferguson]
In the past few days, more peaceful protests have risen— as far as I can tell, these have been met with cops watching quietly to the side: armed and uniformed, but generally passive. Police have asked people to keep the protests to day time as most of the violence is happening at night. (Part of me wonders if this has anything to do with people coming in from East St. Louis in the evenings, but that’s pure speculation.)
Then there are the angry, more violent protests— from what I’ve heard and seen, cops are only reacting when physically threatened (like when glass bottles are thrown at them or when flares are shot at them, which is a thing that has been happening) or when property damage begins. From what my dad told me, the instructions given to officers were basically this: they have the right to assembly; as long as they aren’t blocking streets, or committing illegal activities, just watch.
The FAA restricted the airspace above Ferguson because the “protesters” were shooting flair guns at police helicopters. Shots have been fired at police officers (hence the intense riot gear you see them wearing in the pictures). Some “protesters” have been attempting to find the names and addresses of cops— not just the cop that shot Brown, but any cop in St. Louis.
If you’re not in St. Louis, you might not know a lot of this. You also might not know that most of us are really pissed. This St. Louis that has turned into international news (my sister’s Chinese boss saw it on the Chinese news; a friend of my dad’s got a phone call from Australia asking what hell had broken loose in St. Louis) is not the St. Louis that we all know and love.
This rioting and looting is not helping anything. It’s not okay, and it’s not justified.
Yes, St. Louis has its issues, including racial ones. These need to be addressed. I recommend reading this article from the St. Louis Post Dispatch entitled “Why Ferguson Burned”, which is an early perspective on the topic, posted right after the violence began.
I don’t think anyone is denying that an investigation should be undertaken. However, the thing that many people don’t understand, and it’s something I actually do, is how these investigations work. The public doesn’t get details; investigators, in the words of my dad, “play it almost too close to the chest.” (You can read more on that controversy here.)
If police video, recordings, and information about the case— both about the police officer and Michael Brown— are released to the public, it could jeopardize what might end up being a trial. The court of public opinion doesn’t count, guys. I’m sorry, but it doesn’t. It’s been less than one week since the shooting; it was less than 48 hours before the riots began.
The FBI has come in to supervise; this isn’t going to be a cover-up, people. Give it some time, and realize that what you see on the news may or may not reflect reality.
(Also, worth noting as a general life rule: don’t vilify a whole group of people, ever. Whether it’s cops or African Americans or Muslims or lawyers or poor people or women who bottle-feed their infants. Like, sure it’s easier to group people like that and cover them with blanket statements that erase their individuality, but it’s a poor way to pursue a balanced perspective of the world, its people, and its events. I’m just saying.)
And for Pete’s sake, stop reblogging everything you see as if it’s the golden truth.
this is rapidly becoming a night of sitting in the dark listening to the life of the world to come/the life of the world in flux
a double whammy! no Communion AND some unnecessary recognition!
(i get that i’m supposed to just be grateful for people’s kindness toward my singing and songwriting, but the music is supposed to point to God, so it’s just a little awkward when all of the focus gets shifted back to me…)
anyways, happy feast of the assumption, everybody!
Coming to YouTube on August 19th!
Frankenstein M.D. is a modern re-telling of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (did you know it was the first sci-fi book?), from Pemberley Digital, the same people who brought you The Lizzie Bennett Diaries and Emma Approved, and PBS Digital Studios. The story centers around Victoria Frankenstein (rather than “Victor” from the book), an eccentric and driven MD/PhD student who wants to prove herself in the traditionally male-dominated field of medical research. Basically, this is what we would get if Mary Shelley created a YouTube science show :)
I’m also happy to announce that I’m lending my PhD chops and serving as science consultant for the series, which is SO FUN!!! I’m working hard to make sure the science you’ll see in the series is the real thing. At least in theory. I mean, we can’t really bring frightening creatures back from the dead. Yet.
Check out the full details on the series, the cast, and the premiere here. And, just like the worlds of Lizzie Bennet and Emma Woodhouse, the Frankenstein universe will be bigger than just the videos. Here’s a few links so you can start following the characters:
i’m soooo excited for this! frankenstein is one of my favorite books, and i love pemberley digital’s storytelling. plus, it starts next week!
i want to be alone but not lonely and right now i am the exact opposite
So lately I’ve noticed a lot of tumblrs have been attacking Father Angel for upholding and teaching church doctrine. To combat this I thought all of us who appreciate him and his input could reblog this and write a little note of appreciation for Father Angel and hopefully he will see it on his dashboard with lots of support and love.
Fr Angel, you’re a model priest and someone whos posts I always deeply appreciate, not just because of your clarity in explaining the doctrines and teachings of Holy Mother Church, but the time and thought you put into them. I hope I can be as amazing a priest as you one of theses days! Thank you for all that you’ve done for our little Tumblr Catholic Community, as our unofficial chaplain we need to show you more love & thanks. So, thank you, we love you, keep up the good fight and know that many of us pray for you daily!
Fr. Angel, I love how you have NO patience for nonsense but demonstrate an abundance of patience with the time you take to respond to all the questions you receive. Thank you for your vocation to the priesthood and for sharing your knowledge with us here on Tumblr. May God bless you abundantly!
Fr. Angel, I’m so glad you are here. I wish I had your patience. You have always answered my questions with care and understanding, (some when I was anon because I was too chicken :) We need you here!
father angel, thank you for always being patient when we ask the same questions over and over or think that our questions are stupid. thank you for taking up tumblr ministry in the first place. you’ve entered an environment that is hostile toward christians, especially catholics, and met it with patience, humor, and love. (by the way, thanks for you humor—that might be my favorite part of your blog.) thank you for continuing to teach us so much about our faith in such a kind and fatherly way. we love you!
genies don’t die
not like this